Whether it features Usain Bolt or a socially-inept student, there are plenty of broadband advertising campaigns that promise fast and reliable connections. While these promises are often fulfilled, this is not always the case and many people find they don’t receive the level of service they expected. What can you do if you find yourself in this situation? We take a look below.
What should I do?
If you think your broadband provider is not providing the service they should be, the first thing you need to do is clarify exactly what it is you are paying for. This will involve reading a lot of small print, as while companies may quote certain speeds in their advertising, the fine details of your contract might state this speed is not guaranteed as part of the agreement. If your contract does explicitly say a particular speed will be provided, you are within your rights to complain and may be able to claim for misrepresentation against your provider.
Before you contact the company it is important to try and determine exactly what speeds you are receiving. The best way to do this is by using a free speed-check service, which can easily be found online.
If you are certain your provider is not fulfilling its obligations you may able to get the company to improve your service. However, the chances of this happening are mixed. Many broadband contracts explain that a slow or unreliable service can be caused by factors beyond the company’s control, thus exempting them from guaranteeing a particular speed.
Why is my speed slower?
There are a wide range of factors that can cause a broadband service to be slow and unreliable, ranging from bad weather to criminal damage and this is why it can sometimes be hard for providers to guarantee certain speeds.
Broadband connections are often worst in the UK’s remote and rural areas, as these locations are lacking the infrastructure that can be found in large towns and cities. For example, super-fast fibre optic broadband works by connecting homes to a data exchange with underground cables. The further you are from these exchanges, the harder it is to access a reliable broadband service.
What is the alternative?
Thankfully, people in rural areas do not have to simply put up with having an inferior broadband service. The government is currently working to bring super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of the UK through its Broadband Delivery UK initiative, with the project expected to be completed by around 2017.
If you can’t wait that long or are concerned your area will fall into the final ten per cent that isn’t covered by the government rollout, satellite broadband is a viable alternative. Indeed, this technology has recently been highlighted by the coalition as means of bringing fast and reliable internet access to the UK’s hard-to-reach areas.
It works by connecting to the web through signals sent from a satellite in space, which means the same level of service is received anywhere in the country so long as you can see the sky. Whether it’s an inner-city home or a house built on a remote mountainside, satellite broadband is capable of providing speeds up to 20 Mbps and bypasses the common problems that affect rural broadband.