Broadband speeds boost for UK homes

27 June 2019

  • Average broadband speeds rise by a fifth in a year
  • Superfast customers can stream iPlayer or Netflix in ultra-high definition

UK households are benefiting from faster, more reliable internet as new Ofcom research reveals average broadband speeds have jumped nearly 20% in the last year.

Ofcom's annual home broadband performance report compares how different broadband packages perform, using data from monitors installed on people's broadband routers.[1]

For the first time, the average download speeds people receive has passed the 50 Mbit/s mark – rising by 18% in the last year to 54.2 Mbit/s.

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

The fastest speeds recorded in the research 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. People using superfast connections or faster were able to stream Netflix films or shows in ultra-high definition (UHD) without buffering in almost every case.

But only one-in-10 homes with basic, copper broadband are able to stream their favourite shows in UHD.

With more than nine-in-ten UK homes and small businesses now able to get superfast connections, many on standard broadband could improve their streaming experience by upgrading – often without paying more than they do now. Ofcom’s Boost Your Broadband campaign allows people to easily check what broadband is available in their area, see what broadband is best for their needs and get advice on how to secure the right deal for them.

Full speed ahead for full fibre

Full-fibre packages, where fibre cables run all the way from the exchange to people’s homes, performed better than equivalent copper-based packages in almost every measure – 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 getting online.

To help increase the availability of full fibre across the UK we have introduced a package of 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.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. This research uses data collected by our research partner SamKnows Limited (SamKnows) from a volunteer panel of 4,918 UK residential broadband users.