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UK Broadband download and upload speeds
Friday 09 August 2013 11:52:22 by Andrew Ferguson

It is some four months since we looked at the speeds across the UK regions that our speed test is producing, and with Ofcom announcing an improved UK average speed this week from its own much smaller footprint of test locations we decided to crunch the figures and show everyone not just the mean and median but give you some idea of the range of download and upload speeds across the regions and for some 118 postcode areas from Kirkwall in the Highlands & Islands to Truro in the South West.

Download speeds across UK regions using thinkbroadband speed test
(click image for larger version)

Rather than publish just the average download speed (which we calculated for the UK was 15.4 Mbps) we have ordered our charts by decreasing median speed, as the median speed should give a better indication of the overall experience in an area. The fact that the mean speeds are significantly higher in almost all cases points to the influence that those who are getting speeds of 80 Mbps, 120 Mbps and in some cases 800 Mbps can have when looking at the wider picture. Those addicted to speed tests should not unduly influence the results, as for an individual postcode (e.g. AB1 2CD) we aggregate their results. so a user with 300 tests does not skew the graphs. The inclusion of range bars which show the speed for the slowest and fastest 25% also shows the wide range of results.

Northern Ireland is probably not the first choice for the fastest region in the UK, but it has been investing in FTTC based broadband for some time, and thus is miles ahead of Scotland and Wales. Download speeds are just part of the picture, we also have graphed the upload speeds and the difference between mean and median is more marked, reflecting the fact that FTTC based products can give upload speeds in the 15 to 19 Mbps region.

Download speeds across UK postcode groups
(click image for larger version)

We have drilled down deeper into the data to provide a good/bad postcode area chart for some 118 postcode areas. The SM (Sutton) postcode illustrates the vast range of speeds people actually get, as while 25% of the postcodes are faster than 34 Mbps, there are still 25% slower than 7 Mbps, Sutton as a London Borough enjoys good coverage Virgin Media cable and Openreach FTTC based services, most importantly people appear to be buying the services too.

Upload speeds across UK postcode groups
(click image for larger version)

The graph showing the upload speeds across the postcode areas is probably the most interesting graph and may prove the best indicator of how the commercial and BDUK improvements to the UK broadband landscape are progressing. The slowest postcode areas (with enough data to appear on the chart) all seem to be struggling with around half a Meg of capacity for uploading content to the Internet, the bulk of the UK appears to be enjoying ADSL2+ type upload speeds around 1 Mbps, but where superfast is available and people are buying it in decent numbers the median starts to rapidly rise.

So while the UK is still showing people getting slow speeds, consider how far the UK has come since 2003, when the average download speed was around the 0.4 Mbps mark.

For those not aware, the UK has just 121 geographic postcode areas, the few that are missing were left out because we require at least 30 unique postcodes to feature results to consider including the main postcode group.


Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
I'm not understanding the last graph - why are many of the means outside the range bars ?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Because of the big difference in upload speeds between the ADSL products and FTTC.

So shows that the number getting really high speeds is actually fairly small.

Virgin cable has a lower upstream than FTTC too.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
aha, so the means are at the top end of the top 25%. Got it - 10% at 14M and 90% at 1M gives a mean of 2.3.
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
Pedantic, but Kirkwall is Orkney (Islands, not Highlands).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Highlands and Islands to be correct, have added Islands to keep people happy.

Only KW15,16,17 are Orkney, the others are mainland.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 4 years ago
It would be nice if the graphs could also show more about what is happening to connections in the 0-3000kbps range. i.e. how much progress is being made to achieve the 2mbps for all target.
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
"how much progress is being made to achieve the 2mbps for all target"

Michael - firstly we have established that the '2 for all' was political hyperbole and it is now 'nearly all'
Secondly, I doubt anything has yet been done since I assume it will be the BDUK roll-out that will try to improve these speeds, and I don't think we are far enough through that yet.
Posted by pshjs over 4 years ago
Still suffering with average 400-450kbps download speeds here in the South, AGAIN made a lot of noise to both isp Virgin and phone line owner BT, and FINALLY they have admitted we should get a minimum of 750kbps so OpenReach will check out the line to our property on Thursday. After 10 years of suffering in the Wiltshire-Bath area we finally managed to have this looked at in detail...
Still not good for business :(
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
Results are still skewed by lumping ADSL and Fibre/Virgin together. We need TWO sets of data, one for ADSL services and one for fibre/coax services. Only then will we see what is actually happening and how rural areas are still left way behind, despite promises. It would be an interesting exercise to compare results in an urban area with those in a purely rural area where many exchanges are not yet 21CN equipped and no date given for that.
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