/ Technology

The early bird catches the broadband

Working early

What’s your morning routine – a leisurely breakfast and a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee? Or do you make the most of the off peak broadband speeds to get your house or business in order? That’s the case for the locals living in Abererch, Gwynedd…

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the frustration of slow broadband – whether you’re paying your bills and checking your online banking or streaming your latest box set.

But getting up at 4am, because it’s the only time your broadband connection is reliable, to send emails and manage your business, just isn’t acceptable.

Access to superfast broadband

The broadband figures, revealed by the House of Commons, show seven of the top ten areas for the worst speeds in the UK are in Wales.

The government has recommended that the lowest acceptable download speed is 10Mbps, but Abererch was recorded as having a speed of just 2Mbps.

Liz Saville Roberts MP, for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, said:

‘These figures serve to reaffirm the disproportionate divide between those areas which are able to access superfast broadband and those rural communities struggling to achieve the Government’s own baseline download speed.’

However, BT Openreach said:

‘Contrary to reports – the village of Abererch has had access to the fastest available broadband speeds in the UK since June last year. A majority of premises have access to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology– offering ultrafast speeds of up to 1Gbps, with further engineering work underway to connect up remaining properties.’

The reality of broadband speed

We are increasingly finding that the speeds promised by broadband providers are not always those experienced in reality. And this has become the motivation for our upcoming campaign – painting a true picture of broadband speeds across the UK and using that evidence to tackle the issue.

After successfully lobbying for misleading ‘up to’ advertising speeds to be changed over the last two years, we’re looking at what else can be done to tackle the frustration of poor speeds like those experienced by the people of Abererch, Gwynedd.

There will be more to come next week, but in the meantime, we thought you’d like a sneak preview of our new and improved speed checker and our new broadband speed complaint tool before we reveal all next week…

So, do you find your broadband sluggish? How do slower broadband speeds affect you?


I am meant to be on a Virgin 200Mbps Fibre connection.
There are many speed checking applications available but they give very differing readings. I wonder if its the servers they use as some are abroad.
I have been doing test for the last week using the following three speed checkers, all within a 2 minute band in a group of three bands, altering their order each time so each checker goes first, second and third in each group.
They are the Which Checker, Ookla checker and Broadband checker. I wonder why there is such a large discrepancy between them. The Ookla suggest i am getting close to what i am paying for where as the other two seem to suggest i am getting between two and four times less than what i am paying for. The following are the average results using this order:- Latency, Download Mbps, Upload Mbps
Which 181.89ms, 61.09Mbps, 14.11Mbps.
Broadband 286.22ms, 85.09Mbps, 26.58Mbps,
Ookla 15.56ms, 221.35Mbps, 12.31Mbps

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hi Kevin, you seem clued up on the fact that the available speed checkers can produce quite different results. As you’ll probably be aware, each checker uses different algorithms. As a result you will see small variations in the recorded speeds. You’ll also see differences in speed depending on the time of day you use the checker.

To give you a little more background on our speed checker – the Which? speed test is focused on measuring the performance of the internet as perceived by the user, using HTTP protocol, which ensures that the results are what the user will experience in their actual browser. We provide regular feedback to the tool provider to help improve their services and the accuracy of the test.

The response time (latency) can be higher than other speed checkers due to the methodology of the measurement. Latency measurement is done using HTTP protocol instead of ICMP protocol. The advantage of this method means it provides latencies closer to the real world and is consistent with the method used for testing download speeds.

The tool provider uses a combination of lab tests, artificially limiting connection speeds and verifying that the speed checker measures up to the limit, complete crowdsourced surveys and A/B test new algorithms. The team work to continuously improve the algorithm, its accuracy and reliability across all platforms.

The important thing here is that you’ve used our speed test and so added to the picture we’re building of the country’s broadband health. Thanks very much.

I don’t understand why the industry and Which? does not use the same speed checker so that results are comparable.

I’m paying for 50Mbps on an FTTP connection and the Which? speed checker is the most optimistic I have seen, recording download speeds of 55 – 60Mbps. 🙂

We are with BT standard speed of up to 17 Mbps. I tried the BT speed checker and after 20 minutes I was still waiting for a result. The Which test worked in under a minute and showed an upload speed of 7.5 Mbps. I don’t have Virgin available at my address and feel stuck with BT but am reluctant to upgrade to Infinity when there is no guarantee it will be better.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Trevor says:
2 May 2017

I am with Virgin Media and pay for 100mbps but using a speedchecker i only get about 40mbps at most

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I live less than 12 miles from Cardiff, yet i and everyone else near me has a broadband speed varying between 0.5 and 1Mb. The service is also intermittent with frequent ‘drop-outs’. There have been numerous promises of resolution for over 3 years but so far nil achieved.

This comment was removed at the request of the user