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back to article Deception of 'up to' broadband speeds exposed

The average downstream broadband speed received by consumers is just 3.6Mbit/s, according to data released today from the most accurate UK internet access survey ever published. Ofcom's new hardware-based broadband monitoring system found that despite the fact more than 60 per cent are subscribed to "up to" 8Mbit/s packages, on …

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Anonymous Coward

re: Not the problem

It doesn't matter if it IS BitTorrent.

Comcast Canada recently had to, in court, produce documentation on bandwidth use to justify their throttling traffic.

Turns out their network was saturated less than 3% of the time.

Yet Comcast Canada use the "All the bit torrent users are the ones making your connection slow" excuse. They use "5% of the users use 90% of the traffic" excuse too, which could be true, but was only a problem 3% of the time. And, since they used so much of the traffic, would only really hurt them at that time too.

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As important as speed!

Although the folk in shiny suits have mis-represented the speed and oversold on unlimited, complete, total, and free offers, the UK Digital Commons and the engineers building it have done well to cope with the change in usage from traditional internet browsing and email, to coping with p2p, multi-media communications and now an increasing demand for broadcast quality streaming. The speed findings are dictated largely by physics but the Samsknows data does show that the underlying data transport is finite but stable. The underlying stability of the data transport is probably more important than the speed.

Stability of the underlying data transport means you can plan for critical services. Being finite means we need to make choices on how we use it.

What has not been made clear by Sam or Ofcom in these press release is that the Broadband access networks and the internet generally have not been configured for Broadcast TV. If it is to be engineered for this purpose, then the monies spent on other Broadcast mediums need to be diverted to Broadband and the case for fibre becomes self evident.

The Digital Britain report, if it encourages a Broadband USO consultation and I hope it does, cannot start with a speed demand. It will need to start with a set of key services to be supported on a UK wide basis from which a minimum speed and as importantly the minimum quality needed is derived. Initially, the speed and as importantly the quality to support end to end services will be defined around a combination of browsing and multi-media communications, but not live TV streams.

This ought to be a discussion of how we get from a first generation high speed best effort access to the internet, to data transport which provide known predictable outcomes for the key services carried. In the long run the significance of Samsknow data is not the speed but the underlying stability of the data transport which means we in a very good position to begin a definition for a universal service.

In its current state the UK Digital Commons is not engineered as a hardened Broadcast medium, this would require the engineers to be told to build for that purpose and given the budget to do so. The move from best effort internet to assured services demand choices on how you use your bandwidth, even if you have access to fibre.

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Conclusive proof if ever it was needed

It's time to ditch Songs of Praise from the schedules

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Anonymous Coward

240pmh ford ka

Imagine going to a job interview advertised as up to £100K and they offered you mininum wage...or buying a car advertised with a top speed of 240 mph only to find it's a ford Ka

You can nit-pick around technical defitions of what 'up to' means, but since the public would think that an 'up to 8mb' package', implies that it should be able to deliver 8mb; twisting your wording to make it seem faster than it is still tantamount to misleading in order to achieve greater profits.

Mine's the coat that's up to 8 times better than yours.

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Paris Hilton

who cares

I was on BT. I live about 15 paces from the exchange and syn'd at about 2.3mb on what was supposed to be 8mb.

After 14,000 calls to BT, usual advice of unplugging everything, reinstalling my life etc, i was told an engineer would "boost the signal" to my line. 5 days later without any phone service or broadband, i was told it was an exchange fault.

Short of runnign a lenght of cat 5 to the exchange i gave up.

I'm now on Virgin media, 20mb connection, and get 20mb. very quick, its never broke (touch wood) and i am very happy with it.

That said, I know loads of people who have had a crap VM experience. I can only guess as i live on a street where noone else is under the age of 97 that no-one in my area is a heavy net user, hence my connection is nice and quick.

Oh, and ive never experience any of this bandwidth throttling / traffic shaping ?? i can start a download of 20Gb at 6pm, and get a pretty consistent download rate until its completed.

Paris - cos she needs a good downloadin'

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Pants on fire

Unlimited = erm, limited

8Mbps = erm, about 2Mbps

Time we stopped allowing these thieves to steal our money.

What other industry gets away with these sort of deceptions ?

Wait, Virgin Rail ........

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Anonymous Coward

Pay per bit....

If we paid per bit transferred then it would be in the interests of ISP's to provide the fastest link possible as then we would transfer more data.

Once again, it's the pricing policy that's the problem.

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Coat

Too simplistic by half

I have virgin media 20MB, it used to be shite, then it improved, I regularly get 7MB downloads now. No where near the 20MB, when I complained Virgin insisted on running speed tests with the PC in safe mode, because according to them the PC overheads effect the download speed. They were right it did speed up by around 10 - 20%. You also have to take into account the server speeds you are connecting to. In the main I seem to have a DNS Lookup Problem but who knows if this is Virgin or further down the pipe.

All in all a crappy industry which makes claims they cannot match and in some instances are out of their control. Any other industry and they would be straight into court.

Man stealing my wallet because that is what the ISP industry is doing.

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Silver badge

Remedial Marketing Speak course needed

Come on, you people, don't be so slow!

"Up to" means "Definitely less than". It does not tell us how much less.

Moreover, how hard is to see that, as more people sign up for ADSL, and many of them use it for watching football games, downloading movies, and other such frivolities, contention levels will increase?

It's a positive miracle that even one person can get a 2Mb/sec link at the end of a 3-mile length of copper wire designed essentially for a few 4KHz voice conversations.

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Anonymous Coward

Fraud, possibly!!!

I use a Belkin modem that continuously monitors the line speed and I can only get about 1.5m. France telecom spent hours trying to get me to sign to <8m and in the end the operator said that she was fed up ringing people up and basically "lying" to them. especially in the light that the whole of our area is only covered by a 8m system. Use a line testing system to test your line before you upgrade, if you are over 2km from the exchange then the likelyhood of you getting much more than say 3m is possibly as good as a Rolls Royce pickup full of rocking horse manure. In other words a lie or miselling. Another good word is fraud!!!

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Jim
Boffin

Protocol Overheads?

<maninstreet>WTF is "protocol overheads"</maninstreet>

Given the above shouldn't the regulator be forcing the ISP to suck up the protocol overhead, ie set the throttle high enough so that the customer can actually attain (if lucky) the advertised data speed?

Have to say that the best deal I was ever offered was a variable connection charge based on the 95th percentile speed over the month exceeded. They provided headline speed but you got a nice mrtg graph of your connection with the bill. You only paid for what the red line showed.

Wouldn't it be nice if UK providers were forced to do this? Though they would probably insist on a fixed charge for providing the headline speed, which would then dominate the bill like 'metered' water bills do (or did last time I was in the UK anyway).

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Exactly as specd.

My ISP (PlusNet ... no I don't work for them but do get a kick-back if you sign up on my recommendation :-)) delivers what I pay for. Yes, I'm about 1km from the exchange, but the line consistently syncs at eight meg, and download speeds are consistently around six and a half.

I don't know what all the fuss is about ... I also pay a lot less for broadband than my Dad does from a different ISP, and his connection speeds are cr*p.

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