Most broadband suppliers advertise their connections as ‘up to a certain’ speed, but many people don’t get nowhere near the speed they should be. Distance from the local telephone exchange is one factor governing connection speed, and people living in the countryside may find their service is considerably slower than those in urban areas.
If your broadband is consistently very slow it may be that you have a fault on your line that you are unaware of – affecting the speed of your broadband. Speeds under half a MB are generally well under what you should be getting, unless you are in a very rural area.
The best way to find out what broadband speed you are getting is to run a broad band speed test. I commonly use http://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk/to check the speed of a customer’s broadband connection.