Now all we need to do is make sure that consumers understand the differences between 'advertised speed', 'connection speed' and 'throughput'. Some clarifications from me:
'Advertised speed' - a figure that describes the technical capabilities of the technology.
'Connection speed' - a figure that indicates what speed the technology is actually providing at a specific installation.
'Throughput' - a figure that indicates how much data can be actually be transmitted in a given period of time.
Note that 'throughput' needs further clarification as it could be measured in several ways some of which are:
- The maximum speed at which data can arrive at or leave from the end user's modem.
- The maximum speed at which data can travel between the end user's modem and their ISP's servers.
- The maximum speed at which data can travel between the end user's modem and whatever server they are choosing to measure (note that this is a very complicated thing to define and the Internet offers no speed guarantees).
Oh and all of the above need to be measured by the consumer over a fully wired connection.
I've wanted Ofcom to concentrate on throughput for a long time (not least because it's a product differentiator that can actually be meaningfully controlled through customer choice as opposed to connection speed which can't be for most of us). Unfortunately it really isn't a simple topic. I don't see how advertising can ever provide the requisite information. The nearest I can think of is a rating system but we're still left trying to choose how we measure throughput.