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Ofcom has reported a surge in the number of homes with superfast broadband connections over the last year.

According to the watchdog, around eight million homes - or 27 per cent - had average download speeds of 30Mbps or more a year ago.

However, the figure now stands at 9.1 million - or 31 per cent. 

The average download speed of a broadband service in the UK rose from 29Mbps to 37Mbps - an increase of 28 per cent.

Ofcom said this not only reflects better coverage, but also an increase in people opting to pay for faster broadband packages.

Superfast broadband is now available to 89 per cent of homes and small businesses in the UK, compared with 83 per cent a year ago.

"The coverage and quality of broadband across the UK has increased significantly over the past year," Ofcom said.

"This has been driven by BT upgrading its network; Virgin Media converting more homes to faster packages, '‘alternative' fibre-only networks such as CityFibre, Hyperoptic and Gigaclear; and the government’s ongoing Broadband Delivery UK programme."

Ofcom's findings come shortly after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond confirmed in his Autumn Statement that £400 million is to be put towards improving the UK's fibre broadband infrastructure.

The money will be placed in a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, with cash shared between fibre broadband providers seeking to expand, while private investors will be asked to match the amount put forward by the government.

A further £740 million will be put towards developing 5G services and a scheme that enables local authorities to bid for fibre connectivity.

Speaking to MPs in his keynote speech, Mr Hammond said: "Our future transport, business and lifestyle needs will require world class digital infrastructure to underpin them, so my ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G.

"That means a full-fibre network; a step-change in speed, security and reliability."

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