Broadband.co.uk Blog: News

Regular Broadband-related news and comment from the Broadband.co.uk team.

All posts labeled News:

News stories relevant to broadband in the United Kingdom.

TalkTalk WiFi Hub

Get TalkTalk's new WiFi hub with one of their low price broadband deals!

Posted on 2018-06-29 14:32 in News Offers TalkTalk

TalkTalk's low-price offers on broadband are now even better with their new WiFi Hub.

The WiFi Hub, worth £120, can be selected at the point of purchase instead of the current TalkTalk Super Router. It offers several improvements over the older model, including: 

  • Simple set up - the hub comes pre-configured, so you only need to plug it in and switch it and you're good to go
  • Twice as fast - the WiFi connection on the new hub is twice as fast as the Super Router
  • Connect more devices - the Super Router allowed you to connect 1-4 devices, this has been increased to up to 9 devices on the WiFi Hub
  • Stable connection - the hub uses advanced technology that helps break through interference, making the connection more stable throughout the home
  • Smart WiFi - the hub recognises connected devices and adjust the signal to give them the best speeds for their needs

Of course, you'll be wanting a broadband package to go along with this fantastic WiFi Hub, and TalkTalk have some great offers on right now. Sign up before the end of the 13th of July and get a TalkTalk fibre deal from just £22.50 a month on an 18 month contract! Your chosen package will come with:

  • Fast, totally unlimited broadband with speeds with speeds averaging at 35Mb, or 63Mb* if it's available in your area
  • Guaranteed fixed price for the full 18 month contract
  • FREE activation when you sign up online
  • Phone packages are available on all deals with the option to add mobile calls for just £7.50 a month

If fibre isn't available in your area yet you can still get TalkTalk's standard Fast Broadband package. For just £17 a month on a 12 month contract you can get speeds that average at 11Mb* along with the other features available with fibre packages.

You could also throw a TV package into the bundle, as TalkTalk offer TV options* with all their broadband packages. You'll get the benefits that come with broadband, along with:

  • 80+ Freeview channels, with 15 in HD
  • On Demand, including iPlayer, ITV Player and All4
  • Rent the latest blockbuster movies from only £4
  • TV Select, with 15 of the nation's favourite channels, including 6 Sky channels
  • Personalise your package by adding extra channels like Kids TV, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports on a flexible one month contract

Or you can go with TalkTalk's TV Plus package* and get extra features, such as:

  • Record up to 180 hours of live TV
  • 7 Day catch-up
  • 30 extra entertainment channels

If you're already a TalkTalk customer, you can still upgrade to a Fibre package or add a TV package easily!

Interested? Head on over to TalkTalk to get started!

* Broadband speed will vary depending on your location (your exact speed estimate will be given at point of sale). Use our postcode checker to find what speeds are available in your area. TalkTalk TV or TV Plus box required, cost £25. You need to connect your TalkTalk TV Box to the internet and your TV aerial. Offer ends 2018-07-13.

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Man With Laptop

All change for broadband advertising, average speeds are here

Posted on 2018-06-27 14:39 in News Features

If you haven't compared broadband speeds for a while, you may have been surprised to find that the way they're talked about has changed. Where did all those "up tos" go and has everything got a little slower overnight?

Well it's not broadband speeds that have changed, it's the rules for how they're advertised. Everything's become a little more representative of what the typical customer can expect to receive from their broadband.

New guidance from the Advertising Standards Authority means that broadband providers can only advertise internet speeds that at least half of its customers can get. Described as an "average speed", it will give you a far clearer picture of how you can expect a provider's service to perform.

How has broadband advertising changed?

Here are the key changes:

  • Broadband providers can no longer advertise their packages with an "up to" speed.
  • They must display an "average speed" attained by at least 50% of their customers during peak hours, between 8pm and 10pm.
  • Any providers that wish to deviate from this policy must be able to show that their advertising will not mislead customers.
  • Providers must also be more transparent about other factors that will affect the speed of their services. This includes any traffic management policies they have in place.

Previously, the advertised speeds only needed to be available to 10% of users. That led to the industry standardising on figures such as "up to 17Mb" or "up to 38Mb", and was essentially meaningless. It gave you no indication of real world performance and no way to compare providers. Those who understood how the industry worked came to assume they'd get slower than the advertised speeds; those who didn't would often end up disappointed with what they'd bought. Either way, it was misleading. The new rules fix that.

As a result, the speeds now advertised are slower than they were a few months ago. Remember, it's only the advertising that has changed - the speeds you'll get are the same as you would have got anyway.

One of the big consequences is that it's now easier to compare providers based on speed. You can find the UK's fastest broadband provider using our price comparison tool. Just click here to view all our home broadband deals sorted in order of their average speed.

What else do you need to know?

The new rules remove any doubt from broadband ads. They give you a much clearer picture about what you can expect from a particular provider. But there's still a few other things to consider when you're looking to switch broadband suppliers.

1. There's no guaranteed speed

The average speed is calculated from the median speeds recorded during peak hours. This means that half of all a provider's customers will achieve the quoted speed or faster, and half will get something slower. What it doesn't tell you is which side of the line you'll fall. Treat it as guidance, not as a guaranteed level.

Ofcom's guidance requires providers to give you an accurate speed estimate when you sign up. This is what you should judge your real world performance on.

2. Small speed differences may not matter

While it's now easier to compare average speeds of providers, it isn't a given that faster means better. For example, a provider advertising slightly slower average speeds might simply have a higher number of customers in rural areas, where broadband infrastructure is notoriously patchy.

3. Infrastructure is the main factor in broadband speed

The infrastructure a provider uses - rather than the provider itself - is the biggest factor that determines your broadband speeds. So, if you switch between two providers using the same infrastructure - the Openreach network, for example - you'll get broadly the same speeds. If you switch from a provider that uses Openreach to one with its own network, like Virgin, you could see vastly different speeds.

That doesn't mean there aren't many other benefits to switching broadband providers. Improved reliability and better customer service are among the best reasons to switch.

4. Other things can affect your broadband speed

Finally, remember that lots of other things can affect your broadband speeds. If your internet performance is well below what you are expecting, check out our guide on how to speed up slow broadband for tips on improving the situation.

What speed do you need?

It's important to know what broadband speed you're getting to ensure that it's suitable for your needs. We've got a post outlining what internet speed you need, depending on what you're doing online and how many people there are in your household. You can then use our Broadband Speed Test to find out how fast your internet is, and if you're getting the level of service you're paying for.

And if you decide it's time to switch, compare fibre broadband deals in your area now.

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TalkTalk TV Plus

EXPIRED: Even more savings with TalkTalk's Big Broadband Sale!

Posted on 2018-05-25 14:10 in News Offers Expired TalkTalk

TalkTalk's Big Broadband sale just got bigger with further reductions on their previous low-price offers!

The standard Fast Broadband package is now just £17 a month on a 12 month contract. You can get:

  • Totally unlimited broadband with average speeds of 11Mb*
  • Guaranteed fixed price for the full 12 month contract
  • FREE activation when you sign up online

Sign up before the end of the 31st of May and get a TalkTalk fibre deal from just £24 a month on an 18 month contract! You'll get the same as you would on the Fast Broadband package, as well as average speeds of 35Mb, or 63Mb* if it's available in your area. You can also enjoy upload speeds with an average of 9Mb, perfect for sharing videos and gaming!

As standard you'll only pay for the calls you use, but if you regularly use your land line for calls phone packages are available on all deals with the option to add mobile calls for just £7.50 a month.

Why not grab a TV package** to go with your chosen broadband package? TalkTalk TV packages come with:

  • 80+ Freeview channels, with 15 in HD
  • On Demand, including iPlayer, ITV Player and All4
  • Rent the latest blockbuster movies from only £4
  • TV Select, with 15 of the nation's favourite channels, including 6 Sky channels
  • Personalise your package by adding extra channels like Kids TV, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports on a flexible one month contract

Want more TV? TalkTalk's TV Plus package** has extra features, such as:

  • Record up to 180 hours of live TV
  • 7 Day catch-up
  • 30 extra entertainment channels

Head on over to TalkTalk to place your order!

Already a TalkTalk customer? Why not upgrade to a Fibre package or add a TV package to your existing broadband?

* Broadband speed will vary depending on your location (your exact speed estimate will be given at point of sale). Average speeds are based on what 50% of customers can achieve during peak hours of 8pm to 10pm. Use our postcode checker to find what speeds are available in your area.
** TalkTalk TV or TV Plus box required, cost £25. You need to connect your TalkTalk TV Box to the internet and your TV aerial.
Fast Broadband offer ends 2018-07-12. Faster Fibre offer ends 2018-05-31.

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TalkTalk TV Plus

EXPIRED: Grab a great value broadband deal in TalkTalk's 25% off Big Broadband Sale!

Posted on 2018-04-23 14:59 in News Offers Expired TalkTalk

If you're looking to refresh your broadband deal along with your regular Spring cleaning, then why not take a look at TalkTalk's latest low-price offers?

Sign up before the end of the 17th of May and get a TalkTalk fibre deal from just £25 a month on an 18 month contract! Your chosen package will come with:

  • Fast, totally unlimited broadband with speeds of up to 38Mb, or 76Mb* if it's available in your area
  • Guaranteed fixed price for the full 18 month contract
  • FREE activation when you sign up online
  • Upload speeds increased from 2Mb to 10Mb
  • Phone packages are available on all deals with the option to add mobile calls for just £7.50 a month

Fibre not available in your area yet? Don't worry, TalkTalk have you covered with their Fast Broadband package. For just £18.95 a month on a 12 month contract you can get speeds of up to 17Mb* along with the other features available with fibre packages.

Want to throw a TV package into the mix? TalkTalk offer TV options* with all their broadband packages. You'll get the benefits that come with broadband, along with:

  • 80+ Freeview channels, with 15 in HD
  • On Demand, including iPlayer, ITV Player and All4
  • Rent the latest blockbuster movies from only £4
  • TV Select, with 15 of the nation's favourite channels, including 6 Sky channels
  • Personalise your package by adding extra channels like Kids TV, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports on a flexible one month contract

Or you can go with TalkTalk's TV Plus package* and get extra features, such as:

  • Record up to 180 hours of live TV
  • 7 Day catch-up
  • 30 extra entertainment channels

If you're already a TalkTalk customer, you can also upgrade to a Fibre package or add a TV package easily!

Interested? Head on over to TalkTalk to get started!

* Broadband speed will vary depending on your location (your exact speed estimate will be given at point of sale). Use our postcode checker to find what speeds are available in your area. TalkTalk TV or TV Plus box required, cost £25. You need to connect your TalkTalk TV Box to the internet and your TV aerial. Offer ends 2018-05-17.

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speedtest-main

Our enhanced broadband Speed Test tool shows how fast your internet really is

Posted on 2017-10-04 15:00 in Announcements News Features

Is your broadband up to speed? Is it delivering what you hoped for when you first signed up? Or should you be switching to a faster provider? Our newly enhanced broadband Speed Test tool has all the answers.

Already used by over 400,000 people every month, the Broadband.co.uk Speed Test service is the quickest and best way to get the true picture of how your internet is performing. This completely free tool now boasts upgraded features that make it better than ever.

With the Speed Test you can:

  • test your download and upload speeds
  • compare your results to the best speeds available in your street
  • save and view your entire test history, using our new Facebook integration feature

Having access to your test history enables you to judge the performance of your broadband over time, and also to identify any patterns or trends in the speeds. It isn't uncommon for internet speeds to drop during peak hours as more people go online. By running the test on different days, and at different times of day, you can quickly spot any problems. Our results page also highlights faster services available in your area. If you're ready to switch providers, or upgrade to fibre broadband, you'll know what your best options are.

In addition, you can carry out speed tests on various devices in different parts of your house. If you're experiencing slowdown in particular rooms, it may be because the Wi-Fi signal is being blocked or does not reach far enough. If you find that you're having this problem, we've got a guide that can help.

We also collate all the results to determine the industry's best and worst performing providers. We update our performance chart every month so you can clearly see which companies are worth your business, and which should be avoided.

To carry out a Speed Test, just click here.

Test your broadband speed today

Getting started with our broadband Speed Test couldn't be simpler. It takes just a couple of clicks, and the whole process lasts barely 20 seconds. It runs from within any web browser, and it works on your phone, too. You can use it to test both Wi-Fi and 4G speeds.

Visit the Speed Test page (1). Enter your postcode if you want to compare your results to other services in your area (or you can leave it blank if you prefer). Now just click Start Test.

The entire process lasts about 10 to 20 seconds (2). It's a good idea to carry out the test when you aren't using the internet for anything else, so pause any downloads, and disconnect videogames and streaming services until it has finished.

Once done, you'll see your results page (3). The first screen shows your upload and download speeds, compared to those achieved from other providers in the same postcode.

To see the rest of your results, all plotted on a similar chart (4), click Login with Facebook to see your full history, then follow the onscreen instructions. With regular tests you'll be able to build up a complete picture of how your broadband is performing, whether it is meeting expectations, and whether you'd be better off switching to a new provider.

If you do decide to switch, our Buyers' Guide provides an Ofcom-approved comparison of all the standard and fibre broadband offers available to you right now. It's constantly updated, and completely independent. You can be confident that we will always point you toward the deal that's right for you.

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TalkTalk TV Plus

EXPIRED: Time's running out on the UK's best value TV and broadband deal!

Posted on 2017-06-13 16:47 in News Offers Expired TalkTalk

We've got an exclusive offer from TalkTalk that's only available through Broadband.co.uk, but you only have until the end of Thursday to take advantage!

Sign up before the end of the 15th June to get the TV Plus with Fast Broadband package for just £23.75 a month. That's only £3.75 more than you'd pay for the standard broadband and phone deal. It comes with a 12 month contract, and there are no extra costs to pay: the price includes line rental, there's no setup fee, and you even receive a FREE TV Plus box.

Better still, the deal is not just for new customers. Loyal TalkTalk customers can also take advantage of this incredible offer by adding TV Plus to their existing service.

TV Plus with Fast Broadband is an amazing value, highly flexible deal. So what exactly do you get?

  • Fast, totally unlimited broadband with speeds up to 17Mb*
  • Free TV Plus box (normally £50) — pause, rewind and record up to 180 hours of TV
  • Free connection
  • Guaranteed fixed price for the full 12 month contract
  • Six entertainment channels from Sky, including Sky 1 and Sky Sports News, plus up to 80 Freeview channels
  • You can personalise your package by adding extra channels like Sky Cinema and Sky Sports on a flexible one month contract

Also included is a free TalkTalk Mobile SIM card, and the option to add both mobile and landline call packages.

This fantastic exclusive offer ends in less than a week, so don't delay, sign up by the end of Thursday the 15th June or miss out on big savings on internet and TV!

Head on over to TalkTalk to get started!

*  Package advertised with broadband speeds of up to 17Mb, this will vary depending on your location (your exact speed estimate will be given at point of sale). Use our postcode checker to find what speeds are available in your area. This TV offer does not apply to Fibre products. You need to connect your TalkTalk TV Box to the internet and your TV aerial. Offer ends 2017-06-15.

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money

Loyal broadband customers pay £113 more than those who switch providers

Posted on 2017-04-12 13:46 in News EE Virgin Media Sky BT TalkTalk

Loyal customers who stick with their broadband provider end up paying on average 43% more than if they had switched.

Research by Citizens Advice has cast a light on the way the major providers hike their prices once a contract has ended. Customers who choose to keep their existing deal instead of shopping around find themselves paying an average of £113 extra each year in what has been dubbed a "loyalty penalty".

Citizens Advice analysed the cheapest broadband deals from the UK's five largest suppliers. They found that Virgin Media was the only one that did not bump its prices at the end of the initial contract period. The other four saw increases of as much as 67%.

  • BT - the price rises from £24.49 to £40.99 after 12 months. An increase of 67%, amounting to £198 per year.
  • TalkTalk - the price goes from £20 to £25.50 after 24 months. An increase of 28%, or £66 per year.
  • Sky - after 12 months the price rises from £18.99 to £28.99. An increase of 53%, or £120 per year.
  • EE - the price rises from £21 to £28.50 after 18 months. An increase of 36%, amounting to £90 extra per year.
  • Virgin Media - the cheapest deal is £32.25 per month for 12 months. The price doesn't rise at the end of the contract.

The report found that more than a third of customers didn't realise that prices could go up once their contract had ended. It also found that customers stay on the same deal for an average of four years, which ends up costing them as much as £594 extra.

Those over 65 or on lower incomes were significantly more likely to stick with a deal for more 10 years.

Time to switch

The study highlights the fact that it's more important than ever to shop around for the best broadband deal. Our Ofcom-approved price comparison service helps you find the best and cheapest packages available for your postcode.

Switching broadband providers is easier than you might expect. In most cases, your new provider will handle all aspects of the switchover. You should experience no loss of service, and you won't even need to inform your old supplier that you're leaving. Read our guide to switching broadband providers to see how the process works. 

Citizens Advice is calling for greater clarity in how providers advertise their services, and also to inform customers by text when the fixed price comes to an end.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, “People often choose their broadband deals based on the price that works for them - but our evidence shows that many do not realise the price will rise after the end of the fixed deal. The government has rightly put energy firms on warning for how they treat loyal customers - the actions of broadband firms warrant similar scrutiny. Extra protections for vulnerable consumers are also a must.”

The moral of the story is clear: loyalty doesn't pay. Once your contract is up, find a new provider. There are some incredible deals to be had on both standard and fibre broadband, and if you're lucky you might even bag an awesome free gift at the same time.

So don't delay. Click here to visit our postcode checker and you can start saving money today.

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Man using computer

EXPIRED: How to avoid BT and Sky price rises - penalty free!

Posted on 2017-02-02 14:19 in News Features Expired Sky BT

BT and Sky have both announced that they're hiking up their prices once again - but you don't have to pay them. Under Ofcom rules, any unexpected price rises mean you can quit your contract early without paying a penalty fee.

BT's price increases are all in the region of an inflation-beating 5-6% on standard and fibre broadband deals. They include:

  • Standard broadband: a £2 per month increase from £33.99 to £35.99 for the "all-in" deal including line rental, as of 2nd April
  • Fibre broadband: a £2.50 per month increase from £39.99 to £42.49 for Infinity 1, and £51.49 to £53.99 for Infinity 2, as of 2nd April
  • BT Sport: will cost £3.50 per month via BT TV from August (it was previously free). Via Sky TV the price goes up from 2nd April by £1.50 per month if you have BT Broadband, or £1 per month if you don't
  • Calls packages: also increasing across the board from 2nd April

Sky's price rises are mostly limited to line rental, but customers on older deals will also see increases:

  • Line rental: up 9% from £17.40 per month to £18.99 from 1st March
  • Older broadband and TV deals: will rise on average just under £3 per month from 1st March. The exact amount will vary depending on what deal you're on

How to cancel your broadband contract without penalty

If you aren't happy about the proposed price increases then you do have options. Ofcom states that you can end a contract without penalty if there's a price rise you weren't warned about when you first signed up.

If you're still within the minimum terms of your contract (eg. you're six months into a 12 month deal), you must tell your provider of your intention to quit within 30 days of being informed of the price rise. Both Sky and BT began informing their customers toward the end of January, so move quickly if you want to switch.

If you're outside the minimum terms of the contract (eg. you signed a 12 month deal 18 months ago), you're free to leave at any time regardless.

Switching broadband providers is likely to be your best option for saving money. The best deals are almost always reserved for new customers. Our postcode checker shows what packages are available in your area.

And what if you're happy with your provider? You can, of course, try haggling. You can sometimes get a better deal if you're willing to enter into a new contract. Even so, it's still worth arming yourself with information on the best broadband deals so you know what you're asking for. And if no offer is forthcoming remember the golden rule of haggling — always be willing to walk away.

Use our postcode checker now to find the best broadband deals in your area. Also take a look at our guide to switching broadband providers. The process has been streamlined recently, and is probably a lot easier than you expect.

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Sky Q Hub

Why getting a new router can speed up your broadband

Posted on 2016-11-22 11:35 in News Features Virgin Media Origin TalkTalk Zen EE Vodafone Plusnet Sky BT

If you find broadband speeds confusing, you're not alone. What speed broadband providers advertise and what you actually get are rarely the same thing. The ASA has recently announced that it will be taking steps next year to bring clarity to the entire issue.

But that's a way off. In the meantime there are steps you can take to ensure you achieve speeds closer to what you were expecting.

You may not know that your Wi-Fi router can have a massive impact on the internet speeds you get throughout your home. Since the provider supplies the router we tend to assume that they're automatically good enough. But that isn't always true - sometimes they're old or slow, and not capable of handling a superfast broadband connection.

In these cases, upgrading to a more powerful router can help speed up your broadband dramatically.

How a new Wi-Fi router can help

Let's start with the technical bit.

The performance of a router is determined by the wireless standard that it uses. The best modern routers use the latest standard, called 802.11ac. It's the fastest available, and it runs on the 5GHz band which is clean and interference free.

802.11ac superceded the 802.11n standard. This is much slower - perhaps half or even a third of the speed - and it commonly runs on the 2.4GHz band which is much more prone to interference from other electrical devices in your home. As a result, the signal is not just slower but it gets much weaker the further it travels.

The router as a bottleneck

Many broadband providers supply an N-rated router with their packages, and it may not be up to the job. Tests show that 802.11n routers have a real world top speed of 50-100Mb, at close range. At a distance of 20 metres, and with a few obstacles like walls and floors in the way, that speed can be slashed in half - or worse.

So, if you've got a high-end fibre package and are getting speeds of 50Mb or more, then an N-rated router simply won't cut it. Your broadband is faster than your router, and the router becomes a bottleneck. Even on an entry-level fibre deal, with speeds of 25Mb, you'll be pushing it. You might find you get good speeds downstairs, but that they fall off sharply in the bedrooms.

In both cases, upgrading to an AC-rated router is likely to give you a major speed boost. The exception is standard broadband. Here, the speeds top out at 16Mb, and in practice are usually somewhat slower. An N-rated router should be able to handle this.

An easy way to check if you're affected is to use our free Speed Test tool. Stand next to your router and run the test on your laptop. Then head to the furthest corner of your house and run it again. If there's a major discrepancy in your results then it could be a sign that you need to upgrade your router. (Or it could mean you need to find a better position for your router.)

Do you need a new router?

You can see why a slow router can mean you don't get the broadband speeds you were expecting. So do you need to upgrade?

When you're shopping for broadband deals, all our comparison tables have icons to show what kind of router you're getting. Click the More Info button to see whether there's an option to upgrade to a better router when you sign up.

What router do you get?

  • Many of the major providers now supply AC-rated routers with all their packages. This includes TalkTalk, Vodafone and Virgin, while Sky also provides the new Sky Q Hub if you are a TV customer.
  • BT, Plusnet and EE supply 802.11ac routers with their fibre packages, and N-rated routers with standard broadband. BT offers a paid upgrade for standard broadband customers, but the other two don't.
  • Origin customers get an N-rated router, and need to pay at checkout to upgrade to a faster AC-rated unit.

If you've been with a provider for some time it's possible you're still using an older N-rated router and aren't getting the fastest possible speeds from your broadband. In this case it's worth checking with the provider to see if they'll swap your router for a newer model for free. Some may give you one in exchange for you signing a new contract. Just make sure you know exactly what you're getting, and that you aren't charged or placed on a new contract without knowing.

Lastly, a handful of providers, including Plusnet, Zen and Origin, allow you to use own router, so you can shop around and check independent reviews to get the best model for your needs.

The router is a frequently overlooked part of the broadband service. It's natural to assume that broadband problems are the fault of the provider, but the reality is that if your router is too slow you can easily be cutting your internet speed in half without even realising.

Give your router a quick check now to see if you would benefit from an upgrade.

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ASA

Broadband speed advertising: What you need to know

Posted on 2016-11-18 10:43 in News

The way broadband speeds are advertised is set to change, in response to a call by the Advertising Standards Agency.

New independent research carried out on behalf of the ASA has confirmed what we've long suspected: there's widespread confusion about all aspects of broadband speeds. The ASA was concerned that this could prove to be misleading.

The research found that:

  • Speed is an important factor for a significant number of consumers when choosing a broadband package
  • Understanding of broadband speeds is low overall, with many consumers not knowing what speed they need
  • Most consumers believe they will receive the advertised speed, or close to it, when in practice most won't

A recent report from the BBC's Watchdog also highlighted the problem of misleading speed adverts. Broadband providers are currently able to advertise packages with speeds up to a certain level, so long as 10% of their customers can achieve that level. The vast majority of customers will get slower - and often considerably slower - speeds.

Analysis of speed test results shows that the typically advertised 'up to 17Mb' figure may not even meet these standards - most providers' customers have a top 10% speed closer to 15Mb or, in some cases, 14Mb. Across rural areas, the top 10% speed for products advertised as 'up to 17Mb' is just short of 10Mb.

A period of consultation is underway, ahead of a likely change to be announced in the Spring of 2017.

What you need to know about broadband speeds

Hopefully, the result of all this will be greater clarity, ensuring you know exactly what you're signing up for when you buy a broadband deal. We don't yet know what the solution will be, and in reality broadband speeds are quite complicated. Here's what you need to know.

How broadband speeds are advertised

The current rules state that headline speeds must only be attainable by at least 10% of customers, and must be preceded by the words 'up to'. There should also be additional qualification to help people understand any other factors at play. However, in practice the industry appears to have settled on an advertised speed roughly 2Mb higher than the rules show have allowed.

Broadband speeds are usually much slower than advertised

Use our free Speed Test tool to see what speed you're getting, and how it compares to what you were expecting. We also produce a monthly report showing the average download speeds for the main providers in the UK so you can see which are the best and worst performing.

It's impossible to advertise an exact speed

Even though the 'up to' claims may not be satisfactory, it isn't possible to advertise an exact speed instead. There are numerous factors that affect broadband speeds, to the extent that two houses on the same street with the same deal may get different levels of service.

The main factor that affects broadband speed

The biggest problem is the distance between your home and the nearest street cabinet (for most fibre broadband packages) or nearest exchange (for standard broadband). This is because part or all of the connection runs over copper lines, and the further the signal has to travel over these lines the weaker it gets. It's worse for rural areas, where these distances tend to be much longer, and the rural infrastructure is also less likely to have been upgraded to anything newer or faster.

Virgin is not affected by this

An exception to this is Virgin Media, which uses its own cable network, as well as smaller fibre-to-the-property providers, which bring the connection direct to your home rather than your nearest street cabinet.

Other things that slow down your broadband

There are many other factors at play, too. Smaller providers may slow down during peak hours because they don't have enough bandwidth to service all of their customers at maximum speed. Some providers may have traffic management policies in place to restrict speeds on the heaviest users. Your Wi-Fi router could also be a problem. Many providers supply cheaper, older technology routers that slow down over longer distances or are unable to deliver the full speed of your broadband connection.

How you can improve your broadband speed

It's possible to speed up your broadband in several ways. These include making sure your router is positioned in the best place in your home, and potentially upgrading the router to a faster model. For more tips check out our 12 tips to boost you broadband speed.

What broadband speed you need

The speed of broadband you need depends mostly on two things: how many people will be using your connection, and what you're using the internet for. A small household just using Facebook and the web can get away with a slower package. A large household with people watching Netflix and play games online will need something much faster. Read more in our guide to what broadband speed you need.

Use our free Speed Test tool today to find out fast out how fast your broadband is.

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