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Average broadband speeds rise, but don't go wireless just yet

Average broadband speeds to homes are more than twice as fast as average mobile broadband speeds, according to broadband comparison website Broadband Expert.

Broadband Expert clocked the average fixed line broadband speed at 3.61Mbps based on 308,584 fixed-line broadband speed tests compared to 1.57Mbps for mobile broadband based on 5,345 tests.

The gap between fixed and mobile has grown in the past year andfixed broadband services are now quicker, it said.

Theaverage fixed broadband speed was now 0.66Mbps faster than in February 2008 when the average fixed speed was 2.95Mbps. Average mobile broadband speeds have increased in speed by just 0.1Mbs in the same time.

Broadband expert's technical director William Harvey said broadband providers were generally phasing out slower services. Many entry level packages start at "up to 8Mb", and some are upgrading customers on slower services free of charge, he said.

Harvey said, "Mobile broadband is capable of speeds up to 7.2Mbps in areas with 3G coverage. However, where there is no 3G coverage, mobile broadband services rely on the much slower 2G network. This means the area in which you use your mobile broadband connection can have a huge impact on the speeds you get".

Rob Adlewhite, a Broadband Expert director, said now is not the time to get rid of the home phone line. He noted that BT will spend £1.5bn on fibre-based broadband services capable of speeds of up to 100Mbps and Virgin Media aims to make its 50Mbps service available to nine million UK homes by the end of 2008.

"The mobile network operators are also investing in higher speed networks," he said, "but they may have to lift price and volume restrictions on traffic before they can persuade home owners to get rid of their fixed wire phones."

Mobile providers are increasing 3G coverage, however. Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), a joint venture between T-mobile and 3 UK, plans to offer near complete 3G coverage to the UK by 2010.


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