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Latest home broadband performance trends revealed

Published: 14 September 2023
Last updated: 14 September 2023

Today we’ve published our latest research into the performance of home broadband services in the UK.

Our findings shine a light on the performance available to homes in the UK, and are obtained by measuring the performance delivered to customers’ routers, and data provided to us by the UK’s four largest broadband providers.

Download speeds on the rise

Our research shows that average download speeds for home broadband have continued to increase. The average download speed was 69.4 Mbit/s in March 2023, a 17% increase year-on-year, as people have upgraded to higher-bandwidth services, including full-fibre connections.

Download speeds determine the time it takes for information to be delivered to a user’s device. Higher download speeds are important when downloading large files, such as games, films, or apps, or when streaming high-resolution video content.

The proportion of lines receiving a 24-hour average download speed of at least 30 Mbit/s was 88% in March 2023, up from 83% in March 2022. Three per cent of connections had an average 24-hour actual download speed of less than 10 Mbit/s in 2023, down from 4% in 2022. Less than 1% of lines had an advertised download speed under 10 Mbit/s.

Upload speeds rise even more sharply

Meanwhile, there was a large increase in average upload speeds, rising to 18.4 Mbit/s in March 2023. This was a year-on-year increase of 7.8 Mbit/s (73%).

The gap between urban and rural speeds has narrowed

There was a 26% difference between average urban (70.3 Mbit/s) and rural (56.0 Mbit/s) download speeds during the 8pm-10pm peak-time period - down from 58% in 2022.

Cable and full-fibre packages provided the fastest download speeds

The highest average speeds were recorded over cable and full-fibre services. Cable connections had the biggest increase in their average download speed, rising by 71.3 Mbit/s (36%) to 270.6 Mbit/s. The average download speed delivered by full-fibre connections increased by 1.9 Mbit/s (1%) year-on-year to 149.2 Mbit/s.

While people can achieve improved performance through switching technology or package, there were few differences between comparable services offered by providers that use the same Openreach wholesale inputs.

Network congestion leads to lower download speeds

Average download speeds can slow when broadband networks are busy. This is known as network congestion or contention. Across all connections, the average 8-10pm peak-time download speed (67.7 Mbit/s) was 95% of the 71.0 Mbit/s average maximum speed – this was up from 94% in March 2022. Similarly, the average daily minimum speed (63.3 Mbit/s) was 89% of the average maximum speed, up from 87% in March 2022. The effect of network congestion during busy periods was lowest for full-fibre lines.

For more information, see our full report.

And to find out how to get more from your broadband, take a look at our guide.

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