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Timeline of broadband speeds across four nations
Saturday 08 November 2014 11:35:38 by Andrew Ferguson

While not everyone will have seen their broadband speeds improve in the last five years, the median download speed from our speed test which has recently been joined by a version that runs on tablets and mobiles shows how far things have come since 2009.

Animation of four UK nation download speeds since 2009

Download speeds are not everything and we have tracked improving upload speeds too. All four nations had a median 0.4 Mbps upload speed in 2009, but as of Q3 2014 England was 1.1 Mbps, Northern Ireland 1.6 Mbps, Scotland 0.9 Mbps and Wales 0.8 Mbps.

The variation within each nation is very large, for example the fastest local authority area is West Dunbartonshire with a median download 35 Mbps which contrasts with Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) that has a median of 2.5 Mbps. Wales that currently is not enjoying its bottom place in the speed race should see speeds improving particarly as Powys and Conwy have now started to see fibre based broadband available to order (estimated coverage of 16.8% in Powys and 6.9% in Conwy).


Posted by mike41 over 2 years ago
Another great job from TBB, best source of independent info I know. Well done and many thanks!
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
Thanks for that. Very good. You can certainly see the effects of the investment in Northern Ireland telecoms having gone from last place in 2009 to first in 2013. I would expect to see quite a lot of progress in Wales over that the same period.

What would be nice is a breakdown by BDUK areas. A lot of work of course, but it ought then be possible to see some of the impact, especially as they differ in the rollout schedules. (Although BDUK isn't the only factor of course, but it's disproportionately more important in rural areas).
Posted by otester over 2 years ago
Availability is what matters, not average speed.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
You mean like the figures we mentioned at the end of the article? Plus in a good many other items in the last few months
Posted by Saurus over 2 years ago
Still stuck on 2004 speeds here! hoping it might change before I die (BT site says its coming) but not going to hold my breath if the appalling length of time it took to get my line reconnected is anything to go by!
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
That shows how much of a digital divide is being created
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrews Staff
Is it possible for you to state what month this years 2014 that the results were calculated the median.
Posted by GMAN99 over 2 years ago
Digital divide, always makes me laugh

What is the answer to that then, do everywhere all at once, one big syncronised event?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Q3 2014 tells you it is the standard July/Aug/Sep 2014
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrew staff.
Thanks for you reply.
Posted by elegog over 2 years ago
Still stuck on 2.9mbs here in Kilgetty Pembs. ( Saundersfoot exchange)
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
@gman99 No the answer is to do the slowest first and let commercial pressure deal with the rest.
Posted by ahockings over 2 years ago
Still on 1.7Mbps here and I'm the local IT Guy.
My Cab is active but I'm 5.2Km from it.
Not a lot of hope for me really.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Elegog.
I hope you are on a Cab that may be open in Q4 see Sam Knows and are with BT ISP.
Posted by bobpearce over 2 years ago
Meanwhile, here in the middle of Hertfordshire, deep in the populated and soft south, we have no prospect of anything better than ADSL1.

Thank you BT for running rings around politicians with their subsidy schemes.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Having gaps is no surprise when the political ambition was 90% superfast.

10% of the around 27 million homes in the UK means 2.7 million missing out.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
The "inside out" rather than "outside in" approach of BDUK was dictated by the objectives set by politicians and predated the implementation.

Also, the "reward" system of BDUK is strongly related to the number of premises passed, and especially those capable of getting nominally "superfast" speeds.

Once the political objectives were set, then what follows is a logical consequence.
Posted by PhilCoates over 2 years ago
Which is why (as in Health) its vital NOT to let the Politicians dictate the objectives first. How this can be acheived is the problem.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrew Staff,
I think 90% above 24meg down is a very hight target and value for money with the rest 10% below 24 meg down.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago

But it is surely the core role of the political system to set key social objectives and priorities.

Now just how that political process works is, of course, relevant. In the UK that is done by a representational electoral system.

In the particular case of "inside out" or "inside in", there will be competing interest groups. A democratic system does not equate to a (perfect) egalitarian one.
Posted by dsf58 over 2 years ago
So if "The variation within each nation is very large", what exactly is the value of this map - except to a web-developer wanting to show off?

Possibly more to do with take-up of superfast bb in urban areas than any national differences?
Posted by PhilCoates over 2 years ago
I agree, The problem as I see it is that the relevant Departments often lack the core skills of that speciality. Its particularly the case in Health and may well be in the DCMS.
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
In this case they and the EU were too easily persuaded that only one of the two objectives needed to be pursued, that BT would not increase their commercial footprint in response to competition, and that they and the EU should decide the technology to be used rather than the aims.

The result is an expensive botched job.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@dsf58 The value is in providing an overview and with other maps to follow that will drill down to further detail. lets you see the more recent tests that make up the over result.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
I've no idea why you think the EU is involved in deciding the technology. In fact the EU's only role (apart from funding in some areas) is on state aid rules. Further, the state aid rules were around the framing of the tender.

The BDUK framework is also explicitly technology neutral. It just deals with requirements.

Now it's probably true that, given time, the commercial roll-out would have been extended to some locations covered by BDUK, but the politicians wanted the process accelerated.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Gerarda
If the EU decides the speed targets and the time scale this will then decide the technology on the FTTC and who is going to produce it. The customer will be pressured to take up the option by advertising EG Plusnet Infinity even it is not required.The money that has been used is just seeding this vast operation and keeping people in work.
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
@the eulerid the state aid rules defined a long term aim to use fibre.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
This is the European Commission paper on BDUK and state funding. Whilst it mentions fibre in several explanatory notes (such as fibre to nodes) an fibre to the home, nowhere does it mandate fibre to any were. It's mentioned as examples and potential solutions.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
In any case, it's a moot point as fibre is always going to play some role in an NGA, whether the final part of the journey is fibre, coax, copper pair or even wireless (as satellite is a non-starter).
I can't find anywhere FTTP is specified as the definitive final solution as far as the EU and state aid rules are concerned.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watckers
I still feel that Openreach each day is providing a service to Customers as each Cab is open it is up to these punters to take up the options (fibre copper). The EU rules are open to interpretation and BT has taken advantage of this and charged over the top by 20%
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
I would refer my learned friend to paragraph 42 of the aforementioned document.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
Para 42 does not state fibre is preferred as such, it's about exampled of what is considered to be the "step change" to meet that qualifying criterion.

The bit about upgrading to "fibre components" refers to "alternative solutions" such as wireless. Note, that's "components" and not necessarily FTTP, so might include FTrN.

So these are illustrative examples rather than a dictat of the solution.
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
clause iii) has been taken as a dictat
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