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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 10:55 GMT
Broadband speeds under the microscope
By Ian Mackenzie
Newsbeat technology reporter

Internet Service Providers have been criticised over advertising
The company which runs most of the UK's Broadband network says consumers should be given better information about their connection speed.

BT Wholesale wants service providers to explain why users may not always get the maximum speeds which are advertised.

BT's Guy Bradshaw told BBC News: "We have got 30 per cent of the customer base achieving line speeds of up to 8mbps. The throughput across that 8 megs can vary.

"The industry needs to join together with (the telecoms watchdog) Ofcom to agree a set of principles about how these messages should be communicated and advertised."

Many Internet Service Providers use phrases like "up to 8 meg".

Slower speeds

In reality, most users will achieve much slower speeds.

Newsbeat listener Sami said: "I've got 8 megabit speed. I only get one. It's like false advertising. They should tell you that the area you live in you are going to get this amount of speed.

"I thought it was a good deal, but I didnít know it was going to be one megabit speed."

One reason is contention Ė which affects the available bandwidth.

Sebastien Lahtinen from said: "It is the idea of having many users, both at the exchange level and at the ISP level.

"Pricing wise, it tends to be at the ISP level so if you go and pay a lower fee then the ISP will have more users for that fixed bandwidth."

Broadband fibre
BT Wholesale wants providers to explain broadband speeds
However there are other issues which can affect broadband speed.

The distance between a telephone exchange and property can lead to lower speeds.

The quality of the line is also a factor. Bad connections and even electrical interference affect the maximum data rate.

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