Regular Broadband-related news and comment from the team.

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National Average Speeds August 2011

Average broadband speeds fall in August, but with notable improvements for Eclipse

Posted on in AnnouncementsNews

August 2011 saw average download speeds recordered by users of our Broadband Speed Test drop from last month's results to 8.06Mb, with average upload speeds holding stable at 1.21Mb due to the higher upload speeds available from Virgin Media and Fibre to the Cabinet providers. This pattern is pretty consistent across most of the ISPs listed, with the notable exception of Eclipse. Their figures rose significantly, with average download speeds at 7.15Mb and average upload speads breaking the 1Mb barrier at 1.20Mb, likely due to a pick up in their FttC deals. Likewise, BT also saw an increase in average speeds over last month, though to a lesser extent than Eclipse, clocking in download speeds at 7Mb and upload speeds at 1.20Mb.

Virgin Media held steady with average upload speeds at 2.48Mb, though average download speeds dropped to 16.97Mb. However, with Virgin Media rolling out upgrades for their high-end 100Mb service across the country, these figures will likely increase significantly in future months.

Read more Broadband Speed Test Results for August 2011



Expired: Plusnet Value Broadband Half Price With Phone Packages

Posted on in OffersExpired

Plusnet are offering 12 months half price on Value Broadband packages when you sign up for one of their phone deals. Prices are from £3.24 a month:

Plusnet Value with Home Phone Evenings & Weekends
Plusnet Value with Home Phone Anytime

Line rental of £11.99 is required for both packages. Evening and Weekends call plan included as standard, Anytime call plan costs £3.50 per month.


Virgin Media Naked Wines

Expired - Virgin Media student offer with Naked Wines

Posted on in OffersExpired

Following on from our Student Broadband Buying Guide, we'd like to highlight Virgin Media's 9 month student contracts, which come in a range of configurations including stand alone broadband and competitive phone and TV bundles.

Virgin Media 10Mb Broadband for Students
Virgin Media 30Mb Broadband for Students
Virgin Media 10Mb Broadband plus Weekend Calls for Students
Virgin Media 30Mb Broadband plus Weekend Calls for Students
Virgin Media 30Mb Broadband, 65 TV Channels plus Weekend Calls for Students
Virgin Media 30Mb Broadband, 160 TV Channels plus Weekend Calls for Students

To make this offer even sweeter, we've teamed up with Naked Wines to offer an exclusive wine voucher worth up to £100 when you sign up for a Virgin Media student package over the phone. Just call [OFFER EXPIRED] to sign up now!



EXPIRED: New Half Price Offers from TalkTalk on Essentials and Plus Packages

Posted on in OffersExpired

Update: The 12 month offer expired on the 28th of September, now replaced with six months half price and free connection on both packages.

Update: As of the 8th of September, both Essentials and Plus now offer 12 months half price on a 12 month contract! Both packages also come with free activation during this promotion.

TalkTalk's new half price deals on their Essentials and Plus packages went live today.

TalkTalk Essentials - £3.25 for the first 9 months12 6 months
TalkTalk Plus - £7.25 for the first 6 months12 6 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 offers speeds of up to 40Mb.

TalkTalk Essentials with Fibre Optic Boost - £13.25 for the first 9 months12 6 months
TalkTalk Plus with Fibre Optic Boost - £17.25 for the first 6 months12 6 months

Line rental of £12.60 applies, £25 activation fee on Fibre Boosts.



Sky Broadband Unlimited with Talk Freetime Half Price For Existing Sky TV Customers

Posted on in Offers

Sky's Broadband Unlimited with Talk Freetime package is now half price for 6 months for existing Sky TV customers. This is an online-only deal that only applies when clicking through to order via

Broadband Unlimited with Talk Freetime

Package will cost £3.75 for the first 6 months, then £7.50 a month thereafter. Line rental of £12.25 a month applies.

New customers not wishing to take out a Sky TV subscription can take advantage of the half price standalone broadband and calls package.


National Average Speeds July 2011

Average broadband speeds rise as Virgin Media surges ahead

Posted on in AnnouncementsNews

July 2011 saw the average download and upload speeds recorded by users of our Broadband Speed Test rise to 8.31Mb download and 1.22Mb upload! These are significant rises over last month's 6.69Mb and 1.03Mb. The increase is mainly fueled by Virgin Media who saw its average download speed surge forward by 6Mbps, clocking in at 17.4Mb across all speed tests performed in July. The cable operator's average upload speed also rose to 2.49Mb across the same period.

Virgin Media has recently announced that more customers than ever are opting to take packages of 30Mb or higher download speed, with cheaper prices for mid-range speeds thanks to the recent introduction of the high end 100Mb service which continues to roll out across cable enabled areas. Existing customers are also being offered incentives to upgrade from the provider's entry level 10Mb service.

Virgin Media engineers are a good way through the process of rolling out faster upload speeds region-by-region, automatically upgrading all cable customers to an upload speed at 10% of their download speed. The speed upgrade, which is due to be completed next month, means that all customers should see their upload speed at least double 2010 levels, while those on faster packages will see an increase of more than three times.

Providers offering Fibre to the Cabinet services such as BT's Infinity product and recently FttC activated provider Plusnet also saw significant improvements to download speed, with BT's average across all products rising to 6.5Mb download and Plusnet's rising to 6Mb download. Of the FttC providers, BT saw its upload speed rise the most, clocking in at 1.2Mb in July. BT and Eclipse are the only consumer-focused FttC providers to offer deals supporting the technology's full up to 10Mb upload speed capabilty.

Read more Broadband Speed Test Results for July 2011



Ofcom: Average UK broadband speeds rise but 'up to' speeds more misleading than ever

Posted on in News

Ofcom revealed this week that the average broadband download speed for UK consumers has risen by 10% over the past six months, increasing from 6.2Mb at the start of 2011 to 6.8Mb in May. These figures correlate with's own speed figures for the period which saw the average speed recorded by our Broadband Speed Test clock in at 6.7Mb last month.

As with previous Ofcom speed reports, Virgin Media's fibre optic and co-axial cable based service performed best, achieving typical speeds closest to the advertised 'up to' speeds. In fact Virgin's up to 30Mb service actually saw typical speeds 1 to 2Mb faster than advertised! BT's up to 40Mb 'Infinity' Fibre to the Cabinet service offered competition to Virgin's speeds with typical performance of 32 to 37Mb.

Ofcom has pointed out that the gap between advertised speed and actual speed is now the widest it's ever been, with advertised speeds averaging at around 15Mb, more the double the average download speed. This is due to 75% of broadband users having their service delivered over copper telephone lines rather than via a fibre optic to the cabinet solution. Copper-only services are greatly affected by the distance from the local telephone exchange, meaning that a large percentage of consumers are unable to achieve speeds anywhere near those advertised. The average speed on copper line services advertised as up to 20 or 24Mb comes in at only 6.6Mb, with typical speeds of 3 to 10Mb and 37% of lines stuck with speeds of 4Mb or less.

However consumers need not be misled by advertised 'up to' speeds. Our Ofcom accredited price comparison calculator allows comparison between broadband products based on estimated rather than advertised speed. Having chosen a preferred supplier, consumers are now protected by new regulations that came into force on the 27th, with the following changes to Ofcom's broadband speeds Code of Practice:

  • Customers must now be given an indication of the typical range of speeds they can expect their line to support
  • During the first three months of their contract, if their line speed falls significantly short of those estimates and the ISP cannot resolve the problem, customers must have the option to leave their contract without penalty

This is welcome news for consumers, and many providers - including Virgin, BT, O2 and Sky - have already implemented these changes, with other ISPs due to follow suit over the next few months.



Ofcom Announces 2011 Customer Service Satisfaction Levels and New Complaint Handling Rules

Posted on in News

Ofcom, the UK's independent communication industry regulator, published the results of their customer service satisfaction levels research today. Thousands of consumers were interviewed as part of the research, and the results cover the main broadband market leaders; BT, Orange, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin.

One of the positive outcomes of this latest survey is that Orange (who recently announced the removal of the fair usage policy on their unlinited packages) have turned around from being the least satisfactory broadband provider in the 2009 Ofcom survey to providing the best customer service out of the five major ISPs listed. BT and Sky have also fared well with an increase in reported satisfaction, with TalkTalk coming in with the least satisfied customers.

This research coincides with new rules that are due to be enforced from tomorrow which will require ISPs to do more in their efforts to help resolve customer complaints. Currently UK ISPs are required to join Ofcom-approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes, though this information is not always available to customers. The new rules will now require ISPs to:

  • Make dispute resolution information available on all paper bills.
  • Write to customers whose complaints haven't been within eight weeks to let them know they have the right to take their complaint to a dispute resolution service. welcomes these changes.