The United Kingdom's telecoms watchdog has revealed that the national average speed of broadband has risen to 9Mbps. This represents a significant increase over last year's national average, which was measured at 7.6Mbps. The 9Mbps figure comes from Ofcom's latest research into fixed-line residential broadband, which was carried out in May of this year.
Ofcom says that though the rise in average speeds is partly because its research now includes superfast broadband packages (such as Virgin's up to 60Mbps service and BT's Infinity 2, which offers up to 76Mbps), customers are also benefiting from improved speeds thanks to network upgrades being carried out by ISPs.
Ofcom's research also took a look at the speeds of individual ISPs. The watchdog found that Virgin Media's 'up to' 100Mbps service was the fastest when tested. Research revealed actual speeds of 88.3Mbps over a 24-hour period on this service. However, Ofcom also reported that a higher proportion of Virgin Media cable customers experienced speeds of less than 90 percent of their average maximum speeds during busy periods.
During busy peak periods, a higher proportion of Virgin Media cable customers experienced speeds of less than 90% of their average maximum speed, compared to BT Infinity fibre customers. BT's Infinity, which offers up to 76Mbps gave actual speeds of 58.5Mbps, while Virgin's 60Mbps gave speeds of 55.9Mbps. BT's 38Mbps package gave speeds of 32.2Mbps and Virgin's 30Mbps service produced speeds of 30.1Mbps.
Ofcom started measuring the average actual UK fixed-line residential broadband speeds in November 2008. Since then, the average speeds have risen from 3.6Mbps to today's 9Mbps.