Broadband speeds below advertised levels

Broadband customers are receiving speeds much slower than what they are paying for, while Virgin Media has come out on top among the major providers, according to an Ofcom survey.

Virgin broadband

The telecoms regulator found that the average broadband speed in the UK in April 2009 was 4.1 megabits per second (Mbps), compared to the “up to” 7.1 Mbps speeds advertisers by internet service providers (ISP).

The Advertising Standards Agency says however that it is satisfied that the use of the “up to” figure is not misleading, but adds that it will investigate individual complaints if and when they arise.

Meanwhile, in other findings in the Ofcom survey, among the ISPs Virgin Media provided the fastest service. In contrast, Tiscali had the slowest connections, closely followed by AOL.

Ofcom also found that consumers living in urban areas received significantly faster speeds than those living in rural areas. The average speed delivered to urban consumers was 4.6Mbps, compared to an average of 3.3Mbps delivered to rural consumers.

The findings follow the release of the Government’s Digital Britain report.

It recommends that every household have access to a connection of a minimum of 2 Mbps by 2012.

The Ofcom survey saw over 60 million separate service performance tests carried out in over 1600 homes between November 2008 and April 2009 in conjunction with market research agency GfK and technical partner SamKnows.

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