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March 24, 2014

Which? say Broadband speeds should be guaranteed

Broadband providers are being called to give consumers the broadband speeds and service that they are paying for as a new report from the consumer group “Which?” finds that 3 in 5 people are experiencing problems with their broadband.

In the survey, which was done online between the 8th and 9th January 2014 and interviewed 2012 British adults and found that 45% of people suffered from slow download speeds with 58% of those saying that this is a frequent problem or happening all the time for them.

It is not just broadband speeds which are a bone of contention to consumers, 27% of those who report loss of broadband had to wait two days for this to be resolved and 11% had no internet connections for a week or more.

Which? are wanting the broadband providers to “Give us Broadband Speed Guarantee” which is asking for broadband providers to give customers the broadband speed that they are paying for. Already broadband providers do give estimated broadband speeds and allow customers to leave if the speed they receive is significantly slower than the estimate they were given when they signed up, this is a voluntary code of practice that was set up by communications regulator Ofcom.

What Which? have a problem with is that the code of practice is voluntary rather than compulsory, they also believe that broadband providers should give more specific estimated broadband speeds for specific properties rather than just an estimate for the area.

The Executive Director of Which?, Richard Lloyd, said:

The internet is an essential part of modern life, yet millions of us are getting frustratingly slow speeds and having to wait days to get reconnected when things go wrong.

It’s less superfast broadband, more super slow service from companies who are expecting people to pay for speeds they may never get. Broadband providers need to give customers the right information and take responsibility for resolving problems.

Which? have set up a petition at which.co.uk/bbspeed for people to sign if they agree with their campaign.

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August 8, 2013

Broadband speeds continue to get faster but Urban-Rural divide widens

Ofcom have compiled their latest results for average UK residential broadband speeds and we notice yet another nice average speed increase for the UK, however the worrying statistic is the city and rural divide on broadband speeds.

In the 6 months to May 2013 the average broadband speed in the UK has jumped by 2.7Mb, a 22% rise and in the year from May 2012 it has risen a staggering 5.7Mb which represents a 64% speed increase. The average residential broadband speed in the UK, according to Ofcom, stands at 14.7Mb.

The obvious impressive speed increase are largely coming about because of the continued roll out of fibre optic broadband across the UK, with BT investing £2.5billion in their new fibre optic network. The statistics back this up as there are now around 19% of homes that have fibre optic broadband which is more than double what it was the previous year when there was just 8% who had it.

More good news for those with fibre optic broadband connections is that the average broadband speed for those with fibre connections is a healthy 43.6Mb.

The city to rural divide will also no doubt spark up some debate too. The average broadband speed in Urban areas stands at 26.4Mb, Suburban 17.9Mb and Rural 9.9Mb. Despite Rural areas over the last 2 years having increased their speed percentage the most by 141% which equates to 5.8Mb in real terms the gap between them and Urban areas has still grown larger as Urban areas have only increased by 95% but this still means a nice 12.8Mb speed increase on average in real terms.

Ofcoms broadband speed test results are compiled by using their research partner SamKnows.

Broadband speeds continue to get faster but Urban-Rural devide widens

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- Filed under: News
- Tags: Broadband Speeds, UK average broadband speeds, UK getting faster
Author: Mark @ 11:27 am

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 uSwitch.com 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 uSwitch.com 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.

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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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August 17, 2012

Average UK broadband speeds rise to 9Mb

The average UK broadband speed has risen by 20% to 9Mb in the last 6 months as superfast broadband in the UK starts to gain in popularity.

According to Ofcom (report here) who now run a broadband speed test study every 6 months in the UK, between November 2011 and May 2012 the average UK broadband speed rose from 7.6Mb to 9Mb. The speed increase has been helped by the inclusion of the Virgin Media “up to” 60Mb superfast broadband package and also BT Infinity 2 “up to” 76Mb broadband service which now sees more and more customers slowly switching to the superfast broadband speeds being made available.

Ofcom started their broadband speed surveys back in November 2008 with the average UK fixed line broadband speed then standing at 3.6Mb, in just 3 and a half years we have seen those average broadband speed increase by 2 ½ times to todays current speeds.

The move to superfast broadband deals and faster connections is partly down to customers making the switch themselves but also we have seen the likes of Virgin Media upgrade customers to faster broadband speeds automatically at no extra cost. The number of UK households with superfast broadband connections (these are deals which are advertised as having an “up to” speed of 30Mb or above) has increased to 8% by May 2012, this is up from just 5% 6 months previously and from just 2% 1 year ago!

The report compared the broadband speeds of 12 broadband providers to find hwo their packages delivered at different time periods during the day, overall as expected with the fastest broadband speeds was Virgin Media’s “up to” 100Mb service which delivered on average between 85.7Mb and 90.9Mb over 24 hours, the maximum speed it achieved was actually 103.2Mb!

Below is the Ofcom table for the broadband speeds achieved by the 12 broadband providers tested.

ofcom average broadband speeds may2012 Average UK broadband speeds rise to 9Mb

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August 13, 2012

Hong Kong top fastest peak broadband speeds

Hong Kong are the new leaders in terms of broadband speeds globally after they topped the latest “State Of The Internet” report charts and knocking South Korea down a place for the highest average peak connection speed for both fixed line and mobile broadband.

In the latest “State of the Internet” report done by Akamai shows that in the last quarter Hong Kong have hit the top spot with an average peak connection speed of 49.2Mb relegating South Korea to second spot with 47.8Mb. To round off the top 3 that was again dominated by Asian countries we saw Japan take the third spot with an average peak broadband speed of 39.5Mb.

To take the top spot Hong Kong recorded a 7.1% rise in their highest average speed on the previous quarter and a huge 25% year on year rise, however we are likely to see Hong Kong lose the top spot going forward as the year on year growth recorded for households taking out high speed broadband here was just 9.7% while in Japan this was 37% and South Korea at 53%, if these figures continue then there will be more users moving to high speed broadband form the likes of Japan and South Korea which will help bring their average peak broadband connection speeds up (check speed with our broadband speed test).

In terms of average broadband speed across the country it was still South Korea who were at the top though with 15.7Mb followed by Japan with 10.9Mb and then Hong Kong at 9.3Mb. The UK was lagging behind with a global position of 21st position with an average broadband speed of just 5.6Mb.

Despite all the investment in fibre broadband in the UK we are still going to be way behind the likes of the leading Asian countries for a good long while!

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May 17, 2012

ISPs need to improve on telling customers estimate broadband speeds

Estimated broadband speeds are still not being given to all new broadband customers according to a “secret shopping” survey done by Ofcom.

The “secret shopping” experience was done between mid-December last year and January this year and it involved a total of 1,369 inquiries online and via telephone.

In 2008 a voluntary code was introduced that ISPs signed up for that said that the ISPs would inform customers of the likely broadband speed they would receive on their line before they signed up, to help customers from feeling mis-sold with the headline “up to” broadband speeds that were used in advertising, in 2011 this code was strengthened further where the ISPs who have signed up have committed to give maximum speed estimates in the form of a range as early as practicable in the sales process.

In 59% of the telephone inquiries made during the “secret shopping” survey the estimated broadband speed was given to the customer without the caller needing to ask or prompt the provider with this rising to 93% when the caller asked for the estimated speed.
The speed given over the phone in 72% of cases was as between a range of speeds.

Karoo broadband were the best for providing this information with the speed offered up in 76% of cases, Sky in 72% of cases and Plus net in 67% of cases. On the other side of the scale we saw TalkTalk & BT providing it in less than half of the cases, Talktalk 47% and BT 48% without the caller needing to prompt them.
Both TalkTalk & BT have spoken with Ofcom and are amending their staff training and sales procedures to rectify the situation which should hopefully see the estimated broadband speeds offered up earlier in the conversation.

Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, Claudio Pollack, said:
It is vital that as the choice of broadband services expands, UK consumers get the best possible information when choosing a broadband provider.

Our mystery shopping shows that, while consumer information about broadband speeds has improved in important areas, there is still more to be done.

We are working with internet providers to improve information that consumers receive when they sign up to a new service and will continue to monitor this area closely.

The broadband speed customers receive can cause much confusion, customers who have signed up to a broadband deal adverting “up to” certain speeds and then when they run a broadband speed test they find their actual speed is far below this, this is why Ofcom brought in the voluntary code to help make sure customers were given more accurate estimates of the broadband speed they would receive before they signed up for a broadband deal.

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October 25, 2011

UK down in 25th spot for global broadband speed

The latest “State of the Internet” report by Akamai found the UK lagged back in 25th spot based on countries broadband speeds around the world.

This latest report is for the second quarter of 2011 and actually saw European countries placed well in the top 10 of average broadband speeds, as usual though it is South Korea (13.8Mb), Hong Kong (10.3Mb) and Japan (8.9Mb) who top the list.
However, coming in in 4th spot was the Netherlands (8.5Mb), then the Czech Republic (7.4Mb) followed by Switzerland (7.3Mb).

The UK averaged just over 5Mb putting it back down in 25th spot.

However, where the UK does climb the rankings is for general broadband connectivity where we rank 11th, this is due to the fact that over 91% of users connected to the internet have broadband speeds of 2Mb or greater. The leader in this category, maybe rather surprisingly, was Bulgaria with 97% followed by the Czech Republic with 95%.

Top fastest 100 cities for broadband didn’t contain 1 UK city, with the highest ranked European city being Brno in the Czech Republic which was at number 55 averaging 8.3Mb. The top 100 cities included 59 form Japan and 10 from South Korea as has tended to be the case every time these reports are released.

All is not doom and gloom for the UK though, we currently have BT rolling out their fibre broadband network across the UK which is due to reach two thirds of the country by 2015 at a cost of around £2.5bn. Virgin Media are also looking at and working on ways to increase their broadband speeds offered to customers via their cable network. So going forward we would expect the UK to start climbing the rankings and hopefully by 2015 when the uptake of fibre broadband across the country has increased the average broadband speed test results will make for far more pleasant reading.

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March 3, 2011

Broadband speeds half of advertised “up to” speeds

The average broadband download speed is less than half of the “up to” speeds that are advertised by some broadband providers.

Ofcom were submitting their findings to the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee for Advertising Practice (BCAP) over the advertising of broadband speeds investigation that is being undertaken to try and make it clearer to consumers what broadband speeds they are likely to receive when signing up to an broadband package.

Ofcoms findings were mainly attached to broadband that is delivered via a phone line as this form of receiving broadband tends not to bring the potential of the advertised “up to” speeds. It was found that in November/December 2010 the average broadband speed was 6.2Mb which is less than half of the advertised broadband speed of 13.8Mb.

The study looked not only at copper based ADSL services but also fibre and cable services too. The copper based ADSL services are the ones which bring the biggest difference between advertised and actual broadband speeds. The average download speed for an advertised “up to” 20/24Mb ADSL broadband service which uses copper cable to deliver the broadband was just 6.2Mb, this is just 29sp% of the advertised up to speed. “Up to” 8Mb ADSL services produced an average broadband speed of 3.4Mb which is just 42% of the advertised “up to “speed.
A tiny 3% of customers on an “up to” 20/24Mb advertised broadband package received over 16Mb!

BT’s Fibre To The Cabinet service (BT Infinity) which uses fibre optic cable to the street side cabinet and then standard copper telephone lines to the customers house produced much closer speeds between the advertised “up to” and the actual speeds. BT advertises it’s BT Infinity service at “up to” 40Mb, the results of the broadband speed tests performed produced average broadband speeds of 31.1Mb which is 78% of the advertised speed.

Finally Cable services from Virgin Media which use fibre optic cable to the street side cabinet and then coaxial cable to the premises have advertised “up to” speeds of 50Mb broadband and the average download speed received was 46Mb and on average delivered between 90-96% of the advertised speeds.

Ofcom are suggesting that a Typical Speed Range (TSR) that is actually achievable to at least half of customers should be used when advertising broadband speeds.

Ofcom has produced a Typical Speed Range that it thinks broadband providers should use when advertising broadband speeds.

ofcom typical speed range Broadband speeds half of advertised up to speedsWhat is positive to take from the results is that how much faster fibre broadband is and that it can bring much more stable and reliable broadband to customers.

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November 18, 2010

“Broadband Speed con” campaign launched by Virgin Media

Virgin Media are launching it’s “Stop The Broadband Con” scheme that is aiming to change broadband providers advertising mis-leading “up to” broadband speeds.

stop the broadband con Broadband Speed con campaign launched by Virgin MediaThe reason Virgin are running this campaign will be because being a cable broadband provider they are the least affected by a big difference between their advertised broadband speeds and actual broadband speeds delivered to customers compared to standard DSL broadband providers.

The fundamental issues behind the campaign are valid and companies advertising broadband “up to” a certain speed yet in many instances delivering speeds less than half of this speed does make it very misleading to customers.

The fact that ultimately the campaign will be to benefit and promote Virgin Media as a broadband company who can deliver broadband speeds close to their advertised speeds means that the gesture and reasoning behind the campaign is hardly selfless but none the less, if it does help change the way that broadband providers advertise their services with misleading broadband speeds then ultimately it may work out good for the industry.

Virgin Medias executive director of broadband, Jon James, said:

People are paying for superfast broadband but receiving a service stuck in the slow lane. Broadband providers need to stop advertising speeds that not a single customer can receive and we’re asking people to support our call for change by signing up to stopthebroadbandcon.org. Faster broadband means better broadband, whether you’re surfing the web, watching TV online or downloading music and UK consumers deserve superfast broadband they can trust, rather than having to rely on the fairytales and broken promises of current broadband advertising.

The slight issue with the campaign is that Virgin Media still advertise their services as “up to” a certain speed, the stats suggest that on average they do deliver customers with around 90% of the advertised headline speed but again this by some would make their call for this campaign a bit flawed.

Stats from Ofcom found that in May 2010 that DSL broadband providers were delivering just 33% of the headline speed for advertised “up to” 20Mb or 24Mb services with a speed on average of just 6.5Mb.
The reason for this is that DSL providers use BT’s copper network to transfer data for broadband, the distance customers are form the local exchange and also the quality of the cable can affect the broadband speed hugely. Fibre optic providers such as Virgin Media do not receive as much loss in broadband speeds over these distances than those providers on DSL connections.

Richard Branson the founder of the Virgin Group, said:

Staying connected is central to our lives and we all deserve broadband we can trust. I’m challenging all broadband providers to be honest with their customers and ask people to add their voice to the campaign by signing up to Stopthebroadbandcon.org.

The easy way to check how fast your Internet connection is running at is to use our free broadband speed test tool, it will show you what your upload and download speed are running at.

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