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Latest research conducted by Ofcom has pointed to a slight rise in the number of consumers unhappy with their broadband speeds.

Some 17 per cent of customers surveyed by the media regulator in Q3 2012 said they were either 'fairly dissatisfied' (ten per cent) or 'very dissatisfied' (seven per cent).

This compared to the 15 per cent who raised issues with their service speeds 12 months earlier, when eight per cent were 'fairly dissatisfied' and seven per cent 'very dissatisfied'.

The findings suggest that as speeds improve at the higher end, consumers and businesses in areas of poor coverage are becoming increasingly frustrated.

Further evidence of the growing digital gap is seen in the number of consumers who are content with their broadband speeds.

Ofcom found that the proportion who are 'very satisfied' with their download capabilities rose from 38 per cent to 41 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

More consumers in urban areas have gained access to super-fast speeds during the last 18 months, with BT and Virgin Media investing heavily in their network infrastructure.

BT remains on course to roll out fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK by 2015, as part of its £2.5 billion investment plan.

And Virgin Media - whose network is accessible to around half of all UK homes and businesses - is in the process of doubling the speeds accessible to its fibre customers, up to a maximum of 120Mb.

With many homes and businesses in rural areas still unable to access 2Mb broadband, it is clear that more must be done to level the playing field.

Earlier this week, a report published by Policy Exchange claimed that too much of a focus is being placed on super and ultra-fast broadband speeds in the UK.

The think tank said it is more important to improve services in poorly connected areas, and ensure people not yet online can take advantage of broadband services.

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