2022 vs 2021 Top Fastest UK Mobile and Home Broadband ISPs

Internet download and upload uk speedtest arrows

As another year passes, ISPreview.co.uk has taken a look back over the past 12 months to see how the average UK broadband download and upload speeds have changed across the fastest nationally available fixed line ISPs, mobile operators and Starlink (satellite provider) . Suffice to say, there’s been a huge performance jump between 2021 and 2022.

The following results are inevitably impacted by a number of factors, such as the rising coverage of faster networks (eg full fiber and 5G) and the associated level of take-up by consumers. In that sense, it helps to understand any key changes in network deployments since the beginning of the year, and there have been a few. We’ve used Ofcom’s latest coverage data – as recorded in September each year – to help illustrate this change.

NOTE: The term “gigabit-capable” on UK fixed lines refers to the combined coverage from both FTTP and Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC / DOCSIS) networks combined.
Fixed Connection 2022 Coverage (2021) 2022 Take-up (2021)
% Under 10Mbps (USO) 2% (2%) no data
Superfast (30Mbps+) 97% (96%) 73% (69%)
Gigabit-capable (any speed) 70% (47%) 38% (no data)
Full Fiber (FTTP) 42% (28%) 25% (24%)

The main changes for fixed connections in the past year have stemmed from both the completion of Virgin Media’s (VMO2) DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade to cope with gigabit speeds (here), and the increasingly rapid rollout of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP ) lines by more than 100 operators (Summary of Full Fiber Build Progress) – particularly Openreach’s £15bn plan to reach 25 million UK premises by December 2026 (here).

Most of the gigabit-capable and FTTP broadband builds are being conducted by commercial operators in urban areas, which is expected to reach around 80% in a few years’ time. The Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit program aims to lift this up to at least 85% by 2025 and thenat least” 99% by 2030, but there will be no real impact from this until next year, when the first early builds should begin.

As for mobile networks, some 67-77% of premises can now get outdoor 5G coverage from at least one operator (up from 42-57% at the end of 2021) and geographic coverage of 4G networks across all operators sits within a range of 80-87% (up from 79-86%). The £1bn Shared Rural Network (SRN) project is also working to boost geographic 4G coverage (here) – aiming to hit 95% from at least one operator by the end of 2025.

NOTE: Speedtests can be affected by all sorts of issues, such as slow WiFi, limitations of the tester itself, local network congestion and package choice (a lot of people will pick a slower and cheaper plan, even with 1Gbps available). The following results are thus only good for observing general market changes over time and MUST NOT be taken as a reflection of ISP capability.

Fastest Fixed Line Broadband ISPs (H2 2022 vs H2 2021)

The data in this report stems from Thinkbroadband’s independent speedtest database (inc. ISPreview’s Broadband Speedtest). In the table below, we’ve only included independent ISPs with strong national availability, although there is a separate table for smaller alternative networks on page 2 – these are difficult to include because they aren’t yet available to the majority of premises and thus don’t produce many data samples.

Naturally, there are some caveats to consider with speedtest based surveys like this, not least that such scores tend to be more reflective of take-up than network availability. For example, some ISPs may have a much larger proportion of customers on slower copper ADSL or FTTC lines and that can weigh against anyone on faster FTTP or gigabit packages with the same provider (ie pulling average speeds down). The opposite can also be true.

NOTE: The top 10% is the speed experienced by the fastest users on each ISP (below in brackets). The results are averages (mean) in Megabits per second (Mbps). Data was processed at the end of November 2022.

Average Download Speeds – Top 10

No. Operator 2022 (Top 10%) 2021 (Top 10%) Change %
1. Virgin Media 204.1Mbps (468.3Mbps) 153.5Mbps (371Mbps) 32.96%
2. AAISP (Andrews & Arnold) 166.4Mbps (470Mbps) 52.9Mbps (73.8Mbps) 214.56%
3. iDNET 153Mbps (486.7Mbps) 83.9Mbps (90.7Mbps) 82.36%
4. Zen Internet 113.6Mbps (308.7Mbps) 91.3Mbps (228.3Mbps) 24.42%
5. Vodafone 78.7Mbps (146Mbps) 51.7Mbps (73.8Mbps) 52.22%
6. BT 78.3Mbps (149.4Mbps) 61.4Mbps (117.2Mbps) 27.52%
7. EE 53.6Mbps (74.8Mbps) 34Mbps (65.7Mbps) 57.65%
8. TalkTalk 51.4Mbps (75.4Mbps) 37.4Mbps (69.8Mbps) 37.43%
9. Sky Broadband 50.1Mbps (74.8Mbps) 37.9Mbps (69Mbps) 32.19%
10. Plusnet 39.2Mbps (70.2Mbps) 29.1Mbps (60.2Mbps) 34.71%

Average Upload Speeds – Top 10

Overall, the average download speed of the top national providers was 98.84Mbps (up from 63.31Mbps a year ago) and the average upload speed hit 24.91Mbps (up from 13.88Mbps). Strong gains have been seen across the board this time, although iDNET, AAISP and EE appear to have recorded the most significant growth over the last year, mostly due to the rising adoption of FTTP packages.

However, we would caveat that iDNET and AAISP are smaller providers, which means they’re more exposed to larger fluctuations in speed – both positive and negative – due to having smaller sample sizes. In addition, the data above largely reflects the period before Virgin Media’s recent speed boost to its entry-level tiers, which probably won’t show up properly until our H1 2023 report next year.

Satellites

Earlier this year we started adding some results for SpaceX’s satellite based Starlink broadband service, which continues today. But as we don’t have related data for December 2021, then we’re instead comparing the latest speeds against those from June 2022. Sadly, not enough data exists to include other satellite platforms or providers.. yet. The good news is that Starlink’s speeds have, after an earlier fall, started to improve again.

Average UK Star link Broadband Speeds

Dec 2022 (Top 10%) June 2022 (Top 10%)
Download 118.6Mbps (190.8Mbps) 95.7Mbps (159.6Mbps)
Upload 10.8Mbps (16.3Mbps) 9.2Mbps (15.4Mbps)

Now flick over to page 2 to see how the fastest full fiber alternative network (altnet) ISPs and mobile operators performed.


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