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ISPreview UK Study Finds Most People Require Broadband Speeds of 10Mbps+

Monday, September 24th, 2012 (8:44 am) - Score 462
uk internet statistics

The results from 1,613 respondents to ISPreview.co.uk’s latest monthly web-based reader poll has revealed that 81.5% claim to “require” a minimum real-world broadband download speed of equal to or greater than 10Mbps (Megabits per second) but only a third (34.4%) actually receive their currently required speed.

Furthermore 62.8% said that their broadband speed was no better than it was in 2011, which is despite Ofcom’s latest study (here) showing that the average UK internet download speed had jumped from 7.6Mbps in November 2011 to reach 9Mbps in May 2012 (+19%). Much of that increase is believed to have come from the disproportionate impact of new superfast broadband services via a smaller number of largely urban consumers.

What minimum real-world broadband speed do you CURRENTLY require for your needs (pick closest)?
30Mbps+ – 31.8%
10Mbps – 25.4%
20Mbps – 16.8%
5Mbps – 13.5%
15Mbps – 7.5%
2Mbps – 4.7%

Do you already receive the speed you require?
No – 63.2%
Yes – 34.4%
I don’t know – 2.2%

Is your broadband speed any better than it was last year?
No – 62.8%
Yes – 31.9%
I don’t know – 5.2%

The study reveals a strong demand for faster connectivity and suggests that the vast majority of respondents would be unhappy with the UK government’s current Universal Service Commitment (USC), which aims to make a minimum internet speed of at least 2Mbps available to everybody in the country by 2015; only 4.7% of respondents claimed to require such a speed and everybody else wants something significantly faster. Meanwhile Europe’s Digital Agenda expects 100% to have access to a download speed of at least 30Mbps by 2020.

This month’s new survey asks whether or not you’ve used a Mobile Broadband (3G) service (i.e. Internet access via Smartphones or USB Modems) and if the new 4G solution is likely to be attractive? Vote Here.

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Mark Jackson

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.

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6 Responses
  1. Hull_lad

    Slightly biased, i’d have thought. Readers of ISPreview aren’t your typical home broadband user. 32% of users need over 30Mbps? Which applications require that type of speed ‘in the real world’ today? Unless of course they are business users, in which case they need to consider the most appropriate options.

    There’s a difference between ‘want’ and need – I’m unfortunate enough to live a good distance away from our exchange, only able to get a (stable) 4Mbps average over ADSL2+ from Sky. I’m able to stream films/iPlayer/4OD etc on my iPad whilst the wife goes about her business on her phone. It’s plenty, for now.

    As a rule I think things are improving – I’d hazard a guess that 2Mbps isn’t ambitious enough as a USO, but a poll of 1600 people that are most likely prosumers doesn’t quite hold water for me.

    • In fairness most of ISPreview.co.uk’s casual readers are actually ordinary people just looking for information about the market or what ISP to pick next. The other aspect is that not everybody fully understands what speed itself means within the context of their own usage, which is particularly relevant when you consider that until recently most ISPs advertised speeds of up to 20Mbps+ as standard but rarely delivered it (expectation vs reality).

      We’re looking to do a survey in the future that examines the perceived association between speed and performance, although wording it is a little tricky.

    • New_Londoner

      @MarkJ
      It would be interesting if your planned survey also encompassed pricing as well to get a sense of how many of us are prepared to pay any sort of premium for higher speeds (assuming this relates to actual throughput, not just the headline download speed). And perhaps also explores upload speed requirements too?

  2. Hull_lad

    Good point,

    As many have said already, the industry appears far more concerned with speed than it is with quality and ubiquity. From what I see, customers associate greater speed with greater quality, which is far from the truth. The industry have made a rod for their own back, in essence. Customers that were previously happy with a stable 10Mbps connection doing everything they need it to do, are now frustrated because BT aren’t planning on rolling out fibre anytime soon. All because of the hype around fibre. At the other end of the spectrum, rural areas that have never experienced anything above 2Mbps max are feeling even more isolated.

    You only have to look at the famous Nuenen ‘OnsNet’ project in Holland for proof that speed isn’t the be-all and end-all. Citizens bought in to an improved quality of life when the superfast network was deployed. Not one of them signed up to 100/200/300Mbps broadband, nor was it ever mentioned to the citizens. Predominantly occupied by an aging population, Nuenen residents signed up to the benefits of telehealth, telecare, ‘A window on Nuenen’, religious sermons delivered to their home over video etc. The speed of the delivery mechanism is irrelevant, it’s simply a means to an end, and in all honesty is still surplus to requirements.

    For me, ISP’s (and subsequently the general public’s) obsession with speed is simply masking their panic over how they will continue to make money when broadband is a utility. Councils (and i’d hazard a guess at Ofcom as well) are increasingly toying with the idea of providing basic broadband for free as a means of delivering public services far more cheaply. Unless ISPs change their tactics, and focus on developing services (other than TV) for the consumer and business space, they will become the dumb-pipe that they’ve feared for a few years now. Speed is a factor, but quality is ultimately more important right now.

  3. Darren

    We shouldn’t be asking what is the minimum we can get by with, we should be asking what can we provide without massive slowdowns and traffic shaping.

    The more speed the better but it shouldn’t come at the cost of performance. I’d take a more consistent 100Mb connection over a cripled 1Gb connection any day.

    The faster the connection the less time waiting around which leaves more time to get on with work or enjoy downtime.

    So, what speed do I require? As fast as you can provide. What can I get by with? Well, whatever I’m stuck with.

  4. DTMark

    Does anyone *need* the speed limit on motorways to be 70mph, or, cars capable of that speed? Why not, say, 15mph?

    The answers to that question and this one are similar.

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