Britain is in the Broadband Slow-lane

By: Nick C

A recent study of broadband users has highlighted that 44 per cent of customers are getting only half of the promised download speeds from their ISP's. The study by Moneysupermarket.com conducted a survey of 43,000 people, 61% of which chose their ISP because of the speeds that were promised to them.

The problem is caused by ISP's advertising the maximum possible download speeds, but more often than not, these speeds are only possible in select areas.

The British phone network is responsible for delivering broadband to the homes of millions of users. Most of this is accomplished by using the traditional copper wires that were never originally designed to cope with dealing with high speed data transfer.

Britain is seriously lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to broadband speeds. BT are investing ?10bn to try to update the UK network but it's looks as though it could take possible many years to catch up with the world leaders like Japan and France.

We are fast becoming a nation of download addicts, with music being the number one download choice, followed by games, films and pod casts. With the ever growing numbers of people who downloading increasing amounts of data, speed is becoming the number one factor when choosing their ISP.

Rob Barnes, head of broadband at Moneysupermarket.com, commented "As most people are only achieving half the speed they signed up for, a typical film of 500Mb could take up to four hours to download, instead of 60-90 minutes. If you're downloading a podcast of 50Mb, you'd expect it to be downloaded within 10 minutes if using an 8Mb line, on speeds less than this you could be waiting up to half an hour.

"As the downloading culture continues to grow, broadband speed becomes even more important. Thankfully, Ofcom has decided to step in and question six of the biggest Internet Service Providers, looking at the speeds they advertise and what people actually receive. From this consultation, providers should be required to give clear, transparent advice on the speeds people will be able to achieve; perhaps providing a test, like O2 broadband, as part of the process when they sign up to a new deal. In the meantime I'd recommend anyone who wants to download large files, such as films, to opt for a connection of 16Mb or faster with unlimited download capabilities. Providers such as Be Broadband, Virgin Media and Sky Broadband all offer this."

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