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The Top 43 Fastest UK Universities for Broadband Speeds Ranked

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 (12:02 am) - Score 7,327

Apparently Leicester University might only be ranked 47th for higher education, but they come top for broadband speeds – averaging a download rate of 39.87Mbps in student areas – in a new study of Internet performance conducted on 43 of the United Kingdom’s top 50 universities.

The uSwitch.com data is based on speed tests conducted between 19th September 2015 to 7th July 2016, which examined the top universities as ranked by the Guardian University Guide 2017. Apparently this used tests (isolated by postcode) from the university halls of residence, university campus and most popular streets for private student accommodation at each university.

The postcodes for the halls of residence and campus were sourced from the universities’ accommodation pages, and postcodes for private student accommodation were sourced from the universities’ private accommodation pages, student forums and message boards, as well as local student letting agent listings.

Overall this totalled 181,131 speed tests, across 107,460 unique IP addresses. In order for a university to qualify for inclusion there had to be at least 500 unique tests, hence why the final table is only 43 long instead of 50.

Sadly the study doesn’t appear to break its data down to show which students were connecting via any given University’s own private network, which should ideally be separated from those who have taken a broadband service via a third-party ISP. Similarly we’re also given no information about the underlying availability of different connectivity methods, which again limits the usefulness of this data.

Never the less it’s noted that students in London appear to suffer quite a bit, facing the combined hassle from both a higher cost of living and worse broadband speeds: Queen Mary, SOAS, Goldsmiths, Imperial and Kings are all in the bottom 15 of the broadband league table.

Average Download Speeds for 43 of the Top 50 UK Universities

University Average download speed 2015/16 (Mbps)
1 Leicester 39.87
2 Queens, Belfast 36.71
3 Nottingham 36.18
4 Surrey 35.84
5 Loughborough 34.92
6 Cambridge 34.61
7 Bristol 34.45
8 Sussex 33.57
9 Oxford 32.83
10 UEA 32.05
11 Dundee 31.74
12 Southampton 31.55
13 Keele 31.09
14 Kent 30.54
15 Portsmouth 30.3
16 Cardiff 29.98
17 LSE 29.88
18 Leeds 27.71
19 Durham 26.62
20 UCL 26.37
21 Aston 26.17
22 Derby 26
23 Royal Holloway 25.93
24 Coventry 25.79
25 Reading 24.51
26 Swansea 24.46
27 Newcastle 24.29
28 Warwick 24.15
29 Kings 23.79
30 Imperial 22.81
31 Birmingham 20.87
32 SOAS 20.86
33 Sheffield 20.83
34 Exeter 20.8
35 Goldsmiths 20.79
36 Edinburgh 20.62
37 Heriot Watt 20.47
38 Glasgow 19.84
39 Queen Mary 19.64
40 York 18.28
41 Lancaster 18.1
42 Bath 17.75
43 Aberdeen 15.27

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Would love to know how they got good data on most popular streets for private student accomodation

  2. bubblegun says:

    I take it this is for non-uni services?

    At Strathclyde Uni was getting over 1000mb/s in 1996.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Impressive considering that most desktop computers back then didn’t have Gigabit Ethernet ports and would have struggled to handle 1000Mbps from the Internet 🙂 .

    2. Steve Jones says:

      I’m going to call this BS. The (initial) gigabit standard didn’t appear from the IEEE until June 1998, and that required optical interfaces. The copper gigabit standard wasn’t ratified until 1999 and didn’t appear in production PCs until 2000.

      Even 100mbps Ethernet (AKA fast Ethernet) didn’t appear until 1995, so would have been state-of-the-art on PCs in 1996.

      As for WAN access rates, the university JANET network only started introducing 155Mbps ATM in 1995, and didn’t start putting in 2.5Gbps backbone connections until 2001.

  3. John Miles says:

    Students are such heavy internet users that there is a very discernible difference in broadband usage in university towns during student vacations (exacerbated by multiple occupancy dwellings). I presume the same heavy usage occurs in university halls. Nice to know that the government funded JANET is facilitating so many Netflix and Games of Thrones downloads.

  4. Henry says:

    uSwitch have not had much credibility on identifying slow and fast streets from their speed testing results, and I would be surprised if their student results were much better

    How many students living on campus or in student halls of residence visit a price comparison site? They usually have no choice over supplier

  5. Mike says:

    How is UEA so high on that list when they cap student residences to a paltry 8Mbps?

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