Internet statistics

The latest statistics for the Internet explored

The internet has become so ingrained in our day-to-day lives that the UN recently announced that access to it is a basic human right. But just how good is the broadband connection in the UK and does everyone have the ability to get online? While individual households can take broadband speed tests online to determine the speed of their connection, results are often variable. So, we explored the latest statistics to see if we could dig a little deeper…

Jargon Buster

Before you start reading, it might be a good idea to get your head around some of the terminology used when talking about broadband.
  • Internet speeds are referred to in megabits per second (Mbit/s), this is the speed at which your internet downloads or uploads information. The higher Mbit/s, the faster your connection.
  • Download speeds are the speed at which your connection downloads information from the internet, whether that’s web pages, images or videos for example.
  • Upload speeds are the speeds at which your internet uploads information to the internet, such as uploading a photo or adding your video to a conference call.

Quick overview

  • 619,000 premises in the UK can’t access decent broadband.
  • Utrafast broadband is available to over 50% of UK premises for the first time (53% in 2019, up from 49% in 2018).
  • Full fibre investment is starting in some areas of the UK, with speeds up to 1GB a second.
  • 95% of UK premises have access to superfast broadband connections, up 1% from 2018.


Premises in the UK are without access to decent broadband in 2018, 400,000 less than in 2017.

Your internet speed

You can check your internet speed using finder’s handy broadband speed test. If your’re not getting what you’ve paid for, try following our guide to faster internet speed here.

How fast internet speed do I need?

Possibly the hardest question to answer is which speed to chose. Like many other things, it depends on what you want to be able to do. If you have an internet speed of 100 Mbps (Megabit per second), you can use 100 Mb each second. For example, Netflix requires 25 Mb per second to be able to stream their highest quality content.

While you’re streaming content from Netflix, you’re also very likely to be connected to your Wi-Fi with other devices as well, which may require more or less than Netflix. If you are four people sharing the same internet connection and all of you want to watch Netflix on a Friday night, you need at least 100 Mbps for Netflix to run smoothly for all of you.

Service Speed requirement
Xbox One 3 Mbps
Nintendo Switch 3 Mbps
Playstation 4 3 Mbps
Fortnite 3 Mbps
YouTube 2.5-15 Mbps
BBC iPlayer 1.5-2.8 Mbps
Netflix 3-25 Mbps
Spotify 0.96-0.160 Mbps
Apple Music 0.256 Mbps
Upload a 30 minute video (1080p) on YouTube in 10 minutes 25 Mbps

Households with access to the internet

It seems today that every household is connected to the internet, but that didn’t always used to be the case. We looked at the stats to see how internet access has changed over time.

In 2018, 90% of UK households are connected to the internet, compared to just 65% of households 10 years ago.

Year Percentage
2018 90%
2017 90%
2016 89%
2015 86%
2014 84%
2013 83%
2012 80%
2011 77%
2010 73%
2009 70%
2008 65%
2007 61%
2006 57%
2005 55%
2004 49%
2003 46%
2002 42%
2001 36%
2000 25%
1999 13%
1998 9%

What do quick internet speeds actually mean?

Better internet speeds don’t just mean quicker downloads, they can allow you to do things that a slower connection might not. Explore the graphic below to see what speed internet connection is required for the following activities.

General web browsing and listening to music requires very low speeds, of just 1Mbit/s. Video streaming, by comparison, uses far more, and unsurprisingly requires faster speeds at higher definitions. Ultra HD streaming uses 25 Mbit/s on average, 25 times more than general web browsing.

Download speed Urban Rural
Up to 10 Mbit/s 13% 33%
Between 10 Mbit/s and 30 Mbit/s 26% 23%
Above 30 Mbit/s 61% 44%

Universal broadband speeds

The government’s proposed Universal Service Obligation (USO) states that internet speeds of 10Mbit/s Download and 1Mbit/s Upload should be the universal offering to all residents of the UK. This is considered a minimum requirement, reflecting the growing importance to people and businesses for good internet speeds. This standard is often referred to as ‘decent broadband’.

How fast is your internet?

Test your speed here!

Average broadband speeds

The speed of your connection will depend on many things such as your location, internet traffic and the broadband package you pay for. So what are the average internet speeds in the UK?

  • The average download speed in 2018 is 54.2Mbit/s.
  • This is up from an average download speed of 46.2 Mbit/s in 2017.
  • The average upload speed in 2018 is 7.2Mbit/s.
  • A rise from an average upload speed of 6Mbit/s in 2017.
  • 66% of residential users have signed up to fixed superfast internet, up from 58% in 2017.
  • Superfast broadband (>300 Mbit/s) is now available in 53% of UK homes in 2019, up from 49% in 2018.

18% faster

The average internet download speed increased 18% from 2017 to 2018.

Internet speed trends

Who is struggling with slow loading times and buffering videos? We explore how many people are without access to a decent broadband connection across the UK.

The number of people who are unable to access to ‘decent broadband’ has fallen from over 1 million in 2017, to 619,000 in 2019. Meaning just 2% of UK premises are without access to decent internet speeds. Meanwhile the number of premises able to receive superfast broadband has increased by more than 300,000 – meaning over 95% of UK premises now have access to superfast speeds. Explore the table below to see the coverage trends in the UK.

Connection type 2016 2019
Superfast (Download of at least 30Mbit/s) 89% 95%
Ultrafast (Download of at least 300Mbit/s) 2% 53%
Full fibre (Gigabit capable) 3% 7%
Unable to receive decent broadband (At least 10Mbit/s Download, 1 Mbit/s Upload) 6% 2%

Internet speeds in London boroughs

Even the speeds between the boroughs are different. The city center of London is where you’ll find the absolutely slowest internet in the capital.

Borough Average downloading speed (Mbps)
Richmond upon Thames 65.8
Kingston upon Thames 65.3
Sutton 63.3
Merton 62.6
Hounslow 61
Enfield 60.7
Waltham Forest 60.2
Redbridge 59.6
Bromley 59.5
Havering 59.4
Hillingdon 59.2
Barking and Dagenham 58.6
Haringey 58.3
Harrow 57.8
Camden 56.7
Kensington and Chelsea 56.6
Croydon 55.5
Islington 55
Ealing 51.8
Bexley 51.8
Greenwich 49.7
Hackney 48.8
Brent 48.1
Newham 47.9
Wandsworth 47.7
Lambeth 46.3
Lewisham 44.4
Barnet 43
Southwark 43
Hammersmith and Fulham 40.4
Brentwood 31.6
Tower Hamlets 31.5
Westminster 28.5
City of London 17.1

Peak time speed and the rural and urban divide

You might already know that the internet speed you receive depends on the amount of people online and during peak times (8pm – 10pm) you’re likely to get slower internet speeds. But, how much of a difference does where you live make? We took a look at the urban and rural divide to find out.

One third of rural locations (33%) were likely to receive download speeds of less than 10Mbit/s during peak times, compared to just 13% of urban locations.

Download speed Urban Rural
Up to 10 Mbit/s 13% 33%
Between 10 Mbit/s and 30 Mbit/s 26% 23%
Above 30 Mbit/s 61% 44%

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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