Broadband speeds across the UK have increased by nearly 20% in the past year, research from Ofcom shows.
The regulator’s latest home broadband performance report, which looks at how different broadband packages perform, found that, for the first time, average download speeds have passed the 50 Mbit/s mark, rising by 18% to 54.2 Mbit/s.
Similarly, upload speeds have increased by 15% on average to 7.2 Mbit/s. Overall, both download and upload speeds have more than double over the past five years, Ofcom said.
The Ofcom report found that the fastest speeds were from Virgin Media’s VIVID 350 cable package, which offers consumers average peak-time speeds of 360.2 Mbit/s. BT’s 300 Mbit/s full-fibre package was ranked the second fastest available to UK consumers, while this also provided average peak-time upload speeds at 48.8 Mbit/s.
Commenting on the research findings, Ofcom’s Strategy and research group director, Yih-Choung Teh, said: “Broadband comes in lots of flavours these days: copper, superfast, cable and full-fibre. Which kind you choose can really affect your online experience.”
Ofcom’s research also assessed how different broadband packages can affect people’s experience when streaming video content online.
With the growing popularity of streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, poor broadband connections can drastically affect consumers’ viewing experience.
Nearly all of Ofcom’s research respondents who use superfast services or faster were able to stream Netflix films or programmes in ultra-high definition without buffer, the regulator said. However, only 10% of homes with basic, copper-based broadband services were able to stream shows in UHD.
Older, copper-based broadband services are far more likely to suffer a drop in speed during peak times, such as evenings when more people are online and using their services.
Full-fibre packages, where cables run all the way from an exchange to people’s homes, performed better than copper-based packages “in almost every way in our research – including both download and upload speeds”, Ofcom said.