The UK's average broadband speed is 6.8Mbps, says Ofcom.
According to the regulator's UK fixed-line broadband performance report, which was conducted in partnership with SamKnows, the average actual speed has increased by 10 percent since December last year when it was 6.2Mbps. Furthermore, 47 percent of Brits have net access packages that offer advertised speeds of 10Mbps or above, compared to 42 percent in December last year.
However, Ofcom also revealed the gap between advertised speeds and actual broadband speeds has also increased. In May this year, the average advertised speed is 'up to' 15Mbps, which is 8.2Mbps higher than the average actual speed but in December last year there was only a 7.6Mbps gap as the average advertised speed was 13.8Mbps.
The regulator said those on superfast broadband services, which Ofcom defines as net access packages with an advertised speed of 24Mbps or above, were benefitting most as Virgin Media's cable-based 'up to' 30Mbps package offered an average actual speed of 31Mbps and its 'up to' 50Mbps service came with an average actual speed of 48Mbps. Meanwhile, BT's Infinity service promises speeds of 'up to' 40Mbps and delivered an average actual speed of 34Mbps.
However, more than three quarters of the UK rely on a copper ADSL broadband connection. Ofcom's research revealed, the average actual speed on an ADSL 'up to' 24Mbps is 6.6Mbps with 37 percent of consumers on these packages achieving average speeds of 4Mbps or below.
The regulator also revealed it was still "concerned that theoretical ‘up to’ speeds have the potential to mislead consumers”. Earlier this year Ofcom put proposals to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), which are currently investigating broadband advertising at the request of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), regarding the use of a Typical Speeds Range (TSR) in broadband advertising. TSRs indicate the range of speeds actually achieved by at least half of customers. A decision by the CAP and BCAP is expected this autumn.
"The UK broadband market has transformed since Ofcom first published its research two and a half years ago. We are now seeing consumers increasingly move to higher rated services and enjoying genuinely faster speeds," said Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards.
"Consumers also have access to better broadband information, allowing them to decide which provider to use based on actual speeds they can achieve at home. However, the research is still telling us that some consumers are not receiving anywhere near the speeds that are being advertised by some ISPs."
Jon James, executive director of Broadband for Virgin Media, revealed the ISP remains "concerned that people paying for fast broadband are still being misled". Furthermore, Virgin Media believes "it is absolutely essential that consumers have all the information they need to make an informed choice" and called for ASA to bring about a rapid change in the way broadband services are being advertised.