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back to article Slow broadband blackspots mostly in south, not north

Online tests from uswitch.com have found more "internet blackspots" in the south of England than in the north and found the quickest internet access in the UK is in Leamington Spa with download speeds of 18.665Mb/s. The numbers come from people conducting their own tests via the comparison site's online tests and should be …

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Hmmm

I'd take their results with a large pinch of salt.

They say my download speed is 4.3Mbits per second which is impressive given that my router is connected at 4.2

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How?!

How can 18Mb be the fastest when I get just under 30Mb with Virgin Media?

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Ru

Because Broadband is now a marketing term, not a technical one.

Seems like they're looking at plain old ADSL2+ over phone lines. I'll bet your Virgin connection isn't that.

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Lies and statistics

Average speeds are meaningless while so many exchanges are still on old tech 20cn equipment.

As for the cut in wholesale pricing, that really is laughable, a few pence off of the highest charges for the slowest speeds on the oldest tech.. and that assumes ISP's do anything to adjust pricing/bandwidth available, I wouldn't be surprised if the change was quietly ignored in favour of a bigger profit margin.

Cynical? Me? You betcha!

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Leamington Spa...

Wonder what's special about Leamington Spa.

Does it happen to be close to the UK's Internet backbone or something?

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Everything

It's where I grew up!!

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'quickest'?

Makes no sense.. it's dependent on how far you are from the exchange. I get 22mbps.. at the last place I lived I got 16. Nothing to do with the area, only the line distance.

If more people who live close to an exchange fill in the survey in a particular area, that gets the title of 'quickest' but it's utterly meaningless.

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Contention ratios play a big part

as the sub-title suggests, you could well get 20MBps on your local loop, but if you are sharing your concentrator in the exchange with 49 other people, and a large number of those are on-line and making use of bandwith-heavy applications (streaming media, bittorrent, etc), then you can *easily* find yourself down to speeds in the 1-2 MBps range at peak times.

Contention ratios are the "elephant in the room" as far as service provider's speed claims are concerned.

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Unhappy

Hah!

"but if you are sharing your concentrator in the exchange with 49 other people, and a large number of those are on-line and making use of bandwith-heavy applications (streaming media, bittorrent, etc), then you can *easily* find yourself down to speeds in the 1-2 MBps range at peak times."

1-2 MB/s. I wish! That's about as high as I ever get and that not often. As said above it depends on the distance from the exchange and I'm over 2 miles away from mine.

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Leamington?

Quickest in Leamington?? Must be loads of people doing tests on FTTC connections to average that kind of speed as it was never that fast when I lived there..

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Anonymous Coward

ISP Contention

Most likely it is because of the uplink port(s) to the backbone IP or MPLS network. Time to upgrade to 10G, 4x 10G port-channels or 100G native.

That normally fixes it. Unless the copper or any other last mile crap is bad in any particular area.

Somebody has to pay for the cost of the line-cards and transceivers, however - and this comes from the marketing fgts.

There should not be packet loss on any ISP backbone network. Anything else is a lack of capacity planning or occasional DDoS which can be fixed with remote-traffic-blackholing with BGP.

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That sounds about right

Here in sunny Leamington we do get good speeds, partly because of plenty of ADSL2+ LLU availability, and good Virginmedia penetration. I get 16Meg on my Be line, although it seems to be having an off day today (20-odd resyncs already this morning...)

There is some FTTC but where I am doesn't get connected until the end of September :(

I was with VM until evening contention made things horrific. A client of mine in a more rural location gets ~0.4M with Sky in the evenings, but it's 7Meg during the day (when he's at work...)

V.

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So...

... there are more slow users where there are more users. Amazing insight.

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FAIL

utter tosh

I live on a brand new building estate and the fastest I can get is 576kbps. No virgin cable anywhere and over 7 k from nearest exchange. I'm up north. Probably around 5000 households all with crap broadband.

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Facepalm

"I do not understand statistics therefore everyone else is wrong"

"I have also not read the article, considered the source of the data or paid attention to the caveats"

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Gav
WTF?

Cos you expect south to be best, right?

The question here is more why on earth would they think latitude has any relevance to broadband speed?

Why not altitude? Or distance to the sea? Or number of vowels in the postcode? They're all as remarkable when measuring these things. (i.e. not.)

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FAIL

You're not from the UK, are you?

There is a strikingly clear north/south disparity in terms of wealth and quality of infrastructure.

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Unhappy

Slow broadband blackspots mostly in south

Agreed. My connection grinds almost to a halt at busy times in fairly central London. So it's all about capacity and contention. And by 'almost to a halt' I mean figures well below 52K and long waits for any activity, in other words virtually unusable..

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ISPs

As well as the geographical split, it would be interesting to see a sort of the data by ISP and by time of day. As well as guiding choice, it would also help to answer the question of whether the packet sniffing stuff that ISPs such as Talk Talk are using has any impact on performance.

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What about Scotland...

...isn't it in the North?

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interesting that tregaron's there

While most of the other sites can be blamed on contention Tregaron is a tiny rural town in the middle of west wales. I'd be willing to bet their slow speeds are down to long, poor quality copper rather than traffic, especially since BT Wholesale seem able to deal with contention better than the LLU crew.

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Boffin

Download speeds aren't independent

Don't forget that the remote server also has to be able to send data at 8Mbps (or whatever). As an extreme example, if you're leeching files from someone's home FTP you're not going to see anything more than their upstream speed, which is woeful with any ADSL.

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Meh

Faster Please

Well I get 15meg (TalkTalk) in the Cotswolds and only 2meg (BE) in South East London. It is to do with the length of the phone line from the exchange and if the wires are copper or Aluminium.

I do wonder though if it is because the data pipes are too small or that the Bxxxxerds down the street keep on breaking in to the feeble steel junction box and doing their own rewiring every night.

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Crapola Kit

An how much of this is down to el crapola kit, old routers, 802.11b wireless kit in use + other wireless artifacts, Poor cabling, spyware infested PCs and more. Sorry but these stats really do mean little if anything.

I've had fair few customers say 'my 16Mb brodband is slow and it says I onlt get 2Mb'. Normally fixed by giving the PC some TLC or evicting the almost fossilized Linksys router downstairs between 3 brick walls, a sheet of lead and an army of DECT phones. 'Oh I didnt think we needed to plug that in' when questioned about the shiney new router still in its box.

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dont forget

the punters confusion between bits and bytes...

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Stop

of course, you cant measure...

..the people who cant get broadband at all..

Plenty of locations in East Anglia are simply beyond the limit of the technology and the will of BT to install repeaters.

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FAIL

I live in Cranbrook

And it is a shambles. Under a mile from the exchange and I can't even get a stable connection, far less one that zooms along at the claimed average 1.34mbps for the town. They must have measured that from inside the exchange.....the whole town went out last week for over 24 hours. Even my voice line is crap - constant static and often unusable. We love BT.

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Anonymous Coward

Small towns / villages suffer ...

I live in a small village in north hampshire (about 40 miles south of london)

My local exchange offers ADSL - that's it.

The exchange probably serves about 2250 properties, give or take.

The fastest speed that anyone connected to it can achieve is 4Mb/s, the average is more like 2Mb/s

I'm fairly certain we're not alone - if your not in a large town or city, forget it buddy, ADSL is all you'll get.

I really can't see it changing any time soon either - the economies of scale are just against the investment it will take to upgrade.

samknows.com was, at one time, reporting that 21CN would be available from 2012 - now there's no indication at all of when it will be available, if at all.

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Devil

@ Wonder what's special about Leamington Spa.

Where do seniors in the BT hierarchy live?

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Exchange contention rarely has that bad an effect

Exchange contention won't drop you to 1-2Mbps if you're syncing much higher.. That's a fault. If at the exchange BT will (after some kicking by the ISP) upgrade/fix it***.

ISP contention is *much* more likely - and is because people think that 50p/month for unlimited access is a fair price.. which means that the ISP can't afford enough bandwidth for all their users, and they get that kind of slowdown*. Like most things, you get what you pay for. Cheap or Reliable.. pick one. Personally I've never seen *any* slowdown in the evenings... even when I had FTTC for a while and was pulling 35Mbps constantly**

* Which is still, IMO, a fault.. but such ISPs normally have call centres in bangalore that are paid to tell you it isn't.

** Yah I went a bit nuts.. 500gig a month is probably overdoing it for a home line..

*** There's a list of known exchange issues on https://clueless.aaisp.net.uk/congestion.cgi - I bet BT have a much more comprehensive one but they don't let the great unwashed see it.

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Unhappy

bah Super fast cranbrook

Try Chineham near basingstoke, We are lucky to get an average of 3-400K and no chance of any more.

Some times is as low as 200k. To add insult recently Bt upgraded one side of the road but not ours. and then only upgraded two or three streets on the north side of the a33 south side got nothing.

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