Ofcom: Customers not getting advertised broadband speeds

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There are a millions of UK customers that are signing up for super fast broadband connections, which the internet providers who are selling the service can’t deliver.

Research by the communications watchdog Ofcom shows the average speed customers are getting is less than half of the average speed advertised, according to an article by Josh Halliday over at Guardian.co.uk.

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British people are currently getting average speed of 6.2 megabits per second, while the average advertised speed is 13.8MB. This has led Ofcom to want internet providers to change the way they advertises their services.

Tests were carried out in 1,700 homes in November and December in 2010, and were based on eleven broadband packages from the UK’s seven largest providers, including BT, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media. ISPs have been advertising high maximum speeds despite the current infrastructure not being able to support them.

The only company getting close to advertised maximum speeds was Virgin Media, who have the advantage of a new cable network in many urban areas. Fiber-optic cable packages like those from Virgin and BT’s Infinity only cover about 22% of customers, while 77% have to rely on copper based DSL phone lines.

The average broadband speed has increased to 6.2Mbps, up from 5.2Mbps. This means a typical five minute music track will take less than four seconds to download. Ofcom recommends ISP’s advertise broadband speeds based on a “typical speeds range”. This is the speed customers can actually expect to get.

Virgin Media’s executive director of broadband Jon James was in a bullish mood, and described the report as “yet another damning indictment that consumers continue to be treated like mugs and misled by ISPs that simply cannot deliver on their advertised speed claims”.

We have a couple of speed checkers where you can find out how fast your broadband connection is. First up is broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk, which can also check broadband packages available in your area. Another one you can try is mybroadbandspeed.co.uk.

What ISP are you with? And what speeds are you seeing?