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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Guy
    • By MSE Guy 27th Jul 10, 8:51 AM
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    MSE Guy
    MSE News: Broadband speeds not up to advertising claims
    • #1
    • 27th Jul 10, 8:51 AM
    MSE News: Broadband speeds not up to advertising claims 27th Jul 10 at 8:51 AM
    This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

    "Internet speeds are getting faster but the gap has widened between advertised and real rates, a report reveals ..."


Page 1
    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 27th Jul 10, 9:02 AM
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    kwikbreaks
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 10, 9:02 AM
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 10, 9:02 AM
    The ASA is toothless.
    The public in general is usually clueless.
    Ofcom can't change the rules of physics.
    So apart from being given a more realistic estimate of how abysmally your ancient phone line will perform when you sign up nothing is going to change.

    Average speeds going up but gap between maximum possible and delivered speed widening is an obvious consequence of the rollout of ADSL2+.

    IMO this is an example of Ofcom belatedly trying to seem relevant as they fear the Tory axing of useless quangos (of which Ofcom is an excellent example).
    • Paul_Herring
    • By Paul_Herring 27th Jul 10, 10:04 AM
    • 6,789 Posts
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    Paul_Herring
    • #3
    • 27th Jul 10, 10:04 AM
    • #3
    • 27th Jul 10, 10:04 AM
    This is news?

    but the gap has widened between download speeds and advertised rates
    "Speeds of up to 2Mbs" do include speeds of 0.5Mbs. I thought the general public had caught onto this bit of 'mis-'information. Seems OFCOM/ASA haven't, still, yet; otherwise they would have stopped them advertising in this fashion ages ago.

    They still haven't stopped them advertising "unlimited," packages - which are anything but unlimited.

    Ofcom found advertised DSL speeds of 20-24Mbit/second provided an average speed of just 6.5Mbit/second.
    So, it's conceivable that there were some customers with speeds of 20Mbs? Just that those furthest away from exchanges brought the average down?

    And the report (here) seems all over the place using the words "advertised" and "estimated" almost interchangeably when they shouldn't be.

    Therefore, Ofcom wants ISPs to publish a "typical speed range" alongside the headline figure to give potential customers a better real world understanding of the service on offer.
    So this is going to be neither an 'advertised maximum' nor a 'real estimate' but yet another meaningless number. Where's that rolleyes gif...?

    Ofcom's report also reveals average urban broadband services were twice as fast as those in rural areas; 5.8Mbit/second compared with just 2.7Mbit/second.
    As kwikbreaks points out - there is little any of the telecoms companies can do about the laws of physics, since it's going to be patently uneconomical to do what needs to be done to increase those rates, which is to build more 'exchanges' where the companies won't realistically actually get any ROI from it this side of the sun burning out.
    Conjugating the verb 'to be":
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  • Eric Pisch
    • #4
    • 27th Jul 10, 11:26 AM
    • #4
    • 27th Jul 10, 11:26 AM
    i love BE, said i would get 15mb got 16mb, randomly test it and over the last 3 years it has always been 16mb time of day makes no difference

    some things are worth paying for

    oh and i live in the middle of nowhere
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    • Old Wrinkly
    • By Old Wrinkly 27th Jul 10, 2:32 PM
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    Old Wrinkly
    • #5
    • 27th Jul 10, 2:32 PM
    • #5
    • 27th Jul 10, 2:32 PM
    From the article :
    "If consumers pay for a Ferrari-style internet service"
    then they should realise they are dealing with a bunch of cheats?
  • moonrakerz
    • #6
    • 27th Jul 10, 3:20 PM
    • #6
    • 27th Jul 10, 3:20 PM
    The ASA is toothless.
    The public in general is usually clueless.
    Ofcom can't change the rules of physics.
    So apart from being given a more realistic estimate of how abysmally your ancient phone line will perform when you sign up nothing is going to change.

    Average speeds going up but gap between maximum possible and delivered speed widening is an obvious consequence of the rollout of ADSL2+.

    IMO this is an example of Ofcom belatedly trying to seem relevant as they fear the Tory axing of useless quangos (of which Ofcom is an excellent example).
    Originally posted by kwikbreaks
    Could this post be reprinted in letters a foot high and sent to all those people who say that they are "paying for" 8mbs and are only getting 2.

    Also to those ignorant idiots in the media who follow this stupid line of argument - Yes , I do include John Humphrys on the Today programme this morning !!

    (PS: I am "paying for" 16mbs and am only getting 14 - who should I complain to ?)
    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 27th Jul 10, 4:00 PM
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    kwikbreaks
    • #7
    • 27th Jul 10, 4:00 PM
    • #7
    • 27th Jul 10, 4:00 PM
    The real scandal as Paul Herring mentioned is the "Unlimited" one. An ISP gains nothing from their customer being unable to sync at full speed which is in any event entirely outside of their control and simply a result of the length of the phone line. It isn't headline speeds which cost the ISP it is the amount of downloading going on which determines how much bandwidth they need to provide and with BTw resellers that bandwidth is very expensive indeed.

    The customer themselves could often improve those speeds by improving the way that their equipment is connected to the phone line but you have to know the possibility exists in the first place to search out how and most would regard it as far too geeky anyhow.

    I moved to cable a few months ago due to the abject failure of BT to fix a line fault so this issue doesn't affect me any more but those moaning about low speed should consider themselves lucky in one respect - BT don't charge extra for their longer lines which must cost more to install and maintain...
  • karatedragon
    • #8
    • 27th Jul 10, 6:23 PM
    • #8
    • 27th Jul 10, 6:23 PM
    Not only should the true speeds be more accurate also the crime of advertising "Unlimited" use when there is actually a "fair use ploicy" in the small print should be totally outlawed.

    It is either unlimited or it isnt.
    • oldagetraveller
    • By oldagetraveller 28th Jul 10, 9:54 AM
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    oldagetraveller
    • #9
    • 28th Jul 10, 9:54 AM
    • #9
    • 28th Jul 10, 9:54 AM
    "MSE News: Broadband speeds not up to advertising claims"

    What?! OFCOM and MSE have just realised this?
    R.I.P. U.K. Democracy.
    • Paul_Herring
    • By Paul_Herring 28th Jul 10, 10:04 AM
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    Paul_Herring
    What?! OFCOM and MSE have just realised this?
    Originally posted by oldagetraveller
    It would appear so.

    Judging from the last weekly email, however, MSE have still, yet, to catch onto how the word 'unlimited' is (ab)used in broadband advertising:

    Unlimited Broadband 6 - 9/mth: Until this Sat 31 July, O2's* offering 3 mths free on its unlimited download deal. This costs 7.50/mth for existing O2 mobile customers[...]
    Conjugating the verb 'to be":
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    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 28th Jul 10, 10:26 AM
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    kwikbreaks
    Then after that of course come the realisation that syncing even at full tilt won't guarantee decent download speeds.

    If a sparrow farting on the phoneline doesn't upset the abysmal BTw Dynamic Line Management routines so they drag your maximum down to a few kbps for days on end then the cheapskate ISP cramming far too many customers on their network to be able to deliver anything like your potential speed during the times you may want to use it will get you instead.

    Apart from a few notable exceptions most UK broadband products are pretty abysmal. The reason isn't hard to see - a virtual monopoly doesn't need to deliver a good product or competitive pricing and that is what BT Wholesale have along with a regulator that isn't fit for purpose.
  • Stewart B
    Just bad luck if you happen to live next door to someone who enjoys downloading films, perhaps even before they are legally available. (On that note I once saw a Facebook Group called something like "I would steal a handbag... if I could download it"

    Is there a definitive speed test that you can run? I tend to look at actual download speeds of a podcast around 7pm just to depress myself.
    • Paul_Herring
    • By Paul_Herring 28th Jul 10, 10:58 AM
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    Paul_Herring
    Is there a definitive speed test that you can run?
    Originally posted by Stewart B
    I can recommend http://speedtest.net/ (no affiliation - just something I've used personally and in my current and last jobs.)

    Try
    1) at different times of day with a server in this country
    2) with servers both in this country and (only a couple of) others.

    They'll keep a history of results associated with your IP.
    Conjugating the verb 'to be":
    -o I am humble -o You are attention seeking -o She is Nadine Dorries
    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 28th Jul 10, 11:36 AM
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    kwikbreaks
    Is there a definitive speed test that you can run? I tend to look at actual download speeds of a podcast around 7pm just to depress myself.
    Originally posted by Stewart B
    If you are on a resold BTw product then the definitive test is - http://speedtester.bt.com/ - this is the only one they will accept if complaining.

    There is some other login you can use (I forget what now - I deserted BTw based broadband as soon as a viable alternative became available) which links you directly to the BT servers bypassing your ISP which is where most of the contention actually occur. I think the tester will give you the option to use that in a second test if the first is especially dismal. Of course getting the tester to actually work is very hit and miss and sometimes takes a lot of tries.

    The most reliable test is to do an actual download from a know fast server but sites like speedtest.net as mentioned above will give a pretty good idea of how your connection is performing and have the advantage that, unlike the BTw one, they usually actually work.
  • JACKINABOX
    OK - Hands up - I'm a complete numbskull when it comes to things computer! Broadband speed -?- the wireless icon on my deskbar shows 54.0Mbps - max, and often down to 1. Yes I'm at the end of the line. Is this a good/average rate or even relevant to the debate?
    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 28th Jul 10, 12:33 PM
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    kwikbreaks
    Your wireless icon is completely irrelevant to this topic.
    • Paul_Herring
    • By Paul_Herring 28th Jul 10, 12:56 PM
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    Paul_Herring
    OK - Hands up - I'm a complete numbskull when it comes to things computer! Broadband speed -?- the wireless icon on my deskbar shows 54.0Mbps - max, and often down to 1. Yes I'm at the end of the line. Is this a good/average rate or even relevant to the debate?
    Originally posted by JACKINABOX
    All that is telling you, is the potential maximum speed between your computer and the WiFi access point where you are:

    Code:
             +-------+
             |Laptop |
             +-------+
                /
                /  54Mbps
                /
             +--------+  100Mbps +--------+
             |WiFi AP |==========|Computer|
             +--------+          +--------+
                 |
                 | 100Mbps
                 |
             +---+-------+
             |BB Router/ |
             |Modem      |
             +---+-------+
                 | 8Mbps*                      Your House
       ==========+=======================================
                 |                             Outside
             +---+-------+
             |ISP        |
             +---+-------+
                 |
                 | <lots>Mbps
                 |
             +---+-------+
             |The        |
             |Internet   |           *You pay for 20Mbps
             +-----------+
    Laptop connected via WiFi, Computer via cable. You could (potentially) transfer data between the two at 54Mbps.

    The slowdown comes when the packets leave your house, with the main bottleneck being between your modem and your ISP.
    Conjugating the verb 'to be":
    -o I am humble -o You are attention seeking -o She is Nadine Dorries
  • davefb
    tbh, I think a lot of this is because companies are almost by default selling 'just' 20mb broadband systems, eg sky seems to have 20mb ( if you're connected to a sky enabled exchange). This probably makes sense, because at the exchange, they have the same equipment, and theres probably no price difference ( or less) nowadays.
    Now since most people haven't actually moved any closer to the exchanges, past a certain distance, there will be little advantage to this.
    But , according to ofcom , this is somehow bad, because instead of getting say 4mb from 8mb ( ie 50%), the customer might now get 5mb from 20mb ( 25%). But the customer is getting more speed, and in most cases actually paying the same.

    Now, I'm sat on cable ( virgin) and am happy with it , but have looked and every time I've checked out different deals, the ISP involved has been very very clear that you dont get the headline rate. So I don't understand why ofcom seem to say otherwise?

    Ofcom also didnt seem to have an analysis of 'what people COULD get' ie the connection rate to the exchange, and 'what people are ACTUALLY getting', ie download from the internet, thats the most important difference, not the 'headline' 20mb or 8mb system. This gets worse when either the exchange is oversubscribed ( ie too many people, OR too many neighbours downloading all the time ).

    Frankly, at the moment , surely it's better that all ISP's aim to use the '20mb' system, but compete on either contention rates or what your allowed download per month is? In which case, yes, the %age difference WILL drop, as people move from an 8mbmax to a 20mbmax system..
  • JACKINABOX
    Thank you for that! A good start towards my computer education.
  • shammyjack
    I am taking part in the SamKnows Community Reporting Access Trial and have one of their special routers running a Linux OS that periodically uploads test data on my line and ISp ( O2 ).

    This is a log taken from my stats on an O2 16 Mbps LLU connection.




    Date Minimum (Mbps) Maximum (Mbps) Average (Mbps)




    2010-07-27 7.20 13.69 12.38
    2010-07-26 12.38 13.96 13.44
    2010-07-25 11.87 13.96 13.37
    2010-07-24 6.18 13.96 12.56
    2010-07-23 7.20 13.96 12.98
    2010-07-22 7.17 13.95 12.63
    2010-07-21 6.23 13.96 12.83
    2010-07-20 6.21 13.95 12.74


    I am approx 1Km from my exchange and as you can see my max speed is an almost perfect 14Mbps out of a possible 16Mbps but at peek times it can dip to less than half that.


    shammy
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