Broadband News

Average peak time speeds for UK broadband services in October 2018

Having a broadband service that runs at full tilt during the hours when the majority of the population is asleep may suit a few people but the reality is that most of us want our broadband to perform well during the evenings. The period of 8pm to 10pm was settled upon by the ASA as the most representative for peak time performance and thus each month we now publish our analysis of speed tests carried out during that time window.

The quality score is based on looking at how stable the download speed is during a test, the purpose being that the lower the value the better the throughput was.

The table of results is a bit number heavy, but we hope that by providing both the median and mean averages along with indications of the range of speeds that people will be able to see how their own performance fits into the picture i.e. can be they happy that they are doing a lot better than many or is their anger at slow speeds justified by them being in the slowest chunk of users on a particular service.

Broadband Speeds for the most popular UK broadband packages during the 8pm to 10pm period in October 2018
Ordered by median download speed
All speeds are in Mbps - Mega bits per second
ProviderQualityDirectionSpeed of bottom 10%Speed of bottom 20%MedianMeanSpeed of Top 20%Speed of Top 10%
Virgin Media VIVID 200A (0.6)Down 68 81.5 111.4 141.1 208.2 214.5
    Up 11 12.1 15.6 16 20.7 21.3
Virgin Media VIVID 150A (0.7)Down 66.2 76.5 105.5 106 130.9 146.7
    Up 7.7 9.8 11.7 12 12.6 19.2
Virgin Media VIVID 100A (0.5)Down 27.3 37.6 59.2 65.7 103.3 108
    Up 5.5 5.6 5.9 6.6 7.3 9.9
EE Fibre Plus FTTC 80/20E (2.6)Down 38.5 41.7 56.4 55.7 68.6 72
Up 8.3 12 16.9 15.4 18.3 18.7
BT Superfast Fibre 2 FTTC 80/20A (0.2)Down 35.4 41.4 52.4 52.6 66.3 70.9
Up 9.8 10.8 15.9 14.9 18.2 18.6
Plusnet Fibre Extra FTTC 80/20A (0.3)Down 29.5 38.5 47.7 50.4 66.6 71.3
Up 7.1 9 13.7 13.1 17.9 18.4
TalkTalk Fibre Boost FTTC 80/20A (0.3)Down 36.8 38.8 47.6 50 64.5 70.3
    Up 7.5 9.8 15.9 14 18.2 18.5
Sky Fibre Max FTTC 80/20A (0.3)Down 35.7 39.6 46.8 49.4 59 67.4
    Up 8.3 9.8 15.4 14.2 18.2 18.5
BT Superfast 1 FTTP 55/10A (0.4)Down 9.2 16.7 35.7 32.8 49.3 50.6
Up 1.6 4.1 8.9 7.3 10.1 10.4
Virgin Media VIVID 70B (1.1)Down 12.9 15.9 30.2 34.6 55.3 63.3
    Up 3.7 3.9 4.7 4.5 5.3 5.4
Sky Fibre FTTC 40/10A (0.5)Down 10.7 15.2 25.7 24.2 33.5 36.3
    Up 2.6 3.6 5.9 5.7 7.9 8.4
TalkTalk Fibre FTTC 40/10A (0.5)Down 11.2 15.8 24.8 24.5 34.8 36.9
    Up 2 3.3 5.3 5.4 7.7 8.4
BT Superfast Fibre FTTC 55/10A (0.5)Down 11 15.5 24.6 26 37.1 42.8
    Up 2.2 3.3 5.1 5.3 7.6 8.6
Plusnet Fibre FTTC 40/10A (0.5)Down 11.9 15.1 24.6 24.1 33.7 35.9
    Up 2.4 3.3 5.5 5.4 7.5 8.4
Vodafone Superfast 1 FTTC 40/10A (0.6)Down 8.2 12.4 22.8 22.7 33.8 36.4
    Up 2.3 3.2 5.6 5.4 7.7 8.2
EE Fibre FTTC 40/10C (1.6)Down 8.5 12.9 22.7 22.1 31.7 35
    Up 2.1 3 5.1 5.2 7.3 8.2
Virgin Media VIVID 50B (1.0)Down 3.3 5.8 21.8 24.3 42.5 51.3
    Up 0.6 1.1 2.5 2.1 3 3.1
Sky ADSL2+A (0.7)Down 1 2.5 6.3 7.3 12.4 15.1
    Up 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.8 1
BT ADSL/ADSL2+B (0.9)Down 0.7 1.6 5.5 6.7 11.5 14.7
    Up 0.2 0.3 0.6 0.6 0.8 0.9
Plusnet ADSL/ADSL2+B (0.8)Down 0.4 1.5 5.2 6.7 11.8 14.5
    Up 0.2 0.3 0.6 0.6 0.8 0.9
TalkTalk ADSL2+B (0.8)Down 0.6 1.3 4.8 5.8 10.1 12.6
    Up 0.2 0.3 0.6 0.5 0.7 0.8
EE ADSL/ADSL2+B (1.1)Down 0.8 1.7 4.7 6.1 11 14.4
    Up 0.2 0.3 0.6 0.6 0.9 0.9
EE ADSL/ADSL2+B (0.8)Down 1 2 5.7 6.8 11.7 14.1
Up 0.2 0.4 0.7 0.6 0.8 0.9
Post Office ADSL2+A (0.6)Down 1.3 1.6 4.5 6.4 11.4 14.9
    Up 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.7 0.7

No surprise that Virgin Media sits at the top of the table, the advantage of a DOCSIS network where cabinets are located close enough to customers that there is no distance drop off over the coax cable. The downside seems to be that if you want 100 Mbps at peak times you need to buy the next product up the range and it is worth highlighting that the slowest service VIVID 50 actually seems to have the most variable speeds during a test so those on a tight budget may be seeing the biggest impact from the shared nature of consumer broadband connections.

The EE FTTC 80/20 service is a bit of a surprise but while it hits the right notes in terms of speed figures the quality figure reflects a large underlying problem that we still need to highlight. A speed test that showcases the problem is this 73.5 Mbps down, 15.3 Mbps up with a quality score of 1.3 and you can see that it is taking a long time to reach the maximum speed. We know this is not a VDSL2 problem as the ADSL service and even the G.fast service has the same problem, plus by being a problem across different platforms also suggests it is not linked to the version of hardware EE supply, unless the same configuration tweak is present in them all. The effect for EE customers is that web pages may feel slow to load but after a pause speed up and streaming video may have a longer period of buffering compared to comparable services with other providers.

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