Ofcom demand faster broadband!

24 March 2010

fibresOfcom, the people you usually hear bitching about TV programmes, have unveiled new proposals to encourage the rollout of super-fast broadband across the UK, according to the Beeb.

They're proposing that BT's fibre lines are opened up to everyone else (aka rival firms such as Sky and TalkTalk) so that BT don't have to wipe everyone's arse all the time and everyone can just crack on with providing their own services to consumers.

Ofcom hopes that this would lead to millions more consumers enjoying speeds of 50 to 100 megabits per second. This idea is basically an old one that BT themselves once employed. BT's copper telephone network was opened to rival phone and broadband services.

The regulator also think that BT should offer other companies access to their underground ducts and overhead telegraph poles in the hope that this would allow everyone else to build their own fibre networks more cost-effectively.

This is all very mooshy mooshy and BT, wanting to play along as best they can have said that their fibre network was already open to other firms and that it was not being "forced" to provide access.

"BT has already said that it is willing to open its ducts, so the requirement we do so comes as no surprise," BT added.

"We agree with Ofcom that there are challenges with such access, but we will work with industry to define a suitable product that meets everyone's needs. Duct access is unlikely to be the 'silver bullet' to get fibre to the countryside, but all options should be explored."

How boring was that?

TOPICS:   Technology

25 comments

  • Mark M.
    Where I live, I can only get 1 meg at most due to the crappy cable-laying prowess of BT. It comes past the bottom of my road, up the back of the houses, then winds its way back down the estate, thereby drastically increasing the distance from the exchange. Why not get a bit of common sense going on
  • Grammar N.
    Mark: Are you talking about your connection speed, or your download speed? If it's your download speed, then that's an 8Meg connection, and isn't THAT bad...
  • Laurz
    I'm in the same boat Mark. I can get 1 meg on a good day, usually around 0.5 though and its because i'm connected to the THIRD closest exchange. Properties less than a couple of hundred metres from me get a connection of 8meg because theyre connected to a different exchange but for reasons unknown i'm connected not to that one, or another one close by but to a third one a good few miles away. There's no common sense at all. Just get down into the sewers and lay fibre optic from the nearest exchanges in the straightest line possible. The sewers are there already yet we refuse to use them.
  • Grammar N.
    When you say 'get 1 meg', I presume you're talking about downloads, which is the correct speed for an 8meg connection. What speed package are you signed up with? Is it supposed to be more - 16, 20?
  • Laurz
    Its the connection speed. We are signed up to 8 meg but are only recieving 1 meg
  • Mark M.
    Download unfortunately. On a good day, 1.2meg, but normally less than 1. I've done the whole socket cover thingy and had BT out in the past, but they have just shrugged. Upload is approx 0.5meg
  • Grammar N.
    That's correct. It's just ambiguous advertising (as usual). They advertise it as 8meg, but your download speed is only ever going to be about 1meg. It's to do with careful labelling on their part. Your connection speed it 8 megaBITS, but your downlaod is meaured in megaBYTES. In computing one megaBYTE is the size of eight megaBITS. So, when they advertise it as '8 megs', they're talking about BITS, but what you get is BYTES. Confusing, misleading, ambiguous - yes. But not surprising. It's so their speeds always look higher. Hope this helps! =)
  • Laurz
    Well regardless of how they advertise it Grammar Nazi, the BT engineer that came out to our house was bemused as to why we were connected to that exchange and said that we are at the very edge of what can possibly be called broadband. He explained that our street is the furthest away from our exchange and that this is why we aren't getting anywhere near the 8 meg that is advertised. He also explained that there is two different metals that the cables are made out of both kinds run to our local cabinet and that it is unlucky that we have been connected to one of the poorer cables while others are connected to the better ones. I asked why they couldnt swap us onto a better cable then and have someone who lives closer to the exchange use the poorer cable. All he said to that was 'my boss wont let me swap them'.
  • IfYouCopyMyNameYouAreGayIsGay
    No, he's not talking about downloads because he's not a spacktard. He's talking about 1 meg, as in his ADSL service is commonly quoted as 8meg, and he gets 1/8th of that. IE 1Mbps (not 1MBps). Stop trying to be clever. Where I used to live, when I first signed up to ADSL they connected me up at a lovely 7Mbps. After some fool accidentally disconnected my line, they reconnected it again except this time apparently my line was too long to even support 0.5Mbps, despite them trying four times. They had routed it to the third closest exchange, which by my calculations was 8.5M away, instead of 1.5M. This was in a very rural farm property.
  • Craig
    It's not misleading at all. Digital telecoms bandwidth has always been measured in bits per second. Just because your web browser shows a more readable MB/s value and not Mbit/s doesn't mean it's a trick.
  • IfYouCopyMyNameYouAreGayIsGay
    Its a trick, in as much as showing a four year old the 'thumb in your fist' pulling their nose off and reattaching it thing, is a trick. Although most four year olds figure it out pretty easily. Unfortunately, most cockheads who think they're Internet winners think they're real geniuses for working it out.
  • Grammar N.
    IfYouCopy: Mark Clearly said 'Download, unfortunately.', and Laurz said they 'can get', which implies they're both talking about actual download speeds. Lose the attitude, it's not helping anybody. Besides, how is explaining something to people 'being clever'? Craig: I meant it's misleading as far as it not being explained to the average user, and 9/10 would not know they would only get 1meg download speed when they sign up to an 8meg connection. Nobody is interested in what speed their connection is; they're only interested in what they can actually download or receive information at.
  • Craig
    It's the same thing. That is how fast they can download information, it's just a different measurement. It's like complaining that something is 1000 metres away when you thought it was only 1k.
  • Grammar N.
    Indeed it is, to anybody who understands it, but somebody that doesn't understand may feel mislead. If they saw an 8meg file, and wanted to downlaod it, it should take one second, but it doesn't, it'd take eight seconds. For the average consumer, it'd be easy to get confused, because it's not explained. Both Mark and Laurz above both seem to have suffered with the same thing, and assumed that 1meg download speed is a faulty connection. I see it all the time.
  • Nobby
    I asked for a pint of milk in a shop yesterday and only got 0.57 litres.
  • Laurz
    No grammar nazi, lets try again. I said 1 meg CONNECTION not 1 meg download. I even explained that the BT engineer was perplexed as to why I was on such a bad connection. If I was on a good 8 meg connection why would he think it was crap?
  • Craig
    I agree that it's a common mistake. I just think it's ridiculous to claim they're deliberately misleading consumers, the advertising for this is usually pretty consistent. I mean the problem is that the software generally reports bandwidth differently to how the telecoms industry does. That and people talking about "megs" which is pretty meaningless.
  • Grammar N.
    Good job, Nobby! Luckily, they don't use different measurements to make it confusing! Incidentally, why are we so out-of-date on such things? Pints, miles, feet, inches. The majority of the world has undergone two evolutions since then.
  • Grammar N.
    Laurz: It was only because you said 'on a good day I can get', which I read as a fluctuating download speed. On a 8meg connection, 1meg download is correct, so I wanted to clarify. If you're only able to get a 1meg connection, then that's a bit harsh. =C Craig: Perhaps my wording wasn't as clear as it could have been. The advertising is consistent, but that's not my issue. My issue is that they do not explain what that actually means to people. 9/10 people think they can then go home, and have download speeds of 8meg, and it's never going to happen. Working in IT support, I had sooo many calls about this, and every person was disappointed when I explained it to them. They're talking in terms that mean nothing to anybody. they'd be much better off talking in terms of download / upload speeds, as it actually MEANS something to people.
  • Mr W.
    So what if they open up their fibre optics to other companies? There aren't any fibre optic lines anywhere around here, I presume they're in London... I get just about naff all at peak times, climbing to 1 meg (100k a second) at ungodly hours.
  • Grammar N.
    Yeah, it'll still take an age to filter through. It's embarrassing to think that so many other countries already have it. What's worse is that this country is actually one of the world leaders in fibre optic technology, and they're using our stuff!
  • Mark M.
    I should be able to get 3meg, but actually only get 1meg. I know the difference between a bit and a byte and I also know that my 0.95 megaBIT per second download speed is less than the 3 megaBIT per second speed I should get
  • like c.
    I only get 16mb on a 20mb connection boo fucking who cares - move
  • pauski
    ummm. I was always told, 1 pint = 568ml / 56.8cc / 0.568l Nobby - you got good deal. Don't tell andyofyarm
  • INTER F.
    Hi i'm with virgin broadband and when i first signed up with them i was receiving 6500kbps download speed but in the last couple of months all i seem to be getting is speeds of less than 500kbps. I have phoned virgin dozens of times to try and resolve this issue and all i keep getting told is "we are currently swapping people over to new lines and the problem should be resolved within the next week" They have been feeding me this BS for far too long now and i am at the end of my tether. Any help please?

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