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Survey – Internet Users Seek Faster Broadband ISP Upload Speeds

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 (1:30 am) - Score 1,050

Do you care about the upload performance of your broadband connection? A new online survey of 2,209 ISPreview.co.uk readers has found that nearly everybody knows how much Internet upload speed they have (up from 42% in 2014) and 65.4% claim to “NEED” an upload rate of 10-20Mbps+ from their ISP.

The results represent an interesting shift from a similar study conducted by ISPreview.co.uk in 2014, which found that only 42% of UK respondents knew the upload speed of their broadband package and 58.5% didn’t view it as being an important part of how they used the Internet.

Admittedly most of what people do online today is still download centric, which means that it predominantly involves data being transferred from servers on the Internet and then sent to your computer (e.g. downloading files, video streaming, browsing websites).

By comparison uploads go in the other direction (i.e. data sent from your computer to the Internet), which benefits multiplayer video games, VoIP calls, VPN, cloud computing / storage, social networks (e.g. sharing your personal videos and pictures online), P2P file sharing, FTP and so forth.

Most people know what download speeds are, but are you familiar with upload speeds?
Yes – 93.7%
No – 4.1%
Unsure – 2%

How much upload speed do you currently have (pick closest)?
1Mbps – 31.2%
10Mbps – 25%
20Mbps+ – 20.9%
5Mbps – 11.5%
2Mbps – 8.6%
Unsure – 2.5%

How much upload speed do you really NEED today (pick closest)?
20Mbps+ – 37.7%
10Mbps – 27.7%
5Mbps – 15.7%
Unsure – 7.1%
2Mbps – 6.9%
1Mbps – 4.6%

Until recently upload performance hasn’t been considered to be as important as the download rate because most related tasks, such as multiplayer video games and VoIP, simply didn’t require a particularly fast upstream link. But over the years’ this has begun to change, particularly with the rapid rise of social networking (Facebook etc.), cloud storage and the adoption of P2P file sharing technology into many digital distribution platforms (e.g. Microsoft updates, XBox Live etc.).

In other words it’s easy to see why there’s a growing demand for better upload performance, as anybody who has ever tried to upload a large number of high quality pictures and videos via a fairly common 1Mbps (upload) ADSL connection to Facebook could attest.

Sadly many ISPs remain reluctant to openly promote upload speeds, which is partly because they’re usually slower than the download rate and providers’ may be concerned about the potential for consumer confusion.

Equally the survey suggests that the Government’s plan to introduce a new 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) by 2020 should perhaps also pay close attention to the desire for good upload performance, particularly with so many respondents now claiming to “NEED” an upload speed of 10Mbps or faster.

Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks whether or not you’d rather go online via Mobile Broadband (4G) or Public WiFi when out and about? Vote Here.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Andrew Jones

    I’m pretty sure one of the biggest problems is that domestic ADSL services actually only have a 500k upload speed, only people paying for Business connections get a 1Mbps upload speed.

    • That’s not entirely correct Andrew, a lot of people get around 1Mbps on ADSL2+ lines and this is how the majority of homes still connect. Certainly many older ADSL1 / ADSLMax lines did have a 0.45Mbps limit, but they’re not so common now. On ADSL2+ you can also take a business-class Annex M upgrade and get up to around 2.5Mbps from some ISPs.

  2. Avatar FibreFred

    Not really sure about the results to be honest

    If you made a similar survey about a monthly salary and asked what people got now and what they needed they always opt for the highest number as opposed to what they could get by on.

    Same with upload I doubt need actually means NEED for most of the responses, more like prefer, prefer not to wait as long

    • Avatar Tempest3K

      I expect more people are finding they need better upload speeds as workplaces are embracing ‘flexible’ working – I’m frequently uploading files for work & also volunteering nowadays so 20Mbps upload is really useful for me

    • Avatar Chris P

      @ Fred
      i think you’ll find most people don’t need (or better still won’t notice) much over 50mb/s down but would notice an improvement in upload speed from 1mb/s or 5mb/s to 10+mb/s.
      Upload is now the main bottleneck, especially on VM where the entry service is 5mb/s up, vs vDSL’s upto ~10mb/s.

    • Avatar Dumb argument

      The lowest VDSL upload speeds start at 2Mb not 10Mb.

  3. Avatar RupertP

    I’m on FTTC with 20Mbit download speed and 1.5Mbit upload speed. Any time one of the family’s IOS devices decides to back-up to the cloud, the upload is saturated and this affects downloads too, as ACK packets get delayed. Upload speed *IS* much more important than most people realise!

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