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The UK Top 8 Fastest Major Home Broadband ISPs for May 2014

Monday, Jun 2nd, 2014 (1:04 am) - Score 1,413

The average fixed line home broadband download speed for the largest eight ISPs in the United Kingdom held stable at 21.7Mbps (up from 21.32Mbps in April 2014) and Internet uploads were similarly unchanged at 5.04Mbps. As usual Virgin Media and BT remain the fastest national providers. A new chart that tracks the monthly changes has also been added.

The following summary is based on data gathered using Ookla’s universal Speedtest.net service and we then calculate the overall average speeds from only the major national UK ISPs listed below rather than Ookla’s overall total (i.e. Ookla’s overall figures would be too skewed by business ISPs, niche providers and mobile operators).

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Generally speaking May has been a fairly quiet month with no major changes to report; although Zen Internet has snuck into the top 3 after just about managing to unseat PlusNet. Otherwise Virgin continues to be the fastest national broadband ISP for download speeds on 49.36Mbps, with BT coming a distant second at 25.52Mbps (largely due to the high number of slower ADSL2+ users).

Top 8 Big UK ISPs – Average Download Speed (Megabits per second)
1. Virgin Media – 49.26Mbps
2. BT – 25.52Mbps
3. Zen Internet – 22.58Mbps
4. PlusNet – 21.30Mbps
5. Eclipse Internet – 14.99Mbps
6. Sky Broadband – 13.46Mbps
7. TalkTalk – 13.44Mbps
8. EE – 13.05Mbps

Top 8 Big UK ISPs – Average Upload Speed
1. BT – 7.58Mbps
2. Zen Internet – 6.80Mbps
3. PlusNet – 6.50Mbps
4. Virgin Media – 5.56Mbps
5. Eclipse Internet – 4.30Mbps
6. Sky Broadband – 3.97Mbps
7. EE (Orange) – 3.19Mbps
8. TalkTalk – 2.44Mbps

Some readers have also requested that ISPreview.co.uk keep track of individual ISP performance and in response we’ve included a semi-interactive chart at the bottom that will be used to keep tabs on the listed ISPs, albeit only in terms of downstream performance (uploads change at a far slower rate).

At this stage we’ve only been doing it since March 2014 and so you won’t notice much movement, although the start of Virgin Media’s latest double speed upgrade is clearly evident. Take note that the chart will only display if your web browser has enabled JavaScript (most do this by default) and mobile browsers may also need to use ‘Desktop’ mode to see it.

As usual it’s important to take average speeds like these 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 (e.g. slow wifi or poor home wiring), thus we do not consider the above data to be a reliable barometer for individual users but it can help to highlight general changes in the market.

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On top of that it’s known that Ookla’s data attempts to reflect the fastest sustainable throughput performance by dropping a sizeable chunk of the slowest tests and a smaller slice of the fastest results for each ISP, which has its merits but also skews the results a bit. Similarly speedtesting services are rarely perfect, although this is usually more of an issue for ultrafast connections of 100Mbps+ (uncommon).

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Mark-Jackson
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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