UK Broadband Not ‘Super Fast,’ High-Speed Users Prefer Practical Sites

April 10, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Automotive | Europe & Middle East | Media & Entertainment

Despite ISP messaging that “Super Fast” broadband is the standard, just 3% of Britons enjoy a connection speed of over 8Mb per second – as many as are connected by “dial-up speed” (less than 128Kbps) -?according to?(pdf) Nielsen Online.

The connection speed of the majority of online Britons (52%) is between 512Kbps and 2Mbps, and one-third are connected at a speed between 2Mbps and 8Mbps:


“Aside from how much you’re willing to pay, your maximum speed is really dependent on the distance you are from the local phone exchange and the quality of its technology,” said Alex Burmaster, internet analyst, Nielsen Online.

Below, other findings issued by Nielsen.

Speed and Online Behavior

Internet users with a faster connection spend more time online: Panelists with the fastest connection (>8Mbps) averaged 22% more time online, or 19 hours 40 minutes, than those on the 128Kbps-or-lower speed (16:07).


“The idea that having a faster connection speed means you spend less time online, because everything loads more quickly, is a myth. Having a faster speed is like driving a Ferrari compared to an old banger – you want to spend more time using it and going to more places in it,” Burmaster commented.

Popular Website Categories, Brands

Functional areas such as automotive, ticket purchasing, credit cards, and weather dominated the top 10 list of sectors visited by high-speed (>2Mb) internet users:


  • Automotive categories had the highest concentrations of high-speed visitors:
    • Parts & accessories (capturing 38% of high-speed UK visitors)
    • Multi-category auto (38%)
    • Car manufacturers (37%)
  • Entertainment and file-sharing took an unexpected backseat among high-speed users’ preferences:
    • Broadcast media ranked 33rd.
    • Videos/movies took the No. 42 position.
    • Software manufacturers, which contains media players and file-sharing applications, was 63rd.
  • Broadband providers BT and Carphone Warehouse had the highest concentration of high-speed users (both 41%), followed by Ticketmaster, mobile phone supplier O2, and Royal Mail (all with 40%).
  • Blogging platform Six Apart was also visited by 40% of high-speed internet users; 38% of Nielsen panelists visited WordPress.

Note on methodology: Nielsen Online measured connection speed by sending a 5K data file to each panelist three times, each time the panelist started a new session, to find the average connection speed for that session. Connection speed was then calculated as the average of all sessions in one month of measurement.

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