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Opal identifies broadband hotspots
Wednesday 11 March 2009 12:54:34 by Andrew Ferguson

Opal has published a report that attempts to identify areas where subscribers to its low price business grade broadband offering would benefit most from ADSL2+. CommsDealer Online covers the report and reveals that apparently Central London EC, WC and W postcodes are the places to be if you want high speed ADSL2+, almost half the businesses in those areas would be able to achieve a connection between 8 and 24Mbps. Belfast apparently does well, followed by Glasgow. The Opal website will have more detail on the report.

Back in October 2006 we published a table showing roughly what proportion of lines across the country will get various ADSL and ADSL2+ speeds.

Maximum line speed

% of customers able to receive

Estimate of ADSL2+ maximum speed

6.5Mbps and above 25% 11Mbps and above
6Mbps 42% 9.5Mbps
4Mbps 78% 5Mbps
2Mbps 93% 2 - 2.5Mbps

At the simplest level you can use this table to assess what your possible connection speed with ADSL2+ would be. The most accurate method though is to take the current attenuation, noise margin and line rates from your ADSL modem and use a tool like the one at The checker will display specific results based on your data, and also a range of speeds allowing you to assess whether your line is running within what could be called a normal range. If the results you get are very poor, it is worth checking the telephone extension wiring in your home, the simplest method being to take a set of readings when the ADSL modem is connected to the test socket under the master sockets faceplate.

The Broadband Code of Practice from Ofcom should mean that if you get around to signing up for broadband, providers will give you an indication of the connection speed they expect you to get, and many providers will run this check well before you have committed to buying from them. Of course there is always the BT Wholesale based checker, which gives a couple of numbers and is actually used as the basis of the Code of Practice answer from many providers. The wholesale checker first gives an estimate of which fixed speed service you would be allowed, i.e. 0.5Meg, 1Meg or 2Meg, then a value for the Max products which will vary between 0.25Mbps and 8Mbps. Finally, in areas where the 21CN network has been deployed it will provide an ADSL2+ estimate.

Going back to the Opal report, it is actually promoting their business broadband products which start at £10 a month. For those who are not familiar with the Opal name, they are part of the Carphone Warehouse group and actually run the unbundled network and hardware behind the TalkTalk and AOL services. Whether £10 can buy you a business grade service is open to debate. You do also need to rent an Opal telephone line at £13 a month to get the broadband. As a general rule the lower the price of broadband the higher the contention levels, since the main way to lower broadband prices is to share the same big expensive back haul pipe between more people. Opal appears to use traffic management to give business customers priority over consumers on their network. One thing a business buyer should ask its provider is whether there are any service guarantees and what the bandwidth allocation is per user (this defines the contention level).

The golden rule when buying broadband for business use- consider how much it will cost you if the broadband is not working or is flaky, and ensure you have a suitable back up in place, or service agreements that will ensure faults are fixed within an acceptable period.


Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
If short lines = higher speeds then exchanges in built up areas will have fewer long lines...
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
ok so London can get it so lets just forget about the rest of UKplc huh? that is the 21st Century in all its glory. anyone more than a kilometre from the exchange will never get what they are shortly going to need.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I guess that little chart shows those miles from an exchange wont see much of an improvement even with ADSL2+ I guess those in the middle of nowhere will continue to moan in the future, even when the so called fibre service arrive which in some cases only run at ADSL2+ speeds
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
On the little chart, yeap roughly that, and we've been saying that since 2006
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"On the little chart, yeap roughly that, and we've been saying that since 2006"

I guess some will never learn its not only the tech that is important but where you live and will continue to not understand the longer the cable run the slower the speed you get

I suspect this place will be full of people moaning they still only get 2Mb when they (COUGH) upgrade to ADSL2+ or similar which they keep begging for.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
I'd love to get 2MB, but it's not likely in my lifetime. 7 years ago I could not have BB at all. Now I get 1.6 MB but not from BT who only offer 512kbps. Us country bumkins are very low on the priority list for improved services from BT.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
dragon1945 - are you on a LLU exchnage? If not why is BT only 512k and your ISP is more?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
It gets worse dragon1945. If BT hook you up to 21CN and their ADSL2+ i still doubt you would see any real improvement. As for fibre you can guarantee BT will pump that out to the city first and again you in the country will be ignored. Even more sickening is my town at some point is likely to get BT fibre, i dont want it, im happy with my LLU for a cheaper rate and no silly limits or throttles which are bound to come with anything BT.Even more sickening if BT take a government hand out its your taxes and mine that will be funding their fibre which you wont benefit from and i dont want.
Posted by Gibbo272 over 6 years ago
since opal took over nildram and transfered me to there so called better servers september 4th i am lucky to got 1meg down load.Absolute rubbish.And there customer service only works 9 till 5 and no weekends so have been coming home at dinner time to ring them and still cant get through.Shame its come to this nildram were brilliant but looks like i have to migrate when i can get through that is
Regards John
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