The detailed findings of the Federal Network Agency’s second broadband test were published on January 17th, 2018.
“This findings of this year’s report confirm those of the first: Regardless of broadband category or provider, customers are still not achieving the maximum speed promised by their provider. The results vary depending on broadband category and provider, but overall, they show that action is still required on the part of the broadband providers,” emphasises Jochen Homann, president of the Federal Network Agency.
He says: “The number of providers individually analysed in the annual report has grown considerably, thanks to the vastly increased number of performed measurements. From the end user’s perspective, this is a welcome development as it allows more providers to be compared with each other.”
Fixed network results
Across all broadband categories and providers, 71.6% of users achieved at least half the maximum data transfer rate as per contract; 12 percent of users achieved or exceeded the full speed. Compared with the previous reporting period, the values are more or less the same (2015/2016: 70.8 percent of users achieved at least half, 12.4 percent achieved at least 100 percent the maximum data transfer rate as per contract).
Depending on broadband category, between 4.6 and 23.3 percent of end users achieved or exceeded the maximum data transfer rate as per contract. The lowest value was still attained in the 8 to less than 18 Mbit/s broadband category, which is predominated by ADSL connections. There were also differences between providers regarding achieving the maximum data transfer rate as per contract. The values among the 41 analysed providers ranged from 0 to 37.1 percent of end users.
During the course of the day, performance, particularly in the 200 to less than 500 Mbit/s broadband category, once again fell drastically during evening peak time hours. This broadband category is determined by cable service provider products.
Before the measurement itself was performed, customer satisfaction was measured. “As in the previous reporting period, approximately 65 percent of customers were satisfied with their provider’s service and valued it as “very good”, “good” or “satisfactory”. This once again shows that end user satisfaction increases with the ratio of actually measured to maximum data transfer rate as per contract.
Mobile network results
For broadband connections in the mobile sector, the ratio of actually measured to maximum data transfer rate as per contract is again lower than in the fixed network. Across all broadband categories and providers, 18.6 percent of users achieved at least half the maximum data transfer rate as per contract, and 1.6 percent of users achieved or exceeded the full speed. Overall, lower percentage data transfer rates were measured compared with the previous reporting period (2015/2016: 27.6 percent of users achieved at least half, 3.4 percent at least 100 percent of the maximum data transfer rate as per contract).
The results reveal a trend towards an inverse relationship between category and percentage, i.e. the higher the broadband category, the lower the achieved percentage. The values for providers have dropped too, compared with the previous reporting period. This deterioration is due, to some extent, to tariff amendments. For example, some providers have significantly increased their promised maximum data transfer rates. The measured data transfer rates have indeed improved but not in proportion to the increase in maximum data transfer rates, hence the lower ratios.
Despite this, end users overwhelmingly rated their mobile broadband providers as “very good”, “good” or “satisfactory”, although the share has fallen to 76.6 percent (2015/2016: 82.8 percent). Hence, it would appear that mobility and available performance are still more important to mobile broadband users than achieving the promised maximum data transfer rate.
Broadband coverage cannot be inferred from measurements
The broadband measurement results depend on the tariff contract between the user and provider. Consequently, no statement can be made about broadband coverage or the availability of broadband internet services on the basis of the broadband measurement.
Between October 1st, 2016 and September 30, 2017, 437.192 valid tests were carried out on stationary broadband lines and 245.143 on mobile broadband lines.
The complete report has been published at www.bundesnetzagentur.de/breitbandmessung.
In addition to the test results themselves, the report also contains comprehensive information on the validation processes and methodology used.