Living online: Is this the real cost of broadband?

Around half of all users watch catch-up TV online

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Living online - the real cost of broadband

We're officially a nation of internet addicts, with the majority of Brits now classified as medium or heavy broadband users, according to Gocompare.com.

Around half of all broadband users watch catch-up TV online, while more than a third watch films via online streaming services.

See also: 80% sick of misleading broadband adverts

See also: One in four people have no idea what they're paying for TV

Less than a quarter say they only use their connection to browse websites, check email and access social media.

Given this online addiction it's perhaps quite surprising nearly half of people have never tested the strength of their broadband signal.

How to check your speeds

Most people are probably aware there can be a substantial difference between what your broadband provider claims your broadband speed will be and what you actually get.

There are a variety of websites which can test what speeds you get and you can check against what your provider claims.

Why is speed important?

The better your connection, the easier it is to access what you want online, with pages loading faster and less buffering when you're streaming TV or movies.

However, knowing and maximising your broadband speeds can have other advantages.

For example, a strong and reliable broadband connection was in the top 10 must have property features potential buyers look for, according to Gocompare.com.

Don't just renew

If you're not getting the service or speeds you expect, then it's important you shop around and find another provider.

A large number of us get stuck in a cycle of simply auto-renewing providers for energy, internet and phone, but this is a sure-fire way to being on a bad deal and paying too much.

If your broadband speeds are not up to the levels you expect, then you could even use this as a bargaining chip to get a discount from your current provider.

Shopping around

If you're looking for a new provider, the most important thing is to shop around.

Do some research online if broadband speeds are worrying you and find out who offers the best service in your area.

You should also use comparison sites to make sure you're getting the best deal.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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