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How fast is your broadband provider?
Monday 10 November 2014 10:35:52 by Andrew Ferguson

Some years ago we used to publish a speed top 10 for broadband providers when the main consumer service available was a 0.5 Mbps service, things have changed considerably in the intervening few years and now direct comparisons are much more difficult. We plan to publish a monthly dataset of two sets of providers, those with the largest sample sizes and then the medium sized using the results from our speed testers.

Of course an aggregate speed across all the products a provider sells does not tell you whether FTTC from BT Consumer is faster than say Sky, but we are planning to do direct technology comparisons for the larger providers too. The value in publishing this set of tables is that it puts information out into the public domain that we have had for a long time, but have been lax in processing and releasing.

Broadband Speeds October 2014 - Large Providers
Provider Median Download Upper Quartile Download (*) Median Upload Upper Quartile Upload (*)
Virgin Media 33.3 Mbps 57.4 Mbps 3 Mbps 6.1 Mbps
BT Consumer 12.9 Mbps 33.5 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 8.4 Mbps
PlusNet 10.2 Mbps 31.3 Mbps 0.9 Mbps 8.7 Mbps
Sky 8.2 Mbps 16.1 Mbps 0.9 Mbps 1.1 Mbps
TalkTalk 6.5 Mbps 12.9 Mbps 0.7 Mbps 0.8 Mbps
EE 6.3 Mbps 13.1 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 1.0 Mbps
AOL 6.1 Mbps 13.4 Mbps 0.7 Mbps 0.8 Mbps

* For those who have forgotten their stats courses, the Upper Quartile figures refer to the speed that the top 25% of people have been observed to achieve.

Broadband Speeds October 2014 - Other Providers
Provider Median Download Upper Quartile Download (*) Median Upload Upper Quartile Upload (*)
Hyperoptic 64.8 Mbps 108.2 Mbps 55.5 Mbps 112.7 Mbps
Relish 15.4 Mbps 23.9 Mbps 2.5 Mbps 5.0 Mbps
Zen Internet 12.8 Mbps 37.4 Mbps 1.0 Mbps 9.7 Mbps
KC (Hull Area) 9.8 Mbps 14.1 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 0.9 Mbps
EE/Orange Mobile 8.4 Mbps 18.8 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 4.4 Mbps
IDNet 6.4 Mbps 33.6 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 6.3 Mbps
Demon 5.4 Mbps 9.9 Mbps 0.7 Mbps 0.8 Mbps
Vodafone Mobile 4.0 Mbps 9.8 Mbps 0.9 Mbps 1.9 Mbps
Post Office 3.9 Mbps 6 Mbps 0.4 Mbps 0.4 Mbps
T-Mobile 3.8 Mbps 13.7 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 2.0 Mbps
O2 Mobile 3.4 Mbps 7.2 Mbps 0.9 Mbps 1.3 Mbps
Three 3.1 Mbps 7.1 Mbps 1.1 Mbps 1.7 Mbps

The upper quartile speeds have been included as they are a great indicator of whether there is take-up of the faster services that the various providers are selling. It is clear that with BT, PlusNet, Zen and IDNet FTTC based services are popular as evidenced by the very high quartile upload speeds. While the FTTC roll-out both commercial and gap funded has had its critics the quartile and upload results show the step change that cabinet based services can provide. Sky and TalkTalk do sell the fibre based services but as evidenced by Openreach financial figures the volumes sold is too low to have a significant effect on the providers speeds, our data shows that the top 10% of Sky speed tests is similar to the quartile speed of BT Consumer.

Virgin Media leading the table of the larger providers is no surprise, but their speeds are eclipsed by Hyperoptic who utilise FTTH/FTTP. Relish is an interesting entry too, they are providing service in central London and look to be able to clearly beat the speed of the traditional ADSL2+ based providers.


Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
It's no surprise that the LLU operators don't figure high. They often trade on value propositions, and they don't market FTTC strongly as there's an obvious
conflict with their own LLU investment.

I'm a little surprised to see Plusnet high up. They are, of course, owned by BT and use the wholesale services as BT Retail, but they too are in the value market and don't seem to market FTTC strongly.
Posted by baby_frogmella over 2 years ago
Not sure what you're trying the say as FTTC on sky, Talktalk etc makes use of their LLU equipment at the exchange.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago

Some elements are used (eg fibre handover, backhaul and voice), but not all. Some MSAN functionality isn't exploited. The LLU operator has to pay Openreach a considerable amount more for the GEA service. For instance, the 40/10 GEA FTTC rental is £88.80 pa.

Given LLU MSAN ADSL capability has negligible incremental cost over voice alone (net of backhaul), that's a significant extra cost. (Both ADSL & GEA-FTTC will require backhaul).

So there's reasonable grounds for thinking the margins on LLU ADSL services are higher than those based on GEA-FTTC.
Posted by baby_frogmella over 2 years ago
Gotcha eulerid :)
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
The above information that Thinkbroadband has put out above places many post codes in Surrey over the 15 meg target well done.
Posted by fabrettitd over 2 years ago
Plusnet market it very strongly - they spend most their tie tripping over new customers whilst spitting existing customers out their behind.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Babe and others
You got it in one after all ports on the FTTC are the same price the compertion now is speed and service in other words CN20 and CN21.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
CN20 does not exist with respect to FTTC
Posted by senator1 over 2 years ago
In this village (Uphall, West Lothian)about 15 years ago all our pavements were damaged as cable trunking was laid. Every house has a pipe to its gate. Now this is all owned by Virgin but they say they have no plans to insert cables and connect the houses.
Posted by NetGuy over 2 years ago
@TheEulerID - what makes you think theat Plus.Net doesn't market FTTC products 'strongly' ?

In the Business sector, I think there was some delay before offering FTTC, but for the Residential market they've been making endless offers (shown on TBB and elsewhere) since January 2013, soon after they went over to unlimited usage on accounts.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
Just watch their adverts. All leaning on a stereotypical Yorkshire value for money backed and no nonsense service, all in a local accent. It doesn't major on talk of fibre. It's more generalised.

Compare that with BT Retail where every ad seems to be about BT Infinity. Indeed, there have been complaints that it's so pervasive people think "fibre based" broadband is only available from BT.
Posted by uniquename over 2 years ago
How odd that the tbb monthly polls say exactly the opposite. Of the seven large providers in the table have you seen how the existing customers' opinions compare?
You'll have to copy and paste this link.
Posted by uniquename over 2 years ago
Look particularly at the CS rating in that comparison.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
Does anybody know if there's a correlation between CS and the use of UK based call centres. I do sometimes wonder to what extent that changes people's perceptions and experience.
Posted by zyborg47 over 2 years ago
I get 10Mb/s with my provider most of the time, sure I could go for something a bit faster, but that would mean going for something like Talk Talk, Bt or Sky. something i really do not want to do unless I have to. I also got no stupid filters to muck around with.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers
Most customers will not change ISP,s because of the call centres being based outside of GB and the worst offender is BT they have lost millions in busines the staff do their best but they are not British.
Posted by glasspath over 2 years ago
To senator1; with Virgin Media starting to expand coverage since its takeover by Liberty Global it would be worth keeping reminding them that Uphall (near Edinburgh) would be appear to be an easy win.
Posted by michaelkenward over 2 years ago
These numbers are so skewed as to be meaningless without further data. Does Virgin have any ADSL

Posted by michaelkenward over 2 years ago
Firefox strikes again. Does Virgin have many, if any, ADSL customers? They must suppress BT's averages.

Posted by Teefenn1 over 2 years ago
Why has AAISP been excluded, or did they refuse to participate? If so that would tell me all I need to know about the value of this survey.
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