The average residential UK broadband speed across all areas reached 14.7mbps in May 2013, Ofcom research reveals.
Ofcom’s latest report into fixed-line residential broadband speeds shows that the average actual UK speed has risen by 22 percent (2.7mbps) in the six months to May 2013, and 64 percent (5.7mbps) in the year since May 2012.
The report also shows that the average broadband speed has more than quadrupled since Ofcom first began publishing speed data in November 2008 - an increase of 309 percent (or 11.1mbps)
The government and local authorities are currently spending over £1 billion in hard to serve rural areas to get speeds of "at least" 24mbps for over 90 percent of premises by 2017, using fibre.
This comes on top of BT, Virgin and other suppliers building out their faster fibre networks across the UK.
Ofcom said the proportion of broadband connections classed as "superfast" - usually fibre offering "headline speeds" of 30mbps or more - is increasing. By May 2013, 19 percent of residential broadband connections were superfast, up from 14 percent in November 2012, and more than doubling from 8 percent over the course of the last year.
By May 2013, 86 percent of UK fixed-line residential broadband users were on packages with advertised speeds above "up to" 10mbps, up from 76 percent six months ago and 68 percent in May 2012.
Ofcom said the move to higher speeds is partly down to Virgin Media’s network upgrade to double the speeds of most of its cable broadband customers. As a result, the average speed on cable has nearly doubled over the last year from 18mbps to 34.9mbps.
Customers are also choosing to migrate to faster fibre packages. BT reported that it had 1.3 million fibre broadband connections at the end of March 2013, up from around 550,000 a year earlier.
Of the 14 ISP packages included in the Ofcom research, Virgin Media’s "up to" 120mbps service achieved the fastest download speeds, an average of 112.6mbps. The average download speed on Virgin Media’s "up to" 100mbps was 88.8mbps.
Of the other superfast packages included in the research, BT’s "up to" 76mbps service delivered average speeds of 62.1mbps, while Plusnet’s "up to" 76mbps achieved average speeds of 61mbps. Virgin Media’s "up to" 60mbps package generated average speeds of 57.5mbps.
Plusnet’s "up to" 38mbps package achieved average speeds of 33.7mbps, compared with BT’s "up to" 38mbps service, which delivered 32.6mbps on average. And the average download speed on Virgin Media’s "up to" 30mbps service was 30mbps.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom consumer group director, said: “With the average household now owning more than three types of internet-connected devices, consumers are demanding more than ever from their broadband service.
“Internet providers have responded by upgrading customers to higher speed services and launching new superfast packages. To help consumers make informed purchasing decisions, our report offers a useful insight into the actual speeds and level of reliability delivered by many of the broadband packages available on the market today."