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Tracking superfast broadband adoption across UK regions
Tuesday 29 April 2014 11:11:58 by Andrew Ferguson

Providing a broadband service that ticks all the boxes but that no one wants to order would be a total waste of time and thus we feel it is important to keep tracking the results from our broadband speed checker so that we can see how the UK broadband landscape is changing over time.

thinkbroadband speed test results showing level of superfast coverage and take-up
        (click image for larger size

There is a school of thought that coverage for superfast services should not be counted until people have actually ordered and got the service installed, which is precisely what our speed test results can show. The data used to plot this regional analysis is based tests carried out from January 2014 to April 2014 and are an observed result rather than statistically derived figures that Ofcom use. We are using the stronger definition of superfast that the EU uses of 30 Mbps or faster.

While a speed test carried out by random Internet users has the potential to be skewed the large sample size involved and our averaging out of an individuals results to reduce the potential for someone running ten tests every day to skew a regional average is greatly reduced.

We are therefore confident that the figures shown here for the 12 UK regions reflect the reality on the ground in terms of what is actually available and what speed of service people have subsequently signed up to. Our speed test also includes a much larger set of providers than Ofcom monitors including fixed wireless and FTTH suppliers, for those UK providers we do not list the provider can simply get in touch with details of the IP allocation in CIDR notation.

We will look deeper into the speeds for smaller areas of the UK, including District Councils and Unitary Authorities over the next few weeks. While we record postcode data that in theory lets us identify individual streets we will not publish anything beyond a 5 digit postcode level (e.g. AB12 3) because to get anything statistically reasonable you would have to get almost all properties in each postcode to test their connection.

To give people an insight as to how much the situation varies across a region, the four districts with the highest proportion of superfast results (over 50%) are Lincoln (Median down 31.6 Mbps, up 2.8 Mbps), Rushmoor (33 Mbps, 2.9 Mbps), Ipswich (30.1 Mbps and 2.7 Mbps) and Mansfield (38 Mbps and 2.4 Mbps).

With the increasing roll-out by altnets and continuing increase in take-up of FTTC and speed upgrades from Virgin Media we hope to see better figures when we look at the results for May to July.

A small bit of speed test news, in addition to our flash based test that auto detects IPv4 or IPv6 for those with dual stack systems who want to force an IPv4 based test we have an alternative tester and for those who do not want to use flash, or are using a mobile or tablet there is the tester we have used for the 2014 ISPA Awards which uses the same infrastructure and is more than capable of handling any UK domestic broadband connection.


Posted by 21again over 2 years ago
> "We are therefore confident that the figures shown here for the 12 UK regions"
Scotland, Wales & NI aren't regions so your "regional" figures are only loosely of use to some extent when looking at SFB adoption across England where most of the money has been spent for SFB.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
The headline the nine English regions and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is less snappy.

More detailed breakdowns will appear in due course.
Posted by jumpmum over 2 years ago
It will be interesting to see the breakdown by authority, The Wales breakdown will give a good idea of take up of BDUK areas as some councils have had lots of rural areas enabled ( Gwynedd, Angelsey) whilst others have so far had none ( Powys, Pembrokeshire).So good controls on beofre and after.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Are there any interesting features if you split the figures into three: VM vs BTO vs ANO?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
When you say BTO do you mean BT Retail, or all providers who use openreach local loop?

ANO - any other probably going to be too small on its own
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Very much meant the Openreach access network, whether that be FTTC or FTTP.

What I wondered was whether the differences seen tended to follow the coverage of VM across regions, for example. Or if there was anything that started to show the effects of the BDUK rollout in the pilot areas. Or even if the closure of the digital region is being shown in reduced percentages.
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