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The average broadband speed for UK residential customers is now 12Mb, according to a new report by telecoms industry regulator Ofcom.

The study reveals that the average speeds enjoyed by consumers has more than trebled in the last four years, after standing at just 3.6Mb in November 2008.

The rise is partially attributed to people upgrading to superfast broadband packages, with the proportion of broadband connections classed as superfast standing at 13 per cent in November 2012, compared with five per cent in November 2011.

Examining speeds more closely, the study found that cable broadband connections generated the greatest increases in average speeds in the six months to November 2012, rising by 10.4Mb to 28.3Mb, while average actual speeds for fibre connections increased by 9.4Mb to stand at 41Mb.

Of the 12 major ISP packages analysed in the report, the regulator found that Virgin Media's up to 100Mb service was the fastest, at an average actual speed of 92.6Mb.

Ofcom also looked at the average peak time speeds received by customers between 8pm and 10pm on weekdays, and compared it with the maximum connection speeds available on their networks through the month.

It revealed substantial differences between the average speeds received by customers of the major broadband providers; on average, those subscribing to BT's up to 38Mb services benefited from 91 per cent of the maximum connection speeds during peak times, while customers of Virgin Media's 30Mb service only received 35 per cent of the maximum speed.

When upload speeds were analysed, Ofcom found that the average UK fixed broadband connection was 1.4Mb in November 2012, with BT Infinity's up to 76Mb service delivering the highest upload speed of all packages included in the report, at 16.1Mb.

Commenting on the study, Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said it highlights that consumers are adopting faster broadband packages to cater for their increasing use of bandwidth-heavy services such as video streaming.

He added: "The increase in the average number of connected devices in UK homes is also driving the need for speed. Internet providers are working to meet consumer demand through network upgrades and the launch of superfast packages, giving consumers faster speeds and greater choice."

Ofcom compiled the report using data collected by research partner SamKnows, which accounted for more than 60 per cent of the UK's residential broadband connections.

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