Ofcom finds average home broadband speed climbs to 7.6Mbps
Home broadband speeds have risen by more than one-fifth in the past 12 months, according to Ofcom.
The telecoms industry watchdog conducted its latest study on UK download rates - comprising 572 million separate performance tests in 1,710 homes - during November 2011 and discovered the average connection speed stood at 7.6Mbps, up from 6.8Mbps when the same research was carried out last May.
Ofcom attributed most of the gains to consumers switching on to faster packages, with the number of residential connections offering a headline or advertised speed of more than 10Mbps reaching 58 per cent - the first time this figure has exceeded half of all home broadband services.
Cable and fibre optic-based broadband products were found to offer the fastest speeds, with Virgin Media's up to 50Mbps package again named by the regulator as the service with the highest average download speed at around 49Mbps.
BT's up to 40Mbps Infinity fibre broadband service was clocked at an average rate of approximately 36Mbps - up from 34Mbps in May - and achieved the fastest upload capability of 8.8Mbps.
Despite this rise in average speeds, Ofcom warned that more than two-fifths of broadband-connected households are still on packages with headline rates of 10Mbps or less, when switching package or provider would allow them to enjoy a faster connection for little or no additional cost.
Commenting on the results, chief executive of Ofcom Ed Richards said: "It is encouraging that speeds are increasing and that consumers have a real choice of broadband service.
"There is a real opportunity for consumers to look at the packages and deals in their area in order to receive the best value, speeds and performance available to them."
Broadband speed figures published earlier this week by Akamai made for less positive reading, with the content delivery network claiming the UK's average download rate stood at 5.1Mbps in the third quarter of 2011.