Broadband News

When upgrading your connection just means paying more...

BT Wholesale's launch of the Home1000 service was welcomed by users and providers alike offering an IPStream solution to home users with faster connections than previously available. However, recently a number of users on certain exchanges have been experiencing speed degradation on the faster services. Home1000 users could in some cases be no better off than their Home500 counterparts who may also encounter speed problems (but to a smaller degree) as these are both uplinked through the same virtual path through BT's ATM network. This probably explains the slow-down in average results of the top ten in our monthly speed test results.

"The way BT appears to have built the Home1000 product has two effects, firstly Home1000 customers on congested exchanges get the same throughput as their Home500 counterparts, and secondly on those exchanges Home500 customer seem to be getting a reduced throughput because of the extra traffic"

Alistair Wyse (Technical Director), PlusNet

It seems that the root cause of these problems has been the unexpectedly high take-up of Home1000 services as providers including Pipex and Plusnet heavily promoted these, taking BT Wholesale by surprise. Usually, BT would upgrade the Virtual Paths (VPs) from exchanges to the RAS servers around the country when the users on a particular exchange reach a certain level but it has been unable to keep up with the volume of sign-ups recently. Under 800 users are affected by these problems at this time and half of the VPs affected by this problem are expected to be upgraded during the course of this month with the remainder completed in January.

"It's important to keep the scale of this issue in context. Out of 1.7 million ADSL connections this is potentially affecting less than 800 users - and only at peak times. The BT IPStream Home1000 product, like all the of the wholesale BT IPStream Products, works on a shared aggregated access platform which is sold on the basis that speeds vary between higher and lower levels depending on a number of factors including contention. It has been operating well within those limits despite the congestion.

BT Wholesale has set out clearly how this short term congestion issue is being addressed quickly in order to optimise performance for our service providers and their customers and maintain the strong early take-up we've seen for the higher speed service."

BT Wholesale Spokesman

Service providers have been asked to communicate with BT over usual channels if they have reports of users experiencing speed problems and have ruled out any problems within their own IP network if user speeds for 1Mbps services fall below normal service levels. In the case of Home1000, 200kbps is quoted as the lower end of a normal service, although this is for guidance only. [seb]


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