UK households receive half the broadband speed they pay for, report reveals

Ethernet cable with lights shooting from the end

A new report shows that British households get less than half the broadband speed they pay for.

The results, based on 235,000 uses of Which's speed checker tool, show that on average customers who pay for up to 38Mbps' internet speeds receive half of that (19Mbps), while those paying for speeds up to 200Mbps' only logged speeds of 52Mbps on average.

Customers who paid for speeds of up to 50Mbps' fared the best, achieving 35Mbps on average, but those paying for up to 17Mbps', received only a paltry 6Mbps. Overall, the average customer received broadband speeds 51% slower than those advertised.

From Wednesday, new rules from the Advertising Standards Authority come into effect that mean ISPs will only be able to advertise the average speed achievable for at least 50% of households at peak time. As shown by the results of Which's research, until now, the rules have been much more lenient, allowing companies to advertise speeds that are available to only 10% of customers.

"This change in the rules is good news for customers, who have been continuously been let down by unrealistic adverts and broadband speeds that won't ever live up to expectations," said Alex Neill, Which's managing director of home services. "We know that speed and reliability of service really matter to customers, and we will be keeping a close eye on providers to make sure they follow these new rules and finally deliver the service that people pay for."

Minister for Digital, Margot James echoed these sentiments: "The new advertising rules are great for consumers headline up to' speeds that only need to be available to 10% of consumers are incredibly misleading."