Broadband – Are We Getting What We Pay For?

I’m probably one of few who have two ISPs. I have Demon ADSL using copper wire and Virgin Media using Fibre Optic for my broadband at home.

I took out the Virgin Media because as a bundle with cable TV it was working out cheaply.

I just did a speed test at 4.30pm and the results are astonishing!

For Demon, I pay for an 8Mb connection but get 0.52Mb download. Upload was 0.36 Mb.
For Virgin Media, I pay for a 20Mb connection and get 17.98Mb download. Upload was 0.7Mb. To get these speeds with Virgin you need to make sure you’re in an area that has fibre optic; don’t go for the copper wire ADSL as it’ll be just as slow as everyone else’s.

This isn’t Demon’s fault as its the technology which is terrible. Using copper wire has many drawbacks; distance from phone exchange and number of people using the pipe. Most ISPs have a 50:1 contention ratio. Fibre Optic doesn’t have these issues.

In this day and age of doing almost everything via the computer these slow speeds are crazy! Naturally for us upload is often more important and I use Virgin when filing from home or doing off site backups. Its so much quicker. As “Cloud” services begin to grow and we’re beginning to use off site virtual storage providers, internet service providers really need to start looking at raising these upload speeds.

Copper wire is dead; bring on fibre optic for the masses.

14 responses to “Broadband – Are We Getting What We Pay For?

  1. Well in a word no… No one, not even Virgin Media really fives you what you pay for… See my blog which exposes all the crafty little things they do.

    They all counting on us the users and customers to be dumb and not really check, and since the largest % of internet users haven’t a clew about even how to use a pc, well you get the picture.

  2. Sorry BTW you Virgin media is most likely only Fibre-optic up to exchange and copper from exchange to your home… if you cable is like the TV type then its copper from the exchange (much like the phone lines) then split into a TV type from box outside your house to your modem, fibre-optic cable used commonly is much thicker and shielded and before the modem it has to have a box which translates the light impulses on/off ( 0 or 1 = binary) to something the modem can understand.

    As a Cisco Certified Network Associate, I should know something about those.

    • Sorry to hear your issues. All I know is from my personal experience, I’ve been very pleased with VirginMedia. I just ran another test and was getting 18.24Mbps on download which is pretty good for the UK! I’d prefer a faster upload though – it was around 1.85Mbps.

  3. Pingback: Virgin Media, Upgrade upload speeds, but we foot that expense, unknowingly. « X3webworX

  4. I’ve updated my post which I linked to, and have put quite a bit more information which will affect your topic.

    However you strike me like the sort of customer that as long as the speed is there, who cares, right?

    It should be of consequence that your service is hybrid fibre-coaxial service and not true fibre optic.

    Unfortunately, if you were to upload over peek time your “assigned” moderated quota and have your speed reduced 75%, every other day just because you need to, your post would favour VM so much… or would you?

    At the end of the day we all getting ripped off and be glad that we are allowed the privilege to continue parting with hard earned cash.

    I posted not because its BIG massive issue, I thought the point of your post and posts like mine was to have the truth out of the box irrespective of level of satisfaction.

    I agree with you the upload speeds even after upgrading, SUCK but also make it faster for VM to enjoy 5 hours of 25% service provided to any given customer at 100% profit.

    Business is business but at least be honest and open about it…

    • Yes indeed; for me the speed and reliability of service is of utmost importance as part of my business relies on it. If it’s copper, fibre or fairies, it doesn’t really matter as much as the service being solid and fast with what I consider a fair price.
      I upload and download gigabytes of images at all hours of the day and I am pleased with the service. Again, I’m sorry you’re having issues, but kindly accept that I have a right to be happy!

  5. @ terakopian

    indeed that’s the attitude that get society, ripped off every day by every one.

    I don’t understand how you can apologise that I’m having issues?

    I’m simply exposing immoral and what I consider abuse of advertising.

    If that is what you consider my “issue” then you have things turned upside down and are very ill informed.

    Everyone is entitled to feel they way they want, if you want to be happy, be happy, if being lied to makes you happy, smile and say cheese.

    Point being we a have the right to be informed of the services we pay for and I think you missed that point completely.

    • Kindly read my reply above; I’m happy with the service and it does what I want, with the speed and reliability I need for my business.
      Being sorry for your problems is an expression of politeness. Would you rather I was happy that you’re having issues with your service?!

  6. Im happy your happy, but your still missing the point of the post above and my own post on the reality of the services.

    Again you missed the point entirely irrespective of your unique point of view.

    I rather honesty then politeness, as honesty is truth, politeness is a sort of who cares just go away and leave me alone.

    Politeness is same as saying don’t bother me, go away.

    Your message is to my understanding, who cares if were are all ripped off as long as you as a unique individual and in our experience is happy because in your experience all is well…

    No offence but people with nothing meaningful to contribute in a post, are most likely in a way responsible for using customers as cash cows.

    be well, my interest was to let the blogger know she was not alone and that there is a bigger problem, despite seemingly, for you if nothing else, ignorance is bliss.

    • I’m not missing the point; you are unhappy with the service. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about that. I’ve moderated your comments to be published to show that other people have problems.
      I’m happy with the service I get. I rely on it to run my business and it works beautifully for me. I’m not being ignorant – I just don’t have a problem and don’t share your experience, nor your point of view on this matter.
      At the end of the day, I don’t know you and if your service is bad, realistically, I don’t care; you are right. If you’d like me to be blunt, there you have it. It’s not a case of being dishonest, it’s a case of having manners and compassion. I don’t understand this constant negativity barrage to get me to agree with you and if I don’t I’m ignorant! Go and sort out your problems with Virgin Media or wait for BT’s offering.

  7. I also use Virgin for the same sort of thing as Edmond (lots of uploading as I often shoot work in Westminster and can run home to file from there) and I have absolutely no complaints what so ever.

    I don’t do the whole measuring thing, I just go on how long it takes me to send work to people and Virgin in my location is a lot faster than BT in my previous accommodation and definitely faster than the Sky I was using in another part of the country last year. Apart from one evening a few months ago where we had no service, all is fine.

    I’ve no particular loyalty to any one provider, if something is broken I’m the first one to say something!

  8. I can only echo Unknownsnapper – I only have Virgin via copper (fibre is available where I am, but in a package I don’t want). And yet even copper gives me a speed I’m happy with – uploading from home is as fast as being in the local office of the paper (!!!), and the tea is better.

    Their reliability has been good, again, apart from a 24 hour problem a few months ago, when their feed to the local exchange failed.

    I’m happy…

  9. I use BT ADSL here as we don’t have an option of virgin.
    Although a speed increase would be welcomed, the solid 8mb down 1mb up connection I have works flawless for me.
    That aside, I needed to post as some of your post is not completely correct.

    Virgin media does have contention just like everyone else.
    50:1 contention maybe the quoted however a business ADSL line from BT is 20:1 not that it matters? Well a single shelf as 16 cards with 48 users per card all going into one 1Gb anyway thats just one example.

    Your figures are a bit wrong for download speeds. Your not comparing the same things.

    An 8mb dsl connection can provide a max download speed of 800k (.8Mb)
    Also your not paying for 8mb your paying for UPTO 8mb
    From your figures, I would say your connected at around 6mb

    Don’t get me wrong, cable is giving you a faster connection, but dsl is not dead and if your lucky enough to be using VDSL your getting more than 50Mb

    If you want faster ADSL, see if you can get be broadband, they use ADSL2 and can even bond lines together to give you multiples of 24mb

    Finally it’s worth noting, we in the UK pay on average less for our broadband than our euro counterparts!

  10. I agree about Virgin Fibre-optic – we have an XL service and it has proved to be both fast (up to 50 meg) and reliable. The upload speeds for photos beat the pants off of anything else

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