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By: MarkJ - 8 March, 2011 (12:18 PM)
talktalkInternet and phone provider TalkTalk ( AOL UK ) has today announced the BETA launch of its new five-stage Broadband Internet Speed Checker service, which delivers a breakdown of the speed achieved at your computer, at your router (connection hardware) and even at your local telephone exchange.

The checker, which TalkTalk self proclaims to be the "most advanced in the industry", can also act as a diagnostic tool for all stages between the exchange and the user. After completing the test customers are then provided with some basic advice on how to improve their ISP speeds (i.e connect to your master socket etc.).

talktalk uk speed checker

Interestingly the demonstration picture (above) loudly proclaims that a speed of 4.1Mbps is "fantastic", which is despite coming well below Ofcom's new national UK average of 6.2Mbps (Ofcom's full report). This is of course the problem with using a speed checker that is not independent.

Dido Harding, CEO at TalkTalk, said:

"Customers tell us they want consistent speeds and a reliable connection and the speed checker gives them the power to understand the best possible speed on their line and how to alter their home set up to get the best result.

Our Speed Checker is unique because it allows customers to see the speed delivered from their exchange, the speed arriving at their home and the speed they’re actually seeing on their PC or device. With this information, customers can optimise their service to get the fastest speeds their line will allow.

In our recent trial, half of customers using our Speed Checker made some quick and easy changes to their home set up with a view to improving their speed. One in five of these saw an immediate improvement."

It may also be worth pointing out that TalkTalk has recently taken some flak for the amount of marketing calls received by those who put their phone numbers into its website based availability checker. It's unclear whether or not the speed checker suffers from the same problem as there's no warning notice on its data entry fields.

Meanwhile TalkTalk claims that initial trials of the new system showed that 20% of customers who followed the Speed Checker’s advice and adjusted their home set-up saw an improvement in their speed. The service could certainly prove to be quite useful; especially if they promise not to spam you with unwanted marketing calls (we're currently trying to get some clarity on this).
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