Bandwidth often well short of the stated maximum, says Which?

Broadband speeds not up to much

A new study by has revealed that actual download speeds are usually below the stated ‘up to’ figure and often just a fraction of it.

The worst offenders were ‘up to 8Mbps’ packages. The survey of 178 eight meg users averaged a paltry 2.7 Mbps, with none exceeding 6.7 and one sinking as low as 0.009.

One and two meg packages at least managed to reach the promised speed from time to time and averaged a more respectable 1.3 and 0.8Mbps respectively.

"It’s shocking that internet service providers can advertise ever-increasing speeds that seem to bear little resemblance to what most people can achieve in reality," said Malcolm Coles, editor of "If it’s unlikely you’ll reach the advertised speed it should be made clear up front, so that you know with some certainty what you’re buying."

The Advertising Standards Agency says that using the words ‘up to’ is acceptable if most people can get close to those speeds, apparently. Most people wouldn’t say that 2.7 is close to 8, but I guess it depends how you look at it. Or something.

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