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Brits Rejecting Superfast Broadband

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the ship-it-across-the-pond-we'll-take-it dept.

The Internet 247

Barence writes "Britain's biggest ISPs are struggling to convince customers to upgrade to superfast broadband. Of the six million customers who can get fiber broadband from BT, Britain's biggest ISP, only 300,000 have done so — a conversion rate of only 5%. Only 2.3% of Virgin Media customers, meanwhile, have upgraded to 50Mbits/sec or 100Mbits/sec connections. The chief of Ofcom, Britain's telecoms regulator, admits that take-up is 'still low' and says only families with teenage children are bothering to upgrade to fiber."

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If they accepted it... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029632)

maybe they could get FIRST POST!

That's what happens... (1, Offtopic)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029842)


"admits that take-up is 'still low' and says only families with teenage children are bothering to upgrade to fiber."

That's what happens when you beat the hell out of your economy and your customers. They lose economic leverage. Nothing to see here but corporate and political greed.

Not too surprised... (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029648)

First things I'd look at are price, getting screwed over by the incumbents, then I'd look to see the current state of the country along with Europe, and wondering whether or not I'd have a job next week. Superfast is all good and fine, but if what you have works. It'll work until things get better.

Re:Not too surprised... (3, Insightful)

nicolastheadept (930317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029724)

We've got 30Mbit Virgin, its excellent and plenty fast enough between four of us. Didn't see any point paying the extra for 50 or 100 yet. Maybe in a year or two.

Re:Not too surprised... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029738)

Not to mention, why buy a superfast connection whose main usages are going to be things that are more and more likely to get you sued. I say this because it appears that the main leading adopters are families with teenage children...who don't have all that much money themselves. So what are they downloading faster? It's just like the constant marketing of bigger capacity mp3 players....no one has the money to fill them legitimately...so what exactly are these companies expecting to happen?

I know the answer. They want you to buy the service, but not actually use it. It's worked really well for gym memberships for decades.

Re:Not too surprised... (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030488)

This is really the problem. People don't want to pay for a faster connection if there are no applications that need it, but there is no business case for an application that needs it until people have the connections. Take Netflix at 1080p. If they released it they would have a million customers with 16Mbps connections blaming Netflix for the choppiness (or the auto-downgrade to 720p when they paid for 1080p) because it would require 20Mbps per stream.

What ISPs need to do is charge all customers the same rate, where that rate includes a certain amount to pay for a regular stream of upgrades. Then when the upgrade comes everybody gets it. That helps the ISP because getting slightly more money from every customer is much more profitable than getting substantially more money from very few customers, and because it ensures that applications that require 100Mbps+ connections will be created and give people a reason to continue paying for a wired connection instead of just tethering to their phones. (The customers naturally benefit from a perpetual succession of upgrades for only slightly more than they would pay for perpetual stagnation.)

Re:Not too surprised... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029910)

The article mentions price, but claims 35 GBP for 100Mbps...

Right now, I'm paying the equivalent of 75 GBP for 50Mbps, so to me, 35 seems super cheap.

Re:Not too surprised... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029986)

OTOH I'm paying the equivalent of ~31 GBP for a 5mbps connection, so any of those options seems to be extremely cheap from my point of view. But, the other consideration is how much the less expensive options are. Just because they're dirt cheap compared with my expensive connection doesn't mean that the funds are there for a connection that costs more money on a real basis.

Re:Not too surprised... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030004)

When they quote the £35 price, they don't usually include the 'hidden extras'.
I found it impossible to get service at the price, as they wouldn't offer me the service unless I also took out a phone line (yes, even with Virgin cable), at around £15 a month.
The end result is that my 30Mbps broadband is listed at £8.50 per month on the website, but I find myself paying £28.50 per month in reality.

Re:Not too surprised... (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030482)

All the good offers from Virgin seem to say "when taken with a Virgin phone line".

I have just 30Mb/s broadband (and nothing else), which costs £30. It's been over a year, so I bet if I phone up they'll reduce it to the current £28.50 price, but that might come with a new 12 month contract, which I don't want. 50Mb/s would cost £35/month, and I'm not sure I see the point of upgrading... what is the point? Slighly faster downloads, if the server is fast enough, but almost everything is either so fast it's essentially instant, or something to check back on in a couple/few minutes.

Re:Not too surprised... (2)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030664)

When they quote the £35 price, they don't usually include the 'hidden extras'.
I found it impossible to get service at the price, as they wouldn't offer me the service unless I also took out a phone line (yes, even with Virgin cable), at around £15 a month.
The end result is that my 30Mbps broadband is listed at £8.50 per month on the website, but I find myself paying £28.50 per month in reality.

Consider yourself lucky. I have a 12Mbps account in the USA (with wonderful Comcast) for $60+(ie, internet cost + either basic cable @ $15 or $15 fee). Getting 20Mbps or 50Mbps would cost $30 and $50 more.

Slow uptake may be more likely due to overall economic conditions and fear of reprisal for "illegal" activity. Also not sure about where you are, but here, we have monthly bandwidth quotas which are shrinking.

Re:Not too surprised... (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030150)

It's a combination of the fact that current tech is good enough for the moment, and both BT and Virgin's offerings are capped, throttled, very expensive, or some combination of the above. Not to say I don't expect to pay more for new infrastructure, just to say that I won't do so if it doesn't represent good value overall. A couple of years down the line I'm sure I'll be very glad that the fibre is in place, and I sincerely hope they don't take the low early demand as an excuse to stop investing, but for now it just doesn't seem worth it.

I'm in central London, so I have a fairly wide range of ISPs to choose from - I currently get about 17Mbps over copper with Sky, genuinely unlimited usage, and it costs around £22/month including line rental (if you're comparing, most of the figures quoted online exclude line rental, and it's generally about £10-12/month) and evening weekend calls (not that I ever really use the landline, but it's a free addition). As it stands, there really aren't many occasions that the current line feels sluggish, although I'd probably want a little more headroom if I were regularly streaming HD video. If I went over to fibre (or copper, they're the same price) with BT I'd be paying either £28/month for 40Mbps with a data cap of 40GB/month, or £38/month for 40Mbps unlimited - a 40GB cap renders the high speed service all but useless to me (Steam alone probably eats through that much between three of us in the house), so I'm looking at an extra 75% on my bill every month if I want a usable fibre line from BT. Virgin's 50Mbps and below packages have both packet shaping and caps of varying onerousness, so they're already off the table, and the 100Mbps service costs £48.90/month.

Like I said, I don't expect to get top end service for nothing, but there's no way I'm using crippled fibre, nor am I paying somewhere in the region of twice as much for a proper fibre line that I'll see, at best, a minimal boost from.

Re:Not too surprised... (2)

trewornan (608722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030228)

both BT and Virgin's offerings are capped, throttled, very expensive, or some combination of the above

Exactly, I've got Virgin Broadband at home and they throttle the hell out of me (I'm a torrenter). I went to stay with a friend for a month recently and BT told him he was going to exceed their "fair use policy" on a supposedly "unlimited" deal.

So why pay for the extra bandwidth if you're not allowed to use it.

Re:Not too surprised... (3, Informative)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030366)

I suggest that both you and the GP should probably take a look at the Virgin Throttling [virginmedia.com] for higher speed lines.

I'm on the M service and I can raep (oops, my ED side is showing) torrents like they're ... free, as long as I do it at the right time.
Knowing when those times are and having a decent aftermarket firmware on my router which I can set cron jobs in means that I can throttle up and down at the right times so I don't get 5 hours of shit slow service twice a day.

Re:Not too surprised... (5, Funny)

Serif (87265) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030418)

On the subject of "unlimited" deals, I've taken to asking people trying to sell me broadband what their "unlimit" is.

Re:Not too surprised... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030384)

Hmm, fiber isn't really meant for the average consumer, it benefits most to businesses who have XX/XXX users using the internet simultaneously. Fiber in residential is an excellent opportunity to say host your own domain and servers, but for most people that's not applicable. Here in the states I've had fiber available for a while to my home and my employer would have to pay 70k for the install to get it, so in its current state its mostly useless, a great technology but stupid implementation by stupid people. My 10 meg for $30 on promo gets me through anything I need to do, most of the internet can't POST fast enough for me to care about going above that threshold (10 meg is burst speed, I get 3 meg consistent if I'm lucky, but you realize quite how fast that is?)

Re:Not too surprised... (1)

Nova77 (613150) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030580)

This. A million times.

Re:Not too surprised... (2)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030288)

Yes! I can imagine the ad on TV (at least in the US):

Buy the new super mega fastest internet: 10Gbps! For only $100 a month, you can reach your "unlimited monthly cap" in less than a second!

Re:Not too surprised... (1)

brentrad (1013501) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030564)

I count myself as very lucky for the internet options where I live. I currently have Frontier FIOS, 35 Mbps up/down, for $60 a month, no caps whatsoever (I would have easily found out about any caps with my downloading habits.) Portland area in Oregon. But that's one benefit from living within 5 miles of 6 Intel manufacturing plants.

Re:Not too surprised... (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030706)

You are fortunate!

The best deal I can get in Lincoln, Nebraska is 15Mb/s for $52/mo, no caps. But, that's 2 Mb/s download speed and 1 Mb/s upload speed.. InternetSpeedTest shows I have 14.8Mb/s usable bandwidth. IF I wanted to pay $100/mo for $50Mb/s I could triple my speed, but $100 for Internet only is too much for two little. A friend of mine in France pays $30/mo for a 40Mb/s connection that include 200 channels of TV and a 24/7/365 free phone call to anywhere in France.

Well, what did they expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029658)

the usual 6 to 16 Mbit/s are sufficient for everything but large music and video downloads...

And who does that?

Re:Well, what did they expect? (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029760)

We have a 24Mbit connection, and don't have issues playing games/streaming Netflix. This is a household with four people in it too (doing more than one of those at once.) So I can imagine the reason most won't upgrade.

Re:Well, what did they expect? (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029904)

Have you found you actually connect at 24Mbps?

Re:Well, what did they expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030100)

I'm on the same kind of service (BTs ADSL2+) we are about 200 metres from the exchange, and the sync rate is approx 24Mbps give or take a few kbps.
On the other hand, a friend is about 3km away from the exchange, pays the same price as me, but only receives a sync rate of 8Mbps.

No shit, sherlock (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029664)

Price is clearly a major factor, too. Virgin’s 100Mbits/sec service costs £35 a month (when taken with a Virgin phone line), but its cheapest 10Mbits/sec package costs only £13.50 – almost a third of the price. And while BT does indeed match the price of its top-end ADSL and fibre packages, you can get BT’s up to 20Mbits/sec ADSL for as little as £13 (plus line rental), compared to the minimum £28 per month outlay for fibre. When the whole country’s looking after the pennies, people need a pretty good reason to upgrade.

PC Pro has just discovered that if you increase prices, fewer people will want to pay. They must be on to something.

Re:No shit, sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029780)

Indeed. As a Brit, can I petition the editors to change the title to "Brits rejecting superpricey broadband"?

Re:No shit, sherlock (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030044)

But it's not superpricey £35 is only about £4 more than I'm paying for a 5mbps connection in the US. For an additional 4 quid you're getting 20x the connection. Granted you're not likely to need that amount of bandwidth, but it's hardly that expensive.

Re:No shit, sherlock (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030170)

What you're getting in the US is irrelevant to the UK market. Over here, people are (as TFA does mention) paying about 1/3 of that price for "regular" broadband, i.e., what is laughably described as "up to 8Mb/s" or "up to 20Mb/s" in ISP advertising.

Also, to use fibre you need new hardware to connect to the network, which you also have to pay for, whereas quite a few ADSL2 (up to 8Mb/s) routers also support with ADSL2+ (up to 20Mb/s) so that upgrade is almost entirely done ISP-side.

Finally, I'd really like to know where all these 3 million fibre-enabled households are, because we sure as heck aren't one of them and would love to have it, and we're fairly close to an exchange and in the middle of Cambridge, which is one of the most technology-focussed cities in the UK. If what they really mean is that they've fibre-enabled most of London (which contrary to perceptions about the City is mostly not full of millionaires) then of course it's not surprising that they've had a low take-up.

Re:No shit, sherlock (2, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030450)

Indeed. As a Brit, can I petition the editors to change the title to "Brits rejecting superpricey broadband"?

How about 'superpricey broadband only has 600% annual growth rate', or 'only trebled market penetration in a year'? People don't generally queue up to pay a premium to be early adopters, unless it has an Apple logo on it.

Re:No shit, sherlock (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029784)

There's also the question of how much speed is enough. I can wait five minutes for patches and updates to install on a 6.5 MBit link. It's far more than adequate for a single-user home.

Even if you're a torrent freak, there's only so much content you can download and watch, and 100Mbit download is just overkill unless you've got a huge household.

Now upload speed for running a business demo website -- that I could use.

Re:No shit, sherlock (5, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030218)

Even if you're a torrent freak, there's only so much content you can download and watch, and 100Mbit download is just overkill unless you've got a huge household.
Now upload speed for running a business demo website -- that I could use.

Speak for yourself. Our non-huge household of 2 adults and 2 kids has had 100/10 for four years, and found the download speed very useful, without any torrents. We recently switched to 100/100 symmetric for 43euro/month (it includes IP TV as well).

You're correct in asserting that the upload speed is important, although for a household rather than a business. Our web server has many photo slideshows and quite a few SD/HD videos (mostly of our kids at ballet performances or horse riding competitions), and at 10Mbps upload it could get congested if more than 2 or 3 people were streaming them. At 100Mbps, there are no issues with streaming.

Re:No shit, sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030290)

I think could storage will be the driver for faster, more synchronous broadband. I store some files on skydrive (yes - Microsoft! but 25 GB for free over Dav) and over a 14/1 ADSL connection uploading documents is slow.

14 MB downstream is fully sufficent for torrenting, webtv, youtube, web surfing etc.

Re:No shit, sherlock (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029796)

Once you can stream HD speed goes way down on priority. Especially since the other end may not support 100Mbit to you anyway.

I expect most people would want more cap so they can actually use the 20Mbits they have.

Price? (1)

iglooo101 (2222284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029668)

Maybe price is a factor?

Re:Price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030118)

Given a choice between "fast enough" and "too expensive"... well damn, d'ya think?!

Re:Price? (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030680)

download caps are the main problem, why bother upgrading speed if its still capped?

Upstream! (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029684)

10Mb/s at the moment is fine. Much faster and the bottleneck just moves off the last mile. I'd much rather have a 10Mb/s up, 20Mb/s down connection than the 5Mb/s up, 50Mb/s down that Virgin offers. Sure, I can get 10Mb/s down if I pay for the 100Mb/s connection, but with that sort of speed the bottleneck for most things becomes my 802.11g network. Until I get around to upgrading everything to 802.11n, there's no advantage in more than 20Mb/s. What I would be willing to pay more for:
  • Static IPv4 address
  • Full IPv6 support
  • More upstream

What Virgin Media offers me on the more expensive tariffs is more downstream and a tiny bit more upstream. So I've gone from subscribing to their most expensive plan in 2003 to subscribing to their least expensive one in 2011.

Re:Upstream! (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030104)

But you are, essentially, describing a business user. Let's face it, your desires are not those of the Zombies of Endless Summer - the primary life form on the Internet. And since they can soak businesses (and oddballs like you) for those features, they're going to.

Re:Upstream! (2)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030262)

Not really, I personally have the same idea about what my home connection should look like. 10 megs of upstream and full IPv6 support is what I need the most right now. The days when upstream speed on consumer connection didn't matter are long gone. When it takes you the whole freaking day to upload 15 minute video in decent HD quality to YouTube...

Re:Upstream! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030208)

Agreed. If we want to use all these funky cloud-based services and run automated off-site back-ups, we can't keep pretending that the asymmetry in ADSL can stay at a 10:1 ratio.

Of course, many places will offer you SDSL, as long as you're prepared to pay an order of magnitude more to have it.

Re:Upstream! (2)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030442)

Why do you give a fuck about ipv6? No, seriously?
(apart from some religious idea that it makes a difference)

Re:Upstream! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030606)

10Mb/s at the moment is fine. Much faster and the bottleneck just moves off the last mile. I'd much rather have a 10Mb/s up, 20Mb/s down connection than the 5Mb/s up, 50Mb/s down that Virgin offers. Sure, I can get 10Mb/s down if I pay for the 100Mb/s connection, but with that sort of speed the bottleneck for most things becomes my 802.11g network. Until I get around to upgrading everything to 802.11n, there's no advantage in more than 20Mb/s. What I would be willing to pay more for:

  • Static IPv4 address
  • Full IPv6 support
  • More upstream

What Virgin Media offers me on the more expensive tariffs is more downstream and a tiny bit more upstream. So I've gone from subscribing to their most expensive plan in 2003 to subscribing to their least expensive one in 2011.

Even worse are the data caps. 250GB is the cap for every ISP in my area, and I'm furious about it.

I'd rather have 1.5/256 with no cap than FIOS with a 250GB/month bandwidth cap.

Cost? (3, Informative)

NNUfergs (1794256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029696)

If it's like any other British technology commodities, it costs more than it's worth. After the promotional pricing ended I pay $70 a month for 40x5Mb/s. ISPs charge WAY to much for their services.

Re:Cost must be relative (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029806)

For all the good HW pricing we get in the states, we take it in the rear for data pricing.

Seriously...the fastest I can buy from my two providers (Verizon and Comcast) are 4Mb/0.8Mb for $37/mo and 12Mb/2Mb for $60/mo., and this is in a fairly well wired (short of FiOS) college town. I actually had someone recently offer to switch me to T1 'cause they were running new lines on my street - symmetric 1.5Mb for ONLY $70/mo.

I'd jump at 50Mb or 100Mb service for under $100, but - if they were even available (which they're not) - those two speeds are $200 and $290 per month. And they're still not symmetric (5Mb or 10Mb upload).

Re:Cost must be relative (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030038)

I was ecstatic to upgrade recently to 8Mbps/2Mbps for $95 / month. It's the first time it was available in my area.

Prior to that, I have 256Kbps/128kbps up. ISDN was a competitive service.

What a joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029706)

I'd love to upgrade but Virgin Media cant even get me a digital service yet.
I live 3 miles from their local HQ and they cant do fuck all.

Only a few parts of the UK can even get BT's super-overhyped-maudlin service BT offers.
Even if you get them the network cant handle much above 30Mb/s except at 4am in the morning.

The only advantage is the more relaxed leeching limits on VM, otherwise its just wasted money.

UK Broadband (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029714)

I would gladly upgrade to a 100Mbit service, problem is nothing faster than a 2mb ADSL connection has ever been available to my house, seems like a lot of people are in a similar situation. If virgin don't have cable in your area and you don't live in a city centre you're fucked broadband wise. Not to mention you still have to pay the same price as people with far superior connections.

Re:UK Broadband (1)

Robadob (1800074) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029778)

I currently live about a mile or two from the city centre of Sheffield (UK) and we can't even get virgin media cable.

Re:UK Broadband (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030124)

But you'd be very likely to get Digital Region or BT Infinity, I hazard. And that's good for 40mbit (supposedly to become 80 in the not-too-distant future).

And they are surprised by this? (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029746)

10Mb/sec is pretty fast. Hell, I only have 1.5Mb/sec at home and that is almost as fast as I really need (although not when shared.) I'd certainly upgrade to much faster if I could (100Mb/sec would be amazing), but most people really don't need more than 10Mb/s. Unless you do lots of, um, downloading "Linux ISOs" off Bittorrent or something, or for professional reasons, most people don't need faster.

Actually, TFA even makes that point. People in rural areas (I'm semi-rural) would love fiber, but it doesn't get to them. People in urban areas, who could get fiber, don't need it. Yet, I should note. Eventually, of course, fiber is the way of the future and everyone should be able to get it standard, but that day is still a ways off.

Re:And they are surprised by this? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030272)

Unless you do lots of, um, downloading "Linux ISOs" off Bittorrent or something, or for professional reasons, most people don't need faster.

But for the kind of people who are aware of what faster options are potentially available and likely to sign up for them, I'd guess there's a higher than average chance that they do work in technology industries and that they do work from home at times, so that argument feels somehow circular.

Re:And they are surprised by this? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030298)

Unless you do lots of, um, downloading "Linux ISOs" off Bittorrent or something, or for professional reasons, most people don't need faster.

One of the new games I looked at on Steam recently was 30GB. Several of the games I already own are 10-25GB.

Admittedly downloading a new game isn't something I do often, but when I do it would be nice if I didn't have to wait a day for it to complete. Just not enough to be worth paying 3x as much every month.

Re:And they are surprised by this? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030720)

good point about it being 'fast enough', but if enough people had 100mbps to the home, they could start using movie on demand type services (rather than youtube on demand quality we have at the moment). That might change the way we look at the internet, but it won't happen until enough people have it.

No, I can't think of any other reasons to have it :)

RTFL (1)

Chucky_M (1708842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029770)

People are pissed at being lied to about download speeds and do not trust what they are being told, worse the areas targeted for the "superfast" already have fast cheap internet connectivity, if you read the article it states this and the summary does not match it. Ignoring the flagrant abuse of journalism which is the norm these days both in RL and /. this means only people with money to burn will take it, they exist but in a world economic downturn guess what - there are not so many.

Wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029772)

As an American, I feel sure these speeds must be mis-types by an order of magnitude. Right?

Re:Wait what? (1)

Renegrade (698801) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030144)

We do 25 and 50 megabits/sec in Canada for residential. Bell Fibe 25 (25 down, 7 up) and Rogers' defective 50 meg cable service (50 down, 2 up).

And as you know, we're mostly empty space up here...

You're all slackin' on laying lines south of the border!

Re:Wait what? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030404)

As an American, I feel sure these speeds must be mis-types by an order of magnitude. Right?

As another american, sitting here on my 25/25 Verizon FiOS, having just switched from a 20/5 COX cable line...I think you live in the wrong area.

Virgin to sell 1.5 gigabit Internet to cocks (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029774)

Virgin Media will shortly trial 1.5Gbps cable Internet, but only to festering dot-com media cocks who live actually around Shoreditch itself.

“As the pace of technological change increases,” said the ISP in the press release all the papers copied word for word, “it is vitally important to public health that these people have as absolutely much incentive as possible never to leave their homes. Wanking themselves silly over gigabytes of high-definition porn also reduces their likelihood of reproducing.”

With the warmer weather, the Hoxton toxic waste pool has been growing and spreading, with reports of hipster infestations washing up as far afield as Hackney.

If the creative industries cannot be kept under control, by 2015 the entire population of Britain may be beret-wearing latte-sipping surrender monkeys telling you how much they just can’t stand hipsters. Virgin Media is currently rolling out 100Mbps broadband to two million of the most endangered residential premises in the hope of effective quarantine.

In the wider world, high speed Internet will apparently let consumers access all manner of as yet nonexistent socially-redeeming services made of magic beans and pink unicorns, which actually means BitTorrenting a pirated movie in under five minutes. And hitting your download cap in another ten.

Virgin Media also announced that its overall revenue for the first quarter was up 5.7 percent to £982m, as a result of the utter lack of any correlation between making money on a service and actually being able to provide it in a manner even slightly resembling reliability or competence.

http://newstechnica.com/2011/04/20/virgin-media-to-sell-1-5-gigabit-internet-to-complete-cocks/ [newstechnica.com]

Re:Virgin to sell 1.5 gigabit Internet to cocks (1, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030180)

So now other sites are spamming the /. comments sections with their own drivel?

Re:Virgin to sell 1.5 gigabit Internet to cocks (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030376)

Actually its the complete opposite. The telephone companies are desperate to fibre-up the working class estates in order to cut into Sky's satellite TV revenues. In my town I hear you can get fast fibre internet north of the river, but not on the more middle-class south side. There's no money to be made in infrastructure unless you can sell 260 channels of endless crap to unemployed chavs sitting on their butts all day. Slight caricature.

Catch 22 (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029786)

To some extent, there isn't much of a reason to have a fast connection until there are services that exploit it. But then, who's going to develop services that exploit fast connections when most people don't have them?

If you build it, they will come.

6Mb/s is enough (2)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029790)

I've got 6Mb/s and it's almost always enough. I can surf and watch Netflix in HD at the same time. The only time I notice it is when doing a large download (CD sized or above, often software updates). Right now, it's pretty much plenty. In fact, the upload cap (768Kb/s? 1Mb/s?) is far more annoying.

If you had multiple people in the house, I could see having it higher... but I'm not sure the vast majority of houses would even need 25Mb/s right now, let alone 50-100Mb/s.

Re:6Mb/s is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030328)

I'm on fibre already and would hate to go back. Youtube, itunes and any other site with the output to keep up is fantastic. Being able to rent a movie from itunes and have it ready before the popcorn is awesome. What's good enough for you isn't good enough foreveryone otherwise we'd still be on dialup

I have it (4, Interesting)

dominux (731134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029794)

it is rather good, I didn't get it from BT because they are crap at customer service, don't know what a fixed IP address is and have a fixation with their crappy homehub routers, I got it from Plusnet which resell the raw service, include a crappy but standard and functional netgear router and for a bit extra you can get a fixed IP address. I get 34MB downstream and 1.6MB upstream. Initially I had problems with the cheap nasty BT huawei interface box overheating, but they have a revised model that doesn't cook itself, but you must still wall mount it to get the passive cooling working properly.

Re:I have it (1)

bazim2 (625704) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029876)

You do know that PlusNet are owned by BT, right?

Re:I have it (1)

jd678 (577145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030294)

Whilst I'm not really expecting it to last, at the moment it remains very much a hands-off ownership. Having been with them since about 2002, not much has changed since BT bought them out. The moment it does, I'm out.

Don't discount Plusnet just because they're owned by BT, the two consumer divisions are run quite differently.

Re:I have it (2)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030432)

Because peer post mentioned it ...
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Plusnet#Acquisition_by_BT [wikimedia.org]

On 16 November 2006, it was announced that BT were making an offer for all shares in Plusnet. The BT deal (worth approximately £67m) was declared unconditional on 24 January 2007 (after OFT approval was granted).

Re:I have it (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030604)

"Initially I had problems with the cheap nasty BT huawei interface box overheating, but they have a revised model that doesn't cook itself, but you must still wall mount it to get the passive cooling working properly."

Sounds like a candidate for an external fan zip tied or velcro'ed on so you don't have to mod the thing and can exchange it when it does die.

Super fast with a cap? (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029800)

Why bother with 'superfast' if all its going to do is get you to your monthly cap faster ( and potentially overage charges ) ?

Re:Super fast with a cap? (1)

DarkofPeace (1672314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029962)

agreed

Re:Super fast with a cap? (4, Informative)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029984)

Cant speak for BT, but virgin use throttling instead of a cap If you get through more than some amount (typically a few GB's) during peak times your speeds will be throttled to 25% for a few hours, beyond that you can do what you want. And the top end services mentioned here dont even have that throttling....

Re:Super fast with a cap? (0)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030054)

Love the sig. Trurth, even if you disagree with the nation for which he was patriotic.

Re:Super fast with a cap? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030154)

Because I don't use my connection 24/7 at full-throttle.

Here, have a car analogy.

It's like having a car that goes 100 miles an hour instead of having a car that goes 10 miles an hour. Let's say that you're only allowed to go 1000 miles a month.

It should be obvious that it's STILL better to have the 100 car, as that means you can get places FASTER even though you're covering the same distance.

To come back to the broadband world. I'd still rather get my Steam game that I've purchased in 5 minutes than 50 minutes.... even if I only do that once every month.

Re:Super fast with a cap? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030622)

Because I don't use my connection 24/7 at full-throttle.

I dont agree its not a big deal, and the car analogy doesn't really apply as when the bandwidth goes up like this more services will end up using it ( much as places like netflix appeared to suck up current bandwidth )

Besides, some of us used to run fill tilt 24/7.

Re:Super fast with a cap? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030198)

Virgin's 50Mb/s and 100Mb/s connections have no caps. Their slower connections don't have monthly caps, but they have peak amounts (which generally total something like 5-10GB/day) that will result in your connection being throttled to 25% speed if you exceed them.

Re:Super fast with a cap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030476)

No cap with BT Infinity. Might be throttling but never noticed. 38mbit down, 8 up.

Exactly. Also crap ISPs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030520)

"Why bother with 'superfast' if all its going to do is get you to your monthly cap faster"

Exactly this. The ISPs offering faster broadband right now are the shitty ISPs with a lot of infrastructure/buying power. The ISPs that really cater to pros, like Be, don't have an offering yet. That's BT and/or BT Wholesale's fault.

I'd quite like it, but can't have it. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029804)

But unfortunately I don't live in an area with cable or fibre, so I'm stuck with DSL. Even if it was available I've no need for a landline telephone so I have to add a sizeable amount to those seemingly cheap prices. I'd be looking at ~£40 p.m. for uncapped* fibre; for some reason the 20MB and 40MB packages cost the same. That also requires a minimum 18 months contract. (Virgin are marginally cheaper)

Maybe I'm not in the 2+2.4 kids target audience, but I'll stick with my £12, 8MB, contract-free service. It seems like better value for money and it's more than adequate for playing online, using iPlayer and getting the odd game on Steam. Still, I guess I'd get a better deal if I watched TV.

People Don't Care (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029812)

Most people in cities will hardly notice the difference between 20Mbit and 50Mbit. It is the people who are out in the middle of nowhere who struggle to get 2Mbit who actually need these upgrades.

What's the point if ISPs throttle traffic? (1)

newdarktimes (591000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029828)

I don't know about the European market, but here in Canada our ISPs throttle our traffic, at least during prime time, which is when I tend to use my home computers.

What's the point of me upgrading to their higher tiered bandwidth selections if they're going to throttle me anyway? I don't want to pay for potential throughput during off-hours. Eliminate throttling practices and I'd be happy to pay for a faster connection.

Re:What's the point if ISPs throttle traffic? (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029976)

I would assume those on faster plans get a throttled to a higher speed. If so that is what you are paying for no the max speed.

I would think they network bottlenecks somewhere rather than actively throttling you though. I know my ISP has a tiny bandwidth to the rest of the internet.

Re:What's the point if ISPs throttle traffic? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030666)

"I don't know about the European market, but here in Canada our ISPs throttle our traffic, at least during prime time, which is when I tend to use my home computers."

In lovely South Carolina we have "passive throttling", where teh cable intertubes become clogged during prime time.

Any initiatives to fix this are doomed, and many folks beyond reach of cable and DSL still use AOL dialup for the relatively "good" dialup performance.

The fact is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029846)

if you have massive download speeds and the other network has a poor upload speed why upgrade? In fact most sites do limit download slot speed (ie rapidshare, etc). If most networks are suffering from upload limits it makes no sense to the other end to upgrade to a faster download unless you are a) torrenting or b) running multiple large concurrent downloads from different networks. Both of which are not done by the majority of people. Not to mention limitations of current wireless gear (as mentioned above), the arrival of 'free' wifi spots/cafe's, and poor economic climate.

Well after being shafted for the past 2 decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029850)

What do you expect?

The time they decide to update is possibly the worst time ever, when a recession was just beginning. Genius idea guys, genius.

Not only that, the price is just insanely more than people care about.
Unless it is for gaming or a large family who consume a lot of online media, nobody cares. Crappy Copper is good enough for most people, not everyone wants to download the whole series of Doctor Who, or whatever.
Even Copper works for online gaming too, fiber isn't that much better in the end.

I consume quite a decent amount of online data, even with a limit (40, or 80 if over, only for £5 extra), but even I couldn't care less about fiber.
What I would rather see is a more capable backbone and exchanges, and replacing crappy lines with new ones and recycling the wires.
While the failures on my line is fairly low, I know other people on the same ISP who have had terrible connections, despite being CLOSER to the exchange. (I mean really, REALLY closer, as in, right around the corner from the thing!)
Stuff like that just doesn't make sense, and it is stupidly easy to detect on the ISPs ends by simply monitoring bad packets and failed connections.

Even better idea, throw up a low-price city-wide wireless network, instantly you'd get a considerable number of people signing up who wouldn't due to the price and general low-activity usage of the internet. (same reason why I would never pay for an MMO since I'd never be able to justify that price for how little I would play the game)
This would also be a very good way to get less capable people online, like that Give an Hour campaign thing that gained some momentum recently.

Re:Well after being shafted for the past 2 decades (1)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030304)

I consume quite a decent amount of online data, even with a limit (40, or 80 if over, only for £5 extra), but even I couldn't care less about fiber.

2 points, firstly if you think 80 gigs a month is alot then you are sadly mistaken. Secondly just in case you werent aware this is fibre to the cabinet, not to the premises, so its not like they're even doing any extra laying of cable other than their infrastructure upgrades anyway

Costs... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029870)

Its so stupidly expensive.

Usual Australian Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029932)

Luxury. In Perth I'm paying $60/month (includes line rental) for "unlimited ADSL 2+" using TPG Internet. Maximum download speed is 3-4 Mb/s but I do live 4.5km from the exchange. Upload speed is too horrible to mention. Suffice to say I still use a station wagon for bulk data transfers...

Bvitt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029936)

Hands off my 56k baud modem you bastard ISPs...off to the pub...

Britain... (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029970)

...is the same country that fought against decimalisation of currency because it was too complicated and central heating because it weakened the spirit. - paraphrasing footnotes in Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

--
BMO

that's because you don't need it (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029974)

First of all, upgrading to fiber and provisioning for "superfast" are two different things. Putting fiber infrastructure in place, (having it run to your house when available) makes sense for future expansion even if you're not provisioned at the maximum rate.

I'd have expected less than 5% adoption for 24 Mb/sec. Most consumers don't need that kind of bandwidth for anything legal except for bragging rights or because they don't understand the difference between speed and latency. Most of the performance issues I've seen appear to be on the other (hosting) end anyway, where bandwidth to your house doesn't help at all. Even if the server side had unlimited upload bandwidth, who cares if a web page refreshes in 1/32 of a second instead of 1/16 of a second?

I had 25 down for awhile (on fiber) but only paid for that because it gave me 5 up and I was hosting websites at the time. I never got even close to needing 25 down, not even with a Roku box downstairs and Netflix plugin in media center upstairs, going at the same time while I was torrenting the latest CentOS release. I've since backed it off to 15 down 3 up and didn't notice the difference other than in my wallet. I'm still glad I have fiber to the house (uptime has been phenomenal) but let's be practical here.

Many people simply don't need it (2)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38029992)

For most home users "up to 8Mbit" is perfectly sufficient. You can you youtube, iPlayer and iTunes down 2Mbit just fine much more is nice but not worth paying extra for..

The largest group of people who want FTTC are people on long lines that are heavily speed restricted for that reason, for these people FTTC lifts them from the just-about-good-enough-these-days 2Mbit range. Unfortunately most of these places are not well served by fibre: both Virgin and BT are concentrating on central urban areas where they can serve a larger number of people with the same amount of equipment+effort as less concentrated places, and those central urban areas don't tend to have such long routes between them and the exchange to start with. For people already getting 8Mbit or more from ADSL2+ it often isn't worth the hassle of switching (which means signing up for a 12 or 18 month contract). Another group that faster lines are useful for is student houses where you are likely to find several relatively heavy users, but the 12-to-18 month contract makes the product useless to them as they are likely only in that house for 9 months.

I only switched to FTTC for the better upstream rate - I've gone from getting ~1.2Mbit up to close to ~8.5M (off a sync rate of 9995K) which meant I could bring a few websites and bits literally "in house" and makes my off-site backups more practical. While I can make use of the 31Mbit I see downstream now, the ~12 I was getting before was perfectly sufficient. If I'm shifting anything big enough that the speed bump downstream makes a difference I'll generally still transfer it overnight anyway when I'll be too asleep to notice (it isn't often I decide to grab 10Gbyte of something on the spur the the moment and want it now now now). And I consider myself a pretty heavy user (nearly 150Gbyte downstream already this month, upstream is unmetered so I don't keep an eye on that).

The big use for lots of bandwidth is video (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030092)

The big use for lots of bandwidth is video, and to get video anywhere close to broadcast time requires a television license, so you might as well just get a television license and not watch the video online at all.

-- Terry

Re:The big use for lots of bandwidth is video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030422)

Besides sports, what is the big deal about watching things at broadcast time? Most things are now available on-demand immediately after the credits roll.

Plus, you can watch live TV on a laptop without a license if you unplug it from the mains, no word of a lie.

oversubscribed (1)

Oakey (311319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030096)

they can't even provide stable speeds to their existing customers, they're oversubscribed. On packages lower than 50mbit you have STM from 10am until 9pm, after 9pm they throttle certain traffic they deem 'low priority' until midnight (even on the 50mbit and 100mbit) thus encouraging people to download overnight only lately I've noticed speeds being less than 5mbit in the early hours of the morning on some traffic. Games can be and often are laggy as hell. What's the point of having an always on broadband connection if when you use it as intended you hit a limit within 5-10minutes (because at full throttle it won't take long to reach the limit for the package you're on) and get throttled down to 25% for 5 hours! VirginMedia still think we're in the early 2000s and everyone is simply downloading mp3's, browsing and reading email. Streaming HD movies, game patches that over 1Gb (ie, rage), onkine game purchases (bf3 is 11.5gb!), etc simply don't exist in VirginMedias fantasy world.

They want to keep offering the latest and greatest speeds and then seem shocked when anyone tries to actually use that service to it's potential and forever seeks different ways to hinder the customer.

What For? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030152)

I may be tempted by lower contention or higher upload speeds... Download is fast enough to quickly saturate any server I can afford. Sending multi-gig multrack audio or video projects around takes forever and this is what most people I know are actually using their connections for.

27 minutes of 'fast' (2)

QX-Mat (460729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030266)

I was a Virgin subscriber for less than 28 days the other month. Thankfully I took advantage of their 28 day moneyback guarentee... why? All of their plans, except the most expensive one, capped you from 10Mb+ to 2Mb after 2Gb during 'peak time' (where peak time is a series of 4 hour slots throughout the day).

2Gb? That's less than movie on X-Box Live, 30 minutes of HD iPlayer or a 2Gb game patch... Deus Ex and BF3 are both 8Gb on Steam/Origin. The 2Mb cap is supposed to last until the end of the current peak period, or not more than 4 hours (iirc), but this didn't happen. If you hit the cap during the day, you were capped until 3am or later. Trying to use youtube or iPlayer on 2Mb is a painful experience. 480p would buffer and buffer and buffer - you had to load in the background and pause it regularly.

27 minutes of fast internet access, a package sold by misdescription, is a joke. Being able to fundamentally alter your service (by 80% or more) within 27 minutes is a joke. And people wonder why the target audience aren't running to sign up.

(Virgins ADSL2 service drop you to 5Mb, and are much more forgiving. Sky don't cap me at all - amazing!)

I'd rather have 8mb/s guaranteed. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030348)

I'd rather have 8mb/s, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week than 100mb/s intermittently.

Broadband providers should be required to advertise the highest speed you can run continuously for a month, alongside the price for that including all fees and taxes.

Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38030364)

I'd be more inclined to upgrade if I thought there was a hope in hell of getting promised speeds but after just under a decade of getting a 10th of what I pay for my faith is a little frayed.

Without the raw data, the analysis is worthless (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030388)

An ISP contract is more than just a number of potential megabits, it's caps, and prices, and reliability, and QoS, and for some people it's also about customer service. Just quoting their marketing numbers doesn't mean much. They also don't indicate who the target demographic is for these service tiers. If I could upgrade to a 50 or 100mbit service for, say, $50 more, I probably would, but I'm a heavy data consumer - I work from home, we stream or torrent just about everything we watch, and I buy quite a few games on Steam every month, so we'd greatly benefit greatly from a faster pipe. My mother, on the other hand, has no need for more than 15-20mbit, and could probably find a better use for that $50. I suspect there are a lot users like my mother, than supergeeks like me.

In my area, I have two big bads; Bell (DSL) and Rogers (cable). Both of them suck: low caps, heavy throttling 24/7, high prices, and forced bundling. Even if I were willing to blow $100 / mo on the 50mbit service, I have absolutely zero confidence in their ability to deliver those promised bits. Their throttling actually resets connections, ruining any online gaming, torrents, and video streaming. It's like buying a full-price Lamborghini, slashing the tires and installing a dick-punch device in the driver's seat, and as a prerequisite for even buying the Lambo, you need to pay twice the sticker price for a Jetta you don't even need nor want. Any one of these negatives would be a solid reason to not want to give more money to the telco or cableco.

yeah, because of the catches (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38030424)

First one: Both Virgin and BT will happily sell you out. Legal status ignored, they just will on the first request.
Second: What good is those 100Mb/s if your router is unable to keep more than 20 TCP connections open?

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