/ Technology

Why I don’t want superfast broadband


Whether it’s Al Pacino trying to get a better broadband speed with Sky, or Usain Bolt signing up to Virgin’s fibre optic service, it’s clear ISPs think we should splash out on their superfast broadband deals. But will you?

Superfast broadband is certainly appealing. It’s getting more affordable and heavy internet users will definitely appreciate the faster speeds it gives. Equally, if you only get very slow ADSL speeds of 3-4Mbps (or less) then switching to fibre, if it’s available, is a good idea.

But for many of us there’s no real need. Which? Convo regular Wavechange agrees:

‘I am happy with my 7Mbps because the connection speed is remarkably stable throughout the week. Sometimes I have to upload large files to a server. It does not matter that this is slow because I can get on with other tasks at the same time.’

Tom disagrees:

‘I can only get 1.5Mb as I’m the furthest away from the BT exchange so opting for Virgin cable was a no brainer as I now get 20Mb.’

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I’m sticking to ADSL

I use the internet most days but the 10Mbps download speeds I get through my ADSL connection are more than enough, whether I’m streaming movies over Netflix or emailing friends.

This may change as my family grows, placing more demands on my connection, and with more services moving online. Much like dial-up internet, ADSL will ultimately disappear and fibre will become the default option.

However, until that point I’m content to stick with my good value ADSL package (naturally from a Which? Recommended Provider) rather than spend twice as much for unnecessary speeds.

Do you think superfast broadband is over-priced and over-hyped, or the only way to stay connected?


The aspect about ADSL I dislike most is not the slow speed (particularly the slow upload speed), but the requirement to have a physical phone line that I don’t need or want, which incurs a hefty charge of around £140 per year or more.

For those people who prefer to call me on a fixed line number, I have a London 020 number which reaches me via VoIP wherever I am in the world for which I pay nothing whatsoever. Gone are the days when the internet operated over telephone lines; now telephone lines operate over the internet. The requirement to have a physical fixed phone line in order to have broadband is very last century and the sooner this requirement is gone, the better.

Mike Suttill says:
5 April 2014

I totally agree that the need for a land line is old hat and a commercial ploy to keep as much business as possible with BT and other fixed line providers. The sooner Sky (or others) facilitate the internet over satellite links the better for all!!!


You obviously do not live in a rural area where we do not even get sewerage. Fibre is years away for many people. We are stuck with telephone lines for the foreseeable future.

Simmondp says:
10 April 2014

You have obviously never used a sat link for data. Most rural sat links are used in conjunction with a land line to help reduce the latency on the line.
Latency is in the region of half-a-second (request + reply) and bandwidth per person in the region of 100’s of kbps (not Mbps).
Then add the cost……
Suitable for parts of Africa, the wilds of parts of the America’s – but UK and Europe – unlikely if would make economic or practical sense.


I left BT in December because of slow speed issues (and their crap customer service).
Now on a ’40mb’ package with EE and the problems are just as bad, if not worse.
I have dozens of speed tests below 5MB and loads under 1MB!! Slow streaming, freezing etc., mostly in evenings but not always. Hit a low of 0.1Mb the other evening!!
Technical support is a joke, on phone lines that you can barely hear anything on (a ‘known problem’ I’m told but still ongoing!), and EE customer service is about as bad as BT’s.
I’m now told I can leave with no cancellation fee. Haha!
Where to next?? Anyone know any good ISPs??

Steve says:
4 April 2014

Just take a look at the recommended Which? Suppliers! I have and am more than pleased with my choice! I don’t get fast BB as I am so far away from the exchange, but the customer service I get is brilliant

Margaret Barnes says:
4 April 2014

Go to PlusNet, a which recommended provider. We have ASDL and routinely get 12MB, 10 at busy times. Next door neighbour has PNet’s fibre optic and gets 20MB. We don’t need that. Their customer service is brilliant. Takes a while to get through now (they are taking on more staff, opened a second contact centre) compared to in the past – but the wait is always worthwhile, because they Sort Things, and operators know what they are doing, are polite and friendly, and are in the UK (Sheffield).

Steve says:
5 April 2014

Don’t forget that Plusnet have been owned by BT since 2007.

Tallboy292 says:
5 April 2014

Good ISP? I am with John Lewis broadband (ADSL) I get 7.5 Mbps, fine for web browsing, customer service excellent, very consistent connection. 20 gb monthly limit. £29 pm including phone line and all 01 number calls. Can’t be bettered.
NFH complains phone line costs £140 per year but so does the upgrade to cable.