How are broadband speeds measured?
Broadband speeds are measured in 'megabits per second', often shortened to Mb, Mbits or Mbps. Bits are tiny units of data, with a megabit representing a million of them. The higher the number of Mbps you have, the faster your online activity should be. A high number should mean that downloads complete more quickly, webpages load faster, streaming of music or videos begins more rapidly and any video calls or online games played should display smoothly.
Most broadband providers advertise their services with the download speed as the main headline. Standard broadband services usually have download speeds up to 20 Mbps. Fibre broadband services generally have download speeds starting from up to 24Mbps.
It is also important to consider upload speed as it can be crucial for some services. High quality video calling, for example, requires both fast download and fast upload speeds.
What is the average download speed?
The average download speed in the UK is 23Mbps (22.1Mbps in Essex). For those in Essex with a superfast broadband* connection, the average download speed is 56Mbps. UK coverage of broadband faster than 10Mbits has reached 85%. Superfast broadband* (30Mbps +) is now available to 75% of UK premises. Ofcom estimates that 97% of UK premises can now receive a broadband connection of 2Mbits or more - the target speed set in the Government’s universal service commitment (USC).
What is the average upload speed?
The average upload speed in the UK is currently 3Mbps. In Essex the average upload speed is 3.3Mbps, the minimum is 0.1Mbps and the maximum is 152Mbps. For those in Essex with a superfast broadband* connection, the average upload speed is 8Mbps.
How fast is 'superfast'?*
Superfast Essex, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) define superfast broadband as download speeds of “more than 24Mbps”. Ofcom and the European Union define superfast broadband services as those “delivering download speeds of 30Mbps or more”. The infrastructure being deployed by the Superfast Essex programme is measured against the BDUK definition, so will deliver a minimum of 24 Mbps, although in the majority of cases higher speeds will be available through these connections.
The development of ‘ultrafast’ broadband**
Industry and policy-makers are now considering broadband evolution beyond superfast. Since the technologies being used to deliver superfast broadband are capable of delivering speeds of around 100Mbps, the forward-looking debate tends to focus on developing a roadmap to speeds of a gigabit per second (1Gbps), commonly referred to as ‘ultrafast broadband’.
How fast is your internet connection now?
Broadband service providers may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen. When you speak to a provider they will usually be able to tell you what the average actual speed your home or business is likely to receive. Ofcom produce annual reports on fixed line average speeds but they do not currently publish speeds for mobile, wireless or satellite broadband.
Visit one of the following websites to perform a speed test:
To get the most accurate speed test result:
Connect with wires – connect your computer to your router using an Ethernet cable
Disconnect other wireless devices - Make sure no other devices or people use the broadband connection during the speed test.
For the best results, close all other programs and internet browsers running on your computer and stop any active downloads.