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  (Source: techwill.net)
Britons receive less than half of the connection speed offered by UK Internet providers

The United Kingdom's regulatory authority for telecommunication industries has reported that broadband customers have been sold fast connections that internet providers cannot supply

Ofcom, the UK's government-approved telecommunications regulatory authority, has conducted performance tests in over 1,000 homes throughout the UK and found that broadband packages do not produce the super-fast connections that internet providers advertise. 

According to the report Ofcom released today, Britons receive an average broadband speed of 6.2 megabits per second (Mbps). The average advertised speed by internet providers is 13.8Mb, meaning that customers are receiving less than half of the advertised speed.  

"The research shows that ISPs need to do more to ensure they are giving customers clear and accurate information about the services they provide and the factors that may affect the actual speeds customers will receive," said Ed Richards, Ofcom's chief executive. "It is important that the rules around broadband advertising change, so that consumers are able to make more informed decisions based on the adverts they see, and that advertisers are able to communicate more clearly how their products compare to others in the market."

Ofcom is working to correct this false advertising of "up to" broadband speeds by Internet providers such as Sky, BT and O2 by giving its data to the Advertising Standards Authority's committee of advertising practice (CAP) and broadcast committee of advertising practice (BCAP) so a report can be made. 

Ofcom gathered its information by conducting performance tests in 1,700 homes in the UK. These tests were based on 11 broadband packages from the UK's seven largest providers, and took place over the course of November and December last year. Among the seven providers were TalkTalk and Virgin Media 

The performance tests revealed that those with fiber-optic cable packages received broadband speeds much closer to what was advertised, but only 22 percent of Britons have fiber-optic packages. Seventy-seven percent of Britons use copper-based DSL phone lines that receive much slower broadband speeds than advertised. The average broadband speed advertisement by internet providers is "up to" 13.8Mb, and the average speed received by customers is 6.2Mbps.  

Some providers even offer "up to" 20Mbps connections, where only 3 percent of customers receive a speed even close to that number. Sixty-nine percent of the population receives an average speed of less than 8Mbps.  

Ofcom's recommendations to CAP and BCAP are to advertise broadband speeds on a "typical speeds range" instead of "up to" speeds range. The regulator suggested that maximum speeds only be listed if they are achievable. This means that those ISPs advertising speeds "up to" 8Mbps must reveal that customers will only receive between 2Mbps and 5Mbps. 

Some internet providers have responded negatively toward Ofcom's recommendations. 

"Moving to typical speed ranges will potentially be highly misleading as the average performance will vary depending on where people live," said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer business. "Enforcing typical speed ranges is also dangerous as it could encourage more ISPs to cherry pick customers who will increase their average, leaving customers in rural and suburban areas under-served. That would encourage digital exclusion rather than tackle it."

Executives at Virgin Media said Ofcom's report is "yet another damning indictment that consumers continue to be treated like mugs and misled by ISPs that simply cannot deliver on their advertised speed claims."

CAP and BCAP currently has a consultation underway and expects to have a finished report within the next three months. 



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Another option
By HoosierEngineer5 on 3/2/2011 6:06:39 PM , Rating: 5
How about we pay 'up to' the monthly rate, depending on whether we feel whether can afford it or not?




RE: Another option
By Paj on 3/3/2011 7:42:20 AM , Rating: 3
Love it. Pay a proportion of the monthly fee, based on the proportion of the 'up to' speed you receive.


RE: Another option
By dice1111 on 3/3/2011 8:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
Give this man a 6!


By BugblatterIII on 3/2/2011 7:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
With VM I get a consistent 20Mbps, which is what I pay for.

Well, unless I download too much at peak times, in which case it goes down to 5Mbps for a few hours, but I prefer that to what some other ISPs do. They do traffic-shaping, but so far I've been able to get around that.

I hate VM because of the way they've messed things up in the past and cost me hours on end of being passed around departments trying to solve a problem that was their fault. I'd love to get them out of my life, but sadly there's just no competition.

BT is launching fibre broadband in my area very shortly and I was all set to switch. Then I saw the 'fair use' policy. To paraphrase, "We'll give you a super-fast connection, but if you use it at full-speed for more than, say, 12 hours per month then we'll slash your speed for a month and then review your case". 12 hours is a guess; they don't give any clue as to when you'll hit their limit, probably so that they can change it at will.

Whats the point of a super-fast connection you don't dare use? Who the hell needs 20Mbps, or VM's 100Mbps service, for reading email and browsing web pages? May as well sell me a Bugatti Veyron with a thimble-sized petrol tank, and only they can refill the tank once a month.

Absolutely unacceptable and it's lost them a customer. So VM is still the only game in town, which sucks.

But at least I get a consistent 20Mbps, which is what I pay for.




By mackx on 3/3/2011 12:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
i get a consistent 20 meg with sky through LLU adsl.

difference is, it's not limited or throttled.

i could download all day every day (and have) without problems.

over xmas, with steams mad sales i downloaded about 400GB in a few days and every few months break a terrabyte. not a peep.

i luvs my sky broadband


By themaster08 on 3/4/2011 4:25:02 AM , Rating: 2
There's little point in throttling you and the other 5 Sky customers that actually receive 20MB, because you're subsidised by the fact that most of their customers don't get half of that.

I currently have 30MB from VM, however I receive around 32MB. I get throttled down to about 12MB if I heavily download, but that's far better than unlimited 5MB I'm able to receive in my area from BT, Sky and other copper-based ISPs.


...
By amanojaku on 3/2/2011 5:56:48 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
"Moving to typical speed ranges will potentially be highly misleading as the average performance will vary depending on where people live," said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer business.
So advertising the maximum speed and only delivering half is NOT misleading? In fact, not delivering what you sell is known as false or deceptive advertising. I wouldn't pay $50USD a month for a 5Mbit connection, and ISPs know this. But they want to cap my bandwidth while taking my money...
quote:
"Enforcing typical speed ranges is also dangerous as it could encourage more ISPs to cherry pick customers who will increase their average, leaving customers in rural and suburban areas under-served. That would encourage digital exclusion rather than tackle it."
BS. Ensuring businesses deliver what they sell is wrong? No one expects a web site to deliver content at 10Mbit/sec, we just expect our pipe at home to be able to GET 10Mbit/sec total if that's what you sell. And plenty of sites have more bandwidth than I do, but my download won't go more than a fraction of my maximum bandwidth sometimes. It's either a lack of bandwidth at a peering point (which should be bumped up as user bandwidth increases) or throttling to residential users. I notice business lines (T1, fibre, etc...) through the same providers aren't throttled, even when the maximum bandwidth is less than the residential bandwidth! But that's because businesses measure their bandwidth and have historical logs, while residential users typically do not.

As to location, I'm guessing he means low-population areas will get lower-speed Internet because of low head count. Well, that happens already because of a lack of infrastructure; they barely have phone lines, and many don't have wired cable. You need to spend money on infrastructure to get high-speed access out to the boonies, so pony up a few billion. These regions are already excluded from broadband if they have to rely on satellite.
quote:
Executives at Virgin Media said Ofcom's report is "yet another damning indictment that consumers continue to be treated like mugs and misled by ISPs that simply cannot deliver on their advertised speed claims."
If anyone wonders why Virgin Media, who was analyzed in this report, is on it's high horse:
quote:
The only ISP delivering close to the maximum speed advertised, according to Ofcom, was Virgin Media, with the advantage of a relatively new cable network in many urban areas.




RE: ...
By B3an on 3/3/2011 12:48:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So advertising the maximum speed and only delivering half is NOT misleading? In fact, not delivering what you sell is known as false or deceptive advertising. I wouldn't pay $50USD a month for a 5Mbit connection, and ISPs know this. But they want to cap my bandwidth while taking my money...


Well they dont exactly do that. They always mention "up to".
My ISP mentions "up to" 20Mbps for my package, but i get around 7Mbps because i'm quite far from the phone exchange. It dont cost me anything extra for this packages, it's just basic and costs the same as "up to" 8Mbps alternatives. I dont have a big problem with it if they make it very clear that they list the top possible speed. Although half of the IPS's dont.

It would be better though if they mentioned the average.


RE: ...
By nolisi on 3/3/2011 11:44:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
My ISP mentions "up to" 20Mbps for my package, but i get around 7Mbps because i'm quite far from the phone exchange.


quote:
It dont cost me anything extra for this packages, it's just basic and costs the same as "up to" 8Mbps alternatives.


I think maybe a different perspective is in order. While it doesn't cost you anything "extra" for this package, it also doesn't cost them anything "extra" to advertise it.

I've had a novel idea for a while, but no one seems to be buying into it. ISP's want to have us pay per Mega/Gigabyte. We want to have unlimited connections. Let's meet in between. Consumers should pay per sustained Gbps. Ultimately, it's not the amount of data transferred that really matters, it's the level of service being delivered- which is determined by the speed of the connection, and how well that speed is being maintained.

I could transfers gigabytes of data per month, but if I'm forced to do it at speeds measured in kBps- then the level of service I'm getting is lower than someone else who transfers the same amount, but can do so at speeds measured in MBps, then their level of service is better and they should pay more, and I should pay less.

If ISPs want to advertise and differentiate products based on level of service, let's pay based on that- we just pay based on the actual service provided. They want us to pay more, they have to up their level of service. No more paying for this 'up to' crap that we won't see it until the entire industry ups the service level- and then we won't see THAT service level.


Screw the range...
By Motoman on 3/2/2011 4:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
...quote the average speed. Period. No "between this and that." There's still too much room to mislead in there.

And if you don't like average speed, then I suggest minimum speed instead. Either number would have to be supported by standardized certification procedures on some regular basis.

Good to see the UK doing this - the US (and other countries) need to follow suit.




RE: Screw the range...
By rrburton on 3/3/2011 1:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
The US is in data gathering stage right now. They are using the same process from SamKnows as UK did I think


Verizon
By DandDAddict on 3/2/2011 11:13:52 PM , Rating: 3
This is why verizon here is doing so well , atleast with thier fios. I pay for 50/25 and get about 70/35 and thats not uncommon in this area , like my father pays for 5/2 and seems to get about 10/6. Where as the cable and dsl offerings are miserable in the same exact price ranges and cant provide the full bandwidth most of the time.

One wierd thing, they block the normal pop3 port but dont block anything else so you can host servers and what not just fine.

Only real complaint ive ever had was thier nightmare of a billing department.




Hmmm
By HoosierEngineer5 on 3/2/2011 6:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
"Moving to typical speed ranges will potentially be highly misleading as the average performance will vary depending on where people live," said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer business. "Enforcing typical speed ranges is also dangerous as it could encourage more ISPs to cherry pick customers who will increase their average, leaving customers in rural and suburban areas under-served. That would encourage digital exclusion rather than tackle it."

Would somebody please turn off that Bovine Feces alarm for me?




How about
By danobrega on 3/2/2011 7:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
You announce up to X, then when someone subscribes the service they do a speed test and the customer decides if he wants it or no?

Can go wrong with that.




At least they don't use Clear
By homernoy on 3/2/2011 7:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
Then they would have a real problem in the UK. Like no service half the time, and never over half of what is advertised. I wish someone in the US would go after them .




Marketing speak
By Divide Overflow on 3/2/2011 9:33:47 PM , Rating: 2
It's the clash of engineering vs. marketing, and the consumer is the casualty.

ISPs are loathe to publish anything that would give them a metric that they could be held accountable for.




Same deal all over
By masamasa on 3/3/2011 11:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
I wrote a letter to the Canadian advertising body that oversees advertising as local providers are doing the same. My connections in 3 different locations were no where near advertised rates. They didn't blink an eye and in fact, the lousy louts said the advertising was acceptable. Fact is, those idiots don't know what's really going on.

Shaw cable for example..
Get our high speed extreme 15mbps download and 1mbps upload. On any given day you'd be lucky at any of those locations to get 5mbps, unless it was 4am and everyone was asleep in their beds. So in fact, it's like advertising a car that gets 100mpg with the fine print...if you're foot is off the gas, the car is in neutral, and you're coasting downhill.

Frankly, it's a big scam and we're being ripped off by cable providers selling what they are not delivering. If I blatantly lied to my customers in the same fashion that they do, I'd be out of business very quickly. They get away with it because there are only a few of them (i.e. Shaw, Telus, Bell). A regulatory body needs to step in and apply hefty fines to these large corporations for fraudulent advertising.




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