Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Ofcom reveals that UK broadband rates are 'not up to speed'

Ofcom has today published the results of their research into fixed-line broadband speeds in the UK. Speed has become more significant as people increasingly use the internet for bandwidth-hungry applications such as downloading video and audio. The research involved over 60 million separate service performance tests being carried out in over 1600 homes between November 2008 and April 2009.

The research found that nearly 20% of UK broadband customers who have an 8Mbps connection receive less than 2Mbps on average. Similarly, less than 9% received more than 6Mbps. The report did show though that the average internet connection speed across the UK had increased from 3.6Mbps in January to 4.1Mbps. This news will interest Lord Carter and the government’s plans for “All British Homes to Have Broadband by 2012”, with the government wanting British households on at least 2Mbs speed broadband by 2012. Below you can listen to Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards talking about the report:

You can view the full report here. In summary the report found that:

  • The average broadband speed in the UK in April 2009 was 4.1 megabits per second (Mbit/s). This compares to an average 'up to' headline speed of 7.1 Mbit/s.
  • The actual speeds received varied widely. Fewer than one in ten (9 per cent) of the sample on 8Mbit/s headline packages received actual average speeds of over 6Mbit/s and around one in five (19 per cent) received, on average, less than 2Mbit/s.
  • Those living in urban areas received significantly faster speeds than those living in rural areas. The average speed delivered to urban consumers was 4.6Mbit/s, compared to an average of 3.3Mbit/s delivered to rural consumers.
  • Consumers with all ISPs experienced a slowdown in actual speeds during peak evening hours (8-10pm), with speeds in this period around 20 per cent slower than over a 24-hour period.

It's not just which provider you're with - or what deal you've signed up to - which can affect the speed of your connection. If you get your broadband via a phone line, then something as simple as how far you live from your local telephone exchange or a missing filter can affect the speed of your connection.

Ofcom have released the following video guide on how to improve your broadband speed:

Plum Communications provide a range of Broadband Internet Services, most popular are the ADSL services which have a different higher download speed to the upload speed. These start with standard ADSL (up to 2Mb), rate adaptive ADSL (up to 8Mb) and fast rate adaptive ADSL 2+ (up to 24Mb). Distance from the exchange, line quality, interference or a missing filter will reduce the speed available. A line check can be carried out for any proposed connection to determine the potential speed of the line.

The ADSL type of connection meets most needs as in general customers will download more than they upload, however some customers will have special requirements, for instance remote hosting of services and files, back up routines, camera access, gaming, streaming and in these cases a higher upload speed is required. This can be provided economically by bonding multiple ADSL circuits together.

Alternatively SDSL connections are available with higher upload speeds and where guaranteed bandwidth with Service Level Agreement is required we provide direct internet connections and leased lines. For advice on the most appropriate method of connection for your business contact Plum Communications on 0161 622 3500.

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