thinkbroadband turns 10 years old!
It was ten years ago when I wrote a rather short snippet, but nevertheless the first news article on this site. In early 2000, I was trying everything possible to get a broadband service. I kept calling my cable company NYNEX (predecessor of Virgin Media, NTL and Cable & Wireless) to find out if they were able to provide broadband in my area and time after time I kept receiving the same response, that there were no plans to launch cable broadband in the near future. I found this really frustrating back then, so I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for those who can't get broadband today, when everything is online.
When BT announced trials of its ADSL based broadband services over phone lines, I was obviously quite keen to get connected. John was able to get onto the Demon Internet trial and be one of the first in the country to receive a broadband service at an amazing 2Mbps, equivalent so an E1 leased line. Andrew was also one of the Demon trialists and soon joined the site. Shortly after, I ordered my first broadband service (albeit only at 500Kbps) with Nildram who along with other ADSL service providers, offered four services; IPStream 500, IPStream S500,IPStream S1000 and IPStream S2000. The setup fee for the home service (IPStream 500) was £150 (excl VAT) and included an Alcatel SpeedTouch 'stingray' USB modem which earned the rather incorrect term 'frog' because of its shape and the office services cost £260 (excl VAT) to install, but came with an Ethernet router. When you ordered a broadband service, a BT engineer would come to your house, fit a new filter faceplate and install your modem/router, although after some time BT introduced the self-install service which brought the setup cost down and encouraged further adoption.
In the early days, ADSL was a new technology and there was not much information out there about how it worked, so we set up this site under the ADSLguide.org.uk name and started helping users with queries. The explosion in broadband adoption meant we were soon struggling to keep up with demand, especially on our forum. When Pipex had a series of problems in 2002, CEO David Rickards kindly donated us a server to help us increase the processing power to allow us to help more users.
Today, broadband has become a must have commodity and those without broadband are in a minority increasingly being excluded from modern society where more and more services are being delivered exclusively online. You can get the best deals online and those with online access are going to make much more informed decisions on many issues than those who have to rely on traditional sources of information alone. We're trying to identify and help those in these broadband notspots and slow-spots which has helped to inform policy makers, service providers and the public at large about the scale of the problem and how effective policies to ensure universal broadband are going to be.
Over the years, we developed our own speed test, the broadband usage monitor tbbMeter and we're in the process of testing our broadband quality monitoring system. So what's ahead? Well, we're working hard on several new projects which we'll be launching over the next few months which will help you get the most out of your broadband connection.
We would like to express our thanks to all the staff and volunteers who have helped us over the last decade and we look forward to serving our users for the next decade.