I was on BT. I live about 15 paces from the exchange and syn'd at about 2.3mb on what was supposed to be 8mb.
After 14,000 calls to BT, usual advice of unplugging everything, reinstalling my life etc, i was told an engineer would "boost the signal" to my line. 5 days later without any phone service or broadband, i was told it was an exchange fault.
Short of runnign a lenght of cat 5 to the exchange i gave up.
I'm now on Virgin media, 20mb connection, and get 20mb. very quick, its never broke (touch wood) and i am very happy with it.
That said, I know loads of people who have had a crap VM experience. I can only guess as i live on a street where noone else is under the age of 97 that no-one in my area is a heavy net user, hence my connection is nice and quick.
Oh, and ive never experience any of this bandwidth throttling / traffic shaping ?? i can start a download of 20Gb at 6pm, and get a pretty consistent download rate until its completed.
Paris - cos she needs a good downloadin'