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13th April 2007 at 01:00
If you're fed up with slow broadband, don't be hasty and switch providers. Good deals are there for the taking, if you know the right keys to hit, says Alison Brace

Do you ever wonder why your computer is so s-l-o-w? If so, check with your broadband contract then see how long you have been with your provider and what speed of service you signed up to.

According to the comparison website moneysupermarket.com, 65 per cent of broadband users are still with their first provider. If you signed up in 2003 you would have been lucky to get a speed of 0.5 megabytes - whereas speed of up to 8MB is now the norm. And during that time, monthly charges halved.

uSwitch, another leading comparison website, estimates nearly 10 million broadband users are overpaying for their service - and collectively wasting up to pound;621 million a year. Not switching supplier when fixed contracts come to an end is costing three out of four customers more than pound;13 million.

Jason Lloyd, head of broadband for www.moneysupermarket.com, recommends checking with comparison websites and then contacting your provider.

"Rather than just switching, the best deals are often with your existing provider," he says. "Once you're armed with information you can say, 'Look, I can get this for this price'. All broadband companies have monthly retention targets, which means a certain percentage of customers must not leave in a given month. This means they offer amazing deals which aren't advertised."

However, if you do decide to switch, check that your fixed contract is up or you might be liable to a cancellation fee which can amount to your monthly subscription for the remainder of the contract.

www.moneysupermarket.com

What we do online:

nine out of 10 of us shop - evenly split between men and women

four out of 10 download music. The same number listen to radio online

eight out of 10 bank online

more than a third of women play games on line,compared with a quarter of men

one in six make phone calls over the internet

Source: uSwitch

BEST DEALS

Supplier Monthly cost

AOL pound;14.99 up to 2MB speed, no cap

BT pound;17.991 up to 8MB speed, 5GB cap

Orange pound;14.99 up to 2MB speed, 2GB cap

Tiscali pound;14.99 2MB speed, no cap

Virgin Media (previously ntl: pound;102, pound;25 installation fee

Telewest and Virgin.net) up to 2MB speed, no cap

Source: www.uSwitch.com.

1. pound;9.95 per month for first 6 months, 18 month contract

2. Price valid until 31032007. Standard price is pound;18 per month

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