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Broadband Speed Test Results for August 2016
Monday 05 September 2016 22:56:10 by Andrew Ferguson

Another month is over and silly season is over with most people back from their holidays, so its down to the hard work of the last 3 months of 2016. Our speed test is almost unique in offering both a single download and a multiple thread download and on a good broadband connection the two tests should be almost the same exact same speed, but on some connections a variety of issues can cause the two tests to diverge with single download test being slower than the multiple thread one.

We have moved this table from the bottom of our monthly report to the top this month in response to increasing number of questions we have been receiving over the performance of Virgin Media, in some cases its because people think our test is broken but looking at the wider picture it is increasingly obvious that something is odd with parts of the Virgin Media network, as some users see single thread downloads from a wide variety of applications that are slower than software that uses multiple downloads such as the Steam client.

Peak and Off-Peak Download Speed Tests Results August 2016
Provider tbbx1 Test
(1 download)
httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)
  7am-3pm 6pm-midnight % difference 7am-3pm 6pm-midnight % difference
BT 22.8 Mbps 23 Mbps +0.9% 21.6 Mbps 21.8 Mbps +0.9%
EE 12.7 Mbps 13.3 Mbps +4.7% 13.1 Mbps 13 Mbps -0.8%
Plusnet 23.4 Mbps 21.7 Mbps -7.3% 18.8 Mbps 19.2 Mbps +2.1%
Sky 13.7 Mbps 12 Mbps -12.5% 13.1 Mbps 12.4 Mbps -5.3%
TalkTalk 14.5 Mbps 13.8 Mbps -4.9% 13.9 Mbps 13.5 Mbps -2.9%
Virgin Media 42.4 Mbps 35.7 Mbps -15.8% 55.2 Mbps 47.7 Mbps -13.6%

Losing 15 to 20% of the speed from a connection that is already delivering 50 Mbps to 200 Mbps may sound petty to those stuck with an ADSL connection that on a good day can only achieve 1.2 Mbps, but people are reporting that that sometimes streaming video where bitrates are in the 5 to 10 Mbps can struggle on the cable broadband service and the level of variation in latency can mean the difference between life and death for online gamers. Hopefully Virgin Media will figure out what is affecting the quality of service for those affected and fix it too. If the slowing down of a single download is by design then there needs to high level discussions with people like ASA/BCAP and Ofcom over how services are advertised. Providers of course will often point to speed test results that show no problem at all, and when you dig deeper this is because those testing services are using 8 to 32 downloads at once, thus successfully masking a whole range of issues from local Wi-Fi problems, RWIN sizes through to network management applied by an operator.

The 25 Fastest UK Broadband Providers in August 2016
(ordered by median speed)
Smaller providers without enough geographic data samples are not included
Provider Download Speed of bottom 10%
Mbps
Median Download
Mbps
Mean Download
Mbps
Median Upload
Mbps
Mean Upload
Mbps
Download Speed of top 10%
Mbps
Gigaclear 20.6 47.6 65.5 40 70.2 148.1
Hyperoptic 18.8 46.6 88.5 44 85.7 163.5
Virgin Media 9.6 44.2 52.7 5.1 6.2 104.8
AAISP 4.2 34.1 35.7 7.1 8.4 73.5
Daisy Wholesale 2.8 29.8 31.7 8.7 9.8 61.8
Vodafone Broadband 2.9 19.9 23.4 5.3 6.2 46.6
EE Mobile (3G/4G) 2.3 17.8 23.8 2 4.8 49.9
IDNet 5 17.6 28.1 3.3 6.4 67.2
Zen Internet 2.5 16.8 26 3.4 7.1 66.1
BT 1.6 16 21.8 2.8 5.1 50.6
Vodafone Mobile 2.1 12.1 15.7 2 3.6 35.3
Plusnet 1.4 12 18.8 0.9 3.8 45.4
O2 Mobile 1.8 9.2 13.6 1.4 3 30.7
KCOM 2 8.9 31.8 0.7 7.6 80.7
Relish 1.3 8.9 14.6 1.6 2.1 31.9
Sky 1.3 8.5 12.4 0.7 2.7 30.3
Three 1.7 8.1 15 1.4 3.8 40
TalkTalk 1.5 8.1 13.4 0.7 1.8 33.5
EE (ADSL2+/FTTC) 1.1 7.9 12.7 0.8 3 34.2
Eclipse KCOM outside Hull 0.6 7.7 14.9 0.7 3.3 38.7
Entanet 0.7 6.8 21.3 1.2 7.6 55.5
Demon Internet 1.3 6.3 10.6 0.6 2.4 17.2
BT WiFi 0.5 4.9 6.1 0.8 2.4 10
TalkTalk Business 1.5 4.6 5.6 0.6 0.7 9.7
Post Office 0.7 2.9 3.9 0.3 0.4 8.5

A new king at the top of the provider results, with Gigaclear scraping past Hyperoptic, but only if you use the median metric to order the table by. As always the overall provider results reflect as much the providers performance as the choice people are making on packages, but we are able to look at the spread of speed test results for each provider so for Gigaclear while they are known as a Gigabit provider, only around 10% appear to opt for a package over 100 Mbps and a massive 75% are picking the 50 Mbps base line package. Similar splits appear at other providers too. This package choice equation can sometimes explain why when making International comparisons UK overall speeds look so slow, i.e. a smaller European nation may have high levels of FTTB/FTTH availability where the minimum package speed is 100 Mbps.

ADSL/ADSL2+ Connection Speed Tests August 2016
(Change since previous month)
Provider/Area Download speed of bottom 10%
Mbps
Median Download
Mbps
Mean Download
Mbps
Median Upload
Mbps
Mean Upload
Mbps
Download speed of top 10%
Mbps
BT 0.8 4.9 (=) 6.7 0.5 (=) 0.5 15
EE 0.8 4.8(-0.1) 6.2 0.7 (=) 0.6 13.9
Plusnet 0.9 5.4 (-0.1) 6.6 0.6 (=) 0.6 15.4
Sky 1 5.3 (-0.1) 6.6 0.6 (=) 0.6 14.7
TalkTalk 1.1 5.5 (=) 6.6 0.6 (=) 0.6 14.3
Vodafone 0.9 5.1(=) 6.3 0.6 (=) 0.6 15.6
Rural ADSL 0.7 3.9 (=) 5.0 0.3 (=) 0.4 13.8

The levels of superfast broadband coverage in the UK mean that while ADSL/ADSL2+ should rapidly be heading the way of dial-up the volumes of tests still reflect the known the take-up levels across the UK and many are electing to stay with the cheaper ADSL/ADSL2+ services. For those who are stuck with an ADSL (up 7 Mbps) service still as no LLU provider came to their exchange it is worth double checking whether ADSL2+ is now available via the WBC network as this is better backhaul and DLM systems than the original IPStream services and should give many slightly better speeds and particularly better peak time performance which is all important for the growing numbers watching TV using online services.

Large Provider Fibre Based Connection Speed Tests August 2016
(Change since previous month)
Provider Download speed of bottom 10%
Mbps
Median Download
Mbps
Mean Download
Mbps
Median Upload
Mbps
Mean Upload
Mbps
Download speed of top 10%
Mbps
BT Infinity FTTC/VDSL2 13.8 33 (-0.7) 34.5 8.3 (-0.2) 8.6 54.7
BT Infinity FTTP/FTTH 15.2 42.6 (+0.7) 53.7 10.5 (+0.2) 13.4 91.1
EE 11 27.1 (-0.4) 27.1 8 (-0.2) 7.5 33.7
Plusnet 14.3 33.5 (+0.3) 34.7 6.2 (-0.1) 7.5 60.2
Sky 11.1 25.4 (-0.3) 25.2 6.9 (+0.2) 6.7 37
TalkTalk 13.9 27.3 (+0.2) 28.5 1.8 (=) 4.3 39.5
Virgin Media 9.6 44.2 52.7 5.1 6.2 104.8
Vodafone 13 27.7 (-3.2) 29.9 8.2 (-0.5) 8.1 50

The difference between the various types of 'fibre' based broadband services and the original generation broadband services is pretty clear and while its a case that not everyone gets an improved speed from VDSL2 based services when looking at the wider picture there is a massive improvement. Looking to the future the performance of the BT FTTH/FTTP connections shows what is possible when the technology has no distance dependancies and the higher speed for the top 10% reflects the numbers choosing the Infinity 3 and Infinity 4 products. Around 14% appear to be picking a faster than 76 Mbps service, with just 1% on the top speed 300 Mbps option, the vast majority around 70% are on the up to 52 Mbps Infinity 1 FTTH variant.

Technology Comparison From Internet Speed Tests August 2016
Technology Download speed of bottom 10%
Mbps
Median Download
Mbps
Mean Download
Mbps
Median Upload
Mbps
Mean Upload
Mbps
Download speed of top 10%
Mbps
ADSL/ADSL2+ 1.0 5.4 (=) 6.7 0.6 0.6 14.8
VDSL2/FTTC 12.7 29.4 (-0.7) 31.2 7 (-0.4) 7.7 51.5
Cable Broadband 9.6 43.5 (-0.2) 52.1 5.1 (=) 6.1 104.1
FTTH/FTTP 16.4 50.2 (-0.8) 75.6 17.3 (+3.7) 36.9 162.8
3G/4G Mobile 2.4 12.5 (+0.1) 18.9 1.7 (=) 4.1 42
Fixed Wireless 1.6 9.8 (-1.5) 16 1.7 (-0.2) 5.3 40.1
Satellite 0.3 7.4 (-0.8) 9.0 0.1 (=) 0.3 15.9

Comments

Posted by CarlThomas 3 months ago
Yikes Andrew this year's gone quickly enough without losing another month.

Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec.
Posted by watercooled 3 months ago
Thanks for mentioning the single-thread problem on Virgin Media! Hopefully this will attract some attention from the ISP as apart from a couple of staff 'investigating' the issue, it's been getting steadily worse over the past year and so far it hasn't even been officially accepted as a problem, let alone resolved.
Posted by AndrueC 3 months ago
Maybe VM should talk to PlusNet. They had their own 'single threaded problem' last year. Took them over eight months to fix it.
Posted by ZenUser27 3 months ago
Yeah. I hated that - it's why I left.
Posted by andygegg 3 months ago
I'm with BT on FTTP, Infinity 1. Ever since they upped the speed to 52Mb/s my single threaded results have been odd.
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/button/146618231718469989060.png
although they've settled down a bit now
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/button/147332908910885465251.png
Posted by comnut 3 months ago
so do tell, what *normal* software uses single thread???
Posted by comnut 3 months ago
more comprehensive tests here...
https://www.dslreports.com/tools
Posted by CarlThomas 3 months ago
What normal software uses a single thread? Unless using a download manager HTTP downloads and FTP downloads are two applications.

Streaming media is single threaded.

The big things that aren't single threaded are P2P and newsgroups, and they are, fortunately, reducing as a proportion of traffic year on year.
Posted by comnut 3 months ago
Streaming - do you mean BBC iplayer and similar?? never had a problem with that... :)

HTTP downloads? like TBB's Download Test Files? :)

when I download a vid from you tube, is that HTTP FTP or something else?? - your speedtest says I only get 20Mbps single threaded, but my actual d/l speed is 60 or 70Mbps...

I dunno, does FF(64bit) etc have its own 'download manager', so it does not have problems?
I very rarely get only 20Mbps, even when I d/l 5 vids at the same time....

you can customize speedtest here...
https://www.dslreports.com/speedtest/preferences
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