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Feb 2013 BT is spending £2.5 in rolling out fibreoptic connections around the country. Latest to benefit are large parts of Norfolk, Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall. Some villages are so keen to get linked up that they are doing deals with BT
July 2012 After getting slow broadband speeds reported by the Uswitch speed test site I complained to Virgin as I was paying for 20Meg. They came along and, after installing a new router they demonstrated that I was now getting 60Mb! They used a different speed test at http://www.speedtest.bbmax.co.uk/ After the technician left I used the Uswitch program again and it showed a miserable 8Mb speed, so I called him back and showed him. He said it was probably because I was testing an older PC, which wasn't up to the latest technology (it is about 5 years old). Later I used HIS speed tester on the same machine and got 60 Mb. Another test program showed 23Mb. CONCLUSION : Not all speed testers are equal. Could it be that Uswitch use one that gives poor results in the hope that you will switch (which is how they make their money) ? I will investigate this issue further.
Although it was good, I do not require 60Mb speed, so opted to return to the 30Mb version. Along with other downgrades and a one year loyalty bonus from Virgin I managed to HAVE my monthly costs !
I went on to use http://www.speedtest.bbmax.co.uk/ on the 'old' PC several times. The first time I got 29Mb. Moments later I got an unbelievable 69Mb ! These things are not reliable. If they built speed cameras this way we would be getting tickets all the time.
For more information about cable broadband and speed tests see https://my.virginmedia.com/discover/broadband/
Virgin's latest offers (April 2012): Virgin's cheapest package is the
'Starter bundle' which, for £20 per month, offers up to 30Mb
broadband, unlimited weekend calls to landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers,
and 75 television channels. However, customers do not receive a TiVo box
and are instead supplied with a standard Virgin High Definition (V HD) box,
which means that there is no scope to take advantage of the integrated television
services. However, for an extra £5 per month, the 'Essential
Collection' offers all of the above plus a 500GB TiVo box.
The 'Premiere Collection' comes in at £45 per month and provides broadband with speeds of up to 60Mb, a 500GB TiVo box with 175 channels, an extra HD box to receive channels in another room and unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers.
Virgin's top package (£90) is the 'VIP Collection' which offers fibre optic broadband with download speeds of up to 100Mb, a free three month subscription to Spotify Premium, a 1TB (that's a terabyte, which equates to 1,000 gigabytes) TiVo box with 205 channels, including Sky Sports and Sky Movies, and an extra HD box for another room.
BT broadband customers who subscribe to the company's Infinity 2 package saw their fibre download speeds nearly double from 12th April 2012. BT has promised.those punters will see current downstream speeds boosted from 38Mbit/s to "up to" 76Mbps. It is beginning to make my Virgin Media speed look poor (and expensive)
Having difficulty accessing broadband ? http://www.broadbandwherever.net/home.aspx will arrange a satellite connection from £25 a month plus hardware. This service is also available for Spain and France.
Mobile Broadband. If you don't even have a telephone line you can still access the net this way. Click on Mobile Broadband for an explanation. Compare prices and claimed speeds at http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/mobile-broadband/ But bear in mind that speed depends on your proximity to the transmitting masts
23 Feb 2012 4g mobile communications (up to 1Gb/s of data transfer) is going to create chaos for many TV users. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17125468 Interference from 4G phones is likely to upset TV reception to a million homes, requiring a filter on many houses. Bidders for the network license in the UK are being warned that they will have to compensate householders whose TV signal is seriously impaired. More at http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/4g-mobile-broadband/
If your broadband comes to you via a normal (BT) telephone line you MAY be able to speed it by installing a BT iPlate. This requires not more technical skill than using a screwdriver and they only cost around £9. For instructions take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=UNUMwZQ-lbk It really is that easy and it may increase your speed by 1 - 2 Meg, which in, some cases, can be vital. Looking at the encouraging reviews at http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Shop/Reviews.asp?ProductID=7256, what is there to lose ?
The "Up to" story. Many broadband providers advertise speeds one can expect are 'Up To' a certain level of download. Ofcom insists that at least 10% of customers should be able to actually get that speed but the story is often very different, especially in rural areas. In November 2011 one organisation was offering speeds up to 24Mb but the average which customers were getting was 7.2Mb. Overall the average speed has improved quite rapidly, with those companies offering 20Mb averaging about the same (6 - 8mb). But the average figures are skewed by the fact that Virgin cable speeds are very nearly the advertised maximum and BT's new fibre optic to street system is improving speeds considerably. In fact the latest claim from BT is that they will offer customers already in fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) areas the chance to upgrade to 300Mbits/sec fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) from next year.
Read more: BT to offer 300Mbits/sec fibre "on demand" | Broadband | News | PC Pro http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/broadband/372577/bt-to-offer-300mbits-sec-fibre-on-demand#ixzz1lKkbZ6xz
BT have a help page with a number of points to ensure that your broadband speed is maximised http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/12666#void()
What if you want to get 'Roving Broadband ?' It is certainly possible in many areas to get a reasonable broadband speed to your laptop or netbook (or other mobile device) via the mobile telephone network. One can buy a 3G 'dongle' from many places including WHSmith, which will fit into the USB port of your PC and sets itself up simply. This can be on a PAYG basis or can be on a monthly contract. Typical of the latter is "3"s two year contract which costs £16/month and allows 15Gb of downloads/month. But compared with home broadband it will be more expensive. e.g. T-Mobile charges £2 a day for Pay as you Go. To check on charges go to BroadbandGenie
If you want to know when BT's faster broadband might come you way put your postcode in at http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when/
Ofcom has a BB speed map at http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/ Click on your area or check out the best broadband for your area. Enter your post code at http://www.moneysupermarket.com/broadband/
A friend who has had Infinity broadband installed (Milton Keynes) is now pleased (nay, amazed) to be getting 37 Mb downloads! So it really works if you can get it. I would be tempted to move from Virgin Size M (20Mb) if I could. He pays just £27.45 a month plus some phone calls. My all-in rate including calls (not to mobiles or 0845) and TV is around £40 a month. But there is always a catch. My downloads are unlimited but he is limited to 10gb a month. This is fine for average use but no good for the video viewers or music downloaders. For that you have to pay extra at BT.
BT have also introduced a Mobile Broadband facility with access to its free wireless network. You just need a 'dongle' for you laptop or netbook with a one off cost of £40.90. If you are on BT and want to check your speed visit http://www.speedtester.bt.com/ If you then want to contact them go to http://bt.custhelp.com/app/contact/session/
Computer Active says that Fujitsu has applied to Broadband Delivery UK for funding towards installing fibre optic cable to remote areas to enable broadband speeds up to 100 Mb ! Let us hope they get on with it. See www.fujitsu.com/uk/telecommunications
If you are stuck with a really slow broadband connection you may find that a site you would like to view has a 'mobile' version of web pages, designed for mobile phones. e.g. The BBC has one. To view it change www. to m. So that is http://m.bbc.co.uk
Virgin are promising 100Meg speeds to their whole network by 2012. Their 100Mbits/sec package costs £45 per month when bought as a sole product, and also boasts 10Mbits/sec upload speeds. It has already been rolled out to 1 million homes.
Studies show that people using wi-fi get 30% slower speed than people who get it via a direct connection See HERE
Discussions are going on as to whether ISPs should 'manage' broadband speeds according to the type of files being downloaded - and whether they should inform users about what they are doing. i.e. game players may get precedence over people just downloading files
To get information about the situation at your local exchange enter your post code at http://usertools.plus.net/exchanges/?
Jan 2011. In a recent survey of Virgin Media Cable customers those paying for 20Mb speed were averaging 18.5 mb/s Those on the cheaper, minimum 10 Mb/s tariff, were achieving 9.6 Mb/s
An Oftel report showed that the level of broadband taken up in rural parts of Wales was higher than in urban parts, with rural take up standing at sixty nine percent and urban take up at sixty two percent. This is despite the fact that rural areas often struggle to get access and availability when it comes to broadband services. Many users in rural Wales use mobile connections, such as O2.
A contact has just moved from Onetel to BT broadband and is very pleased. There are packages from £13.99 to £27.99 a month plus line rental of £9.99. They all have an 18 month contract. The cheapest version has a monthly usage limit of 10Gb (which is really only suitable for a light user) but it also includes some free landline calls (evenings and weekends) including 0870 and 0845 numbers (important these days when many companies keep you hanging on). For £15.99 you get anytime free calls (bargain). For £17.99 your get a 40Gb usage limit (you can check any time what you have used. You CAN add anytime calls for £4.99). The most expensive version (£27.99 a month) has no limits on usage or calls. The speed available is quoted as 'Up to 20 Mb' but this depends on many things and can be anything from 1Mb/s.
If you are tired of waiting for decent broadband have a look at what a small Lincolnshire village did. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9276550.stm
Good article on broadband choices at http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband
There is a comparison site at http://www.cable.co.uk/compare/broadband/
Slow ADSL broadband speed ? The first thing to do is use a broadband speed checker on the net. Be aware that ALL broadband connections DOWNLOAD much faster than they UPLOAD. You will get two readings and the one may be an eighth of the other. If you are not getting the speed you are paying for, there may be factors beyond your control such as the distance you are from the nearest digital exchange.
Computer Active, Issue 293, suggests that you check that your phone cables and filters are up to scratch and that you have one on each phone socket including any fax or Sky socket. In addition, for XP, they recommend a free tune up program called TCP Optimizer which allows more files to be downloaded at once. Vista does this automatically.
Some of the filter/internal cabling problems can be tested by a 'trial and error' process using other pieces of equipment. It might even be worth checking by attaching the modem directly to the main BT socket. If your modem connects to the USB socket (especially the older type one socket, speed may be improved by connecting the PC by an RJ45 (Ethernet) cable. But this needs an Ethernet socket on the PC and on the modem and router
An 'iPlate' is a £10 device from BT that could save your broadband.
BT Wholesale have been trialling a new device that could radically improve
the speed of ADSL broadband connections, allowing customers to finally enjoy
speeds close to the advertised limit. Fixing an Interstitial Plate to the
master telephone socket helps to improve connections by eliminating exterior
interference. Broadband connections can be seriously affected by electronic
noise from basic household appliances with faulty power supplies. Bad power
supplies from electrical equipment interferes with the so-called 'Bell Wire'
which runs throughout households, and creates noise on the line. In
a test a basic ADSL connection running at 3.8Mbps was throttled down to 700Kbps
when a nearby fluorescent tube with a faulty power supply was switched on;
when an iPlate was fitted to the master socket, the connection returned to
its normal speed. The iPlate is installed by unscrewing the face plate in
the master socket and slotting iPlate into place. It is easiest fitted to
sockets which are split into two halves. It is expected that iPlates will
become part of the regular installation feature for new customers. Ashley
Pickering from BT Wholesale said ;We've seen huge increases in speed, stating
that on average, it makes one and a half megs of difference.
There might be various reasons as to why you are getting a slow speed and they could be:
If you check with BT you may get the following message :
I have just tested your line (this is worth asking them to do) for
your Telephone Number and can confirm your line supports the UK's most complete
broadband package, BT Total Broadband and we can confirm that you will be
able to reach a maximum download speed of 8.0 (Megabits per second).
(But) BT Total Broadband will always give you the maximum download speed available to your line based on these factors. If the problem persist write back to us we will escalate the issue to the concerned Department. For any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us or use our BT Broadband Self Help web site http://www.bt.com/broadband/help"
Sky TV introduced a broadband service in July 2006.. Prices are from free to £10 a month depending on speed, though people living outside its coverage area pay more.
Wireless connections ? Don't ask me, please ! But there are experts around who will supply the necessary equipment and advise you. For instance www.allwireless.co.uk of Leicester specialize in Wireless Technology & Home Automation and if you get stuck you can phone them on 0845 058 0504 and will get personal attention. And PCworld will be delighted to sell you the gear and set it up (at a price), as will Ebuyer.
But if you have a wireless set up and you are getting a bad connection to your router your should consider positioning it in the middle of the house and not behind thick walls. Moving it off the floor to a bookcase or shelf should also help. If you only have one wireless computer, then place the router closer to the computer and remember, wifi is a radio signal, so the signals from microwave ovens, cordless phones and even your neighbor's wireless router may interfere. So steer clear of those as well
Free Which ? booklet on Broadband. Phone 0800 389 7259 and quote ref. BROAD183
I now feel that no-one should be paying for Anytime dialup access, as broadband is about the same price. It is not just the speed of access to the net which is so much better but the size of security downloads these days (M'soft and Antivirus) must put off an awful lot of people when they go on for so long.
Some people will say " Well I only use it for the occasional e-mail". If
so, they are not on line long enough to get the security updates that are
so essential these days - and are thus prone to virus infection and doomed
to face endless trouble just to stay on line (and likely to infect others).
e.g. Service Pack 3 for XP was at least 350Mb. In simple terms, if
you are using dialup to the internet you had better leave it all night !
But, if you really want to ignore the inevitable you might wish to take a look at another very useful site at http://www.practicalpc.co.uk/computing/comms/speedup.htm
Eventually it is expected that Broadband speeds will increase substantially, allowing rapid download of TV. NTL, using fibreoptic cable, is delivering up to 100Mb. Currently copper wired (BT type) landlines have difficulty delivering 8Mb.. Japan, Sweden, Korea and Finland all offer 100Mbps broadband connections (UP as well as DOWNload), as all four countries have switched to fibre optic networks.
In a recent Which survey Waitrose, better known for its grocery stores, was the only household name to be made a best buy, with 72% of customers saying its £18.99 (8mbps) service was very satisfying. Waitrose's package was highlighted as good for computer novices, as its helpline is free to call if problems occur, unlike some providers who charge up to 75p per minute for assistance. The big-four suppliers were mediocre in the study.
Another useful site is http://www.ispreview.co.uk
An advantage with Broadband is the fact that you do not need an extra line in order to use the telephone at the same time as being on line. This can be quite a saving and should be taken into account when calculating the total cost.
N.B. You may be disappointed that your broadband speed is nothing like what you are paying for. This can be down to more than one factor. The first is (in the case of BT telephone line based broadband) the distance from the nearest digital exchange. In the case of cable it can be down to the 'contention level', meaning the number of people in your area competing for the line. But another factor seems to be rearing its head. One contact (using cable) had complained he was not getting the very fast speeds he was paying for. He decided to replace his expensive Norton Internet Security Suite with free software, such as AVG and Zone alarm. Suddenly the speeds on ALL of his connections (he has four) increased dramatically. So, it does seem likely that security software can slow things up by spending time checking everything that goes on.
Want to change from one ISP to another ? These days is should be
comparatively easy, although you should check the small print to see if you
have any 'tie in' with your current provider. With Broadband, as they
often supply equipment and software there is often a 1 year contract.
Having sorted that out what you need from your current ISP is a MAC
address. That is nothing to do with those pretty computer often favoured
by designers. It stands for Migration Authorisation Code. Once you have this
it should be comparatively easy to change. Internet Providers have an
Association. See www.ispa.org.uk, especially
if you have a complaint against one that you cannot resolve.
You can get useful information from places such as Internet Magazine, which lists ISP's and how well they are doing
SkyDSL provides broadband (via satellite) anywhere in Europe from
and can provide up to 16 megabits per second. However, you require
a dish and a dialup connection to your own ISP, too, which takes the
shine off that rather.
What if you have Broadband and also have a laptop or second computer which
you would like connected to the same system ? The answer is a small
local network. This can be achieved by connecting the two machines via a
cable but the popular way these days is a Wireless connection. For
this you will need at least one machine to have a wireless gadget or have
wireless built in (like most laptops and netbooks). Earlier models
will need a wireless PC card adapter or, possibly, a USB2 wireless adapter.
The main machine will need either a wireless card or a USB2 Adapter.
I must stress that the faster USB2 is needed to cope with the Broadband
connection. Lastly, you require an additional gadget called a Router, which
sorts out the various connections to Broadband. This will have tiny aerials
on top and will sit on the PC or on your desk. It may be connected to the
PC via a USB2 or RJ45 (Ethernet) cable or may connect to all the PCs
Although it is possible for connections to be made between Windows 98 and ME machines it is easier and preferable if they are all using Windows XP. The big names in routers are Linksys, Belkin, Netgear and BT
To settle complaints about ISP's you can look at the following sites www.ispa.org.uk (Association of ISP's) www.otelo.org.uk (Now called Ombudsman Services:communications ), www.cisas.org.uk (Internet Services Adjudication Scheme)
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