For those of you who are a little less technically savvy, your Internet speed is made up of two measurements: your upload speed and your download speed. The most important of these numbers to most home users is the download speed - you're not doing a lot of uploading (sending of files) when compared with the amount of downloads you are doing. There are some people who might have a legitimate need for more upload speed, but that's usually not a big percentage of folks. If they have a need, they can always pay more for a faster Internet connection.
There are a bunch of factors that can affect your speed. Some of them you can control (are you running AOL instant messenger while downloading files and browsing the Internet - if so, that's going to slow down everything). There are others you cannot control. Things like quality of your phone line/cable connection and the activity in your area can slow things down.
Once in a while, I will run through a speed test from one of the Web sites that will test your Internet speed for free. The funny part is that different sites have different ways of measuring your connection speed, so you may get different results from different sites.
You can give this a try at the following Web site address, and compare it to what your Internet Service Provider (ISP) advertises. If they aren't close, you might want to give them a call. After all, you're entitled to what you're paying for, right?