Broadband News

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

It seems UK broadband survived the summer holidays, probably because no set of events conspired to break the Internet on the same, i.e. the perfect broadband storm would new iOS firmware, Call of Duty launch, Steam Sale, large sporting events all happening in the same evening.

We have our data for August and how the largest providers perform during the day and at night when it should be peak time for the majority of people, or put more simply when almost everyone is at home rather than at work or school.

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

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
% differenceUpload Speed


Low = Good

BT 22.6 Mbps 25.5 Mbps -11.4% 4.6 Mbps 0.4 42ms
EE 11.2 Mbps 12.5 Mbps -10.4% 0.9 Mbps 0.6 48ms
Plusnet 20.6 Mbps 22.7 Mbps -9.3% 1.6 Mbps 0.4 46ms
Sky 11.7 Mbps 14 Mbps -16.4% 1.3 Mbps 0.6 54ms
TalkTalk 12 Mbps 14.2 Mbps -15.5% 1.3 Mbps 0.5 54ms
Virgin Media 41.4 Mbps 62.4 Mbps -33.7% 6.1 Mbps 0.9 37ms

As we've removed the cap on the quality score which is looking at how stable speeds are during the course of a test, where the lower the number better we have included an updated guide

  • Under 0.8 (Grade A): Very good connection, should have no issues with gaming and streaming if underlying speed is sufficient
  • 0.8 to 1.2 (Grade B): Good connection, not expected to have issues with streaming or slow web page loading
  • 1.2 to 1.8 (Grade C): The score usually seen on Wi-Fi and 3G/4G services and the odd dip in speed may be noticeable when streaming films for example
  • 1.8 to 2.2 (Grade D): Your connection or Wi-Fi is affecting your experience and web pages may arrive in fits and starts
  • 2.2 to 3 (Grade E): Connection is likely to be heavily congested and streaming will be difficult. It is worth checking no-one in the property is also heavily using the connection
  • Over 3 (Grade F): Very bad either software is causing test to be spiky, processor on computer is overloaded or you have a bad broadband connection

The letter grades are what we expect to implement for individuals when testing their own connection and will feature along side the scores when we report on providers each month.

The off-peak performance of the big six providers in August was pretty much the same as the previous month, so its business as usual at least during the day.

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

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
% differenceUpload SpeedQualityLatency
BT 24.7 Mbps 28.9 Mbps -14.5% 5.4 Mbps 0.4 40ms
EE 11 Mbps 12.3 Mbps -10.6%

0.9 Mbps

1.0 53ms
Plusnet 19.2 Mbps 22.1 Mbps -13.2% 1.6 Mbps 0.4 49ms
Sky 12.1 Mbps 15.2 Mbps -20.4% 1.8 Mbps 0.6


TalkTalk 11.6 Mbps 14.3 Mbps -18.9% 1.6 Mbps 0.5 56ms
Virgin Media 37.4 Mbps 56.4 Mbps -33.7% 6 Mbps 1.0 38ms

The peak picture shows the usual but what is unusual is that the difference between peak and off-peak speeds for Virgin Media was identical, but this is within the variation we see from month to month so its the usual keep a watchful eye open to see the longer term trend. BT and Plusnet appear to be performing worse at peak times during August, whether this is down to maybe a few busy evenings where people were seeing more contention or a general slow down is once again something only time will tell.

The issues with EE and its quality score is an ongoing issue with their VDSL2 services and we can see the issue in some peoples speed tests and if EE customers can run a speed test where we may ask an extra couple of questions as we try to profile the common patterns.

While Vodafone is continuing to grow and we have data e.g. a median download speed of 10.3 Mbps in the evening the sample size is still too more to do the off-peak to peak-comparison as they grow in terms of the numbers of customers this should change.


Confused - do you have your chart labels correct?

  • justonside
  • about 1 year ago

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