The broadband postcode lottery

23 February 2007
Broadband services sold to customers as 'up to 8Mbps' all too often fail to deliver the high-speed connection promised, a study from thinkbroadband.com shows.

Although the overall speed of broadband in the UK is rising, average connection speeds often fall well below the 'superfast' 8MBps advertised.

A "fair proportion of customers" sold an 'up to 8Mbps' service will be getting 512kbps, 1Mbps or 2Mbps services, thinkbroadband editor Andrew Ferguson told BBC News.

The further customers live from the provider's exchange, the slower the broadband they receive, he explained.

"Because the broadband they are giving people still fits into the description of 'up to 8Mbps' that they are selling people, they think that's fine," he stressed.

Customers need to be aware that they may get much slower broadband than promised in marketing material.

"People see the '8' and that sticks in their heads", Mr Ferguson observed, giving them unrealistic expectations.

While Tiscali, Pipex, AOL, Orange and TalkTalk all offer low-cost broadband, the little-known Zen brand offers the fastest connection overall according to a Guardian product review.

To compare broadband prices, click here.

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