Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Peak and off peak performance at the largest UK broadband providers in September 2017

The proposals under consultation for providers who remain signed up to the Ofcom Broadband Speeds Code of Practice makes our monthly reporting on what we are seeing in terms of peak versus off-peak speeds for the major providers even more important. Of course there are variations from day to day in provider performance and which part of the UK your connection is in but at knowing the national picture and how much speeds vary does at least help people to see if the performance variations they are seeing are par for the course or something exceptionally bad.

The new Ofcom proposal suggests monitoring peak speeds for 8pm to 10pm which for consumers if probably the most critical part of the night since this is when people are most likely to be streaming video, and especially for live streaming our single thread tbbx1 test results are a good proxy for how well or not video should stream (this is especially true for live streams where no significant buffering is possible). We know some providers say to ignore slow or very variable single thread speed test results as web access is multi threaded, but as websites gain ever larger images and javascript libraries which are individually delivered as single downloads then having a very variable tbbx1 result will be felt as web pages loading slowly. Our data currently uses a definition of 6pm to midnight for the peak period and we will explore an additional definition of peak to match the Ofcom proposals.

Off-Peak Tests Results September 2017
Off-Peak defined as midnight to 5.59pm
Median Average
Provider

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)
% differenceUpload Speed

Quality

Lower is Better

Grade A = Best

Latency
BT23.8 Mbps26.8 Mbps-11.2%4.9 Mbps0.3 - Grade A41ms
EE12.2 Mbps14 Mbps-12.9%1.0 Mbps0.7 - Grade A51ms
Plusnet19.5 Mbps22.1 Mbps-11.8%1.7 Mbps0.3 - Grade A44ms
Sky13.1 Mbps15.2 Mbps-13.9%2 Mbps0.5 - Grade A50ms
TalkTalk12.6 Mbps15.1 Mbps-16.6%1.5 Mbps0.4 - Grade A51ms
Virgin Media43.4 Mbps64.6 Mbps-33.7%6.0 Mbps0.9 - Grade B37ms
Peak Tests Results September 2017
Peak time defined as 6pm to 11:59pm
Median Average
Provider

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)
% differenceUpload Speed

Quality

Lower is Better

Grade A = Best

Latency
BT26.1 Mbps29.2 Mbps-10.7%5.7 Mbps0.4 - Grade A41ms
EE9.9 Mbps11.3 Mbps-12.4%

0.9 Mbps

0.7 - Grade A57ms
Plusnet19.4 Mbps22.6 Mbps-14.2%1.7 Mbps0.4 - Grade A48ms
Sky13.2 Mbps16 Mbps-17.5%2.6 Mbps0.6 - Grade A

49ms

TalkTalk11.9 Mbps14.2 Mbps-16.2%1.2 Mbps0.5 - Grade A54ms
Virgin Media38.7 Mbps56.8 Mbps-31.9%5.9 Mbps1.0 - Grade B40ms

The thinkbroadband speed test has been taught about the grading system for the quality score making it easier now for people to see what we thought of their individual test, to see your quality grade and a chart of the latency measurements during the test along with how you compared to others using the same connection technology simply click the analysis button once the test has finished.

The differences between single thread and multiple thread tests at both peak and off-peak times were fairly consistent compared to the figures from August, so looks like it was pretty much business as usual for the six largest providers, alas Vodafone Home Broadband still needs to add a whole load more customers to give us enough data points to be confident enough to present their results.

We know that some people worry that the quality score favours slower connections, but the scoring is agnostic to the actual speed of the connection, so for example here is a Gigabit broadband connection with a < 0.1 quality score and another probably Gigabit connection that only scored 2.0 with a significant delay in the test starting and then the speed drops off over time. 

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