Regular Broadband-related news and comment from the team.

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National Average Speeds October 2011

Average broadband speeds drop in October despite gains for Virgin Media and Eclipse

Posted on in AnnouncementsNews

October 2011 saw average download speeds recorded by users of our Broadband Speed Test drop compared to September's result, falling by 0.51Mb down to 7.48Mb. Average upload speed remained stable with a 0.06Mb drop to 1.20Mb.

Despite the overall downward trend, Virgin Media's average download and upload speeds saw significant gains, rising to 15.18Mb and 2.47Mb respectively. This increase comes as Virgin Media issued a press release boasting the ability to now offer 100Mb broadband to a third of UK households.

Fibre to the Cabinet provider Eclipse, who recently launched cheaper consumer-focus FttC broadband packages, also saw significant gains, rising to an impressive 9.27Mb average download speed and 1.42Mb upload speed.

Unfortunately almost all other ISPs saw their average speeds drop, perhaps due to the darker autumn evenings causing an increase in peak time congestion as more broadband users turn to their computers, on demand video systems and games consoles for entertainment.

The best performing non-fibre-based provider was again BE and O2 (who share a common infrastructure) who retained 4th place with 5.95Mb average download speed over its Local Loop Unbundled ADSL2+ service.

Read more Broadband Speed Test Results for October 2011


Virgin Media

Virgin Media offer free Spotify Premium for 6 months on selected packages

Posted on in Offers

Virgin Media are offering free Premium accounts from music service Spotify for 6 months to customers taking out broadband bundles with speeds of up to 30Mb or more.

Virgin Media Size XL
Virgin Media Size XL plus Phone M
Virgin Media Triple XL
Virgin Media Size XXL
Virgin Media Size XXL plus Phone M
Virgin Media High Speed Broadband Bundle
Virgin Media 100Mb Broadband
Virgin Media 100Mb Broadband plus Phone M

This offer is also available to existing customers upgrading from a 10Mb package.


Download speeds

New guidelines for advertising maximum download speeds

Posted on in News

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have published guidelines on how Internet Service Providers should be describing their speeds in advertisements. Currently ISPs advertise using 'up to' speeds based on the highest speed available in the most ideal situation. Unfortunately, these speeds are rarely achieved by the majority of broadband lines, making advertised speeds misleading, and confusing many potential customers in the process.

The new guidelines - which ISPs are expected to be following by April 1st, 2012 - state that ISPs can only claim to provide maximum speeds that at least 10% of their customers can achieve. ISPs will be expected to justify their advertised speeds every 6 months based on actual usage data, ensuring that figures are kept up to date.

While this is unlikely to affect maximum advertised speeds for Virgin Media cable (already well within the suggested guidelines) and should have little affect on Fibre to the Cabinet solutions such as BT Infinity, the advertised speeds for telephone line broadband (ADSL) may well drop from up to 20/24Mbps down to 18Mbps, or even 13Mbps, depending on the ISP.

This variation is because speeds available for broadband supplied over telephone lines are very much dependent on the length of the line between the local exchange and the property. The longer the line, the lower the maximum download speed. Variation between individual ISPs may be due to how over-subscribed (highly contended) their service is and whether the product is supplied using older technologies (such as 'up to 8Mb' ADSL Max) in some areas.

Although this should allow better comparison between different broadband providers and their services, critics of the new rules point out that potential customers are still likely to be confused by the new advertised speed figures as most will be in the 90% that are unable to achieve the maximum speeds. A side effect of the new regulations means that some small proportion of users will soon be in the confusing position of having speeds higher than the advertised maximum.

Critics argue that broadband advertising should make it clear that speeds available over telephone lines are hugely dependant on the customer's individual line and that customers should be encouraged to enter their postcode or phone number for a personalised estimate. Broadband providers are already required to give an estimate of expected download speed before the customer commits to signing up, and comparison sites such as's availability checker will give estimates of all the broadband speeds available to any particular line.

In addition to these new advertised speed guidelines, new rules regarding the use of the term "unlimited" in reference to download allowances will also come into play:

  • The term "unlimited" can only be used if the customer incurs no additional charge or suspension of service as a consequence of exceeding a usage threshold associated with a Fair Usage Policy (FUP), a traffic management policy or similar
  • Limitations that do affect the speed or usage of the service must also be moderate only and clearly explained in the advertisement (small print is not enough)
  • Controversially, traffic management policies limiting the performance of particular uses of the service (such as file sharing or streaming video) can still be maintained on an 'unlimited' product

While there are concerns that these new rules are not enough and are still open to confusion, it can still be considered a large step in the right direction to allow consumers to be able to make their choices with more accurate information available to them.



EXPIRED: TalkTalk offer Essentials and Plus packages from £5 a month with free router and installation

Posted on in OffersExpired

TalkTalk are now offering their Essentials and Plus packages at a reduced price for the first year, along with free installation and a free wireless router.

TalkTalk Essentials - £5 for the first 12 months
TalkTalk Plus - £10 for the first 12 months

If Fibre to the Cabinet is available in your area, you could take advantage of these offers for just £10 a month more with TalkTalk's Fibre Optic Boosts, which offer speeds of up to 40Mb.

TalkTalk Essentials with Fibre Optic Boost - £15 for the first 12 months
TalkTalk Plus with Fibre Optic Boost - £20 for the first 12 months

Monthly line rental of £13.80 applies, though you can take advantage of their Value line rental - pay £114 for a year upfront, and make a saving of £51.60. A £25 activation fee applies on Fibre Boosts.


National Average Speeds September 2011

Average broadband speeds stable in September but FttC suppliers see gains

Posted on in AnnouncementsNews

September 2011 saw average download speeds recorded by users of our Broadband Speed Test remain stable compared to August's result with a drop of only 0.06Mb down to 8Mb. Average upload speed also remained stable with a 0.05Mb gain to 1.26Mb.

Despite the stable overall result, individual ISPs saw significant changes. Virgin Media's average download speed again dropped after gains in July, now averaging 14.79Mb, but FttC providers BT Broadband and Eclipse saw gains in their average speeds, up to 7.84Mb and 7.3Mb respectively, presumably due to the continued rollout of Fibre to the Cabinet to new telephone exchanges allowing more customers to switch from up to 20Mb ADSL services to the faster BT Infinity and Eclipse Fibre services.

The best performing non-fibre-based provider was BE and O2 (who share a common infrastructure) who took 4th place with 6.69Mb average download speed over its Local Loop Unbundled ADSL2+ service.

Read more Broadband Speed Test Results for September 2011



Eclipse offer new residential Fibre Optic deals

Posted on in Features

Eclipse Internet have introduced a range of new Fibre Optic deals for home users, with download speeds of up to 40Mb and upload speeds of 2Mb. For £5 a month, customers can upgrade to 10Mb upload speeds. Usage allowances range from 10GB to unlimited.

Eclipse Internet Home Fibre 10GB - £21.50 per month
Eclipse Internet Home Fibre 20GB - £25 per month
Eclipse Internet Home Fibre 50GB - £29.50 per month
Eclipse Internet Home Fibre 100GB - £37 per month
Eclipse Internet Home Fibre Unlimited - £59 per month

Installation (worth £100) is currently free on 24 month conracts, with a free router (worth £50) for both 24 and 12 month contracts.



Expired: Sky Broadband offer £25 M&S vouchers with their television packages

Posted on in FeaturesOffersExpired

Updated: From 29th September Sky are offering £25 M&S vouchers instead of £50 vouchers.

For a limited period, Sky Broadband are offering £50 M&S vouchers to new customers when they sign up for their Sky+ and Sky+HD television packages.

Sky Broadband Broadband and TV Starter
Sky Broadband Unlimited with TV
Sky Broadband Unlimited with Movies

This offer is in conjunction with current deals offering free Sky+ boxes and free standard setup.