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UK Top 7 Fastest Fixed Line Home Broadband ISPs for September 2013

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 (1:35 am) - Score 1,914

The latest anecdotal September 2013 study of big fixed line broadband ISP performance in the United Kingdom from Broadband.co.uk has reported that the average download speed is now 16.907Mbps (down from 17.512Mbps in August), which falls to 2.804Mbps for the average upload speed (down from 2.894Mbps).

Nothing special to report this week except for a few general fluctuations in performance between the ISPs, otherwise Virgin Media remains top for download performance and BT are still king of the uploads. Sky Broadband does however appear to be showing persistent speed improvements and as a result they’re already threatening PlusNet’s position on the download table.

Top 7 UK ISPs – Download Speed (Megabits per second)
1. Virgin Media – 35.205Mbps
2. BT – 17.630Mbps
3. PlusNet – 12.601Mbps
4. Sky Broadband – 10.810Mbps
5. TalkTalk (Tiscali) – 7.399Mbps
6. EE (Orange) – 7.317Mbps
7. O2 (BE Broadband) – 6.310Mbps

Top 7 UK ISPs – Upload Speed
1. BT – 4.531Mbps
2. Virgin Media – 3.601Mbps
3. PlusNet – 3.212Mbps
4. Sky Broadband – 1.753Mbps
5. EE (Orange) – 1.345Mbps
6. TalkTalk (Tiscali) – 0.815Mbps
7. O2 (BE Broadband) – 0.776Mbps

Disclaimer: Please take anecdotal data like this with a huge 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 “super-fast” connections (FTTC, FTTP etc.) can have a very disproportionate impact compared with the older and often significantly slower copper-based ADSL2+ services that dominate 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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24 Responses
  1. Tim Nice But Dim says:

    BT are miles ahead of all the competition when it comes to DSL broadband – both upload AND download. Good to see. Consider plus.net are also a BT brand and they are completely dominant.

    1. Phil says:

      BT had more network capacity than plusnet but remember BT doesn’t have their own profile rate at their end, only plusnet do have it!

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      Why is it so good for the incumbent to be dominant?

      They are ‘dominant’ because they spent a lot of money pimping Infinity and offering it for a very low price increment over DSL, along with the advantages that come from being the phone company.

      This is more about the mix between VDSL and ADSL than anything to do with network performance.

    3. Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      Nice to see “Tim Nice But Dim” is still banging the BT marketing drum. Do make one think that someone is on the payroll 😉

  2. Chris Conder says:

    Yes its a shame the smaller ISPs aren’t in this list, their average speeds would really knock spots off those in above. The difference between a good wifi or fibre network and a copper phone line one is amazing. All of the B4RN customers can get 1024Mbps symmetrical if they can find a speedtester that could cope and if their computers were fast enough to do it! Speedtests are only an indication when all is said and done, but this is one from a farmhouse in b4rnland: http://www.speedtest.net/result/2773527257.png

    1. Sledgehammer says:

      I like the “ping time” on that speedtest.

    2. Phil says:

      0ms oping and wow, wish we have that speed! BT and Virgin is well behind and too tighted with money.

    3. Ignitionnet says:

      Always reassuring when one of B4RN’s key people doesn’t know how fast the service runs. GigE runs at 1000Mbps.

      B4RN can’t be compared fairly with larger operators as they don’t have the same issues of scale and their user demographic is quite different from the mix that the larger operators have.

      Someone running an uncapped FTP dump or seeding from a NAS on B4RN would probably change performance levels a bit.

    4. Darren says:

      Nice upload, any chance of extending to the west midlands 🙂

    5. FibreFred says:

      “All of the B4RN customers can get 1024Mbps symmetrical ”

      All once at a time or all at once?

      1024Mbps service? No such thing, you mean 1Gbps or 1000Mbps I believe

    6. Roberto says:

      I imagine how many can get the full speed at the same time depends on how many are maxing their connection at the same time. IE contention plays a factor just like on BT or any other service unless you purchase a 1:1 product. Though you already know that Fred and just could not think of anything better to dismiss B4RN’s impressive speeds compared to your precious BT.

      As to the speed Chris mentions i have no idea why any of “you” assume you know what protocol they are using or even if it is a standard one.

      1024Mbps products do exist despite you, and cohort BT slurpers saying otherwise, such as…
      quote”…offers you the fastest fiber-optic internet in Lithuania* supplied by means of the company’s own “Skynet” network. We began providing internet and data transfer services to natural and legal persons in 1996 and, today, we reliably say that “Skynet” is so much more than the internet. With the “Skynet” network, you can enjoy 1024 Mb/s data transfer speed…”

      Regardless for all these apparent sign ups to FTTC in the past few months that speed is still very slow from some providers even if most of the customer base is ADSL.

      Keep banging the BT drum though and talking about stuff you have no idea about.

    7. FibreFred says:

      There speeds are great! But

      “All of the B4RN customers can get 1024Mbps symmetrical ”

      that is wrong… sorry if you find that an issue Deduction

      And.. you really do need to brush up on your networking skills:-



      Here’s a link to B4RN’s very own website 😉


      “The service we provide is a 1000 megabit symmetrical per second (same upload as download speeds) connection for £30 month.”

    8. Roberto says:

      1. All B4RN users can get those speeds just not all at the same time, again no different to any networking product unless you have a 1:1 connection or network. Chris statement is accurate.

      2. Nowhere did i mention what product B4RN supply, i have no idea of their network setup i doubt you do either. I simply pointed out that 1024Mb products which you insisted do not exist actually do exist.

      I am quite aware of what gigabit is, you were not aware 1024Mb products actually are out there though.
      What B4RN network is actually capable of running at is another matter. It may way be capable of 1024Mb but is quoted or even capped at 1000Mb (or 1 gig) not dis-similar to how FTTC upload speeds are capable of more than 20Mb (look at the maximum attainable for your own line fred if you have an unlocked modem) but 20Mb is the most you can actually get your end.

      Regardless B4RNs product be it 1000Mb or 1024Mb customer end is superior to anything BT can offer for £30 per month, much as that hurts 😉

  3. Phil says:

    Virgin Media also getting 0ms ping too: http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3006609109

    1. Darren says:

      Now run ping bbc.co.uk :p

      Unlike B4RN it won’t be sub 1ms. The ping results on speedtest.net aren’t accurate, I’ve had it report 0ms on ADSL. For an accurate ping test you need to use pingtest.net or ping a site from the command prompt.

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      B4RN won’t be sub-1ms to the BBC either. You really need to be in London to do that, speaking as someone who’s worked for an ISP based in East London and had ridiculous connectivity straight from his desk.

      Takes a little while to get from Lancashire to London via Manchester.

    3. Darren says:

      That’s true, although my point was B4RN will be close to 0ms where VM will not be becasue speedtest.net ping results can’t be trusted.

    4. Roberto says:

      Ping times to the bbc or any network via any provider will vary seeing as it travels over multiple networks to reach the beeb which are nothing to do with Virgin or B4RN.

  4. Roberto says:

    Virgin still seem to have a commanding lead.

  5. Phil says:

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
    Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:\Windows\System32>ping bbc.co.uk

    Pinging bbc.co.uk [] with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from bytes=32 time=16ms TTL=119
    Reply from bytes=32 time=16ms TTL=119
    Reply from bytes=32 time=16ms TTL=119
    Reply from bytes=32 time=14ms TTL=119

    Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 14ms, Maximum = 16ms, Average = 15ms

  6. Olorin says:


    Would it be possible to include last months’ ISP speeds on these reports in future, so as to make easy comparison?

    Even better would be a 12-month graph of the top ISP’s speeds?

    1. Roberto says:

      That sounds like a great idea Olorin, would certainly give a good idea how consistent providers are and which have got better or worse. Maybe mark could compile each months results and put it in an article here http://www.ispreview.co.uk/articles_guides.shtml
      Would also be easy to update as this now seems to be a monthly news item.

    2. DTMark says:

      I’m not sure what it would really tell us.

      What the data needs to show is the peak theoretical speed available, so for cable that’s the headline speed (e.g. 60Mbps) and for DSL it’s the IP Profile rate give-or-take (e.g. 5Mbps)..

      .. and the percentage of that achieved on that connection in speed tests.

      In other words, what the ISP in question delivers as a percentage of what they could deliver.

      In context if you look at the admittedly small set of data I have for the lines round here and express throughput as a percentage of theoretical maximum then Zen and AAISP come out top followed by BT then PlusNet in that order.

      Which is what one might expect and would clearly show the distinction. The data would have real value. But sadly, I doubt this information is readily available.

    3. Roberto says:

      A virgin line tends to run at its max or even beyond its max as seen in the speedtest Phil posted. Even if for all the BT suppliers/products quoted the line profile rate rather than sync they would still be lower. Theses figures are not supposed to show things like that though, they show the average speeds each company is supplying users. A monthly chart (line chart would be good) would be a good idea and give a quick overview of who if any of them are improving or getting worse.

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