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Virgin Media has been named as the fastest major ISP in the UK in a limited trial of a new speed test that promises to offer more accuracy for faster connections.

The trial was conducted by testing company SamKnows and sought to showcase a new cloud-based solution after concerns were raised by the BBC's Watchdog programme that traditional browser-based tools struggle to give reliable readings in the age of ultrafast connectivity.

"Excitingly, we're testing faster and faster connections. But importantly, we’re finding that traditional web tests struggle to handle such speeds, and their performance can vary depending on the browser or computer its running on." SamKnows stated "So, six months ago, we decided to create a SamKnows Web Test, making it sensationally accurate."

While the tests done in conjunction with Watchdog were limited in scale, and so may not give a wide overview of the market, it found Virgin Media topped the table with an average download speed of 78.21Mbps.

This is not hugely surprising, as the firm uses its own network with typically offers faster speeds than the Openreach-provided network than many of its competitors rely on.

BT came in second place, with an average speed of 36.18Mbps, followed by Plusnet (25.86Mbps) and Sky (24.01Mbps). TalkTalk registered the slowest speeds of the major ISPs tested, at 23.44Mbps.

Of course, these are mean speeds, and there are many factors that can influence the actual download speeds users receive, ranging from distance to the cabinet and quality of hardware to what package a user is paying for or the time of day. 

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