The Giz UK Broadband Audit 2014: Are You Getting The Speeds You Pay For?

By Matt Hill on at

It's a straightforward enough question, and one most tech heads know the answer to instantly. But there's something ever-frustrating about the oh-so-many situational variables that alleviate your broadband provider from taking responsibility for what internet speed you actually get. In short: paying for what we might get rather than what we do.

I've just moved south of the river – the Thames, that is – for the first time and have upgraded to BT Infinity as I did, as my previous Wi-Fi was beginning to become an embarrassment for someone who fairly often tests tech for a living.

Download speeds of up to 76Mb/s per second and upload speeds of up to 19Mb/s were promised on the adverts. Indeed, the installation guy said to me he'd just moved jobs from Virgin Media and had seen some "crazy fast" upload speeds on BT, up to 50Mb/s, in fact, and well over those in the sales literature. Interestingly, he said in two and a half years at Virgin he never saw an upload rate of more than 14Mb/s.

Now, this could all well be true, but currently, rather predictably, I'm mainly getting this…

The one on the left I just did, and the ones on the right are me trying it at different points of the day last week, with largely similar results (although that ping don't 'alf jump about).

While it's just shy of half the headline figures for my package, operationally it's seemed fairly decent on the whole so far – although the fact that Wi-Fi doesn't appear to stretch to my kitchen has sent me rushing to the powerline extenders. And with the average UK broadband speed at 17.8Mbps, according to Ofcom, I probably shouldn't grumble too much. But it does show up what we all know: those sexy-fast rates flaunted in ads are very rarely what you end up with, even in the supposedly super-speedy capital.

So we thought it was time to get a better understanding of how the Giz UK community at large gets on with its broadband providers – who's rocking the fastest connections and who's in a Wi-Fi blackhole they can't get out of? What experiences have you had, what providers have you tried, and what packages have you found best?

So we need you to let us know. To keep this consistent, use the Ookla Speedtest software on your computer (the choice of engineers, no less), or download it for your iOS or Android device and test away. Note where you are in the UK, if your test was conducted wired in over Ethernet or wirelessly, your provider/package (fibre or non-fibre), and upload your test pics below with your comments.

If we get enough responses, we may even plot a map or graph or two in the name of information/a public-service warning in the new year…