UK Broadband speeds drop 28 per cent during peak hours

UK broadband speeds drop an average 28 per cent from their fastest speeds during evening peak hours, new research from uSwitch has revealed.

The survey revealed that average download speeds can fall by as much as 60 per cent at peak times across the UK.

uSwitch research showed that the best time to surf the net is actually 4am, as this is the time when broadband services reach the headline speed offered by providers. Average download speeds for the British early birds are 14.83Mbps.

In comparison, the study, based on over 2.3 million consumer speed tests carried out over the past six months, showed that 9pm is the slowest time to browse the web. The peak hour, when business types and commuters arrive home from work, suffers from 10.72Mbps average speeds, down 28 per cent.

Birmingham and Middlesbrough are the places that ranked highest for fast evening broad speeds, with 12.88Mbps and 12.87Mbps respectively. However, broadband customers in Dudley were found to experience highly noticeable peak time speed dips of 60 per cent, going from a lightning-fast 31.81Mbps to 12.62MBps by the evening.

Unfortunate broadband customers in Aberdeen and Swansea are clocking in as those with the lowest 9pm peak time speeds with 6.08Mbps and 6.99Mbps respectively.

“This research shows the incredible strain that is placed on broadband when everyone logs on at the same time, particularly in densely populated areas,” said Julia Stent, telecoms expert at uSwitch. “The big rise in streaming and downloading – be that films for our tablets, or games for our smartphones – means that striving to deliver consistent speeds will be a long, hard slog for broadband providers.”

Of course, it was expected that the research showed the most significant peak and off-peak speed differences in the bigger towns and cities, due to a greater demand on internet services.

“It certainly explains why some people may never actually feel like their connection is as fast as the one promised by providers when they signed [up]. The obvious solution of setting your alarm at 4am to use the internet is far from practical,” added Stent. “Instead, run an online speed test at home to check that you are getting the best possible service available in your area. If you think you could do better, consider shopping around for a new deal.”

How fast is the internet connection in your area? Do you experience a noticeable decrease in browsing speeds during peak hours? Drop us a line in the comment boxes below.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor