Average broadband speeds at 5 Mbps

The average broadband download speed in the UK has reached 5 Mbps for the first time. The figures released by broadband comparison site Top 10 Broadband show speeds have jumped by 22% since January.

The need for higher speeds has run in parallel to the success of online catch up TV services, such as the BBC iPlayer, Sky Player and the rebranded ITV Player. The iPlayer alone has seen daily requests to stream or download TV and radio programmes rise from 360,000 in January to 957,000 in October 2008.

Top 10 Broadband’s Jessica McArdle says that the demand for video content has meant users are increasingly exceeding their monthly download allowance. “With average speeds now over 5Mb making the rich media dream a true reality, download allowance remains the final frontier to be crossed before online HD entertainment becomes a viable option for the majority of UK broadband users. Only ISPs that can match these demands will remain viable options for the average video-hungry user.”

Publication of the figures comes on the day that Ofcom’s new voluntary code of practice, designed to make headline speeds more transparent, comes into being.