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New figures from Ofcom have revealed that half of homes in the UK are now able to access 'ultrafast' broadband speeds, while full-fibre gigabit connections are also on the rise.

These were among the findings of the regulator's annual Connected Nations report, which looks at the progress made in the market over the past 12 months.

It revealed that 94 per cent of premises are now able to access a 'superfast' connection, which is defined by the organisation as offering speeds of at least 30Mbps. This is up from 91 per cent in 2017.

The proportion of properties able to receive ultrafast services has also reached the 50 per cent mark for the first time, up by 14 percentage points over the last year. These services provide speeds around ten times faster than superfast connections.

Ofcom said efforts made by Virgin Media to upgrade its high-speed network was one of the key drivers behind this increase.

Meanwhile, around 1.8 million properties can now enjoy full fibre connectivity, an increase of over a million from 2017.

"Full fibre is very reliable and can deliver speeds above 1Gbps," the regulator said. "Ofcom has taken a range of steps to promote investment in full fibre, and we expect coverage to increase in the coming months."

However, the report revealed that a few gaps in coverage remain. It found that some 677,000 homes and business still cannot receive services that offer download speeds of 10Mbps or upload speeds of 1Mbps, which Ofcom defines as the minimum requirement for decent broadband.

Of these, 496,000 are in rural areas, which suggests there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure consumers living in remote locations are not left behind by the rollout of faster connectivity.

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