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 😉

22 thoughts on “Broadband speeds – are you getting what you pay for?

  1. It is quite an interesting finding there, Christopher. I always have the feeling that the broadband connection suffered to produce a high quality one during peak hours but never have the fact to support that. In Malaysia, I used to have a hard time playing online games during night time around 6PM to 12AM. But from 3AM to 6AM, I have a better connection and that is the best time I usually play with overseas gamer via Direct-IP or Virtual LAN.

      • You seem to fit quite well with this blog title “Technology Bloggers”. You blogged everything under the sky about Technology.

        Haha. Good job but I don’t have any research needed to be clarified for now. I will hire you from here if I need it one day :p

  2. You’re still getting a nice speed compared to my country. I subscribed to 3 top broadband providers and I compared them all. They all suck. I’m not getting the speed that I want. Even browsing the Google Homepage could take 30 secs to load. And imagine that it’s a 3 mbps subscription. I can’t play games and download music fast.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      Slow speeds can be really annoying can’t they Mark, but thirty seconds to load up Google is unreal!

      Thanks for your comment, welcome to the technology bloggers community 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  3. Very true…….when very much needed in peak hours, internet speed falls drastically. Even the companies say that we don’t guarantee you of said speed in peak overs. Then what is the use of broadband connection which can’t help you when needed.

  4. Today everything is done on internet, whether it may be online payments, marketing, buying and purchasing of things, But the time came when internet speed falls down and we face a problem, different type of net are now available in the market but every net gets problem at one day, which is disgusting at the time of work.

  5. I have seen this where I live as well. They offer a premium speed for extra money but I would assume it isn’t much better. I have purchased it in the past and not seen much difference. The biggest bump in speed i have seen is when my wireless MiFi switched to 4g.

      • Yea it does make you wonder. I really hate how hard it is to just get a good connection, I had a 4g MiFi and that works great but I am limited to 10g’s and that just isn’t enough and it is expensive.

  6. Advertisements do tend to appear misleading in a way. There’s really no way consumers can get more than what they pay for. The good thing is, more and more broadband services are emerging which means stiffer competition. Let’s just all hope that this causes the prices to go down and services to improve.

  7. The providers usually claim that they have the best speed. I would prefer them to write the truth or not to write at all. But in general the speed now is much better than it was at the beginning of the Internet. At least I am satisfied with the speed that they offer in my area.

  8. I think speed varies from place too place and completely depends on bandwidth. Normally we get high speed through broadband connections. It works good when we have to work online but in case we have to chat with someone online then the speed creates trouble, as it is recommended that 90mbps bandwidth is absolutely good for uninterrupted voice communication. Otherwise if one needs more speed then they can opt T1 connection.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      For uninterrupted voice communication, a very powerful/able PC is probably also needed, as a few rogue processes could interrupt your conversation 🙂

  9. I live in an area that’s covered by cable (actually Virgin Media) I can’t remember what the speed is quoted at, I think it’s 50mbps. Anyway, it’s as fast as I want it to be, and in fact faster than my employees internet connection. It’s certainly not the cheapest broadband package, but as I do work from home it’s worth every penny. I never experience any slow times. However, I can remember when internet connection was actually a dial up service, man that was slow. But then websites were pretty much text only.


    • Christopher (admin team)

      That’s a good point Graham. Things are speeding up, so why are people moaning? 10 years ago a 1 mb connection was epic! I guess as technology moves on we all expect more, but also there is more stuff to download now, and much of that stuff, as you rightly say, is much bigger!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *