Broadband News

Peak and off peak performance at the largest UK broadband providers in July 2017

Welcome to the summer holidays for those of you in the UK and we have the results of our peak and off-peak metrics from the largest broadband providers so people can get an idea of what providers are actually delivering and by comparison with our previous months who is constitently good or bad, or hopefully improving.

We usually publish this comparison the same day as our full speed test round-up of over sixty broadband packages and providers which in terms of scope exceeds the national regulator and any other site providing speed test analytics, but this month with so many broadband speed stories we have been very busy figuring out what everything means and explaining what it means to many people.

Off-Peak Tests Results July 2017
Off-Peak defined as midnight to 5.59pm
Median Average

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
% differenceUpload SpeedQualityLatency
BT 24.3 Mbps 26.8 Mbps -9.3% 5 Mbps 1.00 42ms
EE 10.5 Mbps 11.2 Mbps -6.2% 0.9 Mbps 1.00 51ms
Plusnet 18.1 Mbps 19.9 Mbps -9.1% 1.5 Mbps 1.00 45ms
Sky 12.5 Mbps 14.5 Mbps -13.8% 1.3 Mbps 1.00 57ms
TalkTalk 12.4 Mbps 14.8 Mbps -17.6% 1.2 Mbps 1.00 54ms
Virgin Media 40.2 Mbps 60.7 Mbps -33.8% 6 Mbps 1.00 38ms

The comparisons when looking at the peak and off-peak performance are less about the absolute speed figures, but more about the difference between the two speed tests, for those not aware the tbbx1 is a single thread test (very much like the M-Lab testing) and is more sensitive to factors such as congestion compared to the HTTPx6 multiple thread test. In simple terms the tbbx1 is akin to a TCP based video stream and the HTTPx6 is any big download so that would equate to you buying a video online where its downloaded as a file you can keep. The real clincher in terms of performance is the next table i.e. how do the services hold up when lots more people are online in the evenings.

Peak Tests Results July 2017
Peak time defined as 6pm to 11:59pm
Median Average

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
% differenceUpload SpeedQualityLatency
BT 24.7 Mbps 27 Mbps -8.5% 5.1 Mbps 1.00 43ms
EE 10 Mbps 11.5 Mbps -13.1%

0.9 Mbps

1.00 55ms
Plusnet 17.5 Mbps 18.6 Mbps -6% 1.5 Mbps 1.00 50ms
Sky 12 Mbps 14.5 Mbps -17.3% 1.9 Mbps 1.00 55ms
TalkTalk 12.3 Mbps 14.6 Mbps -17.8% 1.7 Mbps 1.00 53ms
Virgin Media 34.2 Mbps 53.1 Mbps -35.6% 5.9 Mbps 1.00 40ms

Virgin Media seems to be improving as its quality metric has dropped to just below the 1 display so it is in the ball park with the other operators, though as we have shown elsewhere in our news there is still a wide variation with some areas still in need of more work. The quality metric which is an expression of how stable the speeds are during a test means that a good score of 1 means video streaming should work well and as the number increases the chances of dips in speed to the point of the dreaded buffering symbol appearing increases, as we have observed elsewhere the provider is now showing more people with 300 Mbps products once again and hints of testing for faster services too.

Those with a really keen eye may have noticed that peak time upload speed for TalkTalk has jumped, and this is because at peak times we are now seeing what looks like just over 50% of tests on the VDSL2 products which have higher upload speeds. EE have yet to cross this boundary at peak and off-peak times but if they do it is likely the quality score will jump, as for reasons we don't fully understand the EE ADSL service has a good quality score of 1 and the two FTTC speed tiers have much worse 1.7 score, the main idea for what is causing this is Wi-Fi issues on the CPE.


How far does the difference vary with the innate speed on the service. Thus I have just come back from two weeks off-line on the Isle of Mull, where our neighbours say they cannot get on-line other than between midnight and about 6.00 am. We found it impossible to download anything beyond text e-mails over mobile broadband at any time of day despite being in easy line of sight from the local mast (on the other side of the loch).

  • PhilipVirgo
  • 7 days ago


Which mobile broadband provider?
Signal strength?
Have you checked that mast is actually owned by your provider?
What type of mobile broadband devices are you using?

  • DrMikeHuntHurtz
  • 6 days ago

the islands of scotland are not that good for anything/ anyone that wants 21st century(yes, thats 2000+!!) stuff... :(!lat=56.50727777413283&lng=-5.754314728710939&zoom=10&type=terrain&speed-cluster&tbb-adsl-speeds&tbb-fibre-speeds&openreach-fttp

  • comnut
  • 3 days ago

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