back to article ISPs must ensure half of punters get advertised max speeds

Broadband providers may have to ensure at least half of customers can receive advertised top line speeds, under a proposed crackdown on consumers being misled. Current standards require speeds quoted in broadband adverts to apply to a minimum of 10 per cent of all customers, providing they include the words "up to". It …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money talks

    Forget tweaking the advertising of 'up to', just introduce a policy that if you get sold '40 Mbps for £30' and you get 20 Mbps you pay £15.

    And while you are about it - outlaw headline advertising that says 'Get wizzo broadband for £1 a month*' and then has really small print that says *£1 a month for first 1 month, then pay only £100 a week, 48 month contract'

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Money talks

      Forget tweaking the advertising of 'up to', just introduce a policy that if you get sold '40 Mbps for £30' and you get 20 Mbps you pay £15.

      Since the cost to the ISP of providing both those examples is the same all that will do is cause providers to refuse to provide the slower service. Or else raise the prices so that it becomes £30 for 20Mb/s and £45 for 40Mb/s.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Money talks

        It's open to scamming, though.

        You go away for a week, you stick a huge interfering electromagnet on the line.

        The sync speed drops, they charge you nothing for the week, despite having to pay for all the infrastructure and capacity *IF* you'd suddenly decided to sync at full speed.

        You come back off holiday, take the magnet off. You've saved yourself a tenner, they can't detect it, but they had to provide all the backend for it.

        Same for each night, of throughout the day based on your desired usage.

        Suddenly, they are required to give you 100Mbps backend 24/7 but you're paying precisely only for the a fraction of that, only in peak period, and nothing else.

        You could save a lot of money, that wouldn't be visible as you turning it off, not using it, etc. for which they'd normally still be billing you, and it wouldn't be their fault.

        Either cost it by megabyte with a "best efforts" line speed (the faster your line speed, the more money they make quicker, so it's in their interest to give you the fastest possible and give priority to HEAVY users!!), or cost it flat-rate per month for a given minimum line-speed.

        Anything else is open to abuse, and it's already hard enough to recoup the pricing of telephone and broadband lines to rural locations, etc.

        1. illiad

          Re: Money talks

          Are you just pondering, and do not know what *really* happens ??? and then if it 'works', would you not have to phone up to complain about speed??

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Lee D, re: price.

          I like the $/MiBps concept. Have the customer attach a line speed recorder on their end, let the ISP keep logs of the same on theirs, & then sync the two to determine the average speed the customer received. $1/MiBps would encourage the ISP to provide faster services & prevent the customer from paying for speeds they never receive.

          If ISP signed me up for a 50MiBps service but only ever delivers a tenth that speed, then I only pay for the speed I get, not what they claim. If they want to charge me for X speed then they either need to deliver as promised or only be allowed to receive an amount commensurrate with the actual speed delivered.

          They could advertise "up to" all they want after that, but if all they ever deliver is far less than advertised, the logs of that fact can then be used in court to slap them for fraud.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: @Lee D, re: price.

            I like the $/MiBps concept

            The trouble is it doesn't reflect the ISP's costs. Although there is a charge per MiB/s it is always 'chunked' - you buy it in fixed amounts. Furthermore you don't get a discount based on how much you use it. If you're paying for a 1Gb/s link it will cost you the same 24/7. That's one of the big dilemmas of an ISP. If they have enough capacity for peak hours it means that most of the time they have spare capacity which is wasted money.

            Residential ISPs are all about sharing. Fitting as many people down a single pipe as possible. That's why they love web browsing. It's bursty and short lived. While I'm digesting a web page you can be downloading one. It's why they hate downloaders because while they are running their connection flat out no-one else can use that bandwidth.

            A faster connection all else being equal tends to mean more bursty usage. For a typical user it's hard to fully utilise a 100Mb/s connection for any length of time. Hence why an ISP will prefer a 100Mb/s user to a 20Mb/s user.

            They could advertise "up to" all they want after that, but if all they ever deliver is far less than advertised

            Not really. You'd first have to prove that they were the slow link. You can't blame your ISP if the problem is with the remote site's host. The internet is one giant game of pass-the-parcel. It is not technically feasible for anyone to guarantee the speed between any two points.

            If you did a speed test to my FTP server you'd find that it was slow. 2Mb/s at best. But who's fault is that? Your ISP? One of your ISP's partners? One of your ISP's partners, partner's? LINX (the London internet exchange? One of my ISP's partner's, my ISP? BT who operate the backhaul?

            Actually no. It's just that I've configured it with a 2Mb/s throttle :)

    2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: Money talks

      > Forget tweaking the advertising of 'up to', just introduce a policy that if you get sold '40 Mbps for £30' and you get 20 Mbps you pay £15.

      OK, not for the ISP, but for the company that provides the actual cabling, in most cases the cost of putting the connection in is probably inversely proportional to the speed you get.

      Force all the telecoms companies to provide fibre to premise and your proposal might work, but in most cases the ISP is not the people to lay the cabling.

      Also when ISPs try and charge for the amount of data used then there is a chorus of out cries from people who don't like to pay for what they use. The costs to the ISP (apart from what they have to pay for the wires) is probably mostly down to the amount of data shifted.

      BTW, I have both metered and unmetered connections at home.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Money talks

        OK, not for the ISP, but for the company that provides the actual cabling, in most cases the cost of putting the connection in is probably inversely proportional to the speed you get.

        Actually, no it isn't.

        The cost of actually carrying the data is more dependant on how much is being sent and when. An ADSL user running their 10Mb/s line flat out during peak hours costs more than an FTTC user browsing the web over a 60Mb/s connection during the same period.

        The cost to whoever is sending the signal down the telephone line is usually higher for slower lines:

        * There is a (possibly marginal) increase in electricity consumption as the signal probably requires more power.

        * Slower lines incur higher maintenance costs on average because they are more likely to require engineer call outs either to fix dodgy jointing or because their greater length just makes them statistically more likely to suffer damage.

        But these variations aren't that great and any way would be difficult to market so for practical purposes the cost is taken as being the same. And there's the problem: I am going to tell you that I can provide a DSL port on my cabinet to anyone in the country for £10 pcm. That's it. One charge for all.

        How much are you going to charge your customers that can get 70Mb/s over their line?

        How much are you going to charge your customers that can get 40Mb/s over their line?

        How much are you going to charge your customers that can get 70Mb/s over their line but only want 40Mb/s?

        The last one is a further complication.

        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: Money talks

          > Actually, no it isn't.

          Given 2 customers one of whom lives right by the street cabinet and one who lives at a distance from the same cabinet which one is going to get the faster connection and which one's line is going to cost more to install initially and then to maintain?

          Your example of 2 users, one of an older fashioned ADSL line and one on an FTTC line are different, the ISP shouldn't be quoting speeds line upto 50Mb/s to customers on the normal ADSL line whereas they might do on a FTTC service. So the aren't comparable.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Money talks

            I only used ADSL as an example of how bandwidth availability does not directly correlate with cost. Instead of ADSL think 'very slow VDSL' if you prefer. My point was simply that having more bandwidth available to a customer doesn't automatically mean that customer will cost the ISP more. What you cost an ISP is mainly influence by what you do with your connection during peak hours. This is why ISPs that still have allowances often relax them overnight. And bursty traffic like web browsing is a lot easier to cater for than streaming.

            Given 2 customers one of whom lives right by the street cabinet and one who lives at a distance from the same cabinet which one is going to get the faster connection and which one's line is going to cost more to install initially and then to maintain?

            Probably not much difference on installation but the longest (and therefore slowest) line will probably cost slightly more to maintain. There are gross cost differences and hence different packages but within a package the cost is fixed. A line that can only carry 30Mb/s will cost less to provision and run if the customer chooses a 40Mb/s package (BT will charge a lower port rental). However it will cost roughly the same as another line that only manages 10Mb/s on the same package.

            Thus the only cost saving available to an ISP is the package the customer chooses. If the customer's line cannot achieve the maximum speed of the package they have chosen it makes no difference to the ISP's costs. Thus reducing the price for those customers presents a dilemma.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Money talks

        >OK, not for the ISP, but for the company that provides the actual cabling

        Err no. You are forgetting the LLU equipment, contention ratio's and backhaul; all of which are in the hands of the Alt-ISPs.

        On one client site we moved the line over from the BE/O2 LLU to Zen/BT Wholesale and saw a 8Mbps line turn into a 10+ Mbps line (a rationalisation and upgrade of the client site cabling gave another 1Mbps down speed, a router upgrade added a further 1Mbps).

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Money talks

      Forget tweaking the advertising of 'up to', just introduce a policy that if you get sold '40 Mbps for £30' and you get 20 Mbps you pay £15.

      My car can do "up to" 140MPH. Should I have got it for half price because the roads are limited to 70?

      I'm on a package that is "up to" 18Mbit/s, but because I choose to live in the arse-end of nowhere on the end of 3.8km of thin overhead wire I get 3-4Mbit/s on a good day. When it was first installed I had 1Mbit/s, and that was still faster, and cheaper, than the 2B+D ISDN I had before. It's not the ISP's problem that I choose to live where I do, why should it have to discount my service (and implicitly then put up the cost to other users)? I knew what I was going to get when I signed up for it, despite the marketing crap on the adverts.

      1. M Mouse

        Re: Money talks

        "but because I choose to live in the arse-end of nowhere on the end of 3.8km of thin overhead wire I get 3-4Mbit/s on a good day. "

        It equally affects those who would choose not to live there, but cannot afford to move, but I totally agree with your point. Most if not all ISPs have a "speed estimate" check before the customer signs up and while those aren't perfect, they generally point out what speed one might get (barring the worst technical issues). Smoothing out the pricing is common and yet very few ISPs offer a lower price when Openreach is forced to charge less (where there is lots of competition... Plus.Net passes on the reduction, which makes rural pricing look even less fair, despite it being the hidden Openreach rental charges that have an effect on the price). Openreach is often the culprit with delays and problems but the ISPs get the blame and cretins demand their pound of flesh, from the ISPs!

        When I moved to a village on the edge of a town in north Wales, my initial line speed was a little more than bonded ISDN at 160 kbps. There was also a bad hum on the line (and the b'stard Openreach engineer told me I'd have to live with it, and even put in a report that internal wiring was at fault so I was landed with a call out fee about 3 months later, which I disputed and was cancelled). However, after 6 months of grotty speeds and complete loss of voice and internet for several days at a time (*), a young engineer one Saturday morning spotted the problem - perished insulation on the drop wire from the gutter to the hall. He was up his ladder inspecting the cable before I got down to the front door, and installed a new master socket in the computer room upstairs.

        My 2.5 / 3 Mbps went down to about 1.5 Mbps when ADSL 2+ went live at the exchange, because it had a benefit for those close by (but I was 6km away as the copper ran around the villages). If I had stayed there I'd now be enjoying 70+ Mbps on FTTC as the cabinet was a few metres from the house, but having moved away, and ended up in a street in an urban area that has a cabinet some 700m away and 250 flats served as well, the highest estimate for FTTC is the 'up to 38 Mbps' variety, while the cabinet visible at 10 metres from my back window serves properties the other side of the main road, and the chippie, could get up to 76 Mbps!

        (*) whenever there was rain... Using a pulse dial phone, I could sometimes restore life for voice calls but not the internet.. I guess the pulses evaporated a little of the water...

  2. Kevin Johnston

    Wow, gosh

    A supplier who thinks giving more information about their service levels will confuse people. I can see his point, they might think the offered service is a pile of poo if only 11% get the top-rated speed compared to this other company where 15% achieve it. That could confuse them into giving their money to the wrong person ie, the other guy

    quelle horreur

    I would like to see a bell curve of %users vs reported speed, although of course that may look more like an exponential decay curve where 80% get <10% of the best speed

  3. Lee D Silver badge

    It's a good idea.

    There's no point having a specification if only a tiny portion of users ever achieve it.

    Ofcom should have enforced this DECADES ago.

    That said, pretty much I get the speed I'm promised:

    Package - 75 Mbps

    Min - 21.1 Mbps

    Max - 73.2 Mbps

    Avg - 55.7 Mbps

    But that's probably because I have a SamKnows broadband monitor sitting on my router (isolated from the network, so all it can do it test outside speed, but it seems to make the ISP reaction times a bit quicker... :-) )

  4. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Windows

    Wednesday Morning 3AM

    Are we talking about wee hours maximum speeds while traffic slows everybody down to a crawl during times you might actually want to use the internet?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Wednesday Morning 3AM

      One of the reasons I picked my ISP is because they defined contention ratio and said what it would be with their service. Maximum theoretical speed was not on my list at all because if were genuinely available the only possible benefit would be the ability to watch multiple video adverts simultaneously.

      [For some reason ISP's do not put "opt-out porn filter" in large letters across their adverts. It is almost as if our PM wants to mandate features that ISPs know most customers do not value.]

  5. handleoclast

    Bugger maximum speeds

    Make the bastards guarantee a minimum speed.

    Oh, I must be one of the unlucky 50% because my ultrafast super-hyper-mega broadband connection is slower than using avian carriers. But 50% of their customers are getting the advertised speed so I have no cause for complaint.

    Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

    Make them guarantee a minimum speed. Or, as an earlier poster suggested, pro-rata billing.

    Sure, they can give a max speed in their advertising if they want, but it must be in smaller type. One of the footnotes most people never read. The speed figure in the biggest, boldest type must be the minimum speed they guarantee you'll get at all times of the day.

    OK, I'll accept a 99% of the time type of qualification to allow for rare events. Even 90% of the time. That figure, too, has to be in big fucking type.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Bugger maximum speeds

      Having dealt with procurement for a number of different connection types, having a minimum (or committed) speed would make sense. I bet few people understood what contention ratio meant back when ADSL came along - how many actually realised that "512kbps @ 50:1 contention ratio" actually meant they could get less than dial-up speeds and the ISP was still meeting it's promise.

      The problem comes when you try and define what the minimum rate actually is. At work, we had a customer that got the full ADSL line rate (literally a stones throw from the exchange) but actual throughput was crap thanks to the ISP having underinvested in backhaul.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make the bastards guarantee a minimum speed.

      Don't worry, my ISP makes sure I ALWAYS receive the minimum speed!

      (There is no competition)

  6. Chris Hills

    As long as it is based upon line sync speed, cable and fttp providers will be unaffected. Actual throughput depends upon many more complex factors.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Boffin

      Since they are talking about comparing on-peak and off-peak variation they must be talking about throughput not connection speed. There'd be no point comparing connection speeds over a 24 hour period because there will be no change ;)

  7. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Finally, they are including peak/off peak variation in their tests. That at least is under the direct control of the ISP. Mind you that's going to suddenly put Virgin Media in a poor light. It'll be interesting to see how they respond if that goes ahead.

    The issue of '75% of customers not getting the advertised speed' is less clear cut. The nature of the technology means that technically anyone getting any kind of connection from xDSL is getting what they pay for as it has long been a rate adaptive service. You pay to get 'whatever your particular line can carry'. The problem is that most ISPs have no control over that as they don't own the telephone line. The most telephone-line based ISPs can do (the soul exception being KCom in Hull) is ask openreach to improve its local network. openreach in turn can say that they are working on it.

    So a thumbs up for me this time. It's just a shame they've taken so long to tackle the one issue that ISPs could have been fixing all along.

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge

      I've not had any bandwith/speed issues with Virgin Media, peak times or no.

      And I couldn't complain even if my speed was to drop by 50% and stay there. I signed up for the 30Mbs service 3 years ago, which has been upgraded with no further cost to my contract to 80Mbs - and I've achieved downloads of around 100Mbs at times.

      If it were to drop to 50%, it'd still be 30% better than what I started paying for...

      Maybe not everyone has the same experience though, but I'm certainly happy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've not had any bandwith/speed issues with Virgin Media, peak times or no.

        Me neither. OTOH Virgin's dodgy reliability and ever-escalating pricing, those piss me off to the point that I'm thinking of going back to ASDL.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          It seems to depend where you live. Have a look at the images in this blog. In particular this one.

          Compare it to the equivalent FTTC image.

          Also the latest round-up review. As the article says VM are finally showing some improvement after many months of large variations.

          "The differences between off-peak and peak time performance appear better for Virgin Media this month when they had -35.9% and -28% as the drop offs in throughput, so it may be that capacity upgrades are being noticed by people, a single months results though do not represent a complete turn around in performance, we will need to see if the trend continues in future months."

  8. Bill M

    Make ISP Marketing Staff & Directors Salaries "up to"

    Simple, make ISP Marketing Staff & Directors Salaries "up to" - so that their salaries are docked by the same average percentage as their customers on average have their broadband speed docked by.

  9. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    All good ideas

    ... but I feel like watching from the sidelines, what with being a A&A customer.

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: All good ideas

      >but I feel like watching from the sidelines, what with being a A&A customer.

      So am I, but I still don't get the "up to speed" as in my area (which is just around the corner from their office) the best available option is based on Open Retch FTTC which means that at the distance I live from the cabinet I won't get that speed. I suspect the main difference for A&A customers is just that they understand what's going on more than most Internet users.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: All good ideas

        "So am I, but I still don't get the "up to speed"

        I suspect the main difference for A&A customers is just that they understand what's going on more than most Internet users."

        Similarly for Zen customers. However, when you contract with Zen they do a line test (or a calculation if the BT checker doesn't return a result due to your line being attached to a third-party LLU) and then clearly give a speed guarantee in the agreement.

        From memory, the guaranteed speed was 5~10% slower than the value the BT checker returned, so the line under normal conditions always exceeded the threshold.

  10. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    So should we expect 80mbps internet to be capped at 60 on the basis that there's no point giving away that extra 20mbps they can't advertise?

    ( made up numbers, but you get the idea )

  11. W Donelson

    "up to" in ads

    When I am king, things are going to be different...

    (Not necessarily better, just different.)

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: "up to" in ads

      Oooh, can you end the DFS sale too?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "up to" in ads

        Not even god himself could end the DFS sale, it will carry on long after the sun has exploded and humans are just a blip of time in the cosmos.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: "up to" in ads

          I've got an email address a bit like that. I blocked it on my server over 10 years ago but it's still gets the most spam sent to it. A decade of my mail server saying 'No such address' and still the spam comes. I sometimes think that's going to be my lasting legacy to the internet :-/

      2. Alister Silver badge

        can you end the DFS sale too?

        I had occasion to drive past DFS on Easter Monday, and they were not advertising a sale!

        I nearly crashed!

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: can you end the DFS sale too?

          I'm sure I read that they ended their perpetual sales last year. Probably because it was a running joke.

  12. FlossyThePig
    Holmes

    ISPs?

    Just had a look at BT and Zen websites. Both have a "what speed can I get" check as one of the first things displayed. Both came back with pretty accurate figures to what I actually get (8Mb on FTTC).

    BT had a minimum speed guarantee and only offered their "up to" 15Mb Faster Broadband option

    Zen failed by offering all options including "up to" 76Mb

    Are we going to get motor manufacturers to change the speedometers fitted as they may offer speeds up to 140 mph when the car can only get to 110mph, with a struggle (autobahn only, of course, officer).

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: ISPs?

      Are we going to get motor manufacturers to change the speedometers fitted as they may offer speeds up to 140 mph when the car can only get to 110mph, with a struggle

      I always thought that was the case. Certainly, none of my cars including the various performance cars have had an engine capable of taking the speedo needle off the scale.

      Zen failed by offering all options including "up to" 76Mb

      Zen like many ISPs will give a 'teaser' result, something you only discover when you click "buy" and go to the next stage. Additionally, you do have to be careful as on a previous broadband article I noted that the different BT checkers returned different results, with investigation confirming that both results were correct. (A few months back, for my area, BT retail weren't offering FTTC because they had used up their allocation of terminal blocks, but going to the 'right' BT Wholesale reseller you could get FTTC.)

  13. inmypjs Silver badge

    ASA - 'making life easier for morons every day'.

    I renewed a contract yesterday and had to listen to about 1 minute of drivel about the range of connection speeds and what might effect them on the FTTC connection I have already had for 4 years.

    I also found out a couple of days ago the requirement to quote prices with line rental included is an ASA not Ofcom thing and only applies to advertising so ISPs can still bill line rental separately and still offer 12 month line rental discount contracts and mismatched 18 month broadband contracts to try to lock customers into 3 of one and 2 of the other.

    "However, the proposals do not appear to consider upload speeds."

    Why? ISPs seem to have decided not to mention upload speeds at all. In these 'cloudy' days they are more important than ever. Looking at you Virgin and those offering shitty 40/2 FTTC services.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: ASA - 'making life easier for morons every day'.

      Looking at you Virgin and those offering shitty 40/2 FTTC services.

      Yah, Plusnet are nasty in that respect. You have a choice of 80/20 or 40/2. They don't mention upload anywhere except on the T&C page. And you can only order 80/20 if their systems indicate that you can get more than 40 down.

      They used to offer a technically bizarre product '40/20''. This was the 80/20 package limited by plusnet to 40 down. It sounds great for a certain kind of customer but paying BT to supply an 80/20 connection to a customer then only charging them for 40/20 was weird. Anyway they closed it last year. They moved the remaining customers (most of them, some got forgotten for a while) to 55/10.

      They also used to offer the more traditional 40/10 but they closed that even longer ago.

      Now you might think you could order 55/10 from them instead off 40/10. Nope. The only way to get on 55/10 is to have originally ordered 40/20.

      Thankfully my line easily qualifies for an 80/20 connection so I can ignore the silliness.

  14. tiggity Silver badge

    location, location, location

    Given you have to give ISP your location (postcode or phone number initially, full address if you buy their product) so they can check what service(s) to offer you and (if they can) what type e.g. just copper, fibre

    .. Then if you are on ropey copper 3 miles from the exchange, they will know that from your location data and so can give a speed quote based on location fudge factor that would spell out the poor speeds due to location ... and not offer (more expensive) high speed services if they knew your location could not get those speeds

    So would be trivial for ISPs to tailor max / average etc.quoted speeds from your location.

    They would just have to fix their generic ads to remove some speed references, or doubtless would just add a great big subject to your location clause on the ads.

  15. wabbit02

    ISPs to stop offering connections to "bad lines"

    So will we see ISPs begin to select their customer base on the max speed of the line? An easy way of improving your "up to" speed would be to selectively filter lines say below 3Mbps.

    I get that "up to" is a bad way to describe the line, but is ADSL ADSL2, Bonded, VDSL any better (for the average consumer)? In which case how can people compare across products, this new ruling means that more factors are taken into account, but does it really help/ simplify?

    Openreach have done a great job in enabling the estimation of max speed of a line, that most ISPs display when signing up.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proposals by watchdog call for further crackdown on misleadings ads

    it's a joke, right? Or time travel, like. For a moment I felt it's 1990s again. Early. Mid. Late. Or early 2000s. Mid. Late. Oh, is it 2068 already, is it? It is wonderful to see those proposals by watchdog on "further" crackdown. I'd love to be employed by a watchdog. I could keep proposing throughout my career.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    It's a start.

    But of course it depends on how many will take their ISP's to whoever needs to be reported to.

  18. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Got a bounce message back

    Anyone else tried to send any comments by email ? All I get back is :

    <[email protected]>: host aspmx.l.google.com[74.125.133.27] said:

    550-5.1.1 The email account that you tried to reach does not exist.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Annoyed... The rather pathetic progress continues...

    Oh my.

    IMHO the progress on UK broadband has been SO slow since the 90's considering all the advantages that the UK has had. I clearly remember reading about ADSL in 1998, and now, in 2017, I really did not expect to die of old age before I got Fibre connectivity....

    So why is it that now, in 2017 I/we are still moaning about this?

    Because Government, Telco's, Offcom, Openreach dropped the ball and have been fumbling around ever since - each one passing the buck.

    Say, what about your Internet connection?

    Ours is bad. Even now, BT state our home line is only capable of 4mb/s, and even if we could get it, we are outside of the 'guaranteed' Fibre connection range. We understand that if we went to fibre that it may well be slower than 4Mb/s and there are no plans to improve that, 'and we will have to wait' - just like the snows in Arizona?

    I don't want to live in a city like London, even if they have got 200Mb/s. So why the slow distribution?

    What about businesses or even our children who want to live here or nearby? Do they have to wait another 20 years for even just a broadband connection - let alone 4Mb/s?

    I'm just an average bod, so what chance do I have to actually 'put right' the system. I can't. But I can feedback when it is wrong. But who do you go to?

    I mean, if your part of the few experiencing no improvement - let's call them 'The 10%' - and you've got a poor connection who do you go to if you want to IMPROVE it?

    The Telco's aren't bothered about the few that can't get 16Mb/s...

    And really, Offcom or the government don't REALLY seem to care.

    The even Auntie BBC is always spouting about new things, but her interviewers never asking difficult questions about what is happening to 'The 10%'

    And no. I dont live in Scotland, or the Islands. I live in Northamptonshire.

    Maybe this whole mess needs to be Nationalised?... Ah...but that doesn't seem to work because such things get sold off in the future... wasting all that public tax money...

    Come on... Politicians, Offcom, Government...get your act together...And yes...before you ask..

    I would vote for a party who can show a track record that takes control and resolves this National disgrace of an issue.

    In fact I (go wash my mouth out coward) ... I might even vote for UKIP - and if that does not show you we are fed up with the rhetoric, lack of progress, disorganisation, and desperate - what does?

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Annoyed... The rather pathetic progress continues...

      So why is it that now, in 2017 I/we are still moaning about this?

      Because Government, Telco's, Offcom, Openreach dropped the ball and have been fumbling around ever since - each one passing the buck.

      BT and OR didn't drop the ball. BT has, and always will be, on the side of what it thinks will make it the most profit - that's what businesses do. If you have a knowledge of telecoms history, it's easy to see a long line of decisions clearly made so as to protect their profits. For example :

      When ISDN came along, in other countries (notably Germany) they supported some interesting and useful features - result was wide adoption of ISDN-2 even for home use. In the UK ? BT priced it artificially high, and restricted features - with want can only be interpreted as a means of preventing people dropping their expensive (=profitable) leased lines and replacing them with cheaper ISDN-2 setups.

      Even now, we see BT controlling what OpenReach do in terms of what's best for BT - not what's best for OR or the country. To that end, the recently enforced separation between BT and OR doesn't (IMO) go far enough.

      Maybe this whole mess needs to be Nationalised?

      Good god, no. I can only assume you are relatively young - everything is relative. Those of us of a certain age remember what nationalised phones and railways (to pick just 2) were like. People complain about the state of our communications and transport now, but really, it's positive nirvana compared to a few decades ago.

      When my parents moved back when I was still young, we couldn't have our "own" phone line. Apart from a "you get it when we can be arsed" approach to installation times, there wasn't enough copper into the village, so instead of actually pulling some more cable, they forced new users onto party lines. Yup, your phone line was shared with a neighbour ! I suspect few people younger than perhaps about 30-40 will have ever come across one of those.

      And as for the railways, the BR of old would make Southern look like a slick operation !

      It's nothing to do with it being sold off later, it's to do with the fact that government just can't do "services". If it's in public ownership, then every career politician wants to make a name for themselves for fiddling with it, and as with the Post Office, the treasury will see it as a money box to be raided as ofetn and as heavily as they can get away with. In part, that's what was wrong with the old Post Office when it ran the telephones - the government took all it's money and so it never had the cash to do things properly.

      At least in private ownership, the business can go to the money markets to raise cash for investments. If the investment looks sound, then the money will be there. And where there's deemed to be a "public good" case for subsidy, then that can make money available as well - that's what happened with FTTC, even though BT did obviously game the system in it's favour.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Annoyed... The rather pathetic progress continues...

      > I live in Northamptonshire.

      Where in Northamptonshire?

      In my part of rural Northamptonshire, we got the community together and had the Parish Council arrange a public meeting involving: Superfast Northamptonshire, BT, our MP and relevant District and County Councillors. Whilst my village got BT, Gigaclear now provide service to the surrounding villages that BT deemed not to be commercially viable. The laugh I have is that having kicked BT to deliver to my village (insufficient demand etc.), a few months back BT installed a second FTTC cabinet next to the one it installed a couple of years back...

      1. illiad

        Re: Annoyed... The rather pathetic progress continues...

        Where in Northamptonshire?

        considering its population is approaching a million, how about a vague postcode or even just town??

        It would surely help business to focus on where to go, and others to help out.. :)

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Annoyed... The rather pathetic progress continues...

          Useful coverage map, click on link in this page:

          http://www.superfastnorthamptonshire.net/Pages/working-with-gigaclear.aspx

          Basically, if you are not in a blue/purple area - in which case you are either already getting BT FTTC or Gigaclear FTTP, hope you are in a Gigaclear area (pink area's on map) and so will at some stage in the future be getting 100mbps FTTP. If you are in a light blue area then you may get something in a decade or so... given the purple/blue area represents the combined effort since 2008 of BT and Virgin commercial deployments and Superfast Northamptonshire's BDUK contribution...

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