UK Broadband Speeds Rise by a Fifth in a Year


May 2019

UK Broadband Speeds Rise by a Fifth in a Year

Average broadband speeds in the UK have increased by nearly 20% over the last year, according to Ofcom.

More British households are getting faster and more reliable broadband connections, as average download speeds have increased by almost a fifth in just one year. According to the telecommunications industry regulator in the UK, the average download speed in the country is now 54.2Mbps, 18% faster than last year’s average of 46.2Mbps. However, this improved speed is still below the global average of 57.9Mbps.

Ofcom also found that average upload speeds have gone up by 15% in a year, from 6.2Mbps to 7.2Mbps, allowing people to share music, videos and other data online at a quicker rate. In fact, upload speeds in the UK have more than doubled in the last five years, as the average in 2014 was just 2.9Mbps. Download speeds have also more than doubled since 2014, when the average was only 22.8Mbps.

The report from Ofcom used data gathered in November 2018 by its research partner, SamKnows, from specially modified routers installed in 4,918 households across the country. It is the first time that the average download speed in the UK is above 50Mbps. Faster speeds mean more and more people are able to use video streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video without buffering or loading times, and in ultra-high definition.

The research found that the fastest broadband speeds were offered by Virgin Media’s Vivid 350 package, which had average peak download speeds of 360.2Mbps. BT’s 300Mbps full-fibre package wasn’t far behind, recording average download speeds of 300.6Mbps. BT’s full-fibre service also had the fastest peak upload speeds, which averaged 48.8Mbps.

Ofcom’s study also looked into the differences in performance between fibre optic and the more widely available copper cables. Full-fibre or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) packages, which deliver an internet connection via fibre optic cables from the telephone exchange directly to the property, performed considerably better than its more traditional counterpart in every measure.

“Broadband comes in lots of flavours these days: copper, superfast, cable and full fibre,” said Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom. “Which kind you choose can really affect your online experience.”

Last year, the government set out its ambition for 15 million UK homes to have access to full-fibre broadband by 2025, and for every household in the country to have access by 2033. The commitment to this rollout has likely contributed to the increasing average broadband speeds in the UK, as has a number of industry bodies, including Ofcom, encouraging consumers to switch their broadband to faster and more reliable services.