Andrew, I have been on 1.2Mb ADSL for years so know what it's like.
When FTTC was first available to me it was estimated as 4 to 5Mb, I guessed 4 would be probably max so would be paying at that time around four times the cost for three times the speed, I didn't like the figures. After 6 months the estimates changed to 7 to 11Mb, when I queried this I was told the revised figures came about due to experience on lines in the area, having used 7Mb ADSL connections I thought "that will do me".
Now I find the original 4Mb was closer to the mark, and the local OR engineer who knows these lines like the back of his hand confirms he would not expect anything faster.
As in my OP, big files defiantly download faster, BUT, for general web browsing I would say it's slower! This appears to be due to the amount of errors and establishing a link to any page (if thats the right term), I mostly use an old laptop and I was beginning to think it was on it's last legs as I would click on links and nothing would happen, or there would be a long delay, then gf started to complain as she was getting same problem on her much newer laptop, I now believe it is a symptom of being on the edge of usable VDSL.
This leaves me in the situation of 75% of my internet use being as slow or slower than ADSL at a greater cost. The only real 'hardship' will be once a week or fortnight when I watch a program on iPlayer, will have to download it to laptop and then connect to tv, instead of watching immediately on tv, well I can live with that.