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UK broadband speeds jumped by 22 per cent between November 2010 and 2011, according to latest data from Ofcom.

The watchdog's report now puts the average broadband speed in Britain at 7.6Mb, up from 6.2Mb just over a year ago.

The study, which is the telecoms regulator's sixth to examine broadband speeds in the UK, suggested that this rise was due to the fact more people are signing up to higher speed packages.

Ofcom's data shows that in November, for the first time, over half (58 per cent) of people had a headline broadband speed of over 10Mb.

However, more than four out of ten people remain on packages which offer headline speeds of 10Mb or less, despite faster deals being offered by their provider.

In terms of which broadband providers offered the fastest speeds, those which offered fibre-based and cable broadband technologies came out on top, with Virgin Media offering the highest average download speeds of 49Mb.

BT Infinity had the second highest speeds of around 36Mb.

However, while significant improvements have been seen in terms of broadband speeds, there are still many areas of the UK where people struggle to get an adequate connection.

Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, said: "It will come as no surprise to many of us that there's often a discrepancy between the super-fast speeds advertised by broadband providers and the actual speeds that we get at home. But there's another elephant in the room that this data doesn't mention, the gaping divide between speeds in urban and rural areas.

"Although internet providers are investing millions of pounds in bringing the UK's broadband infrastructure into the 21st Century, the reality is that many parts of Britain, and especially rural areas, are still operating in the broadband dark ages and are digitally isolated due to sluggish speeds and patchy coverage."

He added that in 2011, uSwitch carried out more than almost 2.5 million speed tests in the UK and found that more than a quarter of homeowners were still using broadband connections with speeds of less than 2Mb.

Mr Doku continued to say that if the UK wants to remain a major global economic player then the government needs to ensure that investment is evenly spread across the country.

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