Broadband News

Broadband speeds for broadband services at peak times

There are just six weeks to go until a big shake-up will take place in how broadband package speeds are advertised. The ASA/CAP changes requiring adverts for broadband (which includes listings and product pages) to include a peak time median average speed for the service between 8pm and 10pm are designed to help highlight the performance of different services at the time of day the majority of the public are actually using the service.

The big unknown is exactly what the providers are going to use for figures, in the past it was pretty simple, as ADSL2+ invariably appeared as up to 17 Mbps and the basic VDSL2 services as up to 38 Mbps, but since the new system is meant to be based on testing of throughput rather than connection speed there are going to be a lot more variations.

With the first quarter of 2018 now over we can share the results from our monitoring of broadband speed tests and compared to our last round-up in March the wider period of a quarter lets us add a couple of packages that were otherwise missing.

The analysis since it is a full end to end test will include the influence of the performance of Wi-Fi and therefore we do expect providers to use higher figures, but given the large amount of access to the broadband that is over Wi-Fi including that element in any analysis is important to the overall picture and where providers supply flaky or sub-standard wireless routers our results should reflect that.

Broadband Speeds for a number of UK Internet Service Providers during the 8pm to 10pm period during Q1 2018
Ordered Alphabetically
All speeds are in Mbps - Mega bits per second
ProviderQualityDirectionSpeed of bottom 10%MedianSpeed of Top 10%
BT ADSL/ADSL2+A (0.7)Down 0.8 4.9 14.3
    Up 0.2 0.5 0.9
BT Infinity 1 up to 52 Mbps FTTCA (0.6)Down 10.5 25.7 44.2
    Up 2.1 5.2 8.6
BT Infinity 1 up to 52 Mbps FTTPA (0.7)Down 9.2 28 48.4
Up 2.4 6.5 10.1
BT Infinity 2 up to 76 Mbps FTTCA (0.3)Down 36.1 54 72.2
    Up 9.9 15.9 18.5
BT Infinity 2 up to 76 Mbps FTTPA (0.4)Down 38.5 60.5 73.3
Up 12.5 19.6 21.2
EE ADSL/ADSL2+B (0.8)Down 0.7 5.2 14.8
    Up 0.2 0.7 1.0
EE Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTCC (1.7)Down 10.7 24.4 34.6
    Up 2.3 5.1 8.3
EE Fibre up to 76 Mbps FTTCC (1.6)Down 30.6 49 68.2
Up 9.4 16 18.8
Plusnet ADSL/ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 1.0 5.6 15
    Up 0.3 0.6 0.9
Plusnet Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTCA (0.5)Down 10.1 24.1 36.5
    Up 2 5 8.2
Plusnet Fibre Extra up to 76 Mbps FTTCA (0.2)Down 36.1 51.6 71.8
    Up 7.9 15 18.3
Sky ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 1.3 5.7 14.3
    Up 0.3 0.6 0.9
Sky Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTCA (0.6)Down 10.8 23.1 34.7
    Up 2.4 5.5 8.4
Sky Fibre Pro up to 76 Mbps FTTCA (0.5)Down 32.4 46.6 66.0
    Up 6.4 12 18.2
TalkTalk ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 0.9 5.6 13.2
    Up 0.3 0.6 0.8
TalkTalk Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTCA (0.6)Down 10.1 22.6 36
    Up 2.3 5.2 8.4
TalkTalk Fibre up to 76 Mbps FTTCA (0.4)Down 34.4 46.1 68.3
Up 6.7 14.2 18.2
Virgin Media up to 50 Mbps CableC (1.2)Down 2.2 19.3 52.9
    Up 0.7 2.4 3.1
Virgin Media up to 100 Mbps CableB (0.9)Down 18.4 49.6 98.7
    Up 4.0 5.7 10.7
Virgin Media up to 200 Mbps CableB (1.0)Down 58.9 129.5 198.5
    Up 9.7 12.2 19.1
Virgin Media up to 350 Mbps CableB (1.1)Down 66.0 218.6 319.2
Up 12.3 21 22
Vodafone ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 0.2 4.5 13.9
    Up 0.3 0.6 1.0
Vodafone up to 38 Mbps FTTCA (0.7)Down 7.9 21.3 34.9
    Up 2.2 5.5 8.2
Vodafone up to 76 Mbps FTTCA (0.4)Down 22.2 42.5 64.6
Up 9.4 13.6 17.6

EE stands out with regards to its quality measure and this looks to be down to a pattern for lots of users where to reach the median speed we record it is taking a couple of seconds. The potential impact of this may not be noticeable on text heavy web sites but as more adopt large hero images and background images users may find that some sites feel less responsive.

Virgin Media while often near the top of the speed tables can be a bit of a marmite provider, i.e. when it is working and you are in an uncogested area then the service is brilliant, but if an area sees congestion issues some have found that switching to slower FTTC based services can actually give a better user experience.

Our speed test is designed to try and be more reflective of actual use, hence for an individual test we show the median speed as the average result, this median speed figure is what feeds into any our broadband speed analysis too. Some other speed tests show more of a top quartile or even higher peak speed for the result which while it may be good for bragging may not be a real reflection of sustained performance.

Comments

I wonder if you have enough infor to provide an additional statistic to these, as you appear to collect it from speedtests, which would be the changes in latency, idle, download, upload and how they are affected over the course of the day, i.e. for example being a Vermin Media customer means come peak time, and if you have a Hub3 you can kiss goodbye to being able to be competitive in gaming, but once peak hours are over it becomes possible again. The whole Intel Puma 6 chipset issue is being swept under the rug by Virgin quietly and they're being allowed to get away with it by the media/Ofcom

  • LudaLuke
  • 8 months ago

More and more, in much the way download speed was and still is king to advertising broadband, I can see latency becoming a battleground of ISPs because how much do they REALLY have to differentiate themselves from one another, other than if they have a bandwidth cap or support levels? I'd love to see BT teasing VM about their woeful gaming performance despite having sold a 'gamer package' which was fraud in and of itself when they're shipping the Hub3 2 years after they were told during their trials of it about the issues with the latency caused by the chipset...350+ pages on their own forum

  • LudaLuke
  • 8 months ago

Latency is variable based on your location in the UK, hence why for the 2 hour window we don't cover it and the latency from speed test is not ICMP based so should not be affected by SH3 Puma6 unless that is also messing TCP packets too.

Q1 though in 8pm to 10pm window
Virgin 50 55ms
Vivid 100 45ms
Vivid 200 38ms
Vivid 350 34ms

Across the board 8-10ms better than in Q1 2017

March anytime
Virgin 50 52ms
Vivid 100 42ms
Vivid 200 36ms
Vivid 350 32ms

https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/map-tech has masses more info to the postcode area level

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 8 months ago

@Andrew
Interesting stats on latency in your above post. They look pretty poor to me but could you add the comparable info for one or two of the other major ISPs to make a fair judgment on this?

  • New_Londoner
  • 8 months ago

BT Infinity Peak 42ms 24/7 37ms
EE FTTC Peak 45ms 24/7 41ms
PlusNet FTTC Peak 43ms 24/7 39ms
Sky FTTC Peak 53ms 24/7 45ms
TalkTalk FTTC Peak 46ms 24/7 42ms
Vodafone FTTC Peak 46ms 24/7 42ms

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 8 months ago

Hi Broadband Watchers.
From the above results BT gives the best over all service on congestion 24/7.

  • Blackmamba
  • 8 months ago

i'm with plusnet & regularly have much higher latency, just did a speed test & it was 60ms, sometimes it has been over 400ms!
everyone always tells me it makes no difference...?

  • susancliff
  • 8 months ago

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