back to article O2 and Be Broadband speeds dip

O2 and Be Broadband customers suffered a slowdown in the last year, against the market trend of improving speeds, it has been found. Downstream for the two home broadband providers, who use the same network, dropped on average by 13 per cent to 5.1Mbit/s, according to web-based speed tests. Against ADSL competitors - who …


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  1. Dick Emery

    BT network?

    I am on LLU with Be and have not noticed any speed drops. I can get a solid 1.2 MegaBYTES (Not bits) per second download on a 11.5Mbit sync at any time of the day (Dependent on who I connect to of course and if they can provide fast enough upload speed to me).

    I can only assume this slowdown is for those on the 8Mbit BT Non-LLU exchanges and not the 'up to 24Mbit' LLU connections.

    1. Stu Wilson


      not to mention to the crappy DNS servers that still flake out every night, OpenDNS ftw

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: BT Network?

      I was an O2 broadband on LLU and I (like many others in the forums) got caught in the speed throttling debacle. I could get 14mbit/sec all the way until about 5PM and then plummet to sub 400k/sec until after midnight.

      The same every night and something people swear is only suffered by non-LLU access users, all the cursing from "O2 access" customers was attributed to BT.

      O2's cust services often couldn't answer the phone, no idea's, a millions sets of line tests, attenuation tweaks, replacement modems etc and still throttled come 5pm.

      Shifted to Plusnet and all is well. Maybe it's BT's effect (ie: plusnet is the subsidiary) but I should have been LLU'd on O2 so immune from the supposed "BT" effect. Other forum users had the same experience so seems a bit variable, some LLU folks are happy bunnies and some not.

      Not needed to phone plusnet since going over so can't comment on their customer service.

  2. Andrew 63

    Also a BE user

    and getting 2.4 megabytes (around 19 megabit) a second.

    Not slow at all.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I'm with O2

    Best provider I've ever had, in fact never had ONE single fault....unlike POS Orange who's number was on speed dial and constantly blamed my line (funny I'm on the same one).

    Not noticed any slow down, but I've only got 1.6Mb anyway.

  4. dave 81

    Speed not what was prommised, but...

    NO fair useage policy if you buy the top BE package. So very nice not having to worry if the next download is going to bust the cap and limit your speed to 128kbits. Unlike the scum at demon internet.

    To be honest, anything over 4Mbit is fast enough for anything I want to do, and if I am doing some big downloads or Bit torrenting, the bottleneck is very rarely my connection.

  5. Damian Skeeles

    Virgin Media = Ryanair = Tequila

    Despite my better judgement, I'm awaiting my Virgin Media installation at my new home. A freeview coverage blackspot means I'll need them for TV anyway, so I bit the bullet on the rest. The omens are not good, since they've already called me to confirm delivery a day later than promised on a day I won't be here. Unfortunately the human phone-bot didn't understand the concept of my being "not in on that day", and wouldn't reschedule, so I'll have to take my chances with whatever transpires.

    I last had Virgin (then NTL) in 2001; it's taken me nine years to get over that experience. And my provider in the meantime was Bulldog!

    Virgin Media = Ryanair = Tequila. You tell yourself "never again". But you forget so quickly.... In other words - Be may be a few kbps slower, but don't forget about customer service as well!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No complaints here

    I'm still getting a solid 13½Mb/s (1.6MB/s) downstream with no dropouts or slowdowns at all with BE. And I downloaded 85GB last month (although I normally average more like 40GB, and upload a similar amount). Never regretted leaving VM. Hmm... maybe I'm part of the problem...

  7. OneArmJack

    Dodgy Analysis

    I'm also on Be LLU and still get the full 2.2MB/s download on a 24Mb/s connection and haven't noticed any problems. Measuring an average speed for all customers and then reporting that speeds are dropping is pretty useless, the comparison needs to be done like for like. It's like measuring the average speed on all roads then saying motorways are getting slower.

  8. bigolslabomeat

    Virgin tops?

    They provide a good speed until you reach your 750MB cap for the day, then you're slapped down to 2MB/s for 5 hours. Presumably these tests/numbers have been taken only from people running at full speed.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'm on Be (and proper LLU too)

    and I have noticed a gradual slowdown in the last 18 months. It's quite variable though, its still possible to get very good download performance (12 Mbit on a 16Mbit sync'd line), but there seems to be some latency or routing problems at times with 'popular' websites.

    The various Google-owned sites and Facebook (on the rare occasion that I go on there) are often incredibly slow, and I am advised by laptop-toting visitors that they don't have the same issues on other ISPs.

    Their provided router often throws a wobbly and crashes as well (not a good occourence whilst broadcasting internet radio).

    At the moment it is still worth the £18/mo to me, but not if it declines much further. Maybe occasionally shonky web performance is the price you pay for an unthrottled pipe...

    1. Gav H.


      This is exactly what I'm noticing; especially with eBay UK and Google...

  10. Tom 15

    Shows the problem with statistics...

    This article is complete bull... my Be runs at 1.4MBytes/sec practically 24/7. Therefore at no point in the year has there been less than ~13MBits average speed on Be's backbone. I'm limited to this due to my line speed but my Be line has always pulled 100% of this speed!

    If the average Be speed has gone down it will be due to more people who can achieve very low ADSL speeds transferring to Be because they are the best ISP (good customer support, active forums, ability to tinker with a lot of line settings) and therefore reducing the statistical average!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Dick E

    Obviously you missed the "dropped on average", not all exchanges are equal and not all exchanges serve users with similar habits............

    your post is as pointless as this one pointing out your senseless "hey look at the size of my broadband post” no one cares by the way, but i felt is was necessary to educate what appears to be a heard of commenter’s with an ever dwindling intellect…….

    1. Brutus

      glass houses and stones

      It's always a good idea to make sure of one's spelling, grammar and punctuation when talking about the dwindling intellect of the herd.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fraudband : PlusNet 2.8Mb/s

    yeah, and here I am at 962Kbps. Inept

    1. F MacIllFhinnein

      AC @ Fraudband: MinusNet

      You're lucky: I've been complaining since late October. Still, in December I had one day (Hogmanay) with a 2MBps+ speed. On every other date that I tested that month it has been lower than 2kBps. And yes, I've jumped through the hoops, connected to the test socket, tried another router (which they insist on calling a modem), and so on and so forth.

      They're cute enough to write "We do not have any liability of any sort (including liability for negligence) for the acts or omissions of other service providers, or for faults in or failures of their networks and equipment" - although, of course MinusNet is owned by BT. As for trying to get them to have a BT engineer sent out - you might as well ask for them to organise a well-oiled stag night in Tehran.

      It's getting so bad that I've even considered going back to the successors of Cabletel. What was wrong with a publicly-owned PSTN run for the benefit of the public, in the first place?

      Thank goodness my work doesn't depend on the alleged broadband link - unlike my wife's. :-(

      Tempted to put an "IT?" icon, since PlusNet doesn't seem to understand applying even the simplest of technology to benefit customers.

  13. Haku

    Speed 'dip' ?

    I used to be with an Enta reseller, until Enta's service went completely down the toilet and speeds dropped to practically ISDN levels during peak hours (the hours that are metered and you're paying for the bandwidth) so I went to Be...

    Breath of fresh air!!

    Now I got 30% faster downstream AND upstream rates than I ever got on Enta (4.8mbit & 1.2mbit respectively), and they haven't throttled my speeds to death like Enta did.

  14. hexx
    Thumb Up

    same here

    since the beginning of the contract (june 07) until now rock solid 11Mb and no problems, only a few small ones but customers where informed before any work to be done on the exchange. and also customer services, although not based in the UK are technically skilled or will at least pass your phone call onto somebody who understands you not like others (virgin, anyone?).

  15. Matt Major
    Thumb Up

    BE are great

    I love my BE connection

    syncing at the full 24mb.

    can't fault it really, tech support is great, speed is good. beats the pants of virgin

  16. Stuart 2
    Thumb Down

    Acess package

    The 'access' (non LLU) speeds were down to 0.5 megabit for a couple of months, due to them totally ****ing up the implementation of bandwidth throttling. It's mostly fixed now, but speeds are still only ~4 meg.

  17. Nux Vomica

    02 - Cracking service

    Only get the same 6MB rated speed as with BT (unsurprisingly as it's the same line), but no caps, no outages and on the one occasion I had to speak to someone (to sign up), the guy not only spoke English, but actually knew more than I did (not a high bar I admit, but one that BT never got near).

    Oh and did I mention it's a third of the cost of BT?

    1. OFI

      'No Cap'

      For the record there is a cap on BTs highest package. Apparently set at 100GB/mo usage (up and download)

      I hit it two months in a row and got throttled which is why I moved to O2.

  18. Andy 115
    Thumb Up


    has been my main problem with o2 BB the past few months - it seems to be on a constant lie down at busy periods, must say though, since changing the servers to the Google DNS service that has solved that problem.

    Sync at 8Mbps, not sure of actual speed but have never had an issue with it (bar the DNS problems that others have mentioned)

  19. technome
    Thumb Up

    Seems about right...

    My average download speed on O2 has dropped from 17.2 to 15.5 Mbps since April 2009.

    I'm not complaining though because it's much faster than I really need, and there's no cap. That's not the point, though...

  20. ScottXJ6

    BE rule ok!

    BE pro, 500m from the exhchange, 21mb down, 2.5mb up, never fails to impress and if the mood takes me can download at over 2mb/sec all evening long and upload over 200k/sec...

    (someone came round to take advantage, repopulated their steam catalogue) downloaded over 25gig that evening lol. no caps or shaping.

    Cant agree with the stats behind these articles much. Perhaps if all ISP halfed their 'upto' speeds, then acheived percentage of users would go upto all round, but moreso on larger ISPS who are the one who tend to do the worse due to contention and not adsl sync issues.

    Probably people with the poorest line quality are the people who most change provider for the higher 'upto' packages, so drag the average down over time, after hearing good reviews from people who did their research and realised that they would get a fairly decent mb out of 24 :)

    1. buxtonmarauder
      Thumb Down

      ah but..

      how do you know how close you live to the exchange and whether it's LLU ?

      I have 24mbit Be Pro account and have never got better than 2mb downstream.

      I have also experienced the huge drop in performance on sites like ebay, FB and Google in the evenings.

      I'm pretty underwhelmed with Be TBH..

      1. AchimR
        Thumb Up

        title me up

        Phone and ask them about the distance.

        Back when I signed up for O2 Broadband (sometime mid 07), I was told by them during their speed checks for me that my exchange is about 1.5 km away and that I'll get about 15 MBit from the then advertised 16 MBit package (now also advertised as 20 MBit).

        Their support so far seem quite good, friendly, and sometimes even knowledgeable.

        I often end up with a Scottish guy, but so far he seems quite fun :)

  21. Michael Sheils


    Since the beginning of December I've noticed a steady increase in our home lines effective speed by about 500k depending on the time of day.

  22. Fuzz

    8Mb package

    The article mentions that fact that plusnets speed increases could be largely to do with starting to offer ADSL2+, it doesn't mention that BE and O2 do up to 24Mb and up to 8Mb. If there is a growing take up in the 8Mb package then average speeds are going to fall.

    Note above, not a single BE user complaining about their service, add me to the list. Never had a problem. When I've contacted customer services they've been very quick and easy to deal with.

  23. batfastad
    Jobs Horns


    Been with Be for over 2 years and I have no complaints. I'm in central London (bankside exchange) so I was expecting my connection to be decent - it is. I was worried that reliability would be sacrificed for speed... nope.

    Swapped family over to Be as well, banking some free months service through the referral program.

    My only slight niggle is the BeBox... it's a Thompson Speedtouch unit and its admin UI is the most terrible thing ever made. Using loads of non-standard phrases to describe the functions in the menus to make it easier for noobs, but just confusing everyone instead! But that's not Be's fault.

    What needs to happen though is this... cheaper pricing across the board.

    One relative uses the internet for basic web/email stuff so I switched them to PlusNet's £5.99 p/m package and that's excellent value. They're in a broadband competitive area so the pricing stays at £5.99 p/m, however if you're in a rural area it rises to £12.99 p/m after 3 months.

    I'd like to see cheap basic broadband packages for five/six quid available everywhere, not just in towns. Especially when rural areas don't get the same speeds as us townies.

  24. batfastad
    Jobs Horns


    Could these figures just mean that more country folk are switching to Be and dropping the average?

  25. Tom_
    Thumb Up

    Be be good

    I've been getting about 18Mb/s from Be for about four years, but I do live about 400m from the exchange. My only complaint is that, through November and early December, my connection seemed to drop every few hours.

    Thumbs up, overall.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Depends on your test server

    I use

    I get 3meg from the Maidenhead server, but 10 meg from the Birmingham server.

    Trust no-one.

  27. Tom 106
    Thumb Up

    Speed ok, dns sucks.

    I'm switched from Tiscali to O2 recently, and I can honestly say that so far I'm more than pleased with the switch. I get better speeds than what I was originally quoted at the time of becoming an o2 customer.

    I have to agree with a previous commentard, in that the o2 DNS sucks, (or it did when I took up my contract), Opendns is our friend.

  28. probedb
    Thumb Up

    Thumbs up

    I get the full 10Mbps that they guessed at. Had to pull all the extension cables from the master socket due to crappy wiring but after that I hit the full 10Mbps. Only had one outage and they texted me beforehand to say so! All this for excellent prices too :)

  29. Roger Garner

    Another (generally) happy BE customer...

    Modem connects at 21Mbit... usually get up to 2.2Mb downloads... peaks occasionally at 2.4Mb/sec. However in the last few months the number of random disconnects has been slowly rising... once a week I'll have a period of an hour or two where my net drops every 10-15 minutes or so. Different days and times during the day... was told by support its the modem needing firmware upgrade. Rollocks is it. Still does it.

    Slow speed I can cope with, not working at all is infuriating! On the positive side it does reconnect immediately each time... sigh...

    Shame about their website...

  30. Anonymous Coward

    the only problem....

    i have with BE is that they give me nothing at all to complain about... except for the crappy custom formware in the tompson speedtouch wireless router with the open back door for customer services... need if your a dork and screw up your router settings by playing around, but if you know what you are doing, its not worht the security risk...

    oh, and they forget to bill me 1 month in 3.....

    other than that, top speeds of 2.3MB/sdown.... no plans of looking for another service provider...

    I think the point most people are missing is that they are quoting the average speed of all customers.. and that can be explained by the flood of new customers. when i sighned up near two years ago, i heard that if you were likely to get speeds of less than 12mbit/s they would not let you on the network... this as i understand it was totaly un-official... if they have now let in slower connections to increase customer base then the av speeds will be lower...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      The backdoors can be closed however.

      There's one open port somewhere in the 7k range iirc, howtos are on the net how to close it (have to telnet onto the router), as well as their super user accounts on the router.

      Not sure if the login credentials are publicly available for the Be version of the box, for the O2 Thomson box they are (probably inofficial though, google's your friend), so I've deactivated them (or rather renamed and given other passwords)

  31. Anonymous Coward

    More likely...

    Be customers are generally more IT-centric and will chase/tinker to improve their lines/remove dodgy extensions.

    Add O2 customers into the mix and suddenly you've got people who accept the first sync speed and carry on regardless.

  32. Frostbite

    I'm with O2 Broadband

    Everything with O2 Broadband is great apart from their DNS servers - GET THESE SORTED O2 PLEEEEASE !!! (1,103 Kbps average).

  33. Anonymous Coward

    An O2 user and proper F***** off.

    Sick of rebooting the shitty router O2 supplied, so swapped to a only slightly less shitty netgear. Same issue, still rebooting when i wake up, when i come in and before i go to bed.

    Fkin useless and DONT get me started on their customer service as its by FAR the crappiest ive ever come accross. Yes, crappier then Orange, VM and AOL ever were.

    Also seen my speed drop from an almost constant 700mbps to about 520 mbps.

    Its only because its 7 and a half quid i stick with em.

    Beer cos they have almost driven me to drink.

    But not that shandy you southerners drink. I drink Mans beer, like fosters and carling.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Idiots rule OK

      You think that O2/Be are actually capable of remote rebooting your *INDEPENDENT* Netgear?

      You think that your speed is 520*m*bps?

      You think their CS is worse than VM of all people?

      You think Fosters and Carling is "Mans" beer?

      Guess what I think?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      You sir are an idiot.

      1) you drink horse piss and think its beer? Drink a beer with some colour in it. you sir ARE a shandy drinker.

      2) You think thier router is shit so you buy a nice shiny replacement which has the same problems? and thats thier fault? I think its not a modem problem. Have you been tweaking your profile with modem tools that you dont understand like dmt? I'd ask to get it reset if I were you.

      3) your complaining about 520mbps? really? m's and k's all the same really arn't they.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Fosters is beer?

      I always thought it was coloured water, given the taste of it?

      German beer all the way :)

  34. daoxin

    Couldn't BE Better

    Your article doesn't reflect my experience. Have been on BE for 2 years and my speed hasn't degraded at all. I use their pro package and get Annexe M double upload, also I'm a heavy downloader (30Gigs + per month) and don't get capped or shaped ever. Best ever on customer service too, 0800 number to people who actually understand the internets. Oh, and great pings for gaming, can't beat it really

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor article

    It just means a growing customer base with more users on the end of long lines, perhaps combined with capacity issues the investment this time last year successfully addressed. Meanwhile other providers are getting to take advantage of ADSL2+ via WBC and VM introduce 50mbit, so their averages improve. Be/o2 (and similarly Sky/Easynet) have always had that advantage, generally have provided a very good service, and don't have any room for improvement.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be Limiting

    Not only are my real-world speeds lower than they used to be, but my synch speeds lowered in 2009. I'm used to seasonal fluctuations, but I just can't maintain a connection at the speeds I used to. The line drops, even when the margins are over 6db up and down.

    There are also lots of spontaneous line drops. I used to see up-times of 150 days before bad weather or a power cut would drop the line. In 2009 I only once saw it reach 50 days, and that was at the slowest synch speed of the year.

    Didn't they get rid of some key support and engineering people last February? Proper Be people, and replace them with O2 people. I was always worried what would happen when O2 started making their presence felt. I hope it doesn't turn into another Orange or Talk Talk.

    I would have seriously considered going to Entanet, except that seems to have fallen apart too in the last couple of years? Maybe I'll have to see whether IDnet have lowered their prices, or look into Andrews & Arnold, who I've read good things about and have heard described as "the modern day Pipex or Nildram".

  37. Geoff Johnson

    Looks about right.

    This is the ping time for my house to the server where the image is.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No speed dip for me

    Though I only signed up in the middle of last year so perhaps I'd never notice anyway.

    I get a solid 1.6MB/s every time I need it. Not great but that's BTs crap copper for you.

    DNS seems fine to me but OpenDNS is on secondary just in case. I'm happy.

  39. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    O2 not all its cracked up to Be

    I went with O2 as they where the only LLU provicer in my local exchange and we new that the max we could get from BT was 2Mbps.

    It started well but the outages, router drops and gneral speed variance in recent months has been appalling.

    Gaming pings leap around all over the place and voip chop makes me sound like Davros on speed!

    02 customer service have been fast and efficient and have even admitted that the core network is rubbish but thats no help.

    And the router they supply is pants, as I have been typing this its just re booted itself for no apparent reason!

    Paris, looks good until you take it home!

  40. Markius
    Thumb Up

    Another happy BE customer

    I've been with BE for about 14 months on an LLU exchange (Maidstone). I get a sync of 12Mbps and reliable 1.1MB/sec down 100KB/sec up. It's been at that speed from the off and I haven't experienced any slowdown.

    I've been very impressed with their technical support...

    My line stopped routing on xmas day morning even though it was still synced - I contacted BE support via their text chat service and told them this. They took care of the issue while I was eating my turkey and sprouts without me needing to do anything more.

    It's so refreshing to be able to get through to technical support people who are actually technical and not simply reading from a script.

    I've used BT, Demon and Easynet in the past... BE spanks them all!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Okay, okay, okay, ...

    I'll ditch the BT Vision go Freesat and look for better ISP once the contract is up.

  42. robert 15

    on be too

    Had a severe drop in speed and continuous connection drop-outs earlier in the year. Be were great helps, increasing the SNR to stabilse the connection whilst I/they investigated. Turns out the incoming BT line to the house had been damaged and Be had BT replace that free of charge and everyithng went back to normal (15mbit down / 2mbit up)

    The extra upstream makes watching my slingboxes a joy.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward Be Limiting #

    entanet have gone to the dogs, bt made sure of that....

    but my point is, if you were having problems with stability during bad weather, then i can only assume there are issues with your line to the exchange,,,, as it degraded over time, maybe the bad weather has taken its toll on a junction box somewhere....

    in my two years with be, the only down time i have had has been by my own hand... current uptime 300 days plus....

  44. Neil Stansbury
    Thumb Up

    Very Impressed

    New O2 LLU subscriber, 750 m from exchange. Getting 20,176 kbps downstream sync on 20 Mb service.

    Still can't quite believe it, but I'm happily streaming BBC iPlayer HD with no hiccups whatsoever.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be and Plusnet here

    We have one line from each... running over the same route all the way back to the exchange. Be Pro and Plusnet business, so no limiting or evening slowdown on either of them.

    Throughput on Be is at least 50% better than PlusNet, and there was no significant improvement on PlusNet during the time that we were on their ADSL2+ trial.

    We're in the country, so sync speeds are about 3,5Mbps for Be, 2.2 for PlusNet - with some variability depending on choice of router.

    Be customer support is OK, PlusNet's is really good.

    1. Christopher W
      Thumb Up

      Time to bond

      You might as well ditch and get a second Be line then take up their Bonding service - you'll get 7mbps down and 2.5mbps (ish) up! Tasty.

  46. OFI


    So that's a large number of comments from people happy with their LLU service.

    Good for you, I wish I could join you.

    Everyone else on IPStream however has had speeds plummet from their up to 8Mbps (in my case 7.2Mbps) down to 384-512k some have even reported under 100k. This went on throughout September and October.

    To help bring the speeds and ping back up O2 have effectively blocked any P2P 24/7. At least I can get 1-2Mbps on average now during the day and up to 5Mbps at night.

    Their website and emails say it is blocked during peak congested times however the O2 Support Forums say otherwise as every user posting has been throttled to 5KB/s on any P2P 24/7!

  47. Flakey

    You couldnt make this up but........

    I swear on my life and the lives of all those I hold dear that the following is true. Ive been a O2 customer for almost a year and in October started to see the speed drop from a respectable 5-6 (Im on a "up to 8mb" connection) to 1.5.After several phone calls to O2's so called "technical support" (excuse me while I stop laughing) and going through the usual "do this, now try this" scenario, nothing changed (even contacted BT and had them check the line, all clear according to them, Im less than a 1km from the exchange).To date, nothing has changed and everything is still slow.

    This is where it gets fun. In early December I'd had enough and emailed O2 and informed them of the problem and informed them that when my contract expired (end of Jan 2010) I would be asking for my mac code. Within a week I received a marketing phone call from O2 asking me about the service and whether i was happy with it. After a bit of a rant down the phone explaining all the speed problems, I informed the young man on the phone that I would be requesting my mac code at the end of the contract. The conversation then went EXACTLY like this:

    Me."So I'll be requesting my mac code when my contract expires"

    O2. "Whats that?"

    Me. "Whats what, a mac code?"

    O2. "Yes"

    Me. "You dont know what a mac code is?"

    O2. "No"

    Me. "You're joking?"

    O2. "No Im not"

    Me. "You do actually work for O2 and not some marketing company?"

    O2. "No sir, I work for O2"

    Me. "You work for one of the biggest isp's in the country and one of the biggest telecommunications companies in Europe and you dont know what a migration access code is?"

    O2. "No I dont sorry"

    Me. "You're having a laugh arent you?"

    O2. "No honestly sir, Im not"

    Me. "Ok, bye"

    Pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Roll on the end of January

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      CSU stupidity aside your problem is not with O2..

      As you're not an LLU customer this rfeally is likely to be a BT fault. Indeed, a fairly common problem can arise where the DSLAM at the local exchange locks you into a 2Mb profile and fails to scale up your profile according to your line quality. The only way to fix this is for someone at BT Whiolesale Support to manually set your profile at the exchange higher.

      I saw this problem again and again when I supported several DSL Max customers and the most annoying thing was that BT didn't recognise this as a specific issue and there was no way for the ISP to report the fault specifically via their link to BTW. They would have to report a generic line speed problem, BT would then look at the line and say that all was fine (as the speed was conmensurate with the line profile) and report back all OK to the ISP, who would then get back to the customer and tell them all was fine according to BT...

      On one occasion I detailed the exact nature of the fault to PlusNet support and went through this support loop THREE TIMES without any success, still having a 7-8 meg line locked at < 2M. Then, however, I discovered that the admin of a large broadband monitoring website had back office technical contacts at BTW, one email to him and literally 30 minutes later the problem was fixed, he simply called up hist mate at BTW and got him to set my line profile to maximum (the DSLAM can then drop the profile down until it reaches a stable sync).

      If you still have this issue I suggest you post in the forums at as that's where I went wenever I needed to get a line profile 'unlocked'.

      (As far as I know BT still don't officially recognise this issue although they obviously know all about it; in fact I'm convinced that it's a deliberate feature of their hardware designed to lower bandwidth usage on their network by keeping the untechnical masses of ADSL Max customers who should get 4-7 meg speeds obliviously locked down at <2 meg.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Migrating will NOT solve your problem, indeed, you are MORE likely to suffer 2 Mb line profile lock after migrating to a new provider, and the product you're recieving will still remain the same BTW ADSL Max.

      Unless there is a decent LLU provider on your local exchange your best course of action is to either stick it out and try to get the problem resolved via O2.

      You can also chack your BRAS line profile here...

      If it's around 2 Mb or less then report the fault specifically as a locked profile as you know your line is capable of much higher speeds. (You should, however, also check your own equipment and line SNR etc. in case the line as deleloped a fault somewhere.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      In the nick of time

      I was thinking of moving from BT to 02 because I can get free broadband if I pay for tethering with an iPhone.

      BT customer service is poor - the insist on you obtaining a router (they won't provide a test replacement) so that they are certain it's not any of the in-house equipment at fault before they will ask another arm of BT to investigate speed issues... if you don't do this then they say you'll be charged over £200 if there is no fault on the network. Ian Livingstone has a lot to answer for.

      Looks like I'll have to move to Virgin and do without tethering; Virgin though have no idea how to provide "business broadband".

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Horendous web site aside...

    BE are MILES ahead of other providers.

    I've always synced at 24 Mb and enjoyed 2 MB+ download speeds.

    Never used their DNS servers (as I use OpenDNS for parental control) so have never experienced any problems in this area but even if the DNS server was becomming a bottleneck for web browsing there are plenty of free alternatives making this a non-issue in my oppinion.

    I have to use Virgin Media at the appartment I stay in when I'm working away and the speed fluctuations are unbelievably bad, not to mention the fact that they illegally 'wire tap' your connection with DPI hardware!

    Paris because her 'fat pipe' has plenty capacity...

  49. stevebethere
    Thumb Up

    Be user

    Been with Be for over 3 years and never experienced any speed issues at all i constantly get 20-21Mbps although only 77m from the exchange (central London North Paddington exchange) and use a Netgear GT not their BeBox, brill forums for any info tweak your line profile in member centre brilliant service.

  50. BigBadAl

    Go witha REAL Broadband provider ZEN

    Been with ZEN for 4 years and have moved all my clients over to them. Fantastic service - really. You call up technical support - UK based. Often I speak to the same agent - they know their stuff helpfull and considerate. Excellent portal for your line specs and full visibility on problem / error tracking with BT. I cannot stress how good it is when a client calls in with 'a broadband' problem to connect in and advise then the line is ok and quote the speed to them. Also when you check with tech support about possible line problems then come back to you with SNR ratios and discconections. Within 5 or 10mins generally the cause is found. Also dealing with ZEN when you have to escalate the issue to BT is a dream - really helps having them tell BT - 'No the problem is not fixed'

    And before anyone asks I do not work for ZEN - just love a Brittish based company who provide excellent service.

    1. Alex 32

      Aye, ZEN

      Where as I do agree with you BigBadAl, I actually moved from ZEN to BE on the basis of faster up/dwn speeds (Prior to ZEN going 20Mbps). They also had a nasty limit which, being a media designer pushing and pulling vast amounts of content from our servers I used to hit the limits every month. BE sorted that, and was half the price.

      So yes, ZEN is superb, but for moderate users with a healthy wallet :-)

      For those still using the detestable Thomson router: Bin it and get something else, FTLOG! First thing I did really, after asking the cs chaps to give me the details. All to happy to oblige, and now have a sparkling Draytek instead.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Bad press for staying at the top?

    Come on! Be have gone from a nobody niche ISP to being the pioneers of ADSL2+ and LLU in the UK and sell out to O2 who bring the punters in and yet there's no real noticeable dip in performance, unlike other players (BT, Virgin) who can't even handle congested backhauls at the best of times!

    Then when Be/O2 expand to the nether regions outside of the smoky cities where lines between houses and exchanges are longer, and hence ADSL2+ lines slower, they get a panning for slower average throughput.

    At least you put a bootnote saying they maintain the #2 spot (though I'd like to see a table of average amount of data downloaded over 24hr period on a totally saturated line where Virgin's throttling will kick in and Be's unlimited packages would really shine, to show you who's the #1 in real terms).

    I guess it's tough being the best.

    /happy Be customer.

  52. Renato


    Here in Sao Paulo state in Brazil Telefonica is the main (and sole) ADSL provider. And yet they provide the best service.

    Few months ago, the Brazilian equivalent to FCC (as it is tied to the govt) made Telefonica stop selling its ADSL service for some months because of shitty service (contractors selling ADSL where there's no signal unless it's 128kbit/s etc). The cable providers went all happy to sell their services. But what happens? Their shite network doesn't have the capacity to supply the oversold 3mbit/s+ connections limited to 30GB traffic. And if you use more than that limit you get capped to "their slowest service" which is a special one capped at 100kbit/s. Yes, they sell 100kbit/s, 3mbit/s, 6mbit/s and 12mbit/s. My EDGE connection beat the crap out of that capped connection!

    And at my parents house, once I waited some 45 minutes to get Telefonica's support. But I got a engineer and we spoke fine tuning the connection for one hour+. Their 1mbit/s (very very very far from the exchange in country -- but I know it can reach 2mbit/s) now run at 1mbit/s and full 410kbit/s upload speed without drops. Yes, and unlimited traffic with no shapping.

  53. pctechxp

    Proof if proof be needed

    That 'unlimited' Internet isn't technically feasible.

  54. Matthew Collier
    Thumb Up

    Another shout for O2/Be...

    Was on BT business, 2.2Mb who told me the max I could get would be about 4. Went to O2, bought an 8 and get a rock steady 6.5 since day one (they estimated I could get 13.5 max, put that in your pipe, BT), and it hasn't changed since. Not one problem in 18 months, not even with the crappy aforementioned Thomson Box (got my own inner Firewall, so don't care too much about them having access to their "outer" one), other than it's ability to drop (guest) wireless connections after about 20-30mins of use.

    Spoke to Customer Services once, before signing up, and spoke to a technical guy who actually understood, and had the correct answers to my pre-sales technical questions.

  55. Ed
    Thumb Up

    Fine for me

    I use Be in Brighton and get a reasonable 5Mbit considering I'm 2 miles from the exchange. In London my parents use Be and get a reliable 12Mbit or so. Their tech support is good, they have a good IRC channel and forums. They have various options where you can chose to have speed vs reliability... Their website looks like crap though, WTF were they thinking?

  56. dustofnations


    Would concur with the (generally) positive sentiments about be*, been on them for around 2 1/2 years now (2 years, then again now on a different account).

    Never had any issues with speed, support has been good. Another great feature is the ability to set fast-path and change SNR profiles (to enable faster speeds, or better stability) within the members' website.

    Connected at 20mbps down, see around 2.2MB/s (so real speed is circa ~18mbps) and 1.3Mbps up. Latency of ~22ms to , 28ms to el reg

    All in all absolutely excellent for the price

  57. fatgit
    Thumb Up

    No slowdown here

    Been with O2 on LLU for 10 months now, and other than problems during the extreme cold, which I attribute to line issues, I don't have any complaints.

    I sync at 12.5Mbit-15Mbit, and will usually hit that on downloads from a good source. The only recommendation I would make (and it's the same on most ISP's) is to change the router to a better one.

    I've been on most other ISP's over time, and so far, O2 LLU is one of the best.

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