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The darker side of advertising average broadband speeds

Published: 31/12/2016 by Comments

The darker side of advertising average broadband speeds

Mark from ISPreview has been discussing with a source at Sky how the new way in which broadband is sold by the provider has a negative side.

The new approach to selling broadband, which was put in place earlier in December, involves Sky detailing average broadband speeds in their advertising campaigns – a move that’s a first of its kind among providers. 

Whilst at the outset ISPreview were concerned that by changing the advertising providers would begin to refuse to supply to consumers with slower speeds, this did not appear to be happening.  However, there is now evidence that Sky are not making ADSL/ADSL2+ available to consumers that would benefit from less than 2 Mbps from using the service.

There is of course the reality that a number of those with less than 2 Mbps ADSL will get the option of VDSL2 at more rapid speeds.  This is the case even though it is known that not every VDSL2 line goes faster than 2 Mbps and the issue of frequency means that VDSL2 at lower speeds can be less stable than ADSL or ADSL2+. Theoretically speaking if ADSL/ADSL2+ was withdrawn those frequencies could be utilised for VDSL2, extending its reach.

It is not known how many consumer premises will be affected as a result of this change.  At the moment only Sky’s new customers seem to be affected, although it is thought that there may be confusion for those with ADSL/ADSL2+ whose results exceed checker expectations, when the order is refused by Sky.

At a glance the spread sheets show that of Sky’s customers with ADSL+ approximately 10% have connection speeds of 2 Mbps or slower. On the surface this appears high but based on the years of free ADSL2+ consumer deals, it remains possible that slow users have been drawn to the offers.

Estimates from OfCom indicate that 1% of UK users only had access to a sub 2 Mbps option – a figure from May 2016.  However there has since been a reduction in that figure to 0.78% and analysis from the last week shows a drop in the number of postcodes in the USC range, going down from 60,521 to 60,231.

Broadband in the UK started at 0.5 Mbps (with a select few with the higher speed of 2 Mbps) and it appeared fast – capable of streaming video etc. But the increase in video resolutions mean that these types of speed will be a lot less efficient at streaming higher quality imagery/scripts than it used to be fifteen years ago.

With that specific test in mind, where a household has speeds ranging from 4 Mbps to 15 Mbps from VDSL2, at an approximate distance of 2 km from the cabinet and 1 Mbps from ADSL2+, doubts on the performance of VDSL2 mean that this postcode will be indicated as a USC one.  However, there are ways round this via fixed wireless providers. 

It is true that although many users with sub 2Mbps ADSL2+ will live in rural locations, there will still be city based users affected.

Colette Lamb
News article by:
Colette Lamb

A business sector writer with over 15 years of experience working in the marketing, commerce and law sectors' internationally and in the UK. Interests include composing music and other creative communications such as art and dance therapy.

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