UK broadband users continue to be misled over the actual speeds of their connections, leading broadband researchers claimed this morning,

While broadband service providers advertise ever-increasing speeds, the actual broadband downlaod speeds enjoyed by customers continue to fall under the claimed maximums, or so it appears.

As a result of 18,558 tests carried out in January on broadband comparison site, the average speed in the UK is 2.95Mb.

The results varied enormously, the research claims, with the lowest download speed being 1.72Mb from Tiscali, through to the highest average of 6.07Mb with Be broadband.

The higher download speeds of Be is partially due to the service's use of ADSL2+ technology which allows much greater speeds. Most providers currently provide their broadband connections through the more traditional ADSL technology.

“Despite ongoing pressure from Ofcom and various consumer groups broadband providers are still misleading the public over broadband speeds,” said William Harvey, technical director.

“Current advertising campaigns like the one for Tiscali broadband promise superfast broadband (download) speeds of up to 8Mb. Yet Tiscali came bottom of our test results with an average actual download speed of just 1.72Mb. Now that is not superfast by any stretch of the imagination and is over 1Mb lower than the UK average.”

Upload speeds also varied greatly between providers too with Be broadband achieving the fastest average upload speeds of 850Kbs and Orange the slowest at 219Kbs.

“Broadband providers can confuse consumers by stating maximum broadband speeds that are often only achieved by a very small percentage of subscribers," Harvey explained.

“Providers should state the average download and upload speeds achieved by their broadband subscribers, this would give consumers a better idea of the sort of speeds they are likely to receive and would encourage providers to deliver better broadband products”.