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Broadband Connection: Are You Getting What You Have Paid For? July 28, 2009

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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When downloading music, video, pages and other material from the internet, do your downloads slow to a crawl? Do you think that with the internet connection you are suppose to have your downloads would be faster?

If your broadband speed is not what you thought you were paying for, this is more than simply a perception.

Broadband customers receive only half the speed they pay for when downloading music, pages, films and other material from the internet, Ofcom discloses in a definitive survey which confirms suspicions that services are far slower than advertised.

While most customers in the UK subscribe to packages offering “up to 8 Mbit/s” (mega bits per second) nine major broadband companies delivered only 4.1 Mbit/s, 57 per cent of the “headline rate”. No customers achieved the top speed; the maximum was 7.1 Mbit/s.

Ofcom found significant differences between internet service providers (ISPs). Tiscali 8 Mbit/s customers received on average 3.2 to 3.7, while AOL and BT struggled to deliver much more than 4 Mbit/s. By contrast, Virgin Media’s “up to 10 Mbit/s” cable package delivered 8.1 Mbit/s, far superior to the other packages.

The report UK Broadband Speeds 2009 said the major factor determining speed was distance between homes and broadband exchanges; homes more than 2km away were much slower.
To check current speeds, Ofcom commissioned the specialist company SamKnows to check the rates delivered by the nine biggest providers – AOL; BT; O2; Orange; Plusnet; Sky; TalkTalk; Tiscali; and Virgin Media, which account for 90 per cent of all broadband connections. Ofcom found that speeds were significantly lower in the evening; average speeds between 8pm and 10pm were 3.7 Mbit/s. Rural homes received significantly slower speeds (3.3Mbit/s), than city homes (4.6Mbit/s).

Ofcom said 83 per cent of customers were satisfied with their broadband service, but of the 9 per cent that were dissatisfied, speed was their biggest complaint.

It said advertising was a matter for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Steve Weller, marketing director at price comparison service uSwitch.com, said the report was “damning” of the broadband companies.

“They obviously get away with misleading customers with their ‘up to 8 meg’ – customers either never receive 8 meg and most customers get much lower than the advertised speeds,” he said.

People in rural areas in particular are being treated like second-rate customers.”

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