Broadband News

Average peak time speeds for UK broadband providers in June 2018

It is that time to look at the average speeds we have recorded for the more popular broadband products from our speed test and the testers running on our various partner websites. The choice of the 8pm to 10pm as a peak time window is down to the changes in how broadband speeds are advertised, i.e. the ASA says providers should show their speeds during this time window and that the median speed should be shown. We go beyond the ASA requirements, adding the mean average and also the speed of the top and bottom 10%.

In theory there should be very little variation in the speeds we report each month for the various broadband services, that is so long as a provider does not have a bandwidth meltdown and we continue to see a good cross section of the customers on a service.

Remember these figures are for June, and while there was less of the predictions that the World Cup would break the Internet during and preceding the tournament we did have have one or two days when our alert system flagged an average more than two standard deviations away from the average for some providers for a short time but these cleared quickly therefore when we look at the result for July in a months time we are not expecting July to shift greatly.

Broadband Speeds for the most popular UK broadband packages during the 8pm to 10pm period in June 2018
Ordered by median download speed
All speeds are in Mbps - Mega bits per second
ProviderQualityDirectionSpeed of bottom 10%MedianMeanSpeed of Top 10%
Virgin Media VIVID 200A (0.7)Down 68.5 179.5 153.5 215.1
    Up 11.1 13.1 15.1 21.3
Virgin Media VIVID 150B (0.8)Down 62.4 100.1 104.7 150.5
    Up 8.4 11.7 11.6 12.8
BT Superfast Fibre 2 (FTTP 80/20)A (0.2)Down 36.1 60.6 58.6 72.9
Up 13.2 19.3 18.2 21.2
BT Superfast Fibre 2 (FTTC 80/20)A (0.2)Down 38.9 53.3 54.2 72.2
Up 9.9 16.5 15.4 18.8
Virgin Media VIVID 100A (0.6)Down 23.9 51.5 61 105.9
    Up 5.6 5.9 6.8 10.6
Plusnet Fibre Extra (FTTC 80/20)A (0.3)Down 38.4 50.3 52.8 69.5
Up 8.2 15.3 13.8 18.3
Vodafone Superfast 2 (FTTC 80/20)A (0.4)Down 22.1 47.4 47.8 69.1
    Up 10 16.2 14.9 18
TalkTalk Fibre Plus (FTTC 80/20)A (0.3)Down 29 45.6 48.5 72.2
    Up 7.6 14.9 13.8 18.4
Sky Fibre Pro (FTTC 80/20)A (0.4)Down 30.5 42.5 45.6 64.4
Up 8.1 13.8 13.6 18.4
Virgin Media 70B (1.1)Down 13.3 32.1 36.5 70.8
    Up 3.7 4.7 4.6 5.4
BT Superfast Fibre (FTTC 55/10)A (0.5)Down 10.5 26.1 26.8 44.9
    Up 2.1 5.3 5.4 8.7
Plusnet Fibre (FTTC 40/10)A (0.5)Down 11.8 25.3 24.5 36.8
    Up 2.3 4.9 5.2 8.2
EE Fibre (FTTC 40/10)C (1.6)Down 8.2 24.7 23.2 35.9
    Up 2.4 5.2 5.4 8.4
TalkTalk Fibre (FTTC 40/10)A (0.5)Down 8.2 23.8 22.9 36.3
    Up 2.4 5.2 5.4 8.4
Sky Fibre (FTTC 40/10)A (0.5)Down 10.4 23.2 22.5 35
    Up 2.5 5.7 5.6 8.3
Vodafone Superfast 1 (FTTC 40/10)A (0.7)Down 9.6 21.3 22.6 36.6
    Up 2.3 5.5 5.4 8.1
Virgin Media 50B (1.1)Down 1.7 17.5 22.1 52.3
    Up 0.5 2.5 2.1 3.1
Plusnet ADSL/ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 0.7 5.8 6.7 15.7
    Up 0.3 0.6 0.6 0.9
Sky ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 1 5.6 6.8 14.8
Up 0.3 0.6 0.6 1.0
EE ADSL/ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 0.5 5.3 6.8 14.8
    Up 0.3 0.7 0.6 0.9
BT ADSL/ADSL2+A (0.7)Down 0.7 5 6.3 14.2
    Up 0.3 0.5 0.6 0.9
TalkTalk ADSL2+A (0.7)Down 0.6 4.5 6.0 13.9
    Up 0.2 0.6 0.5 0.8

The median speeds we are seeing continue to be well below what the providers are using in their adverts and this is thought to be down to a mixture of factors such as so many people using Wi-Fi in the home, people running tests when they notice they have a problem and on the other side we suspect that the sampling of locations used to create the average the ISP uses may be slightly skewed towards the good lines i.e. slightly shorter and not in congested areas. Some of the skewing in the ISP figures also down to taking an average for an individual across a month, then impact of one nights terrible performance will be swamped by the 27 to 30 days of otherwise good performance, but the perception from the owner of that connection would be that the bad day will be remembered and is more likely to appear in our results.

The addition of the full fibre (FTTP) BT Superfast 2 service shows a 7.3 Mbps improvement on the median compared to the VDSL2 service, which gives some idea of the impact VDSL2 line lengths have on the average speeds. Another way of looking at the average speeds is to only include results where the result was good or clean, i.e. a grade A quality score (grade A means the connection got to its top speed very quickly and sustained that for the 8 seconds of the test), this eliminates most Wi-Fi based tests but also removes congestion issues (congestion could be ISP based or caused by another device in the home using the line at that time). In the case of the BT Superfast 1 FTTP service the clean median is 70.6 Mbps and for VDSL2 it is 57.2 Mbps, which highlights the benefits of full fibre i.e. no line length issues. The clean figures are based on the 24 hour period, rather than confined to the 8pm to 10pm so not the same time period and so while a very small part of the improvement is probably down to including off-peak results, the differences do highlight how easily we could report higher figures rather than the straightforward observations.

We are starting to see a small number of G.fast speed tests from EE and TalkTalk customers in addition to the BT customers, but the numbers remain too low to feature in the tables and similar with many of the other full fibre (FTTP) services.

A final figure to share, Virgin Media is deploying FTTP as part of its Project Lightning roll-out, and while we don't specifically call out this figure in our coverage statistics we do attempt to spot the FTTP areas which are using RFOG. For Virgin Media customers the product choice is no different, but there is an interesting observation from the speed test results, the FTTP areas saw a median average of 60.2 Mbps in Q2 2018 versus 51.4 Mbps for the standard DOCSIS areas. This difference is we suspect not down to any technology differences but is likely to be down to those buying Virgin Media being more likely to buy a 100 Mbps or faster option, whereas the old DOCSIS area suffers from more people on slower legacy products, plus it is possible that the new areas may see less congestion.

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