UK average broadband speed continues to rise despite the lockdown

The average broadband speed in the UK has risen by around 16% since 2018, according to a recent Ofcom report.

The annual UK Home Broadband Performance report found that the average home speed is now 64 Mbits/sec, up from the 54.2 Mbits/sec recorded in 2018.

The data was gathered in November 2019 and showed an 18% increase in broadband speed. However, Ofcom updated the information by taking into account the recent surge in demand on networks due to the current coronavirus lockdown, which has caused broadband speeds to fall by 2%.

Despite the dip, the overall broadband speed is still up by 16%, which corresponds with growth from previous years.

Ofcom’s report said that growing availability and take-up of superfast and ultrafast full-fibre and cable services had contributed to the steady increase. Around three in four home broadband connections are now superfast packages with advertised download speeds of 30 Mbits/sec or higher. Meanwhile, 2% of UK lines are ultrafast packages with advertised download speeds of at least 300 Mbits/sec.

The regulator also found that cable and full-fibre services had the highest average upload and download speeds of all the tested services. Out of the packages included in the report, the fastest average peak time (from 8 pm to 10 pm) download and upload speeds were provided by Virgin Media’s 362 Mbits/sec cable service and BT’s 300 Mbits/sec full-fibre service.

However, Virgin Media’s success has been marred by an approximate 10% dip in speed in mid-to-late March, caused by the sudden spike in demand following the government’s advice to stay at home. Nevertheless, the Ofcom report noted that Virgin Media's customers are likely to have missed this dip, as the company has overall higher speeds than most broadband providers.

In late April, Virgin Media went offline for thousands of users across the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, with over 30,000 complaints recorded by Downdetector.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.