ComputerActive has attracted 11,000 supporters for its ‘Crystal Clear Broadband’ campaign for ISPs to be clearer about the speeds that customers are able to get. But it hasn’t forced the Government’s hand to take action directly. Instead, the issue has been put on Ofcom’s plate – I can’t see it making much difference.
I’ve always been a bit on the fence about this one. It’s an issue that often gets mixed up with download limits (where I’m really not a fan of the ‘unlimited’ tag). It’s a case of expectations and I think the ‘up to’ in the advertising is reasonably clear in most cases. My line with Plusnet gives me 2.6Gb download, which is more than adequate and don’t feel a hankering for my theoretical 8Gb. Besides, service quality is more influenced by other factors such as if everyone in the area is using iPlayer or going BitTorrent crazy.
Research from Oxford Analytica, published in Forbes, blames lack of infrastructure investment:
–Over half its homes are believed to have an average connection speed of only four megabits per second (Mbps).
–By comparison, Internet connections of over 100 Mbps are common in
Japanand South Korea, while the U.S.and other European countries–including France, Swedenand –are further ahead in deployment of fiber networks. Germany
I continue to hear broadband horror stories from mates. BT seems to be a pretty regular offender, although I also heard of a case with Virgin, where the surfer was only getting a staggeringly slow 128kb. Although Ofcom still defines this as broadband (actually anything faster than dial-up is officially broadband) it does make for a pretty shoddy online experience.
I don’t know about the technical feasibility, but I think the expectation problem could be solved by building a ‘likely’ speed into the postcode checker as, at least with ADSL, speed is largely determined by distance from the exchange.
The research from Oxford Analytica also points out that networks of the future are more likely to be symmetrical (i.e. equal speeds for uploading as well as downloading). But with all the fuss about p2p traffic at the moment, I can imagine BT to be dragging its heels on that one as it implements its so-called 21st Century Network.