For a lot of people, issues surround broadband speed such as contention ratios, high latency rates and traffic shaping mean as much to them as the words loyalty, respect and dignity mean to Chelsea FC.
However for one group of people in the UK, these terms are very important indeed. These terms matter to gamers who play online games and constantly find themselves frustrated when a lag in their service sees them getting blown up by some guy in South Korea, who is enjoying typical broadband speeds we could only dream of. However one company in the UK has decided that enough is enough and is piggy-backing on a business-orientated fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) network to offer gamers “a fastpath enabled, highly responsive, low contention, low latency network to use to your heart's content at peak times.” Claranet SOHO is able to do this because it piggy-backs on its parent company, Claranet's, 40meg network which is aimed largely at business users. This should mean that the service isn't swamped at peak times (after 5pm), which is often the case for large residential providers.
A low latency rate is vital as you try to avoid getting killed while playing online FPS games and Claranet SOHO claims its package will “dramatically reduce your ping rate right away.” One of the major problems for gamers is than from 5pm onwards the world and its mother logs onto the internet and speeds reduce dramatically. However Claranet SOHO claims that contention ratios will not be a problem with its service because at 5pm its business customers log off, leaving “virtually no contenders to compete with.” Another issue is traffic shaping by ISPs who throttle your download speeds once you exceed a certain amount of data or just at peak times, but Claranet SOHO promises to deliver a guaranteed download rate of 8meg at peak times. Upload speeds of 2meg come as standard but can be boosted to 10meg for £5 extra a month.
The FTTC offering will cost you £40 pounds per month on a 24-month contract including a 'free' Zyxel wireless router and 'free' installation.
Source: Claranet SOHO