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What is upload and download speed?

upload download speed

You took our broadband speed test and have no idea what to do with the results? Not to worry! We’ll explain what the numbers mean:

Broadband speeds

The speed of your internet connection is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) and shouldn’t be confused with Megabytes (MB). 8 bits make up a byte. For example, if your speed test result were 8Mbps, it would mean that you can download 1 Megabyte per second.

8Mbps download speed = Downloading 1 Megabyte per second

Download speed

Download speed means how fast information is transferred from the internet to your computer. Fast download speeds enable you to view photos, listen to music and watch videos without the annoying buffering symbol popping up. Depending on your provider you can get speeds ranging from 30Mbps to fibre connections with up to 1,000Mpbs.

Upload speed

Upload speed is the rate at which data is transferred from your computer to the internet. This is how fast your friend gets to see your holiday pictures when you upload them on social media. Providers offer between 2Mbps and 36Mbps. Download speeds are always higher than upload speeds, as all internet service providers assume that users download more than they upload.

To give you an idea of how long it takes to download data with different broadband speeds, check out our download speeds table below:


Size (Mb)

4Mbps 8Mbps 16Mbps 32Mbps 50Mbps 100Mbps

Single song

single song 5 10s 5s 2.5s 1.25s 0.8s 0.4s
YouTube Clip (HQ) YouTube video 50 1m40s 50s 25s 12.5s 8s 4s
Album (HQ) Album 100 3m20s 1m40s 50s 25s 16s 8s
TV show (HQ) TV shows 450 15m 7m30s 3m45s 1m52s 1m12s 36s
Film (HQ) film 1500 50m 25m30s 12m30s 6m15s 4m 2m


Find out how fast your broadband connection is:

Compare Broadband Speeds