Press release:

Jon Slow: Game of Throne fans set for broadband buffering

  • Game of Thrones fans on the UK’s slowest street could watch all 67 episodes[1] in the time it will take them to download just one instalment of next month’s new series[2]
  • This is 323 times longer than the rest of the country[3]
  • Homes in Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester and Nottinghamshire are among the most likely to miss out on watching the first episode on release day
  • uSwitch.com warns fans to run a speed test in advance of the new season to ensure their broadband is all set – so they don’t miss out on the latest plot twists.

Game of Thrones fans living on the UK’s slowest street for broadband would be able to rewatch all 67 episodes of the series so far[1] in the time it will take them to download one episode of the forthcoming eighth and final season[2], according to consumer speed tests collected by uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service.

With speeds of just 0.143Mbps, one 80 minute episode will take residents of Greenmeadows Park in Bamfurlong, Gloucestershire, more than 66 hours to download, while Game of Thrones currently runs to 63 hours. As of this week, however, ‘thronies’ on Greenmeadows Park have access to some of the fastest connectivity in the country following the installation of new ultrafast full fibre broadband, offering speeds of up to 900Mbps[4] – which could reduce download times to just 38 seconds per episode.

Slow broadband is by no means exclusive to Gloucestershire’s Game of Thrones obsessives, with fans in Oldham’s Poplar Avenue facing more than 43 hours of waiting for a new episode – enough to get through to the 47th episode, midway through season five. Residents of Chesham Road in Wilmslow will also be able to reach the fifth season in the time it takes to download a single episode. These lengthy download times come despite both of these streets having access to superfast broadband, which would allow them to download an episode in minutes.

With the average download speed across the whole of the UK standing at 46.2Mbps[3], the rest of the country will be spending only 12 minutes and 23 seconds to download the most eagerly anticipated television event of the year. At those speeds, fans would be able to download the episode 323 times before residents of Greenmeadows Park had downloaded even one.

Ofcom states that 95% of the country has access to superfast broadband services[5] – meaning speeds of 24Mbps or faster – though only half (56%) of households are aware they can have superfast in their home[6].

Table: If you started watching Season 1, Episode 1 of Game of Times when hitting download on the new episode, how far through the entire series would you get before it finished downloading?Source: uSwitch.com

Dani Warner, broadband and TV expert at uSwitch.com, says: “There is so much competition for our attention these days, but Game of Thrones is proof that ‘Event TV’ endures in 2019, making it even more painful for fans struggling on insufficient broadband speeds. The FOMO feeling is likely to be unbearable if you have to wait over two and a half days to download the first new episode.

“We live in an impatient and engaged world, with spoilers and social media chatter threatening to ruin people’s enjoyment of their favourite show. But people do have much faster – and potentially far cheaper – options.

“Awareness of superfast access is still something the broadband industry needs to improve upon – there is no point in having this infrastructure in place if nobody then knows about it or uses it. The country’s digital divide remains a cause for concern, and more needs to be done to bridge the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

“Any Game of Thrones fans struggling on sluggish speeds should take the power into their own hands: have a look at a coverage map to see the different broadband services that are available at your address. Then, because of the new rules which came in on 1 March, any reported speed issues that are not resolved by your provider within 30 days mean you can leave your existing broadband contract free of charge.

“If your current broadband doesn’t stack up to what other providers can give you, report the issue. And if you’re no longer in a fixed contact, shop around and switch to a new deal – you could save a lot of time when you download your favourite show, not to mention finding a cheaper contract.”

Anyone frustrated with their broadband service can test speeds and compare the results to those available from different providers here: www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest

— ends —

Notes to editors

  1. Game of Thrones has had seven seasons to date – six seasons of 10 episodes and one season of seven episodes, totalling 67 episodes
    Individual episode lengths sourced from HBO
    Total running length of all 67 episodes so far is 63 hours
  2. All calculations done using this online tool: https://www.download-time.com/
    Game of Thrones Season 8 episodes set to be up to 80 minutes in length
    Average hour of HD video on Netflix is 3GB, meaning 80 minutes = 4GB video download
    Slowest street in the UK is Greenmeadows Park, with download speeds of 0.143Mbps
    4GB/0.143Mbps = 66 hours 44 mins 37 seconds
  3. Average UK download speed is now 46.2Mbps according to the latest Ofcom research
    4GB/46.2Mbps = 12 mins 23 seconds
    66 hours 44 mins 37 seconds/12 mins 23 seconds = 323.4
  4. Gigaclear installed new 900Mbps ultrafast full fibre broadband on Greenmeadows Park on March 20 – story here
  5. Ofcom’s Connected Nations Update states that 95% of UK premises can access superfast speeds (at least 24Mbps)
  6. uSwitch.com surveyed a sample of 3,006 UK adults (aged 18+) from the 9th to the 15th May 2018. Results were weighted to nationally representative criteria. Respondents were asked: ‘Superfast broadband is a term used by internet providers that usually refers to fibre or cable broadband. The Government defines superfast as speeds greater than 24Mbps. Is it possible to get superfast broadband in your area?’ The net response for ‘yes’ was 56%

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

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