Broadband News

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

Three mobile is becoming more popular due in part to the 4G Home service and now that the 5G version has been launched it is time to start sharing our insight into the differences we see between peak time and off-peak performance using our speed test. We introduced EE mobile when sharing the June 2019 results a month ago and again we would caution that the sample size for the mobile services is at the low end of what we consider reliable but as more people are using these services as fixed line replacements it is time to share what information we do have.

Off-Peak Tests Results July 2019
Off-Peak defined as midnight to 5.59pm
Median Average
Provider

tbbx1 Streaming Test
(1 download)

Median 

Multiple Download Test
(8 downloads)

Median

% difference
between
download tests

Upload Speed

Median

Quality
Lower value is Better
Grade A = Best
Latency
BT 30.9 Mbps 36.2 Mbps -14.6% 7.3 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 40ms
EE 25.7 Mbps 30.4 Mbps -15.5% 6.1 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 43ms
EE Mobile 3G/4G/5G 29.3 Mbps 31.6 Mbps -10.4% 6.8 Mbps 1.2 Grade C 58ms
Plusnet 24.7 Mbps 26.9 Mbps -8.2% 4.9 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 43ms
Sky 20.4 Mbps 26.7 Mbps -23.6% 5.5 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 44ms
TalkTalk 18.7 Mbps 25.0 Mbps -25.2% 4.5 Mbps 0.3 Grade A 49ms
Three 3G/4G 12.1Mbps 16.9 Mbps -28.4% 4.1 Mbps 1.4 Grade C 85ms
Virgin Media 52.7 Mbps 87.9 Mbps -40.0% 6.3 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 38ms
Vodafone Home Broadband 25.0 Mbps 31.4 Mbps -20.4% 6.7 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 43ms
Zen Internet 38.7 Mbps 42.2 Mbps -8.3% 10.8 Mbps 0.2 Grade A 34ms

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 July 2019
Peak time defined as 6pm to 11:59pm
Median Average
Provider

tbbx1 Streaming Test
(1 download)

Median

Multiple Download Test
(8 downloads)

Median

% difference
between download tests

Upload Speed

Median

Quality
Lower value is Better
Grade A = Best
Latency
BT 29.6 Mbps 35.1 Mbps -15.7% 7.0 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 41ms
EE 20.4 Mbps 27.2 Mbps -25% 4.8 Mbps 0.7 Grade A 50ms
EE Mobile 3G/4G/5G 21.5 Mbps 23 Mbps -6.5% 5.1 Mbps 1.3 Grade C 74ms
Plusnet 22.1 Mbps 27.1 Mbps -18.5% 5.0 Mbps 0.6 Grade A 45ms
Sky 19.0 Mbps 27.7Mbps -31.4% 5.5 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 46ms
TalkTalk 18.1 Mbps 23.1 Mbps -21.6% 4.1 Mbps 0.4 Grade A 49ms
Three 3G/4G 8.9 Mbps 15.5 Mbps -42.6% 4.1 Mbps 1.3 Grade C 90ms
Virgin Media 50.9 Mbps 81.8 Mbps -37.8% 6.8 Mbps 0.7 Grade A 40ms
Vodafone Home Broadband 20.7 Mbps 29.7 Mbps -30.3% 6.5 Mbps 0.5 Grade A 44ms
Zen Internet 35.1 Mbps 37 Mbps -5.1% 9.4 Mbps 0.2 Grade A 37ms

As this is covering the month of July the Three results are flagged as 3G/4G the August results will add the 5G moniker. The two mobile services look comparable to the fixed line providers if you ignore the quality and small TCP packet latency figures, with the grade C score on quality reflecting the level of variance seen during the tests. The 5G roll-outs from EE, Vodafone and Three are still too small to make a big difference to the median results as yet.

Overall no big surprises this month, EE keeps its improved quality score and Vodafone Home Broadband is behaving at a similar level to the other LLU operators who use their own backhaul. Zen Internet uses a mixture of its own backhaul links and the BT Wholesale network and continues to showcase what is possible and helping to highlight that the peak time drops are generally not down to the last mile access technology (i.e. ADSL/ADSL2+/VDSL2/G.fast or FTTP) but due to how providers operate their backhaul links and core network. 

For those wanting to test on their mobile the main speed test will of course work, but what many may not know is that on a mobile or tablet if you use the https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest link you can pin this to your home screen. Another option is a version that will utilise geo-location to determine the closest postcode and if you keep the webpage open at the completion of a test will perform another test automatically after 15 minutes. 

 

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