The internet speed of airports in London vary dramatically, but none of them offer “superfast” internet, at least not by government standards.
According to a research by independent broadband advice site, thinkbroadband.com (opens in new tab), the download speeds of free Wi-Fi services across London airports vary from 0.5 to 8.1 Mbps. This is similar to broadband speeds at some rural locations, and well below the government’s definition of ‘superfast’ at 25 Mbps.
The best airport is the London City Airport, offering limitless internet to everyone, with a 4.0 Mbps speed. The fastest airport is Stansted with 8.1 Mbps speeds, but limits the use to one hour.
Gatwick is officially London’s slowest airport when it comes to free Wi-Fi, with speeds of just 0.5 Mbps. Heathrow also measured low, offering just 1 Mbps on its free Wi-Fi service.
Luton and Gatwick offer 90 minutes.
Sebastien Lahtinen, co-founder of thinkbroadband.com, says, “It is quite shocking just how slow our major airports are. As hubs for business people and holiday makers all looking to connect to Wi-Fi, these speeds will continue to cause frustration. Many travellers have tablets and want to download movies or TV shows for longer flights, but with the latest 2-hour episode of Strictly Come Dancing taking 1.31GB, this would take 6 hours to download at Gatwick, well beyond its free Wi-Fi allowance.”
“We are encouraged to check in two to three hours before departure in many cases and with unpredictable road traffic and connecting flights, there plenty of reasons for passengers to be spending hours at the airport, and free Wi-Fi is a great way to pass time or finish work. For foreign visitors, who may not have the option of 4G mobile services due to roaming costs, this can be particularly important and it gives them a very poor first impression of UK digital infrastructure” adds Lahtinen.