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Ofcom confirms 3.6 meg average broadband speed
Thursday 08 January 2009 10:53:50 by Sebastien Lahtinen

Ofcom have today released a report with some conclusions based on the first month of data collected from its research in October/November last year. This shows the average consumer broadband download speed is 3.6 Mbps, confirming our own regional broadband statistics released in December based on around 36,000 unique test sites.

The speed research by Ofcom are based on a sample of 1,500 broadband lines and also present interesting statistics indicating that the slowest speeds are on Sunday evenings from 5pm to 6pm. In general, speeds begin to fall from 10am  and particularly after 3pm before starting to increase during the late evening.

What is particularly interesting is that Ofcom has looked not only at speeds, but user perceptions of speeds and the reasons for speed variations. Of those questioned, 93% were 'satisfied' with their experience of web browsing, whilst only 67% of those who download TV programmes were satisfied, suggesting those who use the Internet more intensively are still demanding better services. Interestingly, between 12-24% of users appear to be 'extremely satisfied' with those more likely to be extremely satisfies being on products higher than '8 meg'.

Main reason for dissatisfaction with ISP
Speed of connection 30%
Connection is unreliable 27%
Charges generally too expensive 14%
Customer service unhelpful 6%
Tech support could not help 6%
Customer service hard to reach 2%
Tech support hard to reach 2%

When asked about the factors that may impact on their broadband speeds, only 26% understood that the quality of the cable in your home (i.e. telephone extension wiring) could have a high impact on your broadband speeds, with 35% believing this would have a low impact--Obviously this applies to ADSL based broadband services rather than Virgin Media cable broadband, so it's difficult to make firm conclusions, but it is nevertheless clear that users are often confused about the reasons why broadband speeds can vary. We will be tackling some of these problems in the first quarter of 2009. The most common cited reason of 'how near you live to [the telephone] exchange' is of course a critical one for ADSL users and is something users cannot influence without moving.

The regional analysis shows London at the top with an average speed of 3.9 Mbps with Wales and Scotland at the bottom end at 3.3 Mbps; Our own research indicates higher speeds London, although this may be affected by what is defined as 'London'. We also show significant differences in Northern Ireland statistics, although the Ofcom research does highlight the small sample size of less than 100 test locations in Northern Ireland, North East and East Midlands.

Research on speeds is very important to inform the national broadband debate. The report published today however, does not provide any insight into which service providers are performing well so does not serve to assist users in making decisions on what broadband service is right for them. Also, with the sample sizes in question, caution is advised over the regional breakdowns.

As always, you can test the speed of your own connection using our broadband speed test and continuously monitor your bandwidth utilisation with our free bandwidth monitoring tool.

Comments

Posted by c_j_ over 5 years ago
Nice original work here on real-world ISP performance, from Sam (and the team?) @ Samknows, "without whom none of this would have been possible" (etc). How did he manage to persuade Ofcon to actually do something vaguely useful/relevant? Otoh, Sam's raw data does include per-ISP info so the decision to not publish per-ISP/tariff data is a bit disappointing.

http://www.samknows.com/broadband/news/samknows-the-real-state-of-the-uks-broadband-market-482.html
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
Funny how independant sites knew the average speed long ago and ofcom have been living under a rock..... AS USUAL
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
problem is, I'll bet this is 'headline speed'... so all the 10 and 20 M ones will raise the average...
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
it isn't headline speed, try reading it. It's the average actual download speed.

"independant sites knew the average speed long ago" - but only from less reliable speed testers like the BBC one which gave erroneous answers. The samknows system is user and OS independent.

The interesting thing to me was that the average download speed was 85% of the maximum measured. I expected less.
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
I'm sick of hearing about average speed. I, along with many, many others are paying for 8 Mbps and getting under 1 Mbps. We can't all live next to damned exchange. 'Average' by the very meaning of the word, means there are a hell of a lot of people paying for something they are not getting.

Perhaps there is a case to be made for paying only for the 'Average' speed we get. Imagine if, Mail order firms were to operate on the principal of saying, 'Well, we sent 8 parcel out. You say you've only got 1. Well the average is 3.3'.
Posted by KarlAustin over 5 years ago
You're not paying for 8Mbit/s though are you? You're paying for "up to 8Mbit/s" - If your ISP sold it to you based on being able to get 8Mbit/s then you have grounds for complaint. If it was sold to you on an "up to 8Mbit/s" basis, then you don't really have grounds to complain, because that's what you're getting - Annoying as that may be.
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
herdwick: no matter.. low speeds wont affect it that much - theres plenty of 10 & 20 M ones to keep it up... all carp, as the last to posts say...
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Averages are a good way to measure what people are getting on a wider scale, although medians and quartiles provide even better data on the spread - this is why we provide graphs where possible so users can see how many people in an area or ISP get a particular speed.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
The problem of 'up to' is both a marketing and technical one; The Ofcom speeds CoP will hopefully change ISP attitudes on how to deal with things.. In the end as an ISP if you say anything less than 'up to 8 meg' people will think you're worse than those who say 'up to 8 meg' even though the service you're offering is EXACTLY the same.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
"theres plenty of 10 & 20 M ones to keep it up" - were you to read it you would know better....

"Consumers on the most popular
broadband headline speed package (‘up to’ 8Mbit/s) received an average actual
throughput speed of 3.6Mbit/s (45% of headline speed), and they had an average
maximum line speed of 4.5Mbit/s (56% of headline speed)"

Also of the data set only 9% are on "over 8M" packages.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
also....... "one in five people on an ‘up to’
8Mbit/s package receive an average speed of less than 2Mbit/s"

"up to" isn't a problem, it is morons that are the problem. It is a service that will go as fast as it can on your line up to 8M - how hard is that to understand ? You aren't buying spuds by the kg so you aren't "paying for 8M" you're paying for a service with a clearly defined spec.
Posted by NetGuy over 5 years ago
expressman33 - the "Light User Scheme" has been/is being replaced and will in future only include those who are on state pension or state benefits, perhaps because of some degree of misuse (someone with a PAYG mobile would be ineligible but BT would have to prove they had a phone - difficult as you can buy a cheap handset in Argos).

Given the many exclusions on most BT 'deals' they're very unlikely to be included.
Posted by NetGuy over 5 years ago
(sorry guys (shame there's no way to zap a post... above was response for another news story thread)
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
NetGuy: try a proper forum like DigSpy....

herdwick: 'upto' is only a device to stop them being sued... problem is 'morons' make up 80% of the users, who just blindly moan...

Just like spuds, you NEVER get EXACTLY 1 Kg.. it is priced per gram, and the price adjusted for the actual weight.. IF you had to pay the SAME 1.0 Kg price, even if it was 0.80, or 0.95 Kg, there would soon be uproar!!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
Comnut im sorry herdwick is correct, i for example can push my line and get well over 18Mb, my figure though is not going to affect a stat which is AVERAGE speed... Its called average for a reason, theres still plenty of people that get 512k or 1Mb... Its an overal picture of what people in the UK get and the 3.6Mb figure is an average based on thousands of people. UPTO is not anything to do with being sued either, infact Virgin Media who you are with i think you will find also quote "UPTO"
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
If idiots after all these years cant comprehend what UPTO means thats their mental problem.

A porsche may have a quoted top speed of 200Mph you wouldnt (atleast i hope you wouldnt) expect it to do that if the road conditions were not in its favour though.... For example Driving up a steep hill. Why some people still think they are paying for 8Mb and not UPTO 8Mb i cant even begin to comprehend or understand their selective thought process.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
Not even i in this instance if you look at things in a technical ability standard can beehatch at BT. If the average is 3.6Mb out of a possible maximum of 8Mb that isnt that bad for an AVERAGE... Once you take into account line overheads and other things that 3.6Mb is probably around or just over 50% of its potential maximum, which for an average isnt that bad... Obviously could be better but it could had been a heck of alot worse also.
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
True, true..... But we are dealing with one of the most inexact sciences... Until we can download their full data, it will remain so...

but its far too late, the idiots are making it worse for all of us....
Posted by hminney over 5 years ago
All this argie bargie. I live 1.5 miles (walking) from the digitally enabled exchange and I get (last 4 weeks) between 472 and 221 over the last 4 weeks (BT internet). Why? They say that "as the line goes, i live more than 5 miles from the exchange" - where the **** does the line go then? Complaint in the post
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
So that's it then. I'm an 'idiot' for forgetting to put 'up to' in front of 8 Mbps, in my posting a day ago. Come on people, why the insults? None of us are perfect! Perhaps those that imagine they are, ought to get out a bit more and experience the real world.
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
The reason for my earlier posting, is the frustration of continually hearing from the industry about 20, 50, even 200 meg services, and what a brave new world is waiting just around the corner. The realty, for a hell of a lot of us, is that our speed is dropping through the floor, while we are still expected to pay the same, for a reduced, sometimes non existent service.
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
Wouldn't it be refreshing, if our wonderful TV, Radio and print media - who seem to think that journalism is rehashing industry press releases, - got off their backsides and stopped ignoring the fact, that a good proportion of users, connections are so bad, we have trouble using our connection for e-mail at certain times of the day, let alone the ability to watch catch-up TV, etc.
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
Jayare: dont take it personally!! :) It is the industry and salesmen, and other blind believers, that we are arguing about!!
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
use
http://www.samknows.com/broadband/mapping/mapping.php
to find the distance, and make proper case...

As for the insults, it is not worth worrying about those 'single Grey cells with big mouths' ... :D
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
"brave new world" ?? yes, I heard that back in 98!! :/ - new estates gleefully put in fibre optic, to be told a few years later that it 'was not compatible' by BT!! >:(
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
and yes, while the big important places have it good , the smaller one get ignored for upgrades for decades..

And dont credit journalists for anything other than stirring up scandal.. no matter how untrue itis..
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
As I said to netguy - there are far better places to chat....
Posted by kensingleton over 5 years ago
I am with BT and I am lucky if my speed reaches 1.9meg so someone is getting a much faster speed than me.11
Posted by madreddog over 5 years ago
I live in the area covered by Yorks & Humber where the average appears to be 3.5Mbps ish yet they've only recently achieved a very shakey 2Mbps in my village.
I could actually live with a 2Mbps connection and be quite happy, as long as it stayed on! I'm convinced my ISP is desperately trying to improve my connection speed but we appear to be sacrificing reliability in the process.
How come NASA can manage to maintain a live video communication link with the astronauts in the Space Station yet BT can't even manage to maintain two strands of copper wire much further than I can spit?!


Posted by XRaySpeX over 5 years ago
On the 'Up to 8 Meg' front, in a County Court judgement recently the judge found that this was an unreasonable contract term as it implied that the supplier could provide a speed of ZERO. Therefore the customer won his case. :-)
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
I think you can argue zero is that the service is not fit for the purpose it was sold - As for 1 Mbps arguably it's still "broadband". Also CCJs don't set precedents so be careful.
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
Many thanks 'comnut' for the link to samknows.com. It's certainly nice to see an constructive posting. I'm even more frustrated now, as I see that I am right on the edge (3009m) of the area covered by the exchange that serves me, yet the area is also overlapped and covered by another exchange which is much closer.
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
I am with Demon thru BT, but notice that the are three unbundedled options at my exchange. Anybody any thoughts if an unbundled option might be better speedwise? Mind you, as they are Sky, TalkTalk and AOL, they are hardly attractive options.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 5 years ago
Sky's not bad, but you need to take a TV/Broadband package which is more expensive than a simple broadband service.
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
well actually Talk Talk's reputation is getting better and better..... still worth a check...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
quote"On the 'Up to 8 Meg' front, in a County Court judgement recently the judge found that this was an unreasonable contract term as it implied that the supplier could provide a speed of ZERO. Therefore the customer won his case. :-)"

The judge obviously had no clue then as the case should had been decided based on what the customer was actually being supplied rather than what "could" be supplied... Whingers that live in the middle of nowhere and get say 1Mb have no right to complain, if thats all the current infrastructure can support theres nothing BT can do. (CONT)....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
Oh and dont use the old they could had told me id only get 1Mb whine, you damn well know it reading sites like this and living in the wilderness. Even when fibre comes along speeds will still vary, if we imagine for a second BTs fibre service runs at upto 20Mb to people and someone in town gets the full 20Mb its unlikely STILL those in the middle of nowhere will get the same 20Mb, you may only get 10Mb, even only 5Mb. CONT
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
Im not a big fan of BT but im sorry the attitude from some that live miles from a modern exchange is idiotic, UNIVERSAL ONE SPEED FOR ALL is never going to happen country wide when it comes to high speeds, its basically impossible. ID even defend BT in this case, what the hell do you village whingers expect them to do.... Move your house next to the exchange? Honestly BT do need a good slagging now and again but not over things like this, nowhere in the world gets universal high broadband speed it varies for everyone from where you live to line quality etc, wake the heck up and get used to it
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
Carpetburn, is your second name Thatcher? The 'I'm alright Jack' attitude is OK if you're not the one affected. I'm lucky enough to live on high ground, but it doesn't stop me feeling very sorry for the poor sods who get flooded. And it still makes me mad as hell, when the 'powers that be' continue to allow building on flood plains.
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
Some while back, my ISP, made a great play of the fact that for the same money they where 'upgrading' me from 'up to' 2 meg to 'up to' 8 meg. What they weren't so quick to say, was that the contention ratio had been scrapped. So from that point, speed and reliability of connection gradually degraded to the point where I even have to choose when to send an e-mail. But they're still taking the same amount of money.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
quote"Carpetburn, is your second name Thatcher? The 'I'm alright Jack' attitude is OK if you're not the one affected."

Its nothing to do with an im alright jack attitude, simpletons just cant comprehend long bit of wire between you and the equipment that provides your broadband equals slower speed... Its that bloody simple
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
quote"Some while back, my ISP, made a great play of the fact that for the same money they where 'upgrading' me from 'up to' 2 meg to 'up to' 8 meg. What they weren't so quick to say, was that the contention ratio had been scrapped."
Maybe you should read tech specs of certain packages in future first... ID also repeat, unless you are near to the exchange you wouldnt get 8Mb anyway, its called UP TO for a reason, i dunno what you mean about contention being scrapped no contention would equal better service
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
Carpetburn. I do apologise to you for my lowly intelligence, oh great and masterful, all knowing, all seeing, centre of the universe. For the life of me, I cannot understand your aggression. Are you sure you're OK?

I was under the (obviously misguided) impression that the contention ration was originally set at 50. Being that the more people online, the slower the service. It would be very interesting to hear a more technical explanation. Even though, as an idiot and now a simpleton, I may not be able to understand it.
Posted by Jayare over 5 years ago
Sorry that should have read contention 'ratio', not 'ration'. Even though rationing, is what it feels like.
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
Jayare: you know how to use www.google.com ???
Posted by comnut over 5 years ago
madreddog: NASA is American, use hundreds of $$$ to ensure safety of the employees of their company - The general public AFAIK cannot 'use' it in any way... unless you mean visit the museum..

USA phones may be just as bad....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
quote"I was under the (obviously misguided) impression that the contention ration was originally set at 50."

50:1 is considered a default contention ratio (though strictly for MAX products thats wrong for reasons too long to go into).

Your previous post states and i quote "...the contention ratio had been scrapped" If contention ratio had been "scrapped" that would mean you have a 1:1 contention and a better line which obviously you have not, hence my advice to read tech specs of packages in future.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
quote"USA phones may be just as bad.... "

Indeed you are correct comnut, some areas of the USA can not have a ADSL service over a PHONE line at all, those that can the speeds on an average are probably similar to the UK.

What the USA does have though is serveral cable companies in various areas which offer a broader range of choices to tariffs and speeds than we do in the UK.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
I didnt want to use the well known term "village idiot" but it seems some here cant comprehend why a service is called UP TO and why the longer the cable run the lower the speed you get, why they cant compreehend it only god himself knows.

The average speed of 3.6Mb is not that bad for the UK especially when you consider the dreadful speeds some areas get.... Maybe the same "village idiots" dont understand what "AVERAGE" means either and in their world everything should revolve around their tiny pub and post office.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
Im obviously going to get attacked by them now, i wont blame them though. Suddenly i sound like a BT supporter like many of this site are, which i certainly (as regs know) am not. I do have the sense to know when BT do something good and when they do something bad and that 3.6Mb average is far from poor if you understand some of the remote areas that get broadband in the UK (even if its just 512k).
Posted by manorman over 5 years ago
malcolm i have b/b provided by talktalk, not too bad, but as i am on the outer limits of the exchange area, my present speed is only 0.6mbps, i do not call that any were near 3.5mbps. i am also only 0.9 miles away from another exchange but my cable does not go through that exchange, ex bt worker 33 years
Posted by CARPETBURN over 5 years ago
^^ another what doesnt understand what "Average" means :sigh:
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