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Virgin Media broadband faster than advertised, other ISPs still misleading

Broadband speeds are getting faster, but unless you're on Virgin Media, your Internet is likely to be nowhere near the speed promised by your ISP.

Broadband speeds are getting faster, but your Internet is likely to be nowhere near the speed promised by your ISP -- unless you're on Virgin Media, which pulls off the neat trick of delivering speeds higher than the promised maximum.

That's according to Ofcom, which has revealed its latest study of average broadband speeds across the nation. The average UK broadband speed increased by a not-inconsiderable 10 per cent to 6.8Mbps over the last six months. Adverts, however, continue to promise vastly over-inflated speeds.

Services promising up to 30Mbps typically offer around half that, from BT and Plusnet's '8Mbps' services loitering at 3 or 4Mbps, to BT, Karoo, O2, Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk's '20Mbps' services dawdling below 9Mbps.

Almost half of UK broadband users are on packages with advertised speeds above 10Mbps, compared to just 8 per cent two years ago. Which is good news, because superfast services are more likely to be super-fast than reasonably fast services are to be reasonably fast. In other words, services advertising superfast speeds get closer than slower services to their advertised top speed.

To wit and viz-ah-vee, BT's 40Mbps Infinity service achieves average speeds of 34Mbps. Virgin Media's 50Mbps service hits 48Mbps average speed. But Virgin's cooo da grarr is the 30Mbps service, which reaches an average of 31Mbps.

It was the same story in March this year... and this time last year, too. Faster broadband means overall speeds have climbed -- but as advertised maximum speeds continue to grow, the gap has remained between these theoretical limits and the actual speed at which the Internet spurts up your 'puter-pipes.

To see what the broadband situation is like in your neck of the woods, Ofcom publishes a map of Internet speeds across this green and pleasant land. Residents of Kingston Hull -- hellerrr! -- will be glad to hear Karoo, Hull's ISP, is included in Ofcom's calculations for the first time.

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