UK Broadband Speeds Drop By Third At Peak Times

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Connection speeds drop by 35 percent in the evening thanks to TV streaming, says uSwitch

Research by uSwitch has revealed that UK broadband speeds slow down by an average of 35 percent during peak demand in the evening.

The study is based on two million speed tests across the UK and the also reveals significant regional discrepancies in broadband speeds.

Regional Differences

According to the report, during the peak period between 7 and 9pm, the average download speed was 6.2Mbps, a drop from the fastest average speed of 9.6Mbps on offer between 2 and 3am, when demand was at its lowest.

In Evesham in Worcestershire, average morning speeds of 15.5Mbps decreasing by a staggering 69 percent to 4.9Mbps in the evening, whileWeston-Super-Mare also suffered, losing 65 percent of its off-peak average of 9.5Mbps.

Unsurprisingly, rural areas were affected the most, with Wadebridge in Cornwall’s relatively pedestrian peak time of speeds 4.1Mbps nearly halved to 2.1Mbps in the evening.

Strained Network

“The problem of slower broadband speeds has been exacerbated by changes in the way people use the internet, with far more people downloading music and watching TV programmes online, inevitably putting more strain on the network,” commented Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.

“Although providers are working hard to upgrade the UK’s broadband infrastructure, there is a long road ahead to ensure that everyone can enjoy a much more consistent service,” he continued, “For those who feel they are permanently stuck in the slow lane, it’s an extremely frustrating situation, especially with many people now relying heavily on the internet in their day-to-day lives.”

In September, the European Commission announced plans to carry out EU-wide broadband tests in an effort to improve Europe’s broadband network while a 2009 report by Ofcom revealed that users only get half of the speeds that ISPs promised them.

However BT’s commitment to roll out super-fast fibre-optic broadband to two thirds of the UK by 2015 as part of a 32.5 billion investment and Virgin’s claim that its 100Mbps service is now available to 20m people serve as evidence that the situation is improving.

But the inadequacy of connections used by many people in the UK, especially in rural areas, was exposed by a test which saw a carrier pigeon deliver a 500MB file to its destination faster than the local broadband connection over a distance of 75 miles.

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