My broadband is slow. What can I do about it?

The main thing that affects your broadband speed is the distance between your premises and your local telephone exchange if you are on broadband, and the distance between your premises and the green street cabinet if you're on fibre.

But there are some things you can try to improve your speed.

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, you can find your true line speed by using our speed tester.

When you run the test, make sure you unplug everything from your router (except the device you're using to run the test), you close all other browsers and your email (if there's any traffic on your broadband, the test results may be inaccurate), and you switch off all your wi-fi devices.

Read more about speed testers.


If the speed is lower than you expected or falls below the Minimum Guaranteed Access Line Speed, these tips may help you get the best speed from your broadband -

  1. If you're using wi-fi, 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.

    What affects my wireless connection speed?

  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.

    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 dropout.

    And check that you've turned on Smart Wireless on your Hub. This nifty feature automatically switches wireless channels so you're always on the strongest signal.

  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 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.

  6. 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 work 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, 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 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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