For most people in the UK, the deciding factor when choosing a broadband package is the speed of the connection, as this is what enables the efficient use of rich media such as videos and photos, and faster downloading. All this talk of connection speeds leaves people wondering, ‘have I got fast broadband in my area?’.
One of the best ways to check the connection you already have is with an online speed test which determines how fast your broadband really is, rather than the ‘up to’ speed the provider tells you that you can get.
These tests can scan your connection and the broadband exchange to find out what broadband speed you receive. Some of the top broadband providers in the UK have been under fire recently after a campaign was launched to prevent them from telling customers what speed they can get ‘up to’ because the reality is often much lower.
Broadband speeds are often dependent on where you live and the type of broadband you have, so just because your friend down the road says “I have fast broadband in my area” doesn’t mean that you will. Broadband speeds are notoriously faster in urban areas and if your home is closer to the telephone exchange.
Even top broadband providers in the UK cannot prevent your connection slowing in the evening because ADSL broadband is a shared service. The more people using the connection at once, the slower it will become. This is why you will find that your fast broadband slows down at peak hours and performs better throughout the day.
If you feel that you have a slow connection and would prefer to able to get fast broadband you have two options: you could optimise your computer and broadband connection (for example, you could look into whether you could switch to a cable connection which is typically faster than ADSL) or compare best broadband and phone deals on offer to find a new provider.
Comparing broadband and phone deals
Should you decide that you would prefer to switch to a different broadband package, you should compare broadband and phone deals first, as you will often get better value for money if you take out a combination package, or ‘bundle’. There are plenty of offers available from a variety of providers and one of the best ways to narrow your choices down is by comparing the top broadband providers in the UK.
An online broadband comparison tool will allow you to get an impartial overview of the broadband market, what speeds are available to you, and how much you should expect to pay. However, don’t forget that if you are already signed up to a broadband package, you may have to pay an exit or cancellation fee.
You should also be wary of broadband providers who claim that you can receive ‘up to’ a certain speed as this will often depend on how fast broadband is in your area. Some online tools will show you results based on the speeds that are achievable in your postcode catchment area, giving you a more realistic idea of what to expect.