Paying by connection speed?

This topic was created by Bill Ray .

  1. Bill Ray

    Paying by connection speed?

    wispa thinks we should pay for our broadband based on the speed of connection we actually achieve, varying every month depending on how fast we can download stuff.

    That might not be technically possible, given the range of places from which one downloads things, but even if it is would anyone want such a contract?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paying by connection speed?

      Nope. Speed is important, but connection stability is far more important to me. Obviously it matters of the standard speed is poor anyway, but I wouldn't want to be suckered into paying more just because my ISP has upgraded and can now make things happen faster. I get 6.5Mbps most of the time and that is good enough for me.

      I guess if I downloaded GBs per day I might think differently, but I don't.

  2. Anonymous C0ward

    As long as they get rid of download limits.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How effective is this online petition...

    going to prove?

    Heres my tuppence.

    Living in London (yes - not in the woods) I get about 6 Mbps of the advertised 24 Mbps from TalkTalk.

    Apart from line rental, I am happy to pay 1/4th of my BB connection charges.

    Any takers? Which is TT, BT, SKy and BE.

    So much for competition.

    Wankers, OFCOM & ASA.

  4. Ian Ferguson

    I signed up for 20Mbps from WightCable (the Isle of Wight's version of Virgin cable). Did a speed test at a variety of times and only got 7Mbps (due to BT's archaic cabling - other customers get better). WightCable let me move to the 8Mbps package without quibble. Proportions were similar with the upstream rates. So now at least I'm paying for what I'm getting.

    To be fair to the ISPs, I'm not sure how they could advertise their services without the 'up to' caveat, as they generally don't provide the physical last mile infrastructure. They don't know what speed you'll get until you try.

  5. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Endorsed in principle

    I would generally agree with this, although comparing broadband speeds with buying a kilo of sugar or a gallon of petrol is oversimplifying the issue.

    The problem is that if this becomes law, let's say the providers are compelled to accept a sliding scale payment, they'll get less money, but the 'cost' side of their business will remain unaffected (and you can guarantee they'll guard their profit margins with their lives). So the only area of the equation that can be manipulated without falling foul of regulators or shareholders, is the quality of service.

    With this as law, we can expect that the notional "speed" of the line will remain high (at least, averaged over a billing month) but the actual "throughput", in terms of what can actually be downloaded over this high-speed line, will take a royal kicking as the providers fight to satisfy both regulators and shareholders. We might end up seeing the sort of ridiculous manipulations where the providers will give us Gigabit connection speeds for approximately 2 minutes out of every 20; thereby boosting the average speed without actually enabling us to do anything useful. Or indeed Gigabit between the hours of 2 and 5am, in order to advertise a 100Mb line, averaged monthly.

    <- Beer. 'Up to' a pint.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While I understand the physics of sending signals down noisy copper wires, exposed to goodness knows what, the ISPs need a LOT more regulatory stick to get them to raise their game, so maybe this is a worthy approach.

    Living in central London, supposedly one of the world's biggest economies, how can it be that the fastest I can get is 4 Mbps? Over the last 2 years, my 'up to 24Mbps' Talktalk line has got 30% SLOWER! Slower! And it's about time they stopped shamelessly hiding behind BT's infrastructure as an excuse.

    It's no better that BT have pushed back deployment of FTTC in my part of London by TWO YEARS, so at this rate, it will be 2014, the Olympics will be a distant memory and I'll be on one of the slowest metropolitan broadband connections in Europe.

  7. Paul Marshall
    Thumb Up

    Not easily solved.

    I guess there are multiple parts to the problem, how how to establish a fair price for a service.

    As a consumer there are two parts i'm interested in. One is the basic line speed i get , and on ADSL this is a function of exchange distance, and line quality etc. Right now, we all roll the dice on this, and we have little control or say over it. I think this could be banned or discounted based on what is actually possible for each user. The established line speed is know to the provider, so it would be easy to scale charges on this parameter. The other point , i guess, is how the provider manages the back end bandwidth and contention . This really does come down to you get what you pay for . It could be made clear in the product spec , so we know what we are getting , or even put in to a band system , so that we have a sense of the technical provision fulfilling the service. I would always by a top graded / super fast service, and pay for that. I know other people who want nothing more than a 2mbs email service, and they should be able to choose a cheap provider for that. It is not beyond the ability of these providers to publish this info clearly , and play fair - as it stands 100% of the risk on on the consumer : caveat emptor.

  8. Gordan
    Thumb Up

    Sounds like an excellent idea

    If the offering is "up to", the the bill should also be "up to".

    Say you are paying £24/month for a connection that is "up to 24Mbit". So you have an SLA checker device (it'd have to be a black box appliance provided by a 3rd party" that checks the sync speed of the modem and the bandwidth to one of the designated test servers several times/day at random intervals (random to keep it fair and unpredictable to precent abuse). The test servers and the appliances would have to both be run by an independent 3rd party to ensure veriviability of the results and prevent abuse by users and ISPs.

    For every 1 Mbit average on the tests during the month below the "up to" advertised figure (if there is no connectivity, e.g. modem (usually owned by the ISP and thus their responsibility to fix/replace) or exchange fault) that check counts as 0 Mbit/s), you would expect to pay proportionally (in this example £1) less per month.

    Inherently fair and very workable. Now we just need an independent 3rd party to provide the monitoring appliances and the testing infrastructure. Of course, this 3rd party would have to be funded, e.g. by an additional monthly subscription + purchase of the tester appliances which those interested in partaking in such a thing would have to pay, so the consumers would get this extra cost which may or may not offset the savings on the reduction of their internet connections.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like an excellent idea

      There are a couple problems with that. First and foremost, it would either cause the ISPs to raise their rates massively so as to keep the same profit margins. Second, said 3rd party would not be independant. They either have the ISP or the ISP's client as a customer. If they ISP is their customer they'd be inclined to keep the ISP happy, perhaps by having an inordinate number of their 'random' tests at night when there's less activity so as to raise the average. If it's the client then the opposite happens and they want to keep that bill as low as possible, perhaps by setting their equipment to test on the server's say so and thus make everyone try to hit the same speed test server at the same time.

      As for loss of connectivity, every ISP I've ever been with will actually give me credit anytime I loose connectivity for a day or more, and the minute it takes me to reset the modem on the rare occasion that it needs it isn't worth considering in my opinion.

  9. Matt Collins

    Sync rate

    I've long thought that billing should be somehow related to one's sync rate with the exchange. Eith er a direct charge per MB/s sync (per day?) or an average over the month, etc.

    But a new idea struck me while reading the comments - how about a rebate system that compensates those who have not received what they have paid for? Perhaps the rebate can be kept back until the end of the contract, giving the ISPs an incentive to actually improve the end-user's experience.

  10. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    should be esy at signup

    There are remote methods to give predicted sync speed at your location. Contracts speed could be tiered based on that rather than black boxes and third parties etc etc. You know roughly what to expect, they know what you will pay for your contract ... It's never going to be 100% but it'd be closer than currently.

    However it will never happen as I can hear some auditors pips squeaking already ...

  11. Pauliroth

    You'll get stung either way

    If this ever became a reality, the cynic in me says the top price would increase and not the other way around. So then anyone with a half-way decent connection is going to get stiffed with a bigger bill, just because everyone else thinks that's fair (I doubt anyone having to pay it would think that's fair, mind). It's an amusing mental image to have people attempting to _stop_ BT laying fibre because they don't want their bills to go up!

    Perhaps a more fine-grained tiering system would be better? 1Mbps, 2Mbps, 3Mbps and so on, up to what your line is capable of? Then you just pay for what you want. Although I do have to agree with JustaKOS and Lord Elpuss, a stable connection is far more important (to me at any rate) than a fast connection, if only the two didn't seem to be mutually exclusive!

  12. Wee Knotty
    Thumb Up

    I agree that the price should be dropped based on the actually average router's sync speed achieved, I get "upto 20Mb" broadband but only actually get 2.6Mb on average as my overall connection speed so my downloads are as low as 130Kb/s on average.

    the price paid should be a percentage of the overall cost so if its £20 for 20Mb then I should only pay about £3 a month.

  13. johny brawn
    Thumb Up


    Hello friends,

    Any online work is depend upon net speed, if you net speed is fast then you can fast complete your your work.

  14. MackkJackk

    Hello Everyone.

    I am new to this forum. Also as per my knowledge the connection speed may depend on the service provider and the bandwidth they are offering.

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