When your broadband isn’t very ‘broad’

Here in the north of Cornwall we quite often complain about one of two things, and sometimes both. The first of these things is our mobile phone signal and coverage, the second (which is what we’ll talk about here) is our broadband speed.

Or lack of it.

In most of our towns we have decent broadband speeds, but the moment you go off ‘the Main Street’ broadband speed, and reliability is a very real problem. There are plenty of people that ‘need’ broadband, and not just for checking Facebook. These days people blog, setup micro-businesses selling products online, perform services on sites like peopleperhour.com and more. These are just a few examples, and all of these need reasonably fast, reasonably reliable broadband.

Are we really just a bunch of complainers or do we have something real to complain about?

Well, the answer is that we do have something to complain about. In a survey of over 150 million broadband speed tests the UK came 35th out of 200 countries. Our average speed is just over 18 Mbps. We are behind 25 other European countries.  This is not good news. Consider all the money which companies like BT have spent, and all the advertising that those companies (and others) do, you’d think we would be far better off.

To find out more about the results, go to this link.

What can we do about this performance? There are a few things that I think we can do about this situation.

Complain some more

If you already have broadband, and suffer from poor performance, talk to your operator. Keep talking to them. Talk to them some more! And most likely, more still.  But if you don’t do this step then they will not understand, nor do anything at all.

Write to your MP

Yes I know that they get a lot of letters and emails already, but look them up and tell them your story. Tell them truly what it is stopping you doing, or making difficult for you to do.

Switch providers

Not just from companies like BT to Sky, but, if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with good mobile phone coverage many mobile phone providers now do ‘home’ broadband, or portable dongles. Provided your house isn’t made of stone (ahem like mine!) then you might get a good indoor signal with that solution, and can use that instead. Most of these solutions though have a data cap, so it’s worthwhile reviewing your usage. You can find out your current usage online, or by talking to your current broadband operator.

Switch to something else

Satellite is the alternative I’m talking about here. There are a few companies that have this available. In the ‘old days’ you’d still need a phone line for the upwards traffic, but the whole thing can be done by dish these days. It’s not cheap, and there are plenty of caveats (and data caps) but it is well worth a look if you have nothing more than 1 Mb of regular broadband available to you.

The future?

Who knows what we’ll be like on the broadband scale in 2019, and 2020. Here’s hoping that the big providers (like BT) and the mobile broadband providers (O2, Vodafone and others) give us more step ups in speed, and not just concentrate on city area.

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