back to article British fixed broadband is cheap … and, er, fairly nasty – global survey

Brit consumers get a broadband bargain, but pay for it with poorer performance than other European countries. The UK ranks fifth best for price out of 29 European countries surveyed for price comparison site Cable – but it lags behind Romania, Portugal and Bulgaria for average download speed. Cable found the UK has fallen …

Downloads

>> Does anyone (other than gamers) actually download a 5GB file?

A map update for my Toyota is 7.7GB.

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Re: Downloads

Google Play Store can throw you some doozies if you have a bunch of phones and a handful of apps that need updating.

An iPad / Windows / MacOS update can easily be gigabytes on its own.

Hell, the other day I downloaded a couple of movies from Google Play onto a mobile device and they were gigabytes before I even got a few on. Let alone, say, an entire TV series.

If you can burn through 50-100Gb in a month just browsing as an ordinary family, you can be sure that the speed at which you can download a 5Gb file matters a lot.

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DJV
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Re: Downloads

I test various operating systems - the ISOs for those are generally in the region of 2 to 4 GB. The largest I've seen recently are Devuan 2 at 4.5GB and the DMG file for macOS Mavericks at 5.1GB.

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Meh

Re: Downloads

23GB for JLR Europe + Russia map updates!

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Def
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Re: Downloads

I work from home. A typical day is spent streaming live video when testing our players. I don't know how much I download in a day, but I can burn through 2GB of data quite easily when I'm demonstrating our player on a mobile network.

I have an 80/80 fibre connection right now, but will seriously consider going wireless in the near future. The theoretical maximum speed of my work phone (Huawai P20 Pro) on an LTE Advanced network is 15 times faster than the maximum I can get from my fixed line. (In reality I rarely get more than about 40mb/s over the current network infrastructure, but 5G will almost definitely solve that.)

The only real drawback going forward would be download limits and caps that I don't have right now. If the greedy telcos removed those, fixed lines really would become a thing of the past - at least in my house.

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Alert

Re: Downloads

A HD file of an NFL game is usually much larger than 5GB

I wouldn't watch a movie that was not a lot bigger than 5GB

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Re: Downloads

I regularly download ISOs. When we roll out new servers etc. we need the latest ISOs available.

Same for Windows, we often roll out custom images, based on the latest stable image.

Then there is WSUS Offline (and WSUS itself), which, whilst individual files are smaller than 5GB, often comes in around the 12GB mark.

At home, we generally get through between 200GB and 400GB a month.

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Re: Downloads

Netflix in 4K burns 5gb fast. And since Netflix is designed around binge-watching... Yes.

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Re: Downloads

Although not a 5GB file; my photography habit can quite require an order of magnitude more data to be backed up. Sports and nature photography mean lots of raw files; although I cull the vast majority I'm paranoid enough to back all the files up initially.

As I have a good connection, I also host torrents for Linux distros.

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Re: Downloads

"my photography habit can quite require an order of magnitude more data to be backed up."

And it will require a lot more this month if you use Flickr for your backups since they are introducing a 1000 photo limit, they will be enforcing this limit by automatically deleting your oldest photos so that only your newest 1000 remain.

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Re: Downloads

"If the greedy telcos removed those, fixed lines really would become a thing of the past - at least in my house."

They will. Until the fixed line competition is gone. The the caps will come back and the prices will rise. It's all down to who blinks first, then the rest will follow.

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Is this Time Warner's site?

"...now that video consumption is via streams rather than downloads"

Last I checked, if you want anything off of any network you have to download it. Trying to alter that logic is part of big cables greed machine and could be seen as anti-Net Neutral (or is it pro now, I can't keep up).

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Def
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Re: Is this Time Warner's site?

They mean streaming directly to the player, as opposed to downloading and then playing.

Hardly anybody downloads videos before watching them any more. Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, NetFlix, EveryVideoAppEver just stream now, and that's how the vast majority of people consume video content.

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Re: Is this Time Warner's site?

You can download DRM'd videos from Netflix so you can watch them later when you're not online or have a crappy connection.

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Re: Is this Time Warner's site?

"They mean streaming directly to the player, as opposed to downloading and then playing."

Streaming is what you call downloading without saving.

When you get data, you are DOWNLOADING data. It is impossible to get data without downloading it and your bandwidth directly affects the speed at which you can download data. You want to stream a movie, you MUST download it while playing it. Just because you dont store it makes no difference to your need for fast download speeds.

Even if you are watching the first half of a 1 hour programme you still rely on your available DOWNLOAD bandwidth to be able to watch it in HD or at the same time as another device that is streaming something else.

Remember, there are only two things that you can do with a network connection. UPLOAD and DOWNLOAD. It matters not what you do with the data after or during. Not at all.

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Re: Is this Time Warner's site?

Averaged over time streaming will throttle down towards the playback bitrate, file downloads won't but also don't need to maintain a minimum rate. Downloading as a stream or block are very different things and measuring one has limited relevance to the other.

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Meh

But as Thinkbroadband pointed out if people in the UK actually went for the best package available to them rather than the cheapest we could be number one.

Ironic (and sad?) considering how cheap broadband is here compared to most places.

"Combining the ADSL2+ to VDSL2 and a 200 Mbps minimum for cable services would lift our average to around 53.3 Mbps and the Ofcom equivalent to around 75.4 Mbps and potentially lift the Mlabs figure to something like 41.17 Mbps lifting the UK to a potential top 3 position, add in some of the FTTP and G.fast roll-outs already underway and a number 1 position is possible."

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Maybe neither ironic, nor sad, just a sensible choice based on cost and need. I'm on a 200 Mbps VM connection, but other than for infrequent large, multi thread downloads on fast servers the entire household probably doesn't push above 30 Mbps. The only reasoni don't downgrade is that VM packages and discount mean I would save nothing.

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if people in the UK actually went for the best package available to them rather than the cheapest we could be number one.

Isn't that a bit like saying "If everyone bought a Jaguar instead of a Fiesta we'd have the best car fleet in Europe"? People buy what they need, why should they spend more money for something they won't use?

Just using a mean is a bit pointless as a measurement, I'd much prefer to see mean/median quoted, and over different times of day.

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That's just the reverse of saying if everyone went for the cheapest option we'd save £Billions. We would, but would all be on Talk Talk and having our details hacked by a two year old with a speak and spell.

People choose the option that's best for them, unless they're idiots in which case they're probably also on a standard rate electricity tariff and deserve all they get.

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Nonsense. In many remote areas there's only one choice - Openreach. No fibre service available, and spending more on a better ISP doesn't make any difference to the speed of the service.

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Anonymous Coward

Spending on a better ISP that is proactive in pushing Openjoke to actually do some proper diagnostic and repair can make a huge difference in cases where the line is performing poorly due to ignored defects.

Similarly, where a budget ISP may have underprovisoned backhaul, a decent ISP will be more likely to have adequate capacity to supprt its customers at peak times.

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5G depressing investment?

As well as the 'dead spots' where fixed-line broadband is not yet fibre to the cabinet, there are also lots of places where the speed is substantially below 24MBps (we are on FTTC but average 14Mbps due to distance from the cabinet). We had been hoping either for more Openreach investment or the availability of FTTP (even self-funded) but this seems to suggest we have more chance waiting for 5G and dropping fixed line broadband - which if is seen as a route ahead would surely cause Openreach to drop any future deployment investment in domestic lines and fibre?

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Re: 5G depressing investment?

IMHO you shouldn't get your hopes up for 5G, because the investment needs are considerable on the wireless side, and to supplant fixed line it would generally need a huge backhaul upgrade. Even then roll out will be a repeat of 4G: marketing led, metropolitan areas first, with notspots penciled in for the thirty second of Never, in the year 2065.

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hmv

streams rather than downloads?

Um ... the bits are coming down the pipe whether it's a download or a stream.

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Happy

Re: streams rather than downloads?

Um ... the bits are coming down the pipe whether it's a download or a stream.

True, but streaming allows for a thinner pipe because the end-user won't have to wait for the download to finish before they can use it. Although there is also a relationship between 'pipe size' and latency so thinner pipes might only be adequate in theory.

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Re: streams rather than downloads?

"

True, but streaming allows for a thinner pipe because the end-user won't have to wait for the download to finish before they can use it.

"

True only of the individual user's download speed (which was what was being measured). If you have 100 people all streaming movies, the total bandwidth needs to be the same as if they were all downloading the movie before playing it. Jitter & lag don't matter on a download, and can be compensated on a stream by having a large buffer (e.g. the movie starts playing after a few minute delay to get a decent amount buffered).

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Re: streams rather than downloads?

Yup. And these bits have to go down that pipe every single time you listen to that song, not just once.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: streams rather than downloads?

Jitter and lag do matter on a download because they can corrupt files if the error correction doesn't catch then, and if it does packets are resent, materially slowing the transfer rate. In theory a big buffer can eliminate the problem for streaming, but that's not always true in practice as the content providers often avoid using large buffers for their own reasons (like quick starts).

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Re: streams rather than downloads?

If your downloads are corrupted by jitter and lag, you should google for "TCP"

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Re: How fast is 'fast moving'

And "out of order delivery" effect on TCP :-)

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Re: streams rather than downloads?

Streams are fine if you have a reliable connection. Some of us though, on strands of old wet rural copper, can get quite decent speeds but with random outages from seconds to minutes when the wind blows the wrong way or the tree gods get angry.

When this happens I would much rather my download paused than have an unscheduled tea break during the film.

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Pirate

"Does anyone (other than gamers) actually download a 5GB file?"

What about pirates?

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City Fibre

We're about to get City Fibre in Aberdeen soon-ish

Just a shame it's Vodafone running with it. Customer service zero.

Think I'll stick with what I've got thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

It should mention a distribution of dwelling type by country. Countries with a higher percentage of people in blocks of flats etc can more easily and cheaply install things like FTTP. Since the UK has a lot of house-dwellers it will lag behind.

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I'm hoping fixed wireless 5G comes here in the next couple years

I have a choice between expensive but reliable VDSL2, and expensive and faster but unreliable cable internet. So I've stuck with VDSL2 because 40 Mbps that always works and is always at full speed is better than the cable crapshoot and monthly multi hour "maintenance windows" starting at midnight on a weekday.

A fiber provider said it was coming to town a couple years ago, but other than connecting up a few businesses they don't seem to be doing much so I've given up that they will save the day. This a university town that not too long ago had the second highest rate of postgraduate education in the entire US - you'd think if anyone would have broadband competition we would!

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Congestion also a factor

If the broadband penetration in Romania for example is much lower than the UK, chances are there's lower contention on the infrastructure. It's noticeable also that much of the Soviet era copper was so crap they had no choice but to rip out and replace with fiber, which gives them an advantage compared to the UK

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Facepalm

What Bargain Is That Then?

From the article: Brit consumers get a broadband bargain, but pay for it with poorer performance than other European countries.

At what I am paying per month it certainly doesn't feel much like a bargain.

As for performance... well I was getting some symptoms of seriously slow speed both down and up today, and speed checks carried out with a variety of different speed testers gave wildly differing results, although one or two confirmed utterly dismal upload speeds, one or two others did not.

Needless to say I have no idea which to believe.

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Re: What Bargain Is That Then?

I save £25 a month by not buying a dead tree newspaper every day, as I used to do many years ago. Add in the online magazines I read and it does make my monthly broadband cost seem worth it.

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"Brit consumers get a broadband bargain ..."

Presumably, the *cost* of the broadband in the survey includes the overpriced, and rapidly increasing cost of the BT line?

Will never be a "bargain" whilst they're allowed to charge what they wish.

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Anonymous Coward

Phone line costs

No, you don’t want to pay BT for your Openreach phone line (ideally, you don’t want to pay BT for anything, the only thing the cheeky buzzards are good at is changing prices after you’ve *already paid for* your line rental in advance, and then rebilling you even more. Err, no!).

You can get a much better deal for your broadband carrier wire (I mean, phone line) from the likes of Zen, for example.

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Anonymous Coward

Do you like goulash?

Friend of mine recently returned to Hungary, sorted herself out an internet connection for £11 a month and asked me to just check everything out remotely...

Quick TeamViewer connection later her router firmware it updated (not something I like to do remotely!), and everything is secure.

I decided to do a quick speed test... 600mb/s down, 200mb/s up... I almost fell off my chair. £11 a month...

Ping came in at approx 20ms to UK. Sub 10ms if I tested off a Romanian speedtest hub.

If anyone wants me, I'm emigrating.

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5G replacing fixed line

We already have 4G replacing fixed line broadband in New Zealand. Anyone who doesn't need unlimited being persuaded away from VDSL and even fibre onto 4G fixed line by the biggest telco there.

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cam

Download the Internet Twice a Day to Keep It There

Or read a book.

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Does anyone (other than gamers) actually download a 5GB file?

- Anyone updating Windows 10 to version 1809.

- Anyone downloading an ISO for installing (or live booting) an OS such as Linux, or Windows 10 1809, or the latest MacOS.

- Anyone restoring an iPhone or android device that has a modest amount of apps and pictures/videos.

- Anyone watching Netflix in HD, certainly to more than one device.

- Anyone watching iPlayer in HD, certainly to more than one device.

- Anyone watching Youtube in HD, certainly to more than one device.

- Anyone updating a TomTom satnav (others are available).

- Anyone (school child) downloading the latest OS image to run on their school supplied RaspberryPi

- Anyone with kids who have come home from school and do any of the above.

Need I go on?

Really that statement is as ridiculous as the "640K is enough for anybody" statement made by Bill Gates when everyone was wondering who would need more than 1MB of RAM.

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