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posted by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @10:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the say-it-like-it-is dept.

lhsi writes:

Which?, a UK consumer group, has started a new campaign to fix problems with slow broadband speeds. This comes after a survey which found that 45% of customers have problems with download speeds. A voluntary code of conduct is currently in place, however Which? said that "in practice it supported the code but it was voluntary, not compulsory and providers needed to go further. Rather than providing an estimated speed range that a customer could expect to receive, providers should pinpoint a more accurate speed that customers can expect at their home address and provide this in writing."

The campaign is calling on providers to:

  • Give customers written speed estimates at the start of the contract, expressed as a range and an accurate estimate for your home within that range.
  • Allow people to exit contracts without penalty at any point if they can't get the minimum speed.
  • Fix loss of connection as quickly as possible and refund people for loss of service.
  • Cut out the jargon - give consumers information they understand and take responsibility for fixing problems, without the need for multiple contacts.
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  • (Score: 1) by youngatheart on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:06AM

    by youngatheart (42) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:06AM (#20663)

    While I can agree that such things should happen, I seriously doubt they'll actually happen. What ISPs want is not the same as what their customers want.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Andy_R on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:47AM

    by Andy_R (3855) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:47AM (#20681)

    Here in the UK, BT have a monopoly on most of the country. Apart from a few cable companies who don't have very wide coverage, all ISPs in this country do is resell BT's packages, over BT's network. At most, all ISPs can do is install the odd bit of equipment in BT exchanges to enable ASDL2+, and they have next to no leverage with BT over speeds or repairs. While I'm all in favour of broadband speeds being sold more fairly, penalising ISPs for something that can't do anything about isn't the right way to do it.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by davester666 on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:01AM

      by davester666 (155) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:01AM (#20768)

      Um, it's called selling what you've got. Right now, they are selling theoretical speeds, if your house happens to be located so close to the central office, technicians have to pass through your house to access it. Sell the number your customers will actually get most of the time.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by juggs on Tuesday March 25 2014, @06:25AM

      by juggs (63) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @06:25AM (#20833) Journal

      What is this "BT" you speak of? That monolithic creature was cleaved apart the best part of a decade ago in relation to the consumer broadband market.

      Sure in the latter 1990's it was a case of "BT brings you DSL", hand over a case full of readies and it's all yours - to be fair though it massively undercut the pricing on their then ubiquitous dial-up and ISDN services.

      I've posted a similar thing recently here: http://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=729&cid=184 51 [soylentnews.org] so I'll not repeat all that again.

      The problem we face now is not the same as with LLU (Local Loop Unbundling), which you deride as "install the odd bit of equipment in BT exchanges" - pretty harsh given e.g. TalkTalk have 89% UK population LLU ADSL2+ coverage with their "odd bit of equipment", which in fact is far more than throwing a few DSLAMs (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) or MSANs (Multi-Service Access Node) into exchanges it involves the backhaul from there back to the CP/ISP's network.

      For sure, to the uninitiated the current pains we're seeing BT Wholesale and Openreach go through with vigorous uptake of FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) services, especially wth regard to certain recent throughput issues on BT's 21CN (21st Century Network - they love acronyms - 21CN is BT's IP based heavy lifting network core that has taken on a lot of what their previously ATM based core did - mass transit), sure it looks to be the same issues re-run, but it really really isn't.

      What we are now dealing with now is last mile roll out, replacing or more correctly the task of running fibre in parallel to most of the last mile (to the street cabinet to be precise), the copper path is not being removed. That is a hefty investment for anyone - yet people become all surprised when the only corp left in the running to do it is BT - well yeh, they are pretty big and can afford to sink costs for a decade or more, where their ISP "competitors" are looking to the next quarter or year at best and complaining about an unlevel playing field.

      As it stands, Openreach is obliged to allow any provider to blow fibre to those self same pavement cabinets and install their own mini-DSLAMs or are they VSLAMs? - none have to my knowledge.

      As it stands, Openreach is obliged to provide fibre hand over of traffic at exchange aggregation points ~at the same cost~ to any provider who can get their own fibre to that point - I believe this is what TalkTalk are using.

      There comes a point where trying to smash apart "monopoly" is self-defeating in terms of cost to both provider and consumer and this is a clear example. It makes absolutely no sense for e.g. 10 competitors to run fibre to every single residential premises. As they are only ever likely to need one in the lifetime of the owner or indeed the lifetime of the property, just run one fibre and be done with it. Sure, who runs that fibre and how it needs to be run needs to be regulated - and it is (I know that last bit is going to have some freedom for everything types reaching for their guns).

      I best stop typing now before I break some record or other :D

      ** FULL DISCLOSURE - I have never worked for any BT Group company, but have worked with them in my roles with other CPs. I have however previously been employed (and "let go") by TalkTalk Group and another ISP they subsumed. I feel no ill will toward either party, but I felt it best to declare in case of future BS.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by mrpacmanjel on Tuesday March 25 2014, @09:02AM

        by mrpacmanjel (362) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @09:02AM (#20871)

        My experience has been a little different.

        I've been with Sky for just over a year and until earlier this year had as ADSL connection of approximately 13meg.

        After a couple of weeks of troubleshooting with Sky (immensely helpful & friendly - that's why I'm staying) my connection is between 4 to 8 meg. They called out an Openreach engineer to look at the exchange (Sky are charged for this) but my connection is no longer as fast as it used to be. There's no point in moving between providers because they all sell BT/Openreach connections anyway.

        The company I work for have had major issues with Openreach too (not turning up, actually making connection worse).

        BT/Openreach are still a monopoly and in reality are not answerable to anyone. I'm sure there are many good stories about their service too but without serous competition the majority of broadband will continue to suck in the UK.

        The company

  • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:23PM

    by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:23PM (#20917)

    Broadband providers have been getting away with this for far too long. I have Virgin 120Mb but can't stream Netflix properly in the evenings. It's a bad joke.

    --
    const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)