back to article Is this possibly the worst broadband in the world?

Four kilometres to the north of here, in semi-rural Kent, the pavements are stuffed with fibre-optic cable and the streets are lined with drab green cabinets, all nicely tooled up for superfast broadband. But here, we rely on plain old ADSL piped in from a small BT exchange, 1.7km to our south (as the crow flies). You can see it …


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  1. Longmeister

    Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

    So you have a problem with your broadband? I don't see how this has any relevance to your readers and is simply a way of you trying to escalate a personal problem with BT.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

      I am not complaining.

      BTW, arse end of nowhere = 70km from London, 4Km from a town of 60,000 and 10Km from a town of 80,000.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

        Checking your exchange there is Orbital/Vfast wireless service available in your area. I've never used them so they could be absolute crap for all I know.

        1. chrisevans1001
          Thumb Up

          Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

          I'm with vFast on their 15Mbps package. Regularly get between 11 and 15Mbps. This morning:

          Service is reliable. In the two years I have had the connection, I have had 3 occasions where I have had no connection to the internet yet could ping their gateway. In itself, a few hours lost over 2 years not a big deal. My only gripe: Support was quick to deny there being any fault with their systems claiming an engineer would need to come out to fix something my end yet they mysteriously resolved without an engineer visit on each occasion.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

        "BTW, arse end of nowhere = 70km from London, 4Km from a town of 60,000 and 10Km from a town of 80,000."

        No, no, no... Arse end of nowhere is 1km from a "town" of 250, 7km from a town of 1000 and about 20km from a town coming close to 10k; with 4.7km of ancient overhead (1960s) line between you and the exchange, surrounded by nothing but muddy fields.

        Orange France used to offer me 2mbit down and 256kbit up. A couple of months ago this was (artificially?) limited to 1.8mbit down, but the upload now runs closer to 700kbit.

        So, considering this, it sounds like BT should be ashamed of the UK a third-world country or something?

        1. Steve the Cynic

          Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

          "Orange France used to offer me 2mbit down and 256kbit up. A couple of months ago this was (artificially?) limited to 1.8mbit down, but the upload now runs closer to 700kbit.

          "So, considering this, it sounds like BT should be ashamed of the UK a third-world country or something?"

          Orange gives me nominally 20Mbits/sec, in practice something between 12 and 15Mbits/sec, enough that I can routinely get Windows to report 12.5% usage on my 100meg Ethernet to the Livebox when downloading from a suitably positioned site. That is, I get more megaBYTEs per second than our reporter gets megaBITs per second.

          Of course, I live in one of the inner burbs of Lille, about three quarters of a mile from the Eurostar station.

    2. mhoneywell

      Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

      You miserable ass.

      It's clearly not attempting to escalate anything, it's relaying a story. That, in case you were unaware, is what the media does for its audiences. Try some TV later, you might spot some.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

      When dealing with BT, you generally need every weapon you can muster. There are some very good and helpful people at BT, but corporate policy sees to be to keep them hidden behind an impermeable barrier of off-shore fail.

      As an aside, have you checked your connection speed in the test socket? When I did this, speeds doubled, and the Openreach folks came and replaced the entire master socket to give another little speed jump.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

        If you're using a BT home hub 3 for wi-fi then you'll get a useful speed and reliability increase by either using another router or use another device (eg a time capsule) to provide the wi-fi part of your network, leaving the home hub just allocate addresses and be a modem.

        The BT home hub 3 is a pretty lousy piece of kit.

        1. Da Weezil

          Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

          I helped out a friend with marginal connectivity by swapping out the home hobbled doorstop for an ex BT business 2-wire HGV2700. almost doubled his sync and now his line holds the connection for much longer. Very Cheap router on Fleabay.. but poison the update provisioning server.. the 6.3.x.x firmware was buggy the last I looked.

          So if you have checked all your wiring (and made sure that the ring wire isn't connected on any extensions - the 2 wire would be a good (and cheap) next step - it works here in the wilds of Wales where the men are men and the BT based adsl is all 8 meg,

          1. Tim Jenkins

            Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

            With a little digging online, you can find a Qwest (American ISP) firmware for the HGV2700 that runs more stable than the BT-stock and gives you US-strength wireless too. Be aware, though, that these 2-Wire units have a known issue (which I can confirm from personal experience) of failing to download single files of 2GB+ in size.

      2. Matthew 3

        Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

        I'd echo this and add that you may want to consider also disconnecting the 'bell wire' on any extension socket wiring that run from that master socket. It's unlikely that you have any phones elderly enough to have an issue with doing that. It can reduce interference enough to boost speeds a bit further (I believe that it it provided a little extra boost for ringing back when it was a real bell inside the phones).

        The bell wire is normally the slot numbered 3 (orange with white trace); slots 2 (white with blue trace) and 5 (blue with white trace) are the ones that must be there to make a phone work.

        If you're not happy with pulling bits of wire out plenty of places sell an adapter faceplate for the phone socket that has the same effect as disconnecting that one wire from your extensions.

        Using the master socket for my ADSL router and disconnecting the bellwire tripled my speed to the heady heights of 3 meg!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

      True, plus I'm sure I've seen more moans about Virgin media on this site than BT.

      Of course BT are everywhere and Virgin aren't, so it's obvious more people in small communities will have problems. What is highly amusing is that it is the poshos in their big rural houses who suffer for a change instead of those in their terraced houses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

        I live in a similarly remote are in Belgium and I get close to the max advertised speed at any time of the day. I've lived in several different places around the country and always found it the same, from the days of 2Mbs to 30Mbs.

        I find it hard to understand why UK broadband seems to be such a mess with such varying results even in big cities. Believe me the Belgian equivalent of BT is far from competent yet somehow still manages decent broadband in all the areas I've lived or had friends in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

          "I live in a similarly remote are in Belgium and.."

          Roger that highground, you may TAKE THE SHOT..

    5. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

      Hmm we had a similar issue, turned out to be wiring for one of the telephones was poor and meant huge numbers of errors would occur if the cable was sitting a certain way, BT's management thing detected it and slowed it down until no errors were detected. Took over 2 weeks for it to return to normal speed, happened 3 times until I realised a phone had a dodgey cable after it didn't work.

      Best thing to do is check from the master socket (With the front panel off so no other devices are connected) and see if you get any improvements on line signal/noise rates within the router.

      1. 142
        Thumb Up

        Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

        I'm going to second this. I was encountering similar intermittent .1Mbps performance on ADSL, roughly the same distance from a population centre as the author, with zero help from the ISP, In the end, I picked up one of the phones, and what do you know, I could hear light crackle when I moved the cable. So I threw the phone in the bin, and retested, and I ended up at a very stable 3meg. A quick call to the ISP demanding that they give me something closer to the 8 meg plan I'm supposedly on, and rather than getting the "that's the best the line can take" response, I was told - "your line can take 7.2meg"! Upgraded on the spot. .1 to 7.2 in a single day. It can be done. Just make absolutely bloody sure your internal wiring and router are flawless.

        Btw, if there is any noise on the phone line and it's not to do with your phone, but instead is bt's cables. THIS is what's screwing the connection. Report the noise with their phone department. NOT the broadband department. Say you need crystal clear phone calls. They take any noise on phone calls seriously. But mention broadband, and you get thrown into offshore hell.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

      I disagree, it's relevant to a lot of people, the claimed download speeds are aspirational. Remember, the claimed "up to 3Mbps" is for everyone connected to the same switch.

      1. Mike Dimmick


        "Remember, the claimed "up to 3Mbps" is for everyone connected to the same switch."

        No. The advertised rates are the ATM line rate negotiated for your link to the hardware in your phone exchange (Multi-Service Access Node, MSAN).

        Upstream from the MSAN, ISPs rent backhaul capacity from BT on a VPN link to their internal network, handing over at a Core Node. Physically, BT have to install enough backhaul capacity to handle the total rented capacity from all ISPs from that exchange, up to its parent exchange, and so on aggregating up to the Core Nodes.

        Your download speeds from any given website depend thereafter on your ISPs peering capacity at Internet Exchange nodes, the capacity of those nodes, the website's ISP's peering capacity, and the amount of capacity that the website is renting from their ISP.

        The article author's problem is that there is too much noise on his line, or devices multiplexing the line to multiple properties, meaning that the higher frequencies needed by ADSL are filtered off. Assuming that the problem is reproducible when all extension wiring is disconnected, he needs a new fully independent cable installed. However, I think BT's Universal Service Obligation only requires that a speed of 28.8 kbit/s is achievable for the Fundamental Internet Access requirement (last reviewed by Ofcom in 2006).

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg hack uses site to raise beef with BT?

      Longmeister - you are the worst kind of pathetic dribbling IT twerp. The author is quite entitled to have a moan by any means available.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's the price you pay...

    ...for living in the arse-end of nowhere.

    1. Kay Burley ate my hamster

      Re: That's the price you pay...

      Totally agree. You'll be moaning about the cost of travelling to London by train next!

      If you want better speeds try BE internet, they let you change the speed profile yourself.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If your line can't support a higher speed, it can't support it. Resetting a profile won't help because the higher speed simply won't work. There might be a problem with the line, equally it's likely that the line distance to your house from the exchange, combined with the number of joints in that cable (each cable joint costs you maybe 0.5dB) mean that DSL just won't work very well.

    Have you spoken to your neighbours to see what speeds they get? If theirs are higher, there might be a problem.

    Also - disconnect all your extension wiring and see if that makes a difference. Poor internal wiring can cost you 0.5Mbps.

    And a pedantic point, because I'm a pedant. Your analogue modem could not have run at 0.1Mbps as the fastest line speed possible on a phone line is 56kbps - 0.0056Mbps. Compression can increase throughput (depending on the data being sent) but line speed can never be faster than that.

    1. tony72

      Re: But...

      If you're going to be a pedant, you should check your maths. 56kbps = 0.056Mbps, not 0.0056Mbps, you added a zero. Admittedly 0.056Mbps is still not 0.1Mbps, but only off by a factor of less than two, rather than a factor of almost 20.

      1. defiler

        Re: But...

        So nobody else remember the "Shotgun" modems that Diamond used to do? Channel-bonding over PSTN - 100kb/sec.

        (Although that said, he did say he had ISDN. If it was (almost certainly) ISDN2e, it would be 2x64kb, and channel-bonding was easy. Technically it wouldn't have been a modem though.)

    2. John Deeb

      Re: But...

      If you want to be pedant, you better be right about the pedantics!

      56 x .001 Mbps = .056 Mbps and not .0056!

      But it's true that this is still half of claimed 0.1 Mbps speeds. Since compression was part of the transport protocol, the actual analog speed might have averaged (1:3) on around 0.15 Mbps. Therefore it seemed to have been a correct statement after all from the author.

      1. InsaneGeek

        Re: But...

        What the two of you both failed to do is properly convert kb to mb. 56kb = .055mb (technically .0546875mb), you divide kb by 1024 to get to mb. That is unless you are a disk drive manufacturer doing bad math.

        1. Dom 3

          Re: But...

          Same old bollocks. In clock speeds, networking, and storage, K, M, G etc mean what they mean in every other context - SI powers of ten. Only in RAM / ROM chippery are K, M, and G used to mean Ki, Mi, Gi.

      2. irrelevant

        Re: But...

        The other issue is that 56K modems only ever managed to reach speed that if you were within spitting distance of the exchange. Line lengths and db losses made just as much difference to them, too. I was our resident modem guy, so got to meet lots at various clients, and never saw one hit over 48K - most of the time they would train at 33.6, or less, and that was in an urban environment. I would imagine the OP would get a lot less.

        (Here in inner-city Salford, ADSL wise, I got 5-6 Mbps a mile or so from the exchange. FTTC now gives me a slightly rocky 30Mbps... 100 yards or so from the cabinet as the crow flies, but apparently the 100 pair cable takes a meandering route around the estate before it gets as far as us.. )

    3. Simple Si

      Re: But...

      "Your analogue modem could not have run at 0.1Mbps "

      I may be wrong but I took that as 0.1Mbps being slower than his last ISDN modem (128Kbps?) in which case I think he is right.

      1. Dazed & Confused

        Ultra-pedant mode activated!

        He quoted his broadband speed to 1 decimal place: 0.1Mbps.

        A dail up modem is 0.056Mbps, which rounded to 1 decimal place is also 0.1Mbps.

        His current broadband speed could be, to 3 decimal places, 0.050Mbps, which would round to 0.1Mbps, and would indeed be slower than his dial-up's 0.056Mbps.

        If he had quoted his broadband speed to 3 decimal places (0.100Mbps), then you might be correct about it not actually being slower, but he didn't, so you simply cannot tell.

        1. Rufus McDufus

          Re: Ultra-pedant mode activated!

          But he doesn't claim he had a (narrow band/phone-line) dial-up modem!

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Ultra-pedant mode activated!

          Decimal places are mere artefacts of writing. It's significant figures that count: comparing numbers rounded to decimal places is sloppy and ignorant.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But...

        ISDN doesn't use modems, it uses Terminal Adaptors.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: But...

          Tell that to US Robotics. Anyone want the Courier I-Modem gathering dust in a box here?

    4. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: But...

      "If your line^H^H^H^H shoddy national management culture of fail can't support a higher speed, it can't support it."

      Fixed that for you.

  4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    @ Longmeister

    Perhaps the "news" element of this story is that the reporter has twice escalated performance/service problems to BT, and on both times has had (a) a speedy response, and (b) clear steps explained as to how they might be able to resolve the problem for him.

    I think you will agree that as far as BT are concerned... for both of these to happen (twice) is newsworthy indeed?

  5. Lamont Cranston

    Are the signs in/around Wormshill still subjected

    to the witty vandalism that I so fondly remember from my youth?

  6. Bob Dunlop

    Monopoly what monopoly

    Ofcom Classification

    Market 1

    This exchange has BT Wholesale as the sole provider of broadband services.

    Hence no reason for BT to imporve the service. Welcome to the club.

  7. David Webb

    Dude, not enough information! What stats does your router show, SNR and Attenuation? Just because the exchange is 2.5km away from you doesn't mean your line is 2.5km long, it could go the long way around so without attenuation you can't tell what your line *should* be reaching. If it was 2.5km I'd expect your attenuation to be ~35 which would give you 7Mb on ADSL and 11Mb on ADSL2+

    As for profile, there are two. One is the BT one you get from the speed tester (which is how fast you're connected to the exchange), removing that one usually means resetting your line which puts it back into training mode. The other your ISP has (which should mirror the BT one) which is used for traffic management (if that says 10Mb and you're only connected at 2Mb it'll screw up priority).

    Go switch to Plusnet (tell them I sent you) and use their forums to get the best from your connection!

    1. Annihilator

      Well you know that at 2.5km away from an exchange, it's probably closer to 5km line length. And you can see from the exchange details that it's an ADSL Max exchange (and tiny, so next to no chance of ever expanding to FTTC, certainly even on the early planning stages). So it's a situation that's never likely to improve.

      It's a good example of the fast/slow broadband divide that's only ever going to get wider sadly. Plusnet are unlikely to be able to perform miracles either.

      1. Tom 38

        I concur, need line stats to see why. Is router plugged into master socket, have you considered installing a replacement NTE5 faceplate with integrated filter, is internal wiring correct, yadda yadda.

        My old man lives in the real middle of nowhere, 6km as crow flies from the exchange, initially he got 512k download synch, I replaced the faceplate and he now gets 3.5Mb, plenty enough for iplayer.

        1. David Webb

          There are lots of reasons for getting slow broadband, but without the basic details you can't start to figure out why it's so slow. If he's 5km away by copper then he's at the very far reaches of DSL but the "up to 3Mb" quoted is important, the BT estimate for ADSL is conservative so he should be looking at maybe 4-5Mb which seems to suggest there is an issue somewhere along the line.

          The only way to be sure of that is to know the attenuation and the SNR margin, it's basic troubleshooting stuff and is usually the first question asked when you're having speed problems. Then you need to go through a checklist.

          First (obviously) place the modem into the test socket (behind the master socket) and check speeds, if speeds increase it's a problem on your side, if speeds don't increase, try a different filter, check speeds, try a different modem, check speeds. If the speeds don't change after that then the issue is with BT.

          Do a quiet line test, dial 17070 and then press Option 2, if you hear anything on the line (snap, crackle or pop) then there is a line fault which is causing slow downs.

          Or you can phone up BT who will just reset your line and hope for the best.

          1. Steven Jones

            I'd concur that you need stats, especially downstream attenuation and SNR margin (sometimes called nois margin). Ideally logged over a period of time.

            Personally I would suspect either a line fault or a local source of noise. I recently suffered from a problem due to ingress of water into an underground joint (when my estate was built in the 1970s, they just buried the joints). It started out as intermittent issues and gradually got worse (audible as crackling on the line). During the final death throws, it caused so many disconnections the profile got fixed onto a 256kbps profile which did not automatically reset when the fault was cleared (involving diffing up the pavement. It required quite a lot of persistence to get through to a second level support team - generally call centre staff are just following scripts. It's the service providers job to chase this sort of stuff through (it's unclear if the service provider here is actually BT Retail or not, but all SPs should have the ability to get through to basic ADSL quality stats and reset DS profiles.

            I'm about 3km from my local exchange (and the cable length is more like 3.5-4km) and get 6.5mbps on ADSL2+ with a 49db attenuation and 6db SNR margin. However, I've been very careful with internal wiring filtering at the faceplate and using twisted pair cable to get to the router/modem. Many people will get a lot worse at 49db attenuation.

            Another place to look is the service providers users forums (assuming they have such a thing). Often there are SP reps and you tend to get more immediate attention from other users, who are often quite experienced. In an ideal world, SPs would have such skilled staff on the call centre. Unfortunately, with the pressure of getting costs down, this is rarely the case.

          2. lexein

            Extra loop length and interfererers

            Somebody needs to put a real time-domain reflectometer on the line to detect needless extra wire that might have been added at some time in the past (say, to reach a then-new location without running a new pair from the exchange). Also, line multiplexers (allows two subscriber circuits to function over a single pair) wreak havoc with DSL signals. Other interference sources like noisy lamp ballasts should be checked. Finally, any available alternate pair should be tested for better performance, and swapped in.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          For anyone on BT Broadband who doesn't know, this costs 1.30, it's marketed as 'BT Broadband Accelerator', you can order it off their website, and the cost is added to your next bill.

          If you're with another ISP over BT it's marketed as an iPlate and costs more.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            > f you're with another ISP over BT it's marketed as an iPlate and costs more

            Or you could just do unscrew your faceplate and disconnect the ring wire.

        3. AndrueC Silver badge

          Our office is over 4km from the nearest exchange. Both lines are over 50dB - 54dB I think. One syncs at 2Mb/s, the other at 3Mb/s. Bonded together we manage about 4Mb/s on a good day.

          But without stats we just don't know. Cables are almost never laid in a straight line and usually they travel in bundles until the last possible metre. 2.5k from an exchange could be double that in actual cable length. Given the large area of open ground behind the exchange some cables might be diverting a long way to follow the pavement (which is usually where they go).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Straight line distance is 1.7km

        I quoted road distance before... have updated the article.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: Straight line distance is 1.7km

          Hmm. In that case the cables are poor. Trouble is there's no legislation on cable quality. Or rather there is but it's currently 'Most support voice and data rates of at least 9600bps'. A couple of attempts have been move it beyond the analogue modem era but they've stalled.

          But still - 2.5km should be around 34dB and maybe 13Mb/s during the summer.

    2. Jack Project

      Going from BT to Plusnet would be like escaping from Wormwood Scrubs and taking sanctuary in Wandsworth.

      1. JohnMurray

        It could be worse

        he could have gone to orange, or whatever name they are now.

        In which case without a long wait (as in long) he would get to talk to nobody.

        In my case it was faster to connect via next doors btfone connection, as orange was frequently notable by its lack of anything...expensively lacking.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Arse-end of nowhere != crap speeds

    I live pretty much out in the sticks, and out of the "up to 8MB" potential I get... 8MB. I've no idea how or why, but I'm not arguing.

    At my last house I started getting crap speeds though. Many "line resets" later, they send an engineer out, who assured me I probably had faulty wiring in the house. After going to check at the cabinet the real issue was revealed: as he was tracing the wires they literally fell out in his hand because they'd never been properly connected.

    None of that is worth publishing though :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Arse-end of nowhere != crap speeds

      Yes you can get decent speeds in rural areas, my parents lived in the darkest depths of Wales and got excellent speeds... BUT I do also agree with @AC, people in the countryside squeel like bitches, yet you don't here me screaming because somehow BT failed to enable FTTC on my road, even though the rest of my area has it..

      1. Ragarath

        Re: Arse-end of nowhere != crap speeds

        BUT I do also agree with @AC, people in the countryside squeel like bitches, yet you don't here me screaming because somehow BT failed to enable FTTC on my road, even though the rest of my area has it..

        People in the countryside are not squealing they are asking for some service. I notice you do not mention what line speed you get now. I bet it is not low (yes low speed is not just a rural issue but is more prevalent).

        Most people in the countryside do not get anything anywhere near fast enough to run all these "modern" services. Most days I for example get 500kbps, try streaming on that or in fact doing web browsing as most sites nowadays do not attempt to optimise their sites, because, as you know, people all have fast connections.

        Our green cabinet is not even in the village, it is a good half a mile from the first house. And our exchange is in the nearest town, 5 miles away. Do you understand why we want fibre? It is the only way we are likely to get faster speeds and is the same for a lot of rural communities. Even then we will get no where near the speeds capable from FTTC because of the copper/aluminium wiring in the village.

        I live in a village not because I am rich or because it is pretty. I live there because it is how I was brought up. It is what I know and who I am.

        Our village is lucky, we will get fibre soon. I have no idea why, we are not a large village but the only thing I can think of is that we are on the route to the next town that is set to be fibred up by March 31st. I have seen BT blowing fibre down the ducts and digging up the road already.

        1. Steven Jones

          Re: Arse-end of nowhere != crap speeds

          There is, indeed, no reason which fibre can't be run in from another exchange if there's suitable ducting. Indeed, I believe it is not uncommon for FTTC to be provided that way. Given that, it might well be cost effective to provide FTTC to your village if there's a sufficient concentration of housing as it would not be necessary to upgrade your local exchange.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge

            Re: Arse-end of nowhere != crap speeds

            > There is, indeed, no reason which fibre can't be run in from another exchange if there's suitable ducting. Indeed, I believe it is not uncommon for FTTC to be provided that way

            Yup. In fact some entire towns are being serviced from other exchanges. Mine is apparently like that. Brackley has FTTC but it's being provided by the Banbury exchange over ten miles away.

  9. wowfood

    I see a different angle for this

    I too suffer from lower speeds than I should be getting on my home line. We live less than a mile from the exchange and yet for years despite the houses in and around our area (literally every road but ours) getting 20mb, we were stuck on 4. Not as bad as the author I know.

    But when you're paying for "up to BLAH" I really would rather see them measure your maximum speed and have different tiers of pay. I know it'll never happen, but on the other hand, why am I paying as much for 5MB as the guy round the corner from me is paying for 14MB, or 20MB?

    Even worse for the author of this article who's paying that same fee for 0.1MB.

    I'd much rather see them charge a base price + extra per theoretical max as calculated by your ISP after a month. So you sign up it might be £5 per month + £1 per MB connection up to 10MB, followed by £1 per 2MB connection etc etc.

    Why pay more for less?

    Of course we all know that'd never happen, but still.

    1. teebie

      Re: I see a different angle for this

      YOu would trust the "up to BLAH" bullshit artist who sold you the lemon to accurately report how well it performs?

  10. Jim Willsher

    Our exchange is 2.5Km away and serves a miserable 138 properties. No mains gas, no mains sewers, no mains drainage...we do have mains water though! So our exchange is Market 1 and likely to always be; no-one else will add their kit to it. We get "upto 8Mb" and I get exactly that, 8Mb, through tinkering with internal cables, disconnecting bell wire etc. So living in the sticks does not necessarily mean carp broadband speeds. Admittedly we will never EVER get "up to 24" or FTTC/FTTH, but 8Mb does the job and allows me to work at home (in I.T.).

    BT don't give a stuff if someone is getting low speeds. All they are interested in is headline-grabbing stuff about how many exchanges are fibre-enabled (never mind all the cabinets which are not). Sounds like you have duff cable or joints, or the cable is taking the sightseeing route to your house.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. hitmouse

      You're doing pretty well compared to me in a quite comparable environment in France, where up to 2.5MB is promised by Orange and less than 0.7 delivered. My upload speed is often less than 0.1. Horrible latency means that video streaming of even crappy quality YouTube or Skype is not possible. We got fibre-optic to the exchange recently but that made zero to negative difference downstream.

      However from my window I can see my neighbours who have no option but very expensive satellite.

      Mostly posting due to the "worst in the world [except in other countries]" headline.

    3. Danny 14

      see if there are any wireless providers around. There are a few serving villages in Lancashire and Cumbria to places that are market 1 ADSL shitholes. Sure it is usually circa £25 for 10mb but its better than nothing!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop being tight

    and pay the fee for them to run fibre to your house. You can do it for under 2 grand.

    1. The Pope

      Re: Stop being tight

      Really? Where from? I've been looking for something like that for about a year but haven't found anywhere (unless I want to pay about 2 grand *per month* that is!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop being tight

        Try looking at Plusnet

        1. The Pope

          Re: Stop being tight

          Already tried them. They aren't interested unless your house already has FTTC, which seems to be the same as every other provider I've looked at!

          1. David Webb

            Re: Stop being tight

            This if Fibre On Demand (which is being trailed). It needs FTTC to work in the first place, currently with FTTC the fibre goes from the exchange to the cabinet and then copper to the home, FoD replaces the copper from the cabinet with fibre (at cost, which you pay) but it needs to have FTTC in the first place, no fibre, no FoD.

        2. janimal

          Re: Try looking at Plusnet

          "Try looking at Plusnet"

 are owned by BT I believe.

  12. Crisp

    Don't like BTs service?

    Stop paying them. They'll get the message.

  13. Test Man

    This is why for me if I'm looking to buy a house I check the broadband availability. If it's appalling, that area is off my list.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      You and most other homebuyers apparently.

      Realtors have found that half their customers will reject a house if the boradband isn't up to snuff. It's rated as more important than offstreet parking and working toilets.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try PO13 0AE - Gosport. Not in the arse end of nowhere, in a bloody town - and it still gets less than 1mb. Not my postcode, mind you, my fathers - I get lovely 100mb :)::)

  15. Kevin Mac Uistin

    There is worse

    I moved from blighty to the back end of nowhere in Ireland.

    Now, while the majority of Ireland has quite good ADSL, with 20 Mb/s being a regular occurrence, I thought I'd be able to at least get 1 Mb/s.

    Mobile connections are also flaky at the top of the valley I live in, so what was I left with?

    Satellite, that's what. The cap is minimal (26 GB), the ping rate is horrendous (700-900ms) and the price is offensive. But that's what I have to put up with to live in the area I want to.

    As an IT professional this initially made me weep, but I have come to embrace the consistent speed it provides (18 Mb/s).

    To quote the article though: "Roll on 4G. It must be better, mustn't it?"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is worse

      I hear yer.....I was on a split Eircom line so that meant no DSL and 28Kbps max speed on the modem.

      Took over 4 yrs to finally get 'our own' single line that DSL could run on.....and a lot of hassle. But at least our exchange has ADSL, unlike some of our friends houses, although it is a technology that's over 12 yrs old now with a lovely contention ratio and big slow downs at peak times.....

  16. Sp0ck

    Get a new modem....

    I too live in Rural(ish) Kent, I was told that my property would never get better than 500k ADSL due to the length of the line (a smidge over 6km). After reading various websites for boosting line speeds, my line now synchs at ~2.8meg.

    I removed all of the existing cabling and ran a shielded cat 5 cable from the point where the dropwire comes into the house, twisted two of the pairs together, bought an NTE5 and filtered faceplate, no extensions are run off this socket, the phone is a DECT plugged into the faceplate. I bought a Billion 7700 modem/router and tweak the settings to force the line to synch at ~1db. The line profile is set to 12db and with that I get ~700k, with the forced ~1db I get ~2.8, some days it'll be as low as 1.5meg and the best I have seen is 3.2meg.

    My next door neighbour has done none of this and his line speed is less than 500k.

    It'll stay up for a few days and then drop, I don't mind having to reset the modem every now and then, it is a small price to pay for a useable speed.

    Don't rely on your service provider to give you the best service, do a little bit of research and you can help yourself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get a new modem....

      > I bought a Billion 7700 modem/router

      Billion gear seems to have a good reputation for getting the best out of marginal lines. Ugly as sin mind you...

  17. Pie

    Do a quiet line test, get a normal wired phone plug it in to your master socket. If you can unscrew the face plate of the socket which will disconect any internal wiring you have. Then Dial 17070, press option 2 (quiet line test) you should hear nothing, no crackles hums or anything. If you do then report it to BT as a line fault don't mention broadband problems, they will fix that hopefully and your broadband will improve.

    Oh you can also do distance from the exchange (copied and pasted)

    Distance From Exchange

    Dial the same line test number as the quiet line test (17070). Then press option 3 (fast test) then press option 1 (to say you are authorised, don't worry about 'not being officially authorised'). The press option 2 (ring back test). Then put the phone down.

    You will get called back by the test facility within about 10 seconds, one of the bits of information given will be distance from exchange (in kilometres).

    *The distance result may not be accurate if you have a 'DACs' fitted. It is not 100% accurate but does serve as a guide.

    1. Jack Project

      An interesting post. Have a pint as it's Friday!!!

      Does this work with other providers? For example I have my phone line through Sky and suffer with a crackly line occasionally.

      1. Pie

        Probably not, it didn't work on a talktalk line I was trying to check, worth trying, if you do get a crackle on the line it is worth reporting to your phone line provider so they can do something about it as it will affect your broadband.

        1. Jack Project

          Had a look around after being suitably inspired by your post. Apparently with Sky the number is the same but the options are slightly different. It's option 4 for the QLT. Option 2 gets you to say a phrase which it then plays back and gives you other line info.

          Will be testing it tonight. Have another pint!!

          1. JaimieV

            I had an amusing call-in to BT once for that:

            "Hello, how can I help?"

            "Hi, I'm calling about my very noisy line"

            "Could you repeat that? There seems to be a lot of noise and it's hard to hear you"

            "Yes, that's right"

            "Could you rep.... Oh, I see. We'll schedule an engineer and call you back with a date"


            It sounded like gravel in a washing machine, but the ADSL was still chugging along at about 1mbit/sec (down from its usual 4mbit/sec) which was pretty impressive.

  18. Phil W

    Count yourself lucky

    Count yourself lucky that you can get ADSL at all, I know of people who live so far from the exchange with such crappy cabling that they can't get any ADSL.

    Maybe you should consider getting 2 phone lines and using a bonded connection to double your speed. There a number of ISPs which provide this.

  19. thondwe

    Get a Group going

    I'm some 5/6km from the Exchange (Rural) and have 1.5mbs - which obvoiusly is liveable, but further from the Exchange things get ludicrous, so some Generous Community types, setup a scheme to get better broadband, so hopefully this month (The FTTC in place already) I'll be switching to a VDSL2 service.

    Check out

    All this faff shouldn't be necessary most of the money channelled into Broadband improvements in this counrty seems to be creamed of by committees/reviews/surveys etc. The powers that be should set up a model like the National Grid/National Rail - it's effectively the case with OpenReach anyway - but one broadband network for all the ISPs to share and cut out all the waste?

    1. PC Paul

      Re: Get a Group going

      Been there started that...

      In the village I used to live I seriously looked into it - bank finance arranged, business plans sorted, publicity ready, customers waiting, then out of the blue BT decided 'oh yes, we WILL upgrade your exchange even though it's down as 'not for the foreseeable future' in all our published roadmaps'.

      As I understand it they pulled the rug out from under a lot of rural providers that way, they just used them to drum up and prove the demand then jumped in and obliterated them.

      Luckily I didn't get far enough to end up massively in debt.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Get a Group going

        I really am surprised that OFT hasn't gotten involved - but then again if people aren't complaining about this activity (They told me there is a lack of evidence and complaints), then they can't start.

  20. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Price up 2.5km of cabling, including digging up pavements or erecting poles to run it to the exchange (or 4km of fibre for the equivalent "independent" option).

    Price up a leased line of your own maximum speed from that exchange to an Internet hub somewhere that will peer with you.

    Now divide by the number of people that would serve (one). That's how much your house will cost to wire for broadband no matter who does it. If it's cheaper than a leased fibre line direct to your house, I'll be amazed.

    Now consider the only economy of scale. Do the same calculation for a line to EVERYONE in the town (including all the cabling etc. that would cost, extra cabinets, etc.). Multiply up the leased line to the exchange to handle some proportion of them being "online" simultaneously. Now divide by the number of people who would buy it. I will still be similarly amazed if the per-customer cost was recoupable from the profit you could make in under 25 years of everyone being connected -ONLY with you - on your most expensive package.

    You don't live "out in the sticks" but you do live 2.5km from an exchange, which is probably 20+km away from a point it can connect to the Internet reliably with an SLA. It costs as much to wire you as any company will quote you for to wire just you anyway. Hell, even if you imaginarily did a Heath-Robinson job, you're talking 2.5km of cable or fibre and technology out of your price range on either end before you even start.

    You do not have a right to broadband access. And providing it to you, like BT has been saying for DECADES, costs more than the 50-year-old copper line that gives you phone calls cost to install (which is probably something that, nowadays, they wouldn't fund either with increasing metal costs). This is why cable is only in pre-cabled areas (because companies went bankrupt running that cable to you, because they could never make their installation costs back, and only the companies that snapped them up "for nothing" actually run a good cable service in this country - because they basically got the copper installed for free - and that's why they won't install new areas unless the end cost of X% of customers paying £Y a month for Z years actually makes their money back AND A BIT MORE).

    You are stuck. Until someone funds a closer exchange, a better leased line to that exchange, or some other alternative that passes closer to your house and doesn't cost about £10,000 to install (which you won't pay back on a basic ADSL service for about 42 years - and that's assuming there are NO ongoing costs in keeping it running).

    Suck it up, or fund it yourself. Much as I like to point out how crap BT are, they really do have a point about rural broadband installation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Now subtract from your figures the income to BT from lines that are only kept to support broadband and are in effect a double charge on the cost of connectivity - the ongoing income from exchanges supported on the pathetic upto 8 meg service using ( more than paid for ) old kit salvaged from luckier upgraded areas and add to that a complete lack of upgrade investment - the pricing which continues to be farcical - or even an ability to maintain lines to an acceptable state and you might get an idea why most rural dwellers rightly see BT group as an abusive incumbent telco that need stripping of control of the national network.

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Still don't think it comes CLOSE to profit, that's the point.

        You can badmouth BT all you like but keeping a phone connection open even just for emergency calls costs them money on every bit of the backend from your copper connection up to their national infrastructure.

        ADSL just add huge data requirements on top. And even if you assume they should plough back every bit of profit into upgrading lines, etc. it doesn't add up to supply a line that will make a loss (after nothing but running expenses) for 25-30 years, and which at any point you can tell them to stuff it and go with their competitor who might not pay toward their upkeep of that same line but run their own cables by then. Add on actually having to make a profit (they ARE a business, not a government entity any more), and having to subsidise other, even poorer connections elsewhere (some of them by government order, e.g. the "proper" rural broadbands like the islands and the 50km runs, etc.) and it's of course going to be damn expensive for the homeowner.

        But the fact is, even if you popped down to your local cabling supplier and picked up some ADSL backend hardware and did it yourself over 2km, it's going to be YEARS before you save enough to make it cost-effective, and even more years if you had to do the same for the whole town (which is why just about every "community broadband" supplier ends up folding, conceding, with ludicrous prices or low-speeds, or selling out to a multi-national in order to stay afloat).

        Hell, if it's THAT profitable, buy yourself a leased line at business prices (they will run it to your door and GUARANTEE uncontended service, no matter what the obstacle), and offer it out over wifi (no cabling costs) to the entire town. You could easily run a 100-1000 customers over a single leased line of a decent speed, but I doubt you'd ever pay for the line itself, BT involvement or not. That's what a load of community project did and you realise that actually it's damn hard to make any money at all, let alone recoup the outlay.

  21. Magister

    I have every sympathy with Drew. There were times when I was getting less than 0.1 Mbps; and note that I was paying BT for "Business Broadband service" so I was paying a lot more than most people.

    In my case, the situation was quite simple; I was in an area served by an older exchange and the cable from there to where I lived was over 50 years old. The BT engineers knew (and had highlighted many times to the relevant people) that more than half of the cores were dead.

    The cable needed to be replaced, but BT wouldn't do this; they were planning to replace the exchange, only didn't know when they would do that. The original date of 2009 was pushed back to 2010, then 2011 ...... As for fibre; yeah right, maybe one day when pigs fly. Changing to a different supplier won't make the slightest difference if the cable to the local exchange is so poor.

    All of the local businesses are having problems because of this. Local phones are noisy as hell and sometimes, conversations of more than a few minutes are just not possible. It's got progressively worse and I spent part of 20011 and the first half of 2012 arguing with BT support, who insisted that there was "nothing wrong" with the connection and would insist on sending engineers out to check the wall socket / internal equipment; only for the engineer to point out each single time that it was the line. This is actually the same problem as for a lot of other areas.

    It still hasn't been fixed; but I've moved out of the area. Several of the local businesses are also considering their future in their current location.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The cable needed to be replaced, but BT wouldn't do this"

      Did no one think of ripping the cable up (or tearing it down) as a means to force BT's hand?

      1. Magister

        Re: "The cable needed to be replaced, but BT wouldn't do this"

        >>Did no one think of ripping the cable up (or tearing it down)<<

        Rather a lot of cable to tear down, but the thought had occurred to several people; but being law abiding, and such activity being viewed as criminal damage it was of course seen as inappropriate. (I couldn't possibly comment on what happened when a couple of trees fell over during some poor weather a while ago.)

        BT simply patched the missing cable with older cable that they had recovered from somewhere else.

  22. Cavan
    IT Angle

    Rural Kent - VFast Orbital

    I lived in the outskirts of a major town in Kent, Ashford, I upgraded my 2mb line to "up to 8mb" I too found my broadband dropped to 0.5 if I was lucky and often dropped off the face of the internet.

    If you can get vfast orbital, get it. I used this for over a year, and can confirm the experience I had was great, it was around £25 per month, but I didn't need a BT line, so I made a saving that way; cost of installation at the time was around £100. In fact the only reason I switched back to BT was because they promised FTTC was coming in the April, I wanted to be ready so switched over in March, a year later I finally had BT inifinity, which is moderately fast broadband. not 40mbps but a close 25-30mbps.

    I would have gone for Cable, but that was only installed at the bottom of the hill I lived on so I couldn't get it.

  23. b166er

    Personally, I think it's serves you right to a degree, for paying BT any money whatsoever. Whilst you may not have an option as to whom you pay your line rental, you almost certainly have a choice as to whom you pay your broadband subscription, yet you choose to pay that money to BT.

    I've been aware for 15 years to pay BT as little mind as possible.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, red arrow me

    I don't have sympathy for people who live in the sticks and then moan about their Internet. They wouldn't do it about the lack of a nearby Ikea or poor public transport, but for some reason they expect the same Internet service as city dwellers.

    It's a trade-off. If you want convenience, faster Internet and 24 hour megamarts, live in a city or large town. If you want a quieter life and to be closer to countryside, live in the country but don't expect the same convenience. Your Internet will definitely be slower and you'll get innovations in technology later. You can't have everything.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Yes, red arrow me

      If you want convenience, faster Internet and 24 hour megamarts, live in a city or large town. If you want a quieter life and to be closer to countryside, live in the country but don't expect the same convenience.

      Not everyone gets full choice of where they live and why should it have to be one or the other. Let's move society forward; not hold it back with continuing divisiveness.

      I would rather we strived to deliver the best we can to everyone, minimising disadvantages for all. We should be aiming to give country folk better infrastructure as well as giving town folk greener spaces and better environment.

    2. Da Weezil

      Re: Yes, red arrow me

      So you would happily do without / pay much more for the Oil, Power and Gas supplies that may well have come from this area? Rural we may be... idyllic we ain't.. and while rural areas give so much to the economy of the UK we get naff all in return - services either don't reach us at all or have been centralized. Add to that huge travel costs and suddenly you realize what city dwelling trolls lack in terms of real knowledge. AND I say that having lived in postcodes starting with SE24 SW8 SW9 SM3 and SM5.

      You'd look kinda funny walking to work then hand cranking your IT kit because the energy sources located within 10 miles of me were not running because everyone had followed your suggestion and moved back to the city. Quiet life? You have been watching too much period drama. here we have 44 tonne trucks moving 24/7 from 2 ferry ports - even xmas day!

      We have been paying through the nose on IPSC 8 megs because BT couldn't be arsed to invest. Yep we had leverage (higher) pricing and low allowances to encourage ISPs to move people to WBC - even where WBC wasn't available (still isnt on my exchange - 10 k lines - hardly a shed on a village green) you have to wonder how much of the higher charging for services on old and paid for kit has gone to subsidize expenditure on upgrade after upgrade in the urban areas? we sure as hell don't see any investment here - not even in maintenance.

      You really don't have a clue!

  25. dontwantahandle

    It could be as simple as a line fault. Mine at home (also in the sticks) was horrifically slow. After some time the landline stopped working completely, no dial tone or any sign of life. broadband wasn't affected as it seems to work okish on a single wire. We got the line fault fixed and broadband went from 1Mb to 6Mb and the router has not dropped the connection since. Whilst we were having problems, the landline was fine until it died.

  26. Vini

    Quite simply, it's a case of suck it up or move house, you're not alone. With that said...

    I'm on Infinity. Which is all well and good - for me. But the people I support are often in situations like you describe.

    What annoys me is that BT are keen to "improve" Infinity instead of fix rural blackspots! I appreciate that if the infrastructure is in place, going from 20Mb to 200Mb is probably just a flick of the switch. I also appreciate that a heap of people paying for Infinity1/2/3/4/5/X will probably fund the improvements required in rural areas.

    But don't leave the sheep without broadband!

  27. Jedit Silver badge

    Worst broadband in the world? Well, no.

    Because at 0.1Mbps, it isn't a broadband service. If memory serves, the minimum speed requirement for a service to be considered broadband is 160kbps. Services which cannot consistently attain that speed cannot legally be described as broadband.

  28. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    When are BT and the other "providers" out there going to realise that relying on a 50+ year old pair of corroding wires is no basis for a modern communications system? Are their sales people asleep? Start offering re-cabling to people out in the sticks. Charge a one off fee plus higher monthly charges on say a 2 year contract and many people (Drew included I am sure) would LEAP at the chance to get a high quality fibre phone/data connection. BT keep banging on about FTTC and their Infinity Broadband which is fine for towns and cities, but what they should be offering outside those areas is FTTH (Fibre To The Home). Finally, why do they try to charge extortionate "install" costs when more often than not they just clip the new cable (or fibre) to the side of the old cable.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    get rid of BT

    Round Wormshill there is Wi-Max style coverage., switch as fast as you can. I have found it to be both reliable and to offer adequate speed to stream 1080p HD straight to the TV. vFast are upgrading their networks to offer up to 50Mb/sec

    I have dealt with BT professionally over a number of years. based on that experience in Britain and elsewhere, I would prefer to never deal with them again.


  30. traceyfields

    see you and raise you

    seriously, what are you complaining about? you have a connection, quit whining.

    ^ 38k graphic uploaded to server in about a minute and a half. 20 years ago and i'd have been well impressed.

  31. dougal83
    IT Angle

    I feel for you!

    I hate poor connections. I'm sitting smugly 12km to the west of you on 80MB BT infinity! :) I think you'll find BT are reducing your speed to get Kent County Council to pay for the exchange to be upgraded. KCC have just over 1 million quid to bring everyone in Kent to at least 2mb. Maidstone Borough Council will bid for some of that cash on your behalf. I've seen the map of local not spots and you are in one of the notable red zones(sub 2mb average).

    No surprises but Parkwood is the biggest blob of red in the area as it is populated by poorer people who are unlikely to be able to afford the internet. N.b. The internet 'speed/capability' is calculated by looking at the average speed of current connections. You can assume that a poor area will be less likely to rent premium lines let alone have the internet. Basically the logic goes... if BT cannot make the revenue back from paying customers, make the govTards pay for it, so Parkwood will get an upgraded exchange. The kicker is that the locals still will be unlikely to afford a fast internet connection but it will be available. :/ At least MBC will be able to drop it's expensive ADSL line at the local community centre. *cough

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a geek who uses the internet intensively both for work and leisure - therefore I choose where I live (partly) on the basis of internet availability and performance.

    Moral of the story; if decent internet access is important to you, don't live somewhere where it's shite.

    People don't move to the moon and complain about the lack of atmosphere.

    1. Aldous

      yeah damn idiots after all a house in central london costs the same as in rural backwoodshire. All these people are just being belligerent

  33. El Presidente
    Thumb Up

    Virgin media FTW

    105.78 Mb/s down 4.91 Mb/s up.

    1. dougal83

      Re: Virgin media FTW

      Currently I'm downloading porn...

      not too shabby! :)

      1. El Presidente
        Thumb Up

        Re: Virgin media FTW

        Free upgrade, end of the month, 120Mb/s down and a rumoured 12 up.

        1. Aldous

          Re: Virgin media FTW

          do they still cap/shape? might be moving soon so wondering about options

          1. Mayhem

            Re: Virgin media FTW

            Yes, they very much do cap/shape traffic.

            And since they so kindly doubled everyone's data, they now shape all connections, instead of leaving the premium ones alone.

            So now my flat went from a reliable 45-48Mb to a significantly variable 3-88Mb generally sitting around the 15Mb point. On an allegedly 100Mb link. Frankly, we did better at 50, and if there was anyone better I'd change.

            1. El Presidente
              Thumb Up

              Re: Virgin media FTW

              Traffic shaping? Yes, if I download too many "Linux distros" at peak times my connection will get chopped down to 50Mb/s for 5 hours. Still, it's rock solid 50Mb/s.

  34. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Sounds better than the service I recently got from TalkTalk for the exact same issue

    We noticed the connection had become very slow and unreliable - to the extent that simple web pages would fail to load. When I checked the sych speed on the DSL modem, it was 0.20 Mb/s. We logged a call with TalkTalk and were told an engineer would come and look at it in two weeks time, despite my explanations that the problem was definitely with the line, as this was the synch speed at the master socket*, and I ahd even switched to a different modem to double-check this.

    We waited the two weeks, then we had a cll on the day teh engineer was due to come to tell us he was sick and we had to wait another week. When they finally did send an engineer round, he confirmed there was nothing wrong at our end, we were told it was due to the line profile, and we were promptly set back to 8Mb/s.

    In the intervening time, the synch speed had gradually increased from 0.20 to 3.0 Mb/s implying there was something pretty screwy going on with the profiling on the line anyway. The last time checked it, it was around 11Mb/s, which isn't too shoddy - the question is why it ever dropped to virtually nothing at all.

    The icing on the cake came when the December bill arrived from TalkTalk to show a charge for £25 for the missed engineer appointment. Needless to say, this necessitated a firm but polite exchange with a bod in their Indian call centre, and his supervisor to rectify this and assure us that a refund would be issued. We will see when the next bill arrives whether this is in fact true.

    So, you see, I would argue that BT don;t in fact offer the worst broadband in the world. Talk Talk must offer a poor product at least on a par, and their customer service is far, far, worse.

    *The extension between where the master socket is and where the modem normally lives is comprised of four strands of a shielded CAT6e ethernet cable anyway, so the speed we get on this extension is always the same as that on the master socket.

  35. jowlymonster

    *affect, not effect.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same even in dense areas

    I had something similar, I was 10 miles north of the M25 and I was lucky if I broke 1Mbps some days. BT said tough titty there's nothing they can do about it, too oversold. Luckily VM had just finished expanding in my area and I now get 60Mbps reliable for around 30% more cost than the shitty BT line.

    BT had the nerve to ask me if I was interested in Infinity at a max rated speed of 20Mbps when it was eventually rolled out in my area as £5 dearer than my VM rental?! Sorry I said, but VM can give me 125Mbps to my house at the flash of my credit card, you lads haven't got a dog's chance!

  37. Disgruntled of TW

    Waste of public money?

    @Drew - you may or may not be aware that the KCC BDUK team have issued a confidential (WHY WHY WHY?) Invitation to Tender with support from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to "improve rural broadband". The results of the tender are expected to be announced in April this year. If BT don't win it I'll eat my hat. The confidential list of respondees are chasing BDUK RCBF funding which they are expected to match. What the successful bidder is planning to do nobody is saying, not even TWBC or KCC, which I see as unhelpful at the very least. If necessary I will be raising an FoI request to expose this spend of public funds to improve public awareness of the value derived. I strongly suspect a limited number of FTTC cabinets will appear and little more.

    To measure the benefit, a not-for-profit community organisation called Broadband 4 the Rural South have deployed 67 Sam Knows ( "whiteboxes" and have a GoogleMap ( with monitored speeds across the parish of Speldhurst. Any benefit from funds spent with a commercial operator will be carefully monitored and reported on! Great to hold anyone getting public money to account for what they deliver. B4RS ( itself wants to repeat in Kent the success of B4RN ( up in Cumbria.

    Given the undeniable goal of Openreach to please its shareholders in preference to providing rural broadband in Kent, it's not fair to expect them to deliver fast rural broadband in loss making areas. What we don't need however, is our government providing them with public money to extend the life of their long paid for copper infrastructure, allowing them to interfere with others who don't need to make a profit from fixing it! They can't have it both ways. It is all rather David and Goliath, of course. Yes, I'm a huge supporter of B4RN and B4RS.

  38. ColonelClaw

    You ask me why I don't live here

    Honey, how come you don't move?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got a lot less than that in a friends house.

    Try living in Walkeringham, near Gainsborough.

    They have virtually no broadband, but since they don't yet have electricity, it doesn't matter.

  40. Flak

    There are alternatives

    While I understand the pain expressed here, there is a real alternative available today with virtually no geographic limitation in the UK - the answer is satellite broadband.

    It has come a long way over the years, but is now a reasonably priced service if higher speed broadband is a must.

    While there are other limitations (latency and usage caps or charges), satellite broadband may offer a solution that completely circumvents fixed line and mobile operator infrastructure.

  41. NukEvil


    I live maybe 1.5 miles from the exchange at the end of our small county road. This exchange has been relatively-recently upgraded to support DSL, and that has been utilized by customers down our road. Unfortunately, my house is not connected to that exchange--it's connected to another exchange in the opposite direction. An exchange that does NOT have broadband capability.

    See, the line coming from the exchange at the end of the road makes a sharp right turn down the dirt road about a quarter mile north of me (instead of going straight down the road). Also, the exchange I am connected to is about a mile or so down another dirt road about a mile south of us. Guess which exchange isn't seeing any upgrades anytime soon?

    So the satellite "broadband" connection I have, advertised with speeds "up to" 1.5 MBps (when I really get maybe 150 KBps on a good day), with a rolling-monthly download cap of 12 GB and latency of anywhere between 1 and 3 seconds, for a mere $59.99 per month, is the only broadband available to me and 7 other houses. And I'm sharing my connection with a neighbor.

    At least we're no longer on dial-up. Sharing a dial-up connection between 2 households was Chinese water torture.

  42. Dave Ashe

    This could be the answer..

    3G dongle from Three, 20 Meg - faster and more reliable than BT by a mile.

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  44. vmistery

    Slow speeds are not just limited to the more rural areas though. In a town of 25000 it took BT till last may to enable us for ADSL2+.

    We were slightly more lucky though as 3 weeks later they enabled us for FTTC. From 2Mbps to 76Mbps in a month although we are in a 'Market 2 Area' so I guess had a bt more of a chance of getting it than People in a Market 1 Area..

  45. Zmodem

    plug your tmobile phone in the USB, i get over 300kbs actual download speed from sourceforge and other big sites, so 3g is doing 3mb/s + for £5 for 30 days

  46. jason 7

    Reverse case here!

    My Mum and Dad live out in the sticks. They were with TalkTalk and the service just fell apart over the past couple of years. Line dropped to 0.1Mbps from the 2-3Mbps they originally got.

    This went on for a few months. I changed the router and filter and also removed the bellwire to zero effect. Calls were made to TalkTalk and they said there was nothing they could do.

    So I told Dad to switch to BT. Yes I know!

    He switched over. We plugged in the router and got 6Mbps instantly!

    Been like that for the past year. Solid.

    1. Vic

      Re: Reverse case here!

      > So I told Dad to switch to BT

      You heartless bastard...


  47. Morat

    DIY is the only way for notspots.

    I feel your pain - or I used to until I organised a 100Mb leased line to share between work and a local WISP. After two years, we're getting used to nice stable broadband and speeds up to 20Mb. Mobile coverage still sucks, of course.

  48. Lloyd


    I have Virgin Media, the exchange is (allegedly) 100Mbps, I pay for 30Mbps, if I'm lucky I get 10Mbps off peak, I get around 2Mbps during peak, which is basically when I use it, comparatively speaking you're doing well.

  49. piscator


    "... in the World ??". Sorry, but writer needs to get out a bit more .... out here in "a developing country", internet speeds are well off the bottom of any of your scales .... and that's not even the worst problem !

    Appreciative note: tech-tards here suggesting careful check of in-home phone wiring ... <shakes in-home wiring hopefully>

  50. El Presidente

    Google Fibre

    528Mb/s down 298Mb/s up, 3ms ping.

    1. Ktsecful

      Re: Google Fibre

      Is it wrong that I'm tempted to emigrate just to have that dl/ul speed?

  51. Bill Buchan

    Look on the bright side. BT will NEVER upgrade this exchange.

    I just went through an exercise of complaining to the head of BT Scotland about our similar ADSL+ exchange in NorthwaterBridge. Which is less than 15 meters from the Edinburgh-Aberdeen terrabit fibre backbone.

    BT are NEVER going to upgrade our exchange. Ever. (Start at the bottom - lots of good ammunition in there)

    Good luck.

    ---* Bill

  52. Diskcrash

    Country pumpkin

    Well that is what you get when you have your data brought in by tractor. More seriously the issue is infrastructure and if you don't have it there is piddle that you can really do about other than hope someone else has developed a better set of pipes for you to switch too since until your provider spends the money to upgrade your networking and wiring you aren't going to get significant improvement. And with few customers in a geographic area getting the upgrades done is unlikely.

    You might try and see if you have a cable TV service in your area as that can provide decent speed.

    Not to rub salt in your wounds but just ran the BT diagnostics and I got back 37.2Mb/s as my tests results so BT can provide decent speed.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Live in the sticks but have fibre running past my door. BT "no plans"

    Back in the day when we were all trying to get broadband and BT was protecting it's ISDN money I asked about BB for where I live. We have a backup fibre set running down our road and into a largeish BT exchange. I knew for a fact that BT had a DSLAM in there as I worked at a test company and we had data from my (and others) house to the DSLAM. I was told by a BT rep that it was impossible to upgrade. I offered to send her the test data.... I was then told we didn't have enough people - we had 200+ (and the threshold was 150) so was then told that is wasn't economically viable. And then she hung up. Cornwall council paid BT to 'upgrade' the exchange...

    I have been told (by the local engineers) that the exchange is fibre ready and they would need only a few hours to 'enable' FTTH but BT rep has said it is impossible. 150m of fibre would do the trick from my house using the existing cabling on poles.

    I wonder if Cornwall Council and their Objective 1 fund is the reason it is currently 'impossible'

    AC as I don't want anyone in trouble.

    1. Marco van Beek
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Live in the sticks but have fibre running past my door. BT "no plans"

      Ever thought of going down the dark fibre route? You just need to find a local ISP small enough to be helpful but big enough to have an open reach account. Unfortunately mine isn't quite there yet.

  54. David 45

    Ex-BT man here!

    Ha! Thought I recognised that building! When I was living up that way, the broadband wasn't as bad as what this chap is getting. Seem to remember about 5 megs usually, although I wasn't a huge distance away from the works. As an ex-BT (or "Post Office Telephones") engineer, that was one of my areas to look after, along with Lenham, Harrietsham, Hollingbourne and Ulcombe for "subs' (subscribers, as customers were then known) apps (apparatus) and line" maintenance when exchange stuff was clunky Strowger and the internet wasn't even a twinkle in someone's eye. I was never more surprised than when we actually got broadband at all on an exchange THAT small, with only a few hundred customers, having lived with dial-up for some time. The exchange building is in a very strange and isolated place too! A bit spooky at night!

  55. Palf

    I'm in San Jose California and I get 44 Mbps down and 6 Mbps up with Comcast cable. Along with the mandatory basic TV it runs me about $80 (50 quid)

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The British have shown time, and time again that they have no interest in upgrading their infrastructure.

    They have no right to complain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      American infrastructure ain't the best either, especially in ny and manhattan. The manhattan subway is dreadful compared to the London Underground, and ConEdison? Really?

  57. Marco van Beek

    Test, test and then test some more....

    I have a client in Bedfordshire, 5.9km from the exchange (according the the BT engineer's box of tricks), and I managed to get them up to 600kbit/s download and 400kbit/s upload. They had an old kilo stream line (256k/s) and to upgrade it to anything else was going to cost 75k of trench digging for a new fibre. For the same reason they still have an analogue phone system running with 12 analogue trunk lines. Our next step was going to be bonded adsl (up to four lines with the right ISP) but they found a company willing to sort out an 8km wireless link to Bedford, and now have 30Mb/s, at least when it isn't too windy...

    Want to borrow my £500 adsl tester and do some real science? Cost you a pint...

    1. stragen001

      Re: Test, test and then test some more....

      So, basically BTs DLM had moved your line profile to 0.25meg. As annoying as that is, there will be an underlying reason why it has done that. Its normally because you have an intermittent connection, so the DLM keeps training the line down and down to try and get a stable connection.

      Now that they have done an SNR reset on your line, it will theoretically train back up again, but if your connection is still intermittent you will eventually end up back where you are now. Get BT to put you on a superstable (15dB) profile which will improve the stability of the line because you will have more margin before the SNR hits 0 and the connection drops out. Once you have a stable connection DLM wont keep training the line down. Unfortunately, putting the line on a superstable profile affects speed slightly, so its a bit of a trade off. As others have probably said already, check your internal wiring and always plug the router into the master socket(where it comes into the house, not any extensions). Also do a quiet line test by plugging an analogue phone in (digital/wireless ones are no good for this) and dial 17070, then choose the option for a quiet line test. Listen on the line and if you hear any noise/crackle/hum - anything except pure silence - report it to BTs PHONE team. DO NOT MENTION BROADBAND.

      The thing that really annoys me, is every BT broadband lines profile has an FTR(fault threshold rate). This is the speed at which BT will acknowledge there is a slow speed issue on your line and it varies for each line. BT dont actually DO anything with this still need to manually intervene to tell them to fix it, rather than their systems automatically taking action.

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  60. Martin Dunn

    Tried Wimax?

    Try vfast wimax. They serve a lot of Kent (unfortunately not my house)

    We use their business service at work (as an industrial estate on the outskirts of Maidstone strangely has fudge-all in the way of half decent connectivity - even ADSL).

  61. richard 7

    BT are fast becomming a joke

    I had this a few months ago, in an area that averages 8Mbit.

    Two goddamn weeks to realise that a formerly 8Mbit line opearting at 256K might be wrong and needed looking at. Half a dozen engineers, hours on the phone, no end of buck passing and aggro before finally they sent out a broadband engineer (had had 3 phone engineers) Who acertained that the line was borked in about 4 points and ended up after 6 hours of cocking about, switching me to a new pair and redoing the last 200m of the line.

    Only took another week to get the IP profile reset, all done, just in time for me to move office.

    I wont even talk about the office move....

  62. Alex-L

    To answer your question. No.

    We have slower. Quit moaning.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well Done!

    You got further than me when I had the same set of issues. I ended up switching suppliers because the person in the call center would not escalate the matter to get a successful resolution. I never did get to speak to anyone who was based in the UK.

    New supplier = also "not fast", but 2x speed BT were offering (same phone line etc).

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had the same issue with BT

    Ludicrously slow speeds, caused by their speeed negotioation system. I'm convinced that the software they use in the exchange was buggy - switched to a different provider. Even though nothing was done to the line or cabling in my flat the speeds have been vastly improved and are completely rock solid.

  65. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    No matter what you say "My Broadband is slow" is NOT a news story.

    When I was supporting a whole load of ADSL customers I experienced similar speed problems many times. And that's what they were, problems to be dealt with. They were not news stories.

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