El Reg units
I can see the need for a standardized broadband speed unit. Possibly the ONIP, a direct measure of how long it takes to download the SD version of One Night In Paris.
Paris, well who else could it have been?
The UK government will have a tough time fulfilling its superfast broadband promises for the country with a third of British postcodes still stuck at sloth-like speeds. The country's average download speed is 6.742Mbit/s, but a third of houses are below 5Mbit/s, a quarter have less than 4Mbit/s and one in ten are crawling …
For bog standard broadband (not Fibre), Hampton Vale in Peterborough rarely gets speeds of more than .5 Mbits. That is across the whole of the new estate, move across the road to Yaxley or Orton (nearer the exchange) and the speeds are back to normal. A very common complaint on the community website forums.
Quicker everyone gets Fibre to cabinet the better.
Fibre from home/office to cabinet is all well and good, but its copper from cabinet round these parts causing our bottlenecks.
Headquarters has recently paid for upgrading our office's link to fibre because of the speed complaints.
Increase in speed? None what so ever. Waisted my breath telling them.
I live out in the country so no 3G, and speeds of 750k, but I knew that when I moved here recently! I have no idea how BT would get me a superfast connection, they had to run 250m of cable to get me the broadband/phone line I have! God only knows where the nearest exchange actually is.
I assume the government are hoping to make it for 95% of the population or something to meet targets.
Perhaps more people would have better broadband if OpenReach rolled out FTTC to areas that need it first, as opposed to those areas that are already served by VM. And a number of new estates are being missed because VM don't serve them either, even though the surrounding area has FTTC rolled out.
Kevin Saunders: "Perhaps more people would have better broadband if OpenReach rolled out FTTC to areas that need it first, as opposed to those areas that are already served by VM"
Perhaps more people would have better broadband if VM rolled out anything anywhere that's not already served by them. It's easy enough to criticise BT for their rollout strategy but they seem to be the only people who are putting *anything* in the ground (or up the poles, or whatever..) - VM don't even seem to be "infilling" holes in the areas they do cover, let alone extending their coverage...
I don't disagree, but VM is a private network (yes, I know they sell access to the mobile networks), whereas OpenReach is reselling network access to fixed line ISPs. Also, VM does not have access to public funds, which OpenReach does (not huge amounts, admittedly) , but there is BDUK money about
More than 5 years after the ADSL Max upgrade, my exchange was recently upgraded to 21CN. Sync speed has doubled to about 16Mbps.
According to my ISP's exchange checker this service isn't available yet - I just happened to look on the SamKnows one and saw the activation date there. Take a look there if you haven't already.
My exchange was mentioned as 7th slowest on the list on the BBC site... Right now we would settle for the VPs being sorted to resolve jokes like the 101Kbps bt speedtest I recorded last night, I know several exchanges in this county that have hot Vps but BT are not inclined to fix them, and we have no way to raise a complaint except through our ISPs (who can do nothing on a 20cn market one exchange) oh and get OFCOM to "record" a complaint... remind me... what the hell is that regulator for? - apart from presiding over a skewed system where people like me have to pay almost as much for half decent 30 gig peak upto 8 meg ADSL service as we would for 30 gig upto 40 Meg Fibre service.
You couldn't make this stuff up..
If it was my ISP that was causing the issues that would be one thing.. but with BT they hide away refusing to talk to the end user and expect us to just keep stumping over the odds for a lousy service. Its time the pricing reflected the lack of investment on 20cn exchanges.
Is it time to give this subject a rest? It used to come up about twice a year, now it's twice a month. Everyone knows signal strength reduces the further the receiver is from the transmitter. That was true for the first radio signals and it's exactly the bloody same for broadband.
If people choose to live out in the sticks, they can expect to have problems, be it with broadband or mobile phones. Fixing the problem takes time and money. Only 10 years ago, most homes were stuck with dialup speeds - even in the cities. In that time we've seen numerous new technologies appear, currently it's this 21Mb BT offering - in another couple of years it'll be something faster. Most of us don't really need a 21Mb connection - those that do should move.
"If people choose to live out in the sticks, they can expect to have problems"
In this country, I guess. I live 5 miles from a major UK city centre and get 1Mbit on good days. Is that the sticks?
Friends of mine have a house in the Algarve, near the beach away from civilisation and they get fibre to the home! Things could be a lot better here.
Also I find it very unfair that I pay the same, both in line rental and broadband service, as people who get the full 24Mbit.
>Also I find it very unfair that I pay the same, both in line rental and broadband service, as people who get the full 24Mbit.
Well it is more difficult to get the service to you. At the end of the day you're paying to have your phone line plugged into a socket at the exchange just like everyone else. The cost to the ISP is the same for all sockets. The only difference in running costs would be that your line probably burns more electricity because it takes more power to 'push' the signal through.
So basically:We're all paying the same price and it's harder to provide you with a service. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise that you don't get the same quality of service as someone living closer to the exchange.
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It might do. Longer lines are more likely to need higher power levels I'd have thought. I doubt it makes much difference though which is why I said we all get plugged into the same kind of socket.
But you're definitely wrong about bandwidth. ISPs don't supply bandwith to you. They supply bandwidth to the exchange. Data from the lines themselves is aggregated within the exchange and an individual line's contribution is irrelevant. Whoever is managing the backhaul, core network and transits just looks at the totals and decides whether they are happy with the contention levels or not.
An individual can be a problem if they use their line heavily at peak times but a 2Mb/s line used flat out throughout the evening is more of a nuisance than a 24Mb/s line used sporadically. The faster line allows for larger bursts of traffic so unless you're streaming it means you're not using the network as much. Same as with any I/O - shorter larger bursts is more efficient than a continuous low speed dribble.
But ultimately I imagine there's just nothing in it no matter how you look at it. All DSL lines are plugged into the same kind of socket with the same kind of costs to the ISP. Long lines, short lines it just doesn't make any difference. Your line performs according to the laws of the physics and since almost no xDSL ISP in the UK owns the telephone line there's nowt they can do about it. Even if they could do something - why should they spend more money on a longer line if the user is paying the same as someone on a shorter line?
This problem is not limited to people who live 'in the sticks'.
I live on a newish (a few years old) estate in a large town but can only get ~1.5Mbps on a really good day (usually < 1Mbps).
The problem (as pointed out in a previous comment) is that BT are rolling out their fastest tech where Virgin have their cable infrastructure to compete with them.
Any area that cannot get Virgin is unlikely to be able to get BT FTTC products as BT have a captive market.
N8 to be precise, where it varies between 1 and 3.5 Mbps depending on... well, who knows? That's when it's connected to the ISP (BT) *and* the servers are responding to requests, not sitting there idly chuckling at my hopeless attempts to do something radical like read a webpage.
We have "fibre to the cabinet" here. This is great if you want to pay a bloody fortune for basic web access. It's not that important to everyone you know. I'd be quite happy with the advertised 5-odd (ie "up to" 8 hahaha) I'm supposed to get but never do, and I have more important things to buy than 21Mbps broadband - like did you know a kid's haircut can cost £16 these days (I *did* say I live in N8 LOL)
It's one thing to make it available. It's quite another to price it within reach of the majority of people. It's something else again to actually PROVIDE WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE PAYING FOR IN THE FIRST EFFING PLACE </rant>
They can't even get superfast broadband to all of London. Instead we're told
"At his time, there are no immediate plans to extend the network into new
areas if this requires main build - as this is very expensive."
It Greenwich. We're not out in the sticks here. Yet, sadly, no fibre, and speeds trundling along at 4 megs on a good day.
After >4km of twisted pair installed in the 60s, I get 2mbps. I'm not complaining, an equivalent place in the UK would likely never get broadband.
I grew up with dial-up and BBSs. I don't need instant gratification, I just fire up the download and then do something else while it comes in...
Idiotic comment? I quoted my length and speed, plus I have friends in Wales in a similar sized village (<300) for whom upgrading to ADSL is a maybe-someday. I said nothing about the laws of physics. Maybe your faster speed is helped by newer wiring? The stuff here is *ancient*, and I'm sure you'll understand such things as oxidation, how insulation might degrade in, oh, fifty-odd years, etc etc.
My old boy's house is ~6km as the crow flies from his (insanely rural) exchange in Suffolk, and gets a good 3.5Mbit, good enough for HD iplayer some of the time, he runs a vodafone suresignal over it as well, as well as Skype and Facetime, no bother.
His place in the Alps is ~2km up the mountain from the town + exchange, and yet there he only gets 0.5 Mbit, which is just about enough to load the weather forecast - forget skype.
Not quite nothing.
Teh Govermint is promising 2MB/s and a chicken in the pot for everyone!
Most places already get a nominal 2MB/s, even if it's not close to that in practice.
Target achieved! No more needs to be done - except more PR - and everything is perfectly fine already.
Suspect it may be more than that. On the edge of St Albans I get about 2.7Mbps, and a BT engineeer told me "that's pretty good for round here". I know it's even slower on another - more recent - estate on the opposite side of town.
Yes I know I shouldn't generalise from my own experience, but....
I am sitting on the edge of a village (Bramley), only just over a mile from the edge of Basingstoke. I am 3 miles from both BT and Virgin Media national backbone fibre routes. less than 2 miles from here are the UK headquarters of a number of major telco equipment manufacturers.
No-one in our area (several thousand households) can get more than 2Mb, and for most (like me) 512k is the limit - and that required considerable attention from helpful local BT guys before it was stable.
This is due to historical accident, the BT local loops head off to a distant rural exchange. Nothing can be done, the area is "not economic" to upgrade, and doesn't appear on the radar as "remote rural" so won't get any grant assistance.
Last September I stayed in a remote B+B on the western tip of Skye - 15 miles by single track road from the nearest small town. 8mbit/sec.
Somehow the powers that be need to be made to understand that there is a "micro-climate" problem, and broad-brush "deprived rural area" approaches are a waste of money.
How about boosting the capacity of the networks too. I live in a rural location and at midday would enjoy 6Mb on an 8Mb line, come home and run the speed test in the evening / night and have been frequently given less than 1Mb.
Out of interest, how are these figures calculated? Is it purely the best that can be seen with the wind in the right direction and the nearby pub offering free booze and food to tempt everyone away from their connection for an hour or two whilst they are tested?
I imagine that if you created these figures at 7-8pm across an average of 3 week nights then the UKs average would be an even sadder place!
(beer, just because I mentioned a pub)
Frankly, it doesn't matter what the advertised speed is, if the ISPs infrastructure isn't up to it. Virgin Media is completely oversubscribed in the area we live in and in the evenings we suffer up to 60% packet loss and speeds as low as 0.15mbps. Virgin Media have basically said they can't be bothered to do anything as essentially not enough people have complained, because they're all apathetic students.
Given the presumed ever-increasing speeds of internet-connection technologies, do you think it's wise to use terms like "superfast" and "ultra-fast" to describe your broadband services?
Or has the Marketing Department taken over completely?
33% with less than 5Mbs and 25% with less than 4Mbs and the mean is 6.742Mbs? Even though I didn't pay much attention in my GCE Statistics course 35 years ago, that sounds similar to a Gaussian distribution to me.
When you think about the population distribution across the UK, we do not live uniformly grey cities, with not a soul living in between. We live in a mixture of cities, large and small towns, large and small villages and isolated communities.
Judging by the broadband statistics, we can assume that almost as many people live outside large towns and cities as those who live in them. No surprise there then.
Whoever wrote the report either has a lot of time on their hands or is tying to justify their existence. We all know the only way to increase the mean and tighten the variance of the distribution is to spend a lot of money upgrading infrastructure or to move all those living in the sticks into the towns.
Anecdotally I find that a good speedup can often be had on ADSL simply by sorting out the internal premises wiring. We live perhaps 3km from the ("rural", BT-only) exchange in a straight line, probably double that by cable as there's a hill in the way. Our ADSL1 sync speed (which of course bears little relation to the actual download speed) is rarely under 6Mbps while neighbours are on 5Mbps or less. The difference? Our modem is connected directly to the master socket using a replacement splitter faceplate. A lesser difference (given that the splitter is good) is that extension telephones are wired in Cat.5 so there's less spurious noise.
An aquaintance was very pleasantly surprised when he moved his modem from the back of the house at the end of standard telephone extension wiring to the front of the house near the master socket. Of course it did mean installing network cable to the computers which stayed at the back, but the well-over 1Mbps sync speed increase was worth it he thought.
The BBC Click program featured the South Cambridgeshire village of Orwell in an item about broadband provision a few weeks ago. They were getting ADSL speeds of 200Kbps on a good day. This is just a few miles outside Cambridge, which is supposed to be a centre of technology, not on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I live in a neighbouring village that uses the same exchange at Harston, and the final push for me to switch to cable was the fact that last September's list of exchanges for upgrading featured 5 in the immediate Cambridge area, but not this one. That was after the village had been cut off several times by copper thieves digging up the cable. At least I had a choice. Other people aren't so lucky.
I think that the nearby district council of Uttlesford has the right idea: http://www.fibrewifi.com/ . By the time that Cinderella exchanges like Harston are upgraded, technology will have moved on.
London has its fair bit of broadband slow spots (less then 3mbit). One of these areas is Rotherhithe/Canada Water whos' exchange is based in Bermondsey.
All the flats/conversion are around 15 to 10 years old but nobody bothered installing a new exchange to server people... I had a speed of 2Mbit.
Now I check broadband speeds before a flat viewing!
According to those statistics, i think i fall in the 3.2MB/s category, because that is what i get, when it works right. Of course thats only about 5% of the time, other times struggle to get a tenth of that! I wonder what the true snal speeds would be like if we actually got rid of the "Up To" prefix for real?
It wouldn't be so bad if living in an area with low speed didn't mean paying more than people who get a faster speed elsewhere.
Where I come from, the exchange has no unbundled providers, which means firstly that you don't qualify for a lot of offers such as x months free with Sky, and secondly you have to pay an extra monthly tenner on the advertised price because it costs the ISP to resell BT's bandwidth.
Somehow though, using BT directly still works out more expensive.
My thoughts on this are:
1/ it doesn't matter what the headline speed is, if there is massive contention or traffic shaping on your broadband. If I run speedtests from my house, I get between 5 and 6 Mb/s on a regular basis, and the reported synch speed is 6.2Mb/s. However, on most evenings, I am unable to stream a program on BBC iPlayer, even on the lowest bandwidth setting.
The government should be shouting about improving backend infrastructure, not offering some meaningless figure plucked from the air as a minimum "speed".
2/ Where I live, we are STILL on a non-LLU exchange, so we have no option but to go with BT. Despite all the pretty leaflets I get through the door from Virgin, I can't take advantage of them - or any other provider. The first goal of the government policy should be to get every exchange unbundled, so at least people can choose a provider. Surely increased competition will drive provision of services.
Looks like I was right.
Because if it *was* OFCOM would be close to declaring "job done" on this.
Note Both *main* service providers comes out of this pretty poorly.
VM don't seem to fill in gaps in their coverage so one neighbor get the *choice* of high speed, other does not. But perhaps given the sort of *contention* claims people are making that's just as well. Of course weather or not VM are upgrading their back haul infrastructure (as they *should*) before their next round of marketing is another matter.
While BT seem to upgrade *only* where VM are a presence and stuff their existing subscribers.
Note both companies are behaving like b***ards for perfectly understandable business reasons. The question is what (or who) can exert pressure on them to behave better?
Customers switching? Might make a bit of difference if you're a BT BB user and switch to AN Other as the cash goes to BT Openreach, but what if you already moved?
OFCOM. Do they have *anyone* who understands the technology to understand *why* people are p***ed off at the BS claims people make?
Other BB suppliers (or even perhaps local groups of *subscribers*).
Bottom line as long as *only* BT or VM lay actual cable to someones *door* they are the only *real* players in the game. It's low margin, high effort but *absolutely* essential and frankly they both inherited their infrastructure and have had a pretty easy time of it.
I could be on a 40mbit down, 10mbit up connection right now. Unfortunately for the price I wish to pay BT's the only one offering what I want. But it's BT. Complete with their throttling and capping and generally just awful company attitude as a whole. I'll stick with Be for the time Be'ing thanks.
Just wanted to say the place mentioned in the article is perhaps the slowest recorded place in England however it is not the actual slowest place. If you want to find the slowest, try West Bergholt in Colchester, Essex. I provide technical support services to many of the residents there and frankly, if you get 1Mbps you have a fast connection, many don't reach 750Kbps.
Just thought I'd add my tuppence :)
West Bergholt is also one of the most prestigious villages in that area, lying as it does in unspoilt Dedham Vale, in the heart of Constable country.
It doesn't seem incongruous to me that if you choose to live in a rural idyll, you don't get the services that are available in more developed areas. A few miles from West Bergholt are areas that have excellent network connectivity.
People need to think of internet provision as an attribute of a house, just like they do for proximity to good schools etc. You don't move next to the shittest comprehensive in the county and then complain about the quality of local education.
There is something very seriously wrong with the UK's "Broadband Industry"
I pay for an "up to 24Mbps" service.
I've bought the "latest and greatest" modem.
If I stand up I can see the telephone exchange outside my window.
I get 7.45Mbps.
I recently tried setting up my brother's tv and computer to stream from his WiFi connection and found that his downstream connection peaked at 137kbs between 3pm and 11pm.
This is on a "up to 20Mbps" line less than 3 miles from Truro city centre and less than half a mile from Cornwalls biggest hospital and one of its biggest colleges.
I was getting 291kbs from my mobile phone with only one bar signal at the same time.
Both BT and his operator say this is down to him being at the end of the line, this seems to me that they have not terminated the line properly and can't be arsed to fix it.
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