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Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

owalter
Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎29-05-2009

Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

In many places, both on the Plusnet website and elsewhere, I see broadband speeds specified as so many Mb, e.g.
https://www.plus.net/home-broadband/package-guides/
says "Up to 17Mb speeds". This is INCORRECT. The correct way would be:
"Up to 17 Mb/s speeds" or "Up to 17 Mbps speeds".
The reason should be obvious: "M" means "mega", "b" means "bit", so 17 Mb is NOT a speed; it is a quantity of data (seventeen megabits: just over two megabytes) . Mb/s or Mbps are the correct ways to state "megabits per second" which is what is meant. Writing Mb is, to me, a clear declaration of ignorance.
BTW: at least it says Mb. not mb, which would mean millibits - obviously nonsense.
Further: in science and engineering, it is correct to put a space between the number and its unit symbol, for the same reason as putting a space between two words in a message in ordinary language. If you want to ensure that no new line occurs between the number and its unit symbol, use a non-breaking space, not an ordinary space.
9 REPLIES
198kHz
Aspiring Champion
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Registered: ‎30-07-2008

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

Being an inveterate pedant myself, I see where you're coming from, and I agree in principle.
However, where, as on the Plusnet page you referenced, it's obvious in context what's being referred to, I don't think the '/s' or 'ps' is strictly essential.
We know it's speed being quoted, and we know it's not per minute or per hour.
Remember you are unique - just like everyone else
owalter
Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎29-05-2009

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

'/s' or 'ps' is strictly essential because Mb is not a speed - end of argument. If Mb is OK, it's also OK to say that the speed limit on motorways is 70 miles, or on a long journey my car's consumption is 60 miles, or my electricity consumption in a year is 2000 kilowatts.
My post is intended for action by the website maintainers of Plusnet.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎20-10-2012

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

:sigh:
Geoff,
York.
Superuser
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Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

This terminology is unfortunately the norm. It's a short string that potential customers understand. Unless Ofcom forced all ISPs to change it would not be commercially prudent to be different.
Those that do know the unit should be Mb/s just accept it.
David
sjptd
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Registered: ‎01-09-2014

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

Depends what you mean by 'strictly'.
'/s' or 'ps' is  essential if the aim is to be technically/pedantically correct, which is sometimes very important.  It is not essential to make the meaning of the page clear to most readers;  I suspect that many will not see the difference at all, and that 99.99% of the rest will immediately know what is intended.
The difference between bits (b) and bytes (B) is of course much more important and confusing.  Most people quote 'raw' broadband speeds in Mbps (because that's the way the industry does it) but think of download speeds in MBps (because they know the file size in MB and not Mb).  I've seen many posters confusing or confused by these.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎31-08-2007

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

I'm afraid I agree with owalter, and welcome to the forum by the way.
Quote from: spraxyt
This terminology is unfortunately the norm.

That is true, unfortunately, because a lot of the Help and Support pages appear to be written by technically ignorant people and even when the errors are pointed out, with an explanation, they don't get fixed. So it's no wonder that those with a non-technical background do not learn how to express even the basics correctly.
The IP Profile page for 20CN is still wrong, whoever wrote it clearly doesn't understand 20CN speeds are in multiples of 32kbps Roll eyes
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

Mbs^-1
--
3Mb FTTC
https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=data_transfer_speed
Superuser
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

If we are not careful this debate will slide into BANDWIDTH and its variable definitions depending on usage.    Wink
I understand and value the pedantry when required, but quite happily lapse into layman's terms. 
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,102
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Registered: ‎31-08-2007

Re: Broadband speed cannot be specified in Mb

Groan.