UK Broadband speeds code of practice comes into effect 5th December

It is not clear how much use a voluntary code of practice on broadband speeds will be, but hopefully if providers who have agreed to it consistently break the rules Ofcom will act with a larger stick to ensure compliance.

The Broadband Speeds Code of Practice was first announced on 5th June 2008, and on the six month anniversary of the initial release Ofcom is keen to point out that providers covering 95% of broadband users are signed up.

The code is mainly about ensuring consumers are better informed about potential speeds, to avoid people seeing headline figures of 24Mbps and not being aware that with ADSL2+ only around 15% of lines will ever connect at speeds like this. The main points of the code are:

  • provide consumers at the point of sale with an accurate estimate of the maximum speed that their line can support;
  • explain clearly and simply how technical factors may slow down speeds and giving help and advice to consumers to improve the situation at home;
  • offer an alternative package (if there is one) without any penalties, if the actual speed is a lot lower than the original estimate; and
  • explain fair usage policies clearly and alert consumers when they have been breached.[/b]

The last six months has seen some progress with estimates of line connection speeds featuring more prominently in many providers sign-up processes. Of course the speed your ADSL/ADSL2+/cable broadband connects at does not mean you will always see download speeds close to this; congestion from the millions of others potentially online at the same time is a big factor too.

One area where progress still seems to be slack is informing consumers of when they're breaching a fair use policy. Far too many still appear moaning of slow broadband speeds to find they've entered a different traffic management level. While fair use policies are generally designed to be dynamic and often do not kick in unless a providers network is very busy, the average consumer may get a better idea of what is considered high usage if the levels from the previous month were published on the providers website.

The broadband industry is a highly competitive one, and with many people attempting to cut back on spending, the pressure and attractiveness on providers of skirting around areas like traffic management is at an all time high. What effect this code will have on solutions sold as unlimited, but where different types of traffic are throttled is impossible to tell. For many consumers they may not care, but those embracing all that is possible with broadband very soon start to notice the problems, e.g. when a 5 Meg connection is unable to stream a 1 Meg video stream, but the neighours slower 2Meg connection with a different provider is able to play video streams for hours on end.

News source: thinkbroadband

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7 Comments

I with they'd just stuff the ADSL2+ upgrading and go stratght to FTTH or FTTC- Fibre To The Home/Cabinet. I don't

even think they'll be able to rip more people off by continuing that, ergo, no point if ur gonna upgrade everyone to

fibre eventually.

Except that upgrading the network to FTTC or FTTH will cost millions, if not billions, of pounds and will take years. Who's going to pay for that? Answer: we are.

TCLN Ryster said,
Except that upgrading the network to FTTC or FTTH will cost millions, if not billions, of pounds and will take years. Who's going to pay for that? Answer: we are.

Then how come Virgin are managing to do FTTC now? Their advertising suggests it's FTTH, which it isn't... but it's fibre nonetheless...
(OK, I guess it was NTL/Telewest who got the ball rolling before they got bought out, but still...)

I wish Ofcom would do something about what happened this year.

[url=http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange/NDWMA] My exchange[url]

Upgrade was supposed to be on November 18th 2008 to adsl2.

I was looking for super speeds again before I moved home, they now changed it to the date on that link.

So I am stuck on 100kbps-1.

It so annoys me that something planned for a longtime gets put back nearly 1 year.

I want fast band not slow band.

They need to be tougher with ISP's, these rules should be mandatory, not voluntary. In saying that, the only ISP in the country I can recommend is be, they offer 3 distinct plans, reasonable price and NO DOWNLOAD CAPS.

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