Today's article from the BBC ‘Test your broadband speed' has been interesting but hasn't really told us anything we didn't already know. Since ‘Broadband Max' was introduced in 2005 we've always known that the broadband speeds you experience can have many determining factors, such as distance from the exchange, line quality, capacity at the exchange and external interference. We've talked about many of these things in articles such as our ‘Advanced Guide to Broadband Max' and ‘Get Ready for High-speed Broadband'.
Early this year we launched the ‘My Broadband Speed' service, to assist broadband users to identify and record historical data that can help in optimising the speeds of your connection. It's hardly surprising then that broadband users in rural areas (where the average length of telephone line to the exchange is greater) suffer poorer speeds on average than those in towns and cities. Of course line speed isn't the end of the story, the reality is more complex. PlusNet customers (unlike those of most ISPs) benefit from prioritised traffic during peak periods. There's little point in having a fast connection if those big downloads are going to interfere with time sensitive activities like web-browsing, email and VPN. So I'm happy to see the BBC increasing awareness of the issues about broadband speeds but I do think that alongside this we need to understand that consistency and quality of service are as important - perhaps this is where our customers see real benefit as compared to our competitors.