Martin Hickman: Tired of waiting for the web? Here's what to do

Comment

Share
Related Topics

This survey confirms what millions of householders have suspected – and other smaller, commercial surveys have suggested: that millions of broadband customers are being ripped off. Few of the UK's 17.6 million homes with broadband receive anything like the headline speed caveated with the weasel words "up to".

Simpler still, none of the 57 per cent of customers buying "up to 8 Mbit/s" packages – 9.8 million people – get that 8 Mbit/s. Compared with the quick, quick, quick of the direct debit leaving your account, the service arriving is slow, slow, slow. This will become increasingly irritating as web-users download more music, TV and films.

Of course, Ofcom is right that it isn't all the ISPs' fault: the distance between exchange and home is the crucial factor and poor hardware and connections on the home computer can slow things down too. But there are significant differences between ISPs for 8 Mbit/s services. 02's upper average was 5.1 Mbit/s while Tiscali managed a miserable 3.7. What can you do? If you're buying a new service, firms signed up to the code of conduct should advise you of the likely speed obtainable in your home, rather than the notional national speed.

The vast majority of providers subscribe to the code, so if your new firm doesn't, you might want to find one that does.

Existing subscribers can check download speeds at internet services such as broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk. If you are receiving much less than you are paying for, but don't mind about the speed, ask the ISP if it will downgrade your headline rate to something more accurate. Alternatively, if you would like faster downloads, you may be able to get a free upgrade, especially if you have been on a rate for a while. My wife did this for our old connection and Virgin Media obliged immediately.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
William Hague with his former special adviser, Christopher Myers  

Who needs special advisers? We all do

John Rentoul
Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré deliver an anti-fracking letter to No 10 last week  

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

DJ Taylor
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick