Are you watching your broadband speed?

Does your internet slow down at the worst of times? Like when you’re sitting at home streaming The Great British Bake Off and just as Mary Berry gives her verdict on the best Viccy sponge, the screen freezes and you’re left with a ‘Not enough bandwidth’ message?

Maybe you have great internet speed but you’re being charged a bundle for it and you don’t really need it?

Whichever side of the spectrum you fall, you’ll probably know that speed is one of the key factors when choosing the right broadband package, together with price. Understanding broadband speeds will help decide what speed your broadband needs to be and ensure you’re getting what you pay for from your internet provider. This means knowing your bits from your bytes.

Measuring broadband speeds

Broadband speed is the amount of data that can be transmitted to your device per second. It is measured in Mbps, aka megabits per second. The higher the Mbps, the faster your broadband speed. BUT don’t get this confused with MB, aka megabytes, which measures the file size of the data being transferred.

Here comes the confusing part, so we’ll try keep it simple. There are 8 bits to every byte so it takes 8 megabits per second to download 1 megabyte of data in one second. If the download/upload speed is 16Mbps then you can download 2MB of data per second. This is important as many broadband deals will have a download cap, which you also need to keep in mind depending on your internet usage.

Testing your broadband speed

You can find out the actual broadband speed you’re getting by doing a test. Just type it into Google and you’ll see a number of sites that can do this for free. With different speeds available throughout the UK, the speed you get will depend on where you live.

Getting the best deal

Much like the interest rates advertised for credit cards, the ‘up to 50Mbps’ advertised by a provider could vary from what you’ll actually get, as this number is only a guide of the maximum speed you might get.

Getting the best deal will depend on what you use the internet for.

  • If you’re a light user, just surfing the net and checking emails then opting for a cheaper slower broadband speed may be right for you.
  • If you tend to download a lot of large files, enjoy online gaming or stream content regularly, then this is where you’ll want to consider a faster speed.
  • The larger the number of people in your house using the internet at the same time, the more speed you will need.
  • Average download speeds in the UK are now 23Mbps*

As of 31st October, there are new rules for the way companies advertise broadband costs. The Advertising Standards Authority has brought in the changes requiring companies to show up-front and monthly costs for broadband without separating out the line rental. They will also need to give greater prominence to the contract length and any post-discount pricing. This will make it clearer for you of how much you will be paying for broadband deal.

Now you know all about the speed, do you need a little help choosing the right broadband package? Our handy tool helps you compare broadband deals in your area, so you can find the cheapest and most cost saving. Plus, if you’re looking to save a bit more, you can also compare TV and phone deals. Just click here, log in and start comparing.