Only 17 percent of UK broadband users are receiving speeds of 5Mbps or faster according to internet hosting company Akamai despite the fact that the most recent Ofcom report found that the average advertised broadband speed is now 11.5Mbps.
According to Akamai's latest quarterly State of the Internet report figures, the average broadband speed in the UK is just 3.9Mbps and while 83 percent of the country now receives speeds in excess of 2Mbps only 17 percent of the country has a connection of 5Mbps or better.
In contrast to Akamai's reported figures, Ofcom's most recent broadband report —conducted with help from SamKnows in May and published in July 2010 —concluded that the average broadband speed in the UK is 5.2Mbps, up from 4.1Mbps in April 2009, but that the average advertised broadband speed was 11.5Mbps.
As a result of the disparity between advertised and actual broadband speeds Ofcom set out new guidelines in July calling for greater consistency and accuracy of the speeds available to end users.
"Actual speeds are often much lower than many of the advertised speeds, which makes it essential that consumers are given information which is as accurate as possible at the point of sale; this is what the new code is designed to deliver," Ofcom chief Ed Richards said in a statement at the time.
In a European comparison of the reported UK speed, the Akamai report found that Romania had the highest average speed at 6.8Mbps and that the Netherlands had the highest percentage of users —49 percent— that received speeds of 5Mbps or faster. Akamai also noted that it saw a 12 percent increase in the number of connections in the Netherlands connecting to its servers at a speed of 25Mbps or more.
Globally, South Korea has the runaway highest average connection speed, at 16.6Mbps, and the highest percentage of users on 5Mbps or more, at 75 percent.
The second-quarter State of the Internet report also noted that while globally the number of unique IP addresses accessing its servers was increasing —now at just over 500m, representing a quarterly increase of 2.8 percent— the number of UK requests had actually fallen 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter.
"Two of the top ten countries (the United Kingdom and Canada) showed quarterly declines, though each were less than one percent, while the remaining eight countries showed modest quarterly increases," reads the report.
The study also looked at the top sources of internet attacks and concluded that the United States and China each accounted for 11 percent of attack traffic, narrowly squeezing Russia into third place with 10 percent. The UK accounted for just 1.2 percent of attacks, but on a continental basis Europe came top with 39 percent of attacks.