During home and small business visits, it is quite frequent for my customers to have no idea what broadband speed they are receiving, or indeed, to know what service they are paying for. There are a number of web sites that provide a free service for testing your broadband link. My favourite, due to its reliability, is www.speedtest.net
To use this site enter the address into your web browser and the test screen will load. The button you need is the BEGIN TEST button, ignore the others as they are adverts for other applications and services. Click on the Test button and the tool will begin to test and measure your Broadband speed. When complete it will display the results.
The test result shown is for my service at Witham on the Hill, Lincolnshire (BT Broadband). I pay for an 8Mbps service and my results vary between 5Mbps and 7Mbps depending on time and day and who else is using the service at the time. Note that it is very rare for someone to obtain the full level of service but you should be within 60% of the maximum or greater. If not complain to your service provider.
So How Do I Know What I’m Paying For?
Most Internet Service Providers (ISP) will show the best level of service available for your location on their web site. As an example by visiting www.btbroadband.com you will find a button on the screen that lets you request this, whether you are a BT customer or not. Your bill should also show you your contracted service level, if not, call your ISP and ask them for the information. Be armed with the results of the speed-test though so you can report any performance problems to them at the same time.
Note too that this tool will notify you of any future service offerings. For my local town, Bourne, BT are reporting a date of 30th September for availability of their BT Infinity service. Sadly this does not apply to the surrounding villages which do not even have a date posted yet!! However, the tool mentioned above will provide a link for you to register interest in your location receiving BT Infinity. The more residents that register interest, the faster a service will be provided to that area.