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Most households in the UK might never get the broadband speeds they have paid for, a BBC investigation has found.

Research by the Watchdog programme revealed that nine in ten homes across the country could be missing out on the speeds they were promised by their internet provider.

However, very few were found to be doing anything about it, with just one in three people saying they have complained to their provider about their connection speed.

While around one in ten saw speeds pick up after lodging complaints, a similar proportion saw no improvement whatsoever.

Steph McGovern, presenter of Watchdog, commented: "Consumers should be getting the broadband speeds they are paying for and I want to make the nation aware of these ‘up to’ speed claims."

Providers are currently allowed to advertise broadband speeds if they are available to just ten per cent of their customers.

This has prompted calls from some quarters to change the rules. For instance, the Local Government Association recently argued that broadband providers are pushing headline figures that do not reflect the experiences of most users, in particular people in rural areas.

The body has suggested that the rules be altered so broadband providers can only promote average speeds, as this would better reflect the speeds available in peak periods, when connections are often slower because of high usage.

The LGA also believes that upload speed should be a key measure of performance along with download speed and be clearly advertised to customers.

Ms McGovern added: "Enhanced broadband speed can be achieved by a few simple steps, which can have a massive positive impact on our daily lives.”

For instance, she said placing the router in a more central location, away from other devices that might interfere with reception, could boost their home internet performance.

McGovern also suggested checking if the router needs upgrading, as well as making sure PCs have the latest browser software installed.

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