Skip Navigation


UK Broadband Speed Test Results for December 2016
Monday 02 January 2017 12:33:45 by Andrew Ferguson

Welcome to 2017 and that means its time to look back at the final month of 2016 with the December 2016 speed test results. The main table of services covered has been extended to 30 to ensure a wider range of providers are mentioned and highlight the difference between the old technology of ADSL2+ and many of the better options.

The 30 Fastest UK Broadband Providers and Services in December 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
KCom Lightstream 21.6 53 75.1 13.9 19.2 199
Hyperoptic 15 50.4 91.2 42 76.4 195
BT Infinity (FTTH) 20.3 46.9 59.9 10.6 14.2 114.5
Gigaclear 16.2 44.5 67 40 65.3 142.6
Virgin Media 8.9 43.4 52.4 5.4 6.4 104.9
AAISP (FTTC) 16.6 42.4 44.5 9.8 12.7 73.6
IDNet (FTTC) 15.5 37.5 40.3 10.8 11.5 71.1
Zen Internet (FTTC) 14.1 37.1 38.9 9.2 11.1 69.1
Daisy Wholesale (FTTC) 13.2 35.8 37.3 9.3 11 65.9
BT Infinity (FTTC) 14.9 35.1 36 8.5 8.9 56.4
PlusNet (FTTC) 14.6 33.2 34.6 4.9 7.1 59
Eclipse (FTTC) 6.6 31.3 31.7 7.6 9.3 54.3
Vodafone Broadband (FTTC) 13.8 30.2 31.7 8.6 9.5 52.6
Entanet (FTTC) 9.2 29 32.3 8.8 10.9 66.8
EE (FTTC) 12.2 27.6 27.3 8.3 7.7 37.5
TalkTalk (FTTC) 13.9 27.3 28.6 1.8 4.2 39.8
Sky (FTTC) 10.8 25.5 25.6 7.1 7 37.3
EE Mobile 2.8 20.1 28.4 2.9 5.2 60.7
Vodafone Mobile 3.3 14.6 18.6 2.5 4 38.5
Relish 1.2 14.3 18.8 2 2.6 45.5
O2 Mobile 2 11.6 15.1 1.8 3.3 31.5
O2 WiFi 2.4 10.6 15 1.3 3.3 35.6
Three Mobile 1.7 9.1 15.6 1.5 4.1 38
KCom (ADSL) 1.7 6.5 7 0.6 0.6 13.1
Entanet (ADSL) 1.6 6.2 6.6 0.7 0.6 12.7
TalkTalk (ADSL) 1.3 5.8 6.8 0.6 0.6 14.5
Zen Internet (ADSL) 1.2 5.8 6.8 0.6 0.6 14
Daisy Wholesale (ADSL) 1.2 5.7 7.1 0.5 0.5 16.6
PlusNet (ADSL) 1 5.7 6.9 0.6 0.6 15.4
BT WiFi 1.4 5.4 9.2 0.8 2.6 15.4

At the top end of the table but not included due to the small sample sizes involved in order of median download speed there is Venus - 88.3 Mbps, Zen Internet (FTTH) - 71.2 Mbps, B4RN - 63.4 Mbps and PlusNet (FTTH) 52.5 Mbps.

With satellite and fixed wireless often being spread amongst a wide range of smaller providers, we have brought back our technology comparison table that merges all the providers based on the type of technology used to deliver a service.

Speeds of Broadband Technologies as seen in December 2016
(ordered by median speed)
Provider Ratio of tests Down Speed of bottom 10%
Mbps
Median
Mbps
Mean
Mbps
Median Upload
Mbps
Mean Upload
Mbps
Down Speed of top 10%
Mbps
FTTH/FTTP 1% 16.7 49.1 72.6 16.3 32 160.1
Cable 20.6% 8.9 43.4 52.4 5.4 6.4 104.9
VDSL2/FTTC 33.9% 13.3 30.1 31.8 7.1 7.6 51.9
Mobile N/A (*) 2.3 14.5 21.3 3.1 4.4 46
Fixed Wireless 0.14% 3.1 14.3 27.8 (**) 2.1 14.2 (**) 55.4
Satellite 0.04% 1.6 12.2 12.9 0.1 0.3 25.3
ADSL/ADSL2+ 44.3% 1.1 5.5 6.8 0.6 0.6 14.8

(*) Mobile was not included in the proportion of tests as the assumption is the majority of the tests are people who have a fixed line option too.
(**) We advise caution on these two wireless mean speeds, as they appear skewed to due a small number of tests that are symmetric and in the 200 to 300 Mbps region, this may be people testing connected via Ethernet to a mast or as one or two fixed wireless providers suggest they provide Fibre to the Premises in a small part of their footprint.

The proportion of people testing on the various technologies is in line with the reported volumes of the major providers and with FTTH availability running at 2.14% across the UK the FTTH figure of 1% is encouraging. While observation via volumes of speed tests gives us a rough idea of take-up, it will never replace reliable trusted figures from the official reports of providers but given the lack of trust from the public in many providers the extra data we can provide is important.

Median Peak and Off-Peak Download Speed Tests Results December 2016
Provider tbbx1 Test
(1 download)
httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)
  7am-3pm 6pm-midnight % difference 7am-3pm 6pm-midnight % difference
BT 22.6 Mbps 23.3 Mbps +3.1% 27.6 Mbps 27.4 Mbps -0.7%
EE 9.2 Mbps 7.2 Mbps -21.8% 10.2 Mbps 8.4 Mbps -17.7%
Plusnet 17.9 Mbps 15.7 Mbps -12.3% 22.6 Mbps 19.8 Mbps -12.4%
Sky 10.7 Mbps 10.0 Mbps -6.5% 12.9 Mbps 11.8 Mbps -1.7%
TalkTalk 10.7 Mbps 9.9 Mbps -7.5% 12.1 Mbps 11.8 Mbps -2.5%
Virgin Media 38.5 Mbps 28.7 Mbps -25.5% 57.8 Mbps 45.4 Mbps -21.5%

The ability of a small number of people to make a lot of noise on social media about services actually makes tables such as our comparison of peak versus off-peak speeds even more important than a few years ago, as it helps to evaluate on a much wider scale which providers had the most problems in the last month. Lots of press coverage in December was talking about a meltdown and blackout at Virgin Media, but it looks likely this was just a few people getting coverage as the speed story looks normal for the cable provider and if anything the dip in the single thread speeds was less than usual. PlusNet have been investigating an oddity with some people seeing very slow single thread downloads, and this seems not to be just be a test oddity as those seeing the problem see the issue with single downloads from other sources, what did change in December for PlusNet was that the multiple thread test showed a big drop at peak times and the last time this was seen was May 2015.

Comments

Posted by apone2000 13 days ago
How does the above take into account customer choice? Lots of people buy up to 38mb probucts so will always weight down an isp. Wouldn't it be better to rate each isp by product rather than technology? The table implies the speeds an isp can achieve if you go with them on average but you may pick a faster speed than the rest and get much faster speeds. Same problem binding adsl and adsl2+ into the same groupings
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 13 days ago
Given the complexity of the product naming and when we've trialled asking in the past, people often don't know what package they are on, or are on a legacy service not in the current list, then it is very difficult to ask people.

We do periodically talk about the product splits, but that is not fully automated yet. On ADSL/ADSL2+ much less of an issue.

A blog item showing the profile of speeds we see was already on the way, and we've done these periodically in the past, so you can judge the product splits e.g. 38 vs 52 vs 76 Mbps.
Posted by WWWombat 13 days ago
I'm intrigued by the product takeup variation for the first 5 Ultrafast (FTTP/cable) companies. Especially with KCOM's upstream speed, when so many of their products come with a 5Mbps upstream.

So I'm definitely looking forward to seeing some of those in the blog item.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 13 days ago
KCOM nice steady block of 20% on 5 Mbps upload, another 20% on a 10 Mbps upload, and then 40% between 10 and 30, and the mega ones going from 30 upwards in the last 8 to 10%.

Seems odd looking at product pages, but lure of unlimited may mean higher uptake on faster services, though no 10 Mbps distinct upload product. Could be a legacy product.

Could be business users but generally consumer products swamp them in testing volumes. Similar pattern in Q4 and going further back.
Posted by hairybarsteward 9 days ago
With regards to the investigation of the slow single thread downloads, I mentioned this to Glen Bannister in the Executive Office, his reply was "I have contacted our networking teams and while we have worked with ThinkBroadband in the past with issues affecting us and multiple other internet providers, we do not currently have any investigations or open issues under way for this.".
Posted by pvfpvf 8 days ago
Download speed of bottom 10% BT Infinity:
FTTH: 20.3
FTTC: 14.9
What explains the poor figure for FTTH?
Posted by WWWombat 7 days ago
802.11g wifi would do that - as router, or as client.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 days ago
@pvfpvf While FTTH removes the variations down to line length, factors such as ISP congestion, local congestion on fibre segement, Wi-Fi devices, computer issues are still a factor.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.