Broadband News

The 10 fastest and 10 slowest upload speed parts of the UK

2020 has been the year when video conferences became a daily ritual for some as the work from home lifestyle has been forced on millions due to the pandemic. This means that upload speeds often neglected became a lot more important, along with figuring out how to get an Ethernet cable to the place used as the temporary work desk.

Video conferencing needs around 1 Mbps of upload to send your audio and video but a stream of 2 Mbps will provide a much better picture. The amount of data being downloaded from watching everyone elses streams also comes into effect, and having spare capacity so that you can open.a web page or check email without causing your video to stutter is important too. This means around 10 Mbps down and 2 Mbps upload is the minimum to be comfortable and of course if multiple people online in a home at the same time, more would be preferred.

We published our Q3 2020 speed test results once the quarter ended and the full set of UK councils can be browsed in a single table at https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/councils but we want to focus today on upload speeds and highlight the good and bad areas.

Top 10 UK council areas based on median upload speed

Council Area Link to full council coverage and speed info Bottom 20% Median Mean Top 20%
City of Kingston upon Hull E06000010 1.6 13.7 16.3 29.5
Tower Hamlets E09000030 2.2 13.1 64.1 117.5
City and County of the City of London E09000001 1.4 13.1 26.5 45
City of Westminster E09000033 0.9 10.5 58.6 65.4
Stevenage District E07000243 5.4 9.8 12.5 19.2
Milton Keynes E06000042 2.2 9.7 23.5 22.2
Brent E09000005 3.3 9.5 26.9 18.6
Wandsworth E09000032 2 9.3 36.3 23.4
Epsom and Ewell District E07000208 2.6 9.3 14.9 19.2
Hillingdon E09000017 2.6 9.3 11.8 17.7

Bottom 10 UK council areas based on median upload speed

Council Area Link to full council coverage and speed info Bottom 20% Median Mean Top 20%
South Holland District E07000140 0.7 3.8 7.5 9.8
Highland S12000017 0.6 3.8 5.9 9
South Hams District E07000044 0.7 3.7 7.5 9.7
Mid Devon District E07000042 0.7 3.7 6.4 9.7
Shetland Islands S12000027 0.6 3.6 5.4 10.7
Argyll and Bute S12000035 0.5 3.5 5.3 8.4
Mid Ulster N09000009 0.6 3.3 6.4 9.8
Orkney Islands S12000023 0.4 2.5 4.9 8.7
Fermanagh and Omagh N09000006 0.5 2.3 5.2 7.9
Powys - Powys W06000023 0.6 2 6.3 10.3

We have included the mean speeds as particularly in the top 10 areas you can see the impact of the number of people who are able to enjoy much higher upload speeds. By including an indication of the range of speeds i.e. the speed of the bottom 20% and top 20% you can also see extra information about an area e.g. Westminster clearly has a good number of people who are enjoying high speeds but the speed of the bottom 20% is very much an ADSL2+ upload speed.

Raw speeds are not the only factor for things like zoom calls, and it only takes one burst of packet loss in an otherwise perfect day to ruin an important meeting or job interview. This means if you have decent speeds are video streaming is stuttering and it is not a PC performance issue (e.g. very old computer where CPU is running at 100% during a call) and your download and upload speeds are good then upgrading to higher speed tier with the same provider and technology will probably not help. For those with slower speeds adding a second line at home can help, as you can dedicate one to business use, of course this adds to your monthly costs.

Speed test results of course reflect what people are buying, using and also testing with, so it is possible for an area to have 100% availability of a symmetric 200 Mbps service and see no speed tests, or what tends to happen in practice is we see some users who have took the trouble to plug in an ethernet cable getting good results and for the other 4 out of 5 results are dependent on the Wi-Fi performance.

Powys is a very good example of the buying and using, in Q3 we identified 47.9% of tests as being ADSL or ADSL2+ based, 39.1% using FTTC and 13% on full fibre. The median download and upload speeds for the technologies in Powys in Q3 2020 was:

  • ADSL/ADSL2+ median speeds: 4.5 Mbps down and 0.6 Mbps up
  • FTTC/VDSL median speeds: 33.1 Mbps down and 7.1 Mbps up 
  • FTTH median speeds: 49.8 Mbps and 10.8 Mbps up

The ADSL and FTTC speeds over time have been fairly stable but the full fibre figures are showing indications of more people buying something beyond the standard 40 Mbps and 80 Mbps packages now, i.e. the mean is rising during 2020.

The challenge now is to get the number using ADSL/ADSL2+ to much lower levels, the coverage data shows that 83% of Powys has the option of a superfast service with speeds of 30 Mbps or faster.

The numbers seen to be using ADSL/ADSL2+ in Powys has varied around the 45% to 50% mark for the last two years, but in the two years prior to that it had steadily declined from around 70%. We can speculate on the possible reasons for the leveling off in the decline of ADSL/ADSL2+ usage, but without expensive face to face surveys almost anything we suggest will be speculative. Things like pricing, knowledge that better services are actually available, contract lock-ins or some people are happy with just enough speed to do their online banking and feel they don't need more.

Comments

The fact that 13.7 gets you at the top of the table is pretty damning for UK broadband speeds in general.

  • DeanKB
  • about 1 month ago

DeanKB

No It is pretty damming of what people are prepared to buy. City of Hull has over 99% able to get Ultra Fast over FTTP yet

If everybody brought the highest available speed they would get 931Mb DL but they actually get 105.8Mb DL so 1/9th same applies to Upload (https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E06000010)

Apart from the few, many on here, most people are not prepared to pay more for something they cannot see a clear use for. Tower Hamlets top 20% of 117Mb is actually a reflection of a select part (Canary Wharfe etc) buying the top packages.
in contrast to the rest of the area.

  • jumpmum
  • about 1 month ago

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