back to article 97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom

Most Brits can get broadband at home these days, according to regulator Ofcom, but the service is still pretty patchy. The telecoms authority said 97 per cent of folks in Blighty are able to get at least basic broadband of 2Mbps, and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark. Ofcom considers this speed …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errr WTF?

    Quote

    However, around 18 per cent of households don’t have any internet at all.

    So? There are some people who don't want it or are just not inclined to use it. Like owning a car. Most people do have a license. not 100%. There are people who have a license who don't want a car. so Car ownership could never be 100% so why is Internet use any different?

    My 90 somthing mother can use the internet. She uses it in the Public Library. As she says, there is a time and place for everything. It not only gets her out of the house but she meets a lot of her friends at the Cafe attached to the Library. I did suggest that she had internet at home. I got shot down in flames in no time at all.

    Anyone aiming to get 100% of the population on the internet are smoking something highly illegal IMHO.

    1. John Arthur

      Re: Errr WTF?

      I think the aim is not to force people to have internet access at home if they don't want it. The aim is to have it available at 10Mbps or greater IF YOU WANT IT no matter where you live. A laudable aim, no?

      And it's licence on the east side of the pond

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Errr WTF?

        I note that they're not clear whether this 10Mbps is before or after your ISP throttles it when you actually try and use it though...

      2. PNGuinn

        Re: Errr WTF?

        Want a bet? Its sooo much easier to track / monitor you in your own home.

        Besides, if you are trying to evade the Internet Tax you're obviously some kind of nasty criminal etc etc...

        WON'T ANYBODY THINK OF THE SPOOKS?

    2. Annihilator

      Re: Errr WTF?

      Weird stats all round:

      "The telecoms authority said 97 per cent of folks in Blighty are able to get at least basic broadband of 2Mbps, and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark."

      So 85% gets at least 10Mbps? Rather strangely worded headline suggesting that "97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband" when really it's "97% of UK could get *at least* 2Mbps *if they wanted it*"

  2. Anomalous Cowshed

    Typical households need 10Mbps

    Why do they need such a thing? To keep in touch with their relatives? To check their e-mail? To look at ads? To exchange cat videos? To watch pornography online? What could be motivating the dear, caring government to insist on ensuring that EVERYBODY has at least 10 Mbps broadband at home?

    1. Truth4u

      Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

      well yeah, all of those things.

      Its like the difference between having a card-op leccy meter and a real one. Sure you can live like that, but its not exactly an aspirational standard for the whole country is it?

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

      What could be motivating the dear, caring government to insist on ensuring that EVERYBODY has at least 10 Mbps broadband at home?

      Well, if the next labour government are as in love with Orwells 1984 as the last one, I can only presume it is to enable the installation of Telescreens?

      1. RegGuy1

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        Er, because more than one person may need to connect to the Internet at the same fucking time?

        1. Dave Bell

          Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

          I have a suspicion that the awkward part of the network is supplied by the ISP. The wholesale line syncs at sufficient speed for me, but the usable speed I get has reduced. Streaming video needs to sustain enough capacity to be delivered live. If you want to download content to watch later you don't need continuous good speed. That sustained high speed needs to be between you and such things as ISP caching servers for live data deliveries such as streaming video and games.

          I've got enough capacity on my broadband line to my house. The internet connections that link my local BT exchange to the world have become the bottleneck, not the copper wire that carries the ADSL.And I am not sure if these figures actually measure anything useful.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

      "What could be motivating the dear, caring government to insist on ensuring that EVERYBODY has at least 10 Mbps broadband at home?"

      They have shares in the telcos and equipment providers. Only reason it makes sense. Otherwise people would be wondering if it's linked to that fact that "always on" makes it easier to do "always watched" ...

    4. Jim Willsher

      Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

      My home happens to also be my workplace. So yes, I would like 10Mb or better please.

      1. NoOnions

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        Why on earth has someone down-voted you?

    5. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

      Renew your tax disc if you work and your local post office is closed at 5:00:00.000001 pm.

      Submit your tax return using the much easier online system.

      Do your legally-required kids homework that's heavily online-based nowadays as school more to virtual learning environments.

      Do online banking to pay your bills.

      Comparison shop among suppliers of basic utilities.

      Research legal issues, benefit entitlement, etc. online.

      Apply for jobs (good luck doing this offline nowadays,with anything but manual-labour jobs).

      Research, and vote, political candidates online.

      There's a TON of things that need half-decent Internet access, and 56K modems aren't any good for people any more. If you have a household of average proportions, and even if you decide to do without all the above (somehow), it's making your life harder than necessary, killing trees, increasing costs and making everything take longer than the digital alternative would.

      Hell, my doctor's surgery sends prescriptions electronically now.

      The digital world is coming, and much like electricity was new once, it will soon become (if it hasn't already) a utility service. And that means a service obligation of a pittance of megabits (my phone can do three times 10mbps on a £10 a month basic package) to ensure that people can do them without being conned into oblivion by their ISP.

      At one time, landlines weren't available to all, water wasn't available to all, gas wasn't available to all, sewage wasn't available to all, electricity wasn't available to all, postal services weren't available to all, etc. When we realised the benefits - not just for the householder but overall as a populous - they were mandated and regulated to ensure continuous service.

      The government probably saves SO MUCH MONEY by offering online services for things like tax returns that it's happy to FORCE ISP's to provide a basic service so that they can move everyone over to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        If mid Norfolk, where my parents are still uses dial-up due to distance from exchange, I'm sure if you add up highlands and coastal regions, plus outlying hamlets, you'd find closer to 65% of the country get 2Mb or better

        1. Interim Project Manager

          Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

          Maybe, like a few people I know, they pay for an up to "2Mbps" package and as such count in the 97% stat but in reality don't get anywhere near that. It is the minimum package available.

        2. Terry 14

          Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

          You would be surprised, I went to the very north of Scotland for my holiday this year, and they are installing mile upon mile of fibre to areas that are very sparsely populated.

          I live 40 miles north of London and get 5Mbps on a good day.

          1. Gavin Park Weir

            Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

            Scotland has generous grants to rural areas to develop that own rural broadband programs. they seem to be awash with cash for this sort of project. We can't even get £350 per household in deepest darkest Hampshire in order to deliver fibre to the cabinet.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

              "Scotland has generous grants to rural areas"

              Good to see that the Scots government was flush for cash before the promises to throw even more money over the border if the Scots would vote "no".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        "sewage wasn't available to all,"

        No, sewerage wasn't available to all. Sewage, on the other hand, has always been available free of charge and regardless of income, on a SIY basis.

        1. Wardy01

          Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

          Sewage is a utility you pay for is it not?

          Part of your water rates.

          I guess those on benefits get this free though.

      3. PNGuinn
        Coat

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        "At one time, landlines weren't available to all, water wasn't available to all, gas wasn't available to all, sewage wasn't available to all, electricity wasn't available to all, postal services weren't available to all, etc. When we realised the benefits - not just for the householder but overall as a populous - they were mandated and regulated to ensure continuous service."

        Err...

        Sewage: Still an awful lot of septic tanks out there in the sticks.

        Leccy: At the moment. Wait for smart meters. I won't make the obvious suggestion...

        Post: Give it just a little while.

        Etc: Don't even have that service here now.

      4. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        I think you will find that more people can get a BT (or Kingston) connection of some description than can get access to mains water and sewerage.

      5. Terry Barnes

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        ", it will soon become (if it hasn't already) a utility service. And that means a service obligation"

        Do you know what proportion of the population has no access to mains sewerage or gas? It might surprise you. Across England, Wales, Scotland it's 20% without mains gas. In Northern Ireland it's 80% without access to it. 3% of the population have to use septic tanks as they have no access to the sewer system. Mains water only reaches 99% of the population.

        Provision of utility services are by no means universal.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        "At one time, landlines weren't available to all, water wasn't available to all, gas wasn't available to all, sewage wasn't available to all, electricity wasn't available to all, postal services weren't available to all, etc. When we realised the benefits - not just for the householder but overall as a populous - they were mandated and regulated to ensure continuous service."

        I believe gas and mains sewers still aren't universal. I live in a village that can't get mains gas even though a main pipeline runs just outside the village (so there's a profitable business in delivering gas bottles or filling tanks, and oil central heating too), and there are people who have to use septic tanks.

        I've had decent internet for a while though

      7. Wardy01

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        If the gov is saving money and they tax us less as result I say sure, do it!

        Force the ISP's to get off their arses and deliver the advertised / sold speed not this "up to" crap.

        But that'll never happen!

    6. Annihilator
      Facepalm

      Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

      "Why do they need such a thing? To keep in touch with their relatives? To check their e-mail? To look at ads? To exchange cat videos? To watch pornography online? What could be motivating the dear, caring government to insist on ensuring that EVERYBODY has at least 10 Mbps broadband at home?"

      I'm sure there were arguing the same when they built 3-lane motorways.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        "I'm sure there were arguing the same when they built 3-lane motorways."

        They most certainly were. I recall one of the public consultation meeting prior to construction of the north west quadrant from Maple Cross to the M1. My father had a very heated discussion with some DfT flunkies, who insisted that the data really didn't justify building even three lanes, but they were being generous providing three. The DfT also couldn't see the logic of building a tunnel under Leavesden Airfield. That would have cut two miles off the route, and the fuel savings would have balanced the books in around 18 months IIRC, but as usual, government's poor solution had been pre-selected, and the consultation was a sham.

        Now the successors to those DfT knobs are doing the same thing in reverse with HS2, of making up the traffic numbers, raising the fictitious traffic numbers to the power of imaginary benefits, all to justify something which isn't needed.

    7. Aqua Marina

      Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

      >>Typical households need 10Mbps

      >>Why do they need such a thing?

      Probably in the same way I "need" a TV and radio entertainment. Life gets pretty dull without it.

      My 2mbps connection I have located 2 miles outside of Wigan town centre, is incapable of playing low quality youtube videos without stuttering. Netflix is impossible. Internet radio only works as long as someone else in the house isn't browsing the internet at the same time. My online gaming is marred with constant disconnects.

      2meg may seem a lot, considering when ADSL came out that it was a premium service and 256-512 was the norm. But nowdays, the speed of browsing the internet seems on par with trying to browse the internet using a 56k modem 10 years ago. 10 years has passed, and the minimum web page size has multiplied by 10.

      1. Wardy01

        Re: Typical households need 10Mbps

        Websites are getting bigger, image qualities are rising, more "client side" functionality is added through javascript based "web applications" and on top of all that you're competing with 50 other people jst on that local pipe to your green box at the end of the road.

        Having been there I feel for people in this situation, this to me simply re-affirms my position: ofcom is not fit for purpose.

        2mb is enough, if those sold it actually get it but as with pretty much all BT lines we are sold "up to" a speed not "this is what you will get" type contracts.

        These stats IMO mean absolutely nothing as all they prove is that BT can sell broken promises and still be seen to deliver whilst taking less money and making more profit.

        At least the shareholders are happy right?

  3. SolidSquid

    I'm curious where they get their information for this study from. Of the last 4 places I've stayed (in as many years, and 2 in a city centre), only 1 has had cable access. With the other 3 I've been told by the cable company that it was available until I went through the order process and gave them the full address rather than just postcode, at which point it stopped being available. If they're just going by the same postcode data the providers use then they could be over-estimating the number who can get more than 5mbps by quite a bit

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " I've been told by the cable company th..."

      Are you in the UK? In the vast majority of cases, fixed broadband is provided by Virgin Media (an amalgamation of all the former cable TV companies) or ISPs selling services over BT's copper network. Both are capable of speeds beyond 20Mbps.

      I'm puzzled by your terminology.

      1. YetAnotherPasswordToRemeber

        Just because something is capable doesn't mean that it does. I live 2 miles from my local exchange and the maximum I can get is 4Mbps, so I am puzzled by your comment!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I live down the road from the exchange, since the cabinet was upgraded for fibre, even though i'm on ADSL I now get 23mbps.

          I'm confused how anyone can survive on less.

      2. skipper409

        just to be clear....I get 1.5 Mbs - thats because I tampered with my router's SNR settings. My less knowledgeable neighbours manage 256 kBs. I dont get mains gas. I dont get mains sewers. My mobile signal (literally) requires me to be upstairs in one particular room, & the weather needs to be good. I live in the middle of a village in the Midlands of England, so goodness knows how people in remote places cope. All these services are necessary to have a modern home life, so the Government needs to get off its collective backside & provide it, or force the utilities to invest. Crass comments for those 'with' are not required!

        1. Hawknic

          I'm with you skipper409

          No mains gas or drainage, crap mobile coverage and bugger all internet connectivity. We aren't very rural either, only a mile from a reasonable size town (in SE England too, oh the deprivation!) So 97% sounds bloody high to me.

          Personally I'd love to see universal access to even 2M, but I don't get 10M as a valid baseline. Ask people what they need and they'll generally say a bit more than they have right now even though they're doing fine.

          We manage to stream non-HD and do all the normal stuff (including running a small business) with a half meg connection (was 300k before we moved to Sky from BT) though it is a ball-ache. 10 sounds like a luxury to me - great if you can get it, and fine as a future-proofing measure, but as a minimum today? The government investing in Gb connectivity seems a bit guff, way more than anyone who can't afford to pay for it would need.

          Best way of improving something is to shift the bottom quartile upwards, not stretch the top.

          Can someone direct me to the SNR settings that skipper talks about?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @skipper409

          "All these services are necessary to have a modern home life, so the Government needs to get off its collective backside & provide it, or force the utilities to invest"

          No these services are not "necessary" to have a modern life, they are nice to have. If you can't stream HD grumble or ten concurrent cat videos then your quality of life won't be harmed. Your mobile service is about the same as I enjoy living in a large town, and I find that my quality of life is not unduly ruined. Septic tanks in my experience are not much more expensive than water company charges (and you shouldn't by the sound of it be paying the "surface water drainage charges" that most urban dwellers cannot avoid). And if there's no gas grid, you've got a range of alternatives including oil, coal, propane, wood/biomass, or even a heat pump (the last two attract fat government subsidies).

          If you want the services available in a town, maybe YOU have to get off YOUR backside, and move somewhere these services can be provided economically, instead of demanding that the rest of us subsidise your choice of career and home. OR you can continue to enjoy the many benefits of rural living (and possibly working) and accept that the cost of that is limited provision of infrastructure and slightly higher cost of living.

          1. skipper409

            Re: @skipper409

            nice troll

  4. Julz Bronze badge

    What about upload?

    The internet is not just about streaming films and watching cat videos. Oh, bugger...

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: What about upload?

      Yeah, don't forget about the porn.

  5. ukgnome

    Who cares about download?

    It's no good having a 2MB download speed when you can't back anything up because your upload speed is pants.

  6. Jim 59

    The probable reason an "average household" would need 10 Mb/s would be different family members streaming video at the same time. It might help to use tools like get_iplayer, to "time shift" and stagger the traffic. ie. download 3 episodes of "The Missing" when your router is quiet. It might help if the BBC would facilitate downloading rather than trying to foil it all the time. Same for other TV companies.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Bloat and crapulence overload

      Nah. With all of the crap that gets included on modern webpages these days, you need more speed just to deal with the bloat. I remember when I thought a whole 1meg down was the bee's knees. Wouldn't want to be stuck with that now. Modern web pages are far too bloated. Some sites include scripts from so many different hosts that they can't all fit on my no-script pop up menu.

      Then there are things like Debian repositories, Steam, and other assorted sources of software updates.

      1. Jim 59

        Re: Bloat and crapulence overload

        I agree some sites are needlessly obese and can only blame themselves for slow performance. But they are the bottleneck, not your download speed. It's streaming video which is the real baddy.

        Personally I don't like streaming. The name "streaming" makes you think it is some super fast, slick technology, but it just means watching something in-place, and taking all the drawbacks that come with that, one of which is inefficient, peaky use of your download capacity (and the supplier's servers). The BBC et al have a "broadcast" mindset, when a torrent/time shifting approach would be better.

  7. msknight

    Offcom not fit to oversee.

    I agree with Julz. I do video blogging and all sorts, and some games require a decent upload from the client as well. Ofcom's stupid fixation with download speed just shows that they are not a fit and proper body to regulate/oversee UK broadband provision.

    1. Jim 59

      Re: Offcom not fit to oversee.

      @msknight Naff upload speed is pretty much a feature of ADSL, not an oversight by Ofcom or your ISP. I host a few websites including a Wordpress blog, and would love upload faster than my 1 Mb/s (download is 17 Mb.s). For really fast uploads though, you are looking at a business account and they are pricey.

      Only a few years ago my first proper broadband was 512k down. Not quite as bad as it sounds as websites were much lighter.

  8. Dr Paul Taylor

    Link please

    Please can we have a link to this Ofcom report, and maybe to any other available statements of what ADSL speed it is "reasonable" to expect, because I am getting nothing like what it says here.

  9. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    very misleading headline.

    According to the report, as quoted in the article, 97% if UK households get at least 2Mbit/s. There's no way the average would be 23Mbit/s if 97% were only getting 2, unless the other 3% were near Gbit/s speeds.

    The comment that and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark. suggests that 85% get 10Mbit/s or better, which isn't bad at all. I wish I could get 10. Or even 5.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: very misleading headline.

      Not really.

      If that 97% were getting 24mbps, it would soon bring up the average much quicker than you suggest.

      Given that basic offerings now are ADSL2+ at 24mbps, or VDSL at anything up to 80Mbps, with Virgin cable going into ridiculous speeds, and even 4G networks giving me 25Mbps+ in both directions, I wouldn't be surprised at all.

      Don't forget, they are using the theoretical maximum for the most part - just because I don't want to pay a small fortune for 120Mbps cable, that means nothing to the statistics. Technically I'm counted as that speed because it's available to me, not because I'm actually using it.

      So you have an awful lot of the population on 24Mbps at least, even if they are cheap packages and dodgy phone lines. It's only the 3% out in the sticks where the ISP's cannot even guarantee basic ADSL that bring the numbers down.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        @Lee D Re: very misleading headline.

        I thunk you misread my comemnt.

        The headline claims that "97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband". The article itself repeats a claim in the report that the UK average is 23Mbit/s. Those two figures don't add up, because the headline is wrong.

        What the report is quoted as saying is that 97% of the population get at least 'basic' 2Mbps broadband, which is not the impression given by the headline.

        Of course if the 97% were getting 24 Mbit/s the average would be around that figure.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: very misleading headline.

        " just because I don't want to pay a small fortune for 120Mbps cable"

        Well I've just renewed my VM contract for 100 Mbps cable at around £25 a month (excluding my phone and extras). That may be a small fortune to you, but I think its reasonable value.

        Total monthly bill is around £40, including phone line, broadband, unlimited geographic calls (incl daytime) and "discount" tariff for mobile calls.

    2. midcapwarrior

      Re: very misleading headline.

      "There's no way the average would be 23Mbit/s if 97% were only getting 2, unless the other 3% were near Gbit/s speeds."

      I suspect it may be the difference between average and median.

      I don't buy the need part. More likely want.

      I would not add internet speed to Maslow's hierarchy of needs just yet.

  10. John B Stone
    Facepalm

    Doesn't add up

    "The telecoms authority said 97 per cent of folks in Blighty are able to get at least basic broadband of 2Mbps, and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark."

    Parsing that sentence:

    3% of people aren't able to get internet

    15% of people can only get under 10mbs (presumably not counting the 3% who don't get any)

    therefore 82% are able to get 10mps or over!

    Isn't that rather good?

    Or is that a poorly written sentence?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't add up

      Isn't that rather good?

      Yes, indeed the UK ranks reasonably well in world terms, somewhere in the top 10-15 depending on which set of figures you take.

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: Doesn't add up

      The headline is certainly misleading. It seems specifically engineered to give one a more dire impression. For a minute there I thought that the UK had managed to be even crappier in terms of broadband than the US.

      An intentionally false impression though. Sensationalist headline...

  11. MrHorizontal

    I only get 9 mbps... in central London

    My exchange is fibre enabled. The other side of the road is served by a different cabinet and they're fibre enabled. Yet my cabinet hasn't been upgraded. Seriously how long does OpenTurd take to upgrade cabinets - it's been 3 YEARS since the exchange got glass!

    Worse still, I'm willing to *pay* for FTTP from my cabinet, but I can't even begin to order because the cabinet has to be upgraded first. And there's no way I as a consumer can berate, take action against nor do anything to force the turds at OpenTurd get off the toilet and upgrade my cabinet.

    Ofcom, are you listening?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I only get 9 mbps... in central London

      I reckon Ofcom should cap line rental charges according to max tested line speed. BT (or anyone else) have demonstrated zero interest in upgrading my crappy adsl line, or those similarly awful (or worse) in my inner London area. Why should they? They already charge me full whack on decades old wires that perform badly - why put in new infrastructure for no extra return?

    2. Terry 14

      Re: I only get 9 mbps... in central London

      I've been advised that my panel is fibre enabled, but if I sign up for fibre my speed will drop from 5Mbps to 2.5Mbps!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm feeling special to be in the 3% that can't even get 2 Mbps (even if I add the up + down speeds together!)

  13. Jason Hindle

    2mbps was too low in 2009

    And now we're entering an era of 4k streaming, 10mbps may be too low here and now (or at least in the near future). Also, what does OFCOM mean, by 10mbps? Actual 10mbps is good enough for 1080p streaming, from services like Netflix, Youtube and iPlayer. That 10mbps sold to you by your ISP, with caveats (e.g. realistically you'll get 6-8mbps, based on your distance from the cabinet) might struggle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2mbps was too low in 2009

      2 millibits per second? That's slow, all right.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2Mbps - I Wish...

    Mum gets 0.5Mbps on a good day, she's not in a minor village, but an area with two to three thousand homes about 5 or 6KM from the exchange (although that's as the crow flies not the phone lines). And she's near Barnsley, not somewhere really remote like the outer Hebrides.

    10MBps would be nice, but a STABLE connection would be better, rather that a poor line that drops is you look at it too hard...

    Fibre to the Cabinet is still a pipedream for her as BT don't feel there is the demand for it. Ofcom would be better mandating a set minimum to everyone, even if it means the Government has to foot some of the bill for isolated areas.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2Mbps - I Wish...

      even if it means the Government has to foot some of the bill

      ITYM "even if it means the Taxpayers have to foot some of the bill". Still like it?

      1. Gavin Chester

        Re: 2Mbps - I Wish...

        Like it no.

        But given BT is a private company I don't see how it will happen otherwise, besides UK Gvmt has already given BT a boatload of cash to do some of the job, they just need to be forced to finish the job.

        https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

        Quote - The Government is investing over £1 billion in improving broadband and mobile infrastructure to:

        Provide superfast broadband coverage to 90% of the UK by 2016

        Provide basic broadband (2Mbps) for all by 2016

        Provide superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017

        Explore options to get near universal superfast broadband coverage across the UK by 2018

        Create 22 ‘SuperConnected Cities’ across the UK by 2015

        Improve mobile coverage in remote areas by 2016

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Provide superfast broadband

          Well, according to the marketing e-mail from our local council they have done this in my area.

          Or not - the upload speeds are worse with VDSL than they were with ADSL and people at one end of the village will be lucky to get 6 Mbps ("superfast" is supposed to be over 24).

  15. Aggrajag

    I live with my girlfriend and our three teenage kids in a village 4 miles from the centre of Sheffield towards Rotherham, and we get 1.4Mbps to share and have been told by BT they won't be doing FTTC because there are only 250 houses of the cabinet and not the required 500. It's disgraceful. 1.4Mbps is intolerable for a single person, try sharing it with teenagers. :(

  16. Wardy01

    I feel your pain guys

    Having lived at my previous address I was lucky when I the wind blew just right so I could get 0.5 "millibits".

    Living at my current address I get a connection in the top 1% of the UK from Virgin at 150Mbps and it flies.

    What further cracks me up is that the cabinet sites are so tough on regulation Virgin couldn't even if they wanted to put their cables on the several new estates that jut went up which I am reliably informed get a "up to" 16Mpbs connection on BT kit.

    This seems insulting to new house buyers when the estate you buy in to is brand spanking new on the edge of a migh speed network and that network legally cannot get you connected.

    I agree with the thought that ISP's should only be able to charge for the ACTUAL speed they provide you not the "up to" speed they claim is possible.

    In the interest of net neutrality, no connection should ever be throttled too ... this is blatant disregard for simple service levels.

    It's a bit like saying "you can have all the water you want out of your taps but if you fill the bath more than once a week we as the water company have the right to slow your taps to a mere dripping".

    No way would this be acceptable!

    My recommendations:

    Lift the lid, allow any network provider to install cabinets where they need to in order to deliver their networks and force through regulation caps on cost to the consumer a actual speed based pricing system.

  17. Border Warden

    Oh goody !

    I'm in the 3% bracket then. As others have commented 2 Mbps would be very nice indeed. 500/750 Kbps the best so far and unstable.

    Yes I do live in rural Northumberland and yes, I quite accept that being several Km from an exchange with a grand total of 129 customers means that double figure download speeds are never going to happen but even a steady single integer speed would be a refreshing change

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would be happy if BT implemented the option for SDSL, the 6 megabit download speed I have is adequate for my current needs (local exchange only has adsl max), but the 0.3 megabit upload absolutely sucks.

    If it were possible I would gladly pay for a symmetrical (3 megabit up / 3 megabit down) connection.

    Connections (like so many other things these days) are geared towards consuming content but gives little allowance for anyone trying to produce content, therefore I can currently download cat videos at 20 times the speed I could possibly upload them

    1. Robin

      > I can currently download cat videos at 20 times the speed I could possibly upload them

      You're lucky that the web isn't obsessed with dogs. They're about five times the size of cats .. imagine how long those would take you to upload!

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      And of course for things like Skype and Facetime, the limiting factor is the upload speed on both ends of the line, not the download speed.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10Mbps is pathetic. What is even more pathetic is the 1Mbps uplink. I note that they don't mention this embarrassment to what they call an internet service.

    When I lived in NL earlier this year standard cable could support speeds of 300 Mbps down 50Mbps up, 60 euro/ month use as much as you can no capping, throttling and/or restrictions.

  20. PNGuinn
    Coffee/keyboard

    Eh?

    "While Ofcom works on getting the last few homes connected up, they’re already looking at ultrafast connections of 1Gbps."

    Pull the other leg - It's the one with the ethernet cable plugged in.

    See icon.

    1. David_H
      Happy

      Re: Eh?

      1Gbps is available if you can club together and buy it.

      I've just lead this project for 4 villages in rural Northamptonshire and a private company (Gigaclear) are just starting to lay the fibre to the premises. The base package is 50Mbps completely unrestricted, symmetrical, with phone at £44 p/m. A full 1Gbps symmetrical package costs about twice that.

      Yes, I spent over a year trying to persuade BT (at regional manager level) to provide super fast broadband and the council twice offered them intervention money to do it, but they were just not interested. BT's projected costs for FTTC were over 3 times the other companies FTTP!

      It's been a balls-ache getting enough people to sign up to make the numbers, but it's going to be worth it!

  21. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Are 97% of UK households 'Typical households' ?

  22. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Maybe property prices should start reflecting the Internet connectivity as well as access to schools, public transport etc.

    1. David_H

      Property prices

      They do - there are many reports out there showing a significant decrease in property values if the broadband is crap.

      The most asked question by potential house buyers is about schools - the second is about broadband!

  23. Van

    Perhaps Ofcom would like to get on the case of a 'typical household needing' an SSD, as they can improve the browsing experience

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10Mbps

    I'd kill for that!

    Here in the wide brown land (Oz) we measure our broadband against the postal service.

    We measure speed via PMG times.

    Boom Boom!

  25. Truffle
    Flame

    10Mbps? Luxury!

    I live in the relative centre of Bristol (one of apparently our country's great tech cities). I live in a new housing estate built only 2.5 years ago. I live less than 50 metres from one of the nations largest and newest 'Superhospitals'. AND I live about 100 metres from the main fibre backbone that travels up the infamous Gloucester Rd.

    My maximum broadband speed? 2Mbps.

    In their vast wisdom, no one put down any new fibre when the housing estate was made, and the cabinet serving the estate, which sits just 50 metres from the main backbone, isnt wired up to it.

    My heart bleeds for all the people living out in the middle of nowhere who can ONLY get 2Mbps. I live in one of the country's 'tech' cities, and i cant get any better either!

  26. bill 27

    Wah, wah.

    Where I live it's sub 1MB.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Up and Down

    No only do we need 10mbps down (minimum), we need 10mbps **UP** (minimum). Only this way can citizens truly empower themselves and create the structures that they need.

    But as that would take money out of the pockets of our MPs' paymasters; it'll never happen.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commerce vs objectivity

    They've started fibre-ing our town, so rather than upgrade the sub 1 Mb districts first they do those near exchange already getting 10 plus. My line is slow and not reliably consistant speeds because of distance from exchange. The only way I can get a reliable signal is replacing copper with fibre.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All you bastards bleating about paying for "slow" connections at 10+Mbps can sod off.

    We are unable to get anything over 800K/250Kbps via the only provider to the middle of nowhere, BT. (Just measured 868K down and 146K up!) No mobile signal in the main - we now route the mobiles through a femtocell into that same ADSL connection, and it works unless anyone/thing uses the internet whilst on a call. The 1 to 3 second lag in the call can be a bit weird though.

    It is so bad we have now installed satellite internet. This acts as the main connection now, at high cost and we get up to 30Gb a month at about 7.5M down and 2.5M up, but with a latency that makes you wonder if the system is even working with every click.

    And yes, we would love another phone line, but BT won't supply one.

    The local point-to-point supplier is inept beyond description - 13 months of failure, despite line-of-sight - though from reports from other customers around us indicates they get somewhat patchy service and a fraction of the speeds promised, so we may have dodged a bullet there!

    The office in the nearby town has dodgy ADSL, again single (BT) supplier, with no data signal at all 90% of the time (even in the high street!)

    Anyone in a city where there is fibre-speed broadband under 500m away should just deal with it. The makerspace in Birmingham simply hooked into one of the local businesses via radio link for the first year, and now has a free 100M/40Mbps connection after 6pm, with daytime limited to a small fraction of that, via fibre across a rooftop to nearby business. If that becomes an issue, we will hook into a 4G data connection, capped at whatever use the SIM supports each month.

    (Anyone who can't arrange something similar via a data SIM, fibre trailed over a rooftop or the previously mentioned radio links shouldn't even be posting on El Reg, and should hang up their keyboards in shame.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You don't say where you live, but check out b4rn and "ineedbroadband".

      Others are available.

      YMMV.

      Just be thankful you don't live in the USA and actually have options!

  30. Yoru

    97% of the problem is BT

    BT should have been broken up years ago. As a dominant provider they have become masters at the art of incremental roll out. Which means they never introduce new technology, which may bring about higher capacity, until they have extracted as much return as possible from existing technology. To do so would simply undermine their ability to milk the market in as many stages as possible.

    Which is why they continued selling dual POT lines, one for dial up and one for voice for so long, whilst much better solutions were available in the lab. Even when ASDL was finally introduced they still tried to restrict its use to a limited number of users and crippled its speed.

    If they had their way they'd roll out minimum broadband incrementally as 2, 3, 4, and up Mb/s. Waiting at each stage until the market had flattened off, and each new stage would make the previous stage equipment obsolete.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 97% of the problem is BT

      BT should never have been privatised. The present structure is not in the UK's interest.

  31. Wardy01

    BT is a joke for sure ... but this is where ofcom should step in ... the fact that they don't says a lot about their ability as a regulator.

    I'm one of the lucky few, I could have faster than I do but chose to only pay for 120Mbps as this seemed to give me more than enough bandwidth for day to life and I have a server that reports 3TB of downloading from the last month, despite this I still game, stream, make calls, use the internet without a hitch.

    (Sorry guys)

    That said, where I used to live I paid for an "up to" 8Mbps line from BT which never hit even 1Mbps even when I hacked the hell out of my router to optimize it.

    I have 2 thoughts here about broadband speeds:

    1. Those living in very rural areas should accept this as being part of rural life (sorry guys but thats life, you get other perks).

    2. Those living in cities should expect this level of connection as part of the "moving forward" initiative that BT and Gov are working on.

    Another thought ...

    Why do new estates only go up with basic copper lines laid?

    Would it not make more sense to declare (perhaps with law) that all new builds force a fibre enabled exchange to serve that new estate and the exchange be hooked up to the network when building is complete.

    I don't think this would cause any issues and it would save digging up roads later (say in 5 years time) to basically do what should have been done already!

    Ofcom is my biggest gripe here ... thinkbroadband.com show a map of the speedtest results around the whole of the UK and you can clearly see on that map where the Virgin Media network ends and the BT one is all that is on offer.

    Why are other network providers so restricted in the UK compared to BT this is so anticompetitive its not even funny any more?

    My thoughts:

    Let the likes of virgin apply for and gain planning permission to expand their networks wherever they want then have BT actually have to compete to earn their income so they can be shown what real networks do instead of being given free reign to rip off UK consumers!

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