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Tiscali promotes compression software to speed up its broadband
Tuesday 17 June 2008 10:16:42 by Andrew Ferguson

It seems somewhat odd for a broadband provider to promote a software solution that many people associate with dial-up internet connections. ONSPEED is a service that claims to provide up to five times faster speeds on your broadband connection but only if it is an up to 2Mbps connection.

The signing of an agreement between Tiscali UK and ONSPEED has emerged on and in theory could save Tiscali customers the £24.99 which is the annual subscription for the service.

ONSPEED works by using compression techniques on the text that forms the core of web pages, and re-samples JPEG, PNG and GIF images to deliver a more compressed version as a smaller file. What ONSPEED cannot do is increase the download speed of other files that have been previously compressed, such as MP3, Quicktime, AVI and MPEG files and also does not help with streaming video or downloads over FTP or peer to peer systems. It also does not compress any secure (HTTPS) webpage.

Web sites have this habit of increasing in size and complexity, but many sites make clever use of graphics to present a highly complex page and increasing the JPEG compression, while saving a little time, may make sites look less than ideal.

The critics will very quickly be questioning whether this deal is about Tiscali UK providing consumers a better service or making bigger use of caching and re-sampling to reduce load on their network. It may possibly delay investment in more network capacity until such time as the current Tiscali sale is completed.


Posted by kev445 over 9 years ago
I’m surprised this budget ISP hasn’t implemented the same sort of compression methods use by mobile operators, they really are the pits. I really do think they have lost the plot, actually they have never held the plot!
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago

"The partnership gives Tiscali's Internet customers unrivalled speeds and allows Tiscali to continue to set its product apart from the competition," says Greg Lee, Head of Sales for ONSPEED"

Posted by haydnwalker over 9 years ago
I used this on another ISP for a little while just to see how much faster browsing was (i was on a 1mbps connection) and to be honest, the difference was negligible! So I scrapped it.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
I returned my 3G broadband device because I didn't like what I saw - an ugly, compressed version of the web. It would be a terrible shame to see fixed line broadband providers going down this route as well. What's happening to our market here in the UK - are there no business heads running the shop anymore? All short termist and no prospects for a better future.
Posted by kev445 over 9 years ago
Bosie I tend to think it is only Tiscali who has really lost the plot! I know O2 and Vodafone offer a way to bypass the compression, maybe the others do too?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Yippee its onspeed something around when dialup was in fashion... Is this some secret cloaked message from Tiscali to finally admit their so called broadband is like dialup?? One has to wonder what runs through their head.... apart from a stiff breaze :O
Posted by dopamine2 over 9 years ago
The same people who buy the cheapest of the cheap at high street "pound" shops may well be those attracted to Tiscali's dirt cheap service, which will only become worse by using compression. The difference between the cheap shops and Tiscali though is that the shops don't pretend that what they are selling is a quality product; Trading Standards would soon step in if they did.

Tiscali push the boundaries of honest advertising way too far, and should be fined out of existence.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
Kev445, yes O2 tech told me the username bypass would do the trick albeit too late for me when they replied. The website and modem instructions make no mention of it last time i checked though.
Posted by carrot63 over 9 years ago
Finally, proof that Tiscali "broadband" is the new dial-up.
Posted by timmay over 9 years ago
I wonder if anyone will actually buy Tiscali. All the top LLU players already have their network in place and offer far superior service, they'd be no point in buying Tiscali.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
Are Tiscali(UK) profitable ?
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago

Plenty of LLU ISP's out there who would love to squeeze all those Tiscali customers on to their already over-subscribed networks.

Let's face it - they're already traffic shaped to death already so would hardly notice it getting any worse.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
very amusing, so tiscali finds a way to maybe speed up web browsing but anything that needs real bandwidth such as downloading music isnt boosted at all. All they will do is save money on bandwidth costs.
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
the point is, there are STILL plenty out there who have NO CLUE how bad it is/was....

Now that they have lost all the big downloaders, the complainers, anyone who knows anything...
- They are left with those who *never* read forums or anything like it!!

- so of course they only need 10% capacity, to show good performance!!
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
It has been proved also, that 'speed up' sofware only works for those that only load 2 or 3 pages every minute or so...

the software works by loading every page that you MAY load, BUT if you do not, then it is wasted bandwidth, wasted time, wasted download allocation, to say nothing about the overload on the low powered PC that a lot have...

Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
There are other ways to 'speed up' your BB - they do not involve complex software!!
will quickly show you the details - MS usually sets these to a very 'reserved and slow' setting!! will help you check it is performing fully - ping, monitoring, tweaking..

for experts, there is much more at

Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
another way is to use a good browser!

this will do things like..
- allow you to 'open page in background' - this means you can open ALL the links you want *without* seeing them, while you continue to read the page you are on - by the time you have finished reading, they may have finished loading..

- allow you to change the number of connections/threads that are used to load stuff.. if the load is 'shared' between many, it is faster, just like 'bittorrent'..

Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Sounds to me like its an ideal service for those that whinge about people that sap all the bandwidth. While they only use the web to browse and send an odd email. For those types Tiscali looks like a very good move.
I dont understand why they are not rushing to Tiscali as i speak or atleast install onspeed to avoid the worry of those heavy users.
Posted by bubblo7 over 9 years ago
I have just migrated away from Tiscali for anumber of reasons, one of which was the loss of bandwidth over a 6 month period - reducing from 4.0+mbps to 0.5mbps. Profitable maybe but losing BB customers quite quickly I think. So far I'm happy with Entanet.
Posted by katiesnan over 9 years ago
Onspeed is garbage. I tried it when I had dial up. Used it for a week, found it was rubbish, got my money back.
Posted by beeflin over 9 years ago
The image compression technique helps Opera Mobile & Opera Mini to do a good job of reducing load times and - more importantly, monthly data charges -, but they are used on devices with tiny screens. realistically, there are enough over-compressed images on the Web already without using further compression as a substitute for real network performance.
Posted by Stuartli over 9 years ago
Normally I would agree with comnut's advice re the analyzer - unfortunately it gives the wrong advice re AOL and TalkTalk's MTU figure of 1432, advising it be set at 1500.

That would most likely lead to being unable to download some web pages and failure to send e-mails containing attachments.


for more information.
Posted by Stuartli over 9 years ago

Tiscali use to offer a type of ONSpeed utility when I was on dial-up some years ago - I never bothered with it, preferring the well known method of speeding up Internet Explorer by allowing it to make up to 16 connections per server.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
@Stuartli The best way to find your max MTU and rwin figures is to do it manually, the MTU can be found by pinging... hxxp://
and rwin hxxp://
adjust from there, they give you a very good start, no need to download or install silly apps.
PS TO STAFF feel free to remove this if you dont like links to other broadband sites.
Posted by JMaples over 9 years ago
I used this service since its inception on dialup and continued for a while on broadband. It provided some improvement but was unable to handle complex websites (all websites are required to be routed through its servers). When I contacted OnSpeed they were completely uninterested in solving the problem so I dropped it. Good for people with low broadband speeds and undemanding requirements.
Posted by chasrow over 9 years ago
I have been having a discussion with Tiscali over the past 3 weeks . It started when it took AVG Security 35 minutes(65Mb) to download.Speed checks over this period are from 300Kbps to 2700Kbps. Connection speed given by PC usually 6Mbps. I have asked why but never answered. The compression software is just obfuscation
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