Do you want your home broadband to work at the speed advertised by your ISP? Then set your alarm and log on at 4am, according to a new survey that tested connections speeds across the UK at different times. The worst time to start streaming TV programmes is 9pm as demand for data across the country peaked - and download speeds …
Well when I were a lad we had to send a box of punch cards to the machine room before 10:00am if we hoped to get our compilation back before home time!
But if you tell kids of today, they just don't believe you!
Average figures are pretty useless, except for politicians
I'm more interested in the distribution of speeds, i.e a nice little histogram rather than just one average. That would tell us a lot more about the state of connectivity in the UK. In an equitable world the slow tail would get upgraded before the fast end of the distribution gets even faster. But that ain't gonna happen any time soon:(
I've got my broadband with a dedicated business ISP. Sure, there's no bundled TV / phone package but you wouldn't BELIEVE how empty their pipes are after 6PM :)
On the Cumbrian coast I curently live with 13 / 14 Mbps until I move next month to an estmated speed of 1.5Mbps.
Must download everything now before its too late
you will be dreaming of 1.5mb, unless you have proof anyone is getting it, estimates are usually double real world speeds :), harsh lesson learnt!
My mum gets worse than any of this
My mother who lives 3 miles south of Chesterfield, 100 metres from the A61, the main artery in North Derbyshire, manages to get 250Kbits per second tops.
This was initially from BT, then from Sky (who are the biggest thieves and useless lying bastards this side of a Virgin Media Superhub) and now from Plusnet.
Nobody in the area she lives gets more than that. This is not some rural wilderness 20 miles from running water, this is an average house on the edge of a average UK town.
Cable providers have not put anything to the area so thats out. Looked at 3G and none of the mobile providers do a decent service there. Have taken sims and equipment from every mobile operator to see if any are any good. Their maps may say good service, but they speak with forked tongues.
At the end of the day, BT will not upgrade the equipment to provide even a slow speed of 2Mb. No matter who they speak to, nobody will change anything.
So when you have a top speed less than 250Kbit, come back here and complain.
BT if you're listening pull your bloody finger out of your rearmost orifice and do something about the crap speed my mum gets.
Not always - for ADSL2 I got an estimate of 4Mb from Be. The first socket I plugged into gave 6Mb - I then realised the master was upstairs and switching to that gave somewhere between 9 and 12 depending on the weather.
For BT Infinity, they insisted I'd get no more than 25Mb - I got mid 30s on their Infinity 1 package and get a stable 40ish down/10 up on Infinity 2 (from a theoretical 80/20). I'm 2.5 miles from the exchange and a good 2/3 of a mile from the big green infinity box.
I download crazy amounts and never notice it dropping under 20Mb (though i'm a good citizen and download the big stuff overnight - 18gig an hour is a nice throughput :D)
Re: My mum gets worse than any of this
"My mother who lives 3 miles south of Chesterfield, 100 metres from the A61, the main artery in North Derbyshire, manages to get 250Kbits per second tops."
You say 100m from the A61 as if that should somehow dictate where BT site their exchanges ;-)
Sadly, more often than not, being colocated with big pieces of infrastructure like train lines and arterial roads inhibits your broadband speed, as the BT line will likely have to circumnavigate it, dramatically lengthening your line.
Re: My mum gets worse than any of this
Weill I was going to complain that I get only 3Mbit max at any tme of day, actually I still will! becasue the more people call BS on this type of survey then perhaps we might stat getting believed.
I only get 3m bit max!! late last year I was getting 1.5M bit max then that started intermitantly dropping out completely, anengineer came (from talk -talk, yeah I! know pay peanuts...) and his test showed distance from exchange of 4999 meters and expressed surprise I got above 1M bit!.
The engineer simply replaced the talk-talk modem but that did not fix the problem and T-T still tried to charge me a £50 engineer fee - thieving bstards. I played hard ball (I wat out of contract) and they canceled the charge and fixed the problems somehow, nothing changed in my house (ie no faults found in my wiring).
I live in a fully copper area and I use a dedicated business ISP. I may pay more but I pay for decent service.
It's a bit sad (but no huge surprise) that several people posting to this thread don't seem to understand that the article is talking about congestion, not line quality. It's likely that on a naff connection you won't see much of a slow down but this is not about how crap your line is. It's about the link(s) between your exchange and your ISP.
The geographical variation is interesting though. Most people think that BT do a good job on exchange backhaul (you don't often see VPs overloaded and not for that long so I hear) and the final pipe to the ISP is not going to be geographical so it implies something between the exchange and ISP and that's a big, murky, area involving potentially any of the various telcos that operate in the UK. In some cases the problem might not have anything to do with BT - if an ISP is using WBMC then the clue is in the 'M' - it stands for managed.
If it's an LLU ISP then it's anyone's guess. Some of them run their own national network, others like Be rent off someone else. Some even have their own cabling going all the way to their exchanges.
All-in-all it's interesting but I'm not sure what uSwitch is trying to achieve here other than get a few column inches. There are more ways to get data from the back of the exchange to an ISP than most of us could imagine. And home-users don't stand a cat in hells chance of doing anything about it.
replace streaming with buffering
it's time to eliminate the streaming protocol and replace it with buffering . all this means if you want to look at a long running stream you wait while the first 20% or so buffers to you rlocal device . with the speeds we have now this shouldn't matter mich and theres no reason video fanbois should expect to pig the net .
Re: replace streaming with buffering
i assume this is sarcasm, downvoted anyway!
I got over 50% increase (from 1.4->2.2) by switching from BT to TalkTalk on a 5km line. Well worth having since this tips me over the threshold of streaming being possible.
Sorry, I just had to ;)
Re: VirginMedia FTW
They do get panned for crap service but http://speedtest.net/result/2470518047.png
Re: VirginMedia FTW
Pathetic upstream rate :-)
I get 75 down and 17 up, on my FTTC.
I take it this is a mean average.
I think for this kind of study you'd be better off rounding all the speeds of to the nearest 512 or 256 kbps and then using a modal average. That way it doesn't matter if there are 10 people in your sample that all have 300Mbps connections on test from virgin. It would be far more informative to say most peoples connections were 1-2Mbps at peak and 10-15 off peak.
It also presents a better metric for uswitch to get people to switch. I'd imagine that on the whole most providers are very similar when you take a mean average of speeds.
Ya'll Big City types...
Pity the country cousins with Hughesnet satellite... 550MB download limit per day, 2am-7am 'free time'.
I blame the trees for blocking my internet speeds.
Trees and sheep
Trees and sheep and grass.
Trees and sheep and grass and snow.
Oh, and BT who appear to have blown fibre to the cabinet 500 yards up the road, and decorated said cabinet with a brightly coloured poster stating the the fact that 'Fibre is Here'
My cabinet has no such poster.
DAMN YOU BT! DAMN YOU!
I suppose you could put a bigger poster on your cabinet saying "Copper is HERE." Maybe BT will replace it with fibre once the innards have been ripped out? :)
Sounds about right
I get the impression telecoms provision from networks is either very short sited or seriously in a situation of over-demand.
Either way both scenarios would result in a major job loss in any other job would they not?
So why does the likes of BT get away with this?
(oh yeh, thats right, it used be gov owned so it's ok [insert bad language here])
Where I used to live was (and I quote) "a major backbone connection passes through your area" ... at said location I was lucky to get a stable 0.5mb/s in any direction.
I moved to my now "somewhere between major cities for the area but in no way central" (none of which seem to have great connectivity) and I have a good solid 120mb/s down 12mbp/s up.
I get comments like "well your quite out of the way there but we should be able to give you something", followed by "oh you seem to be right off a major exchange so we will give you our top package"
How does that work????
The only thing I can say for sure is: I'm definately not on any BT kit (my broadband is cable based from Virgin).
I've seen people complain about virgin but that said "slow" on virgin is well above these national averages ... I'd like to see something happen that allows virgin to spread to more areas ... and maybe a law that states something like "for every X number of people in urban areas upgraded to super fast the provider MUST upgrade Y number of rural connections" this might take a hit on their profits a bit but lets face it, these aren't the sort of companies you expect to go under any time soon.
I feel for you guys out there on poor connections but also take the attitude ... if it was that important you might well have moved by now would you not? I get the impression the the speed of your internet connection is not something people are willing to move over ... they would rather sit at home and complain, my thought on that being ... you are likely gaining in some other way like maybe the 100 acres of fields you see out your back window (on average of course - i acknowledge there will be a few exceptions)?
All that surveys like this prove is that infrastructure is first and foremost a city provision, outside of which you are basically looking at pot luck (some peoples luck better than others).
Those living in a city but still getting poor connections ... WTF !!!
Wasn't there a load of "BT is and UK Gov are going to revitalise the UK network in order to generate income" following that banking crisis? What a crock of s***.
And in other news
I've just got back from a client in Medmenham near Marlow in Bucks - about 35 miles from central London. She moved there 5 years ago and can still only get dial-up!
Oh BT have promised her (and all the other villagers) that it will change one day... The only change came about 6 months ago when BT (on a support call!) swore that she HAD broadband and that she obviously didn't have it connected up right. They even sent a new router....
After plugging it in and talking to BT support again they finally admitted that she DIDN'T have broadband.
As usual, lies, damned lies and statistics ...
I'm in a town of about 15000 with a maximum *negotiated* speed of less than 8Mbps (that I'm aware of.) My connection is negotiated at 4.8Mbps but actual throughput can drop below 1Mbps depending on how wet the overhead string is ... welcome to Norfolk, a slow county ...
Thankfully, with £10m to spend, the Council will improve my connection ... like hell! They may improve my colleague's who negotiates at 1Mbps ... if he's lucky ... but it'll be superfast 100Mb broadband for the centre of Norwich where the councillors live first ...
Four in the morning!
lol on what planet? i have been and used internet all across the UK and (apart from fibre lines) have never seen a connection greater than 8mpbs. and that's pretty good. 4 - 6mbps is more usual and i believe much closer to a true national average.
Averages are a doube-edged sword. Include every village in them and the speeds would drop to sub-2Mb immediately.
You can get 14 or more on an ADSL2+ exchange line quite easily. I've got a few office sites running on those speeds on BT ADSL exchange lines and TT Business ISP accounts.
How much of this is down to BT's shortsightedness?
I've done a lot of work sorting out ADSL lines for office builds in various "edge of town" trading/office estates, and it's a right pain. The lines usually go back to some small village exchange many miles away, meaning a crap sync speed. You'd have thought a sizeable business development would warrant some hardware investment and upgrade?
UP TO X speed...
My connection is 10/10, but funnily enough I've been getting up to 95/17 Mb/s
Of course, that is NOT in the UK..
Uswitch - about as much use as a Martin Lewis recommendation for Best Broadband.
Most people round here would give their eye teeth for 5 megs total... never mind a 5 meg loss!
This is a not spot... a BT investment Not Spot.
Its crud like this that distorts the real situation for many who only have fibre in their breakfast cereal, those on the many old 8 meg exchanges that remain fare worst of all.
I live in a village of 2000 people and I have fibre to the cabinet. Got to love the EU wonga (although BT's putting up over 60% of the money).
I get consistently high speeds 24/7/365 (approx 70 megabits after overhead) because my ISP is not a mass market penny pinching craphouse.
I had reasonably consistent speeds when I was on ADSL (7-ish megabit after overhead) for the same reason.
If people must sign up with the absolute cheapest they're going to get service that reflects that.
I hear some people find them quite useful for getting speeds without being present.
Just a thought.
Given the amount of £Billions our beloved government is proposing to blow on the HS2 rail lines, wouldn't it be better to spend this money on decent broadband infrastructure everywhere - fibre to all cabinets should be affordable - so that far fewer people need to travel, and there is no need for expensive and damaging new train lines.
Re: High Speed
Would say might be because the guberment has more buddies in the rail industry but considering BT is basically an arm of the UK government that can't be the case.
waving the US flag
For the US supposedly being a backwater country when it comes to the internet pretty happy with my 15 to 20 mbps dl and 10 to 15mbps upload on cable. Am in the middle of a major metro area but still in the middle of a western desert though. For the most part the cable companies are pure monopoly evil in the US but being the only viable option for internet you deal with the devil (luckily have directv for tv itself).
I'm in Aberdeen, and I usually get 24Mbps or higher... up to 51Mbps occasionally, and some round here have a Gigabit connection, which might skew the statistics. That's Aberdeen, Hong Kong, in case you're wondering. Did they check more than the town's name when they took the measurements?
4am ? What use is 4am ?
I can barely stand up to get out of bed at 4am, never mind maintain an erection ! Why would I need broadband at 4am ?!?!?!?!?
How reliable are the figures?
A quick Google revealed a large number of "check your broadband speed sites".
So I decided to try them. It's about 1015 and I'm in suburban Wolverhampton. Here's successive download speeds from 10 different measurement sites.
36.7, 53.0, 29.3, 57.6, 39.1, 18.1, 62.1, 56.1, 60.6, 60.0
Virgin media are supposed to provide 60 Mbd so not too many complaints but the variations suggest that either speeds can widely over a short time scale or that some of the measuring tools are not too accurate. In either case I think we ought to know more about the methodology behind the report.
Upload speeds were consistently in the range 2.7-2.9 Mbd.
Worst broadband notspots in the UK named and shamed .
I thought the commentry would reflect the real worst broadband. There are a lot of us out here who on a good day get 1mbs and normally something around 0.25mbs. Lets look at the real notspots, poor areas and not the folks in the city complaining as its gone below 4mbs!
I on the other hand, am loving my 900Kbps connection from talk talk. Have rang them up 4 times and each time i've been lied to. 2 months ago I was getting 2Mbps but someone decided to drop the speed on the exchange. They said it should be fixed in a week. Is it fixed? Is it f.... So anyway Im quitting them, gonna just go with BT for now. Don't have much choice where I live.
0.5Mbps for a few hours a day here in the Peak District...then on/off for the rest of the day. These so-called "surveys" are utter bilge.
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