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Top 8 UK Fastest Broadband ISPs by Download Speed for October 2012

Posted Friday, November 2nd, 2012 (7:47 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 5,796)
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The latest summary of anecdotal consumer broadband ISP speed testing data, which covers the previous month of October 2012, reveals that the average download speed has risen from 17Mbps (Megabits per second) to 18.038Mbps. Average upload speeds have similarly jumped from 1.976Mbps to 2.174Mbps over the same period.

According to Broadband.co.uk, the fastest ISP for internet download speed remains Virgin Media with an impressive result of 33.430Mbps (up from 32.935Mbps last month). Meanwhile Eclipse Internet has stolen Virgin’s crown for the fastest upload speeds (3.321Mbps, up from 2.371Mbps last month). BT saw an almost identical jump in upstream performance and now sits just behind Eclipse.

Top 8 UK ISPs – Download Speed (Megabits/sec)
1. Virgin Media – 33.430Mbps
2. Eclipse Internet – 17.307Mbps
3. BT – 14.403Mbps
4. PlusNet – 12.583Mbps
5. O2 (BE Broadband) – 7.333Mbps
6. Sky Broadband – 7.303Mbps
7. TalkTalk / Tiscali – 5.806Mbps
8. EE (formerly Orange UK) – 4.497Mbps

Top 8 UK ISPs – Upload Speed (Megabits/sec)
1. Eclipse Internet – 3.321Mbps
2. BT – 3.264Mbps
3. Virgin Media – 2.646Mbps
4. PlusNet – 2.575Mbps
5. O2 (BE Broadband) – 0.895Mbps
6. Sky Broadband – 0.806Mbps
7. TalkTalk / Tiscali – 0.797Mbps
8. EE (formerly Orange UK) – 0.577Mbps

It’s interesting to note that the gap between the mature superfast broadband haves and the have nots (i.e. those ISPs still stuck on slower ADSL2+ technology) continues to widen, with the top four appearing to pull away from the pack. But faster speeds also tend to have a disproportionate effect as fewer customers will have a bigger impact on the overall average vs older and significantly slower services.

Sky Broadband and TalkTalk also have superfast services, although they’re younger and have so far failed to attract a sizeable portion of customers. Meanwhile EE (Orange UK) has only just launched its superfast service and thus the failings of their old fixed line network are still quite apparent. O2 (BE Broadband) are now left as the only big ISP without the latest generation of connectivity and it’s not even clear if this will change in 2013 (here).

As usual readers should take anecdotal data like this with a big pinch of salt. Every home is different and performance can be affected by all sorts of issues, many of which are beyond the ISPs ability to control. We do not consider the above data to be a reliable barometer for individual users but it can be used to highlight other changes in the market. In addition, the table does not include smaller ISPs because they simply don’t produce enough data for an effective comparison.

Readers should also check out Ofcoms latest August 2012 Broadband ISP Speeds Study because it contains a lot of useful information about the country’s internet connectivity performance across different ISPs and technology types.

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4 Responses
  1. Web Dude

    Thanks for the “pinch of salt”. I’d tend towards making it a shovel, because as you’ve indicated, everything gets skewed by the numbers (overall) for the ISP. A brand new ISP (such as one in South Yorkshire, where they have a fibre-based high speed service growing in coverage) would jump into the 20-30 Mbps section once it had sufficient numbers to get a fair sample to be included.

    I’ve seen suggestions that PlusNet has 600,000 customers. Have you any figures (however rough) for the ISPs listed above? It would really help add to the “how much salt” question. For example, Eclipse, based down in Devon, is perhaps one of the smaller ISPs when seeing the whole list (if not the smallest of them all) but I’ve not been a customer of theirs for at least 6 years and have not seen any estimates of customer numbers. We know some of the others run to millions, so it’s very unlikely they will move up the table for a while, with BT being one of the exceptions, given their long term TV advertising they probably have quite a number of customers on Infinity and locked into 18 month contracts. They might slip down the table when those contracts end and customers look at the alternative firms offering FTTC, given the competition for such customers is only now starting in earnest (Sky launched theirs this year, and others will follow next).

  2. Darren

    The results would be more meaningfull if they were split into three lists, ADSL, VDSL and cable. It’s already possible with the info they collect pre test, so why don’t they?

    Dissapointing that their upload test is still underestimating.

  3. PsyMan

    Splitting them in to ADSL, VDSL, Cable 30, 60 and 100mb would be better, Virgin download speeds and/or speed tests on my 100mb connection are always between 98 and 105mb (from fast enough servers like Paris and Morecambe or my own web server), the Virgin average is brought down considerably to 33.430 simply by averaging all 3 of their very different packages.

    I have always found cable to be exactly what it states as it’s top limit on all of the packages (from servers that allow top speed anyway)

  4. joe b

    I have EE FTTC, and I just tested with 75Mbps. I use the BT Wholesale tester.

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