Deception of 'up to' broadband speeds exposed
Ofcom reveals true download speeds
The average downstream broadband speed received by consumers is just 3.6Mbit/s, according to data released today from the most accurate UK internet access survey ever published.
Ofcom's new hardware-based broadband monitoring system found that despite the fact more than 60 per cent are subscribed to "up to" 8Mbit/s packages, on average the top speed ever achieved was only 4.3Mbit/s.
One in five receives less than 2Mbit/s. It's thought that the government's forthcoming Carter review will recommend a requirement that the communications industry offers at least 2Mbit/s to all part of the country. Ofcom said today that on average, urban internet users' connections are 15 per cent faster than those of their rural counterparts.
Across the UK connections were slowest between 5pm and 6pm on Sundays, when network load is highest.
The data was produced in partnership with the ISP industry analyst house Samknows, which deployed special speed reporting kit to about 1,500 homes. Until now, virtually all measures of broadband performance available to consumers have come from flawed web-based test software.
The survey is part of a bid by Ofcom to improve consumer confidence in internet providers by encouraging transparency. A voluntary code of practice, which came into force in December, requires signatory ISPs to provide an estimate of the real top speed potential subscribers can expect to receive (based on factors such as the distance of their home from the local exchange) as well as the "up to" headline maximum.
The monitoring network showed that on average, consumers get 45 per cent of the advertised headline speed.
Speed gripes were the most common cause of dissatisfaction in market research carried out for Ofcom alongside the technical survey. Only two thirds were satisfied by how their internet connection performed while watching web video, for example.
The full survey report is here (pdf). ®
Exactly as specd.
My ISP (PlusNet ... no I don't work for them but do get a kick-back if you sign up on my recommendation :-)) delivers what I pay for. Yes, I'm about 1km from the exchange, but the line consistently syncs at eight meg, and download speeds are consistently around six and a half.
I don't know what all the fuss is about ... I also pay a lot less for broadband than my Dad does from a different ISP, and his connection speeds are cr*p.
<maninstreet>WTF is "protocol overheads"</maninstreet>
Given the above shouldn't the regulator be forcing the ISP to suck up the protocol overhead, ie set the throttle high enough so that the customer can actually attain (if lucky) the advertised data speed?
Have to say that the best deal I was ever offered was a variable connection charge based on the 95th percentile speed over the month exceeded. They provided headline speed but you got a nice mrtg graph of your connection with the bill. You only paid for what the red line showed.
Wouldn't it be nice if UK providers were forced to do this? Though they would probably insist on a fixed charge for providing the headline speed, which would then dominate the bill like 'metered' water bills do (or did last time I was in the UK anyway).
I use a Belkin modem that continuously monitors the line speed and I can only get about 1.5m. France telecom spent hours trying to get me to sign to <8m and in the end the operator said that she was fed up ringing people up and basically "lying" to them. especially in the light that the whole of our area is only covered by a 8m system. Use a line testing system to test your line before you upgrade, if you are over 2km from the exchange then the likelyhood of you getting much more than say 3m is possibly as good as a Rolls Royce pickup full of rocking horse manure. In other words a lie or miselling. Another good word is fraud!!!