Broadband News

Freedom2Surf announces expansion of BT IPStream trial

Freedom2Surf is the latest ISP to highlight the continuing expansion of services faster than 2Mbps in the UK. They issued a press release last week announcing that the BT IPStream Max trial, that they and a number of other providers are taking part in, has increased its availability to 53 exchanges. This expansion is as planned and announced in November 2005 by BT Wholesale. The 53 exchanges while welcome, is a pin prick out of the total of 5393 exchanges currently enabled. Providers are also highlighting the end of March 2006 or April 2006 as the date when the Max services are expected to be available on possibly all exchanges currently offering services faster than 0.5Mbps.

The marketing of the up to 8Mbps and 24Mbps services during 2006 is going to be interesting. Already we see TV advertising talking of 8Mbps, but this is neglecting the simple fact that the fast speed the best telephone line will download TCP/IP data at is around 7.2Mbps, and only about 22Mbps on an ADSL2+ line. Perhaps it is time for providers to provide a typical line speed in the advertising, along the lines of 50% of lines should manage around 4Mbps.

Of course the speed of the line to the exchange is but one small part of the equation. With the growth of traffic management to ensure that one application type does not swamp a network, sometimes users can see a bewildering array of average download speeds from different applications. It noted that traffic management is a lot more than spending large sums of money on clever hardware, it takes time to configure and tweak the systems, and what works for one service provider may not work for others.

Back onto Freedom2Surf specifics, and our forums are showing similar issues as are mentioned over at ISPReview. In short, performance concerns from users of the ISP, with line speeds between 2Mbps and 8Mbps. In the past it was often easy to see the cause, which was often a lack of BT Central capacity, in 2006 things are more complex with the increase in LLU options, and things like the Max trial. What many customers may be overlooking is that the Max service, is just a trial still, BT has yet to publish the full service specification, since it is a trial. While many LLU services are far from being a trial, as with many new services there is a settling in time, as providers learn to handle the sharp increases in peak time traffic that can occur. Hopefully Freedom2Surf will get a handle on issues, and users can get on with making use of their broadband connections.

We asked Freedom2Surf to comment on the current issues and received the following statement.

"freedom2surf acknowledges that some of its users have recently experienced variable performance, this has not been due to central capacity or traffic management rather an upstream capacity. freedom2surf believe that this will be resolved within the next 24 hours and service performance should be returning to normal. "

Comments on issues, by Freedom2Surf


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