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Broadband: Still not delivering

Rory Cellan-Jones | 08:13 UK time, Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Two big conclusions about broadband from today's Ofcom survey - the days of "up to" advertising may be numbered and copper as a means of getting the high-speed internet into homes now looks obsolete.

Laptop computer with cables

Ofcom's survey, which involved connecting monitoring equipment to routers rather than just a software speed test, gives us a mixed picture of the state of British broadband. On the positive side, Virgin Media and now BT, with its Infinity service, are both beginning to offer some very good speeds to much of the country.

The investment in fibre - either to the home or to the cabinet - is beginning to pay off. Virgin's up to 50Mbit/s service is now available to nearly half of the UK while BT Infinity, promising up to 40Mbit/s, now passes around 15% of homes.

Crucially, both deliver something approaching the advertised speeds and BT Infinity is even giving upload speeds of as much as 8Mbit/s. That is a big contrast with the service customers are getting from the old technology, ADSL, which comes down a standard copper phone line.

In fact, Ofcom's research shows that the higher the speeds that broadband customers are promised on ADSL packages, the less they get. So on an "up to 20Mbit/s ADSL" package, 69% of users surveyed were actually getting less than 8Mbit/s. The problem is that the further you live from the exchange, the slower the speeds down a copper line.

It was this graphic in Ofcom's presentation of the results that really told the story. It compares the speeds achieved by those on an up to 8 or 10Mbit/s service - the purple dots - with those for customers who've upgraded to a 20 or 24Mbit/s deal - the green dots. The dots are plotted along an axis showing the distance from the exchange.

Ofcom chart showing broadband speeds

So at less than a kilometre from the exchange, those on the faster packages are getting better speeds. But at anything over 2km, there appears to be little or no difference.

Now BT invested large amounts in upgrading its ADSL network to make it fit for the 21st Century and squeeze much faster speeds out of those copper cables. It looks as if that investment has not really paid off - at least for broadband customers. Perhaps it might have been better for the company to have saved its money to spend on the fibre network it's not rolling out.

Ofcom wants the ISPs to stop advertising "up to x" broadband deals unless they can show that at least some of their customers will get those speeds. At a briefing for journalists, the Ofcom boss Ed Richards was asked what "some" meant, and suggested 5% would be fair. So, with just 3% getting anywhere near their promised 20Mbit/s in the Ofcom research, that kind of deal could no longer be advertised. Instead, the regulator suggests advertising should feature a typical speed range or TSR.

BT is unhappy with that idea and says Ofcom risks confusing the consumer. But Ed Richards says markets work well when consumers have the best information. His ambition is that the TSR should do the same for the broadband market as APR has for the banking industry or MPG for the motor trade - provide an agreed standard that everyone can understand.

Oh, and one other piece of news. Ofcom is working on a national broadband speed map, searchable by postcode, so that consumers can work out what is on offer in their area. It is exactly what this blog suggested last week - though I'm assured they had been working on the idea at Ofcom Towers long before they saw my post.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Copper was for telephone calls and just isn't fit for broadband - cable or fibre is the only means of getting all the things that the internet could deliver with most devices hooked up permanently. BT are being absurd - how can people appreciate the benefit of their new fibre service if ISPs still spread lies about the capability of their current crappy copper?

  • Comment number 2.

    To APbbforum.. It's down to cash. Everybody wants more but nobody wants to pay for it. Everyone wants to download movies, music etc but most folk would baulk at the suggestion they either pay for the content OR pay for the data downloaded. I'm not talking about the odd itunes song as that takes a mere minute or so anyway.
    I speak for myself too by the way. I want to pay something, just not get ripped off by everyone in the loop.
    And lets be serious: Higher speeds would be good for business and downloading content faster but most of us manage interactive, internet quite fine on a lower speed. I doubt the mass population need 50 meg links. I've got two, one around 4 and the other around 3... Not great speed but I can't say that stops me doing what I need. Sure movies take a while but leave it overnight; no problem.
    In my technical experience most folk want faster processors, faster memory, faster broadband because they THINK they need it. Then they seriously compare an ipad to a laptop for instance.

  • Comment number 3.

    Crappy copper?????? some people still have aluminium lines! Buzzby would fall off his perch if he could see this sad state of affairs.

  • Comment number 4.

    We've recently moved house, at out old house we were paying for up to 8mb and getting 1.5mb with a well known ISP that started off selling phones. Now we are on cable and paying for up to 10mb and receiving 9.8mb! I think there should be a scaling charge on speed, dependent on what you get, not what you 'could' get if you lived next to the Exchange.

  • Comment number 5.

    The other reason not to rush and buy 'up to 20Mb/s' -they cheat customers by selling capability they cannot support except at quiet times of day. It's like a restaurant advertising normal portions then at the weekend delivering quarter portions because of 'peak demand'. I'm 200m from an exchange, I get 6.8Mb/s on weekdays, goes down to a third or a quarter of that at peak demand times. All rather tacky and smelly, there is a real honesty & credibility problem in this industry.

  • Comment number 6.

    "Ofcom wants the ISPs to stop advertising "up to x" broadband deals unless they can show that at least some of their customers will get those speeds."
    - This seems a little late in the game with the majority of the uk now signed up to broadband the false advertising damage has been done. Most people are now well aware that they will never get close to he speeds advertised. Ofcom should have done this 5 years ago.

  • Comment number 7.

    Or, instead, people who buy broadband could just learn that the speed they get is down to the technological limitations of the technology on offer, which (on ADSL) varies significantly with distance from exchange.

    At my old house I was on Sky's Unlimited (20Mbps) package but only got 1.5Mbps - did I complain to Sky? No, because it's not their fault, and there's nothing they could do about it. It's not practical for large ISPs to offer multiple different packages with artificial speed restrictions, which is why most packages are advertised as a flat rate speed, but the usage varies (which is why I was on Sky Unlimited despite slow speed).

    I'm still with Sky at my new house, and now get 13Mbps. Do I complain to them? No, because it's a damn sight better, and I know that technologically that's as fast as it'll get until FTTC or FTTH gets rolled out to my new exchange.

    Ofcom are making a mountain out of a molehill. The 20Mbps or whatever is advertised is a theoretical maximum, your actual performance will depend on distance from the exchange. Why shouldn't the ISPs be able to advertise the maximum possible speed, and just caveat it with "actual speed will depend on distance from exchange"? Are British consumers really that stupid? Oh no, wait, don't answer that......

    Also, depending on the profile of the subscribers they have, they may have to change their advertised "speed" on a daily basis - if they lose some subscribers from near an exchange, it drops the average speed that their network users get. Similarly if they take on new subscribers a long way from an exchange, that also drops the average speed. It's unworkable.

  • Comment number 8.

    It seems like the whole broadband industry is based on lies. As well as misleading download speeds there are also many "unlimited download" packages that are in fact most definitely limited.

    On the subject of fibre optic cables though, couldn’t BT just piggy back some of Virgin's cable network in the same way that other telephone service suppliers use BT's lines?

    Do we really need two types of delivery anyway? Electricity, water and gas don’t so why should information?

  • Comment number 9.

    Charging people less if they get slow speeds isn't sensible - it doesn't really cost anything less to provide broadband to people with slow speeds so why should they be subsidised by people fortunate to live closer to the exchange?

    And people would be prepared to pay more for faster broadband if they could be sure what they are paying for, ie if adverts and ISPs' promises were actually true - consumer choice depends on reliable and truthful information

  • Comment number 10.

    As a rural user in Devon, 5.5km from my exchange as the electron flies down copper wires, I have two ADSL lines coming to the house. One delivers about 3 to 3.5 MB/s and the other about 1.5 to 1.8MB/s. My neighbour, 0.5km closer to the exchange, gets only 0.5MB/s. All three figures are for wires going down the same poles to the same exchange.

    So there is a huge variation in the speeds that can be achieved down copper cables, but realistically copper is never going to deliver 21st century bandwidth unless you are very close to the exchange. Rory C-J's article simply confirms what anyone who has done any research will already know: ADLS2, the "up to 20 MB/s service", cannot deliver results superior to the plain ADSL ("up to 8MB/s") service at distances beyond about 2 - 3km, and to get the best speeds you need a short and high quality line to the exchange.

    My grouse is not so much the truth - or otherwise - of the "up to" claims, as it is common knowledge that these speeds are a fantasy unless you happen to live next door to the exchange.

    No, my objection is that if you cannot access cable or fibre, ie you are not in a town, you are forced to use one of these "up to ..." packages delivered down the telephone line, and the price you pay is the same whether you get that near-mythical 20MB or the more real-world 2MB or less.

    Rather than OFCOM faffing around complaining about the advertised speeds they should get their knickers untwisted and try to make sure that the price paid by users is related more closely to the service they actually get. This might even provide an economic incentive to improve that service ...

  • Comment number 11.

    Don't knock copper. When the discovery was made that huge bandwidth could be achieved on the old telephone system that was the firing pin for broadband. Without the pre-existing infrastructure there would be no broadband today.
    My second comment is that frequently I am waiting for sites to respond rather than being restricted by my local speed. I blame this in part on the central equipment at BT. I am fed up of watching that circulating thing in the middle of a BBC or youtube video and that has nothing to do with local speed. When I complain it is proved to me that I am getting 7mb/s but that is not how it feels. The same applies to cloud access - the whole internet is slowing down and it's futile upping your local speed. It's an illusion.

  • Comment number 12.

    I put my virgin modem on the wall the cable enters the house. I don't have any Attenuators on the cable, (the little shiny boxes- sometimes they split for the TV). Just attach the cable direct to the modem then run a cable the needed length to your Router/PC. My download/upload increased. I was downloading at appx 200kbits/s now I can easily achieve 1 meg and thats on the 10meg package. Don't use Wireless because speed can vary, if you do, make sure you're secure. You could be not knowingly sharing your connection. Use ad and flash block plugins in your browser, why download what you don't want to see? And because I use a nice flavour of Linux, I don't pay anything to Bill Gates, I don't worry about Viruses. I've been using Linux for 2 years now, and never had to worry about Infection that comes with Windoze. Makes using iPlayer a better experiance with a good system.

  • Comment number 13.

    Like most things, we should be paying for what we can get and I would love to see a sliding scale of charges linked to the actual available speeds. However, the ISPs don't always have a say in how fast these speeds can be - it's down to our archaic infrasructure, which I believe BT own, so it's BT who should be carrying the cost of bringing their service in line with what many other developed countries regard as "normal".

  • Comment number 14.

    Advertising as "up to xx Mb" is obviously misleading and deceitful. The only reason BT is unhappy with changing this is because it sells more, up to 20Mb sounds a lot better than on average 3Mb.
    The regulator should enforce expected performance advertising, with compensation or legal support available for customers who are regularly short-changed.

    By the way, if 5% of customers receive the advertised product, that means 95% of them are being ripped off. How is this "fair"?

  • Comment number 15.

    To quote - "Virgin's up to 50Mbit/s service is now available to nearly half of the UK", is this true!!!

    I would have thought it should be 50% of those with Virgin Media's cable service - not 50% of the UK.

    You can correct me if I'm wrong...

  • Comment number 16.

    As I live in a "BT area", whatever that is, I cannot get the cheaper broadband advertised by providers, but have to pay premium prices for less than 2mb service.

    BT have made huge amounts of money since they were privatised, did they keep some to pay for upgrading? obviously not. We are supposed to pay and pay again because of their greed.

    Perhaps charges should be based on the average speed of your exchange not a national average.

  • Comment number 17.

    It is sad the people cannot get decent connections or near what is been advertised. For example in South Korea, 100 Mbps is the norm (good for movies, gaming, downloads etc) and the government is talking of 1 Gbps by 2012: http://gigaom.com/2009/02/01/by-2012-koreans-will-get-a-gigabit-per-second-broadband-connection/ wow

    The U.K will never reach those figures this decade. I believe most places struggle to get even 30 Mbps let alone 100 Mbps

  • Comment number 18.

    When I signed up for BT's Broadband service a few years ago (the "Up to 8Mb/s" package if memory serves) I was told that at this location we should get 2Mb/s and, by and large, we do, so I have no personal argument with the way this service was advertised and sold; BT were quite up - front about it without my having to ask questions. A few weeks ago intense activity in the area by BT became obvious and indeed local cabinets have been augmented and fibres laid, and the likelihood of significantly increased speed appears to be weeks rather than months away. Hopefull this improvement will be without increased cost to me; I would rather resent having to pay more to get the same speed that someone living 1km from the local exchange has been able to use for quite some time.

    I am very much with john @ 2 and the points he made; breathtaking speed has become a "must have" without any obvious sign that its advocates have really done any serious analysis of why the speeds they "require" are so essential. On an earlier thread of Rory's I asked those extolling the benefits of living in Korea and Sweden (to name but two) how much the inhabitants of those places had to pay for their broadband speeds, and while I cannot recall the figures that one kind soul came back with it was obvious the greater speed carried with it a premium price. Oddly, I don't recall any of the speed freaks putting their heads above the parapet after that revelation, at least not on that thread!

    I am sometimes aware that some particular item that I am downloading appears to be doing so rather slowly, but of course that is quite likely to be down to some limitation at the server which is supplying it, and I sometimes wonder if the network providers are being blamed for problems that are, in fact, someone else's entirely. Similarly I sometimes wonder if any appearance of a slow download at Radiowonk Towers is because the network is clogged up by those who simply must download vast quantities of data, which in turn they expect to be able to do without any cost penalty.

    Anyway I live in hope that some increase in speed is going to be available without my having to pay more for it, but I have to be honest and state that a modest increase will be quite sufficient. I am perfectly happy for anyone wanting a vast increase in speed to be able to have it, as long as they pay for what they are getting (and get what they pay for) and don't expect me to pay as well; I see no reason why I should subsidise the broadband equivalent of boy racers.

  • Comment number 19.

    There is another side of this coin that I find interesting. I am on LLU at the moment, but since we are going Fibre at our exchange have been looking at who is doing what.

    Here are some observations:

    TalkTalk are in on the act, however, their offering is limited to 2mb upstream - where as 10 is possible. They are pointing out to their users on the Forums, that BT is doing 10 up, but at £45 pcm. Of course, they are lying.

    BT Are doing 10 up at £25, in fact. However, not with a static IP address, for those who want to run home servers. If you want static IP you have to go to their business packages which cost twice as much. Just for a static????

    Plus Net, which is actually owned by BT, but operated independently, is being a bit more helpful, though they are still in trial mode.

    With some of the companies, you need to be using their existing packages and then "upgrade" to Fibre - TalkTalk talk about it being a sort of Addon service - to be honest, the way they are marketing this is confusing and badly thought out.

    When talking to sales people, they happily boast to me that I could, on my phone line, get around 12mb down on one of their non-fibre packages. Which is interesting - I am getting 17 at the moment!

    The conclusion to all of this is that the companies are struggling to try and work out how to sell their packages, are scared of fibre because they are worried that their own infrastructure wont be able to handle it (this particularly applies to TalkTalk) and are generally pussy footing round the entire thing.

    According to the BT Broadband Availability Checker a month ago, my cabinet will be converted to fibre at the end of March. According to them yesterday, it will be the end of September. I am not sure what the guys a few yards down the road are doing with the big grey box then! So even BT is struggling here.

    I have a gut feeling that when Fibre starts it will be used as a good excuse to rip everyone off for a while, with companies like the BBC promoting it like mad because of their iPlayer.

    The trouble is, many of the websites people visit are on shared hosting solutions and are therefore potentially rather slow - so unless you are downloading media from large server farms, you may not notice any difference at all! (Except to your wallet, or course)

  • Comment number 20.

    I live in Hull and we do not have any choice on who provides our broadband. We have only one provider!!!

    I am lucky if I get anywhere near half the maximum speed.

    People in Hull would welcome other ISPs into Hull so we might get a decent service. The evening speeds are so bad there is no chance of watching iPlayer or even Yotube for that matter.

  • Comment number 21.

    What bugs me is companies like Virgin advertising their 'fibre optic' broadband, when in fact it is delivered to your home by coax cable.

    Oh, and the fact that here in Oxfordshire there is no cable anyhow...

  • Comment number 22.

    I've just got connected at my new house. It was estimated that I'd get 8meg on my line (I live in South East London) but am receiving 4meg. I feel like I've stepped back into the dark ages.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's satisfying to see that Virgin Media's average speeds are in line with what they claim. I'm on the 10Mb package and I haven't had a problem with it, until recently. Now I notice that the speeds I'm getting at evening peak times are often very slow. I get the feeling I'm being "encouraged" to upgrade.

  • Comment number 24.

    All else being equal, if me and only me had some data on my pc, and you and only you downloaded it, you'd probably get the advertised speed. It is misleading. The Internet itself is a problem. You have to take into account, 10-15 year ago, you just had bullitin boards of text, these days you got Video and all sorts of graphics and increased page resolution for the bigger Monitors. You don't seem to see "Best viewed at 800x600" no more. I used to hate my Homepage from Freeserve. My first pc would take 5 mins to load Windoze 95, then you open I.E. and wait for the dial up to load the Freeserve Hompage, with all its ads. Change Homepage to Google, it opens quicker and your Surfing can begin.
    Search on how to improve things your end, it might help up until something gets done at your ISP end. TCP Optimizer is a free, easy Windows program that provides an intuitive interface for tuning and optimizing your Internet connection.

  • Comment number 25.

    How about A reliability road map too? I've been with the same Broadband provider for 5 years and to be honest its been a real dissapointment for the last 3. They made some "Changes" to their company structure and since then i basically lose connection every ten minutes during peak hours. Pretty annoying. The only reason i stick with them is because they are the only provider to offer a reasonably priced "unlimited download" package. Would be nice to see what the reliability is like in an area should i wish to move home.

  • Comment number 26.

    So BigStu82, you think that advertisers should be as shameless and misleading as they like, because all the stupid people out there should know better? My word.
    It is nothing less than an outrage and a scandal that the operators are officially allowed to justify their claims as being "true" even if 95% of customers can't actually get what is advertised! It's almost beyond belief. Shame on Ofcom.

  • Comment number 27.

    To John:-
    12 years ago people on dial-up argued that they didn't "need" faster internet as it offered few benefits over the speeds they already had. Then, because wider broadband use made it possible Web 2.0 came along and possibilities that the internet offered changed almost beyond recognition.

  • Comment number 28.

    May be ISPs should include a second charging model of "pay per Byte", then those in outlying areas would only be charged for any data that they transfer not speed.

    But do you really want that?

    BT would love it - just like the old days where you pay per call on the old telephone...

  • Comment number 29.

    I am always astounded by the number of people who fall for marketing spiel. Conveniently forgetting that their crappy line crawls along at a ridiculous speed and thinking an upgraded package will magically produce faster service.

    My only niggle is that option like STATIC IPs tend to eb restricted to top tier packages. For those with lines of crud like tendencies there is no real incentive to upgrade your ISP package. So you are in effect penalised and paying over the odds for one or two features.

  • Comment number 30.

    Broadband over copper has delivered a lot. Think back a few years to when everyone had just dial-up and there simply weren't the services that needed fibre-based broadband to the home, so there was no justification for 50Mb/s connections. Broadband over copper was necessary stepping stone, providing a platform for developing workable video-on-demand and other services that have now led to the need for faster connections.

    The Ofcom broadband speed monitoring project has been running for quite a while. I've had the kit for it in my house since April last year.

  • Comment number 31.

    This seems to focus on the technical limitations of ADSL. The graph is no surprise at all: the further you are from the exchange, the lower speeds you get; ADSL 2+ is faster, but falls off more sharply with distance and is no better than standard ADSL at greater distances. There is nothing ISPs can do about this.

    What is a much bigger issue is the throughput that's possible on the ISPs' networks. It's all very well having a 20Mb/s line to the exchange, but if the service provider's network is congested, the web will be slow and unresponsive. Then there's the adverts for "unlimited" broadband, which range from truly unlimited, to unlimited as long as you don't use too much and only use it in the middle of the night. Ofcom should concentrate on eliminating the false advertising of unlimited broadband, and they should ensure any estimates of speed are the real-world speed, not the speed to the exchange which is of no use to anyone.

  • Comment number 32.

    I was an early adopter of ADSL, installed in 1999. Service deteriorated markedly in recent years due to problems scaling to meet demand, and copper is far too dependent on the quality of the line to the exchange, which is why fibre to cabinet is a minimum for decent service these days.

    We still have the last-mile problem. This will be an inhibitor for cloud service too; I will be interested to see when we start getting proper saturation coverage of high bandwidth massively parallel wireless in urban areas. 3G certainly is not the fix, too slow and ruinously expensive. 4G? Maybe, but WiFi is pervasive these days. A few areas of London are already experimenting with this.

  • Comment number 33.

    what is not mentioned is all broadband services through BT have IP profiling and the highest on 8meg is 7.1meg and 37meg on fibre to the cab. so it leaves the exchange at 8meg/40meg and if you live next to the exchange the highest through put you can get is 7.1meg/37.1meg then if you have too many people in your area all using the broadband you suffer again as there is not enough backhaul to keep up so you get a slower service. so you will NEVER get the stated speed as its impossible as soon as it leaves the exchange. why is ofcom not looking at this? if a garage sold me a 2.0litre car and it was a 1.4litre it would be against the law!

  • Comment number 34.

    I get a stunning service from my ISP, it's 14Mb on an 'up to 24Mb' service. For those of us who are literate enough to read 'up to' as meaning 'up to' and not 'exactly' it really isn't that hard to understand.
    For those who have horrible contention problems all I can say is 'you get what you pay for'. If you have one of those 'free' packages bundled in with your TV package then don't expect the same service that you would get from a dedicated ISP.
    Let's stop demonising ISPs because people don't care enough about their broadband to shop around for a package that suits their needs.

  • Comment number 35.

    Copper wire is my problem the cables running to my house are very old and no longer fit for purpose my BB speed is 0.7 to 1 MB and I am about 1 mile from the exchange, pay from 8MB. Seems to be as the phone works they do not care. I have complained to Openreach and BT both whom say it is the others responsibility. Can anyone help

  • Comment number 36.

    "Perhaps it might have been better for the company (BT) to have saved its money to spend on the fibre network it's not rolling out."

    Hang on, so by that argument, how would you feel if BT said today "We're not investing in fibre because we're saving our money for the next new technology to come along"?

    This is a silly argument - by your contention the UK shouldn't have had broadband for the last 10 years!

  • Comment number 37.

    An airline couldn't get away with advertising "tickets to Australia from 10p" when it only had a couple of tickets available at that price. So why have ISPs been able to get away with a similar level of lies? Ofcom are doing the right thing.

  • Comment number 38.

    BigStu82 is correct but the vast majority of people using broadband are not technical and so don't know or understand the technical limitations. They are sold "up to 20Mbps" ("up to" usually in small letters) but only see the 20Mbps figure.

    My ISP wanted to sell me an upgraded 20Mbps service - but I declined. Even though I live only 1.2Km as the crow flies from the exchange the actual route the copper takes would be about 3Km or so. On a good day I get a 3.8Mbps link connection with an IP throughput somewhat less than this but I know this is about the best I will get.

  • Comment number 39.

    We are 7 km from the exchange so of course are probably lucky to be getting around 450Kbps download & 240Kbps upload. So what hope for folk like us getting anything remotely decent, this side of the next five general elections? Suppose we could move but we like the scenery. Can't have it all.

  • Comment number 40.

    Why is uk_is_toast (#21) complaining about Virgin's cable connection when he can't even get it? For his/her information, my Virgin co-ax connection "next door" in Swindon provides 50Mbit all the time with a 5Mbit upload speed....

  • Comment number 41.

    The real problem is greed and mis-information by the Telco companies. Greed as the companies will never offer open pricing. For example BT keep charging customers higher rates even when lower ones are available. Mis-information on the "upto" comments when in most cases they are failing to deliver anything close to these speeds.

    Ofcom itself fails consumers by not fining those Telcos that mislead and frankly lie to their customers on the speeds achieveable.Ofcom will never get any respect unless it starts actively promoting customers interests above those of the self serving telco sector.

  • Comment number 42.

    I've been on an "up to 8Mbps" package and been getting around 6.5Mbps.

    But in January 2011 my ISP changed all their packages to "up to 20Mbps", but I'm still getting the same 6.5Mbps - so their advertising of an "up to" speed has actually become MORE misleading.

    And on top of that their charges will go up in April, and I will have a download limit imposed (at the moment there is no limit). So I will be paying more for a worse service and no speed gain.

    Ofcom need to act not just talk.

  • Comment number 43.

    Suburbsofgoa said:

    "my BB speed is 0.7 to 1 MB and I am about 1 mile from the exchange, pay from 8MB. Seems to be as the phone works they do not care. I have complained to Openreach and BT both whom say it is the others responsibility."

    My brother has a similar problem. When it rains his broadband speed drops from 2.5Mbps to 1.5Mbps but since his voice service works OK BT don't think there's a problem and his ISP don't care because there is no minimum speed they have to meet. So he's having to wait for the fault to become so bad that it affects his voice service and get BT to fix it.

    I've discussed this "nobody is responsible for line faults" issue with Ofcom, but they don't seem to understand that it's real and affects a LOT of people.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think what we need is a modem with a visible built-in speed indicator and something equivalent to the tachograph to record the speeds provided.

    I would surmise that Internet Service Providers have a pretty good idea of what level of service thet can reliably provide so the "up to " advertising may well be replaced by "speeds over" a specified speed.

    Rather than saying speeds up to 20MB they may be saying speeds over a much lower figure.This would mean that users are guaranteed a certain speed and more if they are lucky.

    Then again we may end up with a system by which we are charged for the service we actually receive with our costs varying from minute to minute, day to day and month to month which may play havoc with domestic budgeting.

    It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

  • Comment number 45.

    I can't help feeling smug when friends complain to me about their ADSL broadband. My Virgin 50meg package consistently delivers 46meg download speeds and 4.6meg upload speeds, and it is rock solid. Can't wait till I can get the 100meg service! Fibre to the cabinet is already excellent, and fibre to the home will be superb - if any company can afford to install it.

  • Comment number 46.

    Copper wires to my house are old and not fit for purpose. The phone works OK but my Board Band speed is only 0.7 to 1MB and none if it is raining. I pay for 8MB. Both BT and Open Reach say it is the others responsibility, anyone else got the same problem?

  • Comment number 47.

    I have seen lots of comparisons of Broadband speeds and most of these types of 'survey' seem to leave out some critical points.

    If your PC is not kept up-to-date, free of viruses and other malware, you will not get the speeds your broadband is capable of.

    If you are downloading from a site that has limited Bandwidth and high traffic, you will not get the speeds your broadband is capable of.

    I have been with VM since the days of Cable and Wireless and reliability and speed have been exceptional. I recently upgraded to the 50Mb package because I do lots of online gaming. My most recent speedtest gave me a download speed of 51.9Mb but this is on a brand new machine that is virus and malware checked daily and was done in the small hours. An identical test at (say) 6pm is unlikely to see the same result - I would expect some drop off in performance.

  • Comment number 48.

    My issue is that living in a rural location where fibre optic cable to residential properties is a distant dream, we get a download speed of just less than 1mbps so but we pay the same monthly amount as someone living in a major town or city who gets speeds in excess of 5mbps. Surely this is discrimination on the ground of postcode location? My suggestion to Ofcom is that they should force broadband providers to charge customers on the basis of the ACTUAL connection speed they receive rather than the theoretical fantasy they refer to as ‘upto’.

  • Comment number 49.

    As the BBC is forever promoting the iPlayer service and C4 with their 4OD, how about they make some significant financial contribution towards upgrading the delivery systems...oops, have I uttered a heresy??

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Here in Bridlington where I live I get between 10 and 15 mbps from BT on a standard line which is pretty good I think.It can slow down a bit in the evenings even though BT told me I would get the same speed at all times - not so! I live close to my local Exchange and overall I can't complain but I do sympathise with people with slow connections. BT and others should stop raising peoples expectations on line speeds.

  • Comment number 52.

    The 'UP TO' should be legislated as what 50.1% of their customers get at peak times.

  • Comment number 53.

    The technology exists to measure not only the volume of files uploaded and downloaded, but also the speed at which they were. http://www.web-meter.com/

    If this can be done,(and it can) then surely it's reasonable for individuals to be accurately billed for the service they actually receive?

  • Comment number 54.

    My understanding of today's published figures is that most companies, with one or two honourable exceptions, are relying on "up to" to justify what appear to be misleading claims as to speed.
    If this is the case why has the Adverising Standards Authority not stepped in sooner to stop this dubious practice, which if not actually
    untrue, appears to be intended to deliberately give an over-optimistic picture which has obviously disappointed many people - don't these companies think about "once bitten" ?

  • Comment number 55.

    I live in Solihull which was one of BT's first Infinity areas and get 37mb download and 8mb upload compared to the advertised 'up to' 40mb fibre upload so I am more than happy.

  • Comment number 56.

    To be honest, its only advertising and most people realise nothing is ever as it says in this country. Telephony networks are the worst I guess but even the tv services are pretty close to fibbing as well. If we were to get down to the bottom line, I would say BT miss sold us their vision tv service because their up to 8mg is wrong and we get less than 2 on a good day and it doesnt support vision. There is no point complaining about it or talking to tech help because the truth is their business has expanded and our bandwidth hasnt in this area. I do agree the false advertising should stop, but so too should peoples expectations. It isnt about you get what you pay for,if the local exchange cannot support broadband then it doesnt matter which company you are with, BT talktalk,pipex whatever, its down to the exchange. I think most people realise this (unless they have their heads buried in the sand and believe in fairytales) so there is no point keep switching. One day maybe we will get this magical fibre stuff but even if we do, what then? will that also become a congested network and need upgrading? There is no magic answer, but if the companies stopped fudging it, and advertised the truth it would be more helpful.

  • Comment number 57.

    The main issue is these products being mis-sold. There are ways to check what speeds you will get on adsl (http://www.samknows.com/broadband/broadband_checker) which can give you an indication of whether dsl is a viable option in your area. Unfortunately not all consumers are tech-savvy and ISP's don't care. Adsl is a good, cheap option if you are close enough to the exchange, i get 5mbps sync and 4mbps throughput (before contention) and i never have any issues. I don't really see how a home user could have any requirement for a 50 or even 100mbps connection. Just seems unnecessary at this point in this.

    Oh and 'uk_is_toast' the reason your fibre optic service is delivered via coax is because fibre is expensive, fragile AND dangerous (that's a laser coming out of the end) hence why they remain buried.

  • Comment number 58.

    I am trying to download an email from a friend, the broadband speed is measured in kbytes. I can't use Iplayer because the download speed is too slow to watch in real-time. I set my laptop to download an edition of New Tricks. I went to bed, slept all night and it was still running the next morning - I gave up and aborted the attempt.

    I think we are running on chipped stones, not even copper here.

    To hear complaints about Mbytes! try the old fashioned numbers where I am.

  • Comment number 59.

    Anything from Ofcom should be taken with a pinch of salt, they are just another toothless quango. When did they ever actually achieve anything or enforce changes upon BT ?

    We live in a rural location and are lucky enough to get a full 8Mb due to proximity to the exchange. We will be moving house soon and expect to get about 5Mb. BT have no plans to give us anything more than the 8Mb service and Virgin will NEVER happen here.

    People complain that the UK risks having slow and fast lanes. We already do. There's a post about from somebody smirking over their 46Mb connection speed. You're welcome to it, I'd rather have an 8Mb speed and a nice house than live in a housing estate or a town. All I would ask is that *everywhere* in the UK could get a decent speed - and to me, that menas 5Mb or more.

  • Comment number 60.

    #19. Hastings précis: static ip only on expensive packages.

    technical observation.

    If you 'need' a static ip you need it fro a reason - generally because you want to be able to 'find' your home pc 'from' the internet. Probably because you want to keep the pc on as a server and run a server or so fro web pages, mail, ftp etc.

    Let me introduce you to a very efficient and effective 'way round' this 'problem' that is free. There are several DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) services that let you specify a name which 'resolves' to your ip address so you can always find your server no matter what your actual ip address is. (You will need to run a client on your system that keeps your ip address up to date on the DDNS operators server - but many routers provide this service.)

    So what is all this I need a Static IP about?

    What is so limiting about using a DDNS service (for free)?

    Bigger problems are wanting to run a local mail server to handle home and internet email and this requires some tinkering as generally a secure log-in is required to send email to the internet (otherwise peering SMTP mail servers is a problem), and generally running a small Linux machine as a server.

  • Comment number 61.

    #58. Meg Paramore wrote:

    "I am trying to download an email from a friend, the broadband speed is measured in kbytes."

    COMPLAIN to your supplier and do not take NO for an answer. If that fails contact Otelo.

  • Comment number 62.

    After reading it all very carefully, I'm still not sure if Virgin Media will deliver good speeds to me or not.

    Going to their web site I find that I am not in a cable area so I can't get TV and can get broadband through my existing phone line, so... does that mean that I can get the near 10 Mbps shown in the Ofcom report or not?

    Their report says in their footnotes that it only includes ADSL customers who live less than 5km from the exchange (which I do) and in geographic market areas 2 and 3 (no idea what that means).

    So - less than transparent. I'm guessing that the good BB is based on their cable service so switching to them would be a risk but it's just (as ever) hard to tell exactly what all this means.

    Even worse is that our driveway is about 100 yards long so even if they cable our area we probably won't be included.

  • Comment number 63.

    I receive an "up to 20 Meg" service but fully accept that the 5 Meg that I actually get is all I can expect given the distance from the exchange. This speed is more than sufficient for most day to day needs. However, what some ISPs don't make clear is that even though you may be getting a decent speed, which they can prove, they throttle the speed of some activities using traffic management. In my case, I can browse at 5 Meg but as soon as I start using iPlayer, the stream is throttled to 0.8 Meg which means that video is barely watchable (I suspect that's the problem for David at No 11). It's an underhand way of cutting the capacity of what would otherwise be a perfectly good service.

  • Comment number 64.

    Sorry, but I do blame BT for my exceptionally poor Broadband speed. Some days it's as bad as 0.5 MB. My line can only support up to 1.5 MB. Can't even get an accelerator to increase the speed. BT know that the problem is that the local exchange needs to be upgraded. Hopefully, the work will be done next year. Whilst they know all of this, they are still happy to charge me for Option 3 at £23.99 a month, so I am not getting value for money. If they can't provide the service that they advertise they should be reducing our costs to reflect the service we get!

  • Comment number 65.

    "54. At 11:44am on 02 Mar 2011, doilookthatsilly wrote:

    My understanding of today's published figures is that most companies, with one or two honourable exceptions, are relying on "up to" to justify what appear to be misleading claims as to speed.
    If this is the case why has the Adverising Standards Authority not stepped in sooner to stop this dubious practice, which if not actually
    untrue, appears to be intended to deliberately give an over-optimistic picture which has obviously disappointed many people - don't these companies think about "once bitten" ?"

    ----------------

    The ASA haven't stepped in because using an "up to" figure is a fair advertisement and probably more accurate than anything else that might be used.

    I was watching Rory's little piece this morning on the BBC breakfast sofa, and he talked about a "MPG" style of measurement, I personally cannot see that ever working.

    There are a lot of variables to take into account when working out your broadband speed. Your PC, your router, where you are in relation to your nearest exchange, the state of the copper wiring that comes into your home etc, the amount of people online at the same time as yourself all trying to grab the same piece of data.

    Given all of that how do you expect anyone to advertise even a remotely accurate figure?

    Yes it sucks that you see "up to" advertised and you may not get that, but still be paying for it, but when you can get broadband for as little as £7 from some companies why complain if you only achieve a speed of 3MB?

    What I have a problem with is the idea that for faster speed it should be the end user who pays, whilst the infrastructure is owned by BT. And BT have done their best not to invest in the infrastructure, thus leaving us way behind the likes of those in the far east, even some in Europe, who enjoy far better speeds and more widespread connectivity at a price that is possibly slightly cheaper than we are charged. And at the same time as not investing in the infrastructure, until recently when BT seem to have woken up, they have continued to take consumers money.

    When that situation is remedied and BT actually get the rest of the country up to the standard other parts of the world are at for the same cost to the end user, then we can start complaining we don't get fast enough broadband.

    Because at the moment, we as a country are in the dark ages when it comes to the internet.

  • Comment number 66.

    It seems to me that a policy or requirement for broadband providers to provider a 'from' and 'to' broadband speed would be a good idea. In fact, this would be a good idea in many areas of British advertising policy. The small print or extra searchable text could gives average speeds for certain distances on ADSL lnes.
    It is worth noting that the current state of Broadband in Britain is analogous to the state of Telephony in the 60's. A lot of homes had 'party' lines, meaning they shared the line with one or more other persons. Right now our link to the actual internet is shared with perhaps 50 others at peak times, hence the lack of speed and other problems. We are ALL on party lines. Thsi will not be resolved by fibre-optics until we each get our own fibre-optic?
    Also it is worth pointing out that unless the fibre-optic connection runs all the way to the back of your PC (or Mac) then you won't get all the benefit.
    I seem to recall that BT was originally forbiden to compete price-wise with the new commercial providers. Is this still continuing? If so, this is one good reason for BT not to expand it's fibre-optic services? They at least, as a pseudo-government link should be striving to bring fibre-optic broadband to all of so-called rural britain as a priority. This should be governement subsidised. Mind you, even business could benefit from this and broadband in general because it would remove a lot of reasons for commuting, allowing people to work from home, saving time and energy and greenhouse gases, and finding broadband its place in the 21st century.
    That incentive alone would provide commercial incentive to improve broadband, if for no other reason that businesses needed it to avail themselves of their employees services? Hurry the day.

  • Comment number 67.

    ravenmorpheus2k wrote:
    "Because at the moment, we as a country are in the dark ages when it comes to the internet."

    Very true, but we are paying 21st Century prices for a service that, unless you are among the few that have cable or live less than 1km from a BT exchange, is from the Dark Ages.That's the unfairness here.

    I have no problem with signing up to and paying for a service I get - but I don't get the service I was advertised and which I'm paying for (I only get 32% of the "up to" speed).

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 62.

    "Going to their web site I find that I am not in a cable area so I can't get TV and can get broadband through my existing phone line, so... does that mean that I can get the near 10 Mbps shown in the Ofcom report or not?"

    That depends on how far you are from the telephone exchange, since it means you're stuck with a BT-based (or LLU) offering, rather than Virgin. Put your telephone number into a checker like www.samknows.com or a BT reseller and it'll give you an idea of the speed.


    "Their report says in their footnotes that it only includes ADSL customers who live less than 5km from the exchange (which I do) and in geographic market areas 2 and 3 (no idea what that means)."

    Market 1 exchanges are exchanges where BT is the ONLY provider. If you live in a rural area, you're, likely to have Market 1. www.samknows.com gives you details of your Market.

    Market 2 and 3 are exchanges where you have......choice.

  • Comment number 69.

    I get my broadband through Virgin and have to say that although I've never ran a speed test my downloads show that I'm getting a speed very close to what I'm paying for, even at busy times. But I'm lucky, I know many people (some also with Virgin, others who are not) that do not get the same speeds as me on the same/equivalent package.

  • Comment number 70.

    Also missing from the assessment of what you get for your money is the download cap. For sky, for example, the 'up to' speed is tied to the monthly download cap. If you want unlimited download (or keep blowing it, as I did thanks exclusively to using iPlayer to watch stuff I missed on TV), you have to pay for the up to 20mbps package. I can only get 2.5mbps max, lower than their minimum up to 8mbps package. But their 8mbps package has a 1GB download cap on it. Whichever way you look at it, their lowest package is not right for me - the cap is too low, the speed promised is way too high.

    I won't get a better deal anywhere else due to discounts from having their TV and phone package, no virgin cable in my area and a constantly pushed back BT Infinity date, but it still rankles every time I see Sky advertising how good their internet package is.

  • Comment number 71.

    64. At 12:07pm on 02 Mar 2011, Michelle Hunt wrote:

    "... Whilst they know all of this, they are still happy to charge me for Option 3 at £23.99 a month, so I am not getting value for money. If they can't provide the service that they advertise they should be reducing our costs to reflect the service we get!"

    I can very readily sympathize with this Michelle. Here in the wilds of NW London I can only get 0.5Mb at best. I was on Option 3 and have 'downgraded' to BT's Option 1 - at least I'm paying less for a lousy service !

  • Comment number 72.

    sky Broadband, 1200m from the exchange, I get 5.6 down and 670k up, despite being on the "up to 20mb package" where is that? next to their server?

    their help desk says thats as good as I can expect and that it"should be enough for 5 computers and one xbox live"

    come on off com sort out their advertising!

  • Comment number 73.

    I pay for and have done so for years to have upto 20mb I've rarely gotten above 6mb at the moment i'm getting 4.3mb so i receive 25% on average of what i pay for.
    Infinity was supposed to be available in my area in March this year its now going to be June/July i think BT are going to be getting a call.

  • Comment number 74.

    This article implies that faster than 8MB speeds are only available via Virgin media cable or BT Infinity.

    1. LLU providers have been providing up to 20MB speeds for a considerable time using their own equipment in the exchanges

    2. BT Infinity from BT Retail uses 21CN ADSL2+ provided by BT Wholesale. There are a lot of other ISPs using exactly the same BT Wholesale service to deliver up to 20Mb speeds.

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm tech literate, understand the concept of confirming with BT the achievable 'line speed for the area' (I'm in a 2MB area receiving 1.5MB) and as John on No.2 quite rightly pointed out, it gets me by as I don't buy into the whole "OMG I MUST HAVE 50MB" hype that goes with tech products.

    That said, the whole advertising and promotion of broadband speeds is ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING IN THIS COUNTRY. The regulators have no teeth what-so-ever. 'Up to 8MB' ads are practical jokes and the inequality between areas is shocking. "B-B-But you live a few minutes from an exchange" is the common answer - and from a technical point I understand it, but as a consumer I don't. For such a drop in service levels, such an excuse would be laughable in any other industry: why can communications companies get a pass?

  • Comment number 76.

    None of these so-called 'fibre' services should be allowed to be called fibre unless it's actually fibre into the home. Virgin cable is coax. BT's Infinity (up to 40mbps edition) is bascially just a copper phone line still, but running VDSL2 over a shorter distance instead of ADSL.

    Sure, it's faster than what most people get with ADSL and a standard phoneline, but it's not fibre.

    As to FTTH not being because of 'lasers' (!!) can someone please inform the Australian government (planned NBN - FTTH for at least 87% of the population), and the users of the large number of pre-existing FTTH installations around the world?

  • Comment number 77.

    Here we are again, wanting more for less, yet soon complaining when costs rise to pay for the lack of investment before. One of the biggest reasons of this slowing down of internet, is we use it more, by watching tv, down load short amusing films, play games, etc. even at the cost of not going out, instead of using age old technologies that are probably more reliable.

    What about the other costs to society this medai revolution has driven, example cost of health, obesity, lack of exercise, poor health, and all expecting the public services to respond to our own laziness, by spending so much time on the webb, and not having time to go out.

  • Comment number 78.

    Rory Cellan-Jones.

    "Two big conclusions about broadband from today's Ofcom survey - the days of "up to" advertising may be numbered and copper as a means of getting the high-speed internet into homes now looks obsolete."

    good news then, for once. the 'up to' is a con similar to the advertising of 'only 9.99' and for the same reasons (psychology).

    what I find funny though is all the people complaining about the broadband speeds they get (or, rather, don't): how about you look at the way you use the internet? do you really need to watch television over the internet? do you need to stream music? http was never meant to be used in these ways; it's a credit to engineers' ingenuity that so many diverse services are actually accessible via this protocol.

  • Comment number 79.

    "67. At 12:20pm on 02 Mar 2011, PetrolDave wrote:

    ravenmorpheus2k wrote:
    "Because at the moment, we as a country are in the dark ages when it comes to the internet."

    Very true, but we are paying 21st Century prices for a service that, unless you are among the few that have cable or live less than 1km from a BT exchange, is from the Dark Ages.That's the unfairness here.

    I have no problem with signing up to and paying for a service I get - but I don't get the service I was advertised and which I'm paying for (I only get 32% of the "up to" speed)."

    ----------------

    Then you should have done your research. What were you quoted as being able to get? If you were not given a quote then you should have made sure you were.

    I used to use mobile broadband via a 3G T-Mobile/Vodafone dongle for reasons I won't go into here, but when I switched to using a fixed home line I was given a quote, by several companies, including Talk Talk who I eventually went with. They all told me what speed I should get and it wasn't their usual "up to" advertising rubbish, however that speed they quoted is pretty much what I achieve on the majority of days. It's roughly 3MB download, and I'm perfectly happy with that, I am a online gamer, I see no lag as a rule, and I stream BBC content on a regular basis as well as internet radio stations.

    Talk Talk also use an "up to" advertising ploy, but because I was quoted a speed even before I had decided to go with them I have no reason to complain about the speed I am getting.

    What companies advertise as being able to get is irrelevant because it's not what you will get, it is a generalised possibility, the real speed you can achieve relies heavily on your personal circumstances.

    And more fool you for believing that "up to" figure. Perhaps as someone who is computer literate and has worked in the IT industry I have a bit more knowledge, but as a non-driver of a car I wouldn't buy a car based on quoted MPG only to complain that I don't get that exact MPG, would you?

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm not suggesting this as a panacea for what can be genuinely poor ADSL service provision, but please review your telephone wiring and any electrical interference at home. It may have a larger negative effect on your ADSL line speed than you think. I am close to my exchange and use a good, shielded modem cable with a microfilter direct to the BT master socket. I connected at nearly 15Mbps, which is relatively good I know. I installed a BT "Iplate" today which filters out interference on the obsolete ring wire on my BT line. Now, I connect (or "sync") at just over 17Mbps! The blurb about this device suggests you may get proportionately higher speeds if your original speed is much lower than mine was. I think a possible culprit for my lower speed was my analogue, cordless answerphone which is close to my master socket.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    It seems to me broadband providers are not only falling down on promised speeds but also promised charges - i signed up with a large company that ahs alot to do with talking a lot, and then some more, over three years ago.

    I was promised that i would receive the free broadband they offered just as soon as my exchange had been updated which would be very shortly.

    I don't believe three years is 'very shortly'; in fact if it is i'd hate to think how long i'd have to wait if they'd said at sometime in the future.

    The top and bottom of it is for those three years plus i have paid £15.00 a month for my promised FREE Boradband and i'm still waiting!

    It seems to me this is also something the regulator should be checking since i think with most products it would be construed as misleading advertising and taken payment under false pretences.

    so Mr regulator can you also investigate these false promises too please.

  • Comment number 83.

    There is not only an issue with the ability of ISPs to provide promised speeds, but their actual willingness to.
    Most major, if not all, service providers in the UK purposefully throttle the connection speeds given to users. They often claim that this is done so that all users can be provided with the same and fair speeds at all times, which is a lie when you look at the facts.

    Major internet users are the ones to suffer from throttling the most and the ISP claims that they are limited so that they can still provide fast speeds to those who use the internet far less. Seems fair, but does that actually make sense?
    They take absolutely all connection speed away from those who will actually be using it the most. From 40 Mb speeds advertised at peak times the biggest users are throttled down as far as 1 to 3 Mb. Now the biggest users of the internet are incapable of doing hardly anything they usually would.
    ISPs may claim this is fair then because they provide the difference to lower end users, but what will that person who only goes on the internet for a few minutes to check their email do with the large amounts of bandwidth suddenly provided to them?
    This is purely criminal and ISPs only do so to not have to pay the increased cost of maintaining high quality broadband to their top users.

    This is all truth found quickly on the internet with a few simple searches concerning throttling and broadband providers.

    Throttling needs to be regulated to be fairer to all users. Do not cut the whole of the biggest users connection speed just to give that up to those who won't use it. If there does need to be throttling at least make it fairer on the high end users and keep it at a minimum of 10-20 Mbs, never 1.

    I suffer from this daily on Sky Broadband's so-called unlimited service pack.

  • Comment number 84.

    We, and the service providers, are left with a legacy of BT inefficiency, in infrastructure, service and management capability.

    Anything that was a national institution under labour from the past is as lethargic and unionised as the rest of the public service.

    Close down BT, fire all those residing in it and open up to private enterprise. We might just get a system comparable with the USA.

    Dumped British Gas, dumped BT and won't us BA. I still have to use the Royal mail (unfortunately) but hopefully, one day, that bunch will also price themselves out of existance.

  • Comment number 85.

    You should pay for what you get. I can't understand how a situation exisits where someone pays for a 20mb line, gets 7mb and can't just force the ISP to charge rates for an 8mb line

  • Comment number 86.

    79. At 1:17pm on 02 Mar 2011, ravenmorpheus2k wrote:

    "Then you should have done your research. What were you quoted as being able to get? If you were not given a quote then you should have made sure you were."

    I DID do my research, please don't jump to conclusions.

    All the broadband speed checks say that the maximum I can get is 3.5Mbps but I get 6.5Mbps - so why am I not happy?

    Until December I WAS happy, I was getting unlimited downloads at 6.5Mbps on a service advertised as "up to 8Mbps" over a line supposedly only capable of 3.5Mbps, and paying a very fair price (2/3 what Virgin Media were previously charging me for a slower and less reliable service over their cable).

    BUT my ISP has now introduced a cap on downloads, is advertising that I can have "up to 20Mbps" (I can't - nothing at the exchange, in the line or at my home has changed) and increased it's prices by nearly 10%.

    So I am getting less while being asked to pay more, but the ISP is advertising that they are offering more. The advertising does NOT match the reality - and that's where Ofcom and the ASA are IMHO not doing what we have a right to expect of them - regulating the market.

  • Comment number 87.

    If everyone starts to get their full 20Mb/s service or moves to Fibre to the Cabinet/Home offerings do you think that the existing infrastructure of websites will cope? Do you think that your surfing will be 10 or 20x quicker? You will still be at the mercy of the weakest point in the chain which may be the web server, the host's connection pipe and don't forget the contention ratio. Not all websites are hosted by massive multi-national corporations with gigabits of ethernet backbones.

  • Comment number 88.

    Currently with BT's 'up to 20Mb' service and only get half of that on a good week. They have a habit that if the Modem IP changes it can take 'up to' 10 days for it to average out the connection and hopefully settle down to 11Mb. Over those 10 days users can be as low as 1mb through this testing period. No point calling BT out-sourced support centre as most staff there are unlikely to have any knowledge of the systems in the UK. Yet they have the contract to charge me for the full sign-age if I'm unhappy and want to move.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ John From Hendon

    (I used to catch the tube from Hendon back in the 70s!)

    Yes I have tried dynamic DNS before - but I have had reliability problems with it. Currently I am with Be with 17 down and 1.8 up and a static IP for 21 quid per month. For me to move to fibre, which will be more expensive, the cost has got to be the equivalent -in other words, I don't mind paying a bit more for the faster speeds, but to not want to get heavily penalised over the IP Address. Also, it is useful to be able to add more IP addresses if needed.

  • Comment number 90.

    15. At 10:08am on 02 Mar 2011, Know-Dice wrote:

    To quote - "Virgin's up to 50Mbit/s service is now available to nearly half of the UK", is this true!!!

    I would have thought it should be 50% of those with Virgin Media's cable service - not 50% of the UK.

    You can correct me if I'm wrong...
    you would be wrong ..since i upgraded to the virgin 50 Mb the service has been almost unusable..alot worse than thier 10 Mb service which i was on.
    and i keep getting told by indian call centres that the fix is months away

  • Comment number 91.

    Anyone with any common sense knows that an offer for anything prefixed with "upto" has already lost value.
    On the back of these changes companies should have to guarantee delivery of the bandwidth and and reduce charges accordingly when they fail.
    That sounds complicated but just consider the confusing price tariffs that utility and media providers try to bamboozle us with already.
    But hey, I'm just a consumer - we're always wrong... right?

  • Comment number 92.

    Bouncer wrote:

    I get a stunning service from my ISP, it's 14Mb on an 'up to 24Mb' service. For those of us who are literate enough to read 'up to' as meaning 'up to' and not 'exactly' it really isn't that hard to understand.

    #####

    Ah, so glad you are falling for the hype - and this is what the complaint is all about.

    You see, you are not geting "up to 24," you are getting "up to 14".

    Saying you get "up to 24" implies that you may get that speed sometimes - in reality, of course, you will NEVER get it. So, what you are being sold is a lie.

    It really is not difficult to understand for those of us who are literate enough.

  • Comment number 93.

    "86. At 1:44pm on 02 Mar 2011, PetrolDave wrote:

    79. At 1:17pm on 02 Mar 2011, ravenmorpheus2k wrote:

    "Then you should have done your research. What were you quoted as being able to get? If you were not given a quote then you should have made sure you were."

    I DID do my research, please don't jump to conclusions.

    All the broadband speed checks say that the maximum I can get is 3.5Mbps but I get 6.5Mbps - so why am I not happy?

    Until December I WAS happy, I was getting unlimited downloads at 6.5Mbps on a service advertised as "up to 8Mbps" over a line supposedly only capable of 3.5Mbps, and paying a very fair price (2/3 what Virgin Media were previously charging me for a slower and less reliable service over their cable).

    BUT my ISP has now introduced a cap on downloads, is advertising that I can have "up to 20Mbps" (I can't - nothing at the exchange, in the line or at my home has changed) and increased it's prices by nearly 10%.

    So I am getting less while being asked to pay more, but the ISP is advertising that they are offering more. The advertising does NOT match the reality - and that's where Ofcom and the ASA are IMHO not doing what we have a right to expect of them - regulating the market."


    ------------------

    Is that 20Mbps the exact package you signed up for?

    The cap I can understand being rather frustrating.

    However just because an ISP has introduced a new package with "up to" 20Mbps does not mean that you are paying for a service you are not getting. Lets not forget that the ISP probably offers more than one broadband package and the 20Mbps service is not applicable to each and every broadband package.

    Do you still get that 6.5 Mbps? Has your bill actually gone up to the level of the 20Mbps package? And does your ISP only have 1 flat rate and 1 broadband package?

    I think you'll find the answer to the latter of those two questions is no.

    And lets not forget you are quite free to move to another ISP or ask to change packages if yours is not suitable.

  • Comment number 94.

    @ comment 77 - are you for real? Our demand for internet services has been largely marketed to us, it's up to the providers to respond and meet supply for the demand they created. Costs to the consumer should not rise to cover the lack of investment, profits are supposed to pay for that.
    I do agree that old ways are best but you can't force someone to get out of their chair and go and live their life in the real world unfortunately.

  • Comment number 95.

    @PetrolDave, just to add to my previous comment -

    The issue here is the gullibility of consumers, the fact that businesses need to sell their products, and the fact that the infrastructure simply cannot cope.

    Eliminate the gullibility of consumers and you eliminate the need for the "up to" advertising ploy, improve the infrastructure and you also eliminate the need for an "up to" advertising ploy.

    Sadly OFCom and the ASA cannot regulate consumer gullibility.

  • Comment number 96.

    Talk of cable. We're all still living with the mess from when the cable companies dug up our streets some years back. The cheap and shoddy way they 'restored' the roads and pavements didn't last long, and remain unfixed. Many of them have contributed to the rash of potholes that are now such a national disgrace, and downright dangerous. Who's taking them to task for this, and who pays the bill? Daft question. We do, of course.

  • Comment number 97.

    Fact. If BT had been allowed we would all have a fibre cable in our houses with all commumications on 1 fibre TV included. Europe stop this said it was unfair. This would have all been completed by the year 1999.
    This is the truth. Therefore nothing happened and with the labour party and the unions having always been against this because Copper makes more jobs because it is so unreliable. The BT share price crashed. Why because copper is very very expensive.
    Still the UK got what it wanted the decline of another british company BT. I wonder when China will buy BT like it did Rover etc etc.

  • Comment number 98.

    Ofcom suggestion of an average line speed is not good enough. It should be what you will actually get and the cost should reflect that. It should never be the case that we are offered an 'up to' amount of anything. Maybe petrol stations should get in on the act. Up to 1 litre when you spend £1.30. Currently my ISP is an up to 8Mb deal. Never is it above 2Mb and it regularly gets down to 19kbs at peak times. It is unusable unless you want to live nocturnally. If I want to send/receive engineering CAD files it has to be done before 3:15pm when the primary school children get home from school and logon. Doing anything on the computer at the weekend is a strict no chance.
    When you object to Talktalk you get a long winded reply from someone in India who seems to have all day to fob you off with one feable excuse after another.

  • Comment number 99.

    Well BT is still charging that extra, and separate, 50p on our telephone bill under Gordon Brown's tax to finance broadband.

    Plus, since the ConDems, our basic land line connection service bills has increased due to VAT @ 20% without making a single call. Just the luxury of having a BT Landline in order to have a rubbish internet connection!!

  • Comment number 100.

    My line length to the exchange is only 238m but my speed is only 16Mb. How much closer does someone have to be to get this imaginary 20Mb.

    My service provider is Sky and I am very pleased with the data throughput I receive with no restrictions, unlike many other service providers that impose peak time restrictions.

 

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