Independent communications regulator Ofcom has sung the praises of the UK’s broadband providers today, noting that the average speed of broadband has increased by 10% from 6.2Mbps (Megabits per second) at the close of last year, to 6.8Mbps in May 2011.

In addition, almost half (47%) of the country’s residential broadband users are actually on packages with advertised speeds of 10Mbps, compared to 42% last year and a paltry 9% in April of 2009.

Whilst this is great news, as is the availability of ‘superfast’ broadband (access to either Virgin Media’s or BT’s fibre-optic services) to most homes within the UK and its closeness between purported and received speeds.

However, an enduring issue lies in the disparity between ‘up to’ speeds that some providers are still using to advertise broadband and the speeds that consumers receive is actually getting wider.

The average advertised speed in May of this year was 15Mbps, a whopping 8.2Mbps faster than the average actual speed of 6.8Mbit/s.

At the end of last year, this speed gap was still a significant 7.6Mbit/s (an advertised average of 13.8Mbps and an actual of 6.2Mbps).

A major problem is that the majority of consumers can be lured in with the promise of one speed, only to receive another that is more two times slower when they finally get connected.

Broadband Advertising

Whilst Ofcom recommends that adverts on TV and billboards ought to display broadband speeds that can actually be delivered to at least 50% of real consumers around the country, it is important to understand that there are a myriad of factors which can also hamper their experience.

It is also important to note that over 75% of broadband connections in UK homes are still utilising the old copper telephone lines, with speeds for these consumers dependant on factors like the quality of the telephone line and distance to the local exchange.

Ofcom’s research has found that the average download speed received for these type of connections claiming ‘up to’ 20Mbps and 24Mbps services was actually 6.6Mbps, whilst more than a third of consumers (37%)on these broadband packages were actually getting average speeds of 4Mbps, or less in some cases.

A great way to test your own broadband speed, see how your current provider compares as well as check out what speeds your neighbours are getting is on our site at: http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest/.

Armed with these results, you will be far better equipped to speak to your existing provider if you feel you are stuck in the broadband slow lane, as well as better informed to move to another supplier if your current one is underperforming…

The process of migration is faster and easier than ever, and uSwitch is also able to help you compare the best broadband deals currently available in your area.

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