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The Top 7 UK Fastest Big Fixed Line Broadband ISPs for August 2013

Posted Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 (7:25 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 3,243)
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The latest anecdotal August 2013 Broadband.co.uk survey of national fixed line consumer broadband ISP speeds in the United Kingdom has revealed that the average internet download rate is now 17.512Mbps (down from 18.662Mbps in July) and the average upload speed has hit 2.894Mbps (down from 3.338Mbps)

It’s worth comparing these results with the latest August 2013 report from Ofcom (here), which found that the average UK download speed was 14.7Mbps (up from 12Mbps six months earlier) and the average upload speed just 1.8Mbps (up from 1.4Mbps). Admittedly Ofcom’s data is from a significantly smaller sample size but its testing methods are a lot more detailed and accurate (i.e. a custom router is installed in people’s homes).

Otherwise Virgin Media continues to hold the top spot as the fastest ISP for download speed with a score of 37.590Mbps (down from 38.073Mbps in July 2013), which is nearly twice what their closest rival BT could deliver (16.726Mbps). Elsewhere BT remains the fastest ISP for upload speed on 4.457Mbps (down from 5.056Mbps), although the gap with Virgin Media (3.980Mbps) is much closer.

Top 7 UK ISPs – Download Speed (Megabits per second)
1. Virgin Media – 37.590Mbps
2. BT – 16.726Mbps
3. PlusNet – 12.417Mbps
4. Sky Broadband – 9.943Mbps
5. EE (Orange) – 9.591Mbps
6. O2 (BE Broadband) – 7.613Mbps
7. TalkTalk (Tiscali) – 7.355Mbps

Top 7 UK ISPs – Upload Speed
1. BT – 4.457Mbps
2. Virgin Media – 3.980Mbps
3. PlusNet – 2.634Mbps
4. EE (Orange) – 1.740Mbps
5. Sky Broadband – 1.646Mbps
6. O2 (BE Broadband) – 0.803Mbps
7. TalkTalk (Tiscali) – 0.766Mbps

It’s interesting to note that most of the big ISPs suffered a slightly fall in performance over the previous July 2013 update (here). Meanwhile Sky Broadband held steady and EE managed to improve its performance (download speeds jumped from 7.712Mbps last month to 9.591Mbps now) and took another step away from the bottom two places that it use to call home. By comparison most ISPs saw a gain to their upload speed, except TalkTalk that fell from 0.946Mbps to 0.766Mbps over the same period.

Disclaimer: Always 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 help to highlight other changes in the market.

In addition, the faster speeds from the latest “superfast” technologies (FTTC, FTTP etc.) can have a very disproportionate impact compared with the older and often significantly slower copper-based ADSL2+ services that are still used by most homes. Sadly the source data doesn’t separate the results out by technology or include smaller ISPs (not enough data).

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9 Responses
  1. Tim Nice But Dim

    It doesn’t surprise me to see BT at the top of the charts for both Downloads and Uploads on the national network. It’s incredible how much faster BT are compared to the likes of Sky, EE, Talktalk and Orange. Considering BT Sport is now bundled too it’s a no brainer really which ISP you should be using if you’re outside of a Virgin cabled area (most of the country can’t get Virgin Media).

  2. Tim Nice But Dim

    For the record I’m a BT Infinity customer with Line Rental + Vision + Sport. I am not a BT employee or shareholder.

  3. dragoneast

    Sadly I think all the ISPs and reviewers/commentators give customers the mushroom treatment. Unsurprisingly the performance of your broadband largely depends on your line quality including the set up in your property, and the network/backhaul limitations/issues which affect your line. Try to find out about those and you’re on your own. With the “right” software/hardware and net research you can fill in some of the gaps, but by golly it’s a struggle. And the consequence is that everyone makes up their own facts.

    Broadband services seem to have escaped the attention of the Plain English campaign. Instead we have a toxic mix of technical jargon and marketing gobbledegook.

    • DanielM

      ” Instead we have a toxic mix of technical jargon and marketing gobbledegook”

      I disagree, most of the time it’s dumb customers.

  4. Roberto

    Seems to confirm what the ofcom report early in the year said IE BT better for upload and Virgin still better for download.

    • Phil

      I agree that BT FTTC is far miles ahead than Virgin Medis on the upstream. But, Virgin Media 126Meg is powerful than BT FTTC 78Meg on the downstream.

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