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).

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.

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

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.

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 devices
Social media, instant messaging & e-mail<0.1Mbps Yes, on 100+ devices
Voice & Video Calling:
Skype/WhatsApp phone call0.1Mbps Yes, on 100+ devices
Skype/Zoom video call0.5-0.8Mbps Yes, on 60 devices
Skype/Zoom video call (HD)1.5-1.8Mbps Yes, on 25 devices
Zoom group video call (HD)2.5-3Mbps Yes, on 15 devices
Streaming Online Music & Radio:
Listening to online radio0.2Mbps Yes, on 100+ devices
Streaming music (Spotify, Apple Music, etc)0.4Mbps Yes, on 100+ devices
Streaming Online Video:
Watching YouTube videos (basic quality)0.5Mbps Yes, on 100 devices
Watching YouTube videos (720p HD quality)2.5Mbps Yes, on 20 devices
Watching YouTube videos (1080p HD quality)4Mbps Yes, on 10 devices
Watching iPlayer/Netflix (standard definition)1.5Mbps Yes, on 30 devices
Watching iPlayer/Netflix (high definition)5Mbps Yes, on 10 devices
Watching iPlayer/Netflix (4K UHD)25Mbps Yes, on 2 devices
Online Gaming:
Online Gaming (installed PC/console game)3Mbps Yes, on 15 devices
Cloud Gaming (Stadia/PS Now/Xbox Cloud)10Mbps Yes, on 5 devices
Cloud 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 Time
Downloading a music album:14 seconds
Downloading a 2 hour movie:3 minutes (SD quality)
11 minutes (HD quality)
53 minutes (Ultra HD quality)
Downloading a PC or console game:2 hours
Downloading a mobile application:5 seconds
Downloading a high-quality photo:<1 second
Downloading 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

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.

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 Price
Fast (24 months)
50Mbps download24 month contract£39£20/month
Sky Broadband
Sky Superfast
59Mbps download18 month contract£0£25/month
Virgin Media
M50 Fibre Broadband + Weekend Calls
54Mbps download18 month contract£0£28/month
Fibre 1
50Mbps download24 month contract£0£29.99/month
£14.99 for 6 months

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 PriceAvailability
10MbpsFrom £18.00/month98% of UK households
36MbpsFrom £17.99/month95% of UK households
50MbpsFrom £20.00/month95% of UK households
67MbpsFrom £22.00/month95% of UK households
100MbpsFrom £25.00/month60% of UK households
150MbpsFrom £25.00/month60% of UK households
200MbpsFrom £29.00/month60% of UK households
300MbpsFrom £33.00/month60% of UK households
500MbpsFrom £30.00/month50% of UK households
900MbpsFrom £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.

Your Comments 16 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 16 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I’m with Virgin and I’m getting a solid 10 megabytes per second download speed from Steam.
    I’m connected over Wi-Fi with one range extender directly above upstairs from the router.
    Very impressive.

  • Christopher Jesty said:

    I subscribe to my service provider for a download speed of 300mbps and upload of 50mbps. In reality the download speed sometimes exceeds 300mbps however, I simply cannot watch TV channels because of severe buffering. I have an ethernet connection rom my TV box to my latest state of the art modem and my Fibre Optic replaced the old copper wire only last week. I thought that by upgrading to 300mbps all my streaming problems would be over but I am still frustrated at not being able to enjoy watching my favorite channels.

    • the concerned individiual replied:

      Buffering over LAN can only mean one thing – congestion during times you are watching movies, either by the supplier (usually at peak time – if all the time it’s serious and should be fixed) or having 3 kids upstairs on an Xbox

  • H Wainwright said:

    Thanks for the interesting article. I wonder if you have any opinion on fibre to mast which seems to be what BT/Openreach are suggesting for the suburbs of Sheffield instead of fibre to home for their Cityfibre project.

    • Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. I believe BT were previously deploying Gfast technology in some areas which can give download speeds of up to 330Mbps (so somewhere in between regular fibre broadband and fibre-to-the-premises). However, I believe this has now been halted and the focus is very much on FTTP (fibre to the premises). I’m not aware of any ongoing major Gfast deployments?

      • I just signed up for AT&T’s Fiber Internet 500, and a speed test after installation shows me getting speeds even faster than 500 mbps. But nobody mentions that download speed isn’t based solely on your own Internet connection. It’s also dependent upon the speed of the person uploading the file. And so far, in a few days of testing,I’ve never encountered a download clocked at over 5 or 6 mbps, And most of them are a lot slower. So in practical terms, what good does it do you to have a superfast connection if most real-life download speeds are 100 times slower than what you are capable of receiving?

        • the main benefits are going to be for those who have larger home networks, i.e. many users or devices reaching out to the web at the same time. as well as those downloading games and other large files from places that don’t throttle connections like that, steam (a popular PC gaming marketplace) does not cap your speeds as far as I have found.

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