Broadband customers in the UK are typically receiving broadband speeds that are over 40 per cent slower than advertised.
An investigation launched by the Guardian had over 3,000 participants in just three days. "Customers are paying for an average of 12 megabits per second, but actually receiving 7Mbps, a gap of 42%", the paper reported.
Readers who contributed to the survey complained of "broadband blackspots in city centres, of exposed copper lines that fail in bad weather and of having to move businesses out of homes because of poor connections."
The widest gap between advertising and reality is suffered by Sky and TalkTalk customers, who reported receiving 60 per cent slower speeds.
Virgin customers reported as having a 41 per cent shortfall, receiving just 17.7Mbps of their promised 30Mbps. Customers who use BT fared the best, paying for 8Mbps and receiving 6Mbps.
BT is spending £2.5bn on upgrading its copper network, used by every major telecoms company in the UK, to fibre optic cables. It hopes to reach two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014, and then 90 per cent of homes by 2017.
"The UK will be a leader by comparison with other western European economies", said BT Group chief executive Ian Livingston. "We'll be giving fibre to within 400 meters of the average home. If people really want and need faster speeds, we can provide it."