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Ofcom reveals lagging broadband speeds

28 июля 2009

Tiscali and AOL have the slowest broadband connections of Britain’s leading internet service providers, the first authoritative study of download speeds has found.

A report published on Tuesday by Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, highlights the gap between the broadband speeds that internet companies advertise and the online experiences of their customers.

The report, the first to quantify the gap, compares the speeds of the nine largest fixed-line internet service providers.

Speeds are important because more and more people want to watch video over the internet, on services such as the BBC iPlayer and Google’s YouTube.

The most common broadband packages in the UK are those offering download speeds of “up to” 8 megabits per second.

Ofcom found that Tiscali and AOL, both owned by Carphone Warehouse, supplied average download speeds of 3.2-3.7Mbps and 3.3-3.9Mbps respectively in April to customers on the packages offering up to 8Mbps.

Carphone is the UK’s second-largest broadband provider after BT, which supplied speeds of 3.8-4.2Mbps. Virgin Media provided the best speeds. Customers on Virgin’s up-to-10Mbps packages enjoyed speeds of 8.1-8.7Mbps. Virgin’s superior performance is partly explained by its network of optical fibre, while its rivals rely on slower copper wire lines.

Ofcom found that AOL, BT, Orange and Tiscali had capacity constraints in their networks that meant internet customers suffered slower broadband speeds at peak usage times.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief, said he hoped the report “will be a spur to competition and further investment by the internet providers in their networks”.

Ofcom’s report was based on a survey of the broadband experiences of 1,600 consumers across the UK. Only 82 of the 912 consumers in the survey who were on broadband packages of up to 8Mbps experienced download speeds of more than 6Mbps.

TalkTalk, Carphone’s main internet business, queried Ofcom’s findings about AOL, saying many customers had signed up for packages of less than 8Mbps, and this could explain why Ofcom found an average speed 3.3-3.9Mbps.

TalkTalk held out the prospect of better broadband speeds for Tiscali’s customers. Carphone bought the UK assets of Tiscali, the Italian telecoms company, this month.
BT said Ofcom’s report was “unreliable” because of its small sample size and methodology.

Источник: Financial Times

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