Why should you check your broadband speed?
Checking your broadband speed is quick and easy to do. Here’s why it’s important to find out how quick your access to the internet is:
- You might not have access to the advertised speed you signed up for
- You can compare how your speed compares to neighbours and friends
- You could you get a better broadband deal for your area.
What is a broadband speed test?
A Broadband Speed Test is free to run and helps you analyse your broadband speed quickly and easily. A speed test takes around 20 seconds to complete. You can run them from most modern web browsers and devices, including computers, tablets, phones and game consoles. Broadband speed checks will measure your speed on a range of fixed-line broadband connection types, including ADSL broadband, cable and fibre-optic broadband. They can also be run on 3G & 4G mobile broadband connections.
What do my results mean?
|Broadband Download Speed||Typical Use|
|0.5 Mbps (Mega bits per second)||If speeds are consistent, this should be sufficient for audio streaming, email and very basic web browsing.|
|1 Meg (Mbps)||Basic video streaming should work and standard web pages.|
|2 Meg (Mbps)||Standard definition (SD) video from BBC iPlayer should be possible.|
|5 Meg (Mbps)||Should allow High Definition (HD - 1080p) video streaming to run smoothly.|
|8 Meg (Mbps)||Should be able to support video streaming and other activities at the same time without buffering.|
|15 Meg (Mbps)||Connection will support a few video streams and other activity at the same time.|
|25 Meg (Mbps)||Should be able to stream pre-recorded Ultra HD video (UHD - 4k) smoothly.|
|40 Meg (Mbps)||
Should be able to stream live Ultra HD video (UHD - 4k) smoothly.
|Broadband Upload Speed||Typical Use|
|0.1 Mbps (Mega bits per second)||Adequate to send simple text emails.|
|0.4 Meg (Mbps)||Online gaming should be possible, remember gaming is very latency sensitive.|
|0.8 Meg (Mbps)||Webcam video streams over Skype etc should be reasonable quality|
|2 Meg (Mbps)||HD Webcam streaming may be possible.|
|10 Meg (Mbps)||Uploading 200MB of holiday video to the cloud will take around 4 to 5 minutes.|
If you find your broadband performance is very different from the advertised speed you may want to contact your supplier's customer care team to make sure there isn't a connection or service issue.
Broadband speeds around the country
Broadband speeds around the UK have increased by 51% since 2015 on average. However, when it comes to the speed of your internet connection, not every postcode area is equal...
While it’s true that, as a rule of thumb, urban areas and large cities will benefit from faster broadband speeds, there’s also been an increase in speed in more rural areas in the past couple of years. Take a look at the map below to see how much download speeds have improved where you live:
Map based on Longitude (generated) and Latitude (generated). Colour shows average of Download. Details are shown for area. The data is filtered on Download, which ranges from 1 to 5501850.
Where in the UK has the fastest broadband?
If you want to benefit from the fastest broadband in the country, there are a few places you might want to relocate to:
London: While this won’t come as a surprise to anyone, the capital boasts some of the best download speeds in the country, averaging up to 29 Mbps in central London - an increase of 125% on 2015. This is partly due to the high concentration of businesses in central London, which require faster internet than your average home connection.
Watford: Not a fan of London? Why not travel just 20 miles northwest and get access to even faster speeds? Watford, home of Wetherspoon’s (or at least their head office) offers average broadband speeds of up to 40 Mbps - that’s fast enough to stream live videos in Ultra-HD without a hitch.
Salisbury: For a medieval town, Salisbury is pretty modern - the city’s average broadband speeds have doubled since 2015, and are now reaching over 24 Mbps. While you won’t be able to stream Live TV in Ultra HD, these speeds will be enough to run any other kind of video streaming smoothly.
Birmingham: The second city has always been one for fast download speeds, reaching an average of 20 Mbps in 2015. Yet, in the past couple of years, it has started to lag behind… As of 2017, Birmingham offers average speeds of up to 22 Mbps - fast, yes, but a meagre 9% increase.
Broadband connection types and speeds
It’s important to note that broadband speeds are linked to the type of connection available in your area. Many urban areas, which benefit from faster speeds, also benefit from fibre optic - areas like Watford and Central London, for example, are almost 50% covered.
Fibre optic broadband offers the fastest advertised speeds, but this type of connection tends to be less reliable than cable - meaning that your download speed could sometimes dip lower than what you signed up for. Cable offers more reliable speeds, and areas with a high cable coverage tend to benefit from faster overall internet.
When looking for a new broadband deal, make sure to check which type of connection is available in your area, and go for cable or fibre over ADSL if you can. You can use our postcode checker to find out in just a few seconds.