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UK average broadband speed rises to 12 Mbps
Thursday 14 March 2013 11:31:49 by Andrew Ferguson

In a world where bad news travels fast, it is nice to have some good news and that is that as more people gain access to superfast broadband services, more people are buying them and this is having an impact on the average speed of broadband across the UK. Ofcom in its latest broadband performance round-up is showing that in the six months to November 2012 the average has risen from 9 Mbps to 12 Mbps.

UK Average Broadband Speeds Over Time
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The difference in speeds between the up to 30 Mbps products and those that are sold as faster than this is very striking. What is of particular importance for those in areas outside the roughly two thirds of the UK which has a choice of one or more superfast service is that the ADSL and ADSL2+ products are not changing in speed. You could draw the conclusion from the data that speeds on the slower products are getting worse, but this is largely attributed to the demographics of those left on the slower services, i.e. those on long telephone lines and rural areas.

UK Broadband Speeds by Technology
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The battle between the technologies continues and with Virgin Media forming the sole cable provider in the testing, and Sky and TalkTalk's Fibre products not figuring in this round of testing, this chart is a comparison of BT Retail versus Virgin Media.

"2.16 The proportion of BT FTTC panellists receiving more than 90% of their maximum speed at peak times was 91% for BT’s ‘up to’ 38Mbit/s service and 88% for its ‘up to’ 76Mbit/s service, while among the three superfast Virgin Media cable services included in the analysis the figure was 70% for Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 60Mbit/s service, 48% for its ‘up to’ 100Mbit/s services, and 35% for its ‘up to’ 30Mbit/s service. This suggests that while there was relatively little congestion in BT’s FTTC network in November 2012, levels of contention were higher in Virgin Media’s cable network during the period."

Extract from Ofcom UK broadband speeds report - November 2012

Some of this, as Ofcom notes, is attributed to variations in traffic management policies applied by providers, and while it makes the Virgin Media 100 Mbps service look bad, at peak times Ofcom states it has a speed range of 86.1 Mbps to 91.8 Mbps. The closest BT product measured was the FTTC 80/20 service which for the same times recorded 60.4 Mbps to 64.5 Mbps.

It is nice to report some positive progress on the UK broadband landscape, as the normal tendency is that everything is bad. With Sky and TalkTalk superfast services now appearing on our own speed test data we look forward to Ofcom expanding its measurement to widen the data set and help break the illusion that superfast services are only available from BT Infinity and Virgin Media.

Comments

Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Andrew, a link to the last national speed averages would allow a comparison of how we are progressing vs other countries.
Posted by greenglide over 4 years ago
And my SamKnows whitebox contributed to this #smug
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Difficult to compare directly, due to the weighting that Ofcom uses in the results, so unless we know that precisely the same methodology is used then difficult to compare directly.

Hence why when its people like Akamai we cover it, as they are similar methodolgy across the countries.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
"You could draw the conclusion from the data that speeds on the slower products are getting worse..."

And therefore that the speeds on the faster services are getting better.

"...but this is largely attributed to the demographics of those left on the slower services"

And therefore the better figures are due to the deomgrpahic of the people being on faster services were the ones with faste services in the first place.

No aurprise in these figures, it just proves that superfast services have been concentrated on the areas already well served.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Not true, my village had pants speeds (1.5-2.5Mbps at best) and no chance whatsoever of VM. BT included our village in the FTTC rollout and we're about 5-6k from the exchange. Plenty of other villages have been included in the standard BT roll-out too, that aren't close to exchanges.
Posted by 21again over 4 years ago
I suppose that depends on what size of community you class as a village, how many premises (residential & non-residential) are served by your exchange and the other plenty villages' exchanges?
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
The village is ~300 households, pretty much all residential apart from a pub, a hotel and a garage.

The exchange itself is the Cowley exchange SMCO, which is itself big. However, we were "not well served" and why should BT upgrade a village that happened to be connected to a big exchange? Which is what csimon and other have alluded to, that only where there is an economic (competition) benefit to BT have they upgraded. We were stuck with full copper with no alternative, so they had didn't need to but they did.
Posted by greenglide over 4 years ago
>>Which is what csimon and other have alluded to, that only where there is an economic (competition) benefit to BT have they upgraded<<

But a village with several hundred potential customers could be economically viable if all the potential customers for FTTC are on one CAB!

Presence of VM (which would generally not be around for a small village) changes the dynamics as many of the VM customers are liable not to move reducing the potential customer base.
Posted by Alchemyfire over 4 years ago
themanstan, if it makes you feel any better, my exchange hasn't been covered either, and its in my village with +1000 residents and +200 business lines
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Economic viability and benefit are 2 very different things. Viability means that there will be a ROI, benefit means that not ROI but that market share will increase.

If BT has a captive market does it need to upgrade?

Alchemyfire, I'm not complaining about not being upgraded, we were. I am moaning about the moaners who say that BT don't upgrade slow areas, like satellite villages with no VM(even if fed from a big exchange).
Posted by Alchemyfire over 4 years ago
themanstan, my complaint is that we are connected to a market 1 exchange, with more connections both residential and business than a few other exchanges in neighbouring villages which have been upgraded already, yet BT can't seem to make up their mind as to what they are doing with ours.
Posted by Alchemyfire over 4 years ago
Cont... We did eventually make it onto BT's upgrade list in December, but since January, have disappeared off the list completely again. Trying to get any information out of BT as to why has left me more frustrated at the end of everyday.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Available broadband speed would be a better measurement.
Posted by williamtulloch over 4 years ago
I believe all these statistics tend to omit the numbers that get zero speed as they can't connect to the internet to report the speed.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
Average speeds are as meaningless as average salaries - a few bankers on several million a year makes nonsense of the real world that the resyt of us live in.
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
What pray defines a "BT FTTC panellist" and do you need to be within a certain distance of a cabinet to become one?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Panellist means someone with a SamKnows box. So would be referring to one of the 229 FTTC testers involved in producing the UK average and ISP numbers.

With 12 UK regions, it is not many per region, let alone per County.
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
AAh! Are they really representative of FTTC customers do we think?
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
Once again, misleading information. The 'slower' ranges all appear to be based on the xDSL services whereas the 'faster' range are ALL fibre or coax services so they cannot be compared to each other. That the 'average' is worked out across all services makes it totally meaningless as it fails to show if there are any improvements for xDSL customers whilst there is a mathematical bias caused by the naturally much faster fibre/coax services.
So once again pretty useless really!
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
To otester.
But 'Available Broadband speeds' are not what the copper line or fibre connection can deliver but what the exchange equipment is set to provide - totally different concept! My ADSL line is said by BT to be capable of "up to 2 Mbps" but actually delivers 3.7 Mbps reliably. We need fact and not fiction biased by marketing
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@michaels_perry Am sure BT could fix that and limit your speed to the database estimate, surely you should be happy that you can perform better than they estimate from some cursory estimates.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Also Ofcom in theory uses weighting to extrapolate the real picture of speeds, i.e. the average is NOT just the plain average speed for the 1200 locations used in the testing.
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