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January 29, 2013

Broadband fastest at 4am and slowest at 9pm

The fastest time to use your broadband is 4am with the slowest time being 9pm according to figures from a recent study.

The study, done by collected results from broadband speed tests done over a 6 month period on their site which accounted for over 2.3 million speed test being performed to get the results. What they found was that the fastest broadband speeds were recorded at 4am when there are less people using the internet with speeds dropping over 28% compared to the slowest time of the day to use the internet at 9pm in the evening.

According to the survey, the UK’s biggest towns and cities (only the UK’s top 50 most densley populated towns and cities were included) have an average download speed of 14.83Mb at 4am with this average falling by 28% at 9pm to 10.72Mb. In some places the difference between 4am and 9pm can be as much as a 60% difference in average speed, this is the case for Dudley where the average broadband speed at 4am is a very fast 31.81Mb but just 12.62Mb at 9pm in the evening.

There was exceptions to these results though with Stoke-On-Trent having the average broadband speed change by just 0.7% between 4am and 9pm showing they have a very consistent broadband speed.

The telecomes expert, Julia Stent, said:

This research shows the incredible strain that is placed on broadband when everyone logs on at the same time, particularly in
densely populated areas. And the big rise in streaming and downloading – be that films for our tablets, or games for our smartphones – means that striving to deliver consistent speeds will be a long, hard slog for broadband providers.

It certainly explains why some people may never actually feel like their connection is as fast as the one promised by providers when they signed. The obvious solution of setting your alarm at 4am to use the internet is far from practical. Instead, run an online speed test at home to check that you are getting the best possible service available in your area. If you think you could do better, consider shopping around for a new deal.


January 23, 2013

Sky popularity causing slower Sky broadband speeds

Sky have admitted that their Sky Broadband service is running slow for a small number of customers due to Sky adding so many new subscribers to use their services.

Sky have said that it is less than 5% of their broadband customer base that are affected by the slower broadband speeds at the exchanges that have been flagged as having problems. It is specifically subscribers in Doncaster, Bristol and north Wales where users are affected but no other specific locations were mentioned in a report with

A spokeswoman for Sky told the BBC:
Following a combination of an underlining increase in network traffic as well as a high rate of new customer additions, we are aware of capacity issues in a small number of exchanges.

We are working on adding new capacity to those exchanges as quickly as we can. We apologise to all customers who have been impacted by this issue.

Sky broadband customers who were enticed to Sky because of their promise: “We’ll never slow your unlimited broadband down, even at peak times” have in some cases found that their broadband speeds have plummeted during peak hours due to the capacity issues, many of these customers will be feeling they have been mis-sold and let down at the speeds they are connecting at.


January 21, 2013

Fibre broadband to be deployed along HS2 rail link

The new high-speed rail link HS2 is set to bring super fast broadband to the rural areas that are likely to be affected by the new rail link according to a report in The Telegraph newspaper this weekend.

The high speed rail link is set to cut rail travel times down massively, for example Manchester to London currently takes 2 hours 8 minutes, on the HS2 line it would take an hour off this time so the journey would take just 1 hour 8 minutes.
Naturally there is much controversy to this £33bn project and those who will be affected by it are not keen in many cases, to try and sweeten the deal the deployment of fibre optic broadband along the route to give the rural communities along the route access to faster broadband connections is being thought as a proposition. It would be less intrusive deploying the fibre optic network along the route for these communities than it would be digging a brand new one away from the rail line.

However, Ofcom data shows that 70%-90% of homes in the place of the HS2 rail line already have superfast broadband access available to them, however the extra capacity that another fibre link would bring would undoubtedly add capacity and speed to connections.

Simon Burns the Transport Minister, said:

HS2 is far more than a new railway line – it is a national infrastructure project that will bring places and people closer together while creating jobs and driving growth.

Construction of HS2 gives us the perfect opportunity to explore how we can make it easier for even more people to benefit from ultra-fast broadband – and potentially deliver improvements to the provision of other utility services, including water and electricity.


January 18, 2013

Virgin Media wins “Best Broadband Provider” uSwitch award

Virgin Media topped the awards to win “Best Broadband Provider” along with 3 other categories in the Broadband Awards 2013.

uSwitch Broadband Awards 2013The Broadband Awards 2013 took place at Circus in London’s Covent Garden with the awards being decided based on customer votes and also speed test data from uSwitch.

Virgin Media got the most converted award of the Best Broadband Provider, they also scooped the Fastest Home Broadband, Best WiFi Service and Best Broadband Innovation. The Fastest Home Broadband award was not much of a surprise, with Virgin Media having by far the fastest broadband network widely available at the moment, add to that their doubling of speeds back in March last year there are even more customers who are getting super fast speeds on their fibre broadband network.
The Best WiFi service and Best Broadband Innovation awards were won due to their deployment of the UK’s first underground WiFi network for the London Underground.

BT won Best Customer Rated Fibre Broadband, Best Broadband, TV & Home Phone and also Best Home Broadband & Phone. Plusnet who are owned by BT won the Best Customer Rated Home Broadband due to their excellent customer service and great range of packages.

The Fastest Mobile Broadband award was won by Three while Sky scooped the Best Customer Service, Best Technical Support, Most Recommended Broadband and the Best Pay TV awards.
The remaining 2 other awards were won by TalkTalk for Best Value Home Broadband and by Orange for Best Customer Benefits.


January 14, 2013

£39m for faster broadband in Welsh schools

Welsh schools are to get faster broadband speeds after money from the Welsh Government has been pledged to help give the schools world class broadband connections by next year.

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said that £39m is to be invested in faster broadband services for schools in Wales. £27m will be initially handed out between local authorities to upgrade the internet connections in their schools.
Other money will also be available to the local authorities where needed to help improve ICT infrastructure (Information Communications Technology) in both primary and secondary schools which will allow them to purchase ICT hardware which will be used to help support teaching and leaning. Primary and special schools could have up to £10,000 available to them while secondary schools an extra £20,000 where it is needed.

The money is going to be put to use quickly, with the target being that by 2014 that the primary and secondary schools in Wales will be connected to faster world-class broadband connections.
It is thougth that 100Mb broadband connections would be available for secondary schools and 10Mb available as aminimum for Primary schools.

Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, said:

We want Wales to be a world leader in digital learning, therefore we need to be able to offer our schools fast, consistent and reliable broadband services

This investment will ensure that, by 2014, primary and secondary schools in Wales will have access to safe and secure world-class broadband services needed to deliver a world-class digital education.

The grant funding represents a major step forward in changing the way schools use digital technologies, widening access and driving up standards of performance across the board.


January 7, 2013

Broadband speeds not as important as broadband availability

The Policy Exchange think tank is calling on the government to stop focusing so much on broadband speeds and instead focus efforts on those who are still not online.

The report, titled “The Superfast and the Furious” (read the full report here) says that politicians and the government are too focused on providing very fast broadband internet connections when they believe that using tax payers money to help subsidise gaining these fast speeds is not the best use of the money.

The Reports wants the government to stop subsidising broadband infrastructure once the commitments are reached inn 2015 and instead the money should then be used to focus on the people in the UK who are not online. There are reportedly 10.8 million people who are not online with over half of these being over the age of 65. They also believe that small businesses should be helped to show them the possible benefits and opportunities that are available to them by using the internet.

According to a poll of 2,000 people and 500 businesses on behalf of the Policy Exchange  found that:

  • 64% of people think that good basic coverage of broadband for the whole country is more important than getting the very fastest speeds for some areas at the expense of others.
  • 79% think that every household should have access to the internet with 24% thinking that it is fair for people in remote areas to pay more.

The suggestion from The Policy Exchange is for the government to complete the roll out of superfast fibre broadband to 90% of the country by 2015 and have the universal 2Mb speeds available for the rest as minimum, along with an accelerated rollout of 4G wireless internet.
After this they feel that money should then be used to focus on making sure that everyone has access and that they are able to make the best use of an internet connection.

Chris Yiu who wrote the report said:
Successive governments have been right to invest public money in basic broadband connectivity. The government’s current spending plans will extend fast broadband to the vast majority of people. Any further public money should be spent on making sure we are putting this to good use. It’s far from clear that your taxes should help to pay for me to have an even faster connection.

There is no doubt that broadband, both fixed and wireless, makes a major contribution to the economy. But the right person to decide how much speed your family or business needs is you – not the government.


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