Feeds

Average UK broadband just over half advertised speed

Half empty?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The average downstream speed received by UK households is just 57 per cent of the average advertised rate, according to Ofcom research.

Data from the regulator's hardware-based performance monitoring network shows that while the average broadband package is sold as "up to" 7.1Mbit/s, it actually delivers 4.1Mbit/s.

The UK average is up from 3.6Mbit/s in January however, when Ofcom released its first set of figures.

In rural regions, the gap between marketing and reality is wider, with an average downstream speed of 3.3Mbit/s. In urban areas the mean is 4.6Mbit/s.

As many as one in five customers on "up to" 8Mbit/s packages delivered via the BT network - the most common class of broadband - receive less than 2Mbit/s in reality. Tiscali offers the slowest speeds on average.

Just nine per cent of "up to" 8Mbit/s lines creep above 6Mbit/s.

ISPA, the internet providers' trade association, noted Ofcom's numbers say Lord Carter was working with dodgy data when he made the government's "universal broadband" pledge last month. "The research also shows that the figure in the Digital Britain Report that 11 per cent of UK households are unable to reach speeds of 2Mbit/s is in fact 19 per cent, nearly twice the size and a greater challenge," it said.

The government is pledged to back universal broadband with subsidies. ISPA's "greater challenge" presumably will require greater subsidies.

According to Ofcom, the picture is better for Virgin Media subscribers than for those on ADSL. Those on the "up to" 10Mbit/s package, the cable network's nearest equivalent to "up to" 8Mbit/s ADSL, get about twice the average real world speed (see bootnote).

Market research run alongside performance testing showed that speed problems are the biggest cause of dissatisfaction among broadband subscribers. More than one fifth are unhappy.

The data were collected from 1,600 homes between November 2008 and April 2009. The full report is on Ofcom's site here.

It's part of an ongoing effort to offer consumers more accurate information about broadband, alongside a code of practice calling on providers to be more up front about the limitations of their services. ®

Bootnote

Here's Ofcom's data for the major ISPs it tested. Caution is advised for Plusnet and O2 figures because of small sample sizes. ISPs with less than 2 per cent market share were excluded.

AOL ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 3.3 to 3.9Mbit/s
BT ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 3.8 to 4.2Mbit/s
O2 ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 4.1 to 5.1Mbit/s
Orange ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 3.8 to 4.5Mbit/s
Plusnet ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 3.8 to 4.9Mbit/s
Sky ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 4.0 to 4.7Mbit/s
Talk Talk ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 3.8 to 4.6Mbit/s
Tiscali ('up to' 8Mbit/s) - 3.2 to 3.7Mbit/s
Virgin Media('up to' 10Mbit/s) - 8.1 to 8.7Mbit/s

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.