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Rural areas left behind as UK broadband speeds increase

Thursday, February 26th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The gap between rural and urban broadband speeds is getting wider, despite the fact that almost one in three connections in the UK is considered to be ‘superfast’.

New research by telecoms regulator Ofcom found that the average download speed in urban areas increased by 21% in the six months to November 2014, while there was no significant change in speeds in suburban and rural areas.

Overall, the number of connections delivering what Ofcom describes as 'superfast' speeds (30Mbps or more) is 32%, up from 24% in November 2013.

Steve Unger, Ofcom’s acting chief executive, said: “The UK has seen significant investment in superfast broadband, and millions of households are now benefitting from faster speeds and more choice.

“But there’s still more to be done to ensure that everyone can share in those benefits.

“It’s encouraging to see continued investment in infrastructure from broadband providers, supported by government funding to bring faster broadband to harder-to-reach areas.”

The average UK speed is now 22.8Mbps, up from 18.7Mbps in May 2014, marking the largest rise (4.1Mbps) in broadband speeds Ofcom has recorded.

The average speed of ADSL connections – still the most common type of residential broadband – saw no significant change in the six months to November 2014, providing an average speed of 7.3Mbps.

Cable broadband connections, such as those provided by Virgin Media, saw a 26% increase in average speeds, bringing average speeds up to 54.4Mbps.

The average speed of other fibre services was 41.6Mbps, showing no significant change in the six months to November 2014.

Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 152Mbps service achieved the fastest download speeds of the broadband services covered in Ofcom’s research, averaging 132.6Mbps over 24 hours.

Plusnet’s ‘up to’ 76Mbps package delivered the fastest upload speeds at 17Mbps on average.

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