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BT Bumps DSL Customers to 20Mbit

Gordon Kelly


BT Bumps DSL Customers to 20Mbit

British Telecom may once have held a virtual monopoly on the country's broadband connections but that hasn't stopped its speeds from lagging greatly behind that of its rivals. Now they'll lag a little less so...

The company has announced at long last it will be upgrading its flagship DSL offering to a more spritely 20Mbit and also boosting upload speeds by an unspecified amount. The roll out will begin during the summer and while BT doesn't say which areas will get it first (London, London, London) availability will be extended to 55 per cent of exchanges by 2010. Make sure to grab that iPlate.

Happily BT says it won't be looking to charge customers more for the speed boost though it has been mooting 24Mbit ADSL2+ since May 2008 so this seems fair compensation. Furthermore, competitors such as Be first began offering 24Mbit broadband in September 2005. The Virgin 50Mbit cable service has also been available for more than six months.

Ho, and indeed, hum.

In related news BT has been accused of throttling BBC iPlayer amid concerns over its bandwidth usage. Reports say customers with 8Mbit lines see speed cuts to under 1Mbit with the company admitting it managed performance "in order to optimise the experience for all customers".

The throttling affects BT's 'Option 1' broadband deal and cuts streaming video to this pitiful speed from 17:00 to midnight. And no, it's not based on usage it is simply applied across the board. Thankfully iPlayer has 500kbps and 800kbps streaming options to augment the higher quality 1.5Mbit and 720p HD 3.2Mbit services. So suck on that BT...

Update: Caveat time chaps and chapettes: to get the new 20Mbit speed users will have to new 12 month broadband contracts. There's always a catch.


20Mbit Press Release

Throttling via BBC News


June 4, 2009, 12:12 pm

BT should concentrate on giving customers what they are already paying for.

Oh and how about upgrading the millions of customers stuck on their lousy 512kbs service to something decent before giving those already on fast broadband something even faster.


June 4, 2009, 12:40 pm

Regarding availability of BT ADSL2+, I think the prerequisite is that the exchange has been upgraded to WBC... there's a list here: <http://www.samknows.com/broadb....


June 4, 2009, 4:50 pm

To those with an "8mbit" line and lousy service in a rural area. I found that dumping any in house hard wired extensions, dump the bell wire and the iPlate helped reduce noise. Also I have a Netgear 834GT modem/router. After the wiring change I 'only' got 4mbps at best. After a little search I found a great bit of software called RouterStats. Basically it allowed me to change the SNR that was 'acceptable' to the router and Dslam. Clearly the higher the allowed SNR value the more chance of noise and error but set at the maximum the Netgear seems happy after 2 years of service like this! I see no problems with ahem "large video files"... The result? - I now get a full 8 meg on a countryside crappy copper cable a good 1.5 miles from the steam powered village exchange...

Hope this helps others of a similar position.

Oh and BT... extract your digit and sort the sytem out for the future of our glorious British nation. I CANT believe you are allowed to get away with poor investment, given the global competition of the digital age. <end RANT>

If the sync is reset ( bad weather etc) then all I do is re-run RouterStats and bingo back to normal


Peter A

June 4, 2009, 6:31 pm

I'm on their top package and my speed drops to give a download speed of about 150k/sec in the evenings, down from about 850k/sec during the day. The same has been true (or much worse) when using other ISP's, too. I don't think throttling is to blame, just the state of the UK's broadband structure. How ironic that everyone is told that broadband is the future of, well, everything, anywhere, ever that's even slightly cool and clever and we all need it, only to find that, in fact, now that we've all come to the party, their isn't enough food to go around.


June 4, 2009, 8:52 pm

@Chocoa: You can only set your noise margin for a couple of routers. Higher noise margin should result in a drop in speed though as it trades off speed for stability.

@Peter: Nothing to do with the UK's infrastructure, it's insufficient capacity in your area. Assuming you've tried a decent ISP like Zen and you're not baseing your results on several ISPs that throttle (and there are quite a few that do)

@Gordon: Given the tone of the article I assume both your house and the TR office has had 24Mbps services for some time. While most cities now have WBC or a decent ADSL2+ LLU provider large swathes of the country still only have standard ADSLMax. Samknows won't give me the total combined Be/Sky/Bulldog/WBC exchange numbers but it'd bet it's less than half the total number of exchanges.


June 4, 2009, 10:13 pm

Little off topic can anyone tell me is the homehub v2.0 (the lastest one) anygood in terms of xbox-live and ease of setup/use etc


June 4, 2009, 11:05 pm

@Xiphias Yes the range of routers that you can adjust in this way is small. But for those that can, its very useful!

Key word in your statement is "should" - your theory is correct. However, in actual practise, in my experience though, you can get a massive increase in speed. The Netgear modem/routers seem pretty robust and error tolerant - at getting the data with minimal impact on stability. Many comments on-line support this view I believe. As said, I can run at 8 Mbps flat out for 3-4 weeks without a hiccup or any apparent data issues. For those who WANT to try this tweak ( on appropriate routers as you rightly point out)I can whole-heartedly recommend it... I proved it works!


June 5, 2009, 4:02 pm

I suspect throttling is applied to a lot more than just video streaming. I recently switched from Orange to BT Option 3, hoping for a less awful service. In one sense they have provided that, in that I now seem to get 4mbs rather than 2 (although 8 is presumably impossible). But just like with Orange, my connection quality drop massively from around 5:30pm until after 11... to give an example, download speeds go from over 500kbps to around 50!. I am well aware that you get what you pay for, but I am paying the extra for BT's "best" option and I didn't see anything in the terms and conditions about getting only 10% of potential download speed all evening, every day... Not particularly happy so far.

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