Virgin currently running fastest in broadband speed race

2 February 2012

Virgin_logoIn the battle of the quickest, Virgin is currently beating BT in the UK broadband stakes,  according to an Ofcom report.

The report, which shows that overall residential speeds have risen by 22 per cent over the last year, reviewed 13 ISPs, crowning Virgin's 'up to' 50Mbps offering as having the highest average download speeds of around 49Mbps.

BT's rival product – Infinity – achieves average download speeds of 36Mbps. However, it isn't all bad news for BT as Infinity claimed the title for highest average upload speeds (8.8Mbps).

Virgin crowed about the result while also giving a thumbs-up to new rules which clamp down on ISP's misleading 'up to' claims

"It's good to see Britain’s broadband speeds moving in the right direction and the new advertising rules will, for the first time, force our competitors to be more honest about their 'up to 24Mb' claims. We hope they’ll try to keep up," said Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin.

Ofcom say on the matter: "Where a significant proportion of customers are unlikely to receive a speed sufficiently close to that advertised... such as the speed range obtainable by those customers, should be included in the advertisement. In addition, any claim should be based on robust and reasonably representative data."

"In line with this new guidance, using data from Ofcom's latest research, the industry average speed based on the 10 per cent availability criteria would be 6Mbps for services currently advertised at 'up to' 8Mbps, and 14Mbps for services currently advertised at 'up to' 20/24Mbps."

BT are also pleased with Ofcom's findings and regulations: "Ofcom's approach to assessing broadband performance is moving away from just looking at download speed. Factors such as upload speed, latency, jitter and packet loss are increasingly important when assessing the overall performance of services. This is positive for BT as we focus on the overall experience," spake a spokesperson.

"We give bespoke speed estimates to all customers at the point of sale and this is now underwritten by the Code of Practice. No customer should be in any doubt as to the likely speed that they should expect from our service before they make a purchase decision."

TOPICS:   Technology   Broadband


  • Mike H.
    Yeah, my 50mb Virgin BB is raping the torrents as we speak. Why the fuck else would you want fast internet? Who the fuck cares about upload speeds? It's all about the DL baby.* *Mr. Hock has a ratio of 1
  • JonB
    BT says: "...latency, jitter and packet loss are increasingly important when assessing the overall performance of services". Erm, don't those all affect download speeds? It's just techno-babble to obfuscate the fact that they aren't as good at Virgin.
  • Mienaikage
    @JonB They do, but not as significantly as it would affect connections that don't require a high download speed, such as voice calls or gaming. Issues with latency/jitter/packet loss can cause severe problems with these services while only making a small dent in your download speed if you have a high enough bandwidth.
  • Sicknote
    @JonB Thanks for letting me know that; it did give me a bit of a chuckle to know that BT are still being complete dicks in trying to scare consumers with near redundant terms like latency, jitter & packet loss.
  • M4RKM
    Well, I'm glad that I've recently left Virgin, because at a weekend, it turned into a pile of steaming poo, with you being unable to browse the internet, let alone download anything. Having the fastest speeds doesn't necessarily translate to have a consistent internet connection, and at least BT Infinity is consistent, albeit about 5mb slower (which has fuck all effect on web browsing!) M
  • klingelton
    @sicknote if you want to stream video, play 'pooter games online and get your junk out on chatroulette, then you need a connection that's relatively free of jitter, has a good low stable ping and as little packet loss as possible. These are facts, not something that BT is making up to scare consumers into choosing their products. Now it must be said that on virgin media - i have very low jitter, very low ping and no packet loss - exactly what BT are touting as a counter claim to the best broadband. Im on the 10 meg connection, as there is really no need for me to be on a higher package. 10 meg is fine for me and my wife. for me, this whole battle for whom has the "fastest" internet is exactly the same as the megapixel myth and the extraordinary way that pc world fall back to the hard drive capacity as a measure of how good a computer is "This computer has 8 trillion megaflops hard drive capacity, isn't it good?" The reality is - most consumers know little about what they're buying and choosing one statistic of a product that sounds good will most probably shift it, because consumers are idiots - especially when it comes to technology. if this weren't true, explain to me this. Why would you put a 500gb hdd in a netbook?! why would you put a 20 megapixel image sensor in a phone where the lens and apreture size render anything more that 2 meg utterly useless! big numbers mean people buy!
  • Dick
    10 meg is also fine for me and your wife.
  • Rob
    she doesn't like my megaflops.
  • klingelton
    I dislike people talking about my wife in that way :(. Shame on you.
  • klingelton's w.
    @klingelton: STFU and get back down there bitch.

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