The odds are that you will be reading this via a broadband connection, and if you’re not then you are probably watching this screen slowly load as you repeatedly bang your head against your screen at the frustration and annoyance that slow internet speeds nowadays cause.
It’s safe to say that broadband internet connections are brilliant and I’m sure everyone that saves those valuable seconds loading a page would like to thank the people behind it, but they are far from perfect and this is a quick look into the world behind broadband and the problems that the false advertising by the providers is causing. Although, it’s also worth bearing in mind that broadband speeds might vary depending on the time of day.
Firstly a recent survey carried out by ICM that showed that 90% of those surveyed found the advertising done by broadband providers misleading and confusing, mostly with the use of the phrase “up to” which generally indicates the speed if you happen to live right next to a phone exchange box in the middle of London, and 10’s of times faster than you will get in Cumbria – this then raises the question of whether rural broadband should be publicly funded.
Consequently people are unsure of what speeds they are actually getting, and therefore find it incredibly difficult to understand the speeds advertised in context which adds even more to the confusion: you can check yours on the likes of www.speedtest.net (I got a far from impressive 1.64Mb/s sat here in Leicestershire) but I imagine very few people realise you can actually do that.
Another recent survey, this one by Ofcom, showed that the percentage of the advertised broadband speeds that people were actually receiving was incredibly small, and that next to nobody was in fact getting the 20-25Mb/s “up to” speeds that were being advertised with certain companies — BT, Talk Talk and O2 were highlighted as being particularly poor.
Talk Talk for example only managed an average of less than 10Mb/s on its 24Mb/s service which is a level of false advertising that you wouldn’t really be able to get away with any other market —imagine buying a Ferrari that only went up to 80mph.
However amidst this slating of broadband providers one has proven to be surprisingly reliable and honest: Virgin Media Broadband.
They were the only company to come close to their advertised speeds with most of their services providing twice the speed of the average competitor. This probably has something to do with the fact that they are they only provider that so far has invested heavily in fibre optic cables (although BT is starting to now) leaving others to use the poor copper telephone wires that generally hit speeds of 6.5Mb/s on 20/24 Mb/s packages.
In fact Virgin Media have been even more honest by actually showing the average speeds achieved by their customers on particular packages — although this is slightly misleading, it is fact the speed that at least 66% of their customers get on average in a particular month, which means that a third of their customers are getting one average less than that, but the figures are good enough really to forgive that: up to 10Mb/s packages receive 9.5Mb/s on average, and even the largest speeds are close with the 50Mb/s advertised speed packages providing 46.2Mb/s on average.
So it’s not all bad news, and with fewer than 10% believing that their provider gives them what they advertise it could be an indication of changing times with more pressure being put on the providers by both the public and the authorities to be more realistic and honest with their speeds, which can only be good for the future.
Which broadband internet provider are you with, whereabouts are you located and what’s your average download speed test result? Are you happy with the service that you get? Would you recommend them to a friend?
Via — Telegraph