Re: And what about BT and Virgin?
Some of the smaller ISPs have been at 100% deployment for a couple of years now. AAISP have as has IDNet.
Meanwhile Plusnet ran a couple of trials back around 2009 and seem to have given up. Oh well.
3058 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009
Some of the smaller ISPs have been at 100% deployment for a couple of years now. AAISP have as has IDNet.
Meanwhile Plusnet ran a couple of trials back around 2009 and seem to have given up. Oh well.
But no matter, there is only one way to develop : ensuring that you have the input of all people that matter to the project.
That'd be nice. I must try that some time.
I like your post. I'm not sure about your Solomon solution but it's worthy of discussion. The only point I'd add is that I think the creation of BT in the 80s was a good thing. The government of the day was not investing in the telephone network and service levels were a joke. It couldn't even roll-out the technology it had developed in its own laboratories.
It would be very nteresting to visit an alternative universe to see what the UK telephony network would look like if still operated by the PO. I reckon that an ADSL roll-out would be ongoing with PO announcing plans to consider trialling VDSL from the cabinet in a couple of large cities.
How do you know if the slowness is due to your connection or the remote system?
Well first off make sure all tests are performed using a wired connection. A lot of people these days blame their ISP or connection when in fact it's because their house is within range of loads of other WAPs and the airwaves are 'full'.
The simplest way is to check your router's connection speed. xDSL should connect at more or less the same speed 24/7. If your throughput drops at certain predictable times (especially the evenings) then ISP congestion is very likely the cause.
You could run the Thinkbroadband speedtester and if the single threaded result is different to the multi threaded that would indicate congestion. Then complain to your ISP. If that doesn't help consider paying a bit more for your service. It's difficult and tricky to match capacity with demand when demand changes so much throughout the day (which is why good restaurants require you to book in advance). More expensive ISPs can afford to have their network being underutilised more of the time which translates to being better able to cope with peak demand.
By why are you so eager to defend their right to sell us a service of a higher standard than they actually provide?
But that's the point. As far as xDSL services are concerned we are getting exactly what we payed for. I pay roughly £14 a month to be connected to a port on a DSLAM that is technically capable of achieving a speed of 80Mb/s.Now my particular telephone line is about 300 metres long and suffers a little bit from interference from my neighbour's line(s). Consequently I actually connect at 67Mb/s.
That is not the fault of the DSLAM. Nor my ISP. The technology was specifically designed to adapt to conditions (which is part of what I pay for) and it's doing exactly that.
Now granted you could choose to require that we only pay for what we're actually getting but there are problems with that. The biggest one is that the cost to the supplier doesn't change. It doesn't matter to my CP whether I'm connecting at 80Mb/s, 67Mb/s or 12Mb/s. The cost is the same to them. In fact if anything the slower speeds cost them more. It's going to be marginal but longer lines require a bit more electrical power to push the signal through and there's more to go wrong with a longer line so statistically the lifetime maintenance cost is higher.
So as far as xDSL is concerned I take the view that I'm impressed with what the technology is achieving and think that overall BT have made the right decision to go that route. A good compromise between aspiration and practicality. With their forthcoming G.FAST I've gone back to being sceptical and thinking that the time is right for the final leap to FTTP but time will tell on that.
However... (sorry for the long post).
If you are complaining that your connection slows down overnight, then it's slightly different. I still acknowledge the legal right of a service to 'under perform' and accept that balancing capacity with usage is difficult but I'm prepared to work with you to try and resolve the issue. That's because while there are unfortunate real-world constraints on the last mile there are fewer on the backhaul and ISP networks. An ISP ought to always be able to provide you will all the bandwidth your line can provide. The only reasons they might not are to protect their margins and occasionally dealing with faults.
Lastly - paying customers
Residential broadband in the UK is cheap. Amongst the cheapest in the world. Ofcom have publicly stated that their policy has always been to keep the price down to encourage take-up. It worked. We have long had some of the highest take-up rates in the world. Unfortunately we also have some of the lowest CP margins in the world. That makes the case for RoI very poor. So when people demand a national FTTP roll-out that would be one of the biggest and most expensive engineering projects in British history you have to understand the difficulty of doing that in a market where pricing is in a race to the bottom.
Here endith the lesson :)
I hope I'm not annoying anyone here. My intention is not to say 'put up with it'. It's merely to temper the discussion with a little reality (an annoying habit of mine). I'd love the UK to have a national FTTP roll-out. It'd make us look great internationally. But..I'd also like us to have roads that don't have potholes. An NHS without waiting lists and for me to always have a gross score below 80 at every golf course I visit. Sadly none of these are particularly likely. We shouldn't stop trying of course :D
You need better analogies. Beer and petrol are goods. Broadband is a service. That means different rules and requirements. Not getting all the beer you pay for is breach of contract and actionable. Not getting the speed you paid for(*) is only a problem if it's because of incompetency.
A better analogy is to wonder if you could complain that having bought a Ferrari F40 you've never been able to get out of second gear on your daily commute. The answer of course would be 'no'. An F40 can travel at speeds up to 201mph. That doesn't mean you as a particular driver will be able to do that.
(*)And anyway no good network engineer is ever, ever going to guarantee throughput. Even if you have a fixed speed service you're not going to get that. Networks are just too large and too complex.
As for the 'up to' used with DSL - you are getting exactly what you paid for. A technology that supports a variety of speeds depending on the condition of your line. As long as the provider gave you a reasonable estimate up front you have no legal basis for complaint.
Oh and Ofcom don't have anything to do with advertising anyway. That's the ASA. And they are a bigger bunch of walruses than Ofcom.
Unfortunately it opens up openreach to the influence of the likes of Talk Talk and Sky. That could mean that whatever sympathy for rural areas they used to have will be overridden. I'm not saying that BT has always done a bang up job of rolling upgrades out to all four corners of the country but it's done far more in that respect than the LLUOs ever did.
All Sky will want openreach to do is target VM areas. Talk Talk will probably think the same. In fact most CPs will likely think that. They all make most of their money from selling services to city dwellers. Us country bumkins might be about to face a more severe digital divide.
Hopefully it won't go like that but we need less partisan control over openreach not more :-/
People will give a shit when their 4K TV(s) can't play internet streamed video at full resolution and they start asking why not!
You don't need superfast broadband to watch 4k. Compression isn't yet as good as it could be but still we're only talking about 20Mb/s. Even a good ADSL2 connection could support that. A reasonable FTTC connection would be enough for a family.
Now the above does assume that the video is being compressed somewhat but that's inevitable. Trying to stream uncompressed video across the internet is probably always going to be impossible. And at present for most people totally unnecessary. We still have people can't tell the difference between SD and HD or don't care.
If there's a killer application that absolutely needs more than 40Mb/s for a home user I've not heard of it yet.
BS, better quality and faster connections are critical for content, including growing web pages with busy AJAX and various spies, complete loading in a reasonable time with minimal retry delays, caused by dropped packets, caused by connection congestion and connection noise.
You completely missed the important point of my post.
You might think we need better speeds (and I might agree). But the people who pay for these services do not. The residential broadband market in the UK is based around price. However much you or I might think that's stupid (and I do but for different reason to you) it cannot be ignored.
This gentleman is claiming there is high demand for high speed broadband and quite simply he's wrong. If you want universal high-speed FTTP you can't live in cloud-cuckoo land. You have to accept that there is currently a limited market for it. Like many things in real-life - sometimes the best solution just isn't something anyone wants.
Oh and FTTP is not going to magically cure congestion and probably not packet loss for most people either. Both of those mostly occur in the ISP network or backhaul and have nothing to do with the final mile. In fact ramping up connection speeds would risk trigger more congestion in the same way that widening a feeder road often causes problems on the major highway it connects to.
And the same argument will still hold in a couple of decades ! I'f we'd been putting in FTTP as a matter of policy for all new developments*
Agreed totally there..but only if done properly. All new developments in the last decade should have been fibre. A few of them were but only for voice services and ironically when ADSL came along they ended up getting copper overlay because ADSL is not compatible with fibre. Some more recent that did get a data service were exclusive (ie;no wholesale service so you have to go with the builder's ISP). Said ISPs were often poor quality and again people started asking for copper lines so they could take a service that way instead.
There certainly are advantages to full FTTP but we have to be practical. It's a very expensive proposition. Talk Talk say it's costing about £500 per property passed in York. So if we ignore the higher costs of rolling it out to less urban environments that's £500 * 22 million which is £11b. Unfortunately roll-out costs rise the less urban you are, quite dramatically as well.
What compounds the problem is that BT needs to get funding for such an endeavour but the cost and availability of funding depends on their assets. Trouble is if their biggest asset is the thing they want the funding to replace. If they talk up the benefits of FTTP they risk talking down the value of the collateral. The other issue is that their network is extremely good at what it was designed for (voice) and actually not too shabby at data.
As I wrote in another post a while back: It's like that ancient Vax you keep at the back of the server room. It chugs along day after day doing all that is asked of it. You try getting your CFO to sign off on spending several thousand pounds replacing it :-/
that way there is no line rental to pay as you no longer have a phone line.
I'm not sure you understand what line rental is for.
There will always be a charge associated with the cable whatever type of cable it happens to be. You can't just stick them in the ground or string them between poles and ignore them. Line rental is what ensures that your line can be repaired for a (sort of) reasonable amount of money and also what encourages (sort of) network upgrades.
It's possible that it will eventually be rolled into the cost of your data service and the small part that pays for telephony broken out but the bulk will always have to be paid. And FYI ignore the line rental cost levied by your CP. The underlying charge made by Openreach has actually been falling in recent years. It's the likes of BT Retail, Talk Talk and the rest who keep increasing it.
Where there is a screening need for bandwidth that is not being serviced.
Except that there isn't (assuming he means screaming). It's obvious from the relatively low take-up of top tier services that there is limited demand for speed. People want something better than 'crap speed' but that's all. Only a minority of people who could choose the higher than 80/20 service from BT choose to do so. In fact only a minority of potential FTTC subscribers (around 35% I believe now, probably bolstered by BDUK gaining traction) are even bothering to switch from ADSL.
Only a small number of VM customers have chosen the top package. VM keep upgrading customers for free because they won't move themselves.
There are arguments for going FTTP (or at least TPON) but roaring speed isn't currently one of them. The best one is future proofing but to be honest the huge costs of upgrading the UK network to FTTP and frankly the logistical difficulty of doing it mean that it's probably not practical. I published a link last year to a Thinkbroadband article that pointed out that it would take more telecoms engineers than currently exist and a couple of decades to complete such a project. If BT had actually gone that route then most of the population would only now be moving from analogue modem to FTTP.
But..I have to admit that I'm not happy with BT's plans for G.FAST. When they were talking about installing them deeper into the network it seemed a sensible next step. But now they say they are only going to install them on existing cabinets. That seems like a bad idea to me.
Can someone please tell me what gender has to do with the speed of copper or fiber
It matters most when you're holding the end of the cable in your hand and wondering where it goes :)
Cheaper isn't always better. And radio data transmission has serious contention issues. When you're sharing a mast with several hundred other users even a lowly 2Mb/s ADSL connection is probably better.
Similar to the follies of the 70s when people asked oil companies how much oil there was in the ground but failed to understand that oil companies only look so far ahead. Just because no-one has planned power generation increases doesn't mean they won't happen.
I read a lot of stories from people who for some reason are no longer able to use Windows 7 updates
Like me. I disabled Windows update on two of my three machines a couple of years ago after they both had their user profiles screwed. I had to restore the server from an image backup (sensibly kept well up to date). The laptop came back courtesy of System Restore which is handy because I don't bother to back that up.
Anyway the laptop has the 'Get Windows 10' icon in the system tray but I ignore it. I have Win 10 on the machine I use when working from home and that's enough. I always try to embrace different OSes ever since I switched to OS/2 and avoided Win95. But Windows 10 is just a step too far. Too much screen estate is wasted on white space I dislike how the right mouse key is being phased out.
I'm also very concerned about the possibility of MS putting adverts on my start menu. I already hate adverts and avoid them as much as possible. My start menu should be exactly that with me deciding what appears on it.
The biz blamed its decline in Blighty on the "operational challenges following a billing system migration".
I blame it on their generally crap customer service. They are a very frustrating company to contact and when you do contact them the 'help' you receive is often pointless or wrong. I resorted to calling them last year because I was sick and tired of getting spam SMS from them advertising their 'black tuesday' deals or some such drivel. Took over half an hour to get through. Then the bozo I spoke to said it was because I didn't have children's number blocking on my phone.
When their Sure Signal service fell over earlier this year it took them a week to fix it during which people who called support were advised to reboot the device, reconfigure their firewall and contact their ISP. Those who chose to visit the support forum also got that advice but at least they could see the large thread at the top and if they read it finally realised it was a Vodafone fault and nothing to do with the customer or their equipment.
I need the SS3 as the only currently viable alternative to decent coverage (not that South Northants is particularly rural, especially in the largest town) so I'm stuck with these monkeys. But lordy what a shower they are.
Back when I was a data recovery engineer we saw drives from the same batch failing quite a few times. We also saw failed controllers since most RAID boxes only have one controller. But the most common problem was user error due to one of the following:
* Ignoring first drive failure and continuing to run the system until another went. A RAID is not a form of backup. It's a 'get me home' solution.
* Poorly written software that didn't make it clear how to rebuild an array and didn't have adequate safeguards to protect the array integrity when adding a new drive.
Yup. Slightly less easy on Sky HD due to the poor implementation of FF and RW. It'd be nice if Sky would introduce a 'Jump xx seconds' like my Freesat box has but I can't see it ever happening.
..plus there are a variety of (mostly unpleasant) ways for someone else to 'borrow' your fingerprints.
I once created an array of months and left the last one out. Luckily we spotted it eventually. I'm pretty sure it came to light on the 7th of Monday :)
I've always been a little bit annoyed by the need for so many printer drivers. Sure different printers have different features but is it really beyond the wit of Humankind to come up with a generic printing interface? Sure there are a few different printing languages (Post Script, PCL et al.) but if all you want to do is chuck some letters and a few images at a sheet of paper where is the complexity?
To be honest having come out of a meeting I'm now concerned about some of my fellow commentards. Maybe I'm expecting too much (and heck, it's not like commenting on El Reg articles matters) but could you perhaps at least try and read posts more carefully?
Several of you have pointed out that sometimes it isn't possible to rewrite code to avoid comments. Did you not notice that I accepted that in both my posts? The last half of my very first post is:
"but Kernel code has to be performance and size oriented so that would be a lot more difficult unless the compiler is very, very good."
Right there in writing is my acknowledgement that you can't always avoid writing comments. Sheesh - I hope you guys pay more attention when you're reading comments than you do when reading forum posts.
Even with comments it is not easy to understand. Without comments? Good luck.
So use comments then!
Neither I nor that article have said that you shouldn't use them. We're just saying that you should consider rewriting the code as an alternative. In my original post I made the observation that kernel code likely would need commenting because by it's nature it was harder to write clear code. In my second post I just said you should consider rewriting code. Clearly you've come up with another example where it's hard to write code that is self-documenting.
Are you incapable of thinking in a nuanced way? That author clearly encountered people like you when he published his first article. You appear to have had a knee-jerk and polarised reaction and decided to pigeon hole me as never commenting my code.
At no *censored* time have I ever suggested that
All we're saying is that comments can create various problems and in a lot of cases they are not actually solving a problem. The best code is code that is self-explanatory and in my opinion every time you feel the need to write a comment you should at least take a minute and consider if the code could convey that information on its own. That's all. If the answer is 'no, it can't' then by all means use comments!
It's interesting that some people don't like my idea of avoiding comments. You might find this article interesting at it sums up my view.
But to my mind it's fairly simple. If you feel the need to explain what your code is doing consider re-writing it.
An explanation of 'why you're doing it' is often useful and is fine. It's the plethora of 'what you're doing' that I dislike. They so often get out of date and are so often an excuse for poorly written code.
That depends on the comments. I prefer to write code that just doesn't need them but Kernel code has to be performance and size oriented so that would be a lot more difficult unless the compiler is very, very good.
Well yes, in this particular case, it was evidence tampering.
However the original question posed by David Nash was a hypothetical one seeking to find out if in general the police had to have a warrant. Both myself and Charles 9 were answering by pointing out that the police do not always need a warrant.
If it's anything like the UK there will be a whole slew of reasons why a warrant might not be required (protecting evidence, protecting people, protecting property, pursuing a criminal).
You know I used to sigh and smile over not having any choice over who my MP was. Shouldn't one feel slightly proud when facing the possibility of having your MP become PM?
But then who can be possibly be happy right now. Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom. Brexit. Gawd help us all.
I still think of that emoticon as 'Ice Cream Cone'.
So apparently the party is going to include ice cream.
Or the related sign that we actually had outside our house in the 1970s while the housing estate was being built.
That sounds like a fortune cookie message.
Either that or a code-phrase for conspirators to whisper to each other when identifying themselves :)
My car has one but I've never used it - I prefer to just let my iPod play through my music collection.
My bedroom clock-radio is DAB but again I have an iPod docked to it and prefer that as a source. I bought DAB as almost the only way to get a radio-controlled alarm clock (brightness of display was also a factor). Sadly it turns out that DAB time is not very accurate. The clock varies +/- by up to a minute on a daily basis. I did originally think maybe by not using the radio it couldn't get the time but it correctly adjusts the clock for DST so clearly is getting the time from DAB :-/
"You may see variances in the time displayed on your radio - but you should never see variances of more than a couple of minutes."
hmmm... I wonder if we can find any parallels in recent times.... like perhaps when Blair handed the reigns of government to Brown but I'm guessing you think thought that was ok.
You'd be guessing bloody wrong then, probably because you have absolutely zero data to work with. I detest Gordon Brown with a passion and since that was a Labour government I didn't want any of them to be in a position of power in the first place.
My dislike has nothing to with political leanings. It's a complaint about political process. I have always disliked mid-term changes of PM going back to Thatcher->Major. Not because of the change (Maggie needed to go) but simply because whilst none of us elect the PM we do have a certain expectation when we vote and it feels wrong.
Your vote is not worthless, it is instead worth the same as everyone else's
This isn't sour grapes talking. I'm not objecting to the result as such because I would normally rather help the Conservatives than any other party. In practical terms I get the MP I'd vote for anyway most of the time. However I don't see why I should ignore that fact that were I to change my mind it wouldn't make any difference. Whether I vote or not and who I vote for in a general election is irrelevant to the outcome.
Where is the democracy in that?
Democracy in the UK? Let me see now.
Like around 75% of the population I live in a safe seat so right from the off my vote is basically worthless. In fact right now my MP (by which I mean the MP that was foisted on me) is trying vainly to become Prime Minister(*). That's a process over which I (like probably 95% of the population) have absolutely no say in.
So it's possible that the most important decision to affect the UK in my lifetime is going to be taken not only by someone over whom I have no control whatsoever but someone who I didn't even know was going to be in the position to make that decision.
Meanwhile when it comes to the EU my vote counts as much as anyone else'. I ended up with a nice representation of two Conservative, two UKIP and one Labour MEP this time around.
(*)In the unlikely event that she succeeds I'm going to write to her and ask if she finally has enough power to give the go-ahead to the Farthinghoe bypass. Last time I enquired I was told she had no control over local transport policy :-/
In effect it was nothing more than an opinion pole.
Some would say we already have too many Poles in this country.
I used to live in Kettering (working for
a pittancePegasus Software). Now I live in Brackley. Same county but about as far away from it as is possible, which due to Northamptonshire's shape means nearly fifty miles away :)
It was okay as a town in the late 80s but not particularly friendly. And Weetabix is made in Burton Latimer which at the time I was there seemed to be a village a couple of miles outside of Kettering. I do wonder how it changed when the link road to the M1 was completed. It may have changed for the better, I've been told it's grown a lot.
According to this research, our 13.2 billion-year-old home galaxy the Milky Way is close to transitioning to green, but is white at the moment.
So we'll be all white for a while, then :)
Chemistry is one of those places where case is highly significant, and should not be treated lightly.
Science in general is one of those places, as long as you're using a modern system of units like SI.
For instance claiming that you have a 100mb/s internet connection at home is not going to impress anyone who understands the technology ;)
How to traverse DHS-controlled territory: The Matrix Lobby Scene
Bah. I never felt they made good enough use of surround sound in that scene. For a decent gun battle you need the beach assault scene from Saving Private Ryan.
So, the message I'm getting is that having that entry 'Contract Killer' on my LinkedIn profile could be a problem.
The selling price of the first thing I bought is not affected buy the buying price of the second.
It is if it's fungible ;)
A litre of petrol bought a year ago and stored in a can is worth the same as a litre of petrol just drawn from a pump. It takes several years for petrol to go off and until that happens a litre of petrol costs what a litre of petrol costs regardless of where it comes from.
You could be honest and have the price vary minute by minute but capitalism isn't a fundamentally honest economic system. Prices tend to go up faster than they tend to go down.
So why should fuel at the pump rise?
Because it's bought (mainly) in Dollars and the Pound is falling against the Dollar.
Sorry for injecting a sensible comment on Friday evening. Maybe I do need that fourth glass of wine.