We looked at the speeds of the Virgin Media cable broadband service a few weeks ago in our main news feed, where the information from our broadband speed test allowed us an insight into the speeds customers actually experience.
Now after a few weeks gap it is time to take a look at another broadband provider, and this time it is TalkTalk who have predominately sold ADSL2+ but do now sell two FTTC products, the 40/2 and 80/20 variants. We will also look at all the other providers where we have enough data to be confident that the results we publish are reasonable.
One of the reasons for us wanting to look at broadband speeds, is that while there is a big emphasis on the average speeds, it is still rare to find people showing the spread of speeds and with the debate on whether Fibre to the Cabinet is an engineers nightmare but an accountants dream ongoing it is good to get some actual data on the speeds people experience. Of course we cannot guarantee to have a line length spread that precisely matches the UK situation, but by aggregating results over a number of weeks we do end up with plots that are in line with the theory on VDSL2 speeds.
The slightly cheaper fibre service which TalkTalk sell is Fibre Medium which is limited to a 40 Mbps download and a much slower 2 Mbps upload speed turns out to be more popular with visitors to our site, and while it is tempting to try and estimate how many fibre customers TalkTalk has, we suspect that with people looking to brag about their new found speed will be using speed tests more than those where their speed has changed little over the course of a couple of years. Around 1 in 5 of the speed tests we recorded for TalkTalk were on a fibre service, which is a lot higher than the proportion of fibre customers at the provider.
To help interpret the graphs lets through some numbers into the mix:
|Product||Average Speed (Mbps)||Median Speed||ASA Compliant Speed|
|Fibre Large Download (up to 80 Mbps)||38.1||36.9||70.8|
|Fibre Large Upload (up to 20 Mbps)||12.7||13.5||18.6|
|Fibre Medium Download (up to 40 Mbps)||25.3||26.6||36.7|
|Fibre Medium Upload (up to 2 Mbps)||1.7||1.8||1.9|
The thing that jumps out from the table, is that the upload speeds on the Fibre Large service exceed even the download speed for almost all ADSL2+ users, reflecting the significant improvement in speeds that the 80/20 FTTC service represents. With an average upload speed of 12.7 Mbps the Fibre Large product is fast enough to upload HD quality clips in real time or faster to YouTube. We wonder whether these vastly improved upload speeds are encouraging more people to generate content and upload it to sites such as YouTube, flickr and Vimeo.
The ADSL2+ download speeds show a different shape to the VDSL (FTTC) based services, and the plateau around 7.5 Mbps suggests that TalkTalk may still have a fair chunk of customers who could go faster on ADSL2+, but are held back by their product choice e.g. a customer on an old contract with one of the providers TalkTalk acquired over the years who does not want to migrate to a new set of TalkTalk terms and conditions for more speed. Given that TalkTalk has only a few hundred thousand customers stuck on the old BT Wholesale IPStream Max versus millions on their own LLU platform we don’t think this kink represents just off-net users.
The plot of the upload speeds for ADSL2+ connections which we have done on its graph to help emphasis the oddities suggests that TalkTalk appears to a cluster of people who are on a service with an upload sync speed around 440-448 Kbps (380 Kbps throughput) and another at 288 Kbps (250 Kbps throughput). If this was a betting game, after looking at the ADSL2+ download speeds, we have a feeling that most of the people getting what looked like capped speeds are old Tiscali customers.