Broadband claims mislead on speed

There is a huge gap between advertised broadband speeds and the actual speeds users can achieve, new research from consumer group Which? has shown. A survey by the organisation found that broadband packages promising speeds of up to 8Mbps (megabits per second) actually achieved far less. Tests of 300 customers' net connections revealed that the average download speed they were getting was 2.7Mbps. As a result, Which? has called on regulator Ofcom and Trading Standards to launch a fresh investigation into UK broadband.

The speed tests were prompted by complaints from members of the public, unhappy with the speeds of their broadband connections. In the last 12 months more internet service providers (ISPs) have offered services, promising speeds of "up to" 8Mbps. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has investigated several cases of misleading promotions, most recently asking Bulldog to make it clear in its adverts that speed was dependent on how far away from the exchange people lived.

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News source: The Reg

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MrCobra said,
Uhm, he was talking about the name Which?. Nice present of a warning you just gave yourself.

Twas my first. Oh well.

It also depends on the ISP the Host you are connecting to has for a connection. I know a few ISP around where I live that are just into Hosting Web Pages / Email. They only have 5 T1s. Thats not that much speed if you think about it. They host over 50,000 website on that. Thats about 7-8mb total bandwidth in and out. The pipe from the users house to there ISP might be 8MB but theres more to this then people understand I guess. Take MS they seem to cap public downloads at about 512k per connection. MSDN I get alot faster. But thats still a fast ass download.

The only compeling reason to switch to cable is it's ability to provide a faster "theoretical" pipe to the customer. Unfortunately the pipe is shared so you could see speeds far less than advertised. At least with DSL I know I have a dedicated connection. Also, another fine bit of information is the fact that DSL will almost always come up before cable if tragedy strikes because it's apart of the communications infrastructure that emergency personel would require.

Civilian said,
and thats why you avoid DSL and switch to Cable :)

Not all areas offer Cable. My previous address had Cable. It was great!

Since I've moved, I only have ADSL in the area, so not everyone has a choice on what type of connection to use. Thankfully it reaches 7.4mb at off-peak times and around 2-3mb at peak times(realistically) out of the 8mb speeds advertised.

Would be nice to move back to Cable though.

Civilian said,
and thats why you avoid DSL and switch to Cable :)

CABLE IS CRAP! Im on virgin medias 10Mb and i wont be getting 20Mb (well i will never even get 5Mb) till 2009, those gits. the price goes UP and UP, my speed seems to be going down, i used to get 3Mb but now im lucky if I get 2Mb, its bloody pathetic, i hope virgin media gets sued for everything they have, been with them starting in 1996 when it was cable tel on analogue tv, then got 33k modem internet in 1998, and ive been with them since, and ive never been bloody rewarded, they suck

yeah..alot of people don't know about the 'packet overhead'...but i think some ISP's get away with this by saying 'up to 6mb'

Glad to see Which pushing for Ofcom to get the broadband sales pitch sorted, maybe ISP's like BT will then treat their customers like 'customers'.

i believe the problem is international connections

certain ISP's do give "8MB" under their coverage ( Nationalwide ) and when it starts to be international its capped like hell

btw some people are right when they say packet overhead but err it doesnt mean 50% 75% less speed

well i am on a 20mb con and i can pull a good 10mb of that in peak times which aint bad. i have found that BT have been the worst as they still use copper etc and the only way you get like the full 8mb is if your house is right next to the exchange or something

I do agree.

With Bell Sympatico it's not actually 5mbps but a dsl connection profile of 5056000. They'll state up to 5mbps. Then minus the TCP over head you get 4.4mbps. How about sticking the damn synching profile to include the tcp overhead.

my virgin media 10mbt connection worked fine until the day it was upgraded "free" to 20mbt. It then worked fine at full speed for 2 whole days before the service degraded to around 5mbt at peak times with a stupid traffic shaping system added just to p*** me off further.

Trying to ring and complain is a whole other story. Chennai really can't handle anything remotely technical, so it's a 1-2hr battle over the phone with someone who can't even speak english.

Basically, they've won, they have us all over a barrel. I only hope that the regulators do something about it, £35ish for unreliable service that's actually worse than i had before is unacceptable.

speed was dependent on how far away from the exchange people lived.

Thats Wrong its not how far from the Exchange u live , its your Line Distance from your house to the exchange and its not a straight line , for example u could live say 40meters from the exchange but ur pysyical line distance could be 2miles of cable lol , cause the cables follow the road

i know this from fact cause i have freind who lives 90meters from exchange and has a half mile line to the exchange.

Some people don't realize that that hi-speed broadband is not only about maximum achievable speed but about minimum speed too! Also loads of people are lured into very bad deals. For example you can get :

"BT Business Broadband Advanced 500" SDSL for Business, 10:1 rate (10 contracts on same 512Kbps line), 512/512 (down/up) Kbps: £700 connection fee, £470 router and £150 per month or go for...
"Be Pro" ADSL2 with static IP: 40:1 rate, 24/2.5 Mbps from another company: £24 connection fee and £40 per month.

It means that you can waste £150 per month and get minimum speed of just 51/51 Kbps; maximum speed: 512/512 Kbps
or you can pay just £40 (4 times less! ) and get much better minimum speed: 614/64 Kbps; maximum speed: 24576/2560 Kbps

Loads of so called "Business Plans" are total rip-off. I've seen loads of companies which are paying hundreds of pounds for [sarcasm]uber-premium[/sarcasm] internet and in reality gets crappy connection which is much much worse than I have at home.

P.S.: I have 24Mbps contract but getting only 16Mbps connection with exchange. I don't complaint about it because I understand that 24Mbps is shared between other 40 users so there is very little chance that I will get download speed more than 16Mbps. I feel lucky when I see how much "business" users are overspending on crappy deals.

I think you will find the contention ratio is a lot better on the "business" grade connections (if its anything important they shouldn't be using ADSL anyway or at least dual links)

XY GT said,
I think you will find the contention ratio is a lot better on the "business" grade connections (if its anything important they shouldn't be using ADSL anyway or at least dual links)

Read carefully my comment. I've included contention ratio into my calculations:

BT SDSL (£150pm) minimum upload speed 51 Kbps = 512 Kbps / 10 contention ratio (or £2.94 per 1Kbps up)
Be ADSL2 (£40pm) minimum upload speed 64 Kbps = 2560 Kbps / 40 contention ratio (or £0.63 per 1Kbps up)

BT SDSL (£150pm) minimum upload speed 51 Kbps = 512 Kbps / 10 contention ratio (or £2.94 per 1Kbps down)
Be ADSL2 (£40pm) minimum upload speed 614 Kbps = 24576 Kbps / 40 contention ratio (or £0.07 per 1Kbps down)

P.S: BT upload speed is 441% more expensive than Be. BT download speed is 4514% more expensive than Be.
If we will take BT's £700 connection fee and £470 router into account then it would be even more. Please note that Be router can do 2560 Kbps upload and it will be given for free. It means that for BT connection you will pay 4875% more but get less anyway.

I don't see what the problem is.

Here in Australia they reject your broadband application if it cannot attain at least 1500/256kbit. All plans advertised here are "up to", just like in the UK. I don't see where they guarantee a 8mbit service as it is based off the individual customer...

They shouldn't be advertising 8Mb Broadband, period. Nobody can get 8Mb on ADSL Max. I've read people on the ThinkBroadband forum who can see the exchange from their window since obviously they live right next door to the exchange.

Some, the best they can get is 5 - 7 meg. Some even less. They've had everything checked and 9/10 times BT say they don't know or can't tell you. The BT engineers scripts are amusing to say the least.
There have even been some people again who live next to their exchange(s) and get as low as 0.9Mb.

I use to get 5 - 5.5Mb for 5/6 months steady and over a period of 2/3 months it slowly dropped to 4xxx, 3xxx, 2xxx, 1xxx. I'm now currently hovering between 1.6 and 1.8 and sometimes less. Even leaving BT and going to another ISP, nothing changed in the 10 day training period. Is it not odd to have 5 - 5.5Mb for 5 - 6 months and they take it away from you, even though nothing was changed in the house? 5 different routers have been tested and nothing changes. All the engineers that have came out have said there is no reason why I cannot get it, but they don't have answers to it.
BT also classed me as a heavy user even though I'm only at roughly 5 - 10 Gb a month... what on earth...

Look at all the line drops when I was with BT:

After leaving BT I hardly get a line drop, maybe once every 3 - 4 weeks.

This was a short description of my problems with BT:

To keep it somewhat short this is a cut down version of my problems with BT. There is so much missing it would make your head swell regarding the nightmare I have went through with British Telecom.

I am in the process of leaving BT Broadband because of this same problem. Since September 06 when I signed up to ADSL Max, which was either Option 2 or 3 I had a 4 - 5 meg service which ran fine for 90 days. After that the service got crippled varying from 175kbps to 35kbps which were normally 300-500kbps. They wouldn't fix the problems until I went to the Business side, so I decided to move to the BT Business Broadband package and they would take up the problems.
Option 2 I believe it was. Unlimited useage no download caps. The same problems happened above. Magically the download speeds rocketed to full capacity after I got in touch with a so called BT trouble shooter technician. So yet again after 90 days the service ran wonderfully. After going to the business side I reached a maximum of 5 - 6meg comfortably, but after those 90 days the same problems started to occur. Many loss of signals of endless line drops per day, download speeds fluctuating. Always getting capped at 175 - 85 - 35 and sometimes 18kbps for a Unlimited Business package!
Every time it rained these magical problems happened, BT's excuse was its a known problem with the weather and in their lovely twist of words they more or less described it as (waiting for the line to dry out).

To make things worse after I found out I was still getting charged for the Residential as well as Business package. I tried to get the Residential cancelled and to make sure BT do not mistakenly cancel my Broadband and clarified over the phone with them that I will not lose the service. 10 days later from the phone call, the lights start flashing on the router, 30 minutes to an hour they remain flashing and so on.
So after endless hours going around the merigoround trying to get through to BT trying to find out what has happened. They eventually tell me they have cancelled my Broadband completely. So after trying to get them to arrange my Broadband to get it back up, they said it will not be possible until 5 - 7 days. So I had to resort to a 56k connection for those 5 - 7 days.
A multibillionaire company which can turn my Broadband off as quick as that and say I have no choice but to use a 56k is just beyond a joke in this day and age. I find it so hard to believe if they can cut me off as quick as that they can put me on just as quick.

Finally the service was restored, back up to full speed, 5 - 6meg for 6 weeks, and guess what? magically my download speeds crippled yet again. Lowered to 3meg and bouncing about between 1 - 2 - 3 meg every few days. At one point it was even as low as 206 to 620. 5 - 6 engineer visits for weeks, quite a few were the same guys telling me the line was fine and the best that I can get is 3meg. I asked them why I was able to get 5 - 6 meg and they look at me like I'm some sort of alien, and unable to answer the questions. A long nightmare it has been.

Finally after doing some research, I came across this site regarding this statement low and behold everything starts to add up, endless talks on the phone from BT saying I have a line fault(s). Endless promises that BT was going to get back to me on solutions and never do. Days pass and automated phone calls from BT come in saying the problem has been fixed, could it get anymore infuriating yet I'm still sitting here with crippled speeds.
Weeks, Months go past and there's only so long one can take so much flannel and nothing gets done about it, except everything getting blamed by BT except them, that I had no choice which comes back to the link about the BT Retail statement. I had to find a way to get out my contract as so many people were complaining about the same problems. BT also said they had never heard of this statement and their attitude severely changed after I described how so many people were complaining about these same problems and that statement.

It really bugs me how I pay for a service and do not get what I paid for. It's even more alarming how so many BT people that I phone up to get through to their help desk they say they do not deal with this problem, they say you'll have to ring this number and it is many numbers and all it does is take you back to the first number you originally dialed. It's a endless loop so you cannot get through. If you do get through so many people say they cannot deal with it as its not their department and 9/10 times they take that long to get back to me as they really do not know how to sort out their problems.

To finish my time with BT, I have finally been capped to 1.3mb service. So in other words the excuse they have used my line cannot carry ADSL Max and their other excuse was I've to be lowered to ordinary Broadband which I can no longer get 2meg either.

The sad thing is BT control everything in my exchange, so until other ISP's get their own equipment in, I'm pretty much screwed. The new ISP to this day is still chasing up BT Wholesale which both know I can get 4 - 5Mb as they have records of all this. To this day nothing has changed, BT still remain and say the best I can get is 2Mb.
I'd be more than satisfied if they gave me 4Mb but doesn't matter who I complain to theres no solution apart from scripted excuses why I cannot get it.

I'm not even going to get 21CN until April 2009.
BT are a monopoly, and there is not a thing you can do about it sadly!

DSL speed is based on how far in the loop you are from the DSLAM.... on Cable it's determined by how many people are connected to the CMTS and how fast they are downloading. So more than likely if you're living in a retirement community Cable might be the system for you. Or if you can play around with DSL and start at the highest speed and keep asking them to increase it for you to find what your best speeds are going to be.

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