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Broadband customers getting only 75% of advertised speed

Monday, October 26th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Broadband customers in Europe are getting just 75% of their advertised download speed, a new report has found.

The European Commission’s ‘Quality of Broadband Services in the EU’ report found that different technologies delivered varying speeds – but all fell short of what was promised by providers.

The broadband speeds of 10,000 consumers across 30 countries were measured by SamKnows, which uses ‘Whitebox’ devices that users plug directly into their router.

Cable networks were the most reliable, delivering on average 86.5% of the advertised speed, with fibre-based services not far behind on 83%.

Networks relying on traditional copper infrastructure delivered only 63.3% of the advertised headline download speed.

The average speed recorded across all countries and technologies was 38.19Mbps, compared to an average advertised download speed of 47.9Mbps.

In the UK, copper-based technology delivered just 44.96% of the advertised speed during peak periods.

Fibre-based networks provided 78.77% of the advertised speed and cable broadband delivered 85.13% – only just below the European average.

New measures introduced by Ofcom earlier this year have made it easier for customers to leave their contract early if they suffer from persistent low speeds or unresolved problems.

The measures form part of a strengthened code of practice and are aimed at making it easier to switch broadband, mobile and landline providers.

Systematically higher

In order to leave a contract early, a customer’s broadband speed must fall below what is known as the minimum guaranteed access line speed.

This is the fastest speed achieved by the slowest 10% of comparable premises on a provider’s network.

Consumers can find out what their minimum guaranteed access line speed is by contacting their broadband provider.

As part of its research, the European Commission also carried out a study into the price of broadband around the continent.

It found that prices in the 28 EU countries fell by about 12% between 2012 and 2015 – but also that in the UK, the price customers pay is actually more than double the advertised price.

The report found that in most countries, the discounts offered to customers are lower than additional costs, making the total monthly cost paid by the consumer systematically higher than the one advertised.

Finland is the only country in Europe in which the actual monthly cost of broadband is lower than the advertised price.

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