Broadband not up to speed for nearly half of UK

15 June 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
Almost half of broadband users in the UK are unsatisfied with the speed of their broadband connection, research from uSwitch.com has discovered.

The new study into consumer opinion about broadband services found that only 52 per cent of users are happy with their broadband speeds, while the other half feels they are not getting the service they signed up for.

This dissatisfaction could be rooted in the fact that many advertising campaigns for broadband boast speeds of up to 8Mb, which is giving consumers false expectations because the rate they actually get is an average 4.2Mb.

In fact, 39 per cent of broadband users have signed up for 8Mb deals, and yet only three per cent of users say they actually get broadband speeds that high.

According to uSwitch.com, the new research suggests that the UK is still in the slow lane when it comes to broadband, with 6.75 million broadband customers in the UK saying they would like their broadband connection to be faster.

While many customers are unsatisfied with the broadband speed they are getting, more than a third are unaware what broadband speed they are signed up for, and 44 per cent have not checked the speed that they actually receive, despite the fact that 58 per cent of consumers named speed as the most important factor when it comes to choosing a broadband deal.

The new research from uSwitch joins a recent report from the BBC, which addressed Britain's broadband 'notspots', where consumers receive speeds of less than 2Mb, and puts additional pressure on the Government to live up to its promise of a 'Digital Britain', where every UK household will have speeds of at least 2Mb.

Some of the major broadband providers are helping to drag the UK into the fast lane, however.

Virgin Media broadband is upgrading its network to offer a 'super fast' 50Mb this year, which will cover half of the population, and will switch its existing 2Mb customers onto a 10Mb package, while BT broadband

has also pledged to upgrade its service, by updating 40 per cent of its network.

Commenting on the new data, Jason Glynn, communications expert at uSwitch.com, said: "Technology has raced ahead and people are able to access services online that could previously only be dreamt of - the only thing holding broadband Britain back is speed.

"The need for speed is only going to increase as more companies develop media rich websites and the popularity for online TV continues to skyrocket, ultimately affecting everyone's service. The Government and providers need to step up a gear and set out a bold new blueprint for Britain's future."

When consumers are signing up to a new service, uSwitch recommends that they ask the provider to run a line test, which will tell them what maximum speeds they can receive.

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