Regardless of which technology is offering broadband, broadband traffic is a crucial factor that will determine what speeds you may get. The less congested ADSL broadband line offered better speeds than super-fast ADSL 2+ broadband line with more customers sharing it. The recent study on the performance of UK broadband providers (fixed line) by the UK telecom regulator Ofcom confirmed this fact.
Ofcom and Samknows broadband information site have conducted a nation-wide speed tests and a survey of broadband customers’ over-all satisfaction with their providers. More than 1600 broadband connections were speed tested between November 2008 and April 2009 for 60 million times.
Here are a few findings of the provider performance analysis and customer satisfaction survey:
- The average speeds in UK stood at 4.1 Mbps, up from 3.6Mbps in January this year.
- Less than one in ten broadband customers (9%) could get more than 6Mbps.
- 20% of the broadband customers on 8Mbps broadband service received less than 2Mbps.
- During the peak hours i.e. between 8 – 10pm, broadband speeds dropped by nearly 20 %.
- Comparing to rural areas, broadband users in cities received better speeds with an average of 4.6Mbps. Average broadband speeds in rural areas stood at 3.3Mbps.
- The customer satisfaction survey showed that 80 % of the broadband customers were content with the service quality of the broadband service.
- One-fourths of the customers were disappointed with their speeds.
- Virgin Media topped all the providers in terms of speeds and performance (8.1 Mbps – 8.7Mbps on 10Mbps line).
- Some of the top performers after Virgin Media are O2, Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Orange (3.8Mbps – 5.1Mbps on 8Mbps line).
- Tiscali and AOL were below than average performers and their customers received slower speeds (3.2Mbps – 3.9 Mbps on 8Mbps line).
- UK’s largest broadband provider BT offered better speeds than Tiscali, but was slower than other top ISPs.
- Cable broadband in UK has surpassed ADSL broadband offered on telephone lines (copper).
BT said it offered broadband in rural areas where lines are at the limit of broadband service, with resulting lower average speeds
Broadband speeds depended on two factors – the type of technology used and the number of users sharing the network. The speed tests showed the latter had more impact on the speeds.
Peter Philips of Ofcom said that ISPs continue to invest in their networks, driven by consumers’ demand for faster and better broadband.