UK IPTV services compromised by broadband performance gap

Joseph O'Halloran | 27-07-2010

New data released by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has found that a gap still persists between the advertised speeds for broadband services and what speeds users are typically receiving.

The gap has direct ramification for those who wish to experience rich services such as online video and may hinder broader adoption of IPTV.

According to the Ofcom data , the UK’s average actual fixed-line residential broadband speed has in fact increased by over 25% over the past year from 4.1 Mbit/s to 5.2 Mbit/s as ISPs increasingly move to offer higher speed broadband packages. Moreover, nearly a quarter of UK fixed-line residential broadband connections had a headline or advertised speed of above ‘up to’ 10 Mbit/s in May 2010, compared to just 8%.

Yet despite these advances, there was also a growing gap between actual speeds delivered and the speeds advertised, in particular those delivered using DSL technology. DSL services promising ‘Up to’ 8/10 Mbit/s were typically delivering on average 3.3 Mbit/s, somewhat below the recommended minimum constant speeds that experts would suggest an IPTV delivering acceptable quality would need. ‘Up to’ 20/24 Mbit/s DSL packages were typically offering only 6.5 Mbit/s on average. Cable fared much better with ‘Up to’ 10 Mbit/s cable services offering typically 8.7 Mbit/s.

Commented Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive said: “Ofcom’s research shows that average speeds have increased which is good news, but there is scope for a further step change in the quality of the UK communications infrastructure. 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.”

Ofcom believes that many consumers could take some relatively simple steps to improve their broadband performance and provides advice at h**p://