Are average UK Fixed-line Residential Broadband Speeds really 9Mbps?

This is what Ofcom have found as detailed in their report UK fixed-line broadband performance, May 2012 (pdf) alternatively there is an online summary of this 74 page document

We have certain doubts as eg Akamai, as we noted recently, reported an average, (download of course), speed of 5.6 Mbps. There is a marginal time difference in that Akamai’s research relates to the first quarter of 2012 compared to Ofcom’s May data collected by SamKnows Ltd.  If we, sort of, stretch credulity a little, accept Ofcom’s figure and compare it with the rest of the world per Akamai in Q1 of this year it means we would be the 4th fastest country in the world. hmmmmmmm

The above graphic  is both a very small and  unrepresentative local result of a  uSwitch comparative speed test by provider.  A simple average of these speeds comes in at just under 8Mbps.

To get a somewhat larger sample uSwitch provides average speeds across all the tests they’ve undertaken over time. The scaling due to the spike is unhelpful but of the 7 providers a majority are well below 9Mbps throughout most of the timeframe.

Click to enlarge

uSwitch themselves have already pushed out a release entitled “Ofcom average speeds don’t tell the whole story”. In it they say “A two tier broadband landscape is emerging, where ISP upgrades are taking some lucky consumers into the super-fast lane, whilst leaving others stuck and frustrated in the slow lane.” Again allowing for a time differential uSwith published their own research back in February coming up with an average speed in the UK of 7.642Mbps measured on their speed tests for both home and business users between August 1 2011 and January 31 2012. Whilst this involved 1.6 million tests compared to SamKnows’s 559 million it likely involved many more households/businesses than Samknows 1,831.

Ofcom are tasked we believe to monitor the Government’s objective of having the best broadband network in Europe by 2015. Some feel this may already be at risk.

If you want to checkout your own broadband speeds you can either at Speedtest or with uSwitch or some of the other numerous sites.

We have no commercial relationships with any of the above companies.

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