Categories

Bishop’s Castle

Best indie games

Tired of AAA games like Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty and looking for something with more character? Here’s where to start: our favourite indie games.

By | 33 mins ago

While it used to be the case that creating a video game required big development teams and even bigger budgets, the last few years have seen a return to the days when one person in a basement can craft an interactive masterpiece. Freed from the constraints of marketing departments and AAA budgets, indie developers have been putting out some of the weirdest and most interesting games out there, and thanks to support from Valve, Microsoft, and Sony, it’s never been easier to find and buy the best indie games, whether you play on console, PC, or just on your phone.

Still, there are thousands of great indie games out there, and it can be a bit daunting if you don’t know where to start, so with that in mind, we’re rounded up a few of our favourites. We’ve played every one of the games in our list (most of them for more hours than we’d care to admit), and they range from open-world survival epics to short, intricately crafted stories. They’ve all got one thing in common though: we think they’re brilliant.

Oh, and if you want to find more great games for specific platforms, we’ve rounded up the best games (indie or otherwise) for PS4[1], Xbox One[2], Nintendo Switch[3], PC, and Android[4].

Inside

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Price: From ?14.99
Buy from: Amazon, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Green Man Gaming[9], Good Old Games, Humble Store[11][5][6][7][8][10] A spiritual sequel to the also-very-excellent Limbo, Inside is a 2D puzzle platformer that pairs brilliant gameplay with a surreal, one-of-a-kind story. You play as a young boy breaking into a mysterious facility under the cover of darkness, uncovering more and more mysterious goings on as you delve deeper, all of which is relayed entirely without dialogue.

Mechanically, you’re typically tasked with finding your way from the left of the screen to the right. That might mean figuring out how to cross a divide or climb over a wall, how to activate a mechanism or evade an enemy. At times Inside is sedate, leaving you time to ponder, while at others it forces you to work at breakneck speeds.

Supported by striking, shadowy art, Inside is that rare sort of game that just gets better and better as it goes on, with each section somehow an improvement on the last. It all builds and builds towards a climax that is breathtaking, exhilarating, revolting, extraordinary and more, and alone represents the best 15 minutes of any game in 2016.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Platforms: PS4, PC
Price: From ?15.99
Buy from: Amazon, PlayStation Store, Steam, Green Man Gaming[15][12][13][14] The sleepy, empty village of Yaughton deep within the Shropshire countryside has a secret to tell, but can you figure out what it is?

And most importantly, what happened to the residents of the village? Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is one of the most visually stunning indie games we’ve come across, providing an accurate depiction of a typical sleepy English village in all its glory. Everything, from the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind to the creaky gates opening, help the player believe that they’re really in Yaughton.

As you wander through the empty lanes and houses, you’ll discover pieces of a sprawling puzzle presented as monologues from residents of the village. Beautifully scripted and intriguing, the monologues enable a strong emotional connection with each of the characters and their personal issues. When paired with the haunting originally-written soundtrack, the last words of the residents can leave a lasting effect.

Every monologue is related, but with no real UI or a way to recap what has been said, it’s up to you to put it all together and work out what really happened. The non-linear design of the game means that you can play it more than once, and hopefully come across parts of the story that you initially missed to give you a better understanding of what happened. Winner of a BAFTA Game award, very few games are more deserving of a place in this chart.

Firewatch

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux
Price: From ?14.99
Buy from: PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Good Old Games[16][17][18][19]

If you go into the woods today, you’re sure to find a compelling murder mystery, great characterisation, and stunningly rendered sunsets. That’s how the rhyme goes, right? Anyway, the point is that Firewatch is pretty great.

It belongs to that nebulous ‘walking sim’ genre, which is basically code for ‘you walk around and explore and let the plot gradually unfold’. That plot sees you step into the shoes of Henry, a volunteer in a U.S. national park tasked with watching out for fires during a hot summer. You’re in radio contact with Delilah, the volunteer in the next tower over, but that’s about it, and otherwise you’re simply left to explore and gradually uncover evidence that there may be something more sinister going on.

The gameplay itself is pretty simple first-person exploration, and the focus is really on the ambiguous narrative and your slowly unfolding relationship with Delilah. Firewatch gives you just enough dialogue options to make sure you can have your say, without ever compromising Henry’s base characterisation, and by the end of the four-hour story you’re almost certain to feel pretty heavily invested. It also just so happens to be one of the most beautiful games of 2016 – which is all the more impressive coming from a small indie studio.

FTL: Faster Than Light

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, iOS
Price: From ?5.99
Buy from: Subset Games, Steam, Humble Store, Good Old Games, App Store[20][21][22][23][24]

If anyone ever tells you that there’s never been a truly great Star Trek game, point them towards FTL. Sure, you may not get to control Captain Kirk or face off against the Klingons, but this is Star Trek in all but name. You’re in charge of the crew of a spaceship, tasked with directing them to man the various weapons, shields, and engines or repel alien boarders.

You’ve also got to worry about diverting limited power resources to the various systems, putting out fires, repairing damage, and targeting specific sections of enemy ships. Don’t worry if that all sounds like too much to keep on top of – FTL lets you pause at will to issue commands and plan your next move. It’s not all lasers and explosions though.

Between encounters you have to explore the galaxy, pushing your luck in mini procedurally generated encounters that could reward you with resources, upgrades, or crew – or could throw you into another risky fight. It all seems simple enough, but there are hidden depths here, not to mention devilish difficulty and a dangerously compulsive ‘just one more playthrough’ loop. Prepare to sink a lot of hours into this one.

Aaero

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Price: From ?10.99
Buy from: PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Steam[25][26][27]

It’s a little hard to describe Aaero, but here goes: it’s a twin-stick-dubstep-rhythm-shooter. Make sense? Probably not.

First things first, it’s a rhythm game, along the lines of Guitar Hero or cult classic Rez. You control a spaceship travelling down a cylindrical path. A track worms its way down the level around the edges of the cylinder, shifting in time with the beat, and you have to use the left control stick to keep your ship in the right spot.

At the same time though, you’re under attack from some robotic alien enemies, and have to use the right stick to lock on to up to eight at a time, firing the right trigger to blast at them – all while you’re still trying to keep your ship following the beat. The 15 levels are each paired to a different song, all squarely at the dubsteppier end of electronic music, and there are three difficulty levels to master, along with a more relaxed ‘Chill out’ mode. Throw in monumental boss battles (also in time to the beat) and secrets dotted around the levels, and you have one of the most compulsive games of 2017.

Even if you don’t like dubstep, Aaero will prove pretty hard to resist. Get past the initially steep learning curve, and you’ll find the best rhythm game in years.

Papers, Please

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, iOS
Price: From ?6.99
Buy from: Steam, Good Old Games, Humble Store[30][28][29] We’re willing to bet you’ve never played a game quite like Papers, Please.

It takes a fictional version of a war-torn Eastern Europe for its setting, but instead of casting you as a soldier or a spy, you’re something much more humble: an immigration officer. Stationed in your border control outpost, your job is to apply the increasingly byzantine rules handed down to you each morning, detailing which passports, visas, and permits people need to enter the country, while diligently inspecting each for evidence of fakery. Let in the people you should, and you’re rewarded with the wages you need to buy food, medicine, and heating for your family.

Get the rules wrong, and your pay packet takes a hit. So what’s the wrinkle? Well, as anyone watching American politics should know, morality and immigration policies occasionally collide.

Will you separate a husband and wife because one of their visas has expired? Turn down a desperate refugee seeking asylum? Let in a man who you know plans to exploit vulnerable women?

Doing the right thing might cost you your life – or your family’s – how far will you go?

Superhot

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux
Price: From ?16.29
Buy from: Amazon, Xbox Store, Steam, Green Man Gaming[34], Good Old Games, Humble Store[36][31][32][33][35] You’d be forgiven for thinking that first-person shooters haven’t seen much in the way of major innovation in recent years, mostly focusing on getting bigger, louder, and shinier. Luckily, it turns out there was still space to do a major shakeup of the FPS – you just had to break it first.

On the surface, Superhot might look like just about any shooter. You run around, find guns and other weapons, and take on ever-increasing numbers of enemies – admittedly in a novel, minimalist, wireframe artstyle. So what makes Superhot different?

It’s all about time. Namely, if you’re not moving, neither is it. The game world stands still (well, almost – it slows to a crawl) whenever you stop, giving you time to catch your breath and plan your next move.

You can see bullet trails in the air and eye up potential weapons and opportunities, making this about the closest you’re going to get to feeling like Neo in The Matrix. And if you’re not obsessively muttering “SUPER. HOT.” to yourself under your breath by the end of the game, you’re doing it wrong.

Her Story

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Price: From ?4.79
Buy from: Steam, Green Man Gaming[38], Good Old Games, Humble Store, Play Store, App Store[40][41][42][37][39]

Cast your mind back to the early ’90s and you’ll find a strange world where videogame cut scenes ignored their own engines and sprites in favour of ‘full motion video’, filming their own footage, traditionally complete with hammy actors and dodgy effects. Fast-forward to 2015 and the FMV genre enjoyed a brief, spirited revival in the form of Her Story, which not only featured FMV footage but actually built the whole game out of it. Load the game up and you find yourself facing a virtual computer desktop, browsing a collection of police interview footage related to a homicide.

The videos aren’t available in full though, or arranged chronologically – instead you can only search via keyword to access individual brief clips, piecing together out-of-order hints about what happened and who is really responsible. The gameplay itself is minimal – you just watch the videos and try to pick the best keywords to search for the most vital footage, but unpicking the story’s twists and turns and scouring each clip for clues is undeniably compelling. Fair warning though – the game leaves a lot open to interpretation, so if you’re hoping for a neat, tidy resolution, you might be disappointed.

Ark: Survival Evolved

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux
Price: From ?22.99
Buy from: Amazon, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Humble Store[47][43][44][45][46]

If, like most of us, you love the idea of Jurassic Park and roaming around forests with dinosaurs then look no further than Ark: Survival Evolved, an open world game available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. So, what do you do? Like with many online open world games, there’s not much of a narrative – you just have to try and survive the environment and all its inhabitants.

In this case, that’s around 123 different dinosaurs on land, water and in the air, along with other online players that can join your tribe and help you thrive, or can make your life in Ark a misery. Oh, and you’ll have to keep an eye on your water and food levels too, or you’ll die of thirst and starvation. It’s brutal in the Ark.

In terms of gameplay, it’s a standard first-person exploration and crafting game where players find and craft various materials to create clothing, shelter and most importantly, weapons. Slowly level up and unlock new blueprints, giving you access to more advanced items, along with improving your stats. New items, dinosaurs and mechanics are constantly added, keeping the game interesting and ever-evolving.

The coolest part of Ark: Survival Evolved? You can not only tame the dinosaurs that you come across on your travels, but you can ride them. That’s right, saddle up and ride a T-Rex or soar through the skies on the back of an Argentavis.

Coolest open-world dinosaur game ever.

Rust

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: From ?14.99
Buy from: Steam, Humble Store[49][48] Rust, another online open world survival game, is one of the most popular open world games on Steam at the moment. The only aim?

To survive. You’re dropped in a rather bleak environment with the aim of surviving by scavenging, hunting and building. There’s not much in the way of storyline or NPCs, meaning that you’ll mainly be up against other online players (and really annoying dogs that want to eat you), making things much more interesting.

Team up as a squad or go solo, it’s up to you. But, if you get caught, you’re dead and left with nothing. Rust depends a lot on the community playing it, and while there are trolls, the community is friendly and, in some experiences, even indulge in a little bit of roleplay.

We’ve been told of players who have been held up and robbed at gunpoint by other players, while others have been handcuffed and kidnapped, only to be imprisoned until the captors let them go. None of this was scripted, it just happened – and it’s little instances like that, that make Rust worth playing. You never quite know what you’ll find.

Astroneer

Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Price: From ?15.74
Buy from: Xbox Store, Steam[50][51]

Astroneer is, essentially, everything we wanted No Man’s Sky to be but wasn’t: open world (or should that be open solar system?) exploration with friends. While the game is still in pre-alpha and is fairly basic in terms of what it offers at present, what it does feature is promising. The planets are widely varied in terms of not only resources but flora (sadly, not fauna just yet) and are dotted with crashed ships, caverns and other secrets ready for exploring.

The planets provide stunning vistas, and we really like the low-poly art style. In terms of gameplay, it’s a third-person exploration game where you’re in the boots of an Astroneer on an alien planet. Upon arrival, you have only your shuttle to provide life, but through discovering new technologies and harvesting resources, you’ll be building vehicles, trade bays and even spaceships to other planets before you know it.

We really like the terrain editing tool in Astroneer, providing players with an intuitive way to re-shape the environment to get across steep drops and dig down into the underground tunnels with ease. Friends can easily join a single-player game via Steam and help explore and build, although none of the discoveries or materials found will transfer to their own saves – it’s all for the host. We imagine this process will be improved as development continues and new features are added.

If you were disappointed with No Man’s Sky in 2016, give Astroneer a go.

Share this article

References

  1. ^ PS4 (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  2. ^ Xbox One (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  3. ^ Nintendo Switch (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  4. ^ Android (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  5. ^ Amazon (amzn.to)
  6. ^ PlayStation Store (store.playstation.com)
  7. ^ Xbox Store (www.microsoft.com)
  8. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  9. ^ Green Man Gaming (www.greenmangaming.com)
  10. ^ Good Old Games (www.gog.com)
  11. ^ Humble Store (www.humblebundle.com)
  12. ^ Amazon (amzn.to)
  13. ^ PlayStation Store (store.playstation.com)
  14. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  15. ^ Green Man Gaming (www.greenmangaming.com)
  16. ^ PlayStation Store (store.playstation.com)
  17. ^ Xbox Store (www.microsoft.com)
  18. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  19. ^ Good Old Games (www.gog.com)
  20. ^ Subset Games (www.ftlgame.com)
  21. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  22. ^ Humble Store (www.humblebundle.com)
  23. ^ Good Old Games (www.gog.com)
  24. ^ App Store (itunes.apple.com)
  25. ^ PlayStation Store (store.playstation.com)
  26. ^ Xbox Store (www.microsoft.com)
  27. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  28. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  29. ^ Good Old Games (www.gog.com)
  30. ^ Humble Store (www.humblebundle.com)
  31. ^ Amazon (amzn.to)
  32. ^ Xbox Store (www.microsoft.com)
  33. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  34. ^ Green Man Gaming (www.greenmangaming.com)
  35. ^ Good Old Games (www.gog.com)
  36. ^ Humble Store (www.humblebundle.com)
  37. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  38. ^ Green Man Gaming (www.greenmangaming.com)
  39. ^ Good Old Games (www.gog.com)
  40. ^ Humble Store (www.humblebundle.com)
  41. ^ Play Store (play.google.com)
  42. ^ App Store (itunes.apple.com)
  43. ^ Amazon (amzn.to)
  44. ^ PlayStation Store (store.playstation.com)
  45. ^ Xbox Store (www.microsoft.com)
  46. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  47. ^ Humble Store (www.humblebundle.com)
  48. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)
  49. ^ Humble Store (www.humblebundle.com)
  50. ^ Xbox Store (www.microsoft.com)
  51. ^ Steam (store.steampowered.com)

Multi-million contract to provide broadband for 16,000 Shropshire homes

A multi-million pound contract to provide broadband to 16,000 county homes will be awarded next week. Shropshire Council’s cabinet is expected to approve a preferred bidder for the ?11.7 million contract for phase 2b of Connecting Shropshire, when it meets on Wednesday next week. The latest phase is intended to tackle some of the county’s most troublesome not-spots, providing superfast broadband.

Shropshire Council invited companies to bid for the contract to supply the connections, which are predicted to help 13,259 homes in the east of the county, and 2,756 in the west. Speaking ahead of next week’s meeting, Gemma Davies, head of economic growth at Shropshire Council, said the cabinet would be tasked with taking a decision on the preferred bidder. She said: “Phase 2b aims to extend superfast broadband coverage to as many as possible of the 16,000 premises that are projected as having the slowest broadband speeds in the Shropshire Council area. ?11.7m of public funding secured from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Broadband Delivery UK), the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Shropshire Council has been awarded to achieve this.

“Bids have been invited from specialist telecoms suppliers to plan, design, build, operate and maintain high-performance broadband networks, referred to as next generation access (NGA). All solutions must be capable of supporting download speeds of over 30mbps and must offer competition and choice to broadband customers. “Telecoms suppliers had until 30 January 2017 to prepare and submit their bids.

Cabinet will now be asked to consider the outcome of the procurement process and to agree the preferred bidder.” Speaking as the bidding opened Graham Wynn, chairman of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, which has provided funding for the project, said the move was crucial for helping Shropshire’s businesses grow. He said: “Superfast broadband enables businesses to function more efficiently, increases their profitability and provides access to new markets.

“Our businesses have identified lack of connectivity as a barrier to growth so we are very pleased to be able to contribute Local Growth Funding to this latest push for better broadband speeds.

We look forward to work getting under way.”

UK Broadband Speed Test Results for March 2017

The schools have broken up for Easter (or are about to break up) so we might see some different results in April, but we need to wait a few weeks to learn if all the school children being home will have any impact on speeds for providers. What we do know now is the results from March 2017 and the table of the fastest 50 services is below, with ADSL services just scraping into the bottom of the table, and the top being dominated as usual by full fibre services.

The 50 Fastest UK Broadband Providers and Services in March 2017
(ordered by median speed)
Smaller providers without enough geographic data samples are not included
Provider

Quality Metric

Download Speed of bottom 10%
(Mbps)

Median Download
(Mbps)

Mean Download
(Mbps)

Median Upload
(Mbps)

Mean Upload
(Mbps)

Download Speed of top 10%
Mbps

Hyperoptic Gigabit 1.4 101.7 220.9 267.5 193 249.3 555
Gigaclear 200 Mbps 1 100.6 103 130.7 94.3 102.1 195.5
Venus 1 83.7 93.3 144.6 90.2 124.5 231.3
Ask4 1 6.8 88.2 76.5 9.7 17.2 98.5
Virgin 300 Mbps 1.5 34.8 86.1 111 13.9 20.6 217.5
TalkTalk UFO (York) 1.6 14.1 73.8 76.6 13.8 23.6 127.9
Virgin 100 Mbps 1.8 16 55.4 52.9 5.3 6.1 88.8
AAISP (FTTC) 1.0 19.2 52.8 49 16.1 17 73
Metronet UK 1.1 9.9 52.7 72.4 31.8 54 132.9
BT Infinity 2 (FTTC) 1.1 29.9 52.2 52.3 16 14.8 74.1
KCom Lightstream 1.4 20.3 51.1 66.8 12.3 19.9 132.5
Hyperoptic 100 Mbps 1.3 15.8 47 48.7 34.3 36.9 76
BT Infinity (FTTH) 1.3 20.1 46.8 56.4 10.5 13.1 99.8
Small/Medium providers – up to 76 Mbps (FTTC) 1.2 23.6 46.6 48.5 16.5 18.7 73
Virgin Media 200 Mbps 1.7 23.4 46.4 74.8 10.3 9.8 160.1
Gigaclear 100 Mbps 1.9 17.2 43.5 42.4 34.7 37.9 68.2
IDNet (FTTC) 1 18.1 40.6 43.8 11.6 11.9 69.3
Zen Internet (FTTC) 1.2 18.7 39.4 45 15.1 15.8 71.8
PlusNet Fibre Extra (FTTC up to 76 Mbps) 1.3 16.5 39.2 40.9 9.8 10.9 68.8
Sky Fibre Pro up to 76 Mbps 1.2 26.6 38.1 41.6 11 12.5 62.7
EE Fibre Plus up to 76 Mbps 2.9 22.2 37.4 40.3 12.8 13.3 63.4
Daisy Wholesale (FTTC) 1.4 15.7 36.4 38.5 10 12.2 70.6
SeeTheLight (IFNL – FTTH) 1.3 17.5 34.3 37.5 11.6 15.3 56.5
Eclipse (FTTC) 1.4 11.9 32.7 34 7.6 10.2 60.3
TalkTalk Fibre Plus up to 76 Mbps 1.4 15.4 31.5 33.3 6.4 8.3 54.8
Entanet (FTTC) 1.3 9.7 31.2 35.6 9 11.2 70.1
Vodafone Broadband (FTTC) 1.4 14.5 30.9 32.7 8.7 9.6 54.2
Wessex Internet 1.2 16.3 29.8 31.2 3.8 8.3 48.1
BT Infinity 1 up to 52 Mbps (FTTC) 1.3 12.6 29.7 30.1 6.6 6.2 49
MacAce (FTTC) 1 14.6 29.1 33.7 7.3 8.7 65.3
PlusNet Fibre (FTTC) up to 38 Mbps 1.8 14.1 28.6 27 1.7 1.6 36.7
TalkTalk Faster Broadband (FTTC) up to 38 Mbps 1.3 13.4 25.8 25.5 1.7 1.7 37
EE Fibre (FTTC) up to 38 Mbps 2.4 10.1 25 24.2 7.1 6.4 36
Origin Broadband (FTTC) 1.6 9.3 24.4 25.5 7.2 7.3 40.1
Sky Fibre (FTTC) up to 38 Mbps 1.5 10.7 23.7 23.1 6.4 6.1 35.2
Small/Medium Providers (FTTC) up to 38 Mbps 1.4 8.7 22.9 22.6 5.5 6.5 36.1
EE Mobile 2 3.3 19.8 27.5 2.9 5.5 59
Hyperoptic 20 Mbps 4.4 2.1 19 15 0.7 0.7 20.8
Virgin 50 Mbps 2.3 2.5 18.8 22.5 2.3 2.1 50.6
Claranet SOHO 1.2 2.8 16.7 34.2 4.6 19 70.1
Vodafone Mobile 2.3 3.9 15.7 19.5 2.8 4.2 41.8
O2 WiFi 2 1.5 11.3 15.3 1.4 3 37.1
O2 Mobile 2.4 2.5 11.1 15.5 1.8 3.5 34.5
Relish 2 2.4 10.9 16.9 1.2 2 38.2
Three Mobile 2.2 2.2 10.6 15.5 1.7 4.2 37.3
KCom (ADSL) 1.4 1.8 7.4 7.6 0.6 0.5 13.8
IDNet (ADSL) 1.1 1.8 6.9 8.6 0.7 0.7 16.5
MacAce (ADSL) 1.1 1.8 6.5 7.1 0.5 0.5 12.7
Demon (ADSL) 1.4 1 6.2 6.5 0.6 0.6 12.7
Zen Internet (ADSL) 1.4 1.1 6.2 7.2 0.5 0.6 15.4

The quality metric needs its scale explaining so a rough guide is:

  • 1 to 1.2: Very good connection for streaming and gaming with stable speeds
  • 1.3 to 1.8: Connections are good but there may be the odd rare stutter in downloads or gaming
  • 1.8 to 2.2: Likely to be using Wi-Fi or on a good mobile service. The odd dip in speeds and stutters are noticeable
  • 2.2 to 3: Your connection or Wi-Fi is affecting your experience and web pages may arrive in fits and starts
  • 3 to 4: Connection is likely to be heavily congested and streaming will be difficult.

    It is worth checking no-one in the property is also heavily using the connection

  • Over 4: Time to find a better provider or if on Wi-Fi use an Ethernet cable

As its the end of the last quarter we are including our technology summary table, which will now feature at the end of each quarter, and hopefully as full fibre services become more common we will see the ratio of FTTH tests increase.

Speeds of Broadband Technologies as seen during Q1/2017
(ordered by median speed)
Tech

Ratio of tests

Quality Metric

Down Speed of bottom 10%
Mbps

Median
Mbps

Mean
Mbps

Median Upload
Mbps

Mean Upload
Mbps

Down Speed of top 10%
Mbps

FTTH/FTTP 1.3% 1.4 18.3 51.3 76 13.7 35 149
Cable 22.8% 1.8 9.1 40.4 48.8 5.2 6.3 98.9
VDSL2/FTTC 36.7% 1.4 12.9 29 31.3 6.8 7.6 51.9
Fixed Wireless 0.2% 1.6 4.2 20 25.9 3.6 10.8 49.9
Mobile N/A (*) 2.2 2.9 14.9 21.5 2.5 4.7 46.4
Satellite 0.02% 1.8 2.1 9.2 13 0.1 0.8 21.3
ADSL/ADSL2+ 39% 1.5 1.2 6 7.2 0.6 0.6 15.3

(*) as mobile overlays the other technologies its ratio is not shown

The technology splits will be confirmed if the major providers include enough data in their next set of financial results, but in the meantime it does give a good insight into the combination of coverage and take-up for the various services. The forcing down of the FTTC 40/10 wholesale price by Ofcom may not please everyone, but if the aim is to encourage more of those on ADSL2+ who have an FTTC option to upgrade it speed up the take-up, but for those in the final 3-5% who have no faster option than ADSL/ADSL2+ currently it may see them stuck paying for expensive ADSL services (more expensive than urban areas due to previous Ofcom regulation) until the Universal Service Obligation becomes reality.

Median Peak and Off-Peak Download Speed Tests Results March 2017
Provider

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
(6 downloads)

Quality

7am-3pm

6pm-midnight

% difference

7am-3pm

6pm-midnight

% difference

7am-3pm

6pm-midnight

BT 25.1 Mbps 23.3 Mbps -7.2% 27.7 Mbps 26.6 Mbps -4% 1.02 1.12
EE 12.3 Mbps 9.7 Mbps -21.2% 13.5 Mbps 11.8 Mbps -12.6% 1.19 1.56
Plusnet 19.2 Mbps 18.2 Mbps -5.2% 23.8 Mbps 21.4 Mbps -10% 1.07 1.12
Sky 12.9 Mbps 11.9 Mbps -7.8% 15.4 Mbps 14.5 Mbps -5.8% 1.11 1.26
TalkTalk 12.6 Mbps 11.6 Mbps -8% 13.9 Mbps 13.3 Mbps -4.3% 1.19 1.17
Virgin Media 40.4 Mbps 25.9 Mbps -35.9% 61.8 Mbps 44.5 Mbps -28% 1.48 1.80

The usual pattern of the peak versus off-peak performance is evident as users do more and more with their broadband services continues, and this is most apparent at Virgin Media, who while they did have an issue for a couple of days in March 2017[1] this had little overall impact on the figures. The Virgin Media issues are very variable with a mixture of very happy and unhappy users, which is perhaps highlighted by the variation in the quality metric values across the UK e.g.

3.1 in Shepway district and a much better 1.6 in Shropshire.

AAISP has also been chasing down some single download issues[2] within the TalkTalk wholesale network that are now marked as resolved.

This geographic variation highlights the difficulty that there will be if regulators try to make broadband advertising more fair, i.e. pressure to use sampling from the better areas and that broadband speed complaints are not just about the distance issues from DSL technologies.

Indicator


References

  1. ^ March 2017 (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  2. ^ single download issues (aastatus.net)