Ofcom has today announced the results of its largest-ever study of UK broadband speeds, revealing an average nationwide speed of 3.6Mbps.
The research, conducted by performance specialists SamKnows and market research company GfK Ltd, is described as one of the most sophisticated and thorough ever conducted. Taking place over a 30-day period, 1,500 homes were subjected to 7,000 tests, delivering over 10 million separate tests of various services.
Unsurprisingly, the results found average consumer speeds to be far below the speeds advertised by most ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Although the average nationwide speed of 3.6Mbps isn't far from the average possible speed of 4.3Mbps, Ofcom found that one-in-five users subscribed to an 8Mbps package actually obtained an average speed of less than 2Mbps.
Early last month, Ofcom enforced new measures into its broadband Code of Practice, insisting that ISPs must provide consumers with an accurate estimate of the broadband speeds they're likely to receive when adopting a service. Urging the importance of educating the consumer, Ofcom's Chief Executive Ed Richards states:
"We want to see all Internet Service Providers meet the needs of their customers by clearly explaining what speeds they should expect and by ensuring that their networks meet consumers’ increasing demand for higher speed broadband."
However, despite the apparent lack of available speed, 93 per cent of surveyed consumers stated that they were satisfied with their web-browsing experience. Similarly, 28 per cent of consumers admitted that they were oblivious to the actual speed of their service.
Key facts from the new study are listed by Ofcom as follows:
- On average, consumers living in urban areas receive speeds 15% faster than those in rural areas, largely because of distance
- Consumers in London received the fastest average speeds, with those in the north east of England, Wales and Scotland receiving on average the slowest speeds
- DSL broadband speeds depend in part on distance from the local BT exchange
- DSL and cable broadband speeds vary by time of day due to differing traffic levels on ISPs’ networks
Ofcom's complete broadband speeds research document can be found at ofcom.org.uk.