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Advice has been given to explain the type of speeds consumers should expect from their broadband connection.

Following a question from one of his readers, Guardian commentator Jack Schofield has explained the different measurements of broadband speeds.

His reader was concerned that because broadband speeds are commonly advertised in bits per seconds and not bytes per second, many people would anticipate a much faster service than they were likely to receive.

Mr Schofield explains that while broadband providers send information in bits, computers normally then convert these into bytes, with eight bits to one byte.

In practical terms, this means that on an eight megabit per second connection, users would typically be able to download close to one megabyte per second.

Using such a connection, "you can download a 100 megabyte file in about 120-140 seconds, i.e. a little over two minutes", he explains.

For those experiencing poor broadband speeds, consumer advice body Which? notes that service can be affected by a number of factors, including distance from telephone exchanges, the time of day, how many tasks are being carried out online and the type of modem or router being used.

Use our broadband speed test to find out the speed of your connection and compare potentially faster packages.

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