Why we don't think average UK broadband speed is 49 Mbps
Average broadband speeds and are you getting what was advertised has been all over the headlines for the last few weeks. We have had our extensive statistics on broadband speeds and coverage across the UK available for a couple of years now and believe that all the work that goes into monitoring the market in the UK and watching the patterns that emerge from our speed test results each month and have been following those trends since the days of 0.5 Mbps being the common consumer product.
So it is a bit of surprise to see that Ookla has launched a new global broadband speed index that places the UK at position 24 with an average download speed of 49.22 Mbps (upload 9.55 Mbps) - impressive!.
Alas we think that Ookla has got its analysis wrong (e.g. a few people testing a lot skewing the result) or is including an unusual number of Gigabit based academic and large corporate networks such as the major banks in its analysis, thus the figure is of little use to the consumer and SME market. We cannot comment on other countries but have included the following table of calculations showing why we believe 49 Mbps is far too high and suggest others with a sound knowledge of what people are buying and experiencing speed wise do similar.
|The maths behind how you get to a 49 Mbps average speed for UK consumer/SME broadband|
|Technology||Millions of premises||Average Speed|
|Cable 50 Mbps||1.45m||50 Mbps|
|Cable 100 Mbps||1.85m||100 Mbps|
|Cable 200 Mbps||1.45m||200 Mbps|
|Cable 300 Mbps||0.25m||300 Mbps|
The split across the cable products is based on the rations we see each month from Virgin Media cable customers, so there may be some variation and given all the issues that existed until some point in June we would not expect the cable products to nail their speeds when talking about an average for each tier (an update on Virgin Media performance for July is expected in the next few days). The averages for VDSL2 and FTTH are probably also generous since the majority still buy either an up to 38 Mbps or up to 52 Mbps product and line distance issues will impact speeds, and on the FTTH/FTTP products people still very much buy a speed based on the size of the wallet usually.
Once you add up the 25.3 million connections and do the maths we arrive at an average of 49.6 Mbps and this should be the sort of sanity check that anyone publishing a nation wide statistic that is going to repeated as fact by many outlets should carry out.