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Will the UK Colossus collapse under the weight?
Friday 01 February 2002 10:20:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Rhodes in Greece has its Colossus and so does the UK in the guise of BTnet and their national TCP/IP infrastructure, which is used by many net users, often without knowing it. So why the concern of it collapsing, well 2 years ago it was considered a great thing and with the majority of users on dialup it seemed to work fine, now as the number of broadband users in the UK edges over 300,000 (cable+DSL+alternatives), signs of it continuing to wobble and creak are appearring with ever more frequency.

Remember towards the end of 2001 when a lot of dialup and ADSL was down, BTnet fell over big time, they now claim this cant happen again, even so users are not getting a good performance if their traffic ever transits a BTnet node. The users who first notice it are online gamers, they are like the animals running away before an earthquake, then you will get a couple of hours of slow performance for other applications like web browsing.

The upshot of this is that ADSL gets a poor reputation since people have been sold a high speed service that seems to be an unstable service, selection of an ISP that avoids BTnet as the upstream provider (i.e. links ISP's servers to the rest of the internet) can help but it's impossible to avoid it totally. We see LINX reporting massive traffic growth but do we ever see BTnet reporting that they are expanding - NO - that is worrying. Business confidence in broadband is low so what it needs is for all players at a national level to ensure that it will work smoothly and not end up as rubble to be broken up and used as landfill.

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