A third of Brits are reportedly being ripped off by their broadband speeds, according to a new study. 

From your favourite TV show buffering at the nerve-wracking cliffhanger or your Zoom call dropping in an important meeting, your broadband failing you can be a real nightmare.

Yet, 32.81% of adults believe their broadband either only ‘sometimes’ or ‘rarely’ reaches the speeds that were initially advertised.

“Reliable internet speeds having become such an integral part of our everyday lives, especially in the era of work-from-home, it is more important than ever to make sure that your broadband is up to scratch," according to Rachel Sadler, Home Technology expert at Independent Advisor Broadband, commented.

Rachel continued: "Speed, alongside price, is generally the most important factor when it comes to broadband, and there is a really simple way to check if your broadband is quick enough, something which can be helpful if you’re considering switching providers.” 

In fact, broadband speed is so crucial to customers that 93% of them agree that it is "one of the most important factors" when selecting a new broadband deal.

Since broadband is vital to our daily routines - especially in a work-from-home era, the experts of Independent Advisor Broadband have produced this handy guide.

From a step-by-step process of how to check your broadband speed to what to do if it's too slow, here's everything you need to know.

How to check my broadband speed

Firstly, make sure no one in your household is uploading or downloading anything, whether that’s on a computer or any other device connected to your wifi, such as a games console.

Log out of your VPN service while you conduct the test, as this will distort the results and avoid testing during busy periods, such as the evening, when more people are using the internet in your area. 

Open the internet speed test. There is a range of internet speed tests you can use online. Some providers will have their own service, while there are also third-party sites such as Speedtest, Broadband Speed Test, and even Google. 

Independent Advisor Broadband has shared this ultimate guide to improving your internet speed. (Getty Images)Independent Advisor Broadband has shared this ultimate guide to improving your internet speed. (Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

Take a look at the upload and download speeds. These figures indicate the speed of your broadband, so the higher the numbers, the faster it is. 

To see the fastest your connection can be, you can plug your PC or laptop directly into the router using an ethernet cable

Finally, carry out multiple tests throughout the day in order to gauge how the speed of your broadband connection ebbs and flows

What is a good broadband speed?

The answer to this will depend on your household’s internet usage. If you live alone or only use your broadband for simple browsing and sending email, a lower speed will work just fine; if, on the other hand, you’re a gamer or you work from home frequently, you’ll need a faster broadband package.

According to the latest Ofcom data[1], the average download speed in the UK as of March 2023 was 69Mbps. The same Ofcom report revealed the average upload speed to be 18Mbps – a large increase from a year earlier, where the figure sat at 8Mbps. 

Our survey of over 2,000 broadband customers revealed their average broadband speed to be 142Mbps. You can see the average download speeds across the country below.

What to do if your broadband is too slow

Comparing broadband speeds is important in finding the best broadband provider for your household. By checking the speed of your existing connection, you’ll have results you can compare against the average or minimum speeds promised by other providers. This can help inform whether or not you want to switch broadband deals.

According to the latest Ofcom data, the average download speed in the UK as of March 2023 was 69.4Mbps and the average upload speed in the UK was 18.4Mbps. So, any download speed above 69.4Mbps and any upload speed higher than 18.4Mbps can be considered above average.

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If you are unhappy with the speed of your broadband, your first step should be to contact your provider, who may be able to resolve the issue.

You should also check whether your broadband provider is fulfilling your minimum guaranteed speed. If it isn’t, you could be entitled to a refund or you may be able to leave without paying an exit fee. 

If you are considering switching providers, make sure to enter your postcode when comparing deals. This will help to find the best price and speed in your area.