Broadband News

EU consumers only receive 74% of advertised headline speeds

A study by the European Commission into fixed broadband performance across EU member states has confirmed that broadband consumers in Europe are getting an average of 74% of the advertised headline ('up to') speeds on their broadband connections. The study did however note that this varied across technologies. DSL broadband services (using telephone lines) achieved only 63.3% of the headline speeds, where as cables sees 91.4% and fibre (FTTx) 84.4%.

These variations are expected across different technologies and the UK have implemented rules to help avoid this by requiring broadband providers to provide a speed estimate based on the actual broadband line that will be used.

"This is the first time the difference between advertised and actual broadband speeds is confirmed by comparable and reliable data from all EU Member States.

Consumers need more of this sort of data to help make informed choices, so we will repeat the exercise. And we take these first results as further proof of the need for a real connected single market."

Neelie Kroes, (Vice President) European Commission

The average speed recorded across all countries was 19.47 Mbps during peak hours. Different technologies are used in different areas. FTTx recorded the fastest speed sat 41.02 Mbps, Cable 33.10 Mbps and xDSL recorded only 7.2 Mbps. Unfortunately, the study is hardly extensive with only 9,104 participants across the 27 countries (averaging at 337 per country) and only really confirms the laws of physics related to DSL-based technologies as well as effects of network congestion at peak times.


I much prefer the speed measurements that come from the SamKnows whiteboxes (as used in this study) than, say, the Akamai measurements - which rely on measuring the capability of a browser on a computer, that is probably connecting to other sites in parallel, that may be using WiFi, and that may not be the only screen in the house.

The downside is that there are fewer participants, and that they are a self-selected bunch of volunteers. They probably only volunteer when their line isn't rock-bottom dire.

  • WWWombat
  • over 3 years ago

Testing the browser will measure what the user will actually experience which is probably most in line with what they care about. I do agree that products are not sold in a "this is what your browser will report" way though.

  • john
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 3 years ago

I just turned on the tools on my browser - chrome - which showed that loading this page required downloading with 37 different requests, from a variety of sources, some of which are CDN-supplied.

It has to be hard to look from the CDN and try to surmise what was happening back at the browser, based on seeing only a few of the connections.

Akamai's figures give a good feel for an interactive "user experience" but probably shouldn't be used as representative of the state of the access network.

  • WWWombat
  • over 3 years ago

Under DSL product details they should just post a speed vs distance graph if at all.

  • otester
  • over 3 years ago

What sort of idiot expects the "up to" headline rate anyway when there's line length needing to be factored in? I was quite pleased to get ~14Mb/s on my BE connection several years ago, when the "headline" was 24Mb/s, even though I should be getting a good 70Mb/s by the end of today with BT's VDSL2 Infinity deal.

  • Mr_Fluffy
  • over 3 years ago

The sort of idiot who knows nothing about the technology issues - ie the majority of the current generation of internet users who understand " bigger numbers are best" for downloading videos, tv programmes etc. but little else. These are the people who are being duped by the advertising.

  • iwvc
  • over 3 years ago

Speeds quoted and tested should only be for the link between exchange and premises, internal connections should have no bearing on DSL/fibre/cable speeds given. Further, artificial 'throttling' of downloads should not be permitted (our ADSL Max has a 'profile' of 2 Mbps but we know the line is capable of 3.7 Mbps, so is being downgraded by the profile setting!).
This story is a further confirmation that what is achieved by different technologies must be stated separately, DSL cannot be 'lumped in' with fibre - but we are misled by that trick too often.

  • michaels_perry
  • over 3 years ago

'And we take these first results as further proof of the need for a real connected single market.'

Usual Eurocrat nonsense. Go find a real job, Neelie, and stop with the ineffective pontificating. Seem quite enough of how you spend your time to convince your salary and expenses could be way better spent.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 3 years ago

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