Peak time speeds for UK broadband providers in April 2018
The new rules around speeds in broadband advertising are due to be active on 23rd May and while a few providers have started to use their figures there are some where speeds are now strangely absent from their pages i.e. they will rely on descriptive language rather than quote any advertised speed and therefore rely on the personalised estimate which will always trump any advert.
There is some confusion over what speeds should be used in adverts and all the talk around the change in the ASA rules was that the speed advertised should be the speed that 50% or more are able to obtain, which translates into the median value. The median speed is generally a better measure but even then it can hide massive ranges of speed, hence why we usually include information that helps to show the spread of speeds e.g. bottom 10%, 20% or 25%. We are adding the mean speed to our table so people can see what sort of difference it makes, though in a number of cases it is very similar to the median.
In April we published our analysis from Q1 2018, but the intention going forward is to publish monthly results which may feature less providers due to sample size restrictions and then as each new quarter starts we will publish a larger quarterly round-up. If providers are missing and they are keen to get an idea of their figures we also do have an annual set of analysis, which may have enough samples to allow sharing.
|Broadband Speeds for a number of UK Internet Service Providers during the 8pm to 10pm period during April 2018|
All speeds are in Mbps - Mega bits per second
|Provider||Quality||Direction||Speed of bottom 10%||Median||Mean||Speed of Top 10%|
|BT ADSL/ADSL2+||A (0.7)||Down||0.8||4.8||6.3||15.2|
|BT Infinity 1 up to 52 Mbps FTTC||A (0.4)||Down||11.1||27.5||27.6||45.7|
|BT Infinity 1 up to 52 Mbps FTTP||A (0.5)||Down||5.1||37.4||32.9||50.9|
|BT Infinity 2 up to 76 Mbps FTTC||A (0.3)||Down||35.7||55.5||54.3||71.4|
|BT Infinity 2 up to 76 Mbps FTTP||A (0.4)||Down||29||56.7||55.1||71.8|
|EE ADSL/ADSL2+||A (0.6)||Down||0.6||6.2||6.7||14.2|
|EE Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTC||C (1.5)||Down||7.9||22.7||22.4||35.5|
|EE Fibre up to 76 Mbps FTTC||E (2.7)||Down||28.3||42.6||45.5||64.7|
|Plusnet ADSL/ADSL2+||A (0.5)||Down||0.6||5.6||6.8||14.8|
|Plusnet Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTC||A (0.6)||Down||10||25.6||24.7||36.5|
|Plusnet Fibre Extra up to 76 Mbps FTTC||A (0.3)||Down||30||46.9||48.7||68.5|
|Post Office ADSL/ADSL2+||B (1.0)||Down||0.9||4.4||5.7||13.4|
|Sky ADSL2+||A (0.7)||Down||1.1||5||6.4||14.4|
|Sky Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTC||A (0.6)||Down||10||23.5||22.9||35.1|
|Sky Fibre Pro up to 76 Mbps FTTC||A (0.5)||Down||30||46.5||47.6||68.3|
|TalkTalk ADSL2+||A (0.5)||Down||0.7||5.4||6.3||13.4|
|TalkTalk Fibre up to 38 Mbps FTTC||A (0.6)||Down||9||22.8||23||36.5|
|TalkTalk Fibre up to 76 Mbps FTTC||A (0.3)||Down||28.1||45.2||47.4||69.9|
|Virgin Media up to 50 Mbps Cable||B (0.9)||Down||1.8||20||23.2||52.2|
|Virgin Media up to 100 Mbps Cable||B (0.8)||Down||18.8||48.3||53.6||99.3|
|Virgin Media up to 200 Mbps Cable||B (0.8)||Down||51.5||121.3||121.8||192|
|Virgin Media up to 350 Mbps Cable||A(0.5)||Down||69.5||156.9||162.3||249.1|
|Vodafone ADSL2+||A (0.7)||Down||0.5||3.8||5.9||13|
|Vodafone up to 38 Mbps FTTC||A (0.7)||Down||6.3||24||23||36.1|
|Vodafone up to 76 Mbps FTTC||A (0.2)||Down||27.4||48.2||48.6||66.4|
The publication of the recent Ofcom analysis also included some information on the products tested for each provider and highlighted that some providers such as Virgin Media has a large range of legacy products, so in addition to the advertised 50, 100, 200 and 350 Mbps tiers there are still significant numbers on a 120/12, 150/10, 10 and 12 Mbps variants of the 200 Mbps service, 60/6 and 70/5 services. Since we don't have the ability to absolutely confirm the service someone is on the result is that our analysis of the Virgin Media up to 100 Mbps service will include the 60 and 70 Mbps download customers too, which explains a lot of the difference. For the majority of broadband providers this is not a problem but it appears with Virgin Media a lot of people are refusing speed upgrade offers so we end up with a wide spread of products.
We have been tracking daily speed test results for the largest UK broadband providers for some time, so given the situation over legacy products for Virgin Media we thought it worth sharing a plot of the 10 to 90% download speed range along with median download and upload speeds for the full period we are holding which is 1st August 2017 through to 13th May 2018.
Looking at the graph we have highlighted a few rough dates e.g. around the end of September 2017 something changed that introduced more variation in the top 10% speed each day and from that point on through November, December and January there was a general trend for the median and top 10% speed to improve. Around the end of March 2018 one can see there appears to be the start of a small downward trend in both the top 10% and median download values. When time allows we may look at extending this analysis further back in time e.g. if we go back to the time when Virgin Media was doing free speed upgrades it may be possible to tie changes in the trend to those dates. One worry we do have is that maybe Virgin Media is timing capacity upgrades each year to target the Ofcom November testing period so we are wondering whether this 'better' period will exist in other years between September and January.
Update 2:10pm We have run the 8pm to 10pm analysis now back all the way to 2010 and as the Virgin Media chart below shows the change we noted around the end of September 2017 is not a regular feature.
By going back to 2010 you can actually see the effect of the various speed upgrades that Virgin Media used to do on a regular basis, though since 2014 things were pretty stable until September 2017. The two major dips in March and May 2017 were down to major problems with Virgin Media on those couple of days.
To help illustrate the effect of any changes we have made in speed test technology e.g. back in 2010 we still used Java and in 2014 the shift towards the current technology away from flash resulted in a range of daily blips evident across different providers.
We kept the analysis restricted to the peak time period of 8pm to 10pm so that all the charts were consistent. The big difference between BT and Virgin Media is that Virgin Media has kept its speed titles by the various speed upgrades over the years whereas for BT the bulk of the growth over time is not from free upgrades but the public electing to upgrade to the VDSL2 service from ADSL or ADSL2+.