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Ookla Updates on COVID-19 Impact on UK Broadband ISP Speeds

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 (10:58 am) - Score 5,603
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Internet speed testing firm Ookla (Speedtest.net) has issued an update on the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis on fixed broadband and mobile broadband speeds across the United Kingdom. The update notes that, between 2nd March and 20th April 2020, fixed lines saw a tiny -3% decrease while mobile recorded a +3% increase.

The results are broadly consistent with what we saw during the early phase of the national lockdown last month, which initially caused network traffic to increase significantly for consumer broadband ISPs as both adults and children began working from home (see here, here, here and here).

Despite that surge we saw very little impact upon broadband and mobile speeds as the vast majority of networks had no trouble adapting. Unlike some other countries the UK has generally maintained a fairly stable level of performance during the crisis, although some neighbouring countries did appear to suffer.

For example, during the same period Ookla’s results noted how fixed broadband speeds in Italy declined by -12% and mobile speeds fell -9%. Meanwhile Germany recorded the same fall of -12% for fixed broadband, although their mobile speeds increased by +6%. France too also saw a fall of -12% in fixed broadband, while mobile only dropped by -3%.

ookla april 2020 uk broadband speeds

Just for some extra context we’ve also added a summary of traffic passing over the London Internet Exchange (LINX) below, which covers the past month and suggests that network load has continued to gradually reduce from its 5Tbps peak in March as people increasingly settle into the new normal (with ISPs also adapting to the change in domestic connectivity habits).

As before we’ve combined both LINX’s LON1 and LON2 switches into two graphs.

NOTE: LINX does NOT provide a complete overview of internet traffic flow from all of the ISPs (e.g. BT’s network alone recently saw a peak of 17.5Tbps), but they do offer a useful indication for how such networks are behaving.

linx_april_2020_network_traffic_uk

As before the biggest problem for UK internet providers right now remains the impact of COVID-19 on their staffing (support and engineering) and complex supply chains. Otherwise we probably won’t be returning to look at this again until the lockdown starts to ease, which is when we’d expect to see domestic traffic reduce and potentially even some increase in broadband speeds (possibly rising above normal levels due to recent improvements in network capacity).

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Name says:

    I think that we should get more reports from another 4-5 companies like Ookla. Just 3 reports saying the same is not sufficient.

    1. Avatar The kappa convict says:

      Defo agree

    2. Avatar Herve Shango says:

      Exactly

  2. Avatar The Facts says:

    3% is nothing for random self selecting tests. Speeds vary depending if wifi or wired.

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