/ Technology

Update: bad broadband? You’re not alone…

Bad broadband

A good broadband connection is a modern day essential. Yet the service many of us get simply isn’t good enough. Do you struggle with bad broadband?

I’m addicted to the internet. When my broadband goes down it becomes apparent how much my life relies on a good connection – whether its watching on-demand TV in the evening, streaming music, paying my bills, sorting my banking, shopping or maybe trawling holiday booking sites for a dream break.

Bad broadband

The fact is that more people now bank online than in branch, online shopping is becoming the norm, and streaming our favourite TV shows and movies has become a big part of our popular culture.

There’s nothing that annoys me more than settling down to watch a film and the internet cutting out. For no apparent reason.

In fact, thanks to my shoddy broadband I may never know what happens in the final scenes of JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I rented last weekend. Annoyingly, my broadband dropped and the rental period ended before I had a chance to finish the film.

In this digital age you would expect broadband to be better than it is.

Connection problems

In rural and urban communities alike, people are let down by poor connections, dropouts and slow speeds.

Our latest research has found that six in ten people have experienced a problem with their broadband in the last year, and the majority of them are frustrated as a result.

Over a third of people who have experienced problems with their broadband have been completely stopped from carrying out their online activities, and some have even said that it has cost them money.

Providers draw us in with all-singing, all-dancing connections, yet many people aren’t getting the speeds they need.

Fix bad broadband

We want to build up a picture of the actual speeds and problems people are experiencing across UK, so we’ve created a new free speed checker for you to test your connection and compare your broadband speeds with others living in your area.

We also have tips and advice on how to improve your connection, and a free tool to help you to complain to your provider if you’re not happy.

In this digital age we should all be getting the broadband connections we need to keep up with modern life. By using our speed checker you will be helping us build a better picture of the speeds and the problems that people are actually experiencing across the UK, so that we can help everyone get better connected.

Update: 3 June 2017

The government has announced a £400m Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve broadband connectivity across the UK.

This investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure is being touted as a fast-track to full fibre – it will seek to make internet access more reliable for homes and businesses with an overhaul of the UK’s fibre network.

To aid the delivery of the full-fibre network, it’s expected that the £400m fund will be matched by private investment and bring the total investment sum to £1bn.

Alex Neill, our Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:

‘Our research shows that too many consumers across the country still struggle with slow broadband speeds, finding it hard to carry out even the simplest of tasks, such as online banking and shopping. This investment will offer a much-needed boost to upgrade our national broadband network.

‘The industry must now press on with installing full fibre swiftly in communities across the country so that consumers get faster, more reliable broadband.’

Have you used our speed checker? What speed did you get?


I have found the Which? speed check tool to be somewhat optimistic of the actual speeds (both up and down). Tonight I tested it against the BT Speedtest and ThinkBroadband. The results are as follows:
1. Which Down – 8.9Mbps Up – 2.1Mbps and Latency 138Msec
2. BT Speedtest – 8.37Mbps Up – 1.06Mbps – BT does not give Latency but does specify the maximum download speed as 8.71Mbps
3. ThinkBroadband – Down 8.24Mbps Up 1.08Mbps and Latency 35Msec.

You really need to audit your speed test tool to ensure that it does NOT give these incorrect results.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

My broadband speed of about 13 Mpbs is perfectly adequate for me so I will not pay for super speed broadband

Roger says:
25 April 2017

I am paying for TALKTALK FIBRE and have an download speed of 27 and a upload speed of 2-3 and when I complained to TalkTalk they said that is all that is available ?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I live in rural Northumberland. Last year I watched OpenReach run fibre along the far side of the road and was delighted to see BT advertise that superfast broadband was coming – so it did, but only to the village of Corbridge and not to the hamlet I live in. There are currently no plans to provide fibre to my locality.

I am on an Exchange Only line, with BT as my broadband provider. I can only get a couple of providers to quote as an alternative (not even PlusNet, who are a BT subsidiary) and apparently my charge carries a 10% weighting because of where I live.

The Which speed test comes in at 5mbps, a bit optimistic as my routine test returns 3.5mbps. How I wish I could get even Ofcom’s 10mbps recommendation!

Michael says:
11 July 2017

I live five minutes (walking) away from my friends house, he gets 80mb/s and i get 7mb/s we have the same plusnet provider and pay the same plan. It’s disgraceful that they can call this “fair business” and the government needs to ensure we get adequate broadband speeds, i can’t even stream music most of the time, nevermind download games or even just connecting often fails.

Security Demise – Virgin Hub 3
This may be a rather more technical issue for many, but it is not unusual for some people to wish to use VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access other systems, such as their home system when travelling. It is also not uncommon for home workers to require access to 3rd party systems.
With Internet security being a major concern, there are a number of Protocols one is advised to use.. PPTP (Point to Point Tunneling Protocol) is one of the basic methods. However, one is advised to upgrade at least to the more secure L2TP (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol).
So why has Virgin removed this option from the Hub 3?

My location is rural Anglesey, my best broadband speed is 3.5 which is rare. On this occasion I couldn’t even get the speed checker going. “Connection failed”

This comment was removed at the request of the user

More like a phish tank by the sound of it.

Who do i believe , just done a Which broadband speed check and it shows 45.6 mbps very poor as I am paying for BT Infinity 2, I did there online check and it came out at 71.2 mbps telling me that I had excellent speed. my own senses tell me that it is a lot quicker than 45.6 as I regularly watch live sport and download music on my desktop and rarely have a problem .

Upload and Download Speeds

Why are Virgin Media Upload speeds only 4-5% of the download speed.
I had 100Mps download and only 4Mbps upload 4%
The Quoted Speeds should show both Download and Upload; Thus I have 100D/4U Mbps
after complaining to Virgin Media they upgraded me at a cost….
Now I have 400Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload ; Thus I have 400D/20U Mbps.

What used to take all week to upload is now done in a just over a day.

bt speed was/is fine

Although they have so far disconnected my broadband twice.

It took weeks to reconnect the second time, I had to do the chasing, they constantly closed my complaint/Faults before 3 days passed without ever fixing it, or speaking to me or even emailing me.

I would then call to find out what was happening, and the fault would be closed, and each time I was given a new story as to what was wrong.

On the 2nd visit by an engineer, he advised me that it was most likely they had disconnected my account number instead of another customer.

they then insisted that my broadband was with another firm, even claimed I had been advised of this.

After much more chasing they decided that although it was their fault, I would have to wait for a new customer connection.

Later I managed to get them to move this forward a couple of days.

how they did not know or even check at the very beginning baffles me.

The broadband speed here is atrocious, less than 1mbps. It’s a very rural location on the Cornwall border, but it is absolutely infuriating that those of us in this situation are seemingly forgotten. Our very poor service costs the same as a decent service/speed elsewhere.

Its not just that its is much slower than advertised its the CUSTOMER SERVICE levels are none existent !!!
I have complained and complained about my speeds. I’m paying for speeds advertised I just do not get and it keeps dropping at crucial times!
Call centres in other continents with pigeon English and idot boards to prompt them with useless answers and on line so called live chats again with overseas call centres that can do NOTHING except take up our time answering stupid questions on so called security checks that are as secure and unnecessary as a 5 bob note!
Then so called comedy speed checks while you stand on one leg and point North and get told everythings fine THEY (not you…we have no access to engineers or tech savvy folk)…
I got the CEOs personal email and have virtually harassed it but he just ignores and passess it to a supposed CEO complaints section….The title says it all. They get so many complaints it has a whole section of his own to answer the complaints.
They still want every time to blame your equipment or filter or wall box…Ive done all those internal checks and changed the filter and modem soooo many times. With three different providers! Its useless!!!
They are useless…Worse they actually regularly LIE about what was said (I have a recorder unlike them not “for training purposes nonesense” I have it because so many different service providers and people in positions of trust and officials LIE as the norm? The world has gone crazy…
Anyway after months of emails and complaints…NOBODY LISTENS….NOBODY CARES….But still they take MY MONEY month after month and with NO security checks none sense (trust me its nothing to do with the DATA Protection…once logged in or your computer/phone are registered thats already more than most on line banking checks!!! Its to frustrate and slow up any complaining…as is those NO CONTACT DETAILS ON LINE except snail mail to a PO Box somewhere…That NEVER get answered even if you send registered mail?
Eventually after months you get a pre printed NO RESOLUTION letter suggesting you contact the OMBUDSMAN who has MILLIONS of them on their desks and truthfully nothing they can really do even if you can spend more time scanning documents pics of speed checks and putting together a case that would make an old bailey murder case documentation look positively tame and inviting.
All the infrastructure they charge me for and any technicians they are ever likely to send are actually British Telecom…Exactly the organisation and crap service I/we all are trying to get away from in the first place!!!
Internet/Private Train services/ etc are all just license’s to grab your money and for Politicians to get cushy board or committee positions or worse dodgy payments.
Internet providers like others are just legal criminals financially raping us all….

My download speed is 1.2 Mbps, and upload is 0.4 Mbps. There are days when I can get no internet connection. This is via Wifi because I have not been able to get a direct landline connection. The first time I asked for a broadband connection they (BT) said there would be a charge of £30,000. This was about ten years ago. I declined the offer. About five years ago I asked again, and they said it would cost £20,000. I declined again. I am a private phone user, a humble rural pensioner. More recently I was talking to a BT engineer about the frequent faults on my landline, he asked if I had broadband, and I told him of my experience. He was amazed at the demands made by his colleagues and said I should be able to have a connection for £40 (or thereabouts). I accepted his offer, paid the £40 for the kit needed, connected it up, and my broadband signal was more feeble than the Wifi which I already had, and continue to use.

My broadband speed is fine. 12 on download, 1 on upload.
I am not into games so this suits me.
I am with Talktalk

Chris Leek says:
16 April 2019

I live in the wilds of the Cheshire Peak Park. Wonderful scenery but somewhat isolated. Given that transport links here are not ideal, on-line connectivity is particularly important. Regrettably my download speed is 1 Mbps and upload speed is 0.4 Mbps (was a time when download speed here was as high as 2 Mbps, but speed has gradually deteriorated over the past few years). Really hoping that one of the rural broadband initiatives will start extending out this way one of these days…

Response time (latency) 40 ms
Download speed 25.2 Mbps
Upload speed 9.5 Mbps
with Plusnet Unlimited Fibre

Chris says:
24 August 2019

My broadband speed is fine for my use but only because I use Virgin, which is terribly expensive, even with negotiated loyalty discounts. As in my location the service from other providers via telephone line is so slow to be unusable, I feel like I have absolutely no choice other than to pay their exhorbitant rates or do without altogether. Not only are we very far from telephone exchange, we are also halfway between two tv transmitters miles away from both. So using freesat with an old dish as freeview reception rubbish too. I digress. …Don’t want landline nor TV from Virgin, why do they charge so much for just broadband? Their new customers get a deal costing half what I pay per month and it’s hard to afford on a small pension.

Your broadband speed tester is useless. It dont work! Not much good are you!

Working fine for me, Keith. Could be an issue with your browser?

It works find for me too. It produces lower figures than speedtest.net but it always did because the tests are different.

I’ve generally found that the Which? speed test shows a significantly lower speed than speedtest.net, the latter being remarkably consistent during the past four years, but after repeatedly using the Which? test I produced a similar figure to speedtest:

It does not concern me but seems a little odd.

The test worked fine for me on Saturday in Chrome but did not work in Brave. This was on my Honor 8s phone.

My figures are using the Safari browser. On the iPhone I get 76 / 78.6 / 20.7. I don’t know why the latency is so much higher. Earlier today I measured a download speed of 50-55 Mbps in several tests.

Jacqueline Lamb says:
6 September 2020

My download speed is 1.7 !! The upload is 0.5
I pay fully for good broadband and habe no other choice.
Kirkbean near Dumfries