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Broadband speeds fail to match expectations

Written by: John Fitzsimons
A report has highlighted that many of us aren’t enjoying the internet speeds we expect from our provider. But what can you do if you’re suffering from buffering?

Research from consumer champion Which? has found people expecting to receive high-speed broadband from their provider were often left disappointed.

Analysis by Which? found that just 58% of households are getting speeds which meet their expectations.

What’s more, those who are paying for the fastest speeds are most likely to find their expectations are not being met. For example, those expecting speeds in excess of 30 megabytes per second (Mbps) were on average only able to get 54% of the speed they were expecting, while those expecting speeds of between 10 and 30Mbps received an average of 89% of what they were expecting.

However, users who anticipated speeds of 10Mbps or less were actually able to exceed their expected speed on average by 38%.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services and products, said: “People who think they have signed up for faster broadband speeds are the most likely to be disappointed, with our research showing many are generally getting speeds that are much slower than they expected. Consumers need to regularly test their broadband speed to check they are getting the service they are paying for. If they aren’t they should contact their provider so that any issues with their service can be resolved.”

Britain ranks behind most of Europe for broadband speeds

Which?’s research follows a study earlier this week which found the UK ranks 31st in the world for broadband speeds, behind much of the rest of Europe.

According to, the average speeds enjoyed in the UK are 16.51Mbps, behind 19 other countries in Europe alone. Singapore tops the list, with average speeds of a whopping 55.13Mbps.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at, said: “Clearly there are lessons to be learned both from Europe and from those topping the table. Not least the importance of reaching those with the lowest speeds, predominantly in very rural and/or hard-to-reach areas, but also greater investment in hyperfast fibre to the home (FTTH) networks, which currently reach only 2% of properties in the UK, compared to Sweden or Latvia, say, where FTTH exceeds 40%.”

How to boost your broadband speeds

Firstly, you need to establish exactly what speeds you are receiving. There are a host of free tools you can use to do this, such as the speed checker from Which?

If your speeds are not as expected, then there are a number of simple steps you can take which may boost them. These include:

  • ensuring the router is plugged into the master socket, rather than a telephone extension cable
  • moving your router to a higher, more central location in your home
  • changing the router’s password, so neighbours are not able to piggyback off your connection
  • switching the ‘channel’ on your router away from its default setting.

However, if the speeds you are enduring are still not up to scratch then it is worth complaining to your provider. If there is a serious issue with your connection speeds then you may be able to switch provider without having to pay an exit fee.

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