My broadband is slow. What can I do?

The main thing that affects your broadband speed is the distance between your premises and your local telephone exchange but there are some things you can try to improve it.

The first 10 days

When you first start a broadband line, or upgrade to a faster service, there's a 10-day 'stabilisation period'. During the first 10 days, your line speed will fluctuate while the equipment at the telephone exchange works out the optimal speed for your line. This is based on many factors, including the distance you are from the exchange.

So running a line test during this period will not give you a true result.It may be too high, too low, or about right, you just don't know. You can only get a true result after the 10 days is up. Then, the most accurate way to test the line speed is to use a speed tester.

Read more about speed testers.


If the speed is lower than you expected or falls below the Minimum Guaranteed Access Line Speed take a look at these tips for getting the best speed from your broadband.

  1. Check where you've positioned your router

    Routers are affected by electrical interference so make sure yours is at least five feet away from TVs, monitors, dimmer switches, PC speakers, halogen desk lamps, and so on.
    Wireless works best when there's clear space between the router and the computer. That means no thick walls, ceilings, radiators, and anything else that could get in the way of the wireless signal. The more obstacles that are in the way of it, the weaker the signal will be when it finally gets to your device.

  2. Clean up your computer and empty your cache

    No, put the screen wipe away. Not that kind of clean up. If your computer is clogged up with files, it can affect its speed and the speed you can browse the internet, so just go to your System Tools and run Disc Clean Up and Disk Fragmenter.

    Then, empty your cache. If you're not sure how to do this, we've got an FAQ: how do I empty my internet cache or cookies?
    Computers get old pretty fast. If yours is more than three years old, you'll probably find that it's running slow compared to a modern machine. Now might be the time to invest in a new one.

  3. Change your wireless channel

    Wi-fi uses the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio frequencies. If you have several wireless devices on the go at the same time (or even if your neighbours are close enough to be using theirs), you may experience some interference that can affect your wireless performance.

    Try changing the channel on your router to see if that peps things up.

    If you're not already using one, try a router that uses both frequencies, not just the standard 2.4 GHz. The BT Business Hub 5 is dual-band, with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, which helps reduce interference and connection drop-out.

  4. Use an Ethernet cable instead of wireless

    You'll get a faster speed connecting your computer directly to the router using an Ethernet cable. Ethernet is always the best way to connect computers to a router. However, this isn't always practical. In which case, you'll need to make sure the wireless router works efficiently, so...

  5. Use a Powerline adapter to extend the range of your broadband

    Powerline adapters use the electrical cables in your premises to transmit your broadband without any loss of performance.

    The adapters come in pairs. Plug one into an electric socket near to your router. Connect the adapter to the router with a LAN cable. Then plug the other adapter into an electric socket near your computer. Same again, just connect the computer to the adapter with a LAN cable. And that’s it; your computer will connect to the internet as if it was plugged directly into the router.

    You can get powerline adapters from BT Business Direct.

  6. Use a micro-filter on all equipment plugged into the broadband line

    If you're plugging any item into a socket on your broadband line - phone, router, modem, fax, alarm, TV, whatever - you must always plug it into an ADSL micro-filter before plugging it into the line socket.

    You can get micro-filters from BT Business Direct.

  7. Plug your router into your main phone socket rather than an extension

    If this is an option in your premises, give it a go. And make sure you use a micro-filter.

    If none of these ideas works for you, you may want to think about changing your broadband service.

If you've followed the tips and your speed remains slow, please report it as a fault using our online Repair Centre.

If we ’re unable to improve your speed, within a reasonable period of time, by providing an access line speed above the Minimum Guaranteed Access Line Speed based on the speed tester, you can cancel the service at any time without penalties. See our terms for details.

The Ofcom Voluntary Business Broadband Speeds Code of Practice

We've signed up to Ofcom’s Voluntary Business Broadband Speeds Code of Practice.

From 30th September 2016, when you buy BT Business Broadband or BT Business Infinity we'll guarantee your minimum download line speed (the Minimum Guaranteed Access Line Speed).

We define the minimum guaranteed download speed as the speed that the slowest 10% of customers (with a similar BT service) experience.


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