Broadband rates ‘not up to speed’

Broadband rates ‘not up to speed’
5 August 2009 | | Technology

The material used to deliver broadband is a big contributor to speed

Broadband users are not getting the speeds they are paying for, according to the largest survey of its kind ever undertaken by telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Nearly one fifth of UK broadband customers on an eight Megabit per second (Mbps) connection actually receive less than 2Mbps, it found.

The research showed that less than 9% of users received more than 6Mbps.

However, the report shows that average connection speed across the UK is 4.1Mbps, up from 3.6Mbps in January.

The UK government would like everyone in the country to have access to broadband speeds of 2Mbps by 2012.

“It’s very easy to go out and find out what the price of broadband is, but much more difficult to get a good understanding of what the observed speeds are likely to be,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.

The report also ranked the average speeds of nine major UK ISPs, with Virgin Media – which primarily operates in urban areas and uses high speed cable networks – coming out on top.

In order to address the issue of speed, Ofcom worked with Samknows, a broadband measurement firm that specially modified the routers that decode the signal coming into subscribers’ homes.

While many websites offer speed tests, their results can vary widely due to a number of factors aside from the ISP’s speed; the routers measure the ISP’s delivered speed regardless of these factors.

The routers collected speed data from 1,600 users’ connections nationwide between November 2008 and April of this year – amounting to some 60 million separate speed tests in all.

The numbers were then adjusted for a given user’s distance from the telephone exchange. For broadband that comes through traditional copper wires, such as ADSL, the measured speed is lower for users who are farther from one of the country’s 5,800 exchanges.

The speed study was accompanied by a survey of subscribers, finding that although more than 80% were satisfied overall with their service, about a quarter said the network speed was not as fast as they had expected.

Because the measured speeds varied so much, a simple league table of ISP speeds is difficult to make.

However, Ofcom released a table which shows comparisons for nine major ISPs, showing which are faster and slower.

Content courtesy of : https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8171074.stm

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