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50Mbps Download Speed: How Fast Is 50Mbps & What Can You Do With It?

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A download speed of 50Mbps allows you to stream ultra-HD video on 2 devices at the same time, or download a HD movie in 11 minutes.

If you’re using a broadband internet connection with download speeds of 50Mbps, you can comfortably stream ultra-HD quality video on up to 2 devices at the same time. Alternatively, you can download an entire music album in around 14 seconds or a HD-quality movie in about 11 minutes (increasing to 53 minutes if you’re downloading a movie in 4K ultra-HD quality).

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The most widely available 50Mbps plans are from BT and Sky. You can also get Virgin Media’s M50 broadband (with average speeds of 54Mbps) in around half of all UK homes.

In this article, we’ll look at what you can do on a 50Mbps connection, including for online video, music, gaming, video calls and general web browsing. We’ll also look at download times on a 50Mbps connection and at how much you’ll typically need to pay for 50Mbps broadband at different ISPs.

Contents

  • 1 How Fast Is 50Mbps?
    • 1.1 Streaming & Other Activities
    • 1.2 Download Times
    • 1.3 Home Network Considerations
  • 2 How Much Does 50Mbps Broadband Cost?
  • 3 Other Download Speeds
  • 4 More Information

How Fast Is 50Mbps?

A download speed of 50Mbps is a little slower than the UK’s average home broadband service (63Mbps).

Although it’s a little bit slower than average, you’ll still be able to do most of the things you’d want to do online. For instance, there wouldn’t be any problems with day-to-day usage such as web browsing, video calling, watching videos online or playing multiplayer games.

In some cases, things may start slowing down if you’re using multiple devices at the same time (e.g. you wouldn’t be able to stream ultra-HD video on multiple devices at the same time).

Streaming & Other Activities

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If you’re using a 50Mbps broadband connection, it will support most things you’d like to do online. This includes browsing the web, making video calls, listening to music and watching video online.

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In the following table, we’ve listed a number of online activities and the minimum speed required for each one. We’ve also listed the number of devices you’d be able to use at the same time when accessing these services through a 50Mbps connection.

For instance, watching online video in ultra-HD (4K) quality would require a download speed of 25Mbps on each device. You can therefore watch on up to 2 devices at the same time if you have a 50Mbps connection.

ActivityRequired Download SpeedUsable on 50Mbps Connection?Web Browsing, Messaging & E-Mail:General web browsing0.1-1Mbps✔ Yes, on 50 devicesSocial media, instant messaging & e-mail<0.1Mbps✔ Yes, on 100+ devicesVoice & Video Calling:Skype/WhatsApp phone call0.1Mbps✔ Yes, on 100+ devicesSkype/Zoom video call0.5-0.8Mbps✔ Yes, on 60 devicesSkype/Zoom video call (HD)1.5-1.8Mbps✔ Yes, on 25 devicesZoom group video call (HD)2.5-3Mbps✔ Yes, on 15 devicesStreaming Online Music & Radio:Listening to online radio0.2Mbps✔ Yes, on 100+ devicesStreaming music (Spotify, Apple Music, etc)0.4Mbps✔ Yes, on 100+ devicesStreaming Online Video:Watching YouTube videos (basic quality)0.5Mbps✔ Yes, on 100 devicesWatching YouTube videos (720p HD quality)2.5Mbps✔ Yes, on 20 devicesWatching YouTube videos (1080p HD quality)4Mbps✔ Yes, on 10 devicesWatching iPlayer/Netflix (standard definition)1.5Mbps✔ Yes, on 30 devicesWatching iPlayer/Netflix (high definition)5Mbps✔ Yes, on 10 devicesWatching iPlayer/Netflix (4K UHD)25Mbps✔ Yes, on 2 devicesOnline Gaming:Online Gaming (installed PC/console game)3Mbps✔ Yes, on 15 devicesCloud Gaming (Stadia/PS Now/Xbox Cloud)10Mbps✔ Yes, on 5 devicesCloud Gaming (4K Stadia)35Mbps✔ Yes, on 1 device

For some activities like instant messaging and email, there’s no real limit to the number of devices you can use at the same time. In theory, things would still work on more than 100 devices at the same time when using a 50Mbps broadband connection. In reality, however, you might reach the limit of your home wi-fi network, which can start slowing down when you have lots of devices connected at the same time.

Download Times

With a download speed of 50Mbps, you can download an entire music album in about 14 seconds. It will take 11 minutes to download a HD-quality film (1080p quality) and about 53 minutes to download an ultra-HD quality movie (4K quality).

The following table shows the expected download time for multiple different types of file on a 50Mbps connection:

Activity50Mbps Download TimeDownloading a music album:14 secondsDownloading a 2 hour movie:3 minutes (SD quality)11 minutes (HD quality)53 minutes (Ultra HD quality)Downloading a PC or console game:2 hoursDownloading a mobile application:5 secondsDownloading a high-quality photo:<1 secondDownloading a web page or email:<1 second

Typical file sizes used for our calculations: 85MB for a music album, 1GB for a standard-definition movie, 4GB for a full-HD quality movie, 20GB for a 4K Ultra HD quality movie, 45GB for a PlayStation or Xbox console game, 30MB for an iPhone or Android mobile application and 2MB for a high-quality photograph.

If you’re calculating the download time for another file, it’s important to remember that 50Mbps stands for 50 Megabits per second (where 8 Megabits are equal to one MegaByte). For this reason, if you’re downloading a 50MB (50 MegaByte) file, it will take you 8 seconds to do this and not one second.

Home Network Considerations

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If your broadband connection has a 50Mbps download speed, this refers to the speed at your router or hub. This may be different from the actual speed on your individual devices.

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If you’re connecting to the internet over wi-fi, the download speed on individual devices may be slower than 50Mbps. This is often due to poor wi-fi or congestion from other networks. This will stop you from getting the full potential of your broadband service. For instance, you might experience buffering when watching videos online due to poor wi-fi, even if your broadband connection is able to support it.

Where possible, you should use a wired Ethernet connection to get the fastest available speeds. If you’re not able to do this, look at ways to improve the wi-fi signal in your home. Getting a wi-fi repeater or a mesh wi-fi system such as BT Whole Home Wi-Fi or Google Wi-Fi can be a highly effective way of improving speeds on your home wi-fi network.

How Much Does 50Mbps Broadband Cost?

In the UK, it’s currently possible to get 50Mbps broadband with prices starting from £20/month. However, not all of the services are likely to be available at your address, so you’ll need to check the availability of different services at your address.

The most widely available 50Mbps plans are from BT and Sky. You can also get Virgin Media’s M50 broadband (with average speeds of 54Mbps) in around half of all UK homes.

The following table shows 50Mbps broadband plans:

ServiceAverage SpeedContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly PriceHyperopticFast (24 months)50Mbps download24 month contract£0£20/monthSky BroadbandSky Superfast59Mbps download18 month contract£0£26/monthBTFibre 150Mbps download24 month contract£0£27.99/monthwith £70 reward cardVirgin MediaM50 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls54Mbps download18 month contract£35£28/month

Other Download Speeds

The cost and availability of different home broadband services depends on the download speed you’re able to get.

The following table shows how much you’d need to pay for a broadband service with different download speeds. It also shows the percentage availability amongst UK households:

Download SpeedMonthly PriceAvailability10MbpsFrom £17.99/month98% of UK households36MbpsFrom £17.99/month95% of UK households50MbpsFrom £20.00/month95% of UK households67MbpsFrom £23.00/month95% of UK households100MbpsFrom £24.00/month60% of UK households150MbpsFrom £25.00/month60% of UK households200MbpsFrom £28.00/month60% of UK households300MbpsFrom £32.00/month60% of UK households500MbpsFrom £30.00/month50% of UK households900MbpsFrom £35.00/month20% of UK households

More Information

For more information, see our in-depth guides on download speed and upload speed. You can also read our other home broadband guides, including our review of all the major UK broadband internet providers.

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