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Broadband ‘Connected Britain’ Is Rubbish

I am currently uploading a 120mb MIR Show video at the whopping WHOPPING average speed of 18.5k per second. Fluck all use that ‘cloud’ is when I’m whizzing away at 18.5k/sec.

In fact thinking back about 15 years ago, if I was lucky, I got similar speeds on my 56k modem.

I’m using an 8mb ‘high speed’ British Telecom broadband connection.

If you get a brochure from BT any time soon talking about their 21CN network — the fabled brilliance that will connect us all with gigabyte speeds — please do send it to BT Centre, Newgate Street, with a note attached with words to the effect ‘stick it up your arse jumper.’

Can we just do a test here? Across the comments today, there’s been a number of readers giving examples of their slow slow connections (that are meant to be super fast).

Could you please respond telling me what average upload /download speeds you’re getting and what connection you actually are meant to have?

Don’t do one of those broadband speed tests. I want to know real life, real examples. Take a 100mb file and upload it to Vimeo — during the upload it gives you a throughput stat. I’d like to see just how bad (or good) it is.

I know that Ben Smith has a lightning fast Be Unlimited connection in West London.

But in Billericay, Essex, we’ve got shit.

Witness, for example, this comment from Dominic Travers:

I Currently live in Bristol and can get O2/Be ADSL2+, which is exactly what BT aim to have rolled out nation wide by 2011 as the culmination of their 21CN project to make Britain world leaders in IP based communication technology. 15 months ago when I first signed up to the service it was pretty good, 16Mbps down and 1.3Mbps up. For at least the last 6 months the O2 box in my local exchange has been full to bursting and the thoughput can only be described as dismal. I can still get the maximum speeds once a connection is established, but the latency in ordinary browsing the internet is abysmal now I am on the max contention ratio.

If this is as good as UK domestic broadband is going to get we’re doomed.

Rubbish.

Absolute unmitigated rubbish.

We can’t do better than this?

And if we can’t get the sodding FIXED connections working, what hope have we got of making it work whilst mobile?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

13 replies on “Broadband ‘Connected Britain’ Is Rubbish”

Well, I'm on O2. “Connect” (Because BT, Which doesn't stand for British Telecom in my view. are just not going to upgrade my area! Just outside Cardiff) is Upto 8 meg. WHICH… Is impossible where I am. even though my Exchange is really not far from me. I get maximum of 6.5 download and max of 448kpbs Upload.
What has annoyed me. This BT Network is worried about Mobile networks taking over and not doing much to get ahead of them. My mate has T-Mobile broadband and she has 7.2mbps AND IT GOES AT FULL SPEED. and 1.4mbps Upload. SO… Come November, Screw Home broadband. AXE the service and will get some mobile broadband. Which is cheaper than waht im paying now.

Well, I'm on O2. “Connect” (Because BT, Which doesn't stand for British Telecom in my view. are just not going to upgrade my area! Just outside Cardiff) is Upto 8 meg. WHICH… Is impossible where I am. even though my Exchange is really not far from me. I get maximum of 6.5 download and max of 448kpbs Upload.
What has annoyed me. This BT Network is worried about Mobile networks taking over and not doing much to get ahead of them. My mate has T-Mobile broadband and she has 7.2mbps AND IT GOES AT FULL SPEED. and 1.4mbps Upload. SO… Come November, Screw Home broadband. AXE the service and will get some mobile broadband. Which is cheaper than waht im paying now.

Heh… the only people who ever mention broadband connections are those that aren't pleased with them.

Mine in West London is *great*. I've been with Be pretty much since they launched… their “up to 24 MBit” service syncs at about 12 Mbit at home and I have never, ever failed to get less than 1 megabyte per second of throughput from suitable sources. Fantastic value.

We have one of Be's business lines (basically identical to what I've got at home) at work amongst other connections. I see similar performance here too – it doesn't blink an eyelid even when 40 GB backups are thrown over at a constant 1.2 megabytes per second.

Don't get me wrong, the O2/Be ADSL2 is good, they have even custom tuned the noise reduction on my upstream connection whilst talking to me on the phone to stabilise video uploading at around 1.2Mbps. Their service is outstanding. BUT. This is currently as good as it is going to get, and max contention in your exchange box is very annoying unless you like having to refresh 1 in 4 page requests because it simply doesn't load.

What get's my goat in all this is that it's taken 15 years for 21CN to approach completion and we are no where near achieving decent connections for everyone. BT simply will not entertain replacing the last mile of 70 year old copper wire for anyone. There is no business model available for another company to do this because the backhaul prices are crippling, ask any mobile network using it for wireless broadband. This is why “unlimited” is in fact very limited. Ofcom need to grow some testicular fortitude and compel BT to at least encourage investment in fibre to the home, then perhaps we can catch up with the French.

Don't get me wrong, the O2/Be ADSL2 is good, they have even custom tuned the noise reduction on my upstream connection whilst talking to me on the phone to stabilise video uploading at around 1.2Mbps. Their service is outstanding. BUT. This is currently as good as it is going to get, and max contention in your exchange box is very annoying unless you like having to refresh 1 in 4 page requests because it simply doesn't load.

What get's my goat in all this is that it's taken 15 years for 21CN to approach completion and we are no where near achieving decent connections for everyone. BT simply will not entertain replacing the last mile of 70 year old copper wire for anyone. There is no business model available for another company to do this because the backhaul prices are crippling, ask any mobile network using it for wireless broadband. This is why “unlimited” is in fact very limited. Ofcom need to grow some testicular fortitude and compel BT to at least encourage investment in fibre to the home, then perhaps we can catch up with the French.

BT 8MB Unlimited near Evesham in Worcestershire:
700kb/s down
40kb/s up

And a Tiscali connection which is meant to be 2.2MB:
200kb/s down
30kb/s up

Ewan – why would you ever get a BT broadband connection?

I've got the exact same setup as Chris (In the comments) with O2 Business (as was Bethere Business which doesnt really exist anymore) and my connection is maxing out my line in Bristol – 16Mb sync with 1.4ish download speeds. Our office connection copes with 8Gb uploads without blinking, and all while running VoIP on the same line.

I think the leason here is never ever consider going with BT, use their last mile of copper but get your traffic the hell out of their exchanges on some O2 fibre.

Yup, me too 15 down and about 6 up. Varies but always good enough. It's Be's router I hate.

The problem is backhaul… last-mile speeds are getting to the point where the onward infrastructure can't keep up. I'm *very* skeptical about Virgin's 50 megabit claims.

Yup, me too 15 down and about 6 up. Varies but always good enough. It's Be's router I hate.

The problem is backhaul… last-mile speeds are getting to the point where the onward infrastructure can't keep up. I'm *very* skeptical about Virgin's 50 megabit claims.

My maximum internet connection according to most ISP websites is a download speed of a massive 1mbps download. – and boy dont i know it!!

BT will get to upgrade our area eventually (South East Milton Keynes) but i might be collecting my pension by then (im 22 at present)

BT is the worst connection I have ever had. Slow, Slow, Slow.
It is not worth the money I am paying for it and I am thinking of
just not paying them for a product that is not fit for use.

british telecom broadband is a load of rubbish,,,,traffic shaping means that from noon onwards you get speeds of 10kb/s – 20kb/s on everything but the web browser ie:http so if you like p2p,, torrents then forget it unless you can leave it on over night ,,,im on the unlimited package LOL,,,ive only been with them for 1 month and find them rubbish ,,top price for a load of garbage

british telecom broadband is a load of rubbish,,,,traffic shaping means that from noon onwards you get speeds of 10kb/s – 20kb/s on everything but the web browser ie:http so if you like p2p,, torrents then forget it unless you can leave it on over night ,,,im on the unlimited package LOL,,,ive only been with them for 1 month and find them rubbish ,,top price for a load of garbage

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