Brit broadband download speeds are still below the global average, hoots Ofcom

Um, are we supposed to feel proud about this?

Wow. Pat yourself on the back, Blighty. The average download speed for fixed-line broadband in the UK almost surpassed the global average of 57.9Mbps, comms regulator Ofcom revealed today.

Brit broadband download speeds collectively rose by 18 per cent over the last year to hit an average of 54.2Mbps, it noted.

Upload speeds, which have become "increasingly important" to UK workers looking to punch their timecards while in their pyjamas, are also up 15 per cent to 7.2Mbps. Both download and upload speeds have more than doubled in the past five years.

Image: Seinfield. Credit: NBC.

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One-time DVD-snailmailer Netflix – which became a synecdoche for streaming services while our backs were turned – was used by the Brit regulator to measure broadband connections' performance while creaking under the weight of the capacity-hungry American streamer.

To get some insight on the UK's broadband issues, it commissioned tests from SamKnows that hooked up 4,918 volunteers to a monitoring unit connected to their router during November – and extrapolated data from that.

The fastest speeds recorded in the research were from from Virgin Media's VIVID 350 cable package, which Ofcom said hit average peak time speeds of 360.2Mbps. BT's 300Mbps full-fibre package was second fastest, with an average peak time (8pm-10pm) speed of 300.6Mbps.

Ofcom used the research as yet another opportunity to try to crowbar people out of the copper plumbing and shove them into faster broadband services – packages for which it noted were often the same price or cheaper than hooking up to Cu ducts.

The government's National Infrastructure Commission has called for full-fibre broadband to be deployed around the UK by 2033, and to be made available to 15 million Brits' homes by 2025.

The regulator has a speed checker here if you'd like to check your own connection.

Summary of average download speeds of all ISP packages

Ofcom has also provided a handy guide to average maximum, 24-hour, peak-time and minimum download speeds, by ISP package over 2018 – which we've reproduced in the table below.

  Maximum 24 hours 8pm-10pm Minimum
BT ADSL2+ 10.0-12.5Mbps 9.7-12.1Mbps 9.7-12.1Mbps 8.6-10.8Mbps
Plusnet ADSL2+ 11.0-13.4Mbps 10.7-13.0Mbps 10.6-12.9Mbps 9.6-11.7Mbps
Sky ADSL2+ 11.1-13.2Mbps 10.8-12.8Mbps 10.7-12.7Mbps 9.4-11.3Mbps
TalkTalk ADSL2+ 9.1-11.3Mbps 8.9-11.1Mbps 8.8-11.0Mbps 8.1-10.1Mbps
BT 36Mbps FTTC 27.6-30.2Mbps 26.6-29.2Mbps 26.5-29.0Mbps 23.7-26.6Mbps
EE 36Mbps FTTC 33.2-35.5Mbps 32.5-34.8Mbps 32.2-34.5Mbps 29.0-31.7Mbps
Plusnet 36Mbps FTTC 32.4-34.2Mbps 31.4-33.1Mbps 31.0-32.8Mbps 28.7-30.7Mbps
Sky 36Mbps FTTC 33.1-34.9Mbps 32.3-34.2Mbps 32.0-34.0Mbps 29.0-31.1Mbps
TalkTalk 36Mbps FTTC 32.3-34.2Mbps 31.6-33.6Mbps 31.4-33.4Mbps 29.0-31.2Mbps
BT 50Mbps FTTC 46.6-48.2Mbps 45.6-47.2Mbps 45.2-46.9Mbps 41.8-44.0Mbps
Virgin Media 54Mbps cable 54.8-54.9Mbps 54.0-54.5Mbps 53.5-54.3Mbps 50.0-51.5Mbps
BT 67Mbps FTTC 63.3-65.5Mbps 62.4-64.6Mbps 62.1-64.3Mbps 58.3-60.7Mbps
BT 67Mbps FTTP 73.4-74.8Mbps 73.1-74.4Mbps 72.9-74.2Mbps 71.6-73.2Mbps
EE 67Mbps FTTC 61.3-66.2Mbps 60.0-64.9Mbps 59.4-64.5Mbps 54.5-59.8Mbps
Plusnet 66Mbps FTTC 58.9-62.3Mbps 58.0-61.4Mbps 57.6-61.0Mbps 53.9-57.3Mbps
Sky 63Mbps FTTC 57.5-62.2Mbps 56.3-61.0Mbps 55.9-60.7Mbps 51.1-55.9Mbps
TalkTalk 63Mbps FTTC 62.0-65.6Mbps 61.0-64.5Mbps 60.5-64.1Mbps 55.6-59.4Mbps
KCOM 75Mbps FTTP 73.4-76.1Mbps 72.7-75.4Mbps 72.5-75.3Mbps 69.8-73.3Mbps
Virgin Media 108Mbps cable 108.1-109.5Mbps 106.0-107.9Mbps 105-107.3Mbps 96.7-101.4Mbps
BT 145Mbps FTTP 148.6-150.3Mbps 145.5-148.1Mbps 145-148.0Mbps 137.9-142.5Mbps
Virgin Media 213Mbps cable 214.4-217.9Mbps 205.5-210.3Mbps 201.1-207.0Mbps 177.7-187.1Mbps
BT 300Mbps FTTP 306.7-309.9Mbps 300.5-304.1Mbps 298.0-303.2Mbps 278.7-286.3Mbps
Virgin Media 362Mbps cable 381.4-383.8Mbps 361.8-368.2Mbps 356.0-364.3Mbps 295.7-312.1Mbps

Source: Ofcom, using data provided by SamKnows.

Country mice

At 44 per cent, the proportion of lines receiving an average peak-time download speeds greater than 30Mbps was lower in rural areas of the UK than in urban areas (61 per cent). Only 13 per cent of urban lines suffered a peak-time speed of under 10Mbps, while one in three (33 per cent) in rural areas could not achieve 10Mbps between 8pm and 10pm. ®

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