Feeds

Is this possibly the worst broadband in the world?

Web crawler

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

Four kilometres to the north of here, in semi-rural Kent, the pavements are stuffed with fibre-optic cable and the streets are lined with drab green cabinets, all nicely tooled up for superfast broadband. But here, we rely on plain old ADSL piped in from a small BT exchange, 1.7km to our south (as the crow flies). You can see it is an exchange from the sign on the wall.

BT Wormshill Telephone exchange

Slow down, you move too fast: BT Wormshill telephone exchange, Kent

At the best of times the maximum speed we get from BT's DSL service is poor: the "up to 3Mbps" download speed quoted by our supplier rarely crawls above 1Mbps and frequently dips to 600kbps, sometimes a little lower.

But these are not the best of times. In recent days, it has been difficult to download emails, never mind listen to internet radio or watch a YouTube clip.

Off I toddle to BT Broadband's speed test: no dice, the connection was too sluggish for the diagnostics to detect a pulse.

BT Wholesale's speed checker proved more robust, and revealed that the downstream line speed, in the middle of the night, to the BT Homehub router, connected to the NTE5 master socket, to be:

0.1 Mbps.

That's right, 0.1 Mbps. Slower than my last modem, slower than the ISDN line I had until 2004 - discarded only when BT brought ADSL to the local exchange.

A quick call to BT in India and a couple of tests later a very nice man acknowledged that line speed was "very slow". He would "reconfigure the computer" and told me to expect improvement in four-to-12 hours.

Thirty-six hours later and ... I could download emails, just about. So, back again to BT Wholesale's broadband checker. It told me this:

Download speed achieved during the test was - 0.21 Mbps
For your connection, the acceptable range of speeds is 0.05 Mbps-0.25 Mbps.
Additional Information: Your DSL Connection Rate :0.35 Mbps(DOWN-STREAM), 0.45 Mbps(UP-STREAM)
IP Profile for your line is - 0.25 Mbps

That's right, BT's Digital Line Management (you can read a good explanation of DLM here) had, to ensure the stability of the connection, choked the maximum speed to a woeful 0.25 Mbps. And what's with the word, "acceptable"? To whom?

Don't fence me in

This time I contact BT by online form. A very nice man called Adrian responded quickly by phone and email, which we publish below:

I am very sorry to hear of the problem you are having with your speed. I have checked and the request to increase the speed profile that was requested had failed. I have now raised this manually for you and it normally takes up to 72 hours to take effect please leave the bthub switched on all the time without resetting it as this will effect this process this then takes up to ten days to stabilise the speed.

Please monitor the connection and let me know after the ten days if there is an issue. We cannot fix this profile manually as it is automatically changed to give a balance between a stable connection and the best speed your line will support.

I get this. I also get why fibre to the home (FTTH) ain't coming my way any time soon, or ever. But I am not getting the lack of automatic action from BT, when it crushes the IP profile of a customer line below a certain speed - 600kbps, say, or maybe what it takes to run BBC iPlayer in peak times. Is this too much to ask for? ®

Bootnote

Mobile phone reception around here is awful too. I have a femtocell booster, which piggy-backs off the router. Unfortunately super-crap broadband means boosting is largely imaginary. Roll on 4G. It must be better, mustn't it?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.