Broadband News

Streaming, peak and off-peak broadband performance for largest UK providers in March 2019

The provider everyone has been watching which is Vodafone Home Broadband with its mainly FTTC/VDSL2 customer base shows marginally better figures this month for the difference between the single download and multiple download speed tests, but there is a still a big gap between them and other LLU competitors such as Sky and TalkTalk.

The importance of the tbbx1 streaming test is that it simulates your performance when watching streamed video and if this figure is low it may increase the amount of buffering you see and once you see figures dropping below 5 Mbps you are likely to be moaning about a blocky video.

Off-Peak Tests Results March 2019
Off-Peak defined as midnight to 5.59pm
Median Average
Providertbbx1 Streaming Test
(1 download)
Multiple Download Test
% difference
download tests
Upload SpeedQuality
Lower value is Better
Grade A = Best
BT 34.9 Mbps 38.8 Mbps -10.1% 8.5 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 33ms
EE 17.2 Mbps 21.4 Mbps -19.6% 4.7 Mbps 0.9 Grade B 42ms
Plusnet 25.9 Mbps 28.7 Mbps -9.8% 5.6 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 41ms
Sky 22.5 Mbps 29.2 Mbps -22.9% 6.3 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 37ms
TalkTalk 19.7 Mbps 26.0 Mbps -24.2% 4.6 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 46ms
Virgin Media 57.2 Mbps 92.9 Mbps -38.4% 7.4 Mbps 0.9 Grade B 37ms
Vodafone Home Broadband 20.7 Mbps 33.9 Mbps -38.9% 7.6 Mbps 0.7 Grade A 39ms
Zen Internet 31.7 Mbps 37 Mbps -17.9% 10.1 Mbps 0.3 Grade A 33ms

The quality score is looking at how stable the download speed is during the multiple download test. The observant will notice that we have moved from using six downloads to eight downloads, which in theory should give the speed test an even bigger slice of the bandwidth pie if there is congestion during a test, though looking at the figures this has made little to no difference.

Peak Tests Results March 2019
Peak time defined as 6pm to 11:59pm
Median Average
Providertbbx1 Streaming Test
(1 download)
Multiple Download Test
% difference
between download tests
Upload SpeedQuality
Lower value is Better
Grade A = Best
BT 35.7 Mbps 40.6 Mbps -12.1% 9.1 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 32ms
EE 16.2 Mbps 19 Mbps -14.7%

3.9 Mbps

1.0 Grade B 48ms
Plusnet 25.9 Mbps 30.1 Mbps -14.0% 5.7 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 40ms
Sky 19.8 Mbps 28.2Mbps -29.8% 6.0 Mbps 0.5 Grade A


TalkTalk 18.6 Mbps 24.1 Mbps -22.8% 4.5 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 47ms
Virgin Media 55.7 Mbps 91.7 Mbps -39.2% 7.6 Mbps 0.9 Grade B


Vodafone Home Broadband 16.4 Mbps 30.7 Mbps -46.6% 7.1 Mbps 0.7 Grade A 40ms
Zen Internet 31.7 Mbps 37 Mbps -14.3% 9.1 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 36ms

As we mentioned further up the quality score is based on the multiple download performance and is essentially the variance for the download speed during the test period, so the less variance the better i.e. an ideal speed test will reach the maximum speed within 100ms of the test start and hold that speed for the full 8 to 12 seconds of the test.

We do not split providers based on the technology used for delivery as the differences between the two download tests is more of a test of the core network capabilities rather than the last mile connection.


Could we see some of the small high-end providers in another report, in order to see how they live up to their claims or our expectations?

  • CecilWard
  • about 1 year ago

Without compromising sample size not possible.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

Nice journal terribly fascinating and helpful info on your website. Thanks for sharing the journal and this nice info that is certainly about to facilitate us.

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  • Dedicatedhost
  • about 1 year ago

I am with a "small high end provider" (FTTP). Truespeed.
210.57 Down
201.07 Up

Truespeed promised 200Mbps and have consistently delivered that or sometimes more. as much as 220 Down.
Been installed for approaching a year, two engineering outages only in the early days. Good communication by text to my mobile when that took place.
The relief to be away from BT is worth paying a little more for.

  • pheon
  • about 1 year ago

Why do BT always have top speeds? Is it because others do not pay for pipe size necessary? or is it their routers/switches etc?
Also as suggested by Cecilward above, is it not possible to occasionally run a smaller sample size, to see how some of the other providers do? I fully appreciate it would not be as accurate but it would be an interesting comparison.

  • ukwoody
  • about 1 year ago

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