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UK broadband speeds up, Netflix says, Virgin is fastest ISP

Britain's broadband is faster than ever, according to the movie-streaming service, with Virgin the most rapid ISP.

Netflix's latest speed report has encouraging news for the UK -- Britain's broadband is faster than ever, according to the movie-streaming service, with Virgin the most rapid Internet service provider (ISP).

Britain's average Internet speed for October is 2.48Mbps, up from 2.4Mbps in September, and a low of 2.02Mbps last December. The UK is ahead of the US, and the gap is widening, with American speeds falling to 1.9Mbps in the last month.

The UK remains behind Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands -- the latter country a new addition to Netflix's club and the standout performer at 3.16Mbps.

Virgin is the clear winner among UK ISPs, with an average of 2.69Mbps, handily besting BT's 2.5Mbps. O2, Sky, EE and TalkTalk, the other measured competitors, are all crawling along around the 2.3Mbps mark.

"The average is well below the peak performance due to many factors including the variety of encodes we use to deliver the TV shows and movies we carry as well as home Wi-Fi and the variety of devices our members use," Netflix explains. "Those factors cancel out when comparing across ISPs, so these relative rankings are a good indicator of the consistent performance typically experienced across all users on an ISP network."

The American company's data is based on over 1 billion hours of streaming video each month to Netflix's 40 million members. It's just one way of looking at average broadband speeds, but it's valuable because it's a real-life measure that directly affects your experience. The more data Netflix can deliver to your TV every second, the better your picture, and the better other video services are likely to be too.

Average speeds are creeping up in the UK as more people switch to cable and fibre broadband. Areas where copper wire is the only option are lagging, however, with some postcodes considerably slower than their neighbours in the same city.

Which ISP has the best video performance in your experience? Would you switch provider to get a better Netflix picture? Are speeds improving where you live? Zip down to the comments, or over to our fast-paced Facebook page.