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Virgin Media questions accuracy of broadband speed-testing

by Scott Bicheno on 14 October 2008, 15:09

Tags: Virgin (NASDAQ:VMED)

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Speed bumps

Virgin Media is due to launch its 50Mbps (megabit per second) broadband service soon and it's worried that current online broadband speed-testers are not up to the job of accurately measuring the speed of an individual's broadband connection.

Even allowing for Virgin Media's clear vested interest in optimising the speed-testing environment, it may have a point. The speed-testing environment appears to be entirely unregulated and yet a lot of consumers are making commercial decisions on the back of speed-tests.

Furthermore, Virgin Media reckons a lot of these sites can't even cope with speeds as high as 50Mbps at all, with some even struggling above 8Mbps.

If you Google "broadband speed test" you will find loads of sites and, to be fair, most of them seem to return more or less the same speed measurement. However some do come up with quite different results to the rest and a few ask you a bunch of questions about your provider before they'll do the test.

"Customers increasingly rely on speed-test comparisons to choose their broadband provider so we are working with speed-test sites to help them accurately measure all broadband services, including our new superfast offerings," said Jon James, director of Group Strategy at Virgin Media. "We will also be helping customers to understand the accuracy of the speed-test information available to them - so they can make well-informed choices."