Broadband News

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

  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:27 AM
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November has been a busier month than usual as with the end of 2017 approaching rapidly ensuring that our broadband coverage data sets are as up to date as possible is important and this meant we missed our usual aim of getting the peak versus off-peak speed test analysis published earlier in the month. Though given others are still publishing analysis of results from Q1/2017 or 2016 Ofcom data perhaps we should give ourselves some slack and stop trying to be up to date.

In addition to the usual monthly analysis we have included some extra charts for BT and Virgin Media that show how these two providers perform from day to day, which adds an extra insight into tracking broadband performance.

Off-Peak Tests Results October 2017
Off-Peak defined as midnight to 5.59pm
Median Average
Providertbbx1 Test
(1 download)
httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)
% differenceUpload SpeedQuality
Lower is Better
Grade A = Best
Latency
BT 29.1 Mbps 32.4 Mbps -11.3% 6.2 Mbps 0.4 - Grade A 40ms
EE 14.4 Mbps 15.8 Mbps -9.7% 1.8 Mbps 0.9 - Grade B 48ms
Plusnet 23 Mbps 26.1 Mbps -13.4% 1.8 Mbps 0.4 - Grade A 47ms
Sky 14.5 Mbps 17.4 Mbps -20% 3.1 Mbps 0.7 - Grade A 51ms
TalkTalk 12.8 Mbps 15.2 Mbps -18.7% 2.1 Mbps 0.5 - Grade A 53ms
Virgin Media 43.5 Mbps 67.6 Mbps -55.4% 6.1 Mbps 0.9 - Grade B 38ms

There was a jump of a few Mbps in the BT figures and this is possibly down to the speed boosts Infinity 1 customers are getting with many of them shifting to the up to 76 Mbps underlying Openreach product i.e. those who were previously capped by the 55/10 product limits are seeing better speeds. In our usual monthly product round-up this would not be immediately obvious due to the product splitting so we will be sure to delve deeper into the statistics once the full November results are available. The other possibility is that there has been surge in take-up of the VDSL2/FTTP services in terms of their take-up, which certainly looks to be the case for EE where the median upload speed has jumped from 1 Mbps to 1.8 Mbps, Sky has also seen its upload speed jump from 2 Mbps to 3.1 Mbps.

The peak time performance table in some ways is sometimes more relevant to the experience of the majority of people since people are usually at work or school during the day and thus home broadband is naturally going to be used more during the evening period.

Peak Tests Results October 2017
Peak time defined as 6pm to 11:59pm
Median Average
Providertbbx1 Test
(1 download)
httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)
% differenceUpload SpeedQuality
Lower is Better
Grade A = Best
Latency
BT 28.5 Mbps 32.2 Mbps -13.0% 6.5 Mbps 0.4 - Grade A 40ms
EE 12 Mbps 13.8 Mbps -15%

1.1 Mbps

0.9 - Grade B 54ms
Plusnet 19.8 Mbps 23.1 Mbps -16.6% 1.7 Mbps 0.4 - Grade A 48ms
Sky 13.7 Mbps 16.3 Mbps -19.0% 2.9 Mbps 0.7 - Grade A

51ms

TalkTalk 12.7 Mbps 14.8 Mbps -16.5% 2.2 Mbps 0.5 - Grade A 52ms
Virgin Media 38.5 Mbps 57.2 Mbps -48.6% 5.9 Mbps 1.0 - Grade B

39ms

The new element this month is that we can share some of the daily speed test results, which show how much what we are observing varies or not each day. The data does not line up with the October tables above but instead covers 24th October through to 21st November.

The daily results for BT are actually pretty boring with fairly stable speeds across the month and while the peak time chart has some more noise if there was a day with a major performance issue we would expect to spot it.

Last 4 weeks of daily speed performance for BT Consumer
Observed Daily Speeds for BT Consumer 24th Oct to 21st Nov
Last 4 weeks of peak time speed performance for BT Consumer
Observed Daily Speeds at Peak Times for BT Consumer 24th Oct to 21st Nov

The graphs for Virgin Media are a bit different and this is in part due to the much higher connection speeds of the cable provider and even if you ignore the very high spike on the 21st November there does appear to be a clear trend in the daily speeds improving over the course of the month. Oddly this trend is not seen in the peak time period which while noisy shows no obvious upward trend.

Last 4 weeks of daily speed performance for Virgin Media
Observed Daily Speeds for Virgin Media 24th Oct to 21st Nov
Last 4 weeks of peak time speed performance for Virgin Media Consumer
Observed Daily Speeds at Peak Times for Virgin Media 24th Oct to 21st Nov

As with any observation a short period of change may or may not be a sign of a longer term trend, so it will be interesting to see how things develop for Virgin Media, it is possible that various capacity upgrades are finally having some impact.

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