UK homes get a broadband speed boost

08 May 2019

People in the UK can get the benefits of faster, more reliable internet, with broadband speeds increasing by nearly 20% over the past year.

Ofcom’s latest home broadband performance report looks at how different broadband packages perform. It is based on data from monitors installed on people’s broadband routers.

For the first time, average download speeds have passed the 50 Mbit/s mark, rising by 18% to 54.2 Mbit/s.

Upload speeds, which are also important as more people look to work from home or share videos online, also increased – up 15% to 7.2 Mbit/s. Both download and upload speeds have more than doubled in the past five years.

The research found the fastest speeds were from Virgin Media’s VIVID 350 cable package, with average peak-time speeds hitting 360.2 Mbit/s. BT’s 300 Mbit/s full-fibre package was second fastest, with an average peak time speed of 300.6 Mbit/s. This package was top for average peak-time upload speeds at 48.8 Mbit/s.

In 2018 the average download speed was 54.2 Mbit/s and the average upload speed was 7.2 Mbit/s.

Super streamers

Our research also looked at how different broadband packages affect people’s experience of streaming video content.

Almost all the people in the research who use superfast services or faster were able to stream Netflix films or shows in ultra-high definition (UHD) without buffering. However, only one in ten homes with basic, copper-based broadband are able to stream their favourite shows in UHD.

Boost Your Broadband

More than nine in ten homes and small businesses in the UK can get superfast connections. This means lots of people on standard broadband could improve their online experience by upgrading – often without paying more than they do now.

Our Boost Your Broadband campaign allows you to easily check what broadband is available in your area, see what broadband might be best for your needs and get advice on how to secure the right deal for you.

Full speed ahead for full fibre

Full-fibre broadband packages, where fibre cables run all the way from the exchange to people’s homes, performed better than copper-based packages in almost every way in our research – including both download and upload speeds.

Older, copper-based broadband services are more likely to suffer a drop in speed during evenings when more people are online.

To help improve full fibre availability across the UK we have introduced measures to support investment in full fibre, and make it quicker and easier for companies to build their networks.

Yih-Choung Teh, Strategy and Research Group Director at Ofcom, said: “Broadband comes in lots of flavours these days: copper, superfast, cable and full fibre. Which kind you choose can really affect your online experience.

“So we’re encouraging people to visit our dedicated Boost Your Broadband website, to find out how they could get faster broadband, for the same or less than they pay now.”