Broadband News

Claims made that average download speed in Scotland is 70 Mbps

So what is your answer to the question about whether Scotland has an average download speed of 70.29 Mbps (9.09 Mbps upload)? We suspect that there will not be many hands going up, but the US based speed test service Ookla has published the results of its analysis for some six months speed test results covering Q3 and Q4 2017 and drawn this conclusion.

We can be very forthright and say we believe they have it wrong and as a speed test provider ourselves say that poorly researched analysis and failures to reality check results leads to many more of us being branded as unreliable indicators of consumer broadband performance by official bodies such as Ofcom.

Ofcom in its Connected Nation Report said Scotland had an average download speed of 42 Mbps and upload of 5 Mbps and remember that these figures are produced by analysis of reports from the operators giving connection speeds for all their customers. Hence why our Q4 2017 mean average for Scotland at 26.3 Mbps down (4.8 Mbps up) and median figures of 17.5 Mbps (3.2 Mbps up) are lower, ie. the difference between connection speed and speeds people observe on their devices.

So is an average download speed of 70 Mbps actually possible in Scotland? Well some analysts in the US believe so but with Ofcom stating superfast service take-up of 39% on Scotland (the rest will be on sub 30-24 Mbps services) then it looks impossible. In Q4 16% of the speed tests we saw in Scotland were from cable service based connections, 44% FTTC and 39% ADSL2+. Remember that the average for Virgin Media across the UK is reported by them as 69.86 Mbps.

Average speeds were even higher in places such as West Dunbartonshire - 99 Mbps, Inverclyde 97 Mbps, Falkirk 89 Mbps and this shows that the high speeds seem to be down to Virgin Media customers since those areas have high levels of coverage. We see better speeds with 40% of tests from cable customers giving a mean download of 59 Mbps in local authority.

Oddly the provider level speed test results exclude BT and looking at the figures for Plusnet it does not appear they have merged the BT results into the BT owned Plusnet by mistake.

The Ookla report shows some awareness of the UK in that it talks about the forthcoming ASA changes to broadband speeds in advertising but with its analysis showing that the average download speeds only dip 0.1% and upload speeds actually increased 1.6% they are basically saying that the new rule changes are not worth implementing. Though who believes that average speeds only dip 0.1% between 8pm and 10pm? Virgin Media showed a 0.4% dip, Plusnet 0.8% and the other providers a 0.1% increase, hence they conclude the peak time period does not significantly impact broadband download speeds.

Now we believe we know why the problem in Scotland occurs, and also why the peak time speeds show what they do and if Ookla wants to retain consulting services for us to explain we are happy to quote a per day price. What we will say for free is that from our social media monitoring it is not unusual for people to see speed test results above the actual connection speed for VDSL2 services on their tester and when we know for sure that providers are having network issues for test results to often show no evidence of this.


Just shows what you can do with ststs especially with a self selected sample. Maybe those with a slow speed can't make the ookla tester work on their lines due to the slow speed. ( Known of the same issue on here due to the Virgin ads load!)

  • jumpmum
  • 12 months ago

That's the problem with average (mean) speeds. If you had two regions, one where everyone has a solid 40/20 FTTC connection, the other with 20% on 300M cable and the rest slumming it on 8M ADSL1, the latter region appears more than 50% "faster" (66M average, versus 40M) - but it's clear which is really better for most people.

Dangerous in policy terms too: all too easy for the government to get gigabit service to a handful of urban centres and pat themselves on the back, rather than getting villages over the 8M mark which would actually do more good!

  • jas88
  • 12 months ago

Who will rid us of these spurious statistics? If none show their working (excepting good old reliable think broadband, of course, thank you), rural areas who have the biggest proportional need to benefit will never, ever, get out of the, er, bit...
Time to adopt proven tactics and our regulator to grow some to insist on core network install to the worst first, profitable cities and towns later. The time for macho short term for profit only is up,only the dinosaurs don't realize it yet.

  • Webbas
  • 12 months ago

Our best speed is 1.3Mbps......we'd be delighted if we got the promised 8Mbps......agree with jas88 and Webbas. What about a survey of all in Scotland who don't get enough to do streaming or FaceTime, etc? We pay the same as those you get up to 50 times better speed than us.

  • doonhamer
  • 12 months ago

Lived in Dundee all my life always had the fastest possible connection in the UK via Telewest communications / Blueyonder / Virgin Media. I have 330 mb VM fibre in my house have had it for now 8 months.

  • AngusBT
  • 11 months ago

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