Feeds

back to article UK way behind pack on broadband speed in Europe

While superfast fibre lobbyists continue to try and push nations around the world into deploying more nimble broadband networks, a report out today showed a 7 per cent slip in average global connection speeds between the second and third quarter of 2012. Content delivery outfit Akamai revealed its latest analysis relating to web …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Mushroom

Wake me up when these speeds are *guaranteed* at peak hours, not "maximum-speed-at-3am-on-an-non-contended-exchange-50m-from-the-backbone-marketing-fluff".

At the moment it's just a load of stats based on made up figures.

12
0
Silver badge
Meh

SPEED IS NOT EVERYTHING

Yes a Ferarri would be nice, but I'd be satisfied with a family estate car if it would get me from A to B in a reasonable amount of time.

This fixation on speed when Speed is not everything, a decent connection for everyone would be nice.

15
1
Silver badge
Thumb Down

> Wake me up when these speeds are *guaranteed* at peak hours

If you join a decent ISP you will get a constant speed 24/7. Be Unlimited used to do that (but apparently have a few issues at the moment). IDNet appears able to offer me 70Mb/s whenever I want it. I imagine AAISP can and probably Zen.

But none of those are cheap options. What you neglected to mention in your post is that you want guaranteed speeds for tuppence ha'penny a month and that ain't never going to happen. If you want a good service you'll have to pay a premium price. Like everything else in life.

11
3
Bronze badge

>>If you join a decent ISP you will get a constant speed 24/7. <<

Unfortunately, most ISPs are still going to be running over the same copper that is managed by BT OpenReach. They can be the best ISP in the world, but if the cable is 50 years old and BT won't replace it, then the odds are you will still get a fairly poor service. 6.3 Mbps? They couldn't provide me with 0.63 Mbps!

As for the cost, I was paying £200 a quarter for a (combined phone / internet) connection at home and they still couldn't give me a service that had any level of stability.

It's still very much about the location; if you are in the right area, you will stand a chance of getting a good service. If you are in an area where they haven't managed the cable work, then you are pretty much stuffed.

7
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Who gives a fuck?

'just as long as I can stream pr0n with no dropped frames (but lots of dropped knickers) then I'm happy.

2
1
Silver badge
Stop

> Unfortunately, most ISPs are still going to be running over the same copper that is managed by BT

> OpenReach.

Yes but that rarely has any significant impact on peak-time v. off-peak which is what I was replying to. If you connect in the morning you'll sometimes get a reconnect in the evening due to higher noise but after that your connection will remain the same regardless of the time of day unless there's a genuine fault.

The best ISPs can ensure that you always get 85% of your sync speed as throughput (95% on FTTC due to fewer overheads). It's only the cheaper, mass-market, ISPs that cause throughput to drop below that %ge during the evenings.

1
0
Thumb Up

Switzerland seems slow....

I get a good 60Mbps from my alleged 100Mbps cable connection. Heck, the main cable provider will give you 2000/200kbps Internet for "free".

I do 500Gb+ traffic per month with no caps. No or little slowdown at any time.

That costs me about £50 - Internet, TV and a phone connection (which I don't use).

I'm having a personal struggle to not upgrade to a 150Mbps package. I have no reason to need it but it's only right to go for the max, right?! :-D

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I live and work in a rural area, and always have done. I'm always amazed at how most of the households around here will get about 1.5-2mbit even on the longest (3 miles+), oldest chunk of line known to man. I think it does help that the GPO/BT used copper as much as possible in these areas, due to the absolute crapness of aluminium over long distances.

(I'm not too worried mind, I'm 300yds from the exchange).

0
0

And what you neglected to mention:

"you want guaranteed speeds for tuppence ha'penny a month and that ain't never going to happen. If you want a good service you'll have to pay a premium price."

...and move to the centre of a big city.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: And what you neglected to mention:

That's not a guarantee. ADSL speeds in cardiff bay are terrible, as despite all the infrastructure only being 10 years old BT hooked the ADSL up to an exchange a mile and a half away...

0
0

Not such a good thing if FTC arrives in your area. Being close to the exchange makes it more likely you're on a pair coming from the exchange itself rather than a nice upgradable green cabinet (BT refer to this as an 'exchange only' line), which means your only hope of better than ADSL2+ is FTTP that may well not be on offer. Apparently something like ten percent of all households are likely to be in this situation, and it's emerging as a major issue in the whole scheme.

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: And what you neglected to mention:

> ..and move to the centre of a big city.

Maybe but I'm not sure about that. Congestion might be worse in a big city because of the difficulty in providing enough backhaul for hundreds of thousands of people. A small town probably only needs a couple of Gb pipes and bandwidth doesn't grow as fast. In practice though I doubt locality makes much difference. For BT based ISPs the congestion is usually in the link between BT and the ISP (what used to be called Centrals before WB(M)C came along and the bit most of our money is spent on). That being the case it won't matter where you are.

If on the other hand this is another criticism of connection speed rather than throughput then again I'd have to disagree. I live in a small rural town called Brackley:

I ain't no stink' city dweller :)

Also note the time. My modem is connected at a tad under 73Mb/s at the moment and that is bang in the middle of peak time :D

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Being a rural exchange I doubt anyone in the area goes through a cabinet. IIRC Openreach are developing tech to bring VDSL to exchange lines, but I doubt we'll get a fire upgrade for many years.

Still, a solid 8mbit does me fine, and 24 should do just as well when it arrives.

0
0
Bronze badge

Two distinct problems

I have two problems.

First, my rural location, although in the village and close to an Exchange, means that the top speed possible for me is far less than anything advertised.

Second, my ISP's network seems to have lagged the growth in the use of streaming media. Even if my local line were capable of supplying the advertised speed, I doubt they could deliver it.

Would paying for an 8Mb/s connection mean that the minimum I experience would increase? I don't know. My experience of ISP advertising suggests they are so crooked they could hide behind a spiral staircase.

And then there is IPv6 looming. At last. But where do I go to get it, and a modest speed increase? You guys talking about as much as 70Mb/s either have some unusual reasons, or are doing some flagrant willy-waving. I'd like a bit higher peak speed, but I'd really like my speed at peak times to be a bit closer to the peak. And that's an ISP network issue, which is something they don't want to talk about. All the shouting is about peak speed, and it's largely irrelevant.

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: And what you neglected to mention:

"...and move to the centre of a big city"

Sadly, no. Centres of big cities have many reasons to have crap connections, from difficulty routing copper in efficient manners (no shortcuts through fields), difficulty fixing existing copper, congestion as it's harder to put additional infrastructure in, less chance of FTTC as BT don't want their business customers working there moving off expensive leased lines, not to mention less room to put new FTTC cabinets in.

I live in the centre of a big city and experience all these problems.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Two distinct problems

If you are close (sub half mile) then being rural shouldn't be an issue, unless your line has an underlying fault.

Half the time I go and help someone with faulty broadband they've been ignoring a regular voice line fault for months.

2
0

Re: And what you neglected to mention:

@AndrueC

when we talk about Congestion this tends to be the speed you get

the modem will still get 5mb/s or 70mb/s (what ever you get as an Normal lock on your modem is, peak or not peak time does not normal affect this at all) but its the speed at the other end of the phone cable backhaul at the exchange is over utilised so BT QOS is limiting speed so that packet loss does not happen (i have not seen this happen on VDSL yet and even if it does its only be tech people that notice it, eve VDSL can provide 10mb/s that is enough for most)

Congestion on an BT line is more likey to happen on the smaller exchanges (below 2000ish) more so if its not even 21CN yet, there are 2 of them around where i am, ADSL Lock 7700, real download speed around 6pm 0.5-2mb (norm the lower number) drive me nuts when i go around that area later on in the day needing to download stuff as it takes all day (at least BT QOS is working on the exchange to handle the limited backhaul as there is norm no packet loss, UNLIKE Virgin cable where it drops packets when upstream is saturated)

the bigger ones norm have the larger backhaul and have 21cn as well so more fibre there to use and turn on if needed, so speed is norm not an issue on large exchanges or any that have 21CN, if your getting FTTC where you are then the Main exchange will have large pipe already and will be 21CN enabled

the Lock speed for ADSL or VDSL should not change under norm use (peak time or not) the more users that are connected to the "exchange/VDSL cab" can norm lowers the speed an little but not much unless an BT man touches your phone cable in the cab and knocks it lose

normal the modem/exchange will lock the speed an little lower then the best rate you can get (sky lock it the download speed to 500kbs lower then best speed it can get, as to why some times users end up with silly 0.02mb locked profile connections some times, sky its just quick call to reset it, other providers i prefer to kill my self some times when all i am asking them to do is reset the line profile)

0
0
Mushroom

Re: And what you neglected to mention:

I agree Cardiff Bay gets terrible speeds. I've moved to Penarth where my 40/8 fibre connection is being installed tuesday ;)

0
0

"If you join a decent ISP you will get a constant speed 24/7."

Oh dear. Do you need someone to explain the difference between an ISP and a carrier to you?

For the majority of the country BT is the only carrier. It matters not a jot what ISP you sign up with, your physical ADSL connection is a BT connection, on BT kit. This is where the problem lies with most broadband. The 1950's physical infrastructure that BT is still milking as it slowly rusts into ground.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Here's hoping BT continue delaying the upgrading of the infrastructure.

That'll teach everybody a thing or two!

1
1
Silver badge

suppliers need an incentive

The current arrangement is that suppliers sell based on an "up to N megabit" basis. But the slower the actual connection is, the less traffic that is actually likely to be generated on the line, so the cost to the supplier is actually lower the lower the speed they deliver. So there is no real incentive for them to try and improve things. The worse the service, the higher the likely profits.

There needs to be a move to a pricing scheme which takes this into account.

If they want to sell "all you can eat" bundles, then there needs to be a price per megabit structure put in place. When they found that they weren't able to charge as much for slower links, it would prompt them to do something about increasing the speed of service they deliver.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

100 Mbps

According to Government propaganda, Australia's NBN fibre rollout will be underway or complete for up to one third of Australia’s homes and businesses by mid-2015. That offers (initially) up to 100 Mbps connections.

Of course, being FTP, the top speed is arbitrarily set, and could be increased.

I look forward to using up my monthly broadband cap in less than a day.

1
0

Re: 100 Mbps

FTTP/H (fibre directly to the premiss/house) very rare and costs a lot of money

FTTC (like virgin cable ish but badly implemented or currant VDSL that bt sells)

not FTP (that file transport protocol) or FTC if you posted that before

0
0

Re: 100 Mbps

FTTP/H (fibre directly to the premiss/house) very rare and costs a lot of money

I wouldn't say it needs to be.

Our local ISP has been doing this for a few years now, and their prices are very reasonable imho.

They charge £450-500 to connect you to the cabinet, and that includes pulling fibre from the cabinet to your house and wiring up the fibre-to-ethernet adapters.

People in the UK might think the monthly cost is steep (~£55/month for 25/25mbps, ~£65 for 60/60mbps and ~£115 for 100/100mbps), but they DO deliver that speed continously, both on and off peak hours, and it's not THAT much more expensive that a good DSL package.

0
1

I'd love to sign up for a decent ISP

But sadly the 4 that server my area are all running over BTS cables and from the same exchange so they all provide pretty much the same speeds, about 3mb at most. Until fibre winds its way to us (which I'm not holding my breathe for) nothing much will change.

5
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: I'd love to sign up for a decent ISP

But as I've noted in my other reply above - the issue the original poster was raising was congestion. That's where an ISP can't provide a customer with all the data their line can handle at certain times of the day. The fact that a line has a poor connection actually helps mitigate the problem. You're less likely to experience congestion on a line that only connects at 2Mb/s compared to one that connects at 24Mb/s.

Think of it like this: Who experiences the biggest speed drop when driving along the M25: Salesman Bob in is 3 litre BMW who has a season ticket for the outside lane or Aunty Maud in her Nissan Micra who once used lane two ten years ago when she was a bit upset?

Still - I do think there should be a more serious push to raise the bar at the lower end. We should have a commitment to try and get everyone to at least 50Mb/s by 2015.

3
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: I'd love to sign up for a decent ISP

@AndrueC - all true, but only if you have the option of using a company that's not just a resell of BT's backhaul too, which many rural exchanges only offer :-| Many don't have any other option but BT.

4
0

Re: I'd love to sign up for a decent ISP

rural or more so none 21CN exchanges i find have this issue with speeds been low (does not matter what ISP your on as the BT backhaul is to small so QOS lowers the speed for every one to keep packet loss at bay)

once 21CN comes if it ever comes to you, your lower speeds around peak time should go back to what ever your modem Locks onto

0
0

Happy enough with my connection

And I'm still with bloody AOL/TalkTalk (and yes, customer service is awful when you need it). I think 720p streaming (Netflix and iPlayer) and a responsive connection to the office is good enough. Moving to an FTC product is tempting though.

Personally, I think covering the not spots should be a higher priority. I think backward attitudes to work on the part of decision makers are very much part of the failure to do this.

2
0

Lies and statistics

Surely if (as a country) you wanted to improve your average download speed, instead of investing in super high speed mega broadband XL Plus tech (or whatever is flavour of the month) it would be better to upgrade us folks stuck on a slow broadband connection to get better speeds e.g. les2 than 2Mb/s to ~10Mb/s. Presumably the tech itself isnt expensive as it isnt new, you just need more cabinets/exchanges to reduce copper length to the backbone to do it.

2
0
Silver badge
Go

Re: Lies and statistics

That would depend how many of you there are. By the end of this year you'll probably represent less than half. maybe less than a third of all the lines. Still - I agree with what you want. This 'dash for the top' is becoming increasingly pointless. Very few people really need more than 50Mb/s right now and for the next decade. However there are a lot of people on less than 20Mb/s and for a family that will be limiting what they can do.

But the real problem is that those who are on really old tech. are the ones that it is expensive to upgrade. I seem to recall that the figures for 'doing the whole country' claimed that the final 10% would soak up 90% of the overall cost. Who pays for that? Based on the profligacy of recent governments and how that ended I would want a seriously good business case before allowing the government to spend my money on it.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Lies and statistics

"Presumably the tech itself isnt expensive as it isnt new, you just need more cabinets/exchanges to reduce copper length to the backbone to do it."

It's seldom the tech that's the prohibitive cost, it's the heavy lifting infrastructure work to get those cabinets and exchanges built and plumbed in. Combined with the very little revenue to be made from it as it serves fewer and fewer properties, it's not going to be a private company that does it, it would be a government funded thing. And you've got zero chance of this government thinking that privatisation doesn't work in various scenarios.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Lies and statistics

"Surely if (as a country) you wanted to improve your average download speed, instead of investing in super high speed mega broadband XL Plus tech (or whatever is flavour of the month) it would be better to upgrade us folks stuck on a slow broadband connection to get better speeds e.g. les2 than 2Mb/s to ~10Mb/s. Presumably the tech itself isnt expensive as it isnt new, you just need more cabinets/exchanges to reduce copper length to the backbone to do it."

Technically, it would be better to ban the Internet from rural areas.

More seriously, the urbanization of the UK is approximately 80%, so it depends on how this average is taken. If it's median, then improving rural broadband is pointless (until it gets faster than the city) in terms of improving this statistic. Of course, maybe we shouldn't care about one statistic somehow encapsulating tremendous amounts of information.

2
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Lies and statistics@Alfie

"Surely if (as a country) you wanted to improve your average download speed, instead of investing in super high speed mega broadband ...it would be better to upgrade us folks stuck on a slow broadband connection "

No. It's a lot easier and cheaper to get the people on 30 Mb/s connections up to 60 Mb/s than it is to get people on sub 2 Mb/s up to 4 Mb/s, and it has a much better effect on the "average" speed. Obviously whipping somebody from 30 to 60 has little effect for most of them - I barely noticed the change from 10 to 60, except when downloading a few very large files, and that's not often for me.

This isn't a trolling post, it's a quite serious comment that if governments are playing willy waving games involving "my broadband is faster than yours", and the current lot want the best in Europe, then the easy way to meet the arbitrary and numerical target is to give more to those who already have, and to ignore the slow lane. Which means that you digitally impoverished types needn't expect much help from government, whereas anybody on fibre or cable might see some good offers to entice them to buy a fatter pipe.

1
0

Re: Lies and statistics@Alfie

i agree on that statement any thing higher then 10mb for an normal user will not notice the speed improvement, unless they was downloading an very large file,

some customers i know they got FTTC there PC and Wifi is slower then there broadband connection, he would of been fine on ADSL as they already had 8mb ish connection any way,

but i wish they would do the Warrington exchange area not just the med size exchanges around me as 20-30% or more cant get more then 0.5-1mb on the Warrington exchange

0
0

Re: Lies and statistics

Um, no. Because for every 100 customers you upgradefrom 1M to 10MB you could just install one Gigabit Internet customer. You get the same average speed improvement for 100th of the man hours.

BT know this. They know they are judged on the average speed, and installing a few very high speed lines gets a much cheaper boost in the averages.

Its just a scam.

0
0

Time for billing chnages

in this day and age anyone with a sub 2mb connection should be given broadband access for FREE. Then I will bet BT will suddenly do something about the crappy speeds here in the UK when 80% of broadband frees are suddenly lost.

7
1
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Time for billing chnages

>in this day and age anyone with a sub 2mb connection should be given broadband access for FREE. Then I

> will bet BT will suddenly do something about the crappy speeds here in the UK when 80% of broadband

> frees are suddenly lost.

a)The number of people on less than 2Mb/s is not 80%. It's probably 20% at most. Maybe less. The UK average recently announced is over 6Mb/s.

b)Most of the people with slow speeds are on exchanges or lines where it's expensive to deliver any service so are already running at a loss.

The problem with your post is typical of a number that crop up now and again. It seems to be written on the assumption that BT hates you and is refusing to provide you with a faster service out of spite. That's silly. The reason BT hasn't improved your line is because it can't make a profit doing so. There's nothing personal here - it's just economics. What you need to do is prove a viable business case. Show BT that the investment is worth making because of the returns. Taking away what little money they already get from you is not going to help. BT are probably still paying off the investment they made to get you ADSL and until they've finished doing that they aren't going to spend any more on you.

BT is not a charity. Sorry.

1
0

Re: Time for billing chnages

"BT is not a charity. Sorry."

Indeed, they are in fact a monopoly, and there is the problem right there.

0
0

> The UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller hopes to have "the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015".

So do I, my mate and the bloke who lives down the road from me. Let's keep our fingers crossed and just see what happens, eh, Maria?

2
0
Mushroom

The usual whining from BT Openjoke is about how much it would cost and yet there are areas with fairly well concentrated centres of development that are still ignored or have dates slipping again and again while BT group hope that they can get the Govt: to fund the capital investment for them, while BT are happy to charge over the top for slower speeds and smaller allowances on equipment that is increasingly second hand.

Add to that the lethargy with which they tackle exchange congestion and the refusal to ensure that ancient copper (or other metals) in the local loop is actually functioning properly/ providing a standard of service that is acceptable within the constraints of the "technical expectations" of the line.

To borrow from the BMW driving salesman analogy.. My BMW as a random problem with the engine restarting itself at random times and with no input from the driver - this can result in the BMW only being able to be driven at half speed or less until I get out lock the doors wait 5 minutes and then start again. The only thing that hasn't been changed is the local pair from my home to the Cab (400 mtrs max) but Openjoke consider that as its an intermittent issue and only completely screws my service for a couple of days once or twice a month on average then it isn't worth bothering with - they even tried to blame CP equipment from my LLU provider (that I have been with for 10 months) for an issue that goes all the way back to the pre ADSLMax 512k service when the exchange was first activated in 2001.

They cant even get the line length right. Kitz Checker (and a couple of others suggest 3 KM) According to the Be Checker Openjokes database says 2665mtrs in which case my line is also seriously under-performing. BT are the biggest bar to decent broadband in the UK.

1
1
Mushroom

Bastard Telecom are the problem

BT have a monopoly and aren't afraid to use it. They drag their heels like a recalcitrant teenager demanding that their customers show them there's a market...

Of course it's the Government who allow the damn monopoly in the first place, but still fail to do anything substantial about directing it.

We're lucky we have any broadband as I'm sure BT would be more than happy to lease us lines and leave us with time-paid dial-up.

Come the revolution... A pox on their houses

3
2

Why discrepancy between Akamai and Ofcom speeds ?

In my work I do a lot of analysis of network performance. Ofcom reports average UK download speeds ~ 9 Mbit/s ( improved somewhat in 2012!) but Akamai reports 6.3 Mbit/s. (Both these figures are measuring something different from the average UK line sync speed, which is about 12.7 Mbit/s).

Haven't managed to get full Akamai report yet so don't understand their methodology ( I do understand the Ofcom methodology - and it is sound). Depending on exactly how Akamai measure things there may be subtle limitations on the speed that would be reported - but it is surprising that the Akamai figure is only 70% of the Ofcom figure.

Incidentally, there are about 10% of lines <= 2 Mbit, some of these will be very expensive to improve - but others might be improved by sorting out home wiring.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Why discrepancy between Akamai and Ofcom speeds ?

"I do understand the Ofcom methodology - and it is sound"

But based on a sample of around what, 1,100 "panel members" of Samknows. Doesn't sound like a big sample, and I'd have qualms about the selection and incidence of a self-sign up service like this. The rest of OFCOM's analysis appears to be built on very weak foundations, even if the method is otherwise sound.

1
0

Re: Why discrepancy between Akamai and Ofcom speeds ?

Akamai is real download speed that they see when users are downloading files or streaming (you be suprised how much goes throw Akamai

likely OFCOM report is the modems Locked ADSL/VDSL speed that they get off Openreach

its like Virgin there head line speeds are 30, 60 or 100/120mb/s depending what you pay for, but depending on how much load there is on the local Upstream it can be at peak time download speed be as low as 2mb+ 5-30% packet loss that makes it unusable to use (note its Upstream thats buggering up the download speed on VM the fibre backhaul is not saturated, its the COAX cable side of the cab on DOCSIS that messed up, all they need to to is add more upstream channels to fix the issue)

1
0
jai
Silver badge

Words of wisdom from Swiss Toni

Providing fast access to the internet is very much like making love to a beautiful woman...

First, you've gotta get the lie of the land, map out the potential hot spots and make a mental note to pay them special attention later on. Then, you get your hardware out and make connection with the right sockets, and test everything is flowing in the right directions Once everything seems to be working fine, you open the doors and charge the man on the street a monthly fee to come and have a go.

5
0

Depends where you are?

In suburban London, my "30 Mbps" virgin media connection benchmarks, any time I care to test it, at approx 28-31 Mbps .....

0
0
FAIL

4G is the way

4G will be a better alternative that any BT/LLU provided adsl. Probably be rolled out quicker too than BT infinity.

0
4
Silver badge

Re: 4G is the way

Not sure if you read the story the other day about the lack of bandwidth available for mobile data. It isn't a problem with how fast you can make the theoretical connection speed. Its about how much overall capacity there is, for mobile, congestion is the killer.

4
0
Flame

What a load of utter bollocks

Ireland has a faster average broadband speed than the UK??! Fuck right off.

I live in Ireland and can't even GET broadband of ANY description via a landline and "super-fast" mobile broadband works out at roughly the same speed as my 28.8k modem could get back in the dial-up days of Compuserve.

1
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.