A study by UK broadband comparison site www.broadband-expert.co.uk has revealed that, on average, broadband customers receive just 48% of the advertised download speed.
The study tested 41,230 broadband connections over February and March comparing the actual speed customers of connections against the maximum speed quoted by their provider.
The research found lower speed services ran closer to the advertised speed, while the average speed achieved in the 16Mb+ category was 8.6Mbps - 45% of the quoted maximum speeds. By comparison customers on 2Mb packages achieved on average 1.8Mb or 88% of the quoted maximum speed. Customers on 8Mbps deals achieved 3.4Mbps or 43% of the top speed promised.
The average speeds achieved by broadband users varied hugely between providers and packages.In the 2Mbps category the top performers were Virgin Media's cable service, TalkTalk and UK Online, all of which achieved slightly more than the advertised maximum 2Mbps speed. The lowest performers Tiscali, Pipex and Toucan achieved 68%, 70% and 73% respectively.
The biggest variations were in the 8Mbps category where O2 and Be achieved 73% and 68% of advertised speeds, compared to just 26% for Toucan and 29% for both Virgin Media's ADSL service and Eclipse.
The fastest actual speed achieved in the 16Mb+ category was Virgin Media's cable service with an average of 10.4Mbps or 52% of the 20Mbps quoted top speed. The only other ISP to deliver more than 50% of the advertised maximum speed was UK Online which achieved 62% of the 16Mbps quoted top speed, delivering an average of 9.99Mbps.