I live about two miles from a major town but BT has told me my phone line can only support maximum speeds of up to 0.5Mb because I live a long way from the exchange. I can’t seem to find out where my telephone exchange is to see if that’s true. If the max speed I can get is 0.5Mb, should I just go for a free package like Sky offers? It seems silly for me to pay for internet speeds that I can’t actually get. Would you recommend this?
Martin Burnell, via email
Our expert Dominic says...
It could well be the case that your broadband is slow because you're far from the exchange. If you go to the SamKnows website you can type in your postcode and find out exactly where your local exchange is.
The SamKnows website will also tell you if you're in a Virgin Media cable area - cable is capable of delivering faster broadband speeds than ADSL (broadband via your telephone wire) and doesn't use the same wiring so will not be subject to the same speed issues.
With regards to the free broadband, you're right in wanting to get something more for your money, such as a digital TV service or a home phone package, and in not wanting to pay for a faster advertised speed if you are only likely to get 0.5Mb.
Sky's free broadband could be a good option for you, but be aware, it only comes with a low 2GB download allowance which doesn't go far - even on a 0.5Mb connection speed. However, if you are a light internet user, and want to get digital TV too, then Sky is good bet. Do not forget to check out the calls charges for any providers you are considering - if you make a lot of use of your home phone, call charges can make a big difference to your monthly bill.
Check out the packages available where you live using our postcode checker and before you sign up to any provider ask them to provide you with an estimate of the connection speed they can deliver.
Fibre optic broadband
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