We resumed our monthly speed test announcements in our news feed earlier in November but felt that there was a lot more information that could be shared and help to provide a lot more information for both consumers and the industry.

We don’t do any modelling or compensation to the figures, we simply report what people have got from our speed tester, our aim with the speed test when an individual runs a test is to inform them of current speeds and with the download and upload throughput graphs it is often easy to see why services like video streaming are flaky (hint: you ideally want speed tests to hit the connection speed quickly and stay there, not wobble around).

So what extra information do we have to share, well forget a top 10 provider table, how about a top 40. Some of the smaller providers in the table below did not feature in our main round-up because their sample was not large enough in terms of unique tested locations, but we felt it was worth sharing the data.

Bar chart of download speeds

There is a very long tail of providers and the full table reveals we need to do some cleaning up of IP blocks for the November figures e.g. Madasafish users are largely just PlusNet users these days, so clustering them under the PlusNet umbrella is the easiest. The presence of Relish in third place is really because they have no slow legacy ADSL/ADSL2+ customers, and the way that this affects median speeds is very apparent is you look at the speed profile charts for some providers further down this blog entry. Wild West Net is a fixed wireless provider in Devon and the observant will see EE Mobile fairly high up the chart. The long tail of people still using old ADSL/ADSL2+ services is even more apparent when you look at the same upload speeds for the forty providers.

Speed Test Upload Results

There should be no surprise that Hyperoptic with its FTTH/FTTB network is winning the upload battle by a very large margin. To understand why BT is recording a median upload speed below 1 Mbps you need to look at percentile and mean speeds and realise that it still only has one third of its customers on a fibre based service. There are some absences from this larger round-up e.g. Gigaclear which is because we did not see enough tests from unique locations to have any confidence in the results, hopefully as they expand to more locations they will become a regular entrant trading top position with Hyperoptic.

Mean Download Speeds For 20 Fastest Providers
Provider Bottom 10% (Mbps) Lower Quartile (Mbps) Median (Mbps) Mean (Mbps) Upper Quartile (Mbps) Top 10% (Mbps) % with Superfast Speeds % Under 2 Mbps (USC)
Hyperoptic 18.7 22.9 64.8 106.4 108.2 268.9 66.7 4.2
Virgin Media 7 19 33.3 44.2 57.4 97.6 57.6 3
ClaraNet 3.1 4.5 6.4 24.7 37.8 86.3 25 10
Zen Internet 2.4 5.3 12.8 24.4 37.4 68 33.7 7.2
Madasafish 1.6 5.1 14.4 21.3 36.8 51.6 27.9 13.2
BT 1.8 4.5 12.9 20.4 33.5 50.5 28.2 12
EasyNet 1.9 4.1 7.4 19.5 20.6 50.6 15 15
Plusnet 1.7 4 10.2 19.2 31.3 55.2 25.8 12.4
AAISP 3.1 5.8 10.9 19.2 25.5 57.4 17.1 8.6
Relish 3.5 7.1 15.4 18.1 23.9 42 15.2 6.1
Entanet 2.2 3.2 6.9 17.8 20.1 56.9 20.8 7.8
IDNet 2.2 2.8 6.4 17.7 33.6 48.6 23.3 11.6
KC 3.6 5.7 9.8 16.8 14.1 49.2 13.4 3
Timico 0.8 5.4 9.3 16.3 28.8 36.5 16.7 25
Wild West Net 6.7 11.4 14 15.8 21.4 25.6 0 5.3
Overseas Mobile 1.7 4.1 6.4 14.4 13 28.8 4.3 17.4
EE/Orange Mobile 1.2 3.6 8.4 13.7 18.8 30.3 9.5 15.8
Sky 1.7 3.6 8.2 13 16.1 31 10.7 12
ICUK 1.7 4.7 10.6 11.9 13.1 18.5 0 23.1
ADSL24 2.4 4 5.1 11.4 13.5 36.7 6.7 6.7
Murphx 1.8 4.7 6.8 11.2 13.1 34.1 6.7 20
AOL 1.3 2.8 6.1 11.1 13.4 33.4 12.2 16.9
Demon 1.6 3.2 5.4 10.7 9.9 16.3 6.1 14.8
EE 1.2 3 6.3 10.5 13.1 26.1 8.6 16.2
TalkTalk 1.8 3.4 6.5 10.5 12.9 28.4 9.3 12.1

The mean speed is what most of top 10 charts use to list provider speeds, but this is very easily skewed by the small number of people who buy the fastest services, but it does give you a better idea of which providers are selling superfast services. We have also included a column that actually tells you what percentage of the speed tests we saw qualified as superfast (based on EU definition of 30 Mbps or faster).

Profile of Virgin Media Speed Tests

The profile plots where we order the speed tests by descending speed have been interesting in the past and once again they reveal the key product speeds for Virgin Media and other providers. In the case of Virgin Media you can clearly see people still on the legacy 20 Mbps and 30 Mbps products. Modelled speed test analysis might ignore this sort thing, but with close to half the tests appearing to be in this range it is still a popular product as people avoid upgrading due to reasons like no wanting to commit to new contracts or are a very good retention deal.

Profile Plot of BT Speed Tests The same plot but for BT Consumer customers shows clearly why the median is so low, lots of people appear to be on old ADSL up to 8 Mbps products, the shape of the line following the classic shape we have seen for years from ADSL customers.  The step changes are much clearer with BT compared to Virgin Media because of the much more limited range of products available.

The up to 76 Mbps fibre based products are proving popular at BT but if you look at the Sky chart below you can see that their top tier product is hardly used. The fact that we seem to attract a higher proportion of fibre based broadband customers from BT running speed tests is perhaps no surprise, since you buy a faster service you are going to see how fast is goes and as many feel they are paying a premium price they will want to keep an eye on it.

Sky Download Speed Profile

The Sky profile shows a very small proportion of locations buying the up to 76 Mbps product and the classic ADSL2+ curve of speed falling off as lines get longer. Once the York CityFibre joint venture with  TalkTalk starts in 2015 we would expect this profile plot to change significantly.

KC Download Speed Profile

KC who are the incumbent in the Hull area has a very odd looking speed profile, the difference between the ADSL2+ customer based and fibre based services is very steep. There is an explanation for this and that is KC use a high proportion of FTTH in their fibre roll-outs, almost the reverse of the Openreach roll-outs. A small observation is possible and that is the slowest speeds do not appear to hit zero supporting claims that KC is meeting the 2 Mbps Universal Service Commitment already and as the BDUK processes in the rest of the UK finally get to grips with the USC we might see a similar shape appear on the right hand side, i.e. while slowing down at the tail end of the speeds the line will remain just above zero rather than hitting the dial-up speed zone.

Profile Plot of EE Mobile Speed Tests

Our final speed profile in this round-up is EE and Orange Mobile services, where it is clear that you can see the impact that 4G services are having and at around 13 Mbps there may be a switch over point between the chart showing mostly 4G speeds and shifting down into the 3G arena. The launch of our mobile and tablet friendly speed test means we will be in an even better position in the coming months to look at how 4G is developing across the UK.

Next month we are going to look at the difference that the different technologies mean, i.e. summarise all the providers into the various connection technologies they use, which will also allow us to look at how the much criticised FTTC service from Openreach is performing.


9 Responses

  1. LKTZ on 19 Nov 2014

    It would be useful to have the sample size. How many speed tests did you use for this October analysis?

    • andrew on 19 Nov 2014

      We don’t publish those figures other than to say the number of unique locations tested is a lot higher than the Ofcom testing system.

  2. PeterM on 19 Nov 2014

    Thanks for your effort in getting this valuable information out in the open. It’s easy for ISPs to promote themselves on the basis of the highest speeds that may be available, but the public seems less aware of the range of issues which cause individual properties / localities to experience significant problems, making them ‘not spots’ or ‘slow spots’.

    I would look forward to profiles of several of the other ISPs (I use Plus.Net) showing the same level of detail as those shown individually above. Of course I understand all depends on sample sizes regarding the accuracy, and hope that more people use the TBB Speed Test to help build a better collection of stats.

  3. Julian Over on 20 Nov 2014

    What about adding Wessex Internet to your charts? As far as I can see, they would be well up the list – I get 25 – 30Mbps.

    • andrew on 20 Nov 2014

      We are tracking tests for the one IP block we know about but volume was below the cut off point to be included. More tests from different locations may see the results appearing in the future.

      If a provider has IP blocks that they believe we are not tracking they can email us the details.

      • Julian Over on 21 Nov 2014

        Thanks, I’ll pass that on.

  4. Stephen on 25 Nov 2014

    Why does this table not include Giagaclear? From what i have seen and read they should be at the top. Did you have any speed tests for them?

    • andrew on 26 Nov 2014

      As with some other smaller providers we do have tests but not enough to give a decent figure statistically speaking.

      So the more Gigaclear homes that do tests the more likely to be in the next large round-up.

  5. Max Wild on 15 Dec 2014

    Am I missing something but should not these statistics be split by category of provision?
    These might be at least ADSL, ADSL+, medium fibre, fast fibre and cable.
    You should then publish graphs for each category including the ISPs being reported. If you felt that you have sufficient statistically then we might be able to judge if one ISP was “faster” than another. You would be also able to report on the category percentage of each ISP.
    Does this make sense?