Broadband Speed Test

If you think your broadband isn’t as fast as it should be, use our broadband speed test to compare your connection against different providers in your area. Enter your details into our speed checker tool below to see how your connection compares.

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How does our broadband speed test work?

Compare the Market’s broadband speed checker is a free, quick and easy way to find out what broadband speed you receive you’re getting.

Before you check your broadband speed, make sure you’re connected to the WiFi network you want to test. Enter your postcode and select whether you want to test a home or work connection. Then, find your current provider from the drop-down list and hit the ‘Test my broadband’ button.

You may find that your broadband speed is slower than you expected, or that faster speeds are available in your area. Your results compare connection speeds to your neighbours’ average speeds, and set out your options if you’d like to switch providers.

Frequently asked questions

What happens during the broadband speed test?

Our broadband speed checker sends a signal to a test server and back to your device. The time your device takes to respond is measured. Then the server sends chunks of test data to your device and measures the speed at which it’s transferred.

To measure upload speed, a similar thing is done in reverse, with data sent back to the test server. This is done multiple times, to test the full capacity of your connection and to give the most accurate reading possible. Transfer time is measured in milliseconds to give us a measurement of your upload and download speeds for your results.

Are broadband speed tests accurate?

A broadband speed test only provides a snapshot of your internet connection at the time you test it. For thorough results, try checking your broadband speed a number of times, including during peak (between 8pm and 10pm) and off-peak hours across the same week.

It’s useful to do this because broadband speed can depend on several factors, including:

  • The number of people using broadband in your household
  • The number of people using broadband in your area
  • Whether the network uses fibre optic cables or copper wire telephone lines (fibre optic networks tend to be much faster).
  • How near or far your house is to the telephone exchange may also make a difference
  • Results over WiFi are slower than those with a wired or ethernet connection, so make sure you’re close to your router, ideally within 10 metres, before starting a broadband speed test.

How can I make sure I get the most accurate results?

When testing your broadband speed, here are some things you need to consider:

  • Make sure nobody else is using the internet at the same time – if everyone else at home is streaming films and playing games while you’re running the test, it’ll drain your speeds. Just tell everyone to stop what they’re doing for a moment (good luck with that!) so you have the connection to yourself.
  • Stop downloads on all devices that use your Wi-Fi network – remember to stop them on mobiles and TV services too
  • If possible, turn off all devices using the Wi-Fi network and any other electric devices that could affect the signal strength
  • Make sure all cables to your router are properly connected
  • Make sure there are no large objects between your device and the wireless router
  • Use a wired connection – using an ethernet cable will help you get the most reliable connection. While your Wi-Fi speed will probably never be quite as strong as a wired connection, that’s all your broadband provider needs to hit. So long as you can get the advertised speed, that’s what will matter if you raise a complaint.
  • Run the test twice – broadband speeds fluctuate throughout the day and your usage. To get the best idea of your speed, you should run the test more than once. You should also consider running it at different times of day.

Why should you check your broadband speed?

It’s important to check your internet speed to see if you’re getting the best value for your money and the right broadband for your needs. Your internet service provider may be delivering slower speeds than promised, or you may find that faster speeds are out there to suit your streaming and browsing needs. Our broadband speed test results will let you know about the options available in your neighbourhood.

How much broadband speed do you need?

When carrying out your broadband speed test, it’s important to consider what’s required to do what you want online. If you’re working from home, you’ll need plenty of bandwidth for all those calls on Zoom or Microsoft Teams, particularly if there are more than one of you at the home office. For the evenings and weekends, if you like to stream TV and movies regularly, or stream music through Spotify, then you’ll also want to make sure you have enough for everyone. To give you an idea, here’s a breakdown of the speeds you’ll need for each: 

BBC iPlayer
1.5 Mbps or 2.8 Mbps for HD

Netflix
3 Mbps, 5 Mbps for HD and 25 Mbps for Ultra HD

Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype video call
1.2 Mbps for HD

Xbox One
3 Mbps

Spotify
0.96 Mbps (mobile), 0.160 Mbps (desktop)

What factors affect my broadband speed?

There are plenty of things that can impact your broadband speed. Here are some of the main examples: 

  • The type of connection – there are three main types of connection, ADSL, fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). The speeds between these three types varies massively. ADSL averages at speeds of up to 10Mbps. FTTC connections usually average at around 50-70Mbps. FTTP connections offer the fastest speeds, up to 1,000Mbps. 
  • The number of users in your home – if you live in a busy home with lots of people using the internet at the same time, your speeds are bound to suffer, as the bandwidth is being split between you all. 
  • Your usage – if you’re using your broadband to download huge files, or are streaming content constantly, your speeds for anything else in the background could suffer. 
  • Your Wi-Fi hub – if your Wi-Fi hub is hidden away or is on the other side of a larger home, your Wi-Fi connection could suffer, which means you won’t be working with the best speeds available to you. 
  • Wired vs. wireless – the best internet connections are generally wired ones. They’re the most reliable, because you’re plugged straight into the source. If your speed isn’t quick enough over Wi-Fi, consider plugging in an ethernet cable to boost your speed.

How does distance from the exchange affect broadband speed?

If you’re using an ADSL or FTTC connection, the distance between your home and the exchange cabinet on the street can make a big difference to your broadband speed. This is because these types of connections use the copper telephone wires, which drop in performance over greater distances. This means, the further from the cabinet you are, the greater the drop off in speed. To avoid this issue, a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection is best, as the fibre cables will connect straight to your home, bypassing the poorer copper cables. However, FTTP connections are less widely available.

How can I improve my broadband speeds?

If your broadband speeds aren’t quick enough for you, here are some ways you could get a faster connection:

  • Change your broadband connection type – if you’re on an ADSL or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connection, upgrading your broadband could improve your speeds significantly. To give you an idea, ADSL connections usually offer speeds of up to 10Mbps, FTTC connections jump to around 50-70Mbps, a more than 5x increase in speed. To go even faster, a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection can offer speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, which are the fastest speeds available and an incredible boost when compared to ADSL. However, FTTP connections aren’t as widely available as the rest, as they require the fibre cables to be connected directly to your home. 
  • Move your Wi-Fi hub – this might sound too simple, but it can make a significant difference. If you hide your Wi-Fi hub in a cupboard, behind furniture or it’s tucked away in a far corner of your home, the connection between your devices and the hub can suffer. Moving your hub into a more open space, where the connection isn’t blocked by walls, furniture or anything else, can see your speeds improve noticeably. 
  • Use a wired connection – if your wireless broadband still isn’t cutting it, you could choose to use a wired connection. Using an ethernet cable will plug your device into your connection's source, offering a more stable and, often, faster speed. It might be more of a hassle to tether your device to something, but it can help in a pinch.

What should I do if I’m not getting the broadband speed I was promised?

Not getting the broadband speed you want can be a good reason to switch providers. But what if you’re still under contract?

If your broadband contract started after 1 March 2019, and your service provider has opted into Ofcom’s Voluntary Codes of Practice on Broadband Speed, you can complain to your provider if speeds fall short of what was promised. If the problem persists after 30 days, you can walk away from your contract, penalty-free.

For contracts starting before 1 March 2019, or those with providers who haven’t opted into the code of practice, you can still complain to the provider. And if they don’t sort out the problem, you can contact the ombudsman.

What is the Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed?

Ofcom’s Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed is designed to make sure that you get the broadband speeds you were promised when you signed up. It holds broadband providers accountable to consistently offer the speeds they promise, and to offer advice and support to fix any issues you may have.

If you’re signing up to a broadband provider who has signed up to the voluntary code of practice (most of the big ones have), they must give you an estimated connection speed for usage during peak times, when your connection is most likely to slow down, as the amount of users increases, causing a strain on the network.

They must also give you a minimum guaranteed speed. If you find you’re not getting this speed and make a complaint, your provider has 30 days to fix the issue. If they can’t, you’re allowed to leave your contract, free of charge, to find another provider.

How can I complain about my broadband speeds?

If you think your broadband speeds aren’t as fast as they should be, you should start by running a broadband speed test. That way, you can get some evidence to support a complaint. Once you’ve confirmed your suspicions, you should get in touch with your internet service provider (ISP).

Your broadband provider is required by Ofcom to give you advice on how to increase your speed. If they can’t solve the problem and guarantee their advertised speed within 30 days, you can cancel your contract free of charge. This means you’ll be able to join a new broadband provider and hopefully get a better speed.

The important thing when complaining is to be persistent. Don’t let them be dismissive or give you the runaround. Make sure you remind them that you’re entitled to leave free of charge, if they don’t get your speeds up to those they advertised when you signed up. That should give them the motivation they need.

Before you go charging in though, make sure you’re aware of your what’s in your contract. Broadband providers will advertise speeds of “up to” X amount, but these aren’t promises of what you’ll get all the time. However, broadband providers are now forced to offer a minimum guaranteed speed, and this is what you can use to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Find out what this number is, and hold them to it.

What are the best and worst areas in the UK for broadband speed?

There’s great variation in speeds across the UK – which is why it’s important to use a broadband speed checker to get an accurate picture for your household.
Government data released in 2019 flagged up that the fastest broadband speeds are experienced in rural Lancashire thanks to a specific project designed to deliver ultrafast broadband to residents (see below). That means that the residents of Kellet and Lune Valley get average download speeds of 473 Mbps.                                        Compare the Market’s British Broadband Index highlights the fastest and slowest broadband speeds in the country.

Top five local authorities for download speed 

  1. Hull (131.4 Mbps) 
  2. Corby (92.9 Mbps) 
  3. West Dunbartonshire (92.4 Mbps)
  4. Stevenage (90.4 Mbps) 
  5. Harlow (88.6 Mbps) 

Bottom five local authorities for download speed 

  1. Orkney Islands (28.7 Mbps) 
  2. Forest of Dean (30.9 Mbps) 
  3. Powys (31.5 Mbps) 
  4. Ceredigion (31.5 Mbps) 
  5. Mid Devon (31.9 Mbps)