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Speed Names

Speed definitions table v4.1 – Oct 2018

INCA Members accredited for the Quality Mark Gold Standard scheme agree to use the following list of agreed definitions of certain speed names in communications materials. This is to encourage consistency and clarity in consumer messages.

They are not restricted to this list and may use any other name they wish. INCA recommends that names should have an accepted definition.

It should be noted that, in the UK, the ASA is the regulator for marketing communications who would use Ofcom's definitions in preference to any other, even if technical or government definitions are different.


“USC” is defined as a minimum standard of 2 Mbps by BDUK.

“USO” or “decent broadband” is defined as a minimum standard of 10 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up by DCMS / Ofcom. May be raised over time.

“Superfast” is defined as 25+ Mbps by BDUK and as 30+ Mbps by Ofcom.

“Basic” is any speed below 30 Mbps.

“NGA” networks are minimum of 30 Mbps.

“Ultrafast / Ultra-fast” is defined as 100+ Mbps by BDUK / EU and as 300+ Mbps by Ofcom.

“Gigafast / Gigabit speeds” is 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) and above.

“Hyperfast” has no agreed definition but is generally taken as 1,000+ Mbps.

Speed Name Comment Reference
2 Mbps USC (Universal Service Commitment) 2 Mbps = “a minimum standard” NBS BDUK 2012 EU approval para 12
  USO – high speed “high speed broadband” by context, faster than basic BDUK Guidance Aug 18
10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up (min set in 2018, to be reviewed) Broadband Universal Service / Universal Service Obligation (USO) / “decent broadband” (OFCOM) specifies up as well as down, 50:1 contention ratio and 100 GBytes per month as minimum.

DCMS announcement Mar 18

the relevant Order made 28 Mar 18

Ofcom Connected Nations

15 Mbps NGA peak time minimum - BDUK NGA (network solution) must deliver at least 15 Mbps for 90% of the time during peak times (to end user)

BDUK Guidance on NGA re 2016 NBS

but no definition of peak times

< 24 Mbps ADSL2+ (ITU G.992.5) up to 24 Mbps Wikipedia
25 Mbps Superfast - BDUK “greater than current network” (assume ADSL2+ = up to 24Mbps) and delivered on NGN.  Hence UK Superfast is 25 Mbps upwards on a network capable of 30 Mbps

NBS BDUK 2012 EU approval para 7

this and the EU 2013 differentiate between NGN for backhaul only and NGA with end‑user access

< 30 Mbps Basic - EU Basic to all by 2013. Speed not defined – assumption is less than NGA

EU SA Guidelines 2013

(from Digital Agenda for Europe) even though this doc is for State Aid, the definitions are generally accepted.

≥ 30 Mbps download Superfast - OFCOM OFCOM acknowledge different to UK Government target

Ofcom Connected Nations

30 Mbps Digital Agenda for Europe target 30Mbps to all by 2020 EU SA Guidelines 2013
≥ 30 Mbps NGA – BDUK at least 30 Mbps BDUK Guidance 2016 NBS
100 Mbps Digital Agenda for Europe target 100Mbs subscribed by 50% of EU HH EU SA Guidelines 2013
> 100 Mbps Ultra-fast

“provide ultra-fast speeds well above 100 Mbps” 

Do they mean ultra-fast starts at 100 Mbps or starts “well above 100 Mbps”?

EU SA Guidelines 2013 para 82

> 100 Mbps Ultra-fast “ultra-fast services above 100 Mbps”

EU SA Guidelines 2013 para 83

≥ 300 Mbps download Ultrafast  

Ofcom Connected Nations

≥ 1,000 Mbps Gigabit speeds Giga prefix means  1,000,000 / 1,000 x Mega  
≥ 1,000 Mbps Gigafast    
  Hyperfast Some sources  interchangeable with ultrafast, others with gigabit / gigafast  

note 1: there is no stated link or ratio (other than for USO) between download and upload.

note 2: ASA Guidance 2018 says that if upload speeds are mentioned, they must be defined in the same way as download.

note 3: Ofcom Voluntary Codes for Better Broadband Speeds Information do not define speed names but set criteria for giving info on numeric speeds expected for Business and Residential customers.