Virgin Media Tops Data Speeds and Scots Suffer Internet Indignity in Giz UK Broadband Audit

By Matt Hill on at

At the end of last year, we asked the Giz UK community to give us a random snapshot of its broadband. Nothing overly scientific – we know fluctuating broadband is a complicated beast with many, many different individual reasons for it. But there was a general feeling that some people had signed up for speeds that they couldn't realistically achieve, and we wanted to see how much this was the case.

Well, the response was rather large. Using the Ookla Speedtest as suggested, 85 Giz UK commenters showed us what they were getting – while a load more told us whether they were happy with that, thank you very much. And the results were fascinating.

So, following on from our popular Giz UK Smartwatch Census, here we have the final report on the Giz UK Broadband Audit – and our workings out, as ever, in graph-form. Sorry it's late, Miss, but Kids' Zone Graphs can only work so fast.

What Broadband Speeds Are You Getting – and Are You Happy With Them?

While the highest reported download speeds were 160Mb in Bristol, Kent and Nottingham (all on Virgin Media's 152 plan, so surpassing the promises), and the lowest a lowly 1Mb in Chorley, Lancashire (on a BT plan that teased 17Mb), the Giz UK national average worked out as 50.24Mb download and 7.56Mb upload.

Which seems fairly healthy. But how happy were we all, as a whole, with that?

So the majority of Giz commenters are not unhappy with the broadband service they receive, which is something, but there's definite room for improvement.

Out of interest, let's see how that 'happy' percentage falls depending on region:

While Giz UK readers in the North East were the most satisfied with their broadband, our poor Scotland-based commenters were more than miffed. It's fair to say they have a reason, too, when you see that out of the average download speeds reported by Giz UK commenters per region, they come in dead last:

Poor old Gary, it's amazing he ever gets my emails at all.

Interestingly, though, the North East isn't even in the top five for best average speed despite being the most 'broadband happy' region. Easily pleased or just knowing when you're well off? Either way, hats off to you.

Which Broadband Providers are the Fastest and Most Popular?

But what of the providers that are pumping us our internets? Is it hats off to them, too? Well, the big three of Virgin Media, BT and Sky account for most of our data costs, with plucky, value-conscious Plusnet picking up the rear.

Yet of all these, Plusnet is the clear leader on popularity – something it boasts of in its marketing but which  certainly seems to be the case when you look at percentage of 'happy' Giz UK customers for each firm:

Plusnet even leads on average reported upload speed among Giz UK commenters, too (although it's worth noting their smaller sample size compared to the more dominant 'big three'):

However, what's clear from the average Giz UK commenter download speed across the providers, from the largest sample size: if you want pure speeds, across the country, regardless of price, your best bet is Virgin Media.