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Ofcom publishes a Consumer Experience report
Tuesday 20 November 2007 12:51:27 by Andrew Ferguson

Ofcom has published a report of the consumer experience that covers the areas it regulates, namely telecoms, the internet and digital broadcasting. The full report itself runs to a total of 161 pages, of which we will just mention a few points that are relevant to the broadband world.

A key area Ofcom made changes to was the introduction of General Condition 22 (GC22) earlier this year, which improved the support for migrations within the broadband market place. Unfortunately, while this has led to improvements and generally it is easier to change between some products, the more complex arrangements that the growing fully unbundled and shared unbundled markets create are still a work in progress. This latest Ofcom report shows that calls to the BT Wholesale tag line have been falling since April 2007.

The average monthly cost of broadband was £29.83 in 2002, lowering year on year until 2006 when it hit a price point of £14.73. Other telecoms elements like mobile packages and landline calls have also dropped, though land line rental has actually increased by 23p over the four years. The report also compares UK broadband pricing for a 2Mbps service with a 5GB allowance to French, German, Italian and US broadband services. There is little difference between the European countries, but the US is the most expensive in the comparison. As many of our readers will be aware, France and other countries probably have products that go a lot faster and are not much more in terms of cost, so if these were compared to the UK it would not fair so well. Choosing a basic 2Mbps 5GB service reflects more on what would be entry level and should in theory be widely available across the various countries.

The data on the awareness of broadband suppliers among the public is somewhat shocking, and suggests suppliers still have some way to go to increase awareness that there is a wide range of product options. 21% of people could only name one broadband provider, 20% two providers, 50% three or more and 8% couldn't name any. Interestingly in 2006 23% could not name any, so the amount of publicity, both good and bad does seem to be having an effect.

Those reading this news item will probably be aware of their internet connection speed, but there are 47% of adults in the Ofcom survey who were unaware of the connection speed when asked. With some further prompting, 73% were able to say whether their connection was faster or slower than 0.5Mbps, 27% did not know.

The report is a mine of useful information including the statistic that 49% of people trust personal sources for info on internet connection related matters, 24% use websites and 15% name the supplier as a source. This clearly shows we, as an independent advice site, have much work ahead of us.


Posted by Harry_De_Bustard over 9 years ago would not FARE so well...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
If ofcom spent as much time slapping naughty providers about the back of the head as they do working out silly percentage figures they would actually be of some use.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
Where i live, better services are available and affordable but the number of BT Homehubs showing up on wireless is shocking. I put it down to there being not much to get excited about so people don't want to waste time shopping around. For many people, browsing and email is as exhilarating as the web gets. VOIP is boring and video conferencing too complex to set up. [continued...]
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
[continuation...] I don’t expect things to change whilst multi-media is fragmented into multiple DRM players. To change peoples habits requires something of interest and that something must also be easy to use and obtain. Introducing quality and standards in content delivery could change this. We're not interested in the technology, just the entertainment.
Posted by whatever2 over 9 years ago
"The data on the awareness of broadband suppliers among the public is somewhat shocking..."

Not really, but many have been too close to the whole thing to see that BT's name still carries a weight of attraction, and that LLU vs Non is a complete mystery to most of the population.

Still it's all up to 8mb unlimited and if that's what people think they are getting wether they are or not, they're happy which means the industry is happy, which means ofcom can relax.
Posted by dayday01 over 9 years ago
The report seems somewhat complacent, having been struggling for 6 months to achieve 2Mbpps on an "up to 8Mb" line! We have been "capped" for two periods at 250Kbpps by BT (on behalf of our ISP) while OpenReach tries to find the line fault. The situation in France is quite different, at least in the urban areas, with optic-fibre based 100Mbpps to the house for €20pm.
Posted by dayday01 over 9 years ago
Would someone please explain why BT is able to "claim up to 8Mbpps"when the operational reality is that faults are only line tested when the speed drops below 400Kbpps.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
The service is described as "up to 8M" because the ATM rate of the modem connection to the telephone exchange is up to 8128 kbits/s, and as an example 21% of Entanet's customers connect at that full speed. The same connection rate can be as low as 160 kbit/s, but anything below 288 kbits/s is a fault.

A very small percentage of France may have fibre optics, which is better than here, but it is far from widespread.
Posted by boggits over 9 years ago
For those that are interested you can see the distribution here
Posted by ETEE over 9 years ago
Up to 8Megs means any speed between zero and 8Mbps. Things will get worse when up to 24Megs ADSL2+ services begin to be advertised as hardly any customers will receive the full sync speed.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"Things will get worse when up to 24Megs ADSL2+ services begin to be advertised" they are advertised already. The arrival of "up to 24M" services could only be perceived as "things getting worse" in the UK, anyone else would be saying "great, let's have faster speed if we can get it".
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"anyone else would be saying "great, let's have faster speed if we can get it"

Which with BT and 21CN will last all of about 5 minutes before the throttling kicks in for being a so called 'heavy' user.
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