Linked by Howard Fosdick on Thu 24th Jan 2013 10:12 UTC
Internet & Networking In the past, OS News has discussed how U.S. broadband access lags many other countries in terms of cost, speed, and availability. Now, this detailed report from the New America Foundation tells why. It all comes down to a lack of competition among the carriers, which can be traced back to the days when cable companies were granted local monopolies. The report argues that "...data caps... are hardly a necessity. Rather, they are motivated by a desire to further increase revenues from existing subscribers and protect legacy services such as cable television from competing Internet services." The report's conclusion: don't expect improvements without legislative action.
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RE[2]: Well....
by henderson101 on Thu 24th Jan 2013 15:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Well...."
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

Cable (Virgin Media): 110Mbs (advertised as 100Mb)
BT Infinity: 76Mbs

Both of those are just downstream speeds (I *think* VM offer 10Mb upstream. BT offer 19Mbs).


I *think* VM does have better up speeds, but they are not standard and the user ends up paying a lot more. They might only be for business use (though then you get in to the wonderful world of Cable and Wireless.)

BT Infinity is fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) - so the street and door are all copper. VM are -IIRC- fibre to the street, so from the street to the door is copper.


I think it depends. Some areas VM are fibre to cabinet, copper to the door, but their cabling is (IMO) better, as the cables are designed for high capacity broadcast TV, rather than phone traffic (saying that, do BT Fibre installs come over the standard phone line up to the door, or do they cable like VM do?)

It's also worth mentioning that BT have been rolling out ADSL2+ to a number of towns. Which sees speeds increased from theoretical max of 8Mb to 24Mb. These speeds theoretical maximums aren't fully achievable though: line noise, other subscribers, etc. But you can still get fairly decent performance if you're lucky.


The problem with BT is that it's all very random still. VM, you either get close to the best quoted speed or you don't get anything because they aren't in that area. Unless your local loop is saturated, the speeds are very consistent. With BT, you will hardly ever come close to the advertised speed, and ADSL up speeds are fairly dismal compared to either fibre offering.

The other thing: this new site being advertised in the UK, Broadbandchoices.co.uk, show you something important about BT infinity: the speed may be quoted the same, the price may be similar or cheaper, but the data is capped. VM isn't, and like I mentioned - you might well have your data shaped at peak, but I can still stream Netflix all day without hitting any buffering on my Wii or iPad/Nexus 7. BT Infinity is also still very niche, and we certainly don't get it yet in my area.

Edited 2013-01-24 15:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Well....
by Laurence on Thu 24th Jan 2013 18:04 in reply to "RE[2]: Well...."
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

do BT Fibre installs come over the standard phone line up to the door, or do they cable like VM do?

I'm not 100% sure to be honest. I think they used the existing line when I signed up, just replacing my master phone socket with an ethernet -RJ45- socket.


The other thing: this new site being advertised in the UK, Broadbandchoices.co.uk, show you something important about BT infinity: the speed may be quoted the same, the price may be similar or cheaper, but the data is capped. VM isn't, and like I mentioned - you might well have your data shaped at peak, but I can still stream Netflix all day without hitting any buffering on my Wii or iPad/Nexus 7. BT Infinity is also still very niche, and we certainly don't get it yet in my area.

I've heard some people comment about the capping on BT, but I've actually found them to be highly forgiving. Though I will concede this is purely my own anecdotal evidence and my usage isn't really typical (most of my heavy traffic is over night and nearly all of my traffic is encrypted either as HTTPS or tunnelled via SSH. Plus I don't really do torrents (bar Linux CDs and creative commons content as I feel guilty stealing the bandwidth hehe)

Edited 2013-01-24 18:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Well....
by henderson101 on Fri 25th Jan 2013 13:30 in reply to "RE[3]: Well...."
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Yeah - honestly don't know if it is really capped... but the 30mbs VM listed is not, where as the at the same level BT Infinity is listed as being capped. Given the monthly cost (removing all the gumph and free periods) is more or less the same, I'd go with VM given the choice. I know their ADSL was always capped (though I don't know what they define as "capped", it might just be traffic shaping or reduced speeds.)

The thing that really grinds my nads is the BT self congratulatory adverts. Crap like having the best "WIFI" speeds (because, you know, every other base station using N is obviously inferior to the BT Home Hub - in some fantasy world), and those awful students that look like they're in their 30's. Just about any provider that isn't BT is preferable, even if they still use the BT exchanges and wiring. /rant-off

Reply Parent Score: 3