Why Are Your Internet Speeds Always Slower Than What You Paid For?

Frustrated man

ISPs in Uganda and globally advertise their data bundles as an “up to” when it comes to internet speeds. For example, the ISP can promise you up to 10 Mbps for unlimited internet. You may think you’re paying for a 10 Mbps connection, but you’re getting an “up to 10 Mbps” connection.

In this article, we’ll examine why actual speeds differ from advertised speeds by ISPs and how you can tell whether you’re getting the internet speeds you’re paying for.

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Uganda Communications Commission launched a tool is called NetQ-UG that crowdsourced anonymized data to provide insight into the coverage of the communications services and the quality of service offered across the country. Unfortunately, the site was down by the time of writing this article.

However, many other countries have National Broadband Maps that provide SpeedTest Vs Advertised internet speeds. From these maps, for example, this one of the USA, you can see that most people are getting slower internet speeds than what they are paying for.

Related Article: Internet speeds(Mbps) and data bundles(MBs) explained

Causes of slow internet speeds

The slow internet connection speeds aren’t purely a case of misleading advertising. Many other factors are responsible for slow internet connections, and some of these factors include:

  • Distance from ISP hardware. The further you are from the ISP mast or the router, if you are using a router, the weaker the signal and the slower the internet. Therefore, people in the city are more likely to have faster internet connections than those in the countryside further from the network masts.
  • Congestion. If you are in a crowded office with many people tapping the internet connection from one router, you are most likely to have a slow internet connection. This is because many people are competing for this single internet source.
  • Hardware issues. You will have a slow internet connection if you have an old or faulty router that can’t keep up with modern internet speeds. That won’t be the ISP’s fault.
  • Time of the day. During peak hours, when most people are online, using the internet will result in a slow internet connection.
  • ISP capping. Your Internet Service Provider may deliberately slow down your internet connection. This normally happens to “unlimited internet” users when they reach a certain amount of data downloaded.
  • Website server-side issues. Sometimes, your connection might be slow because the servers of the website you are trying to reach are slow. This has happened in the past for many websites such as Facebook and Twitter. This isn’t the ISP’s fault.

You won’t do anything if your connection speeds aren’t as advertised by your ISPs. You might need to ensure all the other factors that could lead to slow internet are taken care of. If you try to contact your ISP on the issue of slow internet, they are unlikely to listen to you because there’s a reason why the speed is sold as “up to.”

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