British Broadband Bait & Switch

On the heels of the just ended CRTC review of broadband throttling (AKA broadband bluffers festival) in Ottawa, news from Britain’s telecoms watchdog indicates that folks in the UK are also being sold a bill of goods by ISPs.

Half measures

In recent measures, Ofcom initiated a survey of the country’s ISP only to find that in selling service offered as “up to XX MB/s” the actual delivery fell far short of the mark. After some 60 million readings at a 1,600 homes (hmm, that’s 37,000 reading per home) the results were abysmal.

Fewer than one in ten (9 per cent) of our sample on 8Mbit/s headline packages received actual average speeds of over 6Mbit/s and around one in five (19 per cent) received, on average, less than 2Mbit/s.


It seems that one could expect that ISPs should be able to offer a Service Level Agreement that ensures an offering range (i.e. 5MB/s to 8MB/s). Although in our experience all ISPs will attempt to use any statement to lock in a customer, then create enough weasel worded clauses in the service description that they could drive a fleet of trucks through.

You can review the entire Ofcom study here and review their suggested “Code of Conduct” for broadband providers. It’s rather weakly worded but at least in the right direction.

Closer to home

While our analysis of our own broadband connection does not parallel these findings you can see how your ISP compares with the rest of the world here.

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