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Broadband: Standards

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 2886, tabled on 18 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the average internet (a) download and upload speed and (b) monthly cost for households in each region of the UK in the latest period for which figures are available.

Answered on

26 May 2021

Superfast broadband coverage is now available to over 97% of the UK, and Think Broadband reports that gigabit-capable networks now serve more than two in five (40%) premises in the UK.

Earlier this month, Ofcom published its UK Home Broadband Performance research which showed that the average download speed in the UK was 80.2 Mbps. This is an increase of 25% from 2019. The same report highlighted upload speeds of 21.6 Mbps which is equal to a 54% increase over the same period. Upload and download speeds will vary based on the type of connectivity installed within a property and the consumer’s individual retail package.

Ofcom published as part of its Connected Nations report in June 2020 the average speeds for each Nation. This showed the average download speeds as:

  • England: 74 Mbps

  • Wales: 58 Mbps

  • Scotland: 70Mbps

  • Northern Ireland: 64 Mbps

Regional data is produced on a quarterly basis by the website ThinkBroadband, and can be accessed at the following address: https://labs2.thinkbroadband.com/local/browse. Average speeds have been increasing each quarter as more premises have access to gigabit-capable broadband networks.

Different packages offered by suppliers may offer greater speeds, data allowances or other benefits, so it is difficult to assess the average cost. For example a number of broadband packages may include Pay TV subscriptions and other additional add-ons. However, to ensure decent broadband is affordable to everyone, a number of operators have brought in new nationwide affordable tariffs starting at £15 per month. For example, BT and Hyperoptic provide fibre social tariff products for households in receipt of Universal Credit and other means-tested benefits offering download speeds ranging from 40Mbps, up to 150Mbps.