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BT Total launches its up to 20Meg products
Monday 17 August 2009 13:42:28 by Andrew Ferguson

ADSL2+ is a long way from being new in the UK having been on offer from a number of other providers for a few years. With the rollout of the 21st Century Network by the BT Group continuing and after a period of trials it seems BT Retail has decided to launch its ADSL2+ product for the roughly 40% of businesses and homes on an enabled exchange at this time.

While the talk is of speeds up to 20Mbps (20 Mega bits per second), as with the older up to 8Mbps products the connection speed people will see reported by their modem will vary based largely on the amount of metallic cable between their home and the telephone exchange. While the 20Meg figure is more than twice 8Meg, for the majority of people the speed increase will be less than double. For people currently only getting a connection speed of 2 to 3Meg the improvement may be very small, and for a small number you might even connect at a lower speed. It is not all about download speeds, most BT Retail customers connect at up to 448Kbps on the upstream (e.g. sending photos to an online processing site), this speed is set to double to up to 1Mbps, and the upstream is less affected by cable length than the downstream speeds so most will see a significant boost.

BT Retail is keen to emphasis that it is upgrading speed without increasing the price. This is possible for one major reason, the 21CN WBC products are cheaper to run than the older up to 8Meg products, but not by a massive margin. The cost savings will quickly be swallowed up by any increase in usage on products like BT Option 3 which is nominally unlimited (it appears to have a 100GB per month fair use ceiling). A major concern is that at peak times the public may see their modems connecting faster but actual downloads will be largely the same sort of speeds.

One issue that BT Retail is addressing is that ADSL2+ is affected more than ADSL by things like the telephone wiring in the home, hence why any publicity is keen to push the BT I-Plate which is available to BT customers for the cost of postage. A free method is of course to remove the ring wire as shown in our FAQ section.

For those reading this who want a better idea of the speeds they may manage using ADSL2+ if you can access the line connection information in your ADSL modem/router you can plug the information into a simple calculator to receive an estimate on ADSL2+ speeds. In terms of estimates, around 25% of lines should manage a connection speed of 11Mbps or faster, 42% 9.5Mbps or better, 78% 5Mbps and 93% around 2 to 2.5Mbps. Of course actual speeds when downloading (throughput speeds) will depend on things like how busy your exchange is, the backhaul, the ISP and the Internet at large and a myriad of other things.


Posted by essroberts over 8 years ago
My router says I have ADSL2+ from a North London exchange. I regularly get 8.4Mbps download and often up to 9.2Mbps (on BT Speedtester and ThinkBroadband). According to the BT site my line "can only support 6Mbps". BUT every month the speed drops to 300 or 500 K until I call India, and then it is restored in an hour or two. Do I trust BT?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
BT's site gives conservative estimates, because they feel it's better to give the minimum estimates rather than faster speeds which may well not be stable.

Moving to non-BT retail ISP's often boosts speeds.

This is well known.
Posted by uniquename over 8 years ago
@Dawn. Maybe the estimates will turn out to be less conservative - once the lines slow down on WBC.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
So you're saying that WBC (which is not directly related) leads to lower synch speeds? Okay, evidence plz.
Posted by zyborg47 over 8 years ago
Dawn, I was getting around 3.5Meagbits synced with BT broadnand option 3 until BT so called updated our exchange to their so called second generation system (WBC), now I am lucky if i get 2Megabits and if I do get more the connection becomes unstable.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Zyborg have you asked which stability option you are on? The more stable ones sacrifice speed to avoid errors.

BT Total may be opting for superstable all the time.

3.5Meg is also around the point where it is often better to force down to ADSL2 speeds.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Precisely - there are thing you can do about it, and you can also change ISP if you so wish to one which places speed as a premium above stability...
Posted by zyborg47 over 8 years ago
If this is super stable then they have got a problem. I gave up talking to BT, I may as well turn around and talk to the cat.

Can't change ISP at the moment, under contract, I joined Bt for Broadband anywhere, but that is going downhill. Looking for new ISP next year I think.

Saying that the last 3 days have been fine, got connection at 2.7, and stable, but it won't last. May go for the only LLU on our exchange that looks decent.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
So it sounds like you have an actual line fault.
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
BT are Crap!

BT say they can give me 7Mbps now on ADSL2+ compared to the 6Mbps they said they could do with ADSL!

I get 13.5Mbps actual throughput on O2 using ADSL2+ (15.5Mbps sync)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Ohnoes, different hardware and another ISP gives you different throughtput.

News at...wait, not news.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
I still only have the promise of 512 Kbps from BT. That is all my line can sustain. I am however a happy customer of Talktalk, which gives me 1.7 MB on the same phone line, PC etc. at a much lower price than BT. Line rental, inclusive 01/02/03 calls and International calls, plus free BB costs me roughly 1/3 of the BT cost. This used to cost me, with calls to Australia and the USA, around £65 per month. When is BT going to match Talktalk's BB speed, cheaper line rental, and inclusive calls?
Posted by GMAN99 over 8 years ago
"When is BT going to match Talktalk's BB speed, cheaper line rental, and inclusive calls? "

Talk Talk is cheaper for a reason... ask their customers why. The fact you are a "happy" customer of TalkTalk means your in a small crowd ;o)
Posted by Blood-Donor over 8 years ago
My brothers tied to TalkTalk and he hates it.
Posted by JimmyR over 8 years ago
The only thing that BT have forgotten to mention on this press release is, you can only get the 20meg service if you are on the new billing system. I renewed my contract with BT on 21st March to specifically receive the 20meg service that's been live in Hove since then. 5 months later and I'm still waiting to be placed on the new billing system. Obviously new customers can have 20meg right away. Hmmmm. Still, they do say that I may be on the new billing system before 2010.
Posted by Jimbob43 over 8 years ago
I am with BT Broadband Anywhere, and lucky some evenings to get 2meg never mind 20meg, that may be OK for customers futher south in the UK, but not for people like Bt customres here in rural Scotland, I wonder at times if BT know the WE exsist, and thats the truth, so we will never have anything like 20meg let alone 8meg as promised from BT we are being conned
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
So basically you're whining because you don't understand the physics of ADSL? k.
Posted by Jimbob43 over 8 years ago
no I'm not whinning, just given you the facts,sorry WE are not all Whizz Kids or so called IT specalists.....all I am interested is getting what I pay for.....
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
And you are. ADSL speeds drop off the further you are from the exchange, this is physics. If you want the "full" advertised speed, get a cable connection. Of course, that has its own drawbacks.
Posted by searcher100 over 8 years ago
Cable connection Dawn_Falcon? What the hell is one of those we dont have the luxury of choice in Lincolnshire never mind the wilds of Scotland cable is for cities not rural areas.
Posted by PeterBrunning over 8 years ago
Jimbob - I suspect it might cost BT more to provide 2Mb/s to rural customers than it does to provide 20Mb/s to people in cities. So perhaps you are getting what you pay for - and more? Perhaps you're actually being subsidised by others? On the other hand, think of the advantages of living in rural Scotland!
Posted by leshewitt over 8 years ago
Quote: "...."happy" customer of TalkTalk means your in a small crowd". As someone else said, evidence please. I get a bit irritated about this. It's easy to knock any service. Out of many customers, you'll aways find some dissatisfied customers.

In exactly two years with them, I've never had any serious problems with the TalkTalk service and have rarely contacted customer services. I consistently get 5.4 mpbs down/1 mbps up. Currently been in sync for 31 days.

Cheap, fast and reliable for us.
Posted by terrybyatt over 8 years ago
All this talk.... Why should I need to be a techno to get the best broadband connection? The same with my mobile phone and television. What ever happened to the idea that technology would make life easier?
Still, perhaps I'm just an old git!
Posted by leshewitt over 8 years ago
Jimbob43: You get exactly what you pay for; a sync speed of *up to* 8mb. The problem is in the ISP advertising. They don't put in big enough letters that most people will get significantly less than 8mb.

It's not where in the UK you live, it's how far from the exchange. I would bet that people in central Edinburgh or Glasgow, Manchester or Liverpool get plenty fast enough speeds.

Of course the other thing is that sync speed isn't everything. How big a pipe the ISP has to the internet is a big factor, as is the contention ratio.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
Why can't BT [512 Kbps] match Talktalk's 1.7MB on the same line, from the same Exchange. The distance is the same after all. Any comment Dawn? Talktalk didn't move the Exchange nearer to my home did they?
Why, when a load of cable was replaced near here, didn't BT use the two van-loads of Engineers to replace the existing copper wire with fibre? All the cables here are ducted underground, and BT uses a "mechanical ferret" to pull the cable through, so why were two vanloads of Engineers needed anyway?
Posted by terrybyatt over 8 years ago
dragon1945: One to feed the ferret and one to catch it perhaps? ;)
Posted by 2doorsbob over 8 years ago
Unfortunatly drogon1945 BT tend to be more causious when setting for sync speeds because the more signal to noise you have the more stable your connection will be talk have been using adsl2+ for some time and simply dropping your line speed to what is should support ..if i was you i'd look at o2 or be unlimited if your exchange is unbundled
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