Virgin broadband three times faster than ADSL

Virgin Media’s cable services are more than three times as fast as any ADSL provider, according to Ofcom’s latest broadband speeds research.

Virgin broadband three times faster than ADSL

The Ofcom study, conducted with SamKnows Broadband, measures the actual connection speeds delivered to more than 1,500 residential broadband users in May 2010.

The survey makes grim reading for ADSL providers. While Virgin’s up to 50Mbits/sec connections typically deliver a speed of between 33.4 and 36.7Mbits/sec, the fastest ADSL2+ provider – O2 – averages speeds of between 8.1 and 9.7Mbits/sec.


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Even Virgin’s “up to 20Mbits/sec” connections are roughly twice as fast as the “up to 20/24Mbits/sec” services advertised by the ADSL firms.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said the research indicated the need for high-speed fibre broadband to replace ADSL, but denied the regulator was effectively endorsing Virgin Media.

“This is a very large piece of independent research and is an advert for nobody,” he claimed. “People will make their judgement from here on in, in the light of the information [Ofcom provided].”

However, Ofcom is – like last year – barely able to distinguish between the performance of the various ADSL providers. O2/Be is faster than BT at ADSL2+ speeds, but Ofcom doesn’t have the statistical confidence to split any of the others.

On up to 8 and 10Mbits/sec lines, Ofcom doesn’t have the statistical confidence to say any ADSL provider is faster or slower than any other, despite performing more than 18 million tests.

Average download speeds on high-speed broadband packages

Virgin Media (up to 50Mbits/sec): 33.4 to 36.7Mbits/sec

Virgin Media (up to 20Mbits/sec): 15.2 to 16.5Mbits/sec

O2/Be (up to 20/24Mbits/sec): 8.1 to 9.7Mbits/sec

Sky (up to 20Mbits/sec): 7.0 to 8.6Mbits/sec

TalkTalk (up to 24Mbits/sec): 6.5 to 8.4Mbits/sec

BT (up to 20Mbits/sec): 6.1 to 7.6Mbits/sec

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