BT Broadband

Anyone in the area around the library got BT Broadband (not fibre)? We currently have Virgin fibre, but the line speeds seem to have been a bit erratic recently - despite paying for 70Mb, I’m clocking as little as 300k during busy periods … and given some recent price hikes, I’m seriously considering looking for alternatives.

A BT rep quoted me as being able to get a guaranteed 17mb, which is more than enough for my needs, but I cant help but take his claim with a large pinch of NA2. Anyone got any experiances they can share?

FWe had Virgin for a while and the speeds were atrocious. They have problems with over subscription in some areas and if you’re being throttled there’s little chance of improvement any time soon as it requires infrastructure investment. We had to fight to get out of our contract with unusable broadband.

We have now have Sky that comes in through the OpenReach lines, so the same as BT and have steady speeds all day. We had straight BT infinity before that which was also solid, but the Wifi was poor until we ditched their router for an Apple Airport Express. The actual broadband speeds were fine.

We get 17 meg from Sky (not fibre) pretty much all the time. I am Waldenshaw Road.

I’ve moved this topic to Local Services as it’s a bit broader than general geekery and you might get more feedback.

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Thanks Rachael - wasn’t too sure so I played it safe on the category.

So it seems that the 17mb claim has some substance then. Looks like Virgin will be getting a call from me later today :slight_smile:


I am not in the area you ask about but am close by in Crofton Park and have BT infinity and its really good, The best thing about it is that you can hook up to BT interest almost anywhere when you are out and about by finding a BT FON signal and then signing in with your own password. So you can sort of take your bt service out and about with you which I find really useful. I ditched Virgin for BT and would never go back. I also find the actual BT service - as in actual face to face or on the phone customer service - to be much better than virgin which I did not like at all.

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In Honor Oak: would love to get fibre, some neighbours have it, but there are no spare slots in the cabinet, even though the exchange has FTTP enabled (fibre all the way into your home). I feel pretty sure that we are in the 2% of the country that is fast internet enabled, according to recent stats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can get it!

So have ADSL. One caveat about this - the line may be technically capable of 17Mb but in reality you are unlikely to get that, YMMV. We get 14Mb usually but real world works out somewhat less than this especially when you take into account contention (i.e. other users taking up bandwidth in the local area) at peak times.

I would never use Virgin again and would prefer to avoid BT too. Their customer service is awful in my experience. We use Zen - pricer than most but the support is excellent.

For ADSL2, otherwise known as copper broadband, the closer you are to the exchange, the likelier you are to have 17mb download, but the upload is a pitiful 1mb. The download speed slows down, the further away you are from the exchange

Fibre, otherwise known as VDSL2, is largely sold as a 38mb down/1 up product, for the fastest broadband, is 76mb down/20 up.

Most broadband providers, including Virgin use traffic management to slow down speeds to meet the demand of their customers. Virgin is also massively oversubscribed in the London area in general, so during peak times, the speed will be poor.

TalkTalk and Sky for example don’t have traffic management, so you’re likely to maintain the same speed throughout the day. I’m on TalkTalk’s Faster Fibre package and get the full speed at all times.

It’s worth noting that fibre broadband also slows down the further away from the fibre cabinet (the larger green cabinets, which are next to the traditional telephone cabinets), but the speed doesn’t dramatically slow down unlike copper broadband.

I have been thinking of moving over to fiber - currently on Sky broadband and get decent enough speeds but the dismal upload speed annoys me. Trying to back up to the cloud from here kills my internet connection - I have been trying to upload several hundred gb for weeks now and I can only really run it at night and I keep forgetting to turn it back on.
So my choices are Virgin, who mail me weekly with advertising bumbf, BT, Talk Talk (terrible rep on service) - is that it?
Cranston Road here so there is a cab just up the road and there is a some sort of fiber connection box virtually outside my door

@Foresthillnick: Which Sky package are you on and have you asked them about the dismal upload speeds? They are usually solid whatever is happening to your download speed. We have the 38Mbps Sky package and my upload speed is a solid 9 all day. I’ve had that upload speed forever, with all the providers I’ve had, on ADSL, fibre and cable.

9 mg upload on adsl - I didn’t think that was possible?? Blimey never had a speed like that on any provider - I only get 12-14 download with occasional peaks at 16… . Worth a punt but I suspect the only way is to move to fiber (and I would prefer to move away from Sky…)

My memory may be playing tricks on me re upload on ADSL. I had in the days pre-cloud storage where we didn’t really upload much.

Whoever you go with will be using the same Open Reach infrastructure so it’s more a matter of getting the deal you want. The exception is Virgin. And I can’t emphasise this enough- DO NOT GO TO VIRGIN. If you are unlucky enough to get hitched to one of their oversubscribed cabinets your broadband will be virtually unusable at peak times. Because they are not part of Ofcom they do not have to provide guaranteed minimum speeds so you can’t break your contract on those grounds either.

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When we lived off Brockley Rise and had BT fibre to the premises (on their pilot) the upload was usually around 20 megabits per second. Since we moved to the other side of the South Circ, we have had Virgin fibre (not entirely out of choice), which is generally a bit variable up and down (as noted above) but upload is generally around 12 mb/s.

We’re lucky enough to not be on a badly-oversubscribed Virgin cabinet, but I still plan to move back to BT at some stage. I have found the Virgin router to be a lot less temperamental than the various BT Homehubs we had.

Thanks for the advise - I almost took the plunge a while back as a mate out in Croydon gets amazing speeds on his Virgin fibre so I guess it depends on the contention. May have to look at BT then!
IT is my day job but I am really not up to speed on this so I appreciate all the advise I can get. For now I am going to bring my files to work and cloud them from here on my uncontended 100mb fibre!(soon to be 1gb)

Yeah, the thing with a Virgin is that when it works it’s amazing and when it doesn’t it sucks and there’s no way of knowing which way it will go for you!

Traffic management, which is where types of internet traffic are throttled, is not the same as contention which all consumer ISPs have, i.e. the total bandwidth is shared among their users. If you have a fibre connection then you are less likely to notice this but it does mean that throughput is dependent on how busy the network is.

We moved to FTTP after suffering from endless drops in ADSL speed and awful noise on our landline. Three separate visits from Openreach, each time they’d found our connection from cabinet to exchange had been switched over from a decent line onto one of the lower quality lines between cabinet and the exchange, likely swapped with someone else when they reported an issue. They claim they found unused cable to move us back to but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did the same again and swapped someone else over onto the poor quality backhaul line.

When we moved over to fibre we found that as we had FTTP at our cabinet there was no option of FTTC (the more normal service) and while many providers said they offered fibre they only offered FTTC, so we were restricted to BT. This may have changed but something to be aware of. BT do offer the lower speeds over FTTP at the same price as their regular FTTC, but you need a new fibre cable run into your house and a sizeable battery backup pack and modem/phone adapter mounted to an internal wall somewhere. Had no issues at all since we moved, speeds are consistently bang on what we paid for, no more random drops in quality on Netflix (plus 4k now works and looks great) and uploads are considerably quicker.

Given you’re technical, is useful, will show you what’s available technology-wise at your cabinet. For us it still shows only FTTP and vanilla ADSL, not FTTC.


Cheers for that.
Typically it fails for my number (maybe as I am with Sky for calls) but Zen’s checker results (and the BT address checker) look promising with FTTP supported for my address. I wonder if the quoted speeds on the BT site are actually delivered - 52mb is quoted for Unlimited Infinity 1…

Yes, we went with Infinity 1 and get bang on 52mbps every time we’ve tested (if we ensure no other WAN activity)
with Just ran it now and got a tiny amount under but then I do have a Citrix session open with a streaming webcast in it :slight_smile:


All the providers bar Virgin have signed up with Ofcom to offer guaranteed minimum speeds. Check what that figure is before signing up.