When you sign a contract with a broadband provider you are paying for certain things. You are paying for the connection to the internet, a certain amount of data and a certain download and upload speed. The problem that many people face is that they do not get the speed they are paying for. If this is the case there are a few things you should do. These things will include reading all the small print and finding out what speeds you are actually getting.
Find out what you are paying for with Sky offers
Most people decide on the broadband package they purchase based on the speed. If you are one of these people then you probably already know what speed you are paying for. Of course what you think you are due and what you are getting can sometimes be worlds apart. To find out what you are paying for you can look at a bill or find the contract that you signed. Reading the small print is very important at this point.
The speeds that are advertised are normally the maximum speeds your connection should be able to achieve (or the speed at least 10% of consumers can achieve if you bought in the last year or so). However, in the small print you may find clauses that tell you if you will not be getting that maximum speed. The small print will often state what the maximum speed is for people outside of the network area. Take note of the speeds you should be expecting.
Finding out what you are getting
Simply thinking that your speed is a bit slow is not enough reason to make a judgement that you are not getting the speeds you should. This should be based purely on fact and there is an easy and free way to get this information. This easy way is to complete a speed test on your connection. It is possible to get these tests done free online through test services.
Once you have found a test website all you have to do is follow the instructions. The instructions will state that you need to select the nearest testing area. This will usually be highlighted for you or indicted by a green arrow. Once this has been done you simply have to begin the test. To ensure that your speed test is as accurate as possible you need to make sure you are not doing other things on your connection simultaneously. This includes downloading or uploading files, images or any other kinds of data. Other services, which take up large amount of data, should also be temporarily ceased.
The speed test will take a few seconds before it provides you with the results. There are three sets of numbers which will appear, and they are the download speed, ping and upload speed. The upload and download speeds are rather self explanatory and are the main results you will be concerned with. The ping result is the time in milliseconds that data takes to go to your local exchange and back.
What constitutes slow speeds?
Once you have completed the speed test you might wonder what exactly constitutes a “slow speed”. Are there any acceptable variances that you should be aware of? The rule of thumb for these tests is that the speed you get should be within 1 or 2mb per second of your contract speed. If this is the case then it might be hard to state that your provider is not giving you exactly the speed you are paying for. The variance mentioned above is considered to be the acceptable rate of difference between advertised speed and actual speed. However, if the speed is considerably lower than your contract speed you need to look a bit deeper.
There are times when your provider will throttle the speed of your connection. This can be done for a number of reasons that you need to know about. The first reason has to do with your usage limit. If you are on capped package the speed of your connection may be throttled if you exceed your data cap. You will need to log into your account with your provider to find out if you have exceeded your cap. If you have exceeded your cap then you should consider upgrading to a higher cap. It is also possible to monitor your usage to ensure that you do not exceed the cap you have.
Certain kinds of downloads will also cause the speed to be throttled. The most common of these is any download done through a peer to peer network. These networks will include services like BiTorrent and LiveWire. There are services you can use to determine whether or not this is the reason why your speed is being throttled.
What to do if the speed is not correct
If you find that your speed is not what you are paying for there are a couple of option you can try. The first would be to contact your provider. Telling them what you have found out about your speed may help them resolve the problem. While this is not something that often happens yours may be a case where there is an unresolved problem with the exchange or cables. Most of the time calling a provider will result in a reason being given for why your speed is not the one on the contract. The most common answer is that the adverts for the contract show maximum speeds but that is not a guarantee of what you will get… very frustrating…
Your next option is best done after talking to your provider. If you have called the provider and you still have slow speeds you may want to think about switching. Changing your provider might be the only option if you are consistently getting low speeds and your provider can do nothing to help.
Phil Turner jumped at the chance of a great deal when he saw Sky offers advertised. However, he shopped around on sites like uSwitch just to make sure he really was getting value for money.