back to article This hurts a ton-80: British darts champ knocked out of home tourney by lousy internet connection

Former darts world champion Gary Anderson says he cannot compete in upcoming remote tournaments due to his slow home internet connection. Anderson, the Scotsman who took home the World Darts Championship in 2015 and 2016, confirmed today's report from Sky Sports that he could not make the upcoming home streaming events for the …

  1. John H Woods Silver badge

    Actually ...

    ... one of the things that has really puzzled me during this crisis is just how many people have really substandard internet connections (and webcams).

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Actually ...

      Not sure why you are puzzled, people have been complaining for years.

      Also people may be realising that that 500mb super mega amazing package has an utterly shit upload speed.

      Looking at you Virgin "bullshit bandwidth" Media

      1. john.jones.name
        Go

        here's something to do :

        instead of everyone just moaning here is a couple of constructive things to do :

        Do a speed test that instead of your data being sold is freely available to researchers and anonymized (they do keep your IP like every webpage you visit at least they acknowledge it) :

        https://speed.measurementlab.net/

        test and Complain to ofcom :

        https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/broadband-test

        if you can’t get a download speed of 10 Mbit/s and an upload speed of 1 Mbit/s,

        TEST ABOVE ON THE TWO SPEED TESTS you can request an upgraded connection. You can make this request to BT, or to KCOM if you live in the Hull area. You do not need to be an existing customer of BT or KCOM to apply.

        https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/broadband-uso-need-to-know

        1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

          Re: here's something to do :

          Just how accurate/reliable are those two sites - and, indeed, any other site?

          I didn't know about them up to now, and have always relied on the Ookla test available at https://www.speedtest.net/.

          I've got a bog-standard residential connection, no capping, but no contractual speed promises either. The complete landline and broadband package sets me back £25 a month - I never use the landline, preferring to VOIP to various contacts, so no actual 'phone' bills involved. It occasionally drops out, and when I check the router (in the broom cupboard), I normally see a red light on it, along with a couple of flashing green ones, indicating that there's a problem of some sort. The connection usually resumes within a short period of time, and then I see '5 greens'.

          So when I saw those two test site addresses, I tried them out, along with Ookla, and compared results. Ran 3 tests back-to-back on each of them.

          All three sites report latency values of 29 to 30 ms

          All three sites report upload speeds of between 0.93 and 1.09 mb/sec. The Ofcom site reported a constant 1.0 mb/sec

          For the download speeds, Ookla and Ofcom reported 13+ mb/sec - once again the Ofcom site readings were constant, at 13.1. The MLab site on the other hand reported download speeds of 4.72, 5.06 and 6.47 mb/sec.

          Additionally, the Ofcom site always ended the test with a warning that my "...connection is performing badly..." That warning simply doesn't appear for the Mlab and Ookla tests, so I'm guessing that bit of analysis isn't built into them.

          I'm aware of the possible confusion between mB/sec and mb/sec, which I've always taken to mean megabytes/sec and megabits/sec respectively, so went back and re-read the summaries. All three sites say mb/sec, but read into that what you will.

          The Mlab download stats are so out of whack, I not sure what to believe...

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: here's something to do :

            You have a broom cupboard in the 21st century? Get with the times man and buy your servants a vacuum cleaner.

            1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

              Re: here's something to do :

              Hey, it's only a little cupboard. Got meself a Dyson suck-broom, but it has to live in the spare bedroom.

            2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: here's something to do :

              The Broom cupboard is where Gordon the Gopher lives, surely?

              1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

                Re: here's something to do :

                That may or may not be the case. But if so, Gordon the Gopher will never be cold because the broom cupboard surely is the place where the servers live. (And if it gets too hot in there the Dyson is used to suck the hot air out.)

              2. ovation1357 Bronze badge

                Re: here's something to do :

                We all thought Gordon the Gopher lived in a broom cupboard. Turns out it was actually a closet.

                I'll get my coat!

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: here's something to do :

            speedtest.net defaults to the closest geographical server, which is usually incorrect for those in the UK outside London.

            I'm in Swansea. The server chooses Cardiff. My (like most) connections enters "the internet" in London.

            Choosing a London server is therfore closer than the Swansea <--> London <--> Cardiff route.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: here's something to do :

              I'd assumed that (eg) connections to the US would go out via Cornwall, without detouring to London first. However, five minutes of tracerting seems to show international connections being routed through London (I'm in Bristol, on Virgin).

              Hopefully an actual network engineer will be along to tell my why I'm worng.

              1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                Re: here's something to do :

                They'd need another POP then. I guess it's just simpler to have it all terminate in London.

                And of course, with the phone networks, they had uk-wide networks before they got IP, so it made it that much easier to terminate in one place. I'm interested in how some of the virgin UK traffic routes though.

                all my traffic comes out of telehouse, London. I think some USPS terminate in Manchester also

                Could you try a trace route to (say) www.swan.ac.uk ? I know that's physically hosted in Swansea - I'm curious whether virgin in Bristol hits JANET in Bristol, or Cardiff, or London.

                Cheers!

    2. cosymart
      Holmes

      Re: Actually ...

      ... one of the things that has been highlighted during this crisis is just how many people have really substandard internet connections (and webcams). - Fixed it for you :-)

    3. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Actually ...

      My 2019 16" MacBook Pro has a TERRIBLE camera. Seriously bad.

    4. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Actually ...

      Ok: I can see that looked a bit like I didn't realise a lot of ordinary people are suffering with poor connectivity, mea culpa, I didn't really mean it like that. I live in a small village outside Stratford upon Avon and get about 50Mbps down 10 up, and on EE, about 100Mbps down and about 20 up - so I'm lucky, and well aware that I am, especially given what I've had to put up with elsewhere.

      No: what's confusing me is just how poor some of the connections are to some pretty senior politicians and journalists. You get a view into some rather splended, probably London, houses and, especially in the case of TV journalists, I'd just think they'd have decent connectivity? Maybe I'm even luckier than I thought I was.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Actually ...

        Politicians in London don't get paid enough to afford luxuries.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Actually ...

          Your name is Boris Johnson*, and I claim my 5p...

          *insert politician name of choice

        2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Actually ...

          > Politicians in London don't get paid enough to afford luxuries.

          I think your downvoters missed the sarcasm tag. However, I can forgive them for believing you genuinely thought MPs aren't paid enough - at one time some of them were so skint they couldn't even afford to pay for their own porn

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1279924/Jacqui-Smith-husbands-porn-claim-MPs-expenses-scandal.html

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Actually ...

            and then claimed she was being picked on because "I'm a woman"

        3. Cave-Homme

          Re: Actually ...

          Well, they've just awarded themselves an extra £10K for NOT turning up at work!

          These self-serving shysters keep getting away with it, and we let them do it.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Actually ...

            Shit, I'd pay mine ten times that to not show up at work. At least then they wouldn't be spending my tax dollars on bullshit. I'd pay 'em even more more if they'd outright quit so someone who might actually get something useful done could have a chance.

            1. IGotOut Silver badge

              Re: Actually ...

              Ms Smith's house, is a very nice house in a very nice area. That sort of property doesn't pay for itself y'know.

              But of course, she shifted her location a few miles in her election campaigns.

            2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Actually ...

              What actually happened is their expenses allowances were increased by £10k. The receipts still have to be filed as normal ( although presumably delayed ).

              This 10k allowance increase is for official business only and isn't a pay rise.

              1. james_smith Silver badge

                Re: Actually ...

                And expenses can cover absolutely anything. Jacqui Smith's husband made a mistake, he should have claimed for "pay to view documentary for investigative purposes". MPs can claim for furnishing and decorating provided they use approved suppliers - and those suppliers are only the "best". Need a new TV to "keep up to date with current affairs"? That will be a top of the range one delivered by John Lewis.

                1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                  Re: Actually ...

                  I'm not remotely a fan of Jacqui Smith, but that episode was clearly an administrative error - just chuck all the receipts in and get the money back. Maybe she was being unscrupulous in being more than willing to throw all the receipts into an expenses claim, but that's not the same thing.

                  The second homes are to allow MP's from outside London to have a home in the capital so they can visit Westminster for days at a time.

                  Do you expect these homes to be furnished? Should they go without a TV in their London home?

                  For God's sake, grow up.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Actually ...

                    This has f*ck all to do with second homes. In Smith's case this was a receipt for her husband's w*nk fodder at their family home. As for decorating and furnishing, this can be used for the first home by doing the flipping trick. As for whether they deserve a nice telly at taxpayer's expense, given that most if not all MPs have multiple side gigs they can pay for it out of their own f*cking pocket.

                  2. curious orange

                    Re: Actually ...

                    I don't know how old you are but in 2009 a few MPs and Members of Lords were caught being naughty...

                    David Chaytor

                    David Chaytor (Labour) appealed along with Jim Devine and Elliot Morley to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom that his actions were protected by parliamentary privilege. The Supreme Court ruled against them and he subsequently pleaded guilty to charges of false accounting a total of £18,350, and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.[182]

                    Jim Devine

                    Jim Devine (Labour) pleaded not guilty and was found guilty on two counts but cleared of a third (relating to £360) on 10 February 2011.[183] He had fraudulently claimed a total of £8,385 and on 31 March 2011 was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.[134]

                    Eric Illsley

                    Eric Illsley (Labour) pleaded guilty to charges of false accounting totalling £14,000 and was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to 12 months imprisonment.[184]

                    Denis MacShane

                    Denis MacShane (Labour) was jailed for six months on 23 December 2013 for expenses fraud, after admitting submitting 19 fake receipts amounting to £12,900, making him the fifth MP to get a prison sentence as a result of the scandal.[185]

                    Margaret Moran

                    Margaret Moran (Labour). On 6 September 2011 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that Moran would face 21 criminal charges[186] 15 of false accounting and six charges of forgery. She was summoned to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 19 September 2011 where she was reported to have wept throughout the hearing.[187] Moran was sent to the Crown Court at Southwark for trial on 30 October 2011. She failed to appear and a 'not guilty' plea was entered by default in her absence. A date for the trial of an issue was set for 18 April with a directions hearing set for 15 December.[188] On 15 December 2011 Mr Justice Saunders was informed that psychiatrists considered Moran unfit to plead with the defence contending that the trial should therefore not proceed.[189] In April 2012, after receiving evidence from a number of psychiatrists, the judge determined that Moran was not fit to plead. On 13 November 2012 a jury found her guilty of the acts alleged.[190] In December, she was sentenced to a two-year supervision and treatment order, the judge commenting that although some might feel she had "got away with it", the court had acted "in accordance with the law of the land and on the basis of the evidence that it hears". Her false claims totalled more than £53,000, the largest fraud of any MP in the expenses scandal.[191]

                    Elliot Morley

                    Elliot Morley (Labour) admitted two charges of dishonesty and was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on 20 May 2011 to 16 months imprisonment. His false claims totalled £31,333.54.[192][193] On 8 June 2011, he was expelled from the Privy Council, the first expulsion since Edgar Speyer in 1921, and thereby removing his right to use the honorific title The Right Honourable.[194]

                    Lord Taylor of Warwick

                    Lord Taylor of Warwick (Conservative) pleaded not guilty to six charges of false accounting, but was convicted at Southwark Crown Court on 25 January 2011.[195] His false claims amounted to £11,277 and on 31 May 2011 he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

                    Lord Hanningfield

                    Paul White, Baron Hanningfield (Conservative) pleaded not guilty to six charges of false accounting, but was convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court on 26 May 2011.[196] He was given a 9-month sentence[197] which was confirmed when his appeal[198] against the conviction and sentence failed in July 2011. As a low-risk prisoner he was released in September 2011 on home detention after serving a quarter of the sentence.[199] After repaying the wrongly claimed £30,254.50 he returned to the House of Lords in April 2012.[200]

                    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                      Re: Actually ...

                      Very good.

                      Point to the part where I said that individual MP's stealing was acceptable.

                      I'm defending the basic principles of the system, which broadly works because despite a dislike for pretty much anybody who would choose be an MP, somebody has to do the job and intentionally making their lives difficult isn't a way to attract better people to the job.

                  3. LucreLout Silver badge

                    Re: Actually ...

                    I'm not remotely a fan of Jacqui Smith, but that episode was clearly an administrative error - just chuck all the receipts in and get the money back.

                    And that's exactly why she ended up in the problem she created. She was just chucking ALL the receipts in with nary a thought for the taxpayer whose money she was seemingly squandering on an industrial scale.

                    I can absolutely guarantee that if I paid for porn on the joint account, my wife would notice the line item.

                    The second homes are to allow MP's from outside London to have a home in the capital so they can visit Westminster for days at a time.

                    Which would be much cheaper to serve with a few nights in the local Premier Inn and an expenses claim later. Its a scam. It was always a scam. It will always be a scam.

                    Do you expect these homes to be furnished? Should they go without a TV in their London home?

                    They should go without a London home.

                    Worst case, if some provable need could be established then each consitutency can buy a flat in the same block (to reduce security costs) and the apartment goes with the job as a grace and favour benefit - same as Chequers is for the PM.

                    There is not now and there never has been any need whatsoever for MPs to buy a second home and throw seemingly endless amounts of taxpayers cash at it. Its a disgrace. An indefensible disgrace.

                    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                      Re: Actually ...

                      'I can absolutely guarantee that if I paid for porn on the joint account, my wife would notice the line item.'

                      Yes, fine, she didn't behave well.

                      "Which would be much cheaper to serve with a few nights in the local Premier Inn and an expenses claim later. Its a scam. It was always a scam. It will always be a scam."

                      These people are supposed to be able to spend all week most weeks hundreds of miles from home. And you expect them to do so in a tiny hotel room ? Would you agree to do that job under those conditions?

                      "Its a scam. It was always a scam. It will always be a scam."

                      No it's not. Explain how.

                      "Worst case, if some provable need could be established then each consitutency can buy a flat in the same block (to reduce security costs) and the apartment goes with the job as a grace and favour benefit - same as Chequers is for the PM."

                      Fine, I suppose. Although you're not going to really save any money doing that, so unless your goal is to make life more uncomfortable for MP's, it's pointless.

                      "There is not now and there never has been any need whatsoever for MPs to buy a second home and throw seemingly endless amounts of taxpayers cash at it. Its a disgrace. An indefensible disgrace."

                      MP's buy the home on their own. While they are an MP, only the interest on the mortgage is covered. If they want to buy the house to own it afterwards, they need to pay the capital off themselves.

                      I'm not defending the behaviour of individual MP's, especially those who flip their second homes to steal money from the taxpayer. But the system basically is reasonable.

              2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                Re: Actually ...

                What actually happened is their expenses allowances were increased by £10k

                oh theres a limit? what is it?

                and why does this current situation og not moving around requirer another 10k?

                1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                  Re: Actually ...

                  I'm not sure, I just know it's been increased.

                  And the amount has been increased to reduce administration during a time of reduced (or non-existent) staffing. They still have to justify the expenditure.

                  1. Outski

                    Re: Actually ...

                    It's not general expenses, like taxis, meals in restaurants, etc. The extra £10k is specifically to equip their parliamentary office staff and researchers to work at home, if they weren't already equipped. Constituency staff costs are not included, as that's normally paid for by the party.

                    1. LucreLout Silver badge

                      Re: Actually ...

                      The extra £10k is specifically to equip their parliamentary office staff and researchers to work at home, if they weren't already equipped.

                      And yet like teams up and down the land, my team are expected to meet any frictional costs of protracted WFH out of their own pocket - they're saving on the commute costs anyway. The same applies in my business from the CEO down.

                      The tax man doesn't even allow me to claim those costs back against tax, so I can see no reason whatsoever for the MPs to be gifted another 10k tax free to squander.

                      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                        Re: Actually ...

                        It's not a gift. Do you not understand that or do you not want to understand that?

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Actually ...

                          Give it up. A lot of MPs "employ" family members (spouse, children) and claim that as an expense. Another scam that this £10,000 will probably feed.

                          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                            Re: Actually ...

                            Yes, many MP's behave badly. Some outright steal. I don't disagree with you here.

                            But the system itself is generally reasonable. The £10k isn't a gift. Why are you conflating multiple things?

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Actually ...

        "No: what's confusing me is just how poor some of the connections are to some pretty senior politicians and journalists. "

        Thatll be because they dont know how to use them.

        long range wifi , webcam set to 8k , via skype.au .. etc

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually ...

      They’re not sub standard. For a lot of people fast broadband just isn’t needed. Until he tried to stream a live darts match it probably wasn’t even an issue. I have 18Mb/s download, that’s as. I h as I can get. It’s fine for me, I simply don’t need more.

      1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Actually ...

        Looks like my average connection in a rural area, but hardly remote - just too much copper (about 1 to 1.5 miles?) between me and the nearest exchange box...

        Copper? Ohhhh we used to DREAM of copper! Aluminum phone cables were the norm in the UK during the 1970s and 1980s, and they mostly haven't been replaced. Not only do the joints become brittle over time, but it becomes the sacrificial anode when it meets copper.

        Some beancounter in the Post Office back then decided it was a great way for the corporation to save money, and people have been paying the price ever since.

        1. ovation1357 Bronze badge

          Re: Actually ...

          Aluminium? LUXURY! When I were a lad we 'ad to read out binary bits o'er a bit o' wet string connected to baked been tins!

        2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

          Re: Actually ...

          Mainly as the price of copper spiked massively in the 70s, leading to the use of aluminium cabling for a number of things (including mains power in homes) to make projects cost effective, the problems though are as you outline above, mains power is particularly a nasty one and its generally required to be coded as needing rectification on an EICR and most schemes recommend that their members inform customers that it needs to be replaced due to the fire risk it poses.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Actually ...

        I have 18Mb/s download...

        18mb? you were lucky!

        I've got 10. and its absolulutley fine.

        As others have noted , people are coming to realise they need upload speed too.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Actually ...

          I've got 500 and that's also fine.

    6. james_smith Silver badge

      Re: Actually ...

      I found out mine was not up to the quoted speeds - it turned out the fibre connection in the cabinet was broken *and* the wire to the eaves of my house used the wrong clamps causing it to corrode to the point that it impaired connectivity. Two Openreach callouts later and I finally have the internet access I pay for.

      1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: Actually ...

        took one visit from openreach to sort mine (broken wire in the armoured cable feeding the NTE5 and damage to the pair between the street chamber and the cab, couldn't check the joint box as my neighbour had boxed it in and got bolshy when informed that access was needed, telling the openreach guy to foxtrot oscar, still no idea of openreach are going to do anything to get access, their local manager made a mealy mouthed excuse about the line being above the minimum estimate, and didn't have an answer though when I pointed out his engineer had noted the joint box hadn't been inspected or had any maintainence work in DECADES according to their own systems - see if they do anything post corona

        Getting ZEN to call them out however was a total pain in the rear (8 phonecalls, mixing up minimum estimate with handback threshold for one) filled with warnings about 150+ pound charges (which seems an industry issue as openreach engineer said he hears it all the time that folk have been told that, but they only charge if for example the nte5 is smashed / dog chewed wiring etc etc)

  2. en.es

    And?

    Looks like my average connection in a rural area, but hardly remote - just too much copper (about 1 to 1.5 miles?) between me and the nearest exchange box...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: And?

      Only one and a half miles? So you're in civilization, then? In these here parts, you're not considered rural unless you're at least 45 minutes from cold beer. You're not really remote unless that drive is two hours or more ...

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: And?

      And not just UK and US. Most countries suffer.

      Here in Germany there are many communities that still have no broadband at all or are limited to 1mbps.

      At work, we have a reasonable internet connection, but mobile coverage sucks. And average speedtest here get around 0.05mbps down and 0.02 up - most of the time, the Vodafone speedtest app states that there is no internet connection at all (it times out), although Signal and Telegram still deliver messages (if with several minutes or hours delay as the data trickles in).

  3. Victor Ludorum

    Not just 'rural' connections

    I think a lot of people have been happy enough with their ~2Mbps connections for general use, but nowadays video upload for zoom/teams etc has meant higher upload requirements, which many 'legacy' connections can't cope with..

    A relative lives in a not-particularly-remote village not far from me. When they moved there they couldn't get Openreach's 'fibre', so were stuck with ~1.5Mbps down / 600kbps up. Barely suitable for iPlayer without regular buffering. Eventually the cabinet was upgraded but they were in contract and unable to upgrade at the time. By the end of the contract the cabinet was 'full' so they still had to wait another 3 months before they could finally get ~37/9Mbps.

    Meanwhile I'm sat here on a 220/20Mbps Virgin connection, not quite the 350/20 at the office... ;o)

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Not just 'rural' connections

      "~1.5Mbps down / 600kbps up"

      You're really lucky. 2.5 miles outside the M25 I get 430kb/s down, 170kb/s up. I've been completely isolated from professional activities including international conferences as Zoom (bless it) just won't work at these speeds. The joke (not so funny) is that there's a fibre cabinet about a quarter of a mile away, but I'm still on about 2 miles of copper.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Not just 'rural' connections

        Can't you switch to FTTC? We had exactly the same problem - and when I say exactly, I'm 2 miles outside the M25 and had roughly the same speed - we're 4.3km to the exchange, but with a cabinet a few hundred meters away.

        Switched to FTTC and literally as I type, the kids are doing stupid dances to their friends on Zoom.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Not just 'rural' connections

          FTTC requires that the telco deploys a fibre cable to the cabinet - it's the F - until it does, and installs an ONU inside the cabinet, it's no FTTC.

          For example I live within 300m from an exchange with fibres to cabinets in a neighbouring town, but no fibre to local cabinets. Meanwhile a "rural" area of this town was cabled last year with FTTH using state funds and now they enjoy 1000/300. The incumbent was able to stop the deploy in the rest of the town promising FTTC in 2021 (state funds can be used only where no private companies invests, or promises to do...)... so, only ADSL is available for now...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Not just 'rural' connections

            There does seem to be some odd stories like that in many parts of the US. Local government decides that due to demand, they will deploy a decent broadband network. Immediately, the incumbents sue them for unfair competition and pinky promise to improve things but never do. Then you get the people who live out of town, desperate for a better connection and the commercial providers are basically saying, "we don't care, let the State or Feds pay for it". Government are only allowed to "compete" where the commercial providers don't want to go.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: Not just 'rural' connections

              Here in Italy the things are becoming even "funnier".

              In 2015 the government asked telcos what houses without broadband connections (ADSL only, or worse) they were going to cover in the next five years. What was excluded would have become part of a state/EU-funded plan to cover them as "market failure" areas. This network would have been state-owned, and run for twenty years by a wholesale-only concessionary.

              Our equivalent of BT and owner of the copper nwtwork excluded a large number of them - sure to win the public tenders that would have followed. Just, they lost them (they proposed FTTC and 4G, to keep alive the value of the old copper network, the winner proposed mostly FTTH and a some faster FWA). Now faced with a plan that would have make the copper network worthless soon, they decided to try to stop the whole FTTH rollout.

              Immediately after they lost the tender they declared they would have covered in FTTC a lot of the very same areas they explicitly excluded in 2015. In some areas they obtained to stop the public-funded works wholly, even when they had already started. I live in one of what were the four "pilot" towns of that project. Works started in late 2017 but were stopped in 2018, after only a detached "rural" area was cabled, because closer to the fibre backbone. This very situation recently went on the national news, as the pandemic required to attend school lessons and work from home when possible.

              In other areas where they could not obtain to stop the works, they started to deploy FTTC to get customers before FTTH becomes available (chained to four years contracts...), to make the whole plan non remunerative, trying to force the government to "unify" the networks, in plain words let the incumbent swallow the company that is deploying the fibre network, take full ownership of the network, and kill any competition.

              In the beginning of March the Antitrust authority fined the company 140M for those actions. Previously it barred the activation of cabinets in areas covered by the public project - which they continued to do nevertheless...

              When the pandemic struck, they took advantage of it to get the permission to activate cabinets in those areas already getting FTTH. While in the areas where they were able to stop the FTTH, everybody is left in ADSL only.

              Meanwhile for its own bad management the fibre cabling company is later and later, and what should have been ready in 2020 has been postponed in 2023, despite a lot of houses now not getting FTTH as planned previously.

              More and more towns are having a few houses in the outskirts cabled with FTTH while the inner parts are left in ADSL, even when they could have been easily connected, but the rules forbidding spending state funds in competition with private companies does not allow it. When the pandemic is over, tribunals will be busy.

              I wish they said "we don't care, let the State pay for it" - I would have already FTTH by now. These are exemplary situations where telco interests, especially the incumbent ones, totally diverge from citizen interests.

              I wish UK citizend more luck than here.... but keep your eyes open on any state project and the inevitbale barrage fire by incumbents.

              1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

                Re: Not just 'rural' connections

                BT has that sorted, due to "connections" and often local councils issuing contracts in their own areas (And thus thinking BT by default) their infrastructure arm Openreach is basically scooping up ALL of the contracts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just 'rural' connections

        Zoom (bless it) just won't work at these speeds

        So they should fix it. At work we did transatlantic videoconference for years at 2x64k ISDN, it worked fine.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Not just 'rural' connections

          Indeed. We were doing world-wide video conferencing over a couple T1 channels back in the mid '80s. Granted, the video was a bit crap ... but the audio (which, when you think about it, is the important part, was very, very good. Today's systems are typical modern software bloat, combined with always having to go through a third party for monitoring/marketing purposes.

          I see a great need for a simple open source peer-peer video conferencing system.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mobile?

        If you have any form of mast near by (perhaps they installed one for the cow shed/petrol station nearby?) then you might get better on a mobile contract.

        20gb for around a £10nner and unlimited for just under twenty a month. A spare phone put me back £100 that I can use as a wifi hotspot, but cheaper ones are avaliable.

        I get about 5-10mb up and 40-50mb down. Pings are a lot worse, but usable even for some light gaming... and wow, the games are like 100gb these days, and the mobile just ate it up and delivered it perfectly. Rather impressed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just 'rural' connections

      Virgin?

      Oh yes... the network that almost everyone in my street is connected to and are now complaining about because they are all at home and the whole family is trying to watch Netflix, play games or video chat to anyone and everyone they can.

      VM keep trying to get us few refusenniks to sign up. I will only when the sun rises in the West.

      I'm pretty sure that a good few of my neighbours will be looking elsewhere if this lockdown goes on much longer.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Not just 'rural' connections

        Virginia are the only service I could get here with remotely useful speeds. I'm just the wrong side of an exchange boundary*, so while I am within walking distance of the nearest fttc cabinet, I can't actually get fttc because my exchange hasn't been upgraded. The best I could get was very poor ADSL.

        * I know this because I moved across it about two years ago. Less than half a mile made the difference.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: Not just 'rural' connections

          On the other hand, I can also get service from Mr Branson's provider, rather than a US state.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold on...

    How do we know it's the local infrastructure specifically that's the problem?

    He might just be a tight Scotsman on an 8mb £3.50 Talk Talk package...anyone geographically nearby that can do a speedtest?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Hold on...

      He would have upgraded if possible.

      This is after all his job we're talking about, he's not an amateur darts player.

    2. Oor Nonny-Muss

      Re: Hold on...

      He stays about 6 miles from me... His connection is likely to be crap whomever he's with for *DSL given where his house is.

  5. Andy Non Silver badge

    Crap in rural France too

    When we moved there 13 years ago we were informed we'd have broadband within 6 months as part of a local infrastructure project. Never materialised and we were stuck with dial-up internet at a miserable 22k for 8 years which often dropped out completely. Our telephone line was hanging off the poles in a nearby field on the ground - the cows used to play skipping with it. Reported it to Orange/France Telecom but because it still "worked" they did nothing. Eventually I managed to get a Wi-Fi router which was significantly faster but limited to 2 GB download max per month.

    Now back living in the UK in a large town, it's fantastic to have a proper high speed connection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crap in rural France too

      10 years ago in rural France we had 128kbit/s 2B+D ISDN, which was adequate until 1Mbit/s ADSL arrived. Now we have 3Mbit/s ADSL on the same wires.

  6. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    Professional Failure

    Sounds like a professional failure of the ignorance sort. Presumably he is not completely in the middle of nowhere, so he has a cell signal.

    And apparently, no-one has ever told him that he can use his *phone* as a Wifi hotspot to feed his laptop/webcam etc. to the internet using the cell instead of the crappy wired link he is stuck with.

    Turn off the home's router. Turn on tethering on the phone and set an SSID, just like on the home router. (You can even set the SSID and password the same as the wired router, so long as you remember not to have both 'on' at once). If available in settings, select a 5G band wifi signal for higher short range throughput over Wifi. Re-set the laptop/webcam to connect to the phone's wifi.

    Keep Calm and Carry On.

    Yes, this will eat the data quota, but if he is a professional player, it's a cost of doing business.

    But then again, an unlimited calls, unlimited data plan could be worth it.

    1. TWB

      Re: Professional Failure

      Yes, but he may also have poor 3G/4G/5G where he lives.

      Also bear in mind, many people (not necessarily this chap) actively like to be ignorant of technology and what it can do - they wear it as a badge or pride that they are not "geeky nerds" - they are useless in many ways but somehow get by in the World. I know many people will wait weeks for me to come along and sort something out for them rather than let me try and talk it through with them on the phone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Professional Failure

      Maybe... he doesn’t do tech and spends much of his life on the road, so suddenly being confined to home has presented new challenges that he hasn’t encountered previously.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Professional Failure

      > Sounds like a professional failure of the ignorance sort.

      Perhaps you can give him some coaching tips and insight on his opposition's strengths and weaknesses? After all, you seem to think that he should know as much about broadband as you do, so you presumably should know as much as he does about darts?

  7. jake Silver badge

    During the meanwhile ...

    ... with probably 99% of all useful 'net content being good old 7-bit ASCII text, who can read faster than 9.6K/sec? Even today, I still connect over dial-up from my property in rural Mendocino county about 20% of the time ... sometimes at speeds as low as 1200 bps (fog and aging, cracked, dusty cable plant makes for bad signal/noise ratio). The low speed doesn't seem to affect my "internet experience" much ... And that's barely 200 miles by road North of Silly Con Valley!

    Mine's the one with the Telebit Trailblazer in one pocket & Kermit code in the other ...

  8. Daniel Thomas

    Unlucky, Mr darts neighbour

    I live within a couple of miles of this chap in the same rural location and until 2 years ago we had nothing but really iffy BT "fibre" speeds of maybe 14mbps up and 1mbps down unless you were within 400m of the cabinet. Then, out of the blue, two different competing fibre outfits rocked up offering decent speeds on their own infrastructure.

    I'm currently enjoying 250mbps down and 450mbps up from one of them.

    He's either still with BT's miserable offering or, like so many, considers the WiFi speed to be his Internet speed and that's that

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Unlucky, Mr darts neighbour

      I'm currently enjoying 250mbps down and 450mbps up from one of them.

      Really, are you sure?

      Why is your download half the speed of your upload?

      1. Daniel Thomas

        Re: Unlucky, Mr darts neighbour

        Download is capped, upload isn't. And yes, I'm sure.

        edit: In fact, today it's 533 upload. Must be a quiet day out on the rural fibre :)

  9. martinusher Silver badge

    Those speeds are actually quite reasonable

    The problem isn't the connection speed. The real killer is latency. It doesn't help that a lot of modenr net code uses web protocols which are at best grossly inefficent -- you won't notice this on a blazing fast local connection but as the linik speed drops latency will skyrocket.

    Ultimately the issue is gonig to be trying to get people to make better use of the bandwidth. We've been very profligate for years, preferring to invest in ever faster systems and connections because it seems to be the simplest way to get application performance. It will be a road to nowhere and to make matters worse when the overall user link speed degrades it won't just slow, it will just fall off a cliff.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Those speeds are actually quite reasonable

      The inefficiency isn't even the worst, a lot of bandwidth is taken up by adware and other crap (including malware). Getting a Raspberry Pi and installing Pi-Hole on it can just about double your experienced download speed for websites. And yes, that is making better use of your bandwidth.

  10. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    And another non-competer

    Michael van Gerwen is also not participating even though his internet connection does have the required speed. His home situation is not suited with a small child, a new born baby and a couple of dogs running around and no dedicated area which can be closed.

    1. I am the liquor

      Re: And another non-competer

      It surprises me that the #1 player in the world doesn't have a dedicated practice room at home. I wonder if really he'd just rather make the most of the time off with his family.

  11. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    Home tournament?

    A youtuber made an automated dart board that follows your throw/darts and gives you a bulls eye every time. With a little planning, gluing everything to the wall, and moving the entire room so the camera does not notice, you could win every home tournament!

    https://youtu.be/MHTizZ_XcUM

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Home tournament?

      :-) ... or anchor the camera to the dartboard?

    2. JDPower

      Re: Home tournament?

      I think you'll find it's physically impossible to win a game of darts hitting only bullseyes

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Home tournament?

        To be fair, there are many possible games playable on a standard darts board.

  12. Pangasinan Philippines

    British darts champ knocked out of home tourney

    And here's what you could have won!

  13. Huw D Silver badge

    I've lost count of the number of WFH calls where "it's shit and slow" and you find that they're using WiFi and the router is in the front room and they're working in a bedroom on the 2nd floor.

    "Go and sit in the front room and plug your laptop in using a cable. Is it better?"

    "Yes, it's great".

    "Good"

    As a generalisation, WiFi = Convenience, Cable=Stability.

    Also UK stated ISP speeds are to the router, IIRC, not to any devices.

    1. james_smith Silver badge

      Too right with the wired cable approach. Even in my tiny two up, two down terrace the WiFi is terrible upstairs. As soon as we were told to work from home I put a desk near the router and ran a cable from it to the work laptop.

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    A home tournament ?

    Interesting idea, but how do you guarantee that every participant has the same conditions ?

    I'm guessing not everyone has the same size living room (or whatever room of their choice), and it is obviously imperative that contestants all have the same distance from the board otherwise there is no tournament, it's just people streaming themselves playing darts.

    Now of course, this is darts, so we're not talking about a board 25 meters away, but still, how can anyone guarantee that all contestants are playing in the same conditions ?

    1. I am the liquor

      Re: A home tournament ?

      You could stand closer than regulation distance, and that would make it easier, but only if that's the distance you practice at as well. For these professional players there's no question of that. If someone wanted to do that on amateur-level webcam darts, they could, but I've seen no evidence of it. Ultimately you're cheating yourself, and if you train yourself to throw from non-regulation distance then you'll be hopeless as soon as you try to play a game down the pub.

      1. thondwe

        Re: A home tournament ?

        Not beyond some clever techie somewhere- a bit of cleverness with a phone measuring app to provide a check and then use the two cameras in the phone to show dart board and "oky" (spell?) at same time?

        1. Glenturret Single Malt

          Re: A home tournament ?

          oche (but pronounced as you wrote)

  15. Catford scum

    93.75 % participate without remark

    So 30 out of 32 PDC entrants did have the required upload bandwidth. Not bad really, you can get fttc for £25 a month voda and t talk. Perhaps if it was cross subsidised and put up to £35 a month for those 30 a 31st entrant would have been possible, but they wouldn't have had an opponent so would have been money wasted. Maybe to ensure higher speeds for the final player out in the middle of cheap house nowhere we should ALL pay £50 a month for a good connection. Magic darts.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: 93.75 % participate without remark

      But the only two not having the required upload bandwidth are located in the UK. In other countries there are no problems.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sound

    I thought that the important thing for video conferencing was to have good quality sound and that the video was only really a bit of a nice to have, so that you could almost just put up a photo of the person you are speaking to, with little loss of communication. Mind you, that wouldn't work so well for watching a darts competition...

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