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Fixed-line broadband speeds are considerably slower at peak times in the UK, a new study has indicated.

Research conducted by uSwitch.com - which conducted three million consumer speed tests - reveals download speeds are at their fastest at 5am, averaging 18.1Mb.

But by 9pm at night - when more people are on the internet - they have dropped to 14.3Mb, 21 per cent slower.

Exeter (-53 per cent), Chester (-52 per cent) and Bath (-51 per cent) see the biggest drop-off in performance at peak times, uSwitch.com found.

Manchester (19.2Mb) and Birmingham (18.8Mb) enjoy the fastest evening peak-time surfing, while Aberdeen (7.9 Mb), Exeter (9.9 Mb) and Hull (9.9 Mb) experience the slowest.

Of the UK’s most densely populated towns and cities, Glasgow residents see the most consistent broadband speeds - the average at both 5am and 9pm is 15.4 Mb.

Consumer research from uSwitch has supported the findings. Almost seven in ten (69 per cent) Brits surveyed said they have noticed a slower broadband connection at certain points of the day.

More than half of those surveyed (53 per cent) said this happens between 8pm and 10pm.

Some 26 per cent of consumers believe they have lost out financially due to their broadband slowing down. And this has caused more than half (52 per cent) to consider leaving their current broadband provider.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said: "You might not be a morning type but your broadband is - no coffee required. It won’t come as a surprise that your internet is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the early hours, when it’s not groaning under the weight of evening demand. What will surprise many people is by how much speeds drop."

“Given that most of us want to use our home broadband in the evening, it may be concerning to find out that the speed advertised when we sign up won’t necessarily be the speed we get at peak hours."

He encouraged consumers to run an online speed test at home, to check they are getting the best possible broadband service available in their local area.

"If you think you could do better, consider shopping around for a new deal," Mr Taylor-Gibson urged.

He said super-fast fibre broadband may be worth investing in, particularly for households with multiple connected devices.

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