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Broadband speed could affect property prices

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On the BBC's Breakfast show I saw yet another report on how ISPs are conning their customers over broadband speeds.

Apparently, a new survey by consumer group Which? has found that broadband packages promising speeds of up to 8Mbps actually achieved far less. Tests of 300 customers' Internet connections revealed that the average download speed they were getting was 2.7Mbps.

Which? has called on regulator Ofcom and Trading Standards to launch an investigation into UK broadband.

A punter was interviewed, and she was upset that her supposed 24Mbps connection wasn't even half that – so she might as well be paying for a 10Mbps service. No one on the programme pointed out to her that if she did pay for a lower-rate service, she's still get only half of that (5Mbps) so she should count herself fortunate to be getting 10Mbps.

Broadband speed is about how close your house is to its telephone exchange. The closer it is, the faster your connection.

A BT spokesman has confirmed that 8Mbps would be a rarity for users: "Virtually no one will get it. The laws of physics start applying as soon as it leaves the exchange and you would have to live on top of the exchange to get the full 8 megabits," he said.

When everything digital we consume comes via the Internet (TV, music, movies, video calls, etc) then high speeds will be paramount.

Let me be the first person to start the property boom for houses situated close to BT phone exchanges. If it works for houses close to schools that actually teach subjects such as maths and English rather than graffiti and Neighbours Studies, then surely proximity to an exchange and therefore lightning Internet speeds should be equally valuable.

If TV reception was half as acceptable as we're used to now because of distance from the transmitter, people would undoubtedly pay more for houses with a decent picture. So the same should be true for houses with super-quick broadband.

Listen up, estate agents. Get your tape measures out and find out which houses get the fastest broadband. The phone exchange property boom starts here!

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