Popularity of different broadband technologies in Q1 2020
Each quarter we take a look at the technology split we see in terms of speed tests being run. This information helps to give an idea of what is happening beyond the ever positive PR or lack of PR in some cases around what the public is buying in terms of broadband.
The UK trend chart holds no big surprises for Q1 2020, the pattern of people switching from ADSL/ADSL2+ to FTTC or FTTP continues and the flat performance of cable broadband after a few years of decline suggests that Liberty Global with its Project Lightning is winning customers in new areas but may be shedding them to competitors in older areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic while starting in Q1 2020 was too late in the quarter to have a visible impact, but it will be interesting to see if there is observable effect at the end of Q2 2020. The theory suggests that with social distancing measures and providers hiding some full fibre products that the rise in the FTTP line may flatten.
Any negative impact from COVID-19 that may eventually appear in the Q2 2020 figures might be trumped by a rush of people to upgrade to full fibre where available once lockdown restrictions are eased. Though with lots of people on furlough and worried about their monthly outgoings the rush to full fibre might be restricted to those working from home and chasing more speed or a second connection so that working from home becomes easier.
Cornwall as a county is further down the full fibre path with 1 in 5 speed tests over full fibre infrastructure compared to just under 1 in 20 in the UK but with a mean download speed of just 32.9 Mbps and mean upload of 7.7 Mbps still has an unusually slow set of speeds from Q1 2020. So while there are lots of people using FTTP it does not guarantee high speeds in league tables the reason being that only a small number have purchased a service faster than 76 Mbps, across the county just 3% of speed tests were over 76 Mbps. The gulf between the observed speeds and what is possible even in a County where superfast coverage is only 93.1% is that if every one purchased the fastest possible connection the mean download would be around 398 Mbps.
This small percentage buying the 160 Mbps and faster FTTP services was something we expected to start changing during 2020 as the prices have come down such that even before allowing for inflation you can get a 500 Mbps service for the same price that 0.5 Mbps broadband launched at two decades ago.
Our general rule is that a households needs around 10 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload per resident to be happy with their broadband connection (faults excepted). So we are watching to see if in Q2 we see a noticable shift from entry level 40/10 type VDSL2 services to the faster 80/20 product for those it will give a speed boost to and once orders are being taken again whether those with an FTTP option will upgrade much sooner.
If there are any two council areas people would like to see the similar graphs for then let us know in the comments, we may well do short news items so people can see the change over time and why this means in various league tables the areas are placed where they are.