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What does 'fibre broadband' mean?
Sunday 27 December 2015 13:01:31 by Sebastien Lahtinen

This year thinkbroadband turned 15. Back in 2000 we started the site (known then as as a fun project to help provide updates on the rollout of ADSL services which were in their infancy. Back then very few lucky people were able to get 'cable broadband' services (and I was unfortunately not one of them), whilst ADSL was offering some promise to everyone else.

Over the years, we've been through various phases of technologies and watched an increase in headline speeds from 500Kbps/2Mbps-range to services running in excess of 100Mbps from widely available services, with a few lucky areas able to reach speeds above 1Gbps. As download speeds became dominant in the marketing battle, we saw people talking about having a '50 meg' service or even 50MB/s. We used to correct this and explain the difference between 'megabytes' (or MB/s) and 'megabits' (or Mb/s) and why 'meg' was ambiguous but over time we found this detracted from the message and confused users who kept hearing 'meg' everywhere else. Although we will passively correct any references to megabytes per second in interviews, we have adopted the position of speaking in terms of 'up to 50 meg' when we refer about speeds up to 50Mbps, because this is what users hear elsewhere, even though it is not, technically an accurate term to describe speed.

We have come across a similar difficulty in recent years with the use of the phrase 'fibre broadband' with most new services sold being marketed as 'fibre' broadband. This started back when Virgin Media launched their 'fibre' services for the fibre/co-ax hybrid cable broadband service. Even today Virgin promises its 200Mbps service as 'UP TO 200Mbps OPTICAL FIBRE' and on the same page has a picture of a copper co-ax cable explaining how it is 'thicker copper' than BT's service enabling it to deliver faster services. We have also seen uses of combined terms of 'wireless fibre' to describe hybrid services. Most of the 'fibre broadband' services sold by those other than Virgin Media are based on VDSL/hybrid services which use the a copper telephone line for the last bit between your home and the green street cabinet, and then fibre onwards to the telephone exchange and beyond, just like Virgin uses co-ax to the nearest node (although as they will be keen to point out, technologically this copper cable is somewhat superior to the telephone wiring most others rely on.)

Is it right to call these 'fibre broadband', and should we as responsible industry commentators call it such?

The answer to the first is it's a matter of judgement. Do you call something 'fibre' broadband if 99%+ of the service 'to the Internet' is through a fibre-optic cable and the very last few hundred metres (or in some cases a bit more) via copper? As technically minded people, we started from the position that it probably shouldn't as if it's not fibre in your home, it's not fibre, right?

The issue however is that when dealing with the public who aren't as as technically aware, the service we call 'cable broadband' or 'VDSL' meant nothing to them - they called it fibre broadband. This may be due to the way it was marketed by providers, but it is what it is.

(Side note for technically minded users: You can debate as to whether a certain large American telco who refuses to peer with another major IPv6 network for commercial reasons and therefore does not offer 'full' Internet access should be able to advertise it as 'Internet' connectivity)

The question for us is therefore what do we call these hybrid fibre services? We've adopted the same position as on the 'meg' debate - to use the language users expect and try to educate on the differences as appropriate. If we insist on using different terminology because we feel it's technically accurate but not accessible, we'll just cause user confusion and they'll go to another website to read about such services, and be no wiser than before. We do talk about FTTH/FTTP, in other words 'full fibre' services and continue to believe they represent the best technology to deliver future-proof fast broadband connectivity, but we understand why most infrastructure operators have chosen not to migrate to full-fibre solutions in one go.

In the very near future, we will be personalising our broadband provider listings and as part of this, full fibre providers will appear more prominently to those users able to receive these faster-than-superfast services

On that note, we'd like to wish all our visitors a great New Year and hope 2016 shall bring broadband services to more of you.


Posted by leexgx 10 months ago
BT fiber should be called Near fiber

virgin can be classed as fiber as you get what you paid for (unless the FTTN cab is overcapacity),
as VDSL is just like ADSL you limited by distance so speeds will vary, whereas DOCSIS is limited by speed profile been given (but sometimes the FTTN cabs can be overloaded but it's a local street level problem some times, virgin should be fined when they failed to promptly add more cards in the cab)
Posted by asylum_seeker 10 months ago
^^^ its 'fibre' not 'fiber'. Unless you're American?
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
@leexgx Just FYI there are no cards in any Virgin Media cabinet handling cable broadband. The upgrade process is usually a little more complicated than that.

I'm not convinced that fining operators for having visible contention is wise. Prices will shoot up, speeds as sold will drop way down or transfer caps will come in to accommodate this requirement.

Given many operators allocate perhaps a megabit a second per customer at peak periods I'm not entirely sure we'd enjoy networks sold with zero visible contention guaranteed.
Posted by leexgx 10 months ago
they should when they refuse to add more capacity to the cab for more than 6 months
Posted by MCM999 10 months ago
@Seb "We do talk about FTTC/FTTP, in other words 'full fibre' services" Did you perhaps mean to write FTTH or even FTTB rather than FTTC?
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) 10 months ago
leexgx - Surely either it's fibre or it's not fibre? It's a description of technology, not speed? Besides which there are plenty of times when VDSL was faster than Cable due to congestion when I had it :)
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) 10 months ago
@MCM999: thanks.. fixing..
Posted by GMAN99 10 months ago
Lol Lee so as long as you get what you pay for you can class anything as fibre? Priceless

Btw some virgin customers don't get what they pay for either
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
They do at the transmission level, GMAN, which was his point. Everyone on a cable connection is either connected at full speed or is offline.

The guy actually mentioned the caveat about capacity that you are referring to.
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
@leegx It's not as simple as adding more capacity to the cabinet and I doubt Virgin 'refuse' to do so. They might be very slow to do so due to technical and planning issues but they aren't sitting there actively electing to ignore capacity issues.

The capacity itself sits at the other end of the fibre. VM either increase this or split the fibre node to reduce the number of homes and give each split their own fibre and line card ports.

Both need line cards, routers to hold them, optical, and other equipment.

If only it were as easy as a line card in a cabinet.
Posted by Michael_Chare 10 months ago
I would suggest that the only service that should refered as fibre is FTTP/FTTH. This is the approach that the French have been reported as adopting, but alas not the UK ASA. FTTC sercices should be called what they are i.e. fibre to the cabinet.

Fibre (FTTP) is substantially different from FTTC because it does not have the FTTC cross talk issues or distance limitations.
Posted by tommy45 10 months ago
ASA they are a joke, lots of things that should be stopped aren't stopped by them, Advertising FTTC/VDSL2 as fibre is only one of them,
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
Erm, Fibre To The Cabinet is the the full name :)

The problem is, getting the right name.. quite often a router is wrongly called a switch, and vice versa..

and then sellers have to call a router without a modem a *cable* router, so that customers do not get one and complain it will not connect to their ADSL line!!

Posted by The_Voyager 10 months ago
Maybe we should start calling the things by what they really are FTTC/FTTN/FTTB = Partial Fibre, FTTH = Full Fibre, Virgin = Partial Co-Ax or Full Co-Ax (there is no Fibre involved) and as for Routers, yes let's get them changed to ADSL(+) Router, VDSL Router and Cable Router and get rid of all the confusion.
Posted by PhilipVirgo 10 months ago
Most devices communicate with local routers, wifi systems or mobile masts by radio. Most routers, wifi or mobile aerials then connect by copper/aluminum to fibre via a box on the wall, or mast or down the street). Can we have definitions which reflect the likely end-over -end performance taking into account the length-quality of each link.
Posted by garan 10 months ago
FTTP is the only real 'fibre broadband' and I'm looking forward to the day I can get it.

I would also argue that the use of the word 'speed' is wrong. Latency hasn't reduced significantly even with the introduction of FTTC moving the fibre end point closer to my house.

The broadband connection has got wider so you can get more data volume through but the latency and therefore the speed hasn't changed and FTTP is the only way that is going to change.
Posted by michaels_perry 10 months ago
As a retired RF engineer, it amuses me that Virgin think a thicker copper core in their coaxial cable allows more traffic! All it actually does is allow more current and that is irrelevant. The RF signal travels in the outer surface layer of the conductor and the size of the conductor has no bearing on the traffic capacity - that is more determined by the frequencies on use for the carrier(s). Is it a case of marketing spin?
Posted by tallmattuk 10 months ago
the latency is getting worse due to the number of hops required now to connect to key servers such as in the USA and whether you're on "fibre" or FTTC is immaterial without upgrades to the ISPs and carriers' infrastructure
Posted by glasspath 10 months ago
Virgin's switch from promoting fibre to coax amused me but I must disagree with michaels_perry as the coax local drop used by Virgin is capable of massively greater data throughput than a twisted pair (though it needs to be, as it carries multi channel tv as well) and this type of local drop does have no inherent bandwidth restriction other than what it is set to. However as others have said, all ISPs provision bandwidth for expected use and demand can exceed this and upgrades can be slower than ideal. I suspect that even when we achieve the holy grail of FTTH/FTTP this may still be the case!
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
Surprised a retired RF engineer doesn't equate lower attenuation and in turn allowing higher frequencies to be carried with higher bandwidth.

The cables going into VM homes are carrying in some cases a GHz of RF, with 128MHz downstream devoted to broadband which'll be 192MHz next year and 288MHz+ in 2017.

Given they build and maintain HFC and FTTP networks I'd imagine VM are quite aware of the properties of their cabling.
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
@tallmattuk The latency is very little to do with the number of hops. Routers take microseconds to make forwarding decisions. In actual fact you can't see most of the 'machinery' that your data is travelling down, it doesn't show up on traceroutes as it's transmission hardware, not IP. Perfectly possible that a bunch of routers don't even show up on them regardless.

What upgrades do you think the carriers need to undertake exactly?
Posted by keith969 10 months ago
The attenuation of coax depends more on the insulator dielectric constant than the thickness of the copper core. But as you say I'm sure they are aware of the limits of their coax.
Posted by AndrewNi 10 months ago
I personally agree that FTTC can be called fibre broadband. Yes, there's a length of copper from the cabinet to the house, but there's almost certainly copper or air being used in the LAN anyway.
Posted by keith969 10 months ago
Just to be pedantic about it, dielectric loss is proportional to frequency, whereas conductor loss only goes up by the square root of frequency. So michaels_perry is correct. Sometimes things aren't quite what you might think.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
@glasspath is correct that a piece of coax from Virgin is capable of massively more data throughput compared to the twisted pair from BT - with TV signals using a very large proportion.

What is missed entirely is that the "piece of coax" is a shared medium, whereas the twisted pair isn't.

Speeds are reduced on VDSL2 by distance - which is, at least, a known quantity - and averaging somewhere around 50-60Mbps. Speeds are reduced on coax by sharing that "piece of coax", which is a variable unknown quantity. Perhaps 450-600Mbps between 200 houses?
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
Ironically, mere "full fibre" doesn't solve this. The current GPON solution will share too: 2.5 Gbps between 32 houses.

The wider "access network capacity" - the total capacity for an estate of a few hundred homes - isn't hugely different between the current VDSL2 and GPON technologies, or where VM could get to with Eurodocsis. @Dixi's numbers imply they might get to 2Gbps shared between 200 homes in 2017.
Posted by dsf58 10 months ago
I suspect that most consumers could not give a monkey's what it is called or where there is aluminium / copper / co-ax copper / fibre / infra-red / microwave / satellite in the link between us and the server that we are trying to connect to.

What most of us want to know is:
1) What type of bit of kit we need to connect
2) What "download speed" we get (and unfortunately most of us seem to think that "Meg" is the be all and end all)
3) The cost and contract term
4) Any download volume limits
5) Upload speed and restrictions if using cloud storage
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
@WWWombat I'm referring to 24 channels @ 50Mb/channel resulting in the 192MHz used, then DOCSIS 3.1 after that. Can't really rate how much capacity 3.1 will produce thanks to its use of OFDM.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
That's what I figured. Both of the future increases seem to be hefty jumps in capability, for a 2 year period, compared to what has gone on over the last 2 years. But I'm not following VM's tech plans in huge detail...
Posted by roph 10 months ago
It's sad to see TBB perpetuate the pricing / line rental scam.

You guys quote a "£5/month" (with £15/month line rental) broadband package as SO AND SO OFFER £5 A MONTH BROADBAND, when it's really £20/month.

Providers can just offer "free" broadband and jack up the small print mandatory line rental, and you guys would eat it up.
Posted by jabuzzard 10 months ago
One could argue that even if you had FTTP that it's not really fibre broadband because inside the premises it will get converted at the very least to copper to run over 1Gbps Ethernet or even WiFi to the devices,
Posted by GMAN99 10 months ago
Fibre broadband is a sales term technically it doesn't exist but of course fttp would be fibre broadband because that is what is delivered to your home, could could connect it to a cisco router acting as a serial terminal server in your home if you wished it would still be a fibre delivery. After the demarcation point your provider doesn't care
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
@WWWombat - the jump from the previous 10-12 downstreams to 16 downstreams requires new CMTS which have been and continue to be deployed - Arris E6ks and Cisco cBR-8s.

From there just a matter of more line cards, chassis and licenses to go to 24 downstreams and beyond.

VM are overbuilding networks to supply the additional RF capacity where required - people are receiving cards informing them of outages due to work for active component replacements...

Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago

The active replacements are upgrading networks that are currently restricted to 750MHz or 860MHz downstream and 50 - 65MHz upstream to 1GHz downstream and 85MHz upstream, field replaceable module upgradeable to 200MHz upstream, 1.2GHz downstream - DOCSIS 3.1 high-split.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 10 months ago
@roph We already shoot ourselves in the foot compared to many sites with the higher prominence we give to line rental costs, and listing the contract term price too, adding voice line rental automatically to all packages would remove the revenue stream totally and quickly mean as a resource we would vanish.

This is beyond the difficulty of figuring out how to list providers who allow any WLR voice product, not just their own.
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
@leexgx - REALLY! Your going to try playing the whole capacity card against FTTC when Virgin is probably the worst offenders of overselling and over-splitting there network!
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
"What does 'fibre broadband' mean?" ... Fibre Broadband means long 'unnecessary' waiting for an under resourced 'contractors' to walk 5 mins from one of there bases to check if a cable is going to a building (that already has a line) or even a 50/100x pairs!

Posted by generallee94 10 months ago

and also trying to 'communicate' with the 'communications provider' and being "unsuccessful" 3/4 times!

It also means that once you get it, you get to play the game of luck.. "will I get the speed I was promised?" & "did I hire those lawyers to check the T's &C's for tricks?"

What does 'fibre broadband' mean? It means... loads of unnecessary frustration!
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
hmmm, an RF engineer that does not know how a 'transmission line' works...
and yes, the *type* of cable is important!!
as I learned when my college setup a 10base2 network using 'cheap' 75ohm cable... awful results, until we realised we needed 50ohm cable... :O :O
Posted by ValueforMoney 10 months ago
Why not use the names on the tin BT GEA-FTTCabinet, BT GEA-FTTPremises and VM DOCSIS3?
Measuring availability by Parliamentary boundary in the buckets your doing is very informative. Focuses the mind on in-fill FTT dp solutions.
Superfast terminology as a proxy for 'thoughput capability in the first 10km of your internet service'as shorthand is bearable.
Posted by ValueforMoney 10 months ago
On second thoughts the 'superfast' terminology could be replaced. Perhaps, Connectivity where the access netork supports a thoughput of xxxMps.
Posted by ValueforMoney 10 months ago
In the context of thinking of a early days USO (not an idea I support), then Connectivity supporting XXMbps throughput to a first point of aggregation could do for starters.
You would not wish to write a USO around a user experience given the multitude of discrete services we use.
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
you guys!!! >:(
Spouting all these 'technical' words just sound like *martian* to many people!!
If you think its so easy, YOU do it!! I think you may be shocked by the **actual** cost!!

5 mins walk??? do you think there are *actual* people living in a cabinet????
check the broadband map, please...
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
I was thinking about this, but on a totally different track...

To the posters who complain that the current use of "fibre broadband" is confusing ...

... so let us assume that it *is* confusing ...

... What is the impact of this confusion? Who is getting confused *because of the terminology* and what is the detrimental effect of this confusion? How widespread is it?

And, finally, what would be different without the confusion?
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
A name-change is a possibility, but we'd presumably only respect it if there was a sizable agreement, including the ASA, Ofcom, government and the major players - with backing of minor players too. Plus a plan for a gradual introduction/withdrawal.

I agree with Seb, though. The name needs to resonate with non-technical members of the public.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
BTW, I find it extremely ironic that VM used the "fibre broadband" term first.

BT, introducing their NGA network, needed marketing terminology to denote a generational shift in their offerings - where the word "fibre" featured heavily in the new technology.

Yet usage of "fibre broadband" was usurped by VM that didn't have a generational shift, and carried on using pretty much the same architecture as before.
Posted by ValueforMoney 10 months ago
WWWombat - name change indeed but if something sensible was started in industry literature it might earn its stripes and creep across.
Superfast was just too easy for politicians to say. 'XXXMbps Access Connectivity' might gain traction in time.
VM using fibre to describe coax was odd, but hopefully all new builds will be planned FTTP by all players from now really. That may cause a change in the nomenclature.
Posted by leexgx 10 months ago
wonder how long its going to take for the sky to get ASA to pull BT we are faster then Sky ads (as BT and SKY use same network they cant be any faster or slower then each other) that is been plastered on website and web advert, TV adverts and large advertising boards

more likely they just call it infinity 3 or something (for full FTTP)
Posted by cyberdoyle 10 months ago
So now we know who pays for this site. And why the best site on the internet won't stand up and fight for what is right any more. "We already shoot ourselves in the foot compared to many sites with the higher prominence we give to line rental costs, and listing the contract term price too, adding voice line rental automatically to all packages would remove the revenue stream totally and quickly mean as a resource we would vanish." It isn't fibre broadband unless it is fibre to the customer's premises. End of.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
But why does it matter?
Posted by cyberdoyle 10 months ago
it matters because politicians believe they are getting a futureproof solution for the public money they hand over. They believe millions now have 'fibre broadband'. There are no decent journalists who can be bothered finding out the facts. This country is b0rked if we are going to be stuck on phone lines. We need men of fibre to speak the truth. The FTTC cabs are a dead end. Not futureproof. It's gonna be the scandal of the century. The emperor has no clothes.
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
WWWombat: I suggest you find a suitable 80 yr old woman, to see how confusing the words are... :D
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 10 months ago
@cyberdoyle So we should have no referral system or banner adverts?

What is your business plan to ensure that we can continue to offer the tools and help that we do?
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
cyberdoyle: there is **no such thing** as 'futureproof'....
Thanks to the politicians and bankers draining this country dry, there is very limited funding to make equipment with good quality, to be reliable or able enough...
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
what politicians believe, and what they say to the public, are two massively different things...
Posted by Somerset 10 months ago
@cd - your business plan for 100% UK FTTP please. With wholesale.
Posted by gerarda 10 months ago
@cyberdoyle FTTP might be more future proof than FTTC but in a world moving to continuous connectivity its not the final answer
Posted by Nolly 10 months ago
Many places in the UK now have Fibre. Where I live we can get 80 or 40Mbps but to call that Superfast is a sad joke. The road in which I live is 0.9 mile long. The telephone and DSL cabinets are close to 0.5 mile away so I can only get the 40Mbps. That is the package and it is likely to be a download in the low 30Mbps. I am with PlusNet that went from being a good ISP several years ago to being a poor one today. Still on ADSL2+ and I am not going to upgrade anytime soon.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
I happen to have one visiting (is 82 near enough?). She's pretty good on things like the internet, though - with a PC, smartphone, tablet and a freeview recorder/catchup box.

But she's quite happy on her 7Mbps, streaming whatever catchup TV she wants, onto TV, PC or tablet.

She's not been bothered about a fibre option - but whenever I've talked to her, it isn't the technology that's important - just a question of what can be done with it. The conversation goes like this
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
- "What can I do with it".
- "Err. Nothing extra, just go faster."
- "Oh, but I don't need anything faster".
- "It might be more reliable too."
- "I don't have any problems. What does it cost?"
- "Another £5 per month."
- "I wouldn't bother."

Unfortunately, she doesn't actually have the option of any kind of fibre at the moment, but when she *eventually* does, it is likely to be full FTTP, Lightstream from KC. When they eventually get to her part of the city. But she still wouldn't take it.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
That's it? The only people that a bad definition of "fibre broadband" affects is the politicians? No real people? No inconvenienced subscribers? Just politicians?

The politicians aren't responsible for the superfast-level "fibre broadband" networks covering 75% of the country - nor will they be responsible for the same proportion of ultrafast-level networks.

So the bad definition only matters for the final quarter?
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
However, I disagree with you. In my experience, I have found that the politicians involved know very well that the flavour of "fibre broadband" they are buying into, only gives them superfast speeds. And even then, not to everyone. They're not hoodwinked into thinking they have a magic ultrafast solution or even gigabit. Or even "future-proof".

These same politicians have, however, been concerned about trying to get those superfast speeds to everyone in their area. Not trying to get gigabit to a small proportion.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
There *are* uninvolved politicians who are less informed, and very noisy. But they aren't part of the group tasked with the decision making.

FTTC cabinets might be a dead-end - but so is every generation of comms equipment. They'll probably last longer than the first generation of ADSL did.

However, the fibre spines put down to reach them aren't dead-end. What the politicians have also bought is a fibre access network that reaches 85% of the distance out to properties.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
The idea of continuous connectivity is an interesting one.

But doesn't it require pervasive wireless (either Wifi or nG) which itself depends on pervasive backhaul?
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
@comnut - 5 min walk from exchange where currently there is Openreach guys and there vans.... I didn't mention the cab!
Posted by Saurus 10 months ago
"They'll probably last longer than the first generation of ADSL did."

Damn! we are still on ADSL with no likelihood of FTTC reaching a speed higher than up to 8meg anytime in my life as Suffolk inform me thay have used up all the funding!
Posted by ValueforMoney 10 months ago
@wwwombat @Somerset the definition does effect all businesses. The busines case - if we say overs 15-20years starts as follows.
New build and refurbs get the one with the lowest LRIC. Is this disputed?
Posted by ValueforMoney 10 months ago
@Saurus 33 - is the Suffolk admission in writing and in the public domain?
Posted by gerarda 10 months ago
@VFM Suffolk is waiting for State Aid approval for phase 3.
Posted by Dixinormous 10 months ago
Pretty sure Think Broadband is here to report the news, not make it by campaigning.

That's the job of activists. TBB get activistic they rapidly lose contact with those they are agitating against.

Impartiality is the way to go.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
You almost certainly aren't on the original ADSL though. That was fixed speed, with only 512Kb, 1Mb and 2Mb options.

"Up to 8Mbps" ADSLmax was introduced in 2006, from trials late in 2005.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
The /definition/ affects business?

I'm pretty sure that both VM and BT would still be using the same technology mix, with the same package speeds, even if ASA back in 2008 forbade either of them from using the term "fibre broadband". BDUK, councils and politicians would have made the same choices.

Businesses now, as residents, would have the same choice. Just named differently.
Posted by WWWombat 10 months ago
As for new builds, choosing by LRIC is one choice, if all else is equal.

But wouldn't it be better to choose based on profit, rather than cost? You might, for example, find copper and FTTC has an initial LRIC that is lower, but you expect it to hit a ceiling of potential - so limiting profit further into the future.

Functional limitations like this can artificially reduce the length of time in the LR, changing the result of the calculation.
Posted by fastman 10 months ago
Generalllee -- not what Posted by generallee94 about 7 hours ago,5 min walk from exchange where currently there is Openreach guys and there vans.... I didn't mention the cab! has anything to do with whether your building is lit or not
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
WWWombat: well of course, that is what I meant about 80 yr olds, they don't want all that mumbo jumbo, even if they don't understand it!

- "Another £5 per month."
- "I wouldn't bother."

**exactly!!!** :) :)
But I guess it will be YOU that will be trying to get her the tech???

/definition/ you say... what about back before all this fibre, where the word **contention** was basically *removed* from the internet to stop people frothing at the mouth about it!!!

generallee94: well what about ALL the other exchanges??? my two local exchanges NEVER seem to have vans outside...
Posted by Somerset 10 months ago
If all devices have/will have wireless connectivity why does there need to be a connection into a property?
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
Somerset: I guess you have never experienced how slow wireless can be..
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
yes, 'superfast' is one of those stupid names... its the stupid press and those that read it that need a simple name.. Pity them, and dont worry about it!
just a few years ago, more than 10Mbps was thought impossible...

Also the internet is like a crowded motorway - you are limited by the slowest car!
( and that speed may be further limited by road quality!! try going 100mph on a gravel dirt track!! LOL )

I had a free upgrade by virgin from 50mbps to 100, but most websites I download from only get to 50mbps.. I will have to wait fro THEM to get faster lines... :)
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
@comnut - I couldn't comment on your exchanges, just making a point that plenty of opertunities to squeeze in a quick visit to the flats basement to look for a distribution cupboard
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
well I dunno how openreach works, but it seems it takes *ages* for them to organise a visit... Are they still stuck with bureaucratic organisation???
Back in 2000, one of my students was working for them, and said If you had probs waiting for a connection, it was simpler to just re-apply, in case it has been 'stuck' by the bureaucracy!!! :O
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
Either way, many of my friends have had such bad results from BT/OR that they will **never** go back...
Posted by herdwick 10 months ago
@Somerset the connections into buildings don't have to share spectrum, so you can get a lot more bandwidth into a postcode. The buildings box in and separate short range wireless that can re-use spectrum.
Posted by herdwick 10 months ago
@leegx BT and Sky networks are not shared end to end. Sky could elect to provision less bandwidth per user and end up with lower speeds.
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
If you want good support, go to the much *smaller* ISPs, that have the time to do it.. :)
BT (owners of plusnet) has almost 8million to look out for..
Zen may be small, but with only 95,000users they will get to you sooner! :)
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
and yes, if you are WAY out in the countryside, you may find a ISP van, with a guy who is not overworked / over-organised by his boss, that may be feeling good enough to go look at a distribution cupboard for you...

BUT, actually DOING something, depends on his boss, and instructions from the company...

anything goes wrong, he could lose his job for interfering...
Posted by mantequilla 10 months ago
Fibre broadband is a meaningless term and any meaning it might have had has been destroyed by BT's use of the term along with SuperFast, rural and remote.

The problem with these terms, fibre, FTTP etc. is that they are technical terms, not understood by the general public and most gullible politicians.

We don't take this approach with other services such as electricity, water supply etc. All we care about is what voltage, current etc. we get. How these are delivered is unimportant so do the same with broadband:

Provide speed numbers as 'at least' numbers, none of this 'up to' nonsense.
Posted by mantequilla 10 months ago
The article reads like it was written by an apologist for BT.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 10 months ago
And if sold as 'at least' when download abc is below this people will complain just as now and the problem is an ISP no matter how brilliant their network and how future proof the local loop they cannot guarantee speeds once you have left their network.

Also how do you pick between

ISP X who say at least 1 Mbps on their network versus ISP Y who say at least 1 Mbps on their network. One delivered using DOCSIS 3.0 and the other with G.993.2.

Forcing a minimum speed may also have the side effect of people being refused service.
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
the problem with 'speed numbers' is they are like the weather...
It varies so much, depending on local geography, rain, snow, ice, etc...
and this **includes** large stretches of water is has to get across, to say nothing about large buildings, large roadworks, and of course some site being attacked affecting all the rest!!!
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
trying to get a 'unified speed' is about as loony as the papers saying 'its going to be -10C in Britain!' yes, northern Scotland is part of Britain... :) :)
Posted by mantequilla 10 months ago
I am not forcing a min speed just making the point that all that matters for a user is upload and download speed. So ISPs simply give their guaranteed upload/download min speed and it's up to them how to do this:- fibre, copper, wireless etc.

Then the user will know what they can expect and make an informed decision.
Posted by mantequilla 10 months ago
Users don't care about DOCSIS or G.993.2! Do you care about the complexities of the national grid? No, all you care about is that you get a reliable power supply. For broadband all you care about is how long it will take to download a 2 hour movie. Surely we can create a standard test for that.

You can still achieve 56Kbps on a fibre cable if you want to by the way with software throttling. The medium is NOT the message in this case. What the physical network is should not be relevant except to network suppliers.
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
@comnut - going to a smaller ISP isn't going to solve an issue with Openreach... and going with a smaller ISP I've found doesn't matter either...

Zen was my supplier until 2 weeks ago when they broke there promise from the beginning of the contract and wanted best part of £300 & new contract to move my service to another address even though it was in the same exchange footprint... they told me at the beguining the cost would be much lower (£70 for new line)
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
... the only thing that has come from this issue with BT & Openreach so far is 24 apartments with pissed off tenants and another provider sounding very interesting in providing fibre to the basement/apartments...
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
There's only one more provider I would try and thats AAISP, however this would only be if they guaranteed me a connection and would fight to the death with Openreach to make it happen...

Also BT having 8m customers to deal with is regardless as these companies seem to have more interest in new sales anyway... and as my order is held up with a "new connections" team.... need I say anymore!
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
going to a smaller ISP is NOT about the lines - it is about the support...

I would bet BT would be the real culprit...

And DON'T go blindly in, believing the stories!

And DO realise that there are ONLY TWO( Is SKY a third, does it still use the BT network???) main ways to get the internet to you - lines *owned* by BT/OR, and fibre owned and managed by SKY or Virgin...

ANY ISP that still uses BT lines may still have 'man in the middle' problems..

Virgin is not totally reliable, but at least it is ONLY their fault!! :)
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
AAh, new sales... they will love you until the next price increase, and then you are 'just another moaning customer'.... :O
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
Its not just the uk!! :)
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
@comnut - sorry I forgot to mention the other provider interested in providing service 'our' apartments is planning on installing there own fibre to the basement network and not using Openreach's network.

Your comments regarding BT being shite for support may be true, however I've recently just left one of the small ISP's considered best for support even after good support they had some nasty tricks hidden up there sleeve making there service absolutely unsuitable for most users...
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
and did you note what I said??

Virgin has good reports about its support,
B U T even they get problems!

any 'small ISP' that gets treated badly by BT of course have to pass it on and be blamed, when it is not really their fault...

yes, there are many new optical fibre companies, but they have yet to prove themselves, and many YET to actually start installing!!!
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
you need to name your ISP.... :)

Virgin knows any issues are all their fault, as do customers!
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
@comut - I did note you comments regarding VM... and I can certainly agree they have many flaws... mainly over-selling..

The issues I've experianced with my Ex-Small ISP (Zen) weren't anything to do with Openreach (BTg) its an issue with them directly... not performance related... Is more a mis-selling issue and unfair practice also... anyway not looking to discuss that currently..
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
oh dear you missed the point.... :/

There are so many that think companies are a small place, who will help you personally,
and promise many things...

they even believe politicians are nice guys, and blame their pub for price increases, not the brewery that is holding the pub to ransom!!!

A friend of mine seems to have this idea... He was 'personally promised' no price increase, when he upgraded.. so he sent them a good long letter when the 'service price increase' came along... :/

A massive company will most likely not even notice it... a far away assistant may notice it, but..
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
nope I'm not missing the point, you are!

I'm not asking for a personal assistant, I'm asking for them to just get things done... now this convo has spiralled a bit out of control and I'm not sure if your referring to BT/Openreach/My Ex-ISP...

Or even the the topic at hand!

All I can say is that BT are crap for not being on Openreachs back for info, Openreach are generally just a mess however you look at it and my ex-ISP have an unrealistic policy with regards to moving home and also their early termination charges are unacceptable.
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
you must have missed my comment earlier - a guy I know used to *work* for openreach!!

He said they were so moribund by bureaucracy, that it took a month at best, sometimes longer, to just transfer permission to get a job done!!!

If it was taking too long to get it going, he said it might be *faster* to just apply again!!!

was it hidden charges, sudden change in contract , or an over-active sales person, that was overruled due to many problems with lines / overcrowded boxes/ argument with existing services in your area??? (VM had that problem with the council..)
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
generallee94: it was you who started talking about Openreach vans... :)

how about trying the REAL forum???
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
given up?? have a look at these.. :)
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
Andrew, the forum search cannot see much, but Google can? anyhow, this post may be what generallee94 is talking about...
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
Whats the point in starting a thread on the forum, theres not much to talk about, I've just aired my opinion's on what Fibre Broadband means to me and also clarified what issues I've had and currently having.
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
@comnut - the links above are not related to the issues I'm having.

To clarify... my issue isn't that fibre isn't available, the DSL checkers show it as being available at my address, the issue is that BT don't know of anyone having a line at the address before and want it verified, however if I placed the order for the address and didn't include the apartment number theres no issue of any sort.
Posted by comnut 10 months ago
the point is there are many more people in the forum, you can post a very long description of you problem, and can get a good answer to it!!
(have you noticed it is ONLY me and you chatting, others have given up...)
the forums STAY where they are, for future users..

the link about open reach I posted has a good answer...
If you dont want to bother about it, well its your fault nothing happens...:)
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
OK well, I have posted in the forum about it already...

I'm still missing what future users would be gaining from seeing my story though... theres nothing I can do about it... or that they will be able to either... so getting pissy with me about nothing isn't appreciated and if nothing happens its my CP's fault and not mine thanks.

Posted by comnut 10 months ago
It serves for those that think BT is wonderful...
thats why many will NEVER go back...
will tell what ISP is available on the exchange, quite a lot of sky about, get VM if you can...
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
Why wouldIi bother going for Sky, they rely on Openreach to setup and maintain the lines just like BT does...

Virgin isn't available to me in my new place and I don't have enough trust in there networks performance to make it my only connection
Posted by generallee94 10 months ago
Well I'm almost certain BT has just lost me as a customer... Lies, Lies & more Lies... oh an further 5 weeks worth of waiting!
Posted by alexdow 10 months ago

"I would also argue that the use of the word 'speed' is wrong"

Agreed, I pointed this out at a major presentation about twenty years back.

The Speaker agreed that it should be "Rate" or similar - but even by then, "Speed" had been adopted by so many that there was no realistic prospect of correcting the situation.

Another participant with a RADAR background, agreed with us.
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