By Claire West

The results from 511 respondents to ISPreview.co.uk’s latest survey (polled between July-August 2010) has revealed that consumers are growing more knowledgeable about broadband ISP speeds. A staggering 91% claimed to know the “advertised” speed of their internet connection and 86% even knew the real-world (speedtest estimate) performance too.

However nearly two thirds (60%) said they were still unhappy with their speeds. The survey follows last week’s attempts by market regulator Ofcom to toughen its voluntary code of practice, which found that the gap between what an ISP advertises and what is actually delivered has continued to widen.

Ofcom also found that the average internet download speed now stands at 5.2Mbps (Megabits per second), which is up from 4.1Mbps last year. The regulator went on to highlight how most ADSL2+ based broadband lines advertise speeds of “up to” 20-24Mbps and yet manage to return a real-world average of just 6.5Mbps.

“Many UK ISPs have leapt at the chance to upgrade their ageing 8Mbps ADSL based packages to the new 20-24Mbps ADSL2+ standard and by doing so they have further widened the gap between what is expected and what is actually achievable,” commented ISPreview.co.uk’s Founder, Mark Jackson. “The problem with ADSL2+ is that it only significantly improves the speed (beyond 8Mbps ADSL tech) when you live close enough to the telephone exchange and on a good line. Most will only see a minimal benefit from it and others might gain nothing at all.”

“Ofcom’s efforts to tighten up its code of practice should be commended but it is not an end to the problems. Estimating the speed of ADSL and ADSL2+ based broadband lines is very difficult because they are very susceptible to problems. Only by replacing the old copper wire infrastructure with new fibre optic lines can we truly break away and give consumers what they expect,” concluded Jackson.

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