Broadband speeds drop by a fifth during the day

25 September 2014

Early morning risers enjoy significantly faster broadband speeds than those who use the internet at peak times, new research has revealed.

Figures from price comparison site found that broadband speeds across the UK were at their fastest at 5am, averaging 18.1Mbps, but drop by more than a fifth (21%) to just 14.3 Mbps by 9pm.

Exeter, Chester and Bath were the towns and cities that saw the biggest difference in broadband speeds, with all three suffering a drop of more than 50% from peak to trough.

Exeter saw a drop from 21.2Mbps to 9.9Mbps on average (53%), Chester users saw their speeds drop from 29.4Mbps to 14.1Mbps (52%), while Bath users experience a drop from 25.4Mbps to 12.5Mbps (51%).

Capitals London and Cardiff both see their broadband speeds drop by around a third (33% and 34% respectively), while Belfast sees its speeds drop by a fifth (19%).

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at, said: "It won't come as a surprise that your internet is bright eyed and bushy tailed in the early hours when it's not groaning under the weight of evening demand. What will surprise many people is by how much speeds drop.

"Given that most of us want to use our home broadband in the evening, it may be concerning to find out that the speed advertised when we sign up won't necessarily be the speed we get at peak hours."

On a country basis, Wales suffers by far the worst drop, with a 48% change on average between 5am and 9pm. England suffers an 18% drop on average, while those in Scotland experience a 17% decrease.

Unsurprisingly, the slow speeds haven't gone unnoticed by consumers. Some 69% of Brits questioned by Uswitch said they noticed their broadband is slower at certain times of the day, with 53% saying the problem occurs between 8pm and 10pm.

Nearly half of people (45%) said this has stopped them watching film, television or listening to music online, while more than a third (38%) said it had stopped them from working.

More than a fifth (22%) said they have lost an online auction due to slow speeds and 10% said they had missed out on cheap flights or train tickets because of a slow connection.

"Dragging yourself out of bed at red-eye o'clock just to download a film is not a practical option but, at the very least, it's worth running an online speed test at home to check that you are getting the best possible service available in your area," said Taylor-Gibson.

"If you think you could do better, consider shopping around for a new deal. People may also find that speedier fibre broadband is worth investing in - particularly for households with multiple connected devices."

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