Broadband speed tester

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Speed test

Broadband speed tester

Our free broadband speed test tool will let you know both the upload and download speeds you are currently getting from your broadband connection.

The broadbandchoices.co.uk broadband speed tester measures your internet connection giving you an accurate reading of the upload speeds and download speeds you are currently getting.

Using the broadband speed tester

To guarantee an accurate result, make sure you fill out each required field in the tool and turn off any applications that are running in the background on your computer.

The speed test should take less than 30 seconds to run. It works by sending a small file to your computer and timing how long it takes to be downloaded.

You should bear in mind that speeds can vary depending on when you run the test. Conducting multiple tests at different times of day will give you a more accurate idea of your average broadband connection speed.

Average download speeds

Although many broadband providers now advertise broadband speeds of between up to 16Mb and up to 38Mb, many people will receive considerably less than this.

A report from UK communications regulator Ofcom published in November 2012 stated that the average speed of home broadband in Britain is 12.7Mb.

Why aren't I getting my advertised speed?

A variety of factors can affect your broadband speed, but the main issue is usually how far you live from the local telephone exchange. If you are a copper wire ADSL broadband customer, then your download speed will get slower the further you are from the exchange.

Other factors that affect all types of broadband connections include peaks in internet traffic - your connection is likely to slow down when lots of people are online at the same time.

Your provider's own traffic management policy may also affect your speed. For example, certain kinds of traffic, such as downloading or streaming, might be slowed down at busy times to ensure all users receive a similar basic quality of service.

Using Wi-Fi to share your connection can also reduce the quality of service you receive as the wireless signal will weaken the more walls and doors it has to pass through, while a number of people using your broadband wirelessly via different computers and other devices is also likely to reduce the speeds you get.

Speeding up your broadband

There are a number of different ways that you can speed up your broadband. The first thing you should do is talk to your provider to see if there's anything they can do to improve your connection.

You should also ask your provider exactly what kind of speed you should be expecting, which will be based on your distance from your local telephone exchange.

If you are an ADSL broadband customer, installing an iPlate could help you increase the speed of your connection by around 1.5Mb.

If that doesn't work, download the broadbandchoices complete guide to speeding up your broadband and follow the tips and tricks to see if we can help boost your internet speed.

Switch broadband provider

If you are still struggling on slow speeds, switching to a faster provider or a fibre optic broadband package could be the answer.

Many providers now offer fibre optic broadband, which is faster and more reliable than broadband delivered via the copper wire telephone network, as fibre optic cable can carry more information over greater distances. Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com), for example, offers broadband with download speeds of up to 100Mb.

If Virgin Media's cable broadband packages aren't available in your area or to your liking, you could look into BT Infinity, the fibre optic broadband service from BT (www.BT.com), which offers download speeds of up to 76Mb as well as impressive upload speeds.

Other providers, including Plusnet (www.Plus.net), Sky (www.Sky.com) and TalkTalk(www.TalkTalk.co.uk) also offer fibre broadband, so use our postcode checker to compare broadband deals in your area.

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Why do we need your postcode?

We don’t want to show you a load of deals that you can’t actually get, that’s just annoying. So, by giving us your postcode we can just show you only the deals available where you live. Easy, and, contrary to popular opinion, we know it’s not always good to share, so we won’t be passing your postcode or details on to anyone else. Take a look at our privacy policy to find out more.

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Switching broadband FAQs

  1. How do I switch broadband provider?
    The process of changing your broadband provider is actually pretty straightforward. First, you put your postcode into our impartial comparison tool. We’ll display the broadband, phone and TV deals available where you live, then you can use our search filters to narrow down the options and find the perfect package for your household. Finally, you sign up with your new provider online. They’ll contact your existing provider and take care of everything else for you. The actual switch should be virtually seamless, and in the vast majority of cases it is. Your new broadband provider will send you all the stuff you need to get set up, like a new wireless router and/or TV set-top box.
  2. Which broadband provider’s the best?
    There’s no straightforward answer to this one, as the broadband provider that’s best for you might not the right choice for everyone. It depends on your budget, what’s available where you live and how much you want from your broadband package. For example, if you’re bundling with TV, Sky has the biggest range of channels overall and because it’s delivered by satellite - not aerial - you can get Sky TV just about anywhere. However, Sky is one of the more expensive broadband providers, so it isn’t right for everyone’s budget. When you’re thinking of switching, take the time to weigh up the costs and benefits of all the packages available.
  3. Why can’t I get fibre optic broadband?
    Superfast fibre optic broadband is slowly making its way across the UK as part of a nationwide roll-out part sponsored by the government. The aim is to have reached 95% of the population by the end of 2017, and over half the UK’s home and businesses already have access if they want it. You can use our postcode checker to see whether fibre optic broadband’s reached your area yet. If not, don’t worry - it should be arriving within the next few years, unless you live in a very remote area not included in the 95% set to benefit from the roll-out.
  4. Why can’t I get Virgin Media?
    Virgin Media’s cable network, which delivers the provider’s broadband, phone and TV services, now covers the majority of the UK. If you live in a town or city, or at least a built-up suburb of one, then chances are you’ll have access to Virgin Media cable. The network is always growing, though, so if you can’t get it now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get it in the future. Enter your postcode into our comparison tool to find out if Virgin Media is available where you live.
  5. Why do I have to pay line rental?
    Even if you never use your home phone to make calls, you still need a phone line to receive your broadband connection. This is true of virtually all broadband providers, so paying line rental is pretty much unavoidable. Virgin Media is the only widely available broadband you can get without taking a phone line as well.
  6. How long does it take to switch broadband?
    When you sign up to a new provider, they’ll contact your existing one and request a transfer of your service. While switching times vary depending on the type of package, it shouldn’t usually take more than 14 days. It can take longer if you don’t currently have a phone line, as an engineer will need to come out and install one for you.
  7. Can I keep my email address if I change provider?
    If you currently use an email address that was supplied by existing broadband provider, then you’ll more than likely have to give it up when you switch. There’s no harm in asking your current provider if you can take your email address with you, but most of the time it’ll be a no. Your provider doesn’t want you to leave and won’t make it any easier for you to do so than they have to. However, changing your email address isn’t too much of a hassle these days. You can move your contacts in one go to a specialist online email service like Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Outlook - formerly Hotmail - then you’ll never again be tied down to a provider by your email address.