Are you Getting the Speed you were Promised?

Go Super Fast Speeds

AOL broadband offers three different packages that have varying speeds.  Two of the packages offer speeds of up to 8mb and the third package offers speeds of up to 24mb per second.  The question you need to ask yourself is what do you actually need.  You may be able to cope with 8mb per second speeds, or you may need to have the faster broadband.

AOL Broadband and Superfast Speeds

Superfast broadband is mainly limited to fibre optic connections and AOL broadband does not offer this.  AOL broadband has settled into a no frills niche within the broadband industry.  This lack of additions with AOL means that you are unlikely to get superfast broadband speed because they do not offer it as standard.  The fastest speed you can get from this provider is 24mb per second, and this is if you actually get the advertised rate. 

Do You Need Fast Broadband?

The answer revolves around how you are going to be using the internet.  If you are not a heavy user, and only check your email, then you do not need very fast speeds.  However, if you are looking to stream a lot of media then you will need high data transfer speeds.  The first step to determining the speeds you should look for is determining your internet usage. 

There are three types of broadband users and they are heavy, medium and light.  Heavy users are people who download a lot and complete data heavy tasks online. 

Medium users will mainly use the internet for social media and occasionally stream media.  The light users may have days where they do not even go onto the internet. 

Heavy and medium users will need faster speeds and higher download limits compared to the light user. 

The light user can cope with up to 8mb per second speeds because they are not online enough to require faster speeds. 

What Connection Can You Get

If you want fast speeds then you need to get a certain type of connection.  This is not only true for people looking at speeds of up to 100mb per second.  Even if you are looking at the 26mb per second speeds you do require a certain connection type.

The fastest broadband is provided using a fibre optic connection.  Fibre optic cables are made of glass and plastic which transmits data faster, more steadily and without any degradation.  However, the fibre optic network in the UK is not as extensive as people need.  Only 60% of the population can get fibre optics, which limits access to the technology. 

The second fastest broadband connection comes from ADSL2+ connections.  This is an upgraded version of the ADSL connection and offers speeds of up to 28mb per second.  A lot of the cabling in the UK has been upgraded to allow this connection, but there are places that do not have this.  You need to check if you are in an upgraded area before you sign up to a package that offers these speeds.

The slowest fixed line broadband connection comes from standard ADSL connections.  This kind of broadband works off the copper wires of the phone network.  The copper wires are able to transfer data at a good rate, but the longer the cable is and the further the data has to travel the slower the speeds are.  The copper wiring can also deteriorate in quality over time, which limits the effectiveness of the entire system.

You need to check which type of cabling you have in your area.  This can be done using a broadband postcode checker.  These checker will tell you the providers working in your area and the type of broadband they can offer you.  You can find postcode checkers on the websites of service providers, comparison websites and broadband information websites.

Will You Get the Advertised Speeds?

When you sign up to a broadband package you are advertised headline speeds and prices.  However, these headlines are not what you are actually going to get, or going to pay.  The service provider may state that you are going to get up to 26mb per second with a package, but you may only get 12mb per second.  There is very little that the consumer can do about this because the way the advertising is done protects the provider.  The inclusion of the words ‘up to’ implies that you may not actually get this speed.

Research done by Ofcom has shown that many providers only deliver around half the speeds advertised.  When questioned about this, providers have stated that 10% of their customers do get the advertised speeds.  Of course, that leaves the other 90% of their customers not getting this speed and having very little or no recourse. 

What Can You Do?

Once you have determined the kind of internet user you are you should look at the different packages on offer.  If you are a heavy user then you should go for a fibre optic broadband option.  Of course, this may not be available.  If you are not within the fibre optic network you should look at the next highest broadband speeds. 

When you do this you have to keep in mind that you will not get the advertised speeds.  Some providers are able to tell you what you should be getting in your area.  This will help you determine whether you are paying for speeds that you can never hope to get. 

If you are a medium to light user then you should consider the broadband packages that offer slower speeds.  These will be ideal for your needs and will not cost you as much.  You may want to go for a lower level fibre optic package rather than the bells and whistles offer. You also have to think about the amount of data you are going to get.  AOL broadband offers unlimited data with all of their packages, but there is a fair usage policy that you should read.