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back to article Living in the middle of a big city? Your broadband may still be crap

Living in a city centre is no guarantee of nimble broadband speeds in Blighty, as download rates are a postcode lottery. A new study by uSwitch revealed that folks living in the Barbican area of London have internet connections as slow as 5.3Mbps, while users in Charlton in Greenwich are zipping along four times as fast with …

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Unhappy

5mps?

In America, that's considered a premium service and costs extra.

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Meh

This is a way ISP's encourage you to go on to more expensive tariffs, the promises rarely match reality.

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Re: 5mps?

what ? you gotta be kidding.

I pay 20 eur (that's $26 , or 17 GBP) per month for a tripple play package with a 100/10 mbit internet connection over FTTH. In a central european country where most people still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

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Thumb Up

Re: 5mps?

"I pay 20 eur (that's $26 , or 17 GBP) per month for a tripple play package with a 100/10 mbit internet connection over FTTH. In a central european country where most people still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

A yes, the famous "leapfrog" effect. An ancient, shit system finally gets upgraded so what do they use? Naturally, they use the best available, probably at least two or three generations ahead of the system being replaced. Ten years ago you'd probably have been lucky to get unmetered dial-up.

A mate of mine used to work on the Saudi power generation/distribution systems. It's being upgraded now to the latest state of the art kit, but until recently much of the switching gear was the stuff we ripped out 20/30 years ago and sold on to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 5mps?

@ecofeco

In my US home I get 18Mb/s as standard - here in the UK I get less than half the lowest speed mentioned in this article - 1Mb/s! Having said that, I do pay 50% more in the US.

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Re: 5mps?

"while users in Charlton in Greenwich are zipping along four times as fast with speeds of 22.46Mbps."

while in Norf Lundun I'm getting 37M through the wireless to my lappy -- not a clue what's coming in from the street.

Was thinking of running a bit of CAT5 to my neighbour 5 houses away - poor sods are on Virgin and suffer for it. (it can't always be the router, can it?)

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Anonymous Coward

E14

I'm in central(ish) London and getting 5mbps on a good day, down to ~2mbps at peak times. My local exchange is enabled for FTTC, but it's not available at my address, and attempts to move to a better ISP (Be Internet) failed since they we're out of capacity at the exchange.

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FAIL

Re: E14

Funny I gave up 2 BE lines in E14 when I moved out of Poplar, that was almost 2 years agoand then exchange was ful then!

David.

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Windows

B9 - Re: E14

"However, she does point out that some of the discrepancies come from the devices and routers used to get online, and how they're positioned around the house or flat."

2.4 Mbits/s here near the Blues ground in sunny Birmingham. Netgear adsl modem out of main BT socket into homeplug, to homeplug upstairs on same mains spur, to PC, no wifi. According to BT, no plans for this postcode.

I don't download BluRay anything. Debian DVDs just trickle in overnight. The misses would like smoother YouTube or iPlayer though.

The Tramp: that is what BT think of us obviously.

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Stop

Problem in cities are collapsed ducting. If the ducting has collapsed or is blocked then BT moves on to the next one. PP to dig up the road to clear blocked ducts simply wont happen anytime soon so dont hold your breath.

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Paris Hilton

5.3Mb

...is the highest I've ever seen. The other night it dipped to a new all-time-low of 512Kb for a couple of excrutiating hours.

Middle of the Pennines? Orkney? Underwater in the North Sea?

No. Canary Wharf. The ultra-modern financial hub of our country, replete with data centres, etc.

Dodgy old re-conned/untouched house/apartment, then?

No. New build swanky apartments.

Small JPEG of Paris, as trying to download video isn't going to happen...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 5.3Mb

from a broadband perspective Canary Wharf is the middle of nowhere. It serves less than 400 residential subs so BT Wholesale are the only provider in the exchange and have no incentive to upgrade to 21C.

No idea why you'd get throttled down to 512kbps. With <400 subs the STM-1 DSLAM uplink is highly unlikely to be congested. Perhaps there were problems at your retail ISP?

But yes, the spotty, and to some extent arbitrary, availability of decent broadband is a right PITA.

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Re: 5.3Mb

Canary Wharf is also really bad because it is the docklands. The cables wind around the docks, so you can have extreme cable length for a relatively short "crows distance" to the exchange.

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NODNOL

I've lived in various bits of SW London (Tooting, Balham, Wimbledon) for the last 7 odd years and have never achieved more than 7mbps from either NTL (when they used to still be called that), 02, BT or Virgin.

I think all this 20meg stuff is a myth. nobody really gets that and if they say they do they're fibbing.

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Re: NODNOL

Oddly, I've lived both in Wandsworth and Mitcham (so either side of your locations) and have always had fantasic speeds, 15meg in Wandsworth, and 19meg in Mitcham.

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Happy

Re: NODNOL

Soz, dude. I'm in the outskirts of Glasgow and I reliably get ~22Mb/s on WBC - I love it when my Eth monitor showsa lofty 2,300kB/s on the d/l. Mind you, I live about a quarter mile from the exchange.

Let me know what type of pr0n / MP3 / US TV series you like and I'll burn you some DVDs and pop them in the.. what was it called again?... yeah, the "post".

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Happy

Re: NODNOL

I am se of london and get www.speedttest.net 80mb down 4.89 mb up from my virgin media connection,

Have not checked my other Fibre connection from BT yet...

David.

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[brag]

I'm a bit slower than I was last time I checked. I'm currently just over 31mbps down and 10 up. Here in green Gloucestershire.

[\brag]

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Anonymous Coward

Brighton (Hove actually)

73mbps down 16mbps up :)

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Four Yorkshiremen

Right... You think you have it tough! I live in a bloody expensive village between Leeds and Harrogate, our broadband is poor (2mb), Mobile signals are abysmal (Vodafone non existent since the mast was broken into over a month ago), we've no gas even though a massive mains runs just over 200 metres away and the electricity supply can be flaky in very wet weather.

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Re: Four Yorkshiremen

Don't talk to me about sophistication, I've bin to Leeds

... where I max out at 1.9Mb, normally 1.3

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Re: Four Yorkshiremen

You think that's tough? Our internet is two cups on a piece of string. If you want to download anything you 'ave to get aunty mabel to go look it up in t'newspaper an then warble into t'cup for an hour and hope you don't get a lost packet.

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Re: Four Yorkshiremen

I used to dream of having two cups...

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Coat

Re: Four Yorkshiremen

> I used to dream of having two cups...

You only have one cup? I hear there's a video on youtube about that...

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Anonymous Coward

5 whole gig? I'm jealous!

I live not even 5 miles from the Heart of "Silicon Valley". I'm right on the edge of San Jose proper. As the crow flies, less than 20 miles to everyone who's anyone of the Tech World.

But the best I can get in the barrio is 2 gig service. even though I watched 'em lay the fiber cable a quarter mile away from my apartment. Sure the cable company promises something faster but neighbors who have it, aren't seeing the promised results most of the time. My DSL may be slower vs. their off-peak speeds but at least it's consistent :(

Ten years ago, while less than a half mile from the biggest hospital/trauma center in the area, I could not even get DSL service at all. Eight years ago, on the South Side of town, same issue. had to go with some point-to-point wireless system with less-than-satisfactory latency.

Meanwhile, the under-served lands of the outskirts of Tacoma, WA for example, are getting twice the speeds in their trailer parks than I can get here in the Land That (supposedly) Invented It All.

Seems Podunkton, Everywhere gets better speeds these days. Sadly, the London example is not unique-regardless of the millions of dollars of both public and private money that has been thrown at the issue, on both sides of the pond.

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Headmaster

Re: 5 whole gig? I'm jealous!

If you're getting 2 gig service as you say, you have nothing to complain about!

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But this is issue is what cloud providers, and their most vocal adherents, consistently miss. With questionable connectivity speeds even within the same geographic area, dodgy reliability and questionable ISP and provider security, how is the public - and business, especially - supposed to get all excited about cloud services?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh dear

I'd be happy to pay a small subsidy on my 'bumpkin broadband' to help out unfortunate Canary Wharf residents, and other townies. My barnyard animals and myself enjoy a very pleasant 15 -17mbps in a medium sized village in the wilds of the west country.

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I suspect the areas that are showing higher average speeds are being skewed by people using Virgin Media. It would be interesting to see how the averages compare across areas if it were just ADSL being compared.

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Coat

2mb?

Luxury! I have to got to telephone exchange to pick up my own packets, one one. I'd have killed for 2Mb.

Coat for the obvious python parody.

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Anonymous Coward

Slow interwebs

The reason Castle Vale is slow is probably due to all the cables being nicked (kidding....sort of).

I'm in Worcestershire and I just did a few tests from different sites and got 10m down 1m up (I even ran the tests again at the same time and they added up to 10m so nothing fishy going on). I have basic VM - probably nothing out of the ordinary.

There does seem (from the comments) to be a sweet spot though for people who have access to a decent infrastructure (close to a city or in a large town) but who don't have to contend with big business (i.e. not in city centres) or lots of people downloading pron or playing poker online (e.g. Castle Vale - just kidding again....).

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Happy

30 Meters from Exchange.....

Super fast broadband over copper

never less than 60MBits

Only had 12 - 20 hours outage in 8 years!

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Superfast Virgin fiber

Allegedly 100Mbit. On a Wednesday morning, sure, I get around 55-60Mbit.

11pm on a Sunday night? Consistently more like 5Mbit. And don't get me started on what happens if it rains, when the latency shoots up through the roof. Best speed measured during peak hours is 22MBit, worst just over 2Mbit. Methinks there might be some severe contention going on somewhere.

And that is in West Hampstead, a fairly affluent part of London.

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Unhappy

What are these things called megabits, according to my system it only needs to be measured in kilobits, and not many of those. I think our volume knob doesn't go up to 1 let alone 11.

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It's not just big city's where these speed differences exist, its virtually everywhere throughout the UK.

I live on the Warwick Gates estate on the outskirts of Leamington Spa and was struggling along on 3Mbps before BT rolled out FTTC in the area but even after that there are houses less than 100 yards from me on the same estate (but connected to a different street cabinet) that are getting connection speeds of 1 to 3Mbps rather than the 76Mbps that I now enjoy on FTTC..

6 Street cabinets on the estate, all on very long links and in some cases TPONs back to the exchange in Leamington but for whatever reason BT only rolled out FTTC to 4 of the 6 cabinets on the estate leaving 393 homes still on very poor connections.

I waited for FTTC and followed its progress for so long I would have been gutted if we had lived one street over and connected to a cabinet that got missed out on the upgrade so I am sure there are plenty of others in this same position that were less fortunate, not just people that live in city centres.

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Anonymous Coward

Living in the UK? Your broadband will still be crap.

ftfy.

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I'm well happy - almost smug and in the U.K.

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On ADSL, I get 4975k down, 1576 up. On 3G, I get 6219k down, 2301k up. Both on O2.

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Meh

45Mbs down via Infinity2+copper - small terrace in small town...

Always get 45-43Mbs - still arguing with BT that I SHOULD be getting better (apparently from the BT Wholesale tester I only lose ~2MBS from the cabinet to the house - copper get into house via a f****ng pole as well).

1892 Terrace in outskirts of S Manchester. S'pose I can't complain but as it's 45Mbs exchange->cabinet shurely they can do better (i.e. can I have closer to the 'up to 80Mbs' that I pay for)?

BT say as it's [service] within the tolerance for guaranteed minimum service (50Mbs) they won't do anything ("go away and be grateful")...............

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So where are all the BT Infinity 2 "fibre" (it's not - it's COPPER) folk with "up to" 80 Mbps?

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Holmes

Here!

Welling - where i get Virgin Media 100MB AND BT up to 80 MB.

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Anonymous Coward

here

http://www.speedtest.net/result/2607900612.png

AC cause no one like a smart ass

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Anonymous Coward

Re: here

> AC cause no one like a smart ass

not to mention the fact you live in/near Milton Keynes.....

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WTF?

Really?

"Signing up to a fibre service is a sure fire way of speeding up your broadband – and almost two thirds of the country now has this option."

This has got to be a fib, there are still massive holes in the fibre coverage, theres no way 2/3rds of the uk is fibred up. I wonder if they mean 2/3rds of the population?

There is certainly nothing fibre related anywhere near my abode, not even in the bigger towns.

Im sitting on a nice 12mb connection out in the wilds of Devon, it never really fluctuates either, which is nice.

No 3g coverage for miles though and 2g is pretty useless outside the nearest town.

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At this point

I'd love to see Virgin offered money to add to its network. Expand for the first time in years, and really give BT a reason to pick up its game.

What motivation does BT have for improving services?

For what it's worth, 8 meg, about 100 yards from the exchange. Small village in Shropshire, so I expect to see speed improvements by 2020 if I'm lucky.

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Re: At this point

100 yards geographically or cable length -- I've done diagnostics on similar and found the property was built long after the main cables went in the street.

100 yards from exchange - 2.5km cable length.

(though it didn't help with two modems off a splitter)

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Anonymous Coward

So true

Why Barbican and itse environs is crap is easily explained. BT sold the Wood Street and Moorgate exchange sites and got $$$$$$$$$$ for them, as you can imagine. From what I can tell, the Wood Street lines were extended down to Baynard House. It appears Moorgate was re-terminated to Clerkenwell. At a site just E of Smithfield market my line length showed as >3Km.

As an aside, some people on Moorgate exchange lost ADSL for weeks thanks to this move.

Now, in a sensible world, having got all that money from flogging off the sites, BT would have invested in the infrastructure to provide decent service. No chance. After all, it's the City so everyone will pay megabucks for gigabit fibre, won't they ?

Now, in Southwark, we're 620m as the crow flies from the exchange, but 36dB attenuation (that's a line length of 2.6Km). And that's across every line (and close to what the speed checker tells me) so it's not a fault. No Virgin Media, and even worse no chance of FTTC as they are, unbelievably, EO lines.

I was hopeful of the Hyperoptic guys, but they are looking at the big developments (000s of users per link), not surprisingly.

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Silver badge

The technology is rather relevant there

I mean if you are on broadband cable, there's very little your ISP can do. It's a shared medium that's near impossible to upgrade.

If you are on some sort of DSL (ADSL, VDSL, SDSL) there are some problems with crosstalk, but on the whole you have one dedicated line per customer. There should be no bottlenecks there unless your ISP is _really_ cheap. Once you are at a central office, bandwidth is essentially free. There's lots of fibre and you can easily replace your equipment.

Home fibre connections are different. There it depends on whether you have a dedicated pair of fibres to the central office, or you have a "tap" on a large ring. The first is future proof but a bit more expensive, while the second is near impossible to upgrade since you need to replace _all_ equipment in the ring at the same time. In Germany we have that under the name OPAL and areas which have it are called the OPAL-Ghetto since you can only get ISDN there, no decent Internet.

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WTF?

Re: The technology is rather relevant there

"Once you are at a central office, bandwidth is essentially free"

I suggest you look at BT wholesale bandwidth charges to ISPs if you believe that.

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Anonymous Coward

The 3 most south western counties of Wales suffer with sub 24 meg services (mostly a lot below the headline 24 Mbps advertised) and thats despite BDUK funding being prioritized for areas with Enterprise zones. Turns out the Labour assembly decided to reward Labour voting areas with BDUK funded FTTC first - that of course includes the Business Ministers own small constituency located on the outskirts of Swansea - just one of a few enablements close to major urban centres- while the more remote large towns are told tough, suck it up and wait.

Meanwhile Cornwall have really sorted thing out. Maybe we should be asking the Kernow boys to come show Cardiff bay how it should be done.

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