Living online: Is this the real cost of broadband?

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

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

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.

Most outrageous bill mistakes
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Most outrageous bill mistakes
Carol Sandford, 72, called 118 118 from her mobile phone unaware of the charges involved. Calls to the number cost £1.88 per call and there is also a £2.57 per minute charge from landlines. TalkTalk raises this to £5.68 for the first minute and £3.28 per minute after that. TalkTalk told Carol the charge £81.12 charge was correct but luckily 118 118 were kinder, offering to repay the charge in full. Read the full story here.
One Londoner was more than a little confused when his debit card was declined while he was trying to buy just six bottles of American craft beers. But he quickly realised that instead of the £22.30 he owed, he had been charged £223,000! It's thought he punched in the PIN number before the machine was ready and it added the numbers to the total. Luckily the 28-year-old saw the funny side and laughed the incident off. Read more on the story here.

Early Lewis from Detroit was amazed to find his water bill was almost 100 times as much as he was expecting. The bill claimed that Lewis had used 3,740 gallons of water in just one hour. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Water and Sewage Department admitted it was a mistake and subsequently charged Lewis the $36 he should have been charged initially. Read more on this story here

George MacIntosh, 73, was charged a staggering £200 for premium-rate gambling texts he didn't intend to sign up for. Unfortunately this wasn't a scam but a legal service from a company called Zamano. It seems the retired vicar had accidentally signed up after responding to an initial text from the company. Read the full story here.
Philip Groves was amazed to receive a £1,411 bill from Vodafone last year for his 10-year-old daughter Trinity's phone. It turns out Trinity had watched 28 hours of instructional loom band videos on YouTube, assuming her phone was using wifi. But the wifi had cut out, leaving her phone using the data allowance at it's highest rate. Vodafone refused to cancel the bill and threatened legal action. Read more here
Daniel Pontin was in for quite a shock after opening a gas bill charging him £31,000 for a year's worth of gas in a one-bedroom home. Pontin claimed his meter was broken when he moved in and was initially charged £35 a month for six months before he stopped receiving bills. When the huge £31,000 estimated bill arrived Npower told Pontin to ignore it while they investigated. Read the full story here

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