ISPs failing to deliver advertised broadband speeds

The average domestic broadband customer in the UK is not receiving the speed of service they have been sold, according to new report from telecommunications watchdog Ofcom.

“Our research found that consumers received actual average download speeds of 4.1Mbit/s, only 57% of the average headline speed of ‘up to’ 7.1Mbit/s,” the Ofcom report, conducted in conjunction with broadband analysis service SamKnows, says.

Fewer than one in ten subscribers to 8 Megabit per second (Mbps) services received even over 6Mbps, and 19% of them received less than 2Mbps.

The report does not suggest that ISPs are deliberately withholding broadband access. Instead it suggests that the UK’s broadband infrastructure is incapable of delivering the services they advertise to most households.

Technical factors that contribute to the performance gap, according to Ofcom, include the distance between the customers’ house and the local telephone exchange, traffic bottlenecks within the ISPs own network, wiring within the home, and the performance of the customer’s own equipment.

Despite this, customer satisfaction with the ISPs is high: 83% of customers a satisfied with the overall service they receive. However, poor speed was by far the number one cause of dissatisfaction among broadband users.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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