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UK Broadband Speed Test Results for October 2016
Tuesday 01 November 2016 12:20:27 by Andrew Ferguson

The latest set of broadband speed test results for the numerous UK broadband providers is here and while it is a long read there is a lot of information about the various providers embedded in the tables. First lets look at the 25 fastest providers, remembering of course that very small providers who may have just couple of thousand customers often don't make the table to avoid showing results which have no statistical significance.

The 25 Fastest UK Broadband Providers in October 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
Hyperoptic 17.1 50.8 88.6 40.7 73.6 181.7
Gigaclear 14.4 48.9 80.6 38.9 73.6 201.9
Virgin Media 8.1 41.6 50.1 5 6.1 101.5
Vodafone Broadband 5.2 27.2 28.8 8.4 8.4 53.2
Daisy Wholesale 2.2 25.9 29.8 7.6 9.3 67.1
IDNet 3.5 22.9 30.9 3.5 8.6 71.2
AAISP 4.9 18.2 27.6 1.8 6.2 69.5
Zen Internet 2.4 17.3 26.5 3.1 7.1 67.4
EE Mobile (3G/4G) 2.4 16.8 22.8 2 4.6 47.2
BT 1.6 16.4 22.3 3 5.3 51
Ask4 2.6 15.1 21.6 3.6 6.4 43.7
Keycom 2.9 13.8 24.3 8.3 16.6 44.2
Entanet 1.6 13.5 25.4 2 11.4 71.4
Vodafone Mobile 2.3 11.4 16.5 1.6 3.3 38.4
Plusnet 1.4 11.2 18.3 0.9 3.5 45.1
Sky 1.3 9.1 13.3 0.8 3.1 31.9
O2 Mobile 1.6 9 13.4 1.3 2.9 31.6
TalkTalk 1.6 8.8 14 0.7 2.1 34.6
EE (ADSL2+/FTTC) 1.1 8.7 13.7 0.9 3.4 35
KCOM 2.1 8.7 28.9 0.7 7.3 75
Three 1.5 8.3 15.1 1.4 3.8 38.6
Relish 1.2 7.5 12.9 1.2 1.8 37.7
Eclipse KCOM outside Hull 0.7 6.6 15.3 0.7 4.7 44.6
Demon Internet 1 6 12.3 0.6 2.9 16.6
BT WiFi 0.8 4.6 5.8 0.8 2.2 9.2

Of those with a smaller sample size there is IFNL (GTC) with a median download of 33.5 Mbps, WightFibre 22.8 Mbps, Claranet SOHO 21 Mbps and Call Flow Solutions 14.7 Mbps. Post Office is missing due to its low speeds rather than sample size, mainly because it is firmly a basic ADSL service with a 3.1 Mbps median download speed.

Given the prominence that the Culture Secretary Matt Hancock MP has given to KCom and the Lightstream products you would expect them to be much higher in the table, but with Lightstream still only available to 42.35% of premises in the City of Kingston Upon Hull it is clear that given take-up will also lag availability that ADSL2+ based services will continue to dominate the providers speeds for some time. The speed of the top 10% for KCom at 75 Mbps does give hints that in time we should see much better results, whether they will ever challenge Hyperoptic and Gigaclear will depend on product take-up levels.

B4RN are missing not because they are slow, but with the service passing just 1,500 to 2,500 premises (the fibre network is thousands of miles long highlighting the sparse nature of their part of the UK) and take-up is believed to be running at around 60% we generally see a small number of tests each month, but if the pattern of those tests holds up as their footprint grows (e.g. iPhone 6 Wi-Fi test at 180 Mbps down and 170 Mbps up) it is likely they would top the table.

Large Provider Fibre Based Connection Speed Tests October 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 14 33.5 (+0.6) 35 8.4 (+0.1) 8.8 55.4
BT Infinity FTTP/FTTH 16.6 43.7 (-1) 56 10.5 (=) 13.1 107.7
EE 10.8 27.6 (-0.3) 27.4 8.3 (+0.1) 7.7 38
Plusnet 13.7 33.3 (+1.4) 34.5 5 (-0.4) 7.2 59.8
Sky 10.9 25.7 (+0.2) 26 7.3 (+0.3) 7.2 37.5
TalkTalk 14.2 27.6 (+0.5) 28.8 1.8 (=) 4.5 40.2
Virgin Media 8.1 41.6 (+0.1) 50.1 5 (=) 6.1 101.5
Vodafone 14.4 30.5 (-0.9) 32.4 8.7 (+0.5) 9.8 54.2

We intend during October to start splitting KCom Lightstream and ADSL2+ services so that we can give an indication of how their two technology streams perform. The fibre providers have nothing too surprising to reveal this month, the dip in upload speeds with PlusNet is simply the continued trend due to the adoption of cheaper (at wholesale level) 40/2 GEA-FTTC product. The soft launch of the Virgin Media up to 300 Mbps product and Gamer options has had little impact in their results yet, reflecting the numerous moans of peak time speed drops and people continuing to buy broadband based on impact on their wallet rather than ability to support multiple 4K video streams.

ADSL/ADSL2+ Connection Speed Tests October 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 0.7 4.7 (+0.2) 6.2 0.4 (-0.1) 0.5 15
EE 0.7 5(-0.2) 6.3 0.6 (-0.1) 0.6 14.2
Plusnet 0.9 5.4 (+0.2) 6.6 0.6 (=) 0.6 14.8
Sky 1 5.2 (+0.1) 6.7 0.5 (-0.1) 0.6 14.8
TalkTalk 1.3 5.6 (+0.3) 6.7 0.6 (=) 0.6 14.5
Vodafone 0.6 6.2(+0.8) 7.4 0.7 (+0.1) 0.6 15.7
Rural ADSL 0.7 3.6 (-0.1) 4.6 0.3 (=) 0.4 9.9

The ADSL2+ speeds should be relatively stable, but as the VDSL2 rollout continues there are exchanges gaining WBC ADSL2+ that have not had any LLU options either it will mean some people should get better speeds as providers (hopefully) quickly migrate people from the old IPStream network to the better WBC platform (i.e. better DLM, IP Profiling and backhaul). Alas when looking at a UK wide picture this is not always visible since the urban population is much larger than the rural one.

On the product splits with the recent BT Group financials we know that 48.6% of customers in BT Consumer were on a fibre based product, looking at the speed test results for October, we saw 52.5% of BT customers on a VDSL2 product, 1.6% on a GEA-FTTP product and 45.7% on ADSL/ADSL2+. So while not a perfect match, the small difference from reported reality suggests that the BT Group is not telling porkies over take-up of VDSL2/FTTP services and that our averages are very good for an observed model. Looking at the other major providers in descending order of VDSL2 take-up we have PlusNet 41.1%, EE 41.9%, Sky 35% and TalkTalk 32%.

Peak and Off-Peak Download Speed Tests Results October 2016
Provider tbbx1 Test
(1 download)
httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)
  7am-3pm 6pm-midnight % difference 7am-3pm 6pm-midnight % difference
BT 24 Mbps 23.1 Mbps -3.9% 22.4 Mbps 21.5 Mbps -4.2%
EE 13.2 Mbps 13.3 Mbps +0.8% 13.9 Mbps 14.2 Mbps +2.1%
Plusnet 22.5 Mbps 21.7 Mbps -3.7% 18.8 Mbps 17.9 Mbps -5.0%
Sky 15 Mbps 13 Mbps -15.4% 14.2 Mbps 13.2 Mbps -7.5%
TalkTalk 14.8 Mbps 14.5 Mbps -2.1% 14.4 Mbps 14.2 Mbps -1.4%
Virgin Media 45.9 Mbps 35 Mbps -31.1% 53.4 Mbps 44.2 Mbps -20.8%

Sky was a bit of a surprise while writing this article with a relatively high level of variation in the single thread testing speeds. The gap at Virgin Media is actually relatively normal, but is not the worst month we have seen which was a 42.1% difference in single threaded performance in December 2015, this large gap is something that has been growing e.g. back in November 2012 it was just an 18.6% drop at peak times. This rising gap reflects the constant pressure on providers to upgrade connection speeds while also trying to balance growing level of data usage at a time when the pressure on utility bills means people do not want to pay a lot more to ensure a high peak time quality of service.

Comments

Posted by TheEulerID about 1 month ago
It's significant that the ISPs suffering the biggest drop in throughput at peak times are also those where the drop in single-thread is some much more than in multi-thread. Interesting to see that "bargain basement" TalkTalk does well in that regard.
Posted by leexgx about 1 month ago
i do find that multi thread is mostly unaffected at peak time (single threads threaded can be 50-101mb) and can easily provide 4x50mb streams normally, but as virgin speeds are per FTTN node witch norm serv 2-10 streets at a time, other customers 4 streets away on another cab could have poor performance,

i am aware that they added more capacity to my FTTN and i generally get the speeds my line is capped to (200mb product but 220mb as virgin give +5% on downstream speed tests tend to be around 200-215mb so you get advertised speeds and 100mb on single threaded)
Posted by leexgx about 1 month ago
but can some times drop down to 150mb

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/results.html?id=147802223153026479895
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/results.html?id=147802272013381715058
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/results.html?id=147802281546742293972
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/results.html?id=147802282326805812799
Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 month ago
Vodafone are high up the first table. Is that a reflection of their current VDSL to ADSL price ratio?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 month ago
Yeap - 75% of people look to be on VDSL2 services. ISP though is still a lot smaller than EE or PlusNet for fixed line broadband,
Posted by Teefenn1 29 days ago
The first table is meaningless as a comparison between ISPs because you are lumping ADSL2+ customers and fibre customers together. It's obvious that any ISP with a larger proportion of fibre customers will have higher average speeds so unless you distinguish between the two technologies the results will tell you nothing worthwhile.
Posted by bsg017 29 days ago
As a BT FTTC customer, I am satisfied with my current 33Mbs download speed, BUT my recollection is that I was getting 38Mbs before their last 'upgrade'. Is my memory likely to be wrong? If not, was it a common experience? Can I readily access Thinkbroadbands speedtests for me over the past 3 years?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 28 days ago
@Teefenn1 Yes we are fully aware of that, hence the various follow up tables, splitting tech up into ADSL2+, VDSL2, FTTH etc
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 28 days ago
@bsg017 Unless you have kept a copy of the tests, not easy to link back over 3 years, especially on providers with dynamic IP address.
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