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Speed is the second most important factor for consumers when choosing broadband packages, new research suggests.

Broadband speed is a decision maker for 5.5 million internet users, with reliability of connection the only factor ranking higher.

Some 60 per cent of people look to connection reliability first, while 58 per cent look to broadband speeds, uSwitch.com's latest report shows.

However, the research found that once packages are installed at home the real-life broadband speed does not always live up to the advertised headline speed.

On average, customers who have signed up to an 8Mb internet service receive a speed 50 per cent lower of 4Mb.

Steve Weller, communications expert at Uswitch.com, said the problem with speed lies with the country's DSL network and called on the government for an upgrade.

"It's time for the government to take hold of the reins, invest in upgrading the UK's broadband infrastructure and steer the UK back into the broadband race," he commented.

The report also found that value for money, customer service and technical support were other issues consumers look at when choosing a broadband service.

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