According to Akamai’s Q3 2015 rankings, the average downlink Internet speed in the United Kingdom is 13 Mbps and the average uplink speed is 7.5 Mbps.

Population & Internet Availability

The current population of the United Kingdom is approximately 65.64 million. Over 80% of residents currently have access to the Internet, especially broadband connections.

Main Types of Access to the Internet

UK residents can access the following types of Internet services:

– Dial-up Internet (obsolete – rarely used)
– Cable
– Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
– Wireless Broadband (notably satellite and radio-based connections)

Internet Access – Dial-up Internet

Dial-up Internet was introduced in the UK in early 1992, by now-defunct Pipex. This narrowband service has now been almost completely replaced by new broadband technologies, and it is estimated that less than 10% of the population use this service nowadays, mostly as backup.

Internet Access – Cable Internet

Cable Internet is a very popular service in the UK. Cable broadband uses either coaxial lines or fiber-optic lines. It is provided by Virgin Media, and maximum speeds can go up to as high as 300 Mbps.

Internet Access – ADSL

Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) was introduced in trial stages in 1998, and by 2000 it was launched as a commercial product. It should be noted that, in the UK, most exchanges, local loops and backhauls are owned and operated by BT Wholesale, a company which wholesales connectivity via Internet Service Providers. As of October 2012, BT Wholesale owns approximately 5700 exchanges.

Wireless Broadband

Wireless broadband services are scarcely being used in the UK, thanks to the fact that most residents have unconditioned access to the Internet, owing to the large technical infrastructure that reaches to them. These alternative delivery models are often deployed in areas that are physically and/or commercially unreachable by standard methods (e.g. in the countryside).

Internet Censorship in the United Kingdom

Internet subscribers in the United Kingdom are widely known to be prohibited from accessing a wide range of websites by default, due to the fact that their Internet access is filtered by diverse Internet Service Providers. The current legal status of “ISP web blocking” is voluntary. By voluntary it should be understood that all ISPs agree on a code of practice which determines which websites are banned and which are not. This means that, in theory, customers can opt out of the ISP filtering to gain access to the blocked content. However, the actual process is much more complicated than it seems, and this deters customers from going forward with it.

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