Five Questions About: Faster broadband

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The Independent Online

What is meant by broadband speed?

The speed of your broadband connection refers to how fast you are able to both download and upload information from the internet. Most people will download far more content than they upload. For example, you might download music or web content, but you would upload information when playing an online game or publishing photos.

Why are people not receiving promised speeds?

An Ofcom study last year found that the average download speed is 5.2 Megabits per second (Mbps), while the average advertised speed is more than double that, at 11.5Mbps. When a broadband company advertises speeds of "up to" a certain level, it does not guarantee you'll receive that speed. A review into this problem from the Broadcast Committees of Advertising Practice has prompted calls for the Advertising Standards Authority to launch an investigation.

What are current my broadband rights?

Most internet service providers have signed up to a code of practice that means they must work to resolve any technical issues that hamper speed and allow customers to move to a cheaper, lower-speed package if they cannot get the headline speed advertised.

How can I test the speed I am getting?

Type "broadband speed test" into any search engine and you'll find a number of simple, free speed-testing tools. To keep it accurate, make sure no one in your household is streaming any content when you run the test. Find an average speed by running more than one test, at different times of day, as it may be reduced during peak times.

Can I do anything to speed up my connection?

There are some technical solutions that may work, such as fitting phone sockets with special filters to cut out electrical interference, so talk to your provider. However, some households simply cannot receive top speeds as they are too far from their provider's exchange.

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