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Plusnet Speed Distribution - July 2009

Plusnet Speed Distribution - July 2009

Plusnet Speed Distribution - July 2009

 

Last year we published the distribution of our customers speeds in order to compare what our customers were starting to see on our 21CN network against what they previously had and also to see what speed distributions both 20CN and 21CN were giving. As we have over 800 customers on 21CN now we thought it would be useful to revisit the distribution of speeds as we have a much better sample size now.

The speeds we are using in all the figures and graphs here are taken from the delta reports we receive from BT Wholesale which show the BRAS speed rate. The sync rates will therefore be higher than these speeds. We have excluded our LLU base from the data because we don't have the same reporting on the speeds. Unless otherwise noted we have also excluded customers on fixed rate 512kbps, 1Mbps and 2Mbps products. We should note that there are a small number showing as (blank)  where we don't know where the speed is, these will mainly be new activations where the customer hasn't connected yet or where we've never received a delta report (which will mainly be stable lines at the maximum sync rate).

Note: check our handy guide to understand what is a good broadband speed.

Starting off with 21CN, the mean speed comes out at 6533Kbps. Below is the distribution of the speeds across all of our triallists.21cn Bras speeds July 09

For 20CN, the mean speed is 4520Kbps, so taken on average 21CN is certainly offering faster speeds, although of course a lot of the big gainers are those living very close to the exchange.

Below is the distribution of speeds for our 20CN customers.

20cn Bras speeds July 2009

If you include those on fixed rate speeds it looks like this, about 15% of our customers are on fixed rate speeds.

20cn Bras speeds July 2009 inc fixed rate

The UK broadband market has been split up by Ofcom into three distinct market areas (four if you include Hull). Each exchange in the UK is determined to be within one of three markets depending on how many wholesale suppliers operate there. Four or more suppliers make it a market 3 exchange, two or three supplier make it a market 2, and only one make it a market 1 exchange. Generally the market 3 exchanges are located in the more urban areas where there are bigger exchanges with more customers while the market 1 exchanges tend more to be the more rural exchanges that serve a small number of customers. There are of course exceptions, but it's interesting to look at the split of speeds by market to see if there are any difference. This graph shows the speed distributed by market.

Bras speed by market

As you can see there are a couple of patterns, the market 1 lines have a noticably higher proportion of lines with lower speeds, probably because of rural nature where the line lengths to properties outside the towns and villages are very long. Market 3 has a lot more lines in the middling speed areas, what you'd probably expect from urban areas where line lengths aren't as long as the rural runs. Market 1 does catch up again with some of the faster lines, again likely because of a lot of people in small towns and villages living very close to the exchange.

Finally we have a graph of the speeds by region, as you can see places like London and Scotland have higher percentages of faster speeds while some of the more rural areas have slightly more lower speeds but generally the regions are relatively flat.

Bras speed by region

Dave Tomlinson

Plusnet Network Transformation

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18 Comments
Not applicable
intersting spike on the first graph on the 2500kbps profiles. i take it from my own exprince of the trial that this is due to the banded rubish BTw have introduced and most of the customers will be on a 15db noise target and fixed 3072 kbps sync in this 2500kbps profile band
Grafter
I presume this is all in response to todays reports about the vast majority of broadband users not actually getting the speed they are paying for 'the market 1 lines have a noticably higher proportion of lines with lower speeds' you missed off pay HIGHER prices too as we pay more for our PN broadband than market 2 or 3 users do.
Not applicable
Hi James, It's probably worth saying that we're also charged more to provide a service to market 1 and 2 areas, although it's obviously not your fault for where you live! If you do look at the market graph though, they are follow a similar trend, and there's actually a bigger spikes on the higher speeds on the market 1 and 2 areas, which probably suggests that those markets will often cover a smaller area with smaller towns. @AD - That's probably quite a logical explanation as that'll be one of the lower banded profiles that BT have introduced to help those on less stable lines on the WBC/WBMC ADSL2+ service. James (B)
Not applicable
I'm not clear what the latter two graphs are telling me. Taking the first of the two is it the case that of those with a 250k profile just over 40% are in Market 1 ? If so, is it not also the case that Market 1 has a bigger share of the 7000 and 7150 profiles as well. Perhaps better to present the three markets as three differnet coloured bars for each BRAS profile, plotting the percentage of lines in that market that have that speed. Interesting stuff, nevertheless.
ACP
Not applicable
Is it the case that nobody on an ADSL1 synch speed of 8Mbps will actually get a download speed of more than 7.2Mbps? If so, then how can this be anything other than misleading at best and an outright con at worst?
Not applicable
I agree with Asbo and James B about the effect of the <3mb/s BT banded profile, which gives a 2500 BRAS profile. It's not clear that there's a similar effect at higher bands (3-6, 6-9, etc.) and I suspect there aren't many people with higher banded profiles. Given the fuss over the current advertising of broadband speeds, just imagine the outcry when most people are moved onto WBC/21CN and start comparing their speeds against 'up to 22mb/s' claims!
Not applicable
One more comment: if you take the median speed, which I think may be a better statistical measure (half the customers are above, and half below, the median speed), then the difference between ADSL and ADSL2+ is less striking. I reckon for ADSL it's 4500 and for ADSL2+ it's 5500. My calculations are based on judging the totals in each bar, so they could be a little bit out, but I hope I'm in the right ballpark. It's still a real increase.
Grafter
There's an interesting and well balanced article been published on Sanknows explaining speeds and why 8Mb will never be any faster than 7.2Mb (that does beg the question though as to why ISP's don't just call it 7.2Mb broadband): http://www.samknows.com/broadband/news/ofcom-speed-survey-reaction-787.html sorry OT slightly and not good news for ISPs like PN, but I firmly believe the future is mobile broadband in the UK now as the basic infrastructure is already in place (i.e. mobile phone masts unlike fixed line broadband which constantly needs new equipment installing in exchanges). Mobile broadband is evolving at a much faster rate than fixed line broadband ever has or ever will.
Not applicable
Nobody with an 8128 sync speed on MaxDSL will see a speedtest much more than 6700 kbits/s. This is because the 8128 is the aTM packet rate, within which are TCP/IP packets, within which is your actual data. This is neither misleading nor a con, it's just that very few understand that the definition of speed is at the ATM layer not the data layer.
Not applicable
@ james mitchell yeah you could be right that mobile broadband tecnoligy deployment could be cheaper and easier to do. but i would never use mobile broadband as my main connection due to latency and of cause the usage limits are not higher enough to be used as your main connection
Newbie
to PhilT - it depends how you look at it, it is misleading and appears to be a con when you have Cable customers pay for a speed and actually receive it at their machine with no data speed loss 'because of how the network works'. That is not the customers' problem so why isn't 'upto 8meg' broadband marketed as upto 7 to avoid any doubt? For the record I have both Cable and dsl and this was one of the first things that narked me off when I came onboard. I have a 7150 sync and that is 'supposed' to be the highest you can go... hardly 8meg is it whichever way you dress it up.
Newbie
Sorry - 8128 sync giving the 7150 throughput.
ACP
Not applicable
Thanks for posting the figures. They almost match exactly the figures produced by Ofcom's research - link below. http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/features/broadbandspeedsjy
Not applicable
It is all very well discussing the finer points of all this but down at the grass roots level I am still only getting 1.7 Mbps so why is this. I live only 1.2 Km from me exchange and doing a fault check with Plus Net they state if getting more than 0.4 they don't progress the situation any further . HELP
ACP
Not applicable
Could be for all sorts of reasons I'm afraid. This might help: http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/troubleshooting/speed_faults.shtml
Not applicable
Can someone explain why when I live in a Market 1 area and previously had speeds of about 7 meg (when I first moved to Balmore Exchange which is only about 1 mile away), these have now been reduced to (on average) just under 6 for any time of the day (or night - I'm quite sure there is very little traffic at 3.00 am in the morning, but the speeds don't improve).
Newbie
The BT Wholesale I-Plate may help some people. I complained to PlusNet about my speeds and although I was helpfully offered the ADSL2+ trial when it hits my exchange, no mention was made of this device, which is intended to filter out noise from extension lines (bell wire). In my case speed increased 20% (over the following month) even though I have no extensions. At under a tenner it's worth a try for anyone. http://www.shop.bt.com/products/bt-i-plate-58LT.html And here is a useful install guide (I-Plate doesn't fit all master sockets): http://www.thinkbroadband.com/tools/bt-master-socket.html As rightly noted, 21CN/ADSL2+ possibly won't greatly help people with middling speeds already. The key figure seems to be downstream attenuation (available somewhere in your router). This is down to physics of the wire length and cannot be improved except by physically moving closer to the exchange or maybe cleaning up the wiring - neither are easy or cheap enough to be practical. If you look at the graph here (http://www.internode.on.net/residential/broadband/adsl/extreme/) you can see that ADSL2+ and ADSLMax come together at about 50db. Me I'm around 44db so I'm hoping for ADSL2+ to improve things slightly, even though I'm not currently getting the 6mbits/s predicted by the graph - nearer 3mbits/s, which seems to be in line with BT Wholesale's maximum expectations.
Newbie
BT Wholesale's 21CN (ADSL2+ technology) is not yet available in my area, and even if it were, I am far enough from the exchange for any benefits to be marginal, because it seems that there is indeed a distance where ADSL2+ and ADSLMax (the "up to 8Mbit" technology) come together. See the graph here: http://www.internode.on.net/residential/broadband/adsl/extreme/ (This does not give accurate speeds, probably because it's not based on UK implementation, but gives an idea). My router reports 44dB downstream attenuation, which translates into 3.1km of cable (44dB divided by the known constant of 13.81dB per km) between me and the exchange. Not bad, as it's about 4km by road and 2.3km as the crow flies. So, I can't improve that figure unless I move house or install a new wire to the exchange - both would be prohibitively expensive and inconvenient. However, I found out about and installed the BT Wholesale I-Plate. This is designed to remove interference from bad telephone extension wiring within the home, but in my case increased broadband speed by about 20% even though I don't have any extension wiring. So for under a tenner it's worth a punt for ANYONE suffering speed issues. http://www.shop.bt.com/products/bt-i-plate-58LT.html You do need the right master socket to install I-Plate - see http://www.thinkbroadband.com/tools/bt-master-socket.html for a better guide than BT's. Hope this helps someone.