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.