back to article UK's 'superfast' broadband is still complete dog toffee, even in London

The government may claim that 90 per cent of the UK have access to superfast broadband, but in reality an analysis of customers' speeds in 20 major cities, including London, found most folk aren't even getting 24Mbps speeds. Data from comparison site USwitch analysed actual speeds rather than available top speeds, indicating a …

  1. clocKwize

    Is is possible that a large percentage of the population just don't have a need for super fast broadband? I would feel inconvenienced without at least 40mbps, but my in laws are very happy with their 3mbps even though there are bigger and better plans available, they can do all the things they need, so why pay more?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree. I get about 15 - 18mbs and it streams iPlayer fine.

      I see no need to go up to super-duper-hyper 200mbs for ONLY about another £25 a month. It's utterly, utterly pointless for me.

      My parents had a crap, over priced old service from Virgin. Did they care? No. It was only because I found they could triple the speed, get a better box and more TV for half the price did they decide to move. Speed was not the deciding factor in this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re. virgin

        I must say, that I'm - reluctantly, become a real fan of virgin cable. Once we ditched BT landline (on principle, as I've found it more than irritating to be ripped off by their phone charges), and the (great, but slowish and pricy) foster child, plusnet, we went for the slowest virgin package, no tv shit. Surprisingly, they didn't push for the tv-phone-internet package, possibly because I played a grumpy old man likely to froth from the mouth and they had plenty of sheep to shear in their shop (mums with child buggies listening to their "experts"). Anyway, despite their terrible reputation, and having to explain something over the phone to "Tom" from India, I got lucky, i.e. my set up was painless, and since then (2 months) - fingers crossed. That speed is addictive, but also, gives us a peace of mind. Previously I got stung, more than once, for going over the monthly "cap" - ping goes a fiver. Last drop was when plusnet charged me this fiver over... 20 MB going over the cap. Now if I want to listen to the radio, I just do so on my mobile, streaming anything I want, likewise my wife. Same with playing videos for kids (and plenty of educational ones). I know they have do have some... restrictions, but we've never hit them yet. Their ftp upload speeds are horribly a-symmetrical (something like 3.7Mb upload v. 50Mb/s download speed), but it's still more than 4 x faster than before (and I do upload a lot of large graphic files to my server). The only niggle is that I can't be bothered to set upa voip for a landline, because it is restrictive, and on tight budget, so I won't use my mobile much, but then, for a few vital links, both the recipient and myself call each other via whatsapp (another ideological horror, to praise a facebook company! ;)

        So, overall, for an average family we are, more and more speed is a definite selling point, once you see the light. And then, most folk are into streaming netflix and such, so I can easily see 100Mb/s as their "expected" speed. And with 4K, I bet 200Mb/s wouldn't go amiss. Then - think of the children, i.e. when they turn the corner into their teen years...

        1. Rol Silver badge

          Re: re. virgin

          Yep. By default of being a Virgin customer, I had my times of woe, but that was mostly down to customer service wanting to take it to the line before giving me the deal I wanted, but that has totally changed, and now it's a pleasure to deal with them.

          Speed and availability has never been an issue, and yes, I very much doubt I will ever leave them, but don't tell them I said that.

          As for speed in general, I half suspect many speed tests are carried out when the user is experiencing stuttering on streaming services and the like, probably around late afternoon, early evening when everyone and his dog is banging away at their keyboard and hence a low speed report, but later when things are quieter and their streaming of Game of Thrones is perfect, they never think of doing a speed test and thus the overall figures will suggest average speeds are lower than they really are.

          1. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

            Re: re. virgin

            I agree that I probably won't leave them either in a hurry either and they are generally good. They have improved a great deal in the last few years. You just need t leave and resign every year or so to stop the price creep they are still good at.

            I also think a network is only as good as its weakest point and should be measured on its peak useage hours. So if its poor at peak hours then that is how it should be measured imho because that is when most will want to use it. Virgin are notorious for over selling capacity so measuring it at its worst is good for driving them to improve. Otherwise its "economy 7" style internet we are talking about..

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: re. virgin

          "most folk are into streaming netflix and such, so I can easily see 100Mb/s as their "expected" speed."

          And don't forget, on even the cheapest TV package, you can add Netflix and stream it direct via the STB and not even impact your BB anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        iplayer & Amazon prime stream just fine with my 1.5mbs connection.

        Yes, that's one POINT five megabits. Download rate on average of about 250KB per second.

        Average download rate of 15-18mbps??? I dream of that kind of connectivity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Iplayer

          Yes, that's one POINT five megabits. Download rate on average of about 250KB per second.

          Amazing that your average download rate is higher than your reported synch speed. 250KB/s would equate to a minimum line rate of 2Mbps, without even taking in to account typical DSL overhead.

          Yeah, it sucks but there's no need for the hyperbole.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Iplayer

   claims my connectivity is 1.5mb/s when I download from Steam I get 240-250KB/s

            Wow sorry for the hyperbole of exaggerating my connection speed by 0.5mb/s ya fucking pedant.

      3. lorisarvendu

        "I agree. I get about 15 - 18mbs and it streams iPlayer fine.

        I see no need to go up to super-duper-hyper 200mbs for ONLY about another £25 a month. It's utterly, utterly pointless for me."

        Well I have an Unlimited "up to 80Mbps" FTTC service from Plusnet. I get between 50 and 60Mbps depending on which way the wind's blowing, and I pay £22.49 a month.

        1. David Webb

          Yeah, I'm just bragging, it's nice to be able to download a huge file, go make a coffee and when I get back have my download finished, even if it's a large game on Steam.

          1. Steven Burn

            Can we move in?

        2. dotdavid

          "Well I have an Unlimited "up to 80Mbps" FTTC service from Plusnet. I get between 50 and 60Mbps depending on which way the wind's blowing, and I pay £22.49 a month."

          Plus £16.99 line rental. Still not sure why the advertised prices of broadband don't include this mandatory charge, even if you never use the landline.

          1. lorisarvendu

            "Well I have an Unlimited "up to 80Mbps" FTTC service from Plusnet. I get between 50 and 60Mbps depending on which way the wind's blowing, and I pay £22.49 a month."

            Plus £16.99 line rental. Still not sure why the advertised prices of broadband don't include this mandatory charge, even if you never use the landline."

   I only get my broadband from Plusnet, so £22.49 a month really is all I pay them. I don't pay your imaginary mandatory line rental charge. My landline is from BT, and it's always been that way. Yes I pay BT line rental for my landline, but you can't add the line rental price onto a discussion about broadband and then imply that this is the "true" price of broadband.

          2. David Webb

            @dotdavid - I'm FTTP so can get rid of the phone line and switch to VOIP, I'm just lazy.

        3. Steven Burn

          Should be on their (now) ancient packages, cost for my PN connection is at least twice that ;o) (still wouldn't switch though, short of a major feck up - they "just work" (yep, they have issues occasionally, who doesn't) and their staff for the most part (once you get past the first line) actually know what they're talking about (still miss the old staff though))

        4. BurnT'offering

          Re: I pay £22.49 a month.

          Including line rental?

    2. DaddyHoggy

      Before my wife was medically retired last year, she used to work from home quite a lot and we switched from a very expensive BT dial-up up, to a very expensive BT ADSL to a (at the time time) much cheaper Virgin Media Fibre connection. It started life at 150Kb/s, then it moved to 300Kb/s, then 1Mb then 3Mb, then 10Mb, then 30Mb and I now have 60Mb. Other than 'normal' prices rises there's barely any difference in the relative cost of the 150Kb then and the 60Mb now connection. The main difference is *now* I have two kids who don't consume normal TV - they live on YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Quite often my wife, plus two kids will all be streaming TV shows at the same time - throw me trying to watch a Twitch stream, or iPlayer catch up into the mix and I'm very grateful to have such a decent sized pipe!

    3. Jay 2

      Agreed. Much as I'd love the speed of FTTC (the price hike not so much), my current connection is about 9mbps and I don't really have any problems going anything on t'interwebs.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes nail on the head! I actually sent feedback to Virgin recently upon their request. I stated that the constant "doubling" of speed (to hide annual 13% price rises) wasn't what I as a customer wanted as I didn't actually need more than the 40meg I already had. I'd rather they stabilised what was there and focused on reliability than keep pretending like enabling whats already there is any kind of added value. I can already watch amazon/youtube/netflix in several rooms at once why would I want to pay for more?

      With regards to Hull as the lowest takeup, when you look at house prices there and a struggling job market is it any surprise that people there aren't keen on super expensive fibre broadband? There are more important things in life like food, water, a roof over your head and warmth...

  2. AndrueC Silver badge

    Were these wireless or wired tests? I wouldn't trust a wireless test in an urban environment. I live in a small rural town but I can see 14 wifi access points from my living room. Most people's wifi isn't configured to support high-speed broadband even if it was operating without interference from neighbours.

    As for what people want - I think the market is pretty clear there. VM have to keep closing old slower packages and upgrading customers for free. FTTC take-up is running at about 30% (and I suspect the recent rises there are more due to BDUK finally getting it to the people who had poor ADSL). Even those who do take up FTTC are often going for the 40/10 packages rather than 80/20. BT just introduced 55/10 in the hope of encouraging take up of higher speeds.

    Some people want faster broadband and by pushing for it they help the rest by making it available when the rest finally do want it. But you have to be careful pushing for the investment because market data struggles to support the claim that everyone wants it.

    1. AS1

      "Eh? What is this gobbledygook?", said the 70% of users with ADSL packages. "FTTC? BDUK? I know 20/20 is good vision, but 55/10?"

      With all this techno-babble around broadband, no wonder a large proportion just go by price. It's something they understand, and they just run the router supplied with their first package assuming that the vendor set it up correctly.

      For deeper penetration, broadband probably needs an A-E rating akin to white-goods. That way the 'better' A rating will be chosen by households who treat their internet access as a fridge, i.e. they buy it and it works. If we look at the transition of the personal computing market from technical savvy PC owners to closed box phablet owners, I suspect that is the vast majority of households.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      They've got it completely arse over tit. Desperately spouting rhetoric about how successfully they're foisting 55/10 onto some fictional percentage of people who were perfectly happy with their 3/0.5.. While they totally ignore that 10% of the population who dream of 3/0.5 while languishing the end of some shitty 0.4/0.1 strand of aluminium that's been rotting away since the '70s... or worse.

      La la la.. we can't hear you... gigafast digigasmicbritan uberhighway!.. la la la...

      Why? What good is being served by UKPlc pu$hing ever "faster" connections onto people who neither want nor need them, while wilfully and conspicuously ignoring the very real needs of others.

      Something to do with them flogging off our TV spectrum then using their cut to fund a long retirement in a Tahitian brothel, no doubt.

      Google "how do I order FTTPoD" for examples. Even people on FTTPoD cabinets and told it's "available" to them can't really get it... It's all lies.

      Disingenuous fucks.

      1. Nigel 11


        Wish I could upvote AC's post by +10

        It could be fixed so easily by government decree. There's a universal service obligation on telephone lines. It's high time that same universal service obligation was extended to a usable broadband service on those telephone lines. (I'd hope that was at least 8/0.5).

        Yes, it would cost, but broadband has gone from being a luxury to an essential service. We don't expect folks in villages to pay more for their water supply, still less drink water out of a pond, so why should decent broadband remain excessively expensive or completely unobtainable?

        PS at the same time, they should bang the mobile companies heads together. It's unnacceptable that Vodafone has a monopoly on the place I live, and EE has a monopoly on a nearby village, and never the twain shall interoperate. Surely there could be mandatory free internal UK roaming between networks in areas where not all of the networks have coverage? The banks sorted out "roaming" of cash machines years ago, the mobile networks need to be told to sort out something similar.

        1. Rol Silver badge

          Re: +10

          As an economically poor, long-time user of the internet I baulk at the idea that my bills will be loaded with the costs of running high bandwidth services to Lord and Lady Mucks country palace.

          I'm not against subsidising rural roll-out, but I am against the inevitable regressive taxation if the costs are borne solely by the providers, who in turn will increase EVERYONE'S bill to pay for it.

          No. this needs to be a Government led initiative, payed [work it out] out of general taxation and thus a more fairly distributed burden.

          After all, I very much doubt Lord and Lady Muck will be happy when asked to contribute toward supplying, poor inner-city households, a PC capable of taking advantage of their superfast internet, which is the next stumbling block in internet access.

      2. Bill M

        I was not aware one could retire to a Tahitian brothel. But good to know of the option.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Google "how do I order FTTPoD" for examples. Even people on FTTPoD cabinets and told it's "available" to them can't really get it... It's all lies.

        FTTPoD has been intentionally wrecked by OpenReach, by setting a WHOLESALE rental price of £99+VAT PER MONTH [*]

        I have no problem paying a few grand for the cost of unclogging ducts or whatever is needed to pull the fibre through. But once it's installed, it should cost no more to "rent" than the copper it replaces.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A quick scan of the history of Kingston Communications suggests it was incredibly innovative and ahead of its time until it went public in 1999.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: KCOM

      It still is it is running fibre to premise not cab, the only issue is the time it is taking.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Not sure why, but in "deprived" Bartley Green, I'm pulling in 30MBs on my domestic cable BB (bog standard Virgin offering) and 100MBs on the Virgin Cable business BB.

    The fact it's faster than any of my home counties directors could dream of compensates for my lowly pay :)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. djstardust Silver badge

    Why get Fibre?

    I'm in Aberdeen and get an average 17mbps on a copper line, which is faster than the figure quoted for fibre in this article. Only downside is a 13 year old uploading Youtube videos at 0.85mbps for weeks on end.

    Despite our estate having loads of new cabinets saying "fibre has arrived" when we check the BT website we are not enabled. WTF?

    At least fibre would give better upload speeds ... or would it?

    1. DaddyHoggy

      Re: Why get Fibre?

      On my VM fibre things get increasingly asymmetrical - I get 60Mb DL but *only* 6Mb up - 6Mb is obviously not too shabby, but only 10% of my DL rate.

      They just offered my a year's trial of the 200Mb VIVID service at the cost I'm currently paying for my 60Mb - I asked what the UL rate was - 10Mb (same as the 100Mb service they also offer in my area) - so I won't be switching (especially as the cost would double my current payment in a year's time).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why get Fibre?

        Upload is 12Mbits you fucking Luddite...

      2. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: Why get Fibre?

        VM Fibre things?

        Last I checked all the main VM packages are DOCSIS3 or 3.1, which is very much copper delivered..

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Why get Fibre?

          Well, if you really want to be pedantic, it's FTTC then co-ax for maybe up to a few hundred metres. And co-ax is generally better than twisted pair.

      3. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Why get Fibre?

        On my VM fibre things get increasingly asymmetrical - I get 60Mb DL but *only* 6Mb up - 6Mb is obviously not too shabby, but only 10% of my DL rate.


        It's not fibre, despite what VM (at least used to) advertise. It's old fashioned coaxial cable running DOCSIS.


    2. Jedit
      Paris Hilton

      "I'm in Aberdeen and get an average 17mbps on a copper line"

      I'm in Aberdeen too, and I get sustained speeds of 70+ mbps on BT Infinity 2.

      (Paris, because when it comes to making a fast connection she has no equal.)

    3. Nigel 11

      Re: Why get Fibre?

      "fibre has arrived"

      You'll notice they carefully do not say where it has arrived. Doubtless, first of all in the immediate vicinity of OpenReach big cheeses' residences.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Why get Fibre?

        Ah, BT's cabinet stickers, yes. They actually mean "The stickers have arrived", not "The fibre has arrived". If enough people enquire, they might run out a line from the exchange to that cabinet.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why get Fibre?

      > At least fibre would give better upload speeds ... or would it?

      Likely yes, but beware.

      There are three different wholesale services which BT provide. 80/20, 40/10, and the historic 40/2.

      Where I live the achievable downstream rate is only 25M. I was already on Plusnet, so when I moved here I took their 40M service. But it turns out their 40M service uses 40/2 and not 40/10. They forced me to switch to a more expensive product just to get unclamped upstream (I now get 25/5, although I'm paying for 80/20).

  6. Orwell

    The last paragraph is just plain wrong in every way. A typical case of a politician believing his own BS.

    Hardly anyone has fibre. What he means is fibre to the cabinet, which may be miles away. This is only slightly better than fibre to the exchange which is what we all had before.

    And as for 90% getting 24Mbs and 50% getting 100Mbs this is laughable.

    Think Hull has the best outlook. Sounds like at least they are trying to do the job properly. Unlike BT's bodge it and run approach. Does KCOM in Hull get lots of government money to spend or do they finance it themselves?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      KCOM got precisely 0 pounds 0 pence from UK Govt. If you read comments on our local rags website, you will see it full of whiners saying they wish they could have Virgin, BT, Sky what have you. Given I read articles on the register et al I am not a subscriber to the grass is always greener brigade.

      1. dotdavid

        "Given I read articles on the register et al I am not a subscriber to the grass is always greener brigade."

        Surely it's better to have x providers all claiming to have installed fibre broadband to your area rather than have to put up with just one provider claiming to have installed fibre broadband to your area?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Surely it's better to have x providers all claiming to have installed fibre broadband to your area rather than have to put up with just one provider claiming to have installed fibre broadband to your area?

          There is only one provider of "fibre" (FTTC) broadband: BT. They wholesale it to everyone else.

          So if you take "fibre broadband" from Talktalk or Sky, you are getting BT FTTC.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. msknight Silver badge

    The whole bloody thing is a mess.

    OpenReach "upgraded" my village to FTTC and in the process screwed up the ADSL connections so that intermittent interference knocks out the line. Did a seven month long stunt with Eclipse that saw me replace everything, including the relatively expensive consumer grade router. When I acquiesced to the £200 OpenReach call out (it's £120 for phones, £200 for broadband apparently) they telephoned me to say that they weren't going to call OpenReach.

    Cue me switching to PlusNet a few weeks ago... and now I'm repeating the whole damn show all over again.

    If there's a problem with my water, or my electric, I can talk straight to the company responsible for delivering it to my home.... not so telecoms. OpenReach won't talk with me, despite telling them they've got a village in trouble.

    On top of that, PlusNet are shy of calling OpenReach as well, apparently I've been told that 6 dropouts a day on ADSL is an acceptable threshold... well, not if you're running IP telephony it bloody well isn't.

    I do have a letter from Ofcom confirming that they're going to propose tightening these limits later this year, but what is the point of putting targets on OpenReach.... when they really need to be imposing those fault targets on the providers, to get them to friggin' well CALL OpenReach in the first place. And I'm going to have to endure this whole debacle for another TWO MONTHS before I can call in an arbitration service.

    The whole damn industry has rigged itself to be immune to the very rules and targets that Ofcom have set. It's a complete shambles.

    1. Nigel 11

      If there's a problem with my water, or my electric, I can talk straight to the company responsible for delivering it to my home.... not so telecoms.

      Sorry to break it to you ... but no, or at least not around here. It's "Western Power Distribution" that delivers the power. Mind you, if Openreach did even half as good a job as Western Power Distribution, I'd probably be happy. But there again, electricity is under a universal service obligation.

      Recently heard someone relating his attempt to report a tree that was being held up by the electricity pole to his power company, before the tree came down completely and brought the electricity supply down with it. Complete failure. It'll get fixed a few hours / days after the power fails, and at ten times the expense.

  8. n0r0imusha

    Cabinet issues

    factor could be that BT done a few direct to exchange lines which due to not having streetcabinet cannot get FTTC .

    Openreach shrugs off any plea for installing a streetcabinet with "its not financially viable, wait for FTTP"

    if there is no virgin cable in the area

  9. macjules Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Wouldn't that be because Hull city has their own (KCOM) broadband and telecoms system still? Presumably not yet upgraded to FTTP/C even though they maintain that they are 'committed to, and working on providing this service*'

    (* -marketing doublespeak).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hull

      Yes we do still have a totally independent telecoms service in Hull. KCOM are putting in fibre to premise in its just taking a while, it's a big invesment but should futureproof the infrastructure. They are indeed ramping up the rollout this year. I have fibre at home and subscribe to their 50mb/s service, you can get up to 250mb/s, at my office I still use ADSL and see about 9Mb/s.

  10. Disgruntled of TW

    FFS - it is NOT fibre.

    It is copper.

    The exchanges that are FTTC enabled always had fibre. Taking fibre out to the street cabinets does not miraculously change the customer premises equipment from copper to fibre. The CPE is still copper bearer over POTS. I wish the ASA would wake up to this and stop this illusion that we're all getting fibre.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: FFS - it is NOT fibre.

      Virgin Fibre is the same as well, HFC is fibre to the local headend whereafter it's all coax to the home.

      <smug>I have true FTTH, and it's very nice indeed, symmetric gigabit, sub ms ping</smug>. To think we could all have had that, instead of a really fast choo choo to Leeds...

      1. TheProfessorY

        Re: FFS - it is NOT fibre.

        Yes, a reduction of the journey time from London to Leeds of around 20% compared to an increase in broadband download speeds of around 10 times (and upload speeds of around 100 times). Hmmmmmmm.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: FFS - it is NOT fibre.

          Who cares if it's copper, fiber, wireless, or unicorn hair, just as long as it carries data at an acceptable bandwidth?

      2. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: FFS - it is NOT fibre.

        "..fibre to the local headend whereafter it's all coax to the home...."

        Nope. Fibre from the headend to the big cabs in the street, then fibre to the smaller cabs -THEN coax and twin tp to the home.

        1. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: FFS - it is NOT fibre.

          The cab on my wall has a copper feed from the "big street cab", no fibre to the little cabs around here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS - it is NOT fibre.

      We are in Hull

  11. WibbleMe

    Its not just the average speed its the speed at peak times and TTL ping vs latency nothing more annoying than your video or MP3 spinning or your on-line surfing/gaming freezing

  12. WibbleMe

    Whats more annoying this that Google promise fast broardband if I put an cable down the loo some years ago... Im still waiting for a connection lol

  13. Blergh

    What is the data source of these tests?

    I don't think it was clear what was the source of these figures. It sounded like that it was from Uswitches broadband speed tests. I'm quite sure the test is accurate enough but what about the sample of people who use it?

    From a personal stand point I've now got FTTC broadband and I have only once checked to see what the speed was, since then I've not had the need because it is fast enough for everything I want. However previously when I was just on ADSL I was checking whenever I suspected my connection was being abnormally slow.

    Therefore could it be that the sample is likely to be skewed towards those who have slower broadband speeds? Maybe they've adjusted for this, but it wasn't clear if that was the case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is the data source of these tests?

      One problem is a lot of people will have done tests using their wireless connection in their house, that can vary hugely depending on where they are in their house and what is going on at the time, they are also likely to be the people 'testing' their connections because they have issues.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One thing missing.... the rise of 4G

    My connection (I have a tower and exchange within 5 minute walking distance) and my phone connection blows my ADSL out of the water

    My peak test was 86.7 down / 17.41 up.

    That upload alone blows most home connections out of the water. Just same about the pricing.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. elaar

      Re: One thing missing....

      What's the latency and speed stability like though?

      You can get some decent speeds from satellite too, but you can't do VOIP, gaming etc. over it.

      1. NotWorkAdmin

        Re: One thing missing....

        I'm glad I'm not the only one annoyed with appalling latency. My home internet is utterly horrible to game on. Bizarrely, I can tether to the 4G on my phone for a better ping. I'd prefer 5-10Mb with low latency than almost any other configuration.

        If you need 100Mb in a domestic environment, you're doing it wrong. By "you" I mean the people who if challenged wouldn't know what a Mb is. By "it" I presumably mean porn.

        1. Steven Burn

          Re: One thing missing....

          Some of us work from home, so the faster the better ;o)

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: One thing missing....

      4G in London is a sodding joke. Get on any train, bus, or even a traffic jam and wait 5 seconds for the 4G signal to drop to 3G to GPRS.

  15. CJatCTi

    There is no FTTC in central London

    We have lots of customers in central London & there is no FTTC available there, hence no take up.

    This is for 3 reasons:

    1) FTTC is Fiber To The Cabinet, with distances being short lots are direct to the exchange so no chance

    2) Even if there is a cabinet then the ducts to it are full and BT can't dig up the roads to lay new duct.

    3) Targets are set against homes & these are businesses, so they don't count.

    BT seem to be fiddling the figures on homes covered by enabling the exchange, claiming the coverage (getting the government money) but not actually enabling the cabinets or connecting people. Both my local exchanges are enabled with zero people connected, and plenty want to.

    1. dajames Silver badge

      Re: There is no FTTC in central London

      We have lots of customers in central London & there is no FTTC available there, hence no take up.

      When I'm at home in sunny Berkshire I have ADSL2+ which is nominally "up to 16Mb" and generally synchs at about 17 or 18. I find the speed of the line less limiting than slow servers and web pages overloaded with more adverts than content (El Reg take note!). I could have fibre (FTTC - cabinet about 150m away) but it would cost 50% more and the extra speed would only be noticeable on large downloads from fast and responsive servers. I feel no temptation to pay for that!

      SWMBO has a flat in the City of London, but there she can only get "Up to 8Mb" ADSL 1 (same price, same ISP) which generally delivers between 5 and 6 Mb/s. I find that OK-ish for most things, but she says it's at best a bit slow for her work (using a virtual desktop system of some kind -- I try not to get involved) and at peak times much too slow. She doesn't experience that slowness at peak times when in Berkshire, so it does seem to be due to ADSL contention, not server load.

      At the flat there is no possibility of FTTC or even of ADSL2, and the reason does seem to be that BT don't care about domestic customers because the City is largely about businesses, and businesses (in the City, at least) generally have SDSL or better.

      Sometimes it's better to be out in the country!

  16. james 68

    I know that Virgin media usually takes a flogging round these parts, but when I was living in Belfast I had their 150 Mbit fibre (no telly or phone, just the internet) and it was very fast.

    Now 150 Mbit is supposed to be just under 19 Mbyte per second however I regularly got speeds of 25 - 30 Mbyte on downloads so I'm guessing that when the line is uncongested that Virgin happily upped the speeds to 300 ish Mbit.

    Any time my speed was slow I can pretty much guarantee that it was due to the site I was connected to and not my line.

    Now, in Japan on a 100 Mbit connection it is frustrating as hell, it crawls in comparison. I wish I had my old Virgin fibre line back. :-(

    1. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

      Very true, I must admit I have 70meg broadband now (I downgraded to 35meg to save money and it double shortly after).

      I can easily get 8Mbyte a second on steam for example and once had close to 9.

      Their service is really good these days and support has much improved. Even returning my tivo box which I could no longer justify paying for, was utterly effortless and efficient.

      They are trying to get better you have to give them that!

    2. Steven Burn

      Frustratingly, still waiting, almost a decade now, for VM to get into my street (and those close to me on the "right side" it seems, street on the front has VM, streets to the back of those don't), gave up waiting (VM connections I've had the pleasure have been extremely fast (obviously leaving out those I've had the displeasure of dealing with over the years (though usually resulted in diags showing hardware/broken connections/VM infra issues etc)

  17. TheFinn toffee?

    I can imagine what this is, but I'm hoping it's rhyming slang I'm not aware of...

    1. Cardinal

      Re: toffee?

      It's a pooh-phemism

      1. PNGuinn

        Re: toffee?

        Since BT are likely involved that should that not be pooh-phormism

        1. Cardinal

          Re: toffee?

          Well, - S'pose it could also be a 'eeeuuw-phemism'.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. adam payne Silver badge

    Last month culture minister Ed Vaizey said: "We now have 93 per cent of the country able to receive fibre, 90 per cent of the country able to get superfast speeds of 24 megabits and above, and 50 per cent of the country able to get ultrafast broadband speeds of 100 megabits and above."

    I'd liked to know how Ed came by these numbers. Did the BT marketing department send him the details?

    That brings up another question how does the government check what they have and haven't done? where is the oversight?

    1. Steven Burn

      Nah, they wrote it word for word for him (saves him actually having to work) ;)

  19. danbishop

    MIddlesbrough is a town not a city...

  20. moiety

    Dog toffee. Excellent description. Also a fairly entertaining 10 minutes on YouTube.

  21. patrick_bateman

    Why do apparently so many stil have issues!?


    Virgin, DSL, 20mbps,

    was fine, went to upgrade to FTC but they no longer provided broadband in my area, sign up with someone else...


    Nr Basingstoke, Hampshire


    FTC at 80mbps

    connects at 79+

    I get and use every nibble of it

    I really don't get why I keep on hearing about all these issues, everyone I know, even my dad in a little village miles from anywhere that use to struggle to get 2mb 2 years ago is now blasting away on 10mbps+

    I understand people can get 100mbps with ease, our speeds are only slow when compared to Googles rollout

    this is far from news anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do apparently so many stil have issues!?

      "I really don't get why I keep on hearing about all these issues..."

      Because it's not all about you.

      They're complaining because they don't have the benefit of a decent connection that you do.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very true

    I work outside the UK, in Germany and Netherlands I've had no trouble getting providers to give at least 50Mbps and 100 or even 200Mbps is now available even for non business users and for mobile 4G is well rolled out around big cities, by contrast in the UK they have trouble getting to 50Mbps in many places and the service is crap, with obvious bandwidth shaping for video (especially BT), I've pretty much given up video conferencing with workmates or relatives in the UK, Virgin is the only company that seems to offer decent speeds and only then where they have fibre.

    Even been to Bulgaria and got 100Mbps in hotels etc. due to the government there providing state of the art internet connectivity (they are trying to compete as an outsourcing destination).

    In many respects the UK is like one of the former Eastern bloc countries in terms of broadband speed, but then again UPC in Poland will do 250Mbps I understand, so maybe worse than that!

  23. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    I wonder what proportion of the population have any need for fast Internet? I suspect the proportion will increase as people switch to streaming TV, and TV resolutions increase, but at present my guess is that less than 10% of the population have any need for speeds higher than a few Mbps.

    I pay a premium for unlimited FTTC and get over 70Mbps download speeds and 17Mbps upload, but I have 3 people in the house who often stream films, and I also download BluRay images quite often, so it's worth it. My mate who uses his broadband only for browsing and the occasional Skype call is quite happy with less than 10Mbps download and probably 1Mbps or so upload, and would not dream of paying a penny extra to get anything faster.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who needs more than 2 Mb/s?

    People who argue this tend to be those who think the world revolves around them - if I don't need any more than that, no one else should either.

    Back in the real world, a family with 2.4 kids is typically going need at least that per person just to watch Iplayer simultaneously, ie a minimum of 10 Mb/s. And that's before they start file sharing.

    If you can't thing of anything to do with fibre broadband, you aren't using your imagination. You probably aren't aware that streaming speeds to actually make use of your 4K compatible TV are considerably higher than 2 MB/s.

    But more importantly, who needs more than 640K RAM... ;)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fibre speed

    Once you've experienced a 1 GB file download in under 5 minutes you'll realise that 2 Mb/s is not an acceptable speed in a first world country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fibre speed

      The more I see of other countries and their infrastructure the more I begin to doubt the UK should be considered a "first world country" :)

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Fibre speed


      Once you've experienced a 1 GB file download in under 5 minutes you'll realise that 2 Mb/s is not an acceptable speed in a first world country.


      Difficult as it may be to believe, there are a great many people who have never downloaded a 1 GB file, nor do they have any wish to do so.

  26. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    On the other hand

    I get about 16M on ordinary copper and it would probably actually degrade if I opted for fibre (to the cabinet). This is because the main exchange is in sight of my house, but the nearest (active) cabinet is around 2 miles away.

    P.S. That rate is more than enough for my Internet use.

  27. RevennaFox

    It could be way worse, you could be in the rural US. I get maybe 500 kbit/s with a tailwind, and the only options available a few miles down the road are dial-up or satellite.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      "It could be way worse, you could be in the rural US. "

      I agree but it does seem a bit daft that a small, highly populated and pretty damn rich country can't manage decent connectivity for all.

  28. Steven Burn

    2 FTTC (I know, I want FTTP too) connections here (and a third ADSL line, but leaving that aside), both at an average of 76Mbps (1 x BT Business, 1 x Plusnet Business, costs considerably more (PN especially, was an old ADSL package that stopped existing, but didn't go lower in price - ah well, DILLIGAF), but worth it, both rarely have issues). Apparently I'm in the 10%?, who knew.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you expect with BT at the helm?

    Ok, so - Aberdeen was screwed by NTL buying Aberdeen cable and subsequently going bust....theydidnt do any upkeep on the network, and it would have cost too much to resurrect.

    Here in London (and around the country), BT just cant be building is in Canary Wharf, but Im stuck with ADSL. The building is a direct connect to the exchange, so cant get FTTC - and hyperoptic installed within the building nearly 2 years ago, but still isnt connected - something to do with the fibre having broken somewhere and TFL and BT are fighting over when it will get fixed (likely story - but hey thats marketting for you!).

    However, Im moving out of the city - to the middle of nowhere - literally .... but can somehow get Virgin cable .... and also in the middle of nowhere in central Scotland where my parents live, I can get FTTC.....


  30. BurnT'offering

    There's a simple solution

    Nationalise OpenReach.

  31. BurnT'offering

    In other news

    Research has shown that the UK's Superfurry Animals are only 97th in the global league tables of animal furriness. The Animals have responded with an assurance that they will do their utmost to become more hirsute if the Government agrees to grant them £6billion in funding. This should be enough to win Axl Rose's unwanted hair plugs on eBay or a vial of Andy Murray's nasal clippings

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