Fiber broadband speeds are falling in the UK, but cable is getting faster

Fiber broadband speeds are falling in the UK, but cable is getting faster

If you’re a fiber broadband subcsriber in the UK, there’s a good chance that the broadband speeds you receive are slower than they used to be, according to an Ofcom report today.

The UK’s telecom watchdog said that in the six months to May 2014, fiber broadband packages saw a decrease of nearly 1Mbps – from 42.9Mbps to 42Mbps. Conversely, cable broadband services – primarily provided by Virgin Media in the UK – increased by 3.1Mbps to 43.3Mbps, overtaking fiber for the first time. Ofcom said much of the increase was due to the uptake of higher speed packages.

While on the surface of it, it’s not great news for fiber subscribers as it suggests services are becoming more congested, it’s also worth noting that as well as a small decrease in speed, an increase in the number of customers taking ‘up to 38Mbps’ packages (rather than up to 78Mbps options) also contributed to the dip in speeds. Overall across the UK, the average broadband speed increased by about 5 percent to 18.7Mbps.

At busy times, when speeds are more likely to fall due to contention, not all networks fared as well as others. For example, between 8pm and 10pm, Sky’s fiber customers got an average of 34.5Mbps (on up to 38Mbps packages), whereas EE fiber customers on the same package got an average of 27.2Mbps.

➤ Average cable broadband speed overtakes fibre [Ofcom]

Image credit: Shutterstock


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