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UK internet users receive average broadband speed of just 3.6MB per second

LONDON - UK consumers receive an average broadband speed of 3.6MB per second, despite over 60% of UK broadband consumers subscribing to packages advertising speeds of 'up to 8MB per second', according to research conducted by Ofcom.

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The report revealed that the average speed consumers receive is 45% of the advertised headline speed.

One in five subscribers to the "up to 8MB per second" package was found to receive an average speed of less than 2MB per second.

This compares with an average maximum possible speed of 4.3MB per second across the UK.

The research revealed that DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) broadband speeds depend in part on distance from the local BT exchange.

Largely because of distance, consumers living in urban areas received speeds, which were on average 15% faster than those in rural areas.

Consumers in London received the fastest average speeds, with those in the north east of England, Wales and Scotland receiving on average the slowest speeds.

DSL and cable broadband speeds also vary by time of day due to differing traffic levels on ISPs' networks. Across the UK, speeds were slowest between 5pm and 6pm on Sundays, when use of the internet is at its highest.

Last month Ofcom demanded all internet service providers sign up to the Broadband Speeds Code of Practice to provide an accurate estimate of the maximum speed users can expect when signing up to a service.

Under the code, ISPs must now explain to customers the factors which determine the actual broadband speeds they can receive and give guidance on how to improve speeds.

The findings come from one of the most thorough research programmes undertaken into the real broadband speeds experienced by UK consumers.

Over a 30-day period roughly 7,000 tests were run through monitoring units connected to around 1,500 homes' broadband routers, resulting in over 10m separate tests of a range of suppliers' services.

The research was conducted in association with broadband performance specialists SamKnows and market research company GfK.

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