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What broadband speed can I get? Compare speed in your area

How fast is my broadband? It's a question many of us have asked, and finding out what broadband speed you can get is relatively easy.

For many people, broadband connection speed is the deciding factor when choosing a broadband package. After all, everyone wants to know what broadband speed they can get.

Ease of browsing, quick downloads and efficient use of media-rich websites such as YouTube and Facebook have become standard requirements for nearly all internet users, which means that it's now more important than ever to ensure you get the connection speed you need.

Before reading any further, find out your current internet speed by using our broadband speed test. Then, find out what speeds are available in your area with our broadband postcode checker.

Not satisfied with your current speed and want to get a better package? Compare the best broadband deals available in your area now, or read on for some ways to speed up your current connection.

How fast is my broadband?

Just because your provider says you can get "up to" a certain speed doesn't mean you're actually getting that speed. Speed tests are useful since many customers don't know what speed they are currently experiencing and therefore don't know what 8Mbps, 50Mbps or even 120Mbps actually means in practical terms.

Test the speed of your broadband connection with our uSwitch broadband speed test to ensure you make a more informed decision when you come to compare broadband speeds and packages ahead of signing up for a new package.

In order to get the most accurate reading, you should close all other programs, webpages and games before starting the speed test.

Can a connection be sped up without changing provider?

Yes. If you use a wireless connection, you can try changing the channels or broadcast type of your router. If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can even forward the ports on your router. This works very well for programmes, games and utilities, but it can't be done for internet browsers like Internet Explorer or FireFox.

broadband speeds

More information about broadband speed: What broadband speed can I get?

The speed of broadband that you can get depends mainly on where you live.

  • Are you in a cable or ADSL-only area? The fastest speeds are reserved for locations served with a cable network or fibre-optic connection.

  • Are you in a rural or urban area? Broadband is consistently faster in cities and larger towns, regardless of connection type.

  • How far are you from the telephone exchange? The closer you are, the faster your connection.

To see an accurate approximation for your home, try our postcode checker, which scans your connection, analyses your broadband exchange and works out what broadband speeds you can get. We also rank fast broadband packages, too. Within the UK, broadband speeds currently range from 8Mbps to over 300Mbps, although the higher speeds aren't available everywhere just yet.

Why is my connection slower in the evenings?

This depends on the type of broadband you're using.

ADSL broadband is a shared service. Therefore, the more people who are using it, the slower it will be.

The amount of people using a broadband connection in an area affects what's known as the contention ratio, which is the ratio of users to the BT area's telephone exchange, and the coping capacity the exchange has for those connections.

Most people using broadband in their homes use their computers in the evening, so connections tend to be a lot slower at these peak hours (i.e. 7pm to 10pm). The best time to use broadband is between 12am and 8am when most people are sleeping.

Cable broadband cable broadband (also known as fibre broadband, fibre-optic broadband or fiberoptic broadband) using fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology is unaffected by distance from the exchange.

Not everyone has access to FTTP fibre, however; many users are still on fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology, which is still affected by your location and how far away you are from the "cabinet," but location affects cable connections less than ADSL connections. While both cable options are more consistent alternatives to ADSL, they are still impacted by the number of people using the service at peak periods.