Broadband speeds – are you getting what you pay for?

The comparison site uSwitch recently did a study into UK broadband speeds, and found that during peak times, internet speeds were on average 35% lower, than in off peak times.

The research was based on two million download tests, concluded that during peak surfing times, which are between 7 and 9 in the evening, speeds were the slowest than at any other time of the day. If you want super fast speeds, it is recommended that you go on between 2 and 3 in the morning.


The time differences were more/less extreme, depending on the region of the country. The average broadband speed in the UK is 6.2mbps at peak times and 9.6mbps in the early hours of the morning. However, this is much more extreme for some regions. For example, the difference in Weston-super-Mare was 64%! At off-peak speeds were around 9.5mbps, whilst at peak times they were just 3.4mbps, a massive difference.

Wadebridge, (Cornwall) saw a 48% difference in speeds, with an average of 4.1mbps at off-peak times and just 2.1mbps during peak times.

Broadband is becoming ever more important in our digital, globalised world, and such variation is seen as unacceptable by many in modern times. Broadband is very important for business, as well as luxuries, such as on-demand TV, and even potentially internet TVs.

Global broadband connections map

A connected world - super fast broadband, brought about by fiber optic connections has revolutionised telecommunications

Ofcom says that on average, UK consumers download around 17 gigabytes of data every month using their home connection. That is a fair amount, and to put the speed differences into context, were this all to be downloaded at off-peak times in Weston-super-Mare, it would take around 4 hours to download that data at off peak times, however it would take around 13 hours to download at peak times, a staggering difference!

Critics have said that consumers are being misled by the maximum speeds that internet service provides love to advertise, even though it is rare that anyone should ever get them. Because of this, as of April 2012, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will no longer allow firms to advertise maximum speeds unless at lease 10% of their users receive them.

For more information check out this article: Broadband speeds fall 35% at peak times.

This article is about the UK, but I am sure that it is the same all over the world.

What do you think, is this fair, or are we, the consumer, getting ripped off?

If Velcro wasn’t a rip off, broadband certainly is! Sorry, I couldn’t help it 😉