Ofcom finds consumers favour ADSL over fibre broadband

Wednesday, July 27th 2011
More than three-quarters of homes are receiving copper-based ADSL broadband.
Ofcom finds consumers favour ADSL over fibre broadband
The majority of consumers have access to super-fast broadband but are forgoing the technology for slower copper-based ADSL connections, Ofcom has revealed.

According to the regulator, 57 per cent of homes across the UK are served by Virgin Media's fibre optic broadband network or an upgraded telephone exchange, while availability of the service is continuing to grow.

Despite the widespread coverage of next-generation broadband infrastructure, more than 75 per cent of residential connections are delivered via ADSL, meaning most Brits are missing out on the enhanced service offered by a fibre optic line.

Ofcom's study found super-fast services are able to achieve "significantly faster" speeds than copper broadband, as well as smaller - or non-existent - differences between headline and actual speeds.

BT's Infinity product, with an advertised 'up to' rate of 40Mbps, delivered 34Mbps download speeds, while Virgin Media's up to 50Mbps package provides average rates of 48Mbps.

In contrast, households receiving up to 20 or 24Mbps ADSL broadband could only access average speeds of 6.6Mbps, while 37 per cent of customers on one of these deals were struggling with rates of 4Mbps or less.

Speeds for ADSL subscribers varied based on the length and quality of the line running from their property to the local telephone exchange.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, commented: "The UK broadband market has transformed since Ofcom first published its research two and a half years ago.

"By publishing this research, Ofcom has encouraged internet service providers to invest in faster broadband networks; we are now seeing consumers increasingly move to higher-rated services and enjoying genuinely faster speeds."

Earlier this month, the regulator revealed just over two-thirds of UK properties have a fixed broadband connection, with the average customer receiving maximum speeds of 7.5Mbps - excluding super-fast lines.

Brighton & Hove had the highest take-up of broadband, with 80 per cent of premises in the city signed up to the service. 

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