Home broadband speeds in the UK are increasing considerably with cable-based service offerings driving growth as much as full fibre.

This is according to a new study published by regulator Ofcom, whose headline finding showed that the median average download speed in the UK was up by 17 per cent year-on-year, based on March 2023 data. That equates to an increase of 10.1 Mbps to 69.4 Mbps.

According to Telecoms.com, the increase comes “as people have upgraded to higher-bandwidth services, including full-fibre connections,” the regulator stated in a press release accompanying its new UK Home Broadband Performance report.

It is easy, therefore, to jump to the conclusion that full fibre uptake is driving the market. But a closer look at the report shows that while fibre is playing a part, the biggest growth and the fastest speeds are coming from the cable sector.

According to the report, Ofcom adjusted its wording to note that upgrades “to higher-bandwidth services” are pushing average speeds up.

“Take-up of superfast broadband – that is servicing with advertised download speeds of 30 Mbps or more – in the UK stood at 93 per cent in March, up by two percentage points on the previous year and by eight compared with two years earlier,” it noted.

The report added that the median average download speed for a cable service advertised at 1.13 Gbps came in at 1.14 Gbps over a 24-hour period, falling slightly during peak times.

“For full fibre plans advertised at 900 Mbps to 1 Gbps, the average download speed was 919.8 Mbps. Naturally, fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) offerings had much lower speeds,” Ofcom mentioned.

According to it, cable broadband connections saw the biggest increase in average download speed in the 12 months to March, increasing by 71.3 Mbps – or 36 per cent – to 270.6 Mbps.

“Full fibre download speeds grew by 1.9 Mbps, or just 1 per cent, to 149.2 Mbps on average.

“While people can achieve improved performance through switching technology or package, there were few differences between comparable services offered by providers that use the same Openreach wholesale inputs,” Ofcom warned.



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