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Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

Infinity
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Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

According to the Guardian, Other nations have fibre optic cables running directly to households, but the UK's broadband relies on copper connections from BT's fibre network in the street.
The UK generates more money online than any other G20 nation, but lack of investment leaves downloads 16th slowest in Europe
BT Group, with a network that reaches nearly every home in the country, is laying fibre to cabinets in the streets, and relying on copper to carry the broadband signal the last leg to the doorstep.
Today, that means speeds limited to 80 megabits per second (Mbps), compared with 1,000Mbps or more available in all-fibre networks.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/may/07/broadband-britain-heading-slow-lane?utm_source=feed...
15 REPLIES
davidcrocker
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

So what? I can't think of any reason why a residential property would need anything like 1Gbps. Maybe in years to come there'll be a reason for needing higher speeds to residential properties, but right now there isn't. From next year, anyone whose cabinet is FTTC enabled will be able to upgrade to FTTP anyway (for a hefty fee).
IMO it is more of a problem that there are many homes and small businesses in rural areas that can't get ADSL at a decent speed and whose cabinets are not being upgraded to FTTC.
Infinity
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

The higher the initial speed, the higher the personal speed when the network is fully loaded, as demonstrated by recent football matches coinciding with slower than normal speeds.
My Bentley is large, comfortable, and fast.
Which makes it a pleasure to drive at normal speeds.
Or so my driver tells me !
David_W
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

I can't really think of any service (other than downloading files) which requires a 1Gb link, 80Mb is more than enough to do many, many tasks at the same time.  Sure, if you're in a household of 5 people and they all want to watch BBC iPlayer at the same time you'd need 3.2Mbps times 5 for umm 16Mbps (720p HD according to BBC iPlayer FAQ) so an 80Mb line should actually cope with that (you're downloading 2Meg a second) so the article there isn't quite accurate when it states we *need* 1Gb line to watch movies and use skype.
It takes 13 minutes to download a Blu-Ray quality film, but a film sort of lasts longer than 13 minutes so you may as well stream it, unless you're buying HD content.
I also question the "400,000 people able to get Fibre" comment, currently 95,692 people in Cornwall are able to get Fibre, the rest of the country only has 300k lines?
Then we get down to cost.  Verizon (in the US) do Fibre.  A 15Mb line (slower than ADSL2+) costs $54.99/month.  50Mb line?  $144.99, how much does an 80Mb line cost in the UK?  200Mb in Japan is about £70ish, couldn't find a link to a 1Gb service.  I'm personally one of the lucky ones, I am getting FTTP so (in theory) I'll have a line that supports 1Gb/sec, the question is, would I be able to actually use even the 100Mb, or should I go with 80Mb (saving money), there is no way I'd be able to use a 1Gb line (and not only because my 1Tb hard drive is almost full), and currently I can't see any possible way to fully utilize a 1Gb line unless you're a really big business with lots of computers connected to the internet all the time downloading lots.
Finally, say we all magically obtained a 1Gb line tomorrow, how many of us would actually be able to use it?  How many web sites out there have more than 1 Gb links themselves?  The knock on effect of everyone having 1Gb internet is that the internet itself has to cope with lots of people having 1Gb internet connections which pushes up the cost for hosts, download providers etc.
Infinity
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

"BT Group, with a network that reaches nearly every home in the country, is laying fibre to cabinets in the streets, and relying on copper to carry the broadband signal the last leg to the doorstep.
Today, that means speeds limited to 80 megabits per second (Mbps), compared with 1,000Mbps or more available in all-fibre networks."
Which I read as being a theoretical maximum, not an actual speed delivered to home / business.

But a possible BT Network speed, divided between consumers.

When I download several BBC iPlayer items at once, the speed is divided roughly equally between the various items.
ie 16mb/s shows download speed of 4mb/s for each of 4 items.
And when one item has finished downloading, the other speeds increase, spreading my speed of 16mb/s between them.


Here's a recent Service Status email from Plusnet...

Service: Network Capacity (ADSL2+/21CN)
Posted: Mon, Apr 30 2012 at 15:09:09
Subject: Increase in 21CN Broadband Capacity - Tuesday 1st May
We will shortly be increasing the capacity of our 21CN host links by 1600Mbps. It's these host links that we use to deliver bandwidth to the majority of customers on our 21CN and Fibre services.
We're activating this extra capacity in line with the current budget, customers' usage habits and our projected growth in customer numbers.

(Is this the same thing ?   1600Mbps)
Perhaps someone from PlusNet would like to comment.
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

The need for speed just tends to introduce inefficiencies into the use of the network so a lot of the bandwidth gets wasted. Back in the 1980s I deployed an on-line system for control of subscription orders for a publishing house. The mainframe computer was in central London and the subscription office was in Crawley a distance of 30 miles or so. We hung eight terminals off a single 9600 bps line and had fast response for all users.  A few years later I was responsible for the maintenance of a financial trading system which delivered "tradeable prices" over a single 4800 bps satellite broadcast feed to 120 client offices across Europe (we used the same link for client station software updates too). We had to update prices in less than a second as they were contractual prices, any delay would have been very expensive.
Much greater efficiencies could be achieved on the BT backbone network if application cache servers were located in the local exchanges for bandwidth heavy applications like TV/Films.  At present the concept of FTTH (FTTP) seems to be build a motorway to every front door when all that is needed is a footpath. If all those bandwidth "motorways" join at a single roundabout (exchange backbone circuits) there will be congestion.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

Quote from: PlusComUK
The UK generates more money online than any other G20 nation, but lack of investment leaves downloads 16th slowest in Europe

So, indeed, it means that greater broadband speeds are not currently a huge barrier to people doing online shopping/commerce.
In general though, there does need to be an organised and government funded scheme to keep UK PLC endowed with 'suitable' broadband speeds for how people live their modern lives. BDUK is currently not really meeting that requirement.
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https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=data_transfer_speed
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

Quote from: davidcrocker
... in rural areas that can't get ADSL at a decent speed and whose cabinets are not being upgraded to FTTC.

What cabinets? There are many lines which are connected directly to the exchange, many are rural, but this occurs in urban locations too. My line is a 6.3km line straight to the exchange, well OK, over 20 pairs of wires joined at junctions boxes.
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https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=data_transfer_speed
198kHz
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

My line does go via a cabinet - unfortunately it's two miles away.  Sad
Not young enough to know everything
David_W
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

Quote from: AlaricAdair
Much greater efficiencies could be achieved on the BT backbone network if application cache servers were located in the local exchanges for bandwidth heavy applications like TV/Films.

You mean multicast?  Apparently my exchange has been upgraded to multicast services so if it is multicast then it is in progress.
Steve
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

Quote from: PlusComUK
My Bentley is large, comfortable, and fast.
Which makes it a pleasure to drive at normal speeds.
My Mini Cooper Is small and so Is the tank, Drag racing It would leave the Bentley at the start line!
Infinity
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

Even a Bentley Continental GT ?
Steve
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

You just said Bentley Grin
Infinity
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

I don't like to brag !
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Re: Why Britain's broadband is heading for the slow lane, according to the Guardian

Quote from: PlusComUK
According to the Guardian, Other nations have fibre optic cables running directly to households

Propaganda.
They may well have fibre optics but to every home? No. Sure, a few lucky homes might have it but I bet its few and far between. We also have a few lucky people with it too (we have it here via virgin but don't use it) so I personally think that the guardian is looking at the grass on the other side of the fence.
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