In early September 2017, the government announced they were investing £645m in bringing superfast broadband to hard-to-reach areas of the UK, allowing the country to get online much quicker.
They believe this will positively impact approximately 900,000 households and businesses. This is a great move forward, however, it won’t be happening instantly. So, how do you know what is currently available in your area and what can you do about it in the short term?
Here’s a bit more about broadband speed in your area.
What is broadband speed?
The national average broadband speed is 25.64mb. If you don’t know what this means, it’s the speed at which your computer downloads from the internet. A speed of 25.64mb would mean that:
- A page would load almost instantly on your computer
- A music file would take approximately 3 seconds to down
- A standard definition film would take 7 mins
- A high definition film could take up to 30 mins
The faster your broadband speed therefore, the faster these downloads occur.
What is the best broadband speed in my area?
You can check the speed of your broadband by running a speed test. This will tell you, at the precise moment you run the test, what your broadband speed is.
However, it’s worth remembering that there are a large number of factors that could affect the speed test results:
- Your broadband provider and the deal you’re on
If you haven’t updated your package for a while, you will more than likely be on an old deal, with much slower speeds. Check what is available in your area and, if you can, upgrade.
- The quality of the phone line to your house
You need an engineer to test this, but if you notice the quality of your phone calls is poor, that is typically an indicator of a poor phone line.
- The quality of the phone wire inside your house
Place the router as close to the entry point of the phone wire to your house. The less distance the signal has to travel, the better the quality and the faster the download speed.
- The time of day you are checking the speed
The more households using the exchange, the slower the speed will be. Checking the speed at 5am is going to produce a better result than checking it at 7pm, when everyone in the vicinity will be trying to access the internet.
- How many computers are trying to access the internet
You get one signal coming into your home, so if you have multiple computers using this connection, it will slow it down significantly.
What you can do to about your broadband speed
You aren’t necessarily stuck with what you have! There are some tricks you can employ to optimise the broadband speed you have:
- Check what service your provider offers with a broadband postcode checker, it may be the speed you have is all they can manage in your area.
- Make sure your antivirus software is up to date.
- If your house is old with thick walls, consider using a wired router rather than a wireless one.
- Make sure your computer or device isn’t running applications in the background without you knowing.
- Password protect your wireless connection to stop unwanted users from piggybacking on it.
- Have an engineer take a look at your phone wiring.
- Consider switching to fibre optic broadband - Virgin’s speeds are almost twice the national average, but it is not available everywhere, just yet.
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