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back to article Copper load of that: Ofcom claims HUGE jump in 'average' broadband speed

Britain's communication watchdog claimed today that "average" broadband speeds had "doubled" in the space of two years. The data published by Ofcom was fairly limited in scope given that, for example, it only included ADSL customers within 5km of the exchange but not outside of that range. The regulator used broadband …

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M7S
Bronze badge

The data published by Ofcom was fairly limited in scope given that......

ODFO

effing useless regulators

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Trollface

Lies, damn lies, ...

Ah yes. And in other news, 86.7% of broadband users said their speeds dropped by 20% last year.

PS: In a survey of 15 users, interviewed in the Dog 'n' Duck at 10:50pm on a Friday.

The broadband divide between urban and rural gets bigger. Yes indeed.

BT know that the people that matter in communications can see straight through this hogwash. Publish the detail on the stats, if you want to get credibility BT - don't play politics and publish nonsense numbers.

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Holmes

Re: Lies, damn lies, ...

Of course it is lies, but from OFCOM, not BT. That's the only way that the UK will get "best broadband in Europe" by 2016, and since the government lie about everything else (expenses, inflation, debt, immigration, growth, unemployment, health etc etc) why should broadband be the odd one out and rely on mere facts?

Ed Richards may well know nothing about broadband, on the other hand he probably knows that he gets paid about £32k a month. Will he continue to get that hard-earned loot if OFCOM show ministerial promises as wilfully dishonest, and their arbitrary targets as flagrantly unmet?

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FAIL

It's more than a little flawed

Not least because the measurements are taken by using boxes supplied by Samknows. Outside of the tech audience, I doubt there are many people with these boxes (I have one) and these are the very people *more* likely to be paying for a faster connection.

So, we are more likely able to say "of a technically minded audience, their average speed has increased significantly".

The rest of the country, probably not so much.

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Silver badge

But ...

How many DSL users as a percentage of DSL users are using lines longer than 5km?

How many people are on Satellite or 3G Mobile because they can't get real broadband such as Fibre, Coax (Virgin), DSL or proper Fixed Wireless (which can be a genuine 8Mbps or 20Mbps and up for Business grade links).

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Anonymous Coward

Ofcom = Wankers

In the palm of BT.

Nuff said.

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Why are they comparing crap packages...

"In this category, the proportion of panellists who, on average, received more than 90 per cent of their maximum speeds at peak times ranged from 35 per cent for Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 30Mbit/s service to 91 per cent for BT’s ‘up to’ 38Mbit/s service."

So basically if you want a crap package, BT offers a less crap, crap package... i had VM's flagship package 100meg and i never once got hit by QOS/traffic management in peak hours...Granted though VM did have outages but they are 100x better than BT for customer service and their bandwidth is still 30% larger than BT... I used BT Broadband years ago (like 8-10 years ago) and i will never go back, i could write an essay on my experiences but it would bore you to death and as most people have prolly tried BT at some point, you may already know how bad they are...

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Re: Why are they comparing crap packages...

...as most people have prolly tried BT at some point, you may already know how bad they are...

This is what happens when you're a real-world monopoly, but not on paper. You just don't need to give a f*, because you know your market is not going anywhere. Time for some "proper" LLU and BBU to introduce some competition.

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SamKnows

I know. I have one of the boxes that does the monitoring for SamKnows.

My last "report card" from last month showed that I get a peak-hour dip in top speed. ONLY 20Mbps. On a 30Mbps package (that, actually, I bought when it was 10Mbps). Sorry, but in terms of overall reasonableness given that it's a shared-cable infrastructure with the rest of my street (a problem ADSL doesn't suffer from, but DOES suffer from over-crowded exchanges), the usual terms & conditions, etc. then I think that's pretty damn good. Given that there's a 6Mbps "valley" on one day (I have no idea why that is, because I haven't noticed the connection drop that slow on that day, and every other day is at the 25-30Mbps mark most of the time), that might just be a single result pulling the hourly average down at peak hours for me. More testing will tell.

However, since installing the box, I've spotted latency spikes in excess of pre-box operation that disappear when I disconnect the box. I've seen my wireless connectivity signal strength drop (they say they only "monitor" wireless so they don't do a test when it's busy, but it's definitely not helping my local wireless frequencies), and even had wireless drop-outs that I've NEVER had before (I'm running InSSIDer and Kismet and don't spot any new AP's in the area). I've had to reset all my router and the various cable boxes several times since installing the WhiteBox to get things back to how they were. I'm not sure *what* they are doing, but the monitoring seems to interfere with the connection more than they say it does.

Sure, Virgin probably are still worse, on average, in peak times, but there are too many factors for a simple number to convey it, and the SamKnows monitoring has been going for precisely one month for this particular report (SamKnows has been going for years, but I signed up for this trial 3 years ago, I believe, and got the box last month).

For a start, most of Virgin's non-cabled service is via ADSL. That's a "BT problem" before you start. Then their cabled areas are a shared infrastructure, which on ADSL isn't quite the same (you aren't fighting your neighbours for bandwidth over the line to the exchange on ADSL, for example). And, above and beyond that, I don't actually NOTICE these drops at all in terms of downloading, iPlayer, etc. at peak times. Maybe I am only getting 20 instead of 30, but to be honest, I can't tell enough to worry about.

What I do know is that, on average, I get what I was promised. And it works. And on BT ADSL - via several resellers and themselves - I had no end of troubles and they could never tell me what I was *supposed* to get. Maybe their fibre service is better, but I'd need to see more statistics and a very big change in the way they advertise and support their products (and their resellers) before I touched them again.

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Re: SamKnows

I also have a SamKnows whitebox here on the left side of the pond. Initially had it connected between the wired-only router (m0n0wall) and the rest of the network including a wifi AP. It worked fine for a while. Then it seemed to lose the plot, dropping the connection to the internet for everything inside my house wired and wireless. Started getting into weekly reboots where none were required before.

Rearranging the network topology only seemed to make it worse. The thing that seems to work is a 5-port switch sitting between the router, wireless AP, wired branches, and the SamKnows box. In theory Sam doesn't get to see the traffic so that it could test during the quiet periods, but so far all that happens is a Netflix loss of video once every couple hours.

I also run MRTG stats on the firewall, and hacked up a script to tell me what I've consumed in the past 30 days. It looks like the box pulls about 50 GB a month, and the sampling periodicity has varied in the year that I've had it.

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Silver badge

Which "average"?

It would really help if articles like this could actually say what they mean by "average". With most of us trudging along on ADSL and a much smaller number using "superfast" fibre it makes a big difference; the mean (which seems to be what Ofcom are using) may be going up due to a small number of very fast connections, but the median (the maximum rate that half the punters are receiving) may be hardly changing at all - and the mode (most common rate) could be exactly the same.

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FAIL

Glad to know this

... since I live about 5 minutes walk from Euston station in Central London, and the fastest that I can get is 8Mbps, and we're not even on the list for FTTC.

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Silver badge

In other news ...

... workers commute durations have been found to average less than 10 minutes - providing they live within 5km of their work and don't travel in peak times.

Apart from OFCOM coming up with meaningless, unrealistic drivel (as usual), what exactly is their point?

Are they trying to imply that somehow their "regulation" powers have had something to do with this? Are they really saying that internet speeds are something they simply don't understand - or know how to measure properly? Maybe the subtext is that even with them not doing a single dam' thing to (ever) make anything better, that it's still possible to fudge the figures to make it appear that they've done some good?

Why do they keep wasting our time ...

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I'm All Right Jack

Dear Register

Since 2011 my broadband download speed has gone from 2 Mb/sec to 12. [I can remember when it was 'up to' 256 Kb/sec]

I have Fibre to cabinet then copper to my house.

Admittedly I have got the most expensive BT Infinity package available to my post code, but I am fortunate my employer pays the bill.

Best Regards, Bill

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm All Right Jack

Dear Bill,

It's come to our attention that our money doesn't seem to be going as far as it used to these days. The Board are looking to upgrade their Bentleys this year, and the cost of heated leather interiors and wireless mobile access points for their new-fangled i-devices in the vehicles aren't cheap.

As a result we've decided that we're going to all have to make sacrifices. Yours will be to bring yourself in to the office everyday and show us all the work you've been doing from home. Don't worry though, the Board won't need to book any meeting rooms, now that they can see your work over the internet from their yachts as well.

You won't be able to because we're turning off your internet expense priviledges. That won't be a problem though, because OFCOM has decided that the average broadband speed has nearly doubled! This means you won't be nearly as badly affected as you might have first thought, and you're going to basically be paying 50% of the charge that we used to pay for you.

All in all, this is a geat result for everyone involved.

Thanks for all the hard work.

Your Employer.

We do trust you will understand

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Meh

Seems legit

68mbit / 14mbit for me, on the edge of a small market town in the East of Anglia all for £36 a month, including the pointless phone line - mustn't grumble. I think the climb is simply down to the roll out of FTTC offering <38mbit and now <78mbit speeds in such places. Just last year I was on 4mbit.

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Sounds right to me...

I've gone from just over 1Mb to just under 3 in that period... things are improving.

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Crap

Talk Talk are still charging my retired mother 50 quid a month for 1.5 mb with 10mb max mail box on her email (shes stuffed because she wants to keep her old onetel.co.uk address, attempts to talk to their customer service either result in no answer or attempts to tie her into 12 month contracts and loss of the address)

By the way, thats an advertised 1.5bm which runs more like 50k

Of com can go suck a brick

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OK for some

I got rid of BT; connection was flaky, painfully slow and every time that I complained, the support staff wanted to go through exactly the same troubleshooting routine (reset the router, change the phone, change the router, change the filter, change the connection to the PC, try a different PC etc. etc. etc.) Bear in mind that I was paying for Business class service, over £200 a quarter phone and broadband.

Now using Tesco at a different location. Total bill, phone and broadband is about the same per year as I was paying per quarter. Not quite getting the full speed that I should, so tried their support. Very helpful, but ultimately, they have had to refer it back to Openreach. In turn, they turn up when I am not there, say that they can't test the line, and clear off; so no improvement.

Still, at least I am now getting a constant connection of 1 Mbps rather than the iffy 0.1 that BT used to give me.

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Silver badge
Facepalm

Average speed

"for example, it only included ADSL customers within 5km of the exchange but not outside of that range"

I have found that the average commuting time to London has halved in the last few seconds. I decided to not include time spent on M25

What do you mean that doesn't count?

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Moved back to BT

After 2.5 years of crap service from TalkTalk with collapse in speed to less than a 1mb in the evening, problems downloading even Flash player updates and constant router resets, I finally bit the bullet and went back to BT.

Transfer back was smooth from a service perspective but there were problems with some of the administrative bits. Performance is constant over the day at around 3.7mbps - 3.8mbps even in the evening.

I live in a village near to a small town that has fibre to the cabinet but its not for me as their exchange does not include our village. Our exchange is about 1.5 - 2 miles away and we only get copper. But the fact that I can now steam video in the evening as well as download stuff at a reasonable speed and within reasonable time frames means that after many years of complaint, I actually have to say that I am happy with BT.

Ofcom on the other hand seem only interested in making cash for the government and trying to manipulate data to support the Fun House's claims that the UK will have fastest broadband in Europe. It would be better if they focussed on introducing incentives for BT to provide fibre across a wider range of locations which can then be used by all providers.

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Silver badge

This is the same Ofcom

Which accepted BT assertions that they don't have aluminium cables or paper insulated cables in their network anymore and refused to reopen cases when evidence to the contrary was offered.

OTOH: My cables are rotten and when ADSL was first installed at home it was at 6Mb/s, falling to 2Mb/s. The average reported speed in my area is 5Mb/s, but I get 16mb/s, mainly because I bitch like hell whenver the speed falls and BT end up having to move my circuit off yet another water-soaked pair.

In the absence of pikeys stealing cable, opening a few duct covers and discharging a 12-bore into the pit might well start encouraging BT to replace things more quickly. It also does wonders for encouraging telcos to start burying cables instead of stringing them through the trees.

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My

My speed is still in the 2.3/0.256 range, pretty much the same as 3 years ago.

4Km from the nearest exchange.

The only noticeable change is not speed but cost.

I departed from Orange at 28/month to Newcall at 13.99/month. Oh, and the speed doesn't drop to dial-up speeds in the evening anymore.

Would've gone to plusnet, but they don't "do" broadband at their low-cost-basis in this area. Go figure.

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Z80

Re: My

If it was before 12/7/11 that you checked out Plusnet, you may want to take another look as Market 2 areas qualified as low-cost for residential accounts from then onwards.

http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/products/low_cost_areas.shtml

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Pint

Since we're getting personal! Mine has halved in the last couple of months

Used to be 2Meg (I'm 6 miles from the exchange) now getting a whole meg! Seems to be due to a cabinet in the middle of the road that fills up with rain. They dont know when they are going to fix it.

Got cut off completely on Sunday as the wind blew the bits that weren't underwater around. Talked to BT and over a very crackly line was informed they were going to send Opencheque round to have a look and I'd probably have to pay £99 as the fault seemed to be in my premises.

Engineer comes round a day late and cant check the line locally as the pole for the drop wire to my house has a red tag on it to say its unsafe. The tag has been there for three years but the mushrooms are new. They dont know when they are going to repair it.

The engineer went away and phoned up later to say he'd swapped me to another pair.

I'm now rocking at 1118kbps (up a bit but not noticeable). All the people I speak to seem to be close to tears about it but no-one seems to know if let alone when they'll fix it. They need to change their logo to one like the Isle of Man but with fingers pointing in a circle.

Beer cos I need a lot of it.

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Facepalm

The answer is amphibians

Had one where the cable came down the pole into a culvert that was usually flooded and inhabited by toads. BB stopped working when it dried out. It also stopped working if still wet but toads removed. Doubtless there's an RFC for this somewhere...

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Similar position to Tom 7

Used to get a little under 2Mb now ~1Mb due to sodden ground, higher water table, etc. 2Mb is not bad for 6 miles though, I'm ~6km from the exchange. You may be on a new pair, but have a thougth for the poor sods that have your old pair! The people with the best wires are the ones that complain the most.

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Bronze badge

The kilometer of overhead wet string to the cabinet and 1.5 kilometers of corroded copper to the exchange I have is to get replaced with fibre. /delusion mode off/

I used to get negotiated at 5Mbps, now fell to 4Mb if I'm lucky and I have more hesitation than a hesitant thing on a Hesitants-R-Us outing, stuck behind a tractor on the A47 ...

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