BT gets wooden spoon in Ofcom broadband figures

Brodband speeds - 'up to' less than you might think
Brodband speeds - 'up to' less than you might think

Ofcom's latest broadband speed figures have been released, and it seems that BT has the reddest face with its 'up to' 20Mbps service bottom of the table, averaging a paltry 6.9 to 8.7Mbps in speed tests.

The communications watchdog has told the Advertising Standards Authority – currently reviewing the way we are sold broadband in the UK – that ISPs should include a Typical Speed range (TSR) in any advertising that is given as much prominence as the spurious 'up to' promises.

And Ofcom's latest figures show that this would provide a much starker view of the reality of our broadband speeds.

In theory

"The theoretical 'up to' speed of broadband services continues to feature in many broadband advertisements," explains Ofcom's report.

"This is despite the fact that various constraints on broadband performance (including distance from the premises to the exchange, quality of lines and home wiring, and congestion on ISPs' networks and the wider internet) combine to make actual speeds significantly lower than headline speeds.

"We found that average download speeds remain well below the advertised speeds which some ISPs continue to use: the average download speed for all UK residential connections of 6.2Mbps compares to an average advertised speed of 'up to' 13.8Mbps, equivalent to 45 per cent of the advertised speed."

Fibre benefits

As you may expect, Virgin Media's cable service – benefiting from a fibre optic network – comes out of the report smelling of roses.

Its 10Mbps service delivered average speeds of 9.6Mbps, 18Mbps for its 20Mbps service and 45.6Mbps for its 50Mb service.

BT's fibre optic service, Infinity, was included in the report for the first time – and was producing average speeds at 80 per cent of the 40Mbps it is labelled with. Better than expected, but perhaps not as much as hoped.

Ofcom's speeds

Uploads boost for BT

BT was praised for the speeds of its uploads from Ofcom – with the company living up to its promise that its fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) offering would provide a top level service for people who need to upload large amounts of files or use high-quality real-time video communications.

"Our results showed that BT's 'up to' 40Mbps FTTC service delivered average upload speeds of 7.8Mbps, significantly higher than any other service we measured," stated Ofcom.

"Virgin Media's 'up to' 50Mbps delivered average upload speeds of 2.8Mbps, with all other ISP packages delivering average upload speeds of less than half this."

In the lower 'up to' 10Mpbs services it was Orange that picked up the wooden spoon, narrowly behind Plusnet – with its 'up to' 8Mbps bringing speeds of just 3.3 to 4.3Mbps.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.