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BT Overtake Virgin Media to Top Netflix’s UK ISP Broadband Speed Index

Tuesday, Mar 11th, 2014 (1:28 pm) - Score 2,676

The latest ISP Speed Index update for Netflix‘s unlimited Internet movie and TV video streaming service has revealed that BT is now at the top of the table with an average speed of 2.85Mbps (Megabits per second), although they’re only very marginally ahead of Virgin Media.

Generally speaking we don’t pay much attention to Netflix’s monthly reports, unless something interesting happens, and that’s because their Speed Index is only capable of reflecting the average performance of all Netflix-based video streams on each ISP. In other words, it’s useless as a measure of general end-user internet connectivity speed or capability but sadly some won’t report it that way.


Part of the reason for this is because video streaming speeds can be affected by all sorts of factors, such as the dynamic nature of different video codecs, the performance of your home network (e.g. wifi), ISP traffic management measures and video quality among many other things.

As a result the differences in score tend to be small because you’re looking more at the performance of Netflix’s own streams and servers, which all follow the same set of quality and codecs, rather than that of the ISP itself. But sometimes the general trends can still reveal problems with ISP traffic prioritisation and or peering / capacity to Netflix’s CDN servers.

NetflixUK – Major ISP Rankings (February 2014)

1 – BT 2.85Mbps (up from 2.66Mbps in Dec 2013)

2 – Virgin Media 2.81Mbps (down from 2.99Mbps in Dec 2013)

3 – Sky Broadband 2.49Mbps (down from 2.44Mbps in Dec 2013) [tied]

4 – TalkTalk 2.49Mbps (up from 2.35Mbps in Dec 2013) [tied]

5 – EE 1.93Mbps (down from 2.32Mbps in Dec 2013)

Ideally we’d like to see Netflix produce some useful data, such as a table that shows the difference in performance between HD and Standard Definition (SD) video streams, preferably alongside one that revealed the speed during different periods of the day (e.g. peak and off-peak) between ISPs. Including a few more ISPs wouldn’t hurt either.

NOTE: We have removed O2 from the list because their home lines are being migrated to Sky and they no longer exist as a consumer ISP.


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