'Save your money; get slower broadband'

The average speed experienced by customers on an 8Mbps service is actually just 2.7Mbps

You're better off saving your money and going for a slower broadband package where you get the speeds you're promised. That's the advice from the head of broadband comparison service, BroadbandChoices.co.uk .

"These customers would be better off saving themselves some money and going for a 2MB or 4MB package where they could actually get the speeds they're paying for," said Michael Phillips, product director at BroadbandChoices.co.uk.

The comments follow on from today's Which survey where 30 per cent of those questioned didn't get anywhere near the speeds they were promised. Indeed, in one case, the customer was paying for an 8Mbps connection and was getting less than 1Mbps.

The Which survey also found that the average speed experienced by customers on an 8Mbps service is actually just 2.7Mbps.

"We carried out over 100,000 of our own speed tests last month, and found that the average customer only got 39 per cent of their promised speed," continued Phillips. "But because providers advertise these packages as 'up to 8MB' they seem to be able to get away with providing much lower speeds as standard.

Underperforming ISPs

"Factors like distance from the exchange and poor quality wiring degrade the broadband connection and reduce the customer's speed. But many people are unaware of this and go for the top packages thinking they will get broadband at 8MB.

"However, broadband providers can check this information to see the realistic speed each individual customer should receive."

Phillips also called on the authorities to get tough with underperforming ISPs. "We need transparency from providers on the kind of speeds customers can actually expect to get, rather than flashy advertising and ever increasing 'top speeds'," he added.

In an earlier statement, Which.co.uk editor Malcolm Coles said of the survey: "It's shocking that internet service providers can advertise ever-increasing speeds that seem to bear little resemblance to what most people can achieve in reality."


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.