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How fast is your broadband?

The British Infrastruture Group of MPs has published a report about broadband speeds around the country that criticises internet suppliers who over promise and under deliver. The report claims that 6.7 million people do not receive speeds above 10Mbps. The Broadband 2.0 report is backed by 57 MPs and demands automatic compensation for customers who do not get the level of speed promised from the internet packages they buy. The group’s chair Grant Shapps MP says: “Although broadband is increasingly considered to be an essential utility, the quality of customer services has simply not caught up with demand. It is unacceptable that there are still no minimum standards in the UK telecoms sector to protect customers from protracted complaints procedures, and ensure that broadband providers are fully accountable to their customers.”

Ofcom, which regulates the internet companies, says: “We share concerns that broadband must improve and we’re already taking firm, wide-ranging action to protect customers.

These include new plans for automatic compensation, faster repairs and installations, and ensuring providers commit to giving accurate speed information to customers.”

How fast and reliable is your broadband? There’s no doubt in the UK that we lag behind some other countries in the provision of high-speed internet. South Korea and Vietnam are two countries that have recently made notable investments in fibre optic technology to improve their broadband network. Often in countryside locations it’s not possible to get decent broadband. And it’s not just internet. It’s not unusual to venture into more rural areas (that aren’t even that remote) and find that you can’t get a mobile signal at all either. Such a lack of coverage is not only annoying but also bad for business in such areas.

Although companies such as BT say they are investing heavily, it’s still notable how patchy coverage can be for both internet and mobile. But probably my biggest annoyance regarding broadband is that, down my way (this isn’t the case in London), I can’t get broadband without also paying for a landline that I seldom, if ever, utilise. Unshackling internet from a telephone landline, and its associated costs, would be a proper leap forward.

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