Millions working from home and home schooling so how is broadband performing
The 10th March seems an eternity ago now when stories of a UK Internet meltdown started to appear. We have been looking closely at broadband performance both with our automated routines that have been running for a couple of years now and extra manual dips into the data and as yet UK broadband is yet to show any widespread meltdown.
The above graphic shows the average (median) download speed for BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, VirginMedia and Vodafone and it is pretty obvious that beyond the daily variations there has been no collapse in the speed test results people are recording in the last week. Virgin Media is well above the other providers, but this is to be expected with the product range starting at 100 Mbps and going all the way up to 1108 Mbps. BT and Vodafone are very similar because Vodafone stopped selling its ADSL2+ service shortly after entering the fixed line market and BT has been aggressively upgrading customers. TalkTalk, Sky and Plusnet are clustered together because they have very similar technology mixes, but if TalkTalk and Sky launch their Openreach FTTP products we can during the course of 2020 to see them leave Plusnet on its own.
The latest date on the chart is 23rd March with results up to 6pm included in the analysis and this covers the first day when millions are working from home in conjunction with lots of school children also at home.
Of course a single median average might be hiding dips for the fastest customers, so when we look at the data we also look at the decile and quartile speeds along with the mean average, additionally while not show here we also look at the upload speeds, number of tests (since an ISP with a big outage will have very few tests, followed by a surge in testing when it finally comes back) and whether our quality metric is varying widely.
The BT chart shows an incredibly boring business as usual pattern.
Of course past performance is no guarantee of future performance, but with the past history of networks handling large spikes from large game releases as people download their digital purchase (or free download) and major sporting events with large streaming audiences there is lots of experience of scaling broadband networks to cope.
At one time there will be a number of people having congestion problems, or other broadband faults, but what the data is telling us is that there is no sign of these problems being worse than usual.