Thursday, July 29, 2010

New research from Ofcom on UK broadband speeds

Ofcom earlier this week published new research into broadband speeds in the UK. From their press release:
"The UK’s most comprehensive broadband speeds research reveals that the UK’s average actual fixed-line residential broadband speed has increased by over 25 per cent over the past year from 4.1Mbit/s to 5.2Mbit/s as internet service providers (“ISPs”) increasingly move to offer higher speed broadband packages."
The increase is encouraging, but I do wonder if average speeds are still a relevant index of provision, given the increasing gap between the highest and lowest speeds. And issues over the gap between advertised and actual speeds remain:
"In April 2009, average actual (or download) speeds were 4.1Mbit/s, 58 per cent of average advertised ‘up to’ speeds (7.1Mbit/s). In May 2010, average download speeds were 5.2Mbit/s, 45 per cent of average advertised ‘up to’ speeds (11.5Mbit/s)."
The full research is available here, with coverage from the BBC here and Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones' thoughts are here. Rory makes a good point:
"Broadband in Britain is getting faster, slowly. But consumers may feel that the gap between the industry's promises and what it actually delivers is getting wider."
Something for BDUK to bear in mind when assessing industry's proposals to deliver universal service perhaps? Such an approach from industry is hardly in keeping with ensuring Britain has the best superfast broadband in Europe within the lifetime of this parliament, is it?

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