back to article Around 1.4 million people have sub-10Mbps speeds - Ofcom

Around 1.4 million people in Blighty are unable to get speeds of 10Mbps, according to Ofcom's annual Connected Nations report. However, that is an improvement on last year, where 2.4 million, or 8 per cent of the population were unable to get 10Mbps. Unsurprisingly, rural areas still lag behind on broadband, with a quarter of …

  1. Dan McIntyre

    Hahahah 10Mbps?? Here in Rotherham you can't even get close to that through a BT line - my particular suburb has a max of 1.5Mbps and no plans for fibre.

    Hence why I went with Virgin Media. I mean I hate them as a company and their customer service is abysmal but I get 161Mbps on a regular basis at the moment.

  2. Martin an gof Silver badge

    I get 161Mbps

    So you are not one of the 1.4 million (5%). The report isn't about BT's coverage, it's about all coverage. You do have the option of Virgin, so you are fine.

    In a similar manner, my small village in South Wales is quite a long way from the exchange and my ADSL 2 sync speeds max out at about 8Mbps down (more often lower, actual throughput around 6Mbps). But BT has recently added FTTC into the village and so in theory I could sign up for 30Mbps+. My current ISP doesn't seem to be offering it yet, but to be honest, 6Mbps is perfectly workable - enough for at least one HD stream while also supporting web browsing etc. Frankly there are only two real benefits to 30Mbps+ speeds:

    • slightly quicker to download ISOs and programmes using get_iplayer
    • a slightly better uplink speed making offsite backups quicker

    and one big disadvantage:

    • about a 25% price increase over what I'm currently paying

    M.

    1. Doctor_Wibble
      Megaphone

      > Frankly there are only two real benefits to 30Mbps+ speeds

      Indeed, the bandwidth of the final stretch is more or less irrelevant when your download times depend on the far end being willing to punt out its data at 30Mbps and for all the infrastructure in between to do the same for your connection without any 'packet loss issues' that absolurely aren''t throttling or rate-limiting policies in any way at all whatsoever.

      My Londonburbian ADSL is barely over 10Mbps but the main 'speed problem' is the slowness of the far ends to respond at all, combined with website creators presuming that everybody is already on a 50Mbps+ connection and therefore don't mind a 10-gig bitmap and HD vido for a page icon instead of a postage stamp jpeg.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Shoot those web page designers

        who think that everyone is on 1GB Fibre.

        One web page I visited a week or so back linked to 146 other sites

        Tracking Sites : 40

        Ad sites : 79 yes 79 different AD urls.

        Google : 12 different URL with google in them.

        etc

        etc

        Some of the tracking cookies have expiry dates in 3021...

        All those sites are now blocked.

        I only investigated this because it took forever to load over 4G.

        When I got home I checked it on a 76Mbit FTTC line. Not 146 other URL's but 163 this time.

        I visited the same site via a VPN with an endpoint in Berlin. Only 59 different sites dragged in.

        Loaded faster via Germany than direct in the UK.

        Sheesh.

        That retailer is now blacklisted.

        I won't mention them so that you won't be tempted to visit them and get their AD revenue up.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Shoot those web page designers

          "One web page I visited a week or so back linked to 146 other sites"

          Good grief. The worst I've seen is 18 different sites. Can you provide the URL (even in munged form), I'd just like to see how abysmal a ~146 site web page actually is (god, think of the round trip on all those DNS lookups).

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      In households with a few people then better bandwidth helps a lot, e.g. if 2 people want to concurrently stream different stuff at HD then it can be problematic with low bandwidth, 10 Mbps is just about capable of supporting two HD streams. (obv different streaming services have different bandwidth requirements but typically HD stream looking at 3 - 5 Mbps), but if UHD becomes popular (or some other heavy data usage thing becomes popular) then 10 Mbps is insufficient.

      .

    3. Ledswinger Silver badge

      my small village in South Wales is ....

      ..unwilling to pay for a high speed broadband ?

  3. Martin an gof Silver badge

    Missing link

    Because it seems to have been inexplicably missed out of the article, here's the link to the OFCOM report:

    Connected Nations 2016

    M.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what?

    I get about 6Mpbs and that's good enough for the little gaming I do, it's enough for my NOW TV box.

    I don't need more and I certainly don't need to PAY for more. So who is going to pay for this service I don't need?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: So what?

      "So who is going to pay for this service I don't need?"

      Maybe the people who do need it, such as those with more than one person wanting to be online at the same time. Horses for courses.

  5. Gio Ciampa

    A very simple solution...

    a) scrap HS2 or Trident renewal or some such - thus freeing up £100 billion or so

    b) spend that money on a "National Grid" of "ultrafast" fibre broadband and mobile connectivity

    c) keep it under taxpayer control - then charge the telcos for the amount of data they use...

    (of course - it'll never happen... too many short-sighted politicians with their snouts in the trough...)

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: A very simple solution...

      If that money became available it would be spent on the NHS. Nothing else.

      The Mirror, Sun, Mail and Express would not let HMG do anything else with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A very simple solution...

        Odd, I wasn't aware that any of the last 3 had ever been supporters of the NHS - except when using it as an excuse to have a go at their real target.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A very simple solution...

      There are very good techincal and commercial reasons why your simple solution won't work. It'll never happen because it won't work.

      1. Gio Ciampa

        Re: A very simple solution...

        "Commercial reasons" are the cause of the problem in the first place... if BT et al can't be arsed to provide the infrastructure because it'll cut a few million off their profits - then bar them from providing the service at all... the almighty "market" will provide someone who will (so they say...).

        ...speaking as someone on the wrong end of VM when they couldn't be bothered to cable a flat that was - when I started renting it - less than 3 months old, and despite being all of 100 yards from houses that had been cabled, so the actual cost to VM would have been minimal...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A very simple solution...

          " if BT et al can't be arsed to provide the infrastructure because it'll cut a few million off their profits"

          The problem is that the service would be loss-making. That's poor business practice for anyone, but for Virgin and BT, operators with significant market power, it would be illegal.

          The reason for that is obvious - if large established players start selling things for less than they cost it becomes really quite hard for other competitors to enter the market.

  6. Martin an gof Silver badge
    Boffin

    Part R of the Building Regulations

    I've only just discovered this. At the moment it's very very limited in its requirements, but the fact they have felt the need to add another part to the Building Regulations implies that it's going to be more important over time:

    Approved Document R: physical infrastructure for high speed electronic communications networks

    M.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Part R of the Building Regulations

      don't forget that every time BT (or VM or whoever) improve their network outside the exchange they have to pay extra business rates in it.

      It would be nice if the Gubbermint gave them a rate holiday as an incentive to improve the network for us plebs.

  7. guyh

    "I am a one in 1.4 million"

  8. Alan Brown Silver badge

    This is an ideal opportunity

    To break up BT - simply say that giving them the money is conditional on Openreach becoming a completely separate company

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This is an ideal opportunity

      And BT's response is that without Openreach being part of BT they can't offer a USO and Openreach as a separate company won't be able to afford it (unless, of course, someone else takes them over). So where do you go then?

    2. Terry Barnes

      Re: This is an ideal opportunity

      Then they'd just refuse the money and rural people would have no broadband. That's not an ideal solution.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is an ideal opportunity

      The perfect opportunity. They can break it up, then the government can buy all the parts and end the stupidity of all this fake so called competition that is allegedly making everything better. The other companies can't be arsed to install their own infrastructure. Publicly owned utility. Universal service obligation. Non profit. Then do the same for the so called energy companies while they are at it.

      1. Terry Barnes

        Re: This is an ideal opportunity

        "The perfect opportunity. They can break it up, then the government can buy all the parts and end the stupidity of all this fake so called competition that is allegedly making everything better."

        And Virgin's shareholders will tie the government up in court for years, not unreasonably given that they would have just destroyed their business.

    4. Bluenose

      Re: This is an ideal opportunity

      I have never understood why consumers would want to see Openreach hived off from BT. Look at all the other successful hive offs where Govt has forced something or has actually done the selling off and see if you can explain how selling off Openreach thus making it a monopoly supplier will be better than the current examples of private monopolies (although accepting there is some state control):

      Southern Railways (or pretty much any railcompany that does not have competition on its line)

      Network Rail

      The reality is that BT's competitors want Openreach hived off so that they can buy it and guess what, they then get the power BT has over them today. Of course they would all be competing against the Chinese and that has major consequences of a different sort

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: This is an ideal opportunity

      "Openreach becoming a completely separate company"

      I'd put money on some big foreign telco buying up OpenReach 5 minutes after it was separated from BT. Anyone fancy Verizon owning the UK network?

  9. Kaltern Silver badge

    The Internet isn't just about downloading porn, watching Nov TV( Which is utterly shit BECAUSE of the crap network infrastructure we have in Blighty), and controlling your kettle.

    With properly reliable, fast internet, things could be done. Telephony could be radically changed for the better. IPTV would be a proper alternative to satellite (look at cable - that's essentially the same thing), and would open up competition for improved economic choice.

    Businesses could network globally, with the reliability only even found on a LAN. The amount of data that could be shunted around the world would enable true cluster computing.

    However, until the people at 'the top' stop seeing the internet as an economic irritation, then nothing will ever change. Farmers will be forever left with shit, unreliable connections because their fields are simply too big. (and not enough people live there to pay for it). There are always solutions to problems like this - but because there isn't a quick profit to be made, it'll never be addressed.

  10. LDS Silver badge

    Don't complain too much...

    Here in Italy the government had decided that most Northern Italy, the most productive part of the country, won't get high speed fibre soon, outside the few larger cities and somewhat around them. Northern Italy is peculiar because even if more than 22 millions people live in the area, many of them are highly scattered in many smaller towns and detached houses, not concentrated in a few large cities and large buildings, thereby telcos are not so keen in investing a lot of money to cover them, and wait for funds.

    Meanwhile government funds (aka taxpayers money, in large part coming from that area) have been wholly funneled to the South, in the endless hope that some technology could make a true miracle and turn a Greece-like area into some kind of Deutschland.

    If I'm lucky, I could hope to replace my old ADSL for some kind of fibre around 2020, despie living about 35km from Milan..

  11. Noel Morgan

    Officially I can get 40-55Mbs according to BTs own information, guaranteed minimum was 35Mbs

    However after I 'upgraded' to fibre my maximum connection was 2Mbs. So am I counted in the 1.4 million ?

    My gut tells me no, because I am in some database somewhere that lists me as capable of getting 40Mbs. I wonder how many others are in the same position.

    1. Vince

      Quite a few.

      Personally I also think the situation where Virgin Media is the only choice apart from a 1 meg connection or whatever is also no solution. It assumes that Virgin Media has suitable technical services for you - and they don't in all cases - and also means you have no actual choice in realistic terms.

      Somehow though, that's also considered OK - being given the "choice" between really slow and practical unusable broadband or er, virgin (although there isn't always a distinction between the former and latter...) is not much of a choice.

    2. cynic56

      Re: Me too

      I am. I was really excited that my new (expensive) fibre would give me up to 40meg. Sadly, I only went from a pitiful 1.4 to a slow 8Mb - and I suspect that most of that is serving ads and bloat rather than content of the pages I am trying to view.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Indecent broadband?

    "Government’s plans for universal, decent broadband"

    I suppose cracking down on indecent broadband is the BBFC's job now, not Ofcom's. Though they do seem to have a "Nipplewatch" squad looking at satellite channels in the middle of the night.

  13. Deej

    I am one of the 1.4m

    I get 4mpbs, and loads of packet loss which I think is due to the distance from the exchange. My line, an Exchange-Only line (rather than one that goes to the green cabs on the roadside), cannot be enabled for fibre. I've argued with BT to do something about it, seeing as I can actually *see* a green cab from my lounge window, but no "there's nothing they can do, sir."

    Harumph.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: I am one of the 1.4m

      "I've argued with BT to do something about it"

      Your problem is trying to do anything with BT.

      Switch to a _small_ alternate provider and explain the situation. You'd be surprised what can be done.

      1. Deej

        Re: I am one of the 1.4m

        Haha! I wouldn't be so foolish as to go with BT for my service; unfortunately everything gets back to Openreach in the end, and they're the ones who refuse to do anything.

        Sad times.

    2. StevieD
      Paris Hilton

      Re: I am one of the 1.4m

      Yep, "Exchange Only" lines.

      EO, the gift that keeps on giving :(

      (Paris, because I'd have a better chance of her donning a donkey jacket and installing a street cab than Openreach getting of their arses and doing it)

    3. Steven Jones

      Re: I am one of the 1.4m

      Packet loss has absolutely nothing to do with distance from the exchange. That just slows the sync rate. Packet loss is almost invariably due to insufficient backhaul.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 megs seems right

    In a village only a few miles from Stratford upon Avon, I struggled to get any more than 2-3Mbps for years. Three came to my rescue with about 10Mbps of mobile*. Now I finally have FTTC and home speeds of 20-30Mbps down and about 2-3 up -- and it really makes a difference to what you can do --- TV on demand, in particular, suddenly became a possibility. I'm not sure where the threshold is, but around 10Mbps for most households sounds roughly right, providing it's a realistic speed rather than the congestion free max.

    * Weirdly though, it seems Three have upped their game again ... just checked out of interest (twice because I didn't believe it the first time) but I'm getting 90-95Mbps down and about 30 up). Maybe I should use mobile for cloud backup -- but it feels a bit selfish.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    256k on a good day

    *cough* 10 meg. My folks router reports 256k (and that's a work of fiction). No mobile broadband coverage above G (not 3G) from their location either. There's a long way to go in some areas just to catch up with what most folk aren't happy with :(

    1. Vince

      Re: 256k on a good day

      256k - luxury!

      I know of someone with a 160kbps ADSL connection. Naturally that's proving to be amazing as you might expect.

      1. Loud Speaker

        Re: 256k on a good day

        256k - luxury!

        And it was up hill both ways, in the snow, and none of the bytes had shoes!

        In my day, we had 110 baud acoustic couplers, and went for a night in the pub when they were upgraded to 300 baud (while we downloaded some ASCII "art").

        TCP/IP via carrier pigeon has its merits (unless Talk-Talk has anything to do with it).

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 256k on a good day

      Ha! You plebs, my folks get a whopping 600k (ish)!

      That said, BT have promised to install FTTC in the next six months, so finally both me and my two brothers can go home at the same time, without our three phones taking all the bandwidth as soon as we walk through the door!

  16. Simon Rockman

    10Mb is pathetic

    It's a number invented by BT to lobby with and they can't even do that. Hong Kong has 95% availability of 1Gb and good availability of 10Gb (albeit at a price). And before you say "yes, but Hong Kong is densely packed" there are plenty of places in central London where BT can't deliver decent speeds.

    All the running is being made by Hyperoptic, Cityfibre, Gigaclear and AQL. They all offer 1Gb typically at £25/month.

    A visionary government would have a percentage of places which could get 10Gb by 2020.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10Mb is pathetic

      I agree it is absolutely pathetic - I mean how can you possibly watch cat videos at 4k with those speeds?!

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: 10Mb is pathetic

        Sod cat videos - some of use would like to try and work from home and provide simple services.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10Mb is pathetic

      A visionary government would have a percentage of places which could get 10Gb by 2020.

      Any spot the glaring error!!!

      Clue it begins with a V

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10Mb is pathetic

        How much are you prepared to see your tax bill increase to make that happen?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 Mbps

    So, 3 times what I get....

  18. Bluenose

    Gigaclear offer of 1GB @ £25/month!!!

    Can you send me the discount code please??

    They are coming to the village where I live in the near future and the deal they have offered me is 50mbps (up/down) is £41.30/month plus Vonage at £8.99. From my perspective I will be paying about 5 more a month than I currently pay BT for a 5/1 mbps (down/up) serivce so the economics make sense.

    Their 1gbps offering is a couple of pound shy of £80. I did think about trying to persuade the neighbours to kick in for a nice switch and then run cables to their houses and share the cost of the link but I already spend to much time providing IT support without having to worry about providing network support to the neighbours.

    Would love to know where your £25/month comes from.

  19. mongobongo

    I live just outside London and I'm getting at best 3Mbps. They did have my cabinet scheduled to have fibre installed and then after the date slipped a few times, it now states that it's not being installed at all! No option for Virgin either, so an absolute nightmare at home with 2 kids and the missus all battling for bandwidth!

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      [3Mbps is] an absolute nightmare at home with 2 kids and the missus all battling for bandwidth

      What on earth did we do in the days before the internet?

      Oh, that's right, we talked, we read books, we watched telly together on the only TV in the house (and discussed the programmes over tea), we listened to the radio, we had time to practice hobbies (and annoy the neighbours with off-tune violins), we participated in or helped at Scouts or Girls Brigade or football club, we went for walks and we didn't feel the need to keep in constant touch with our schoolmates as soon as the bus had dropped us off, other than an occasional panic phonecall because we'd forgotten which homework had to be in the next day.

      It's streaming that's the real problem, isn't it? Web pages and Twitter feeds and suchlike are very "bursty" and even if all four members of your family were shopping on Amazon at the same time (not renowned for being a "light" website) I doubt 10Mbps would seem very much "faster" than 3Mbps.

      Not that I'm saying that 3Mbps is perfectly fine, but it really isn't the end of the world unless you are all online all of the time. 3Mbps will let you take part in pretty much all of the "digital economy", with the exception of better-than-SD streaming and a couple of very pretty websites that are best avoided.

      I do get the feeling (please don't think I'm getting at you personally!) that some "families" are really no more than four or five individuals who happen to live in the same house and share a kettle but otherwise live in isolated bubbles, and I really, really don't think that's doing society an awful lot of good.

      10Mbps is a good baseline figure for now and for the next few years at least, but my family of six has been managing just fine with speeds of around 5Mbps down (sustainable - sync is higher but throughput rarely matches sync) for a while now and, other than feeling that it would be nice to download OS updates or that programme from iPlayer a little bit quicker, I've no huge urge to upgrade until someone offers me a significant improvement in speed (uplink too) for pretty much the same monthly cost.

      Don't think that'll happen any time soon!

      M.

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