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Broadband Services Getting Faster and Faster

Aug 23, 2007
Broadband connections are getting faster in the UK but many are still failing to reach the speeds that many service providers advertise. That is the view from the thinkbroadband website which recently carried out a survey of the speeds that broadband users receive.

According to their research the average broadband connection in the UK is now 2Mb up from 512Kbps three years ago. The data was provided by more than 330,000 people who took a speed test on the thinkbroadband website with the results showing that although speeds had gone up over the last three years many people were still some way off the speeds that were being advertised by their broadband providers.

Many people had been sold 8Mb connections but were unable to get this speed because of the distance they live from their local phone exchange or the quality of their phone line, both factors which are ultimately out of the customer's control. This means that many customers are paying for a high speed connection although they may be unable to receive that service.

Andrew Ferguson, editor of the thinkbroadband website, also highlighted the fact that some broadband providers were keeping people on fixed connections to save costs. He said: "Because the broadband they are giving people still fits into the description of 'up to 8Mbps' that they are selling people, they think that's fine."

In response to this Mr Ferguson, and many others in the industry, feel that customers should be told that the connection they are getting is "rate adaptive", which means it runs as fast as the line can tolerate.

The fastest connection that was registered in the survey was 21Mb which belonged to a customer of the broadband provider Be. Be Broadband is one of a number of companies which have invested in ADSL2+ technologies, which offers substantial speed improvements. However, such services are often limited to urban areas. In response to this, BT Wholesale is currently trialling ADSL2+ technology, which it is expected to roll out to other internet service providers in the next 24 months giving many more customers the chance to experience faster broadband speeds.

In other countries such as Japan, speeds of 50/60Mbps are not uncommon due to VDSL technology. However, faster broadband speeds over telephone lines could potentially lead to interference with radio stations so Ofcom wants these problems fixed before the green light is given to technologies such as VDSL and VDSL2, which offer tremendous broadband speeds.
About the Author
Guide2Broadband discusses broadband options for residential customers, primarily for the UK market. Find out more about getting the best broadband option for your home at http://www.guide2broadband.com
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