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Consumer law - broadband speeds?

#1
Has there been any sort of test case over the broadband speeds that companies sell vs the speeds they actually deliver? I know they have the legal cop-out of quoting "up to", but wondered if any sort of precedent had been set in favour of the consumer?

- I pay for an 8 MB/s service, upgraded from 4 MB/s;

- The line/eqpt is capable of about 7.2 MB/s download (seen once or twice in the early hours of the morning), about what you'd expect, given that I'm only about 300 yds from the exchange;

- The normal speed during off-peak is about 4 to 5.2 MB/s;

- The peak hours (1600-0200) speed is <1 MB/s, often as low as 50 KB/s - ie slower than dial-up!

My ISP says: "Tough sh*te; you have 20:1 contention and should be grateful for anything above 400 KB/s.....Read our T&C, where in the small print it explains that we guarantee nothing, etc".

I appreciate that this is rip-off UK and we expect to have to pay for nothing, but the telecomms providers really kick the arrse out of it....
 
#2
There are a couple of points here, none of them provided the answer but that seems to be life:
1. Most providers offer an 'Up to XX mbs' quite simply if you have a service of any speed then they have met their half of the deal.
2. When faced with this I looked up the definition of Broadband service I got shed loads of possibles but none that are leagally binding in the UK. The International Telecommunication Union Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) recommendation I.113 has defined broadband as a transmission capacity that is faster than primary rate ISDN, at 1.5 to 2 Mbit/s. When I quoted this to BT they eventually agreed that the service they were providing could not meet that standard and if I wanted they would disconnect me (my arguement with them was that they needed to invest in rural infra) so I had to accept a poor service. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as of 2009, defines "Basic Broadband" as data transmission speeds exceeding 768 kilobits per second (Kbps) but worse than that is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has defined broadband as 256 kbit/s (in at least one direction) and this bit rate is the most common baseline that is marketed as "broadband" around the world.
3. So what does this mean to you. Unless your contract gives a specific min speed they have you by the blx. But it could be worse if you lived else where. I have to put up with a 1 mbs service due to shite infra, having just been posted from a SFA where I was get 5 - 6 mbs from a standard BT home hub service.
 
#4
An old POTS copper pair is technically capable of 64 Kb/sec but of this 8 is taken up with 'engineering services' leaving the oft quoted 56 Kb/sec although this theoretical maximum will never be achieved.

As you say that you are 'only about 300 yds from the exchange' then you probably have assymetric copper (ie up and down speeds differ) and while you are lucky to be that close to the exchange there are many other considerations.

The fact that you get ~>50% of the (unattainable) theoretical max, and sometimes appreciably more, is OK and just live with the fact that your supplier will never tell the whole truth but will always quote the max. They just cover their arrses by saying 'up to'.

It's not really their fault - It's a fact of life.
 
#12
I pay for 10 and here's my result



The difference between up and down is because the thing is 'assymetric' coz it is assummed that you normally GET stuff from the net rather than PUT stuff up to the net which is what most of us do and a slower speed up is acceptable.
 
#16
Guess I'm alright then?



Two problems you will have in the real world, ISPs that are pushing beyond 20:1 and 50:1 at peak times and exchanges that are limited by the size of the backhaul to the BT core network.

The short term nothing will change, in the medium term you'll start to see more expensive services with guarantees about performance, and in the longer term you will see ADSL replaced by ethernet with service level directly related to charging. Oh and did I mention that it will be more expensive?
 

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