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UPD Digital Region Boost FTTC Superfast Broadband Speeds in South Yorkshire

Friday, November 30th, 2012 (10:03 am) - Score 642

Customers of the financially scarred Digital Region superfast broadband ISP network, which serves 80% of premises across South Yorkshire (England, UK), look set to see even faster internet speeds from next month after it was revealed that the alternative telecoms operator has a “phased network upgrade” planned.

Details of the upgrade remain scarce, although business ISP Fluidata let slip that Phase 1 of the roll-out is expected to begin in December 2012. It’s understood that this will involve an upgrade to the cards in “certain [telephone] exchanges“, which should improve the operators Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) based services, albeit ONLY for customers “at the higher end” (allowing the line to achieve even faster speeds if capable).

At present DR’s network can deliver speeds of up to 70-80Mbps (Megabits per second), which is similar to BT’s own FTTC solution, although customers of some providers (e.g. Origin Broadband) have already been lucky enough to reach roughly 100Mbps with the top Origin Max package.

Unfortunately we’ve not been able to find any specifics about precisely what the change itself will do (another MHz profile increase perhaps?) or what kind of speeds may now be possible. We’ve asked a couple of the DR ISPs and one has kindly promised to hunt down more information. We hope to update this article with more details soon..

UPDATE 10:52am

Another Digital Region source has privately suggested to ISPreview.co.uk that the real reason for the change could be because the current crop of line cards are said to be “incapable” of supporting the speeds that they have been advertising, which is apparently why some ISPs still promote the 40Mbps top speed instead of anything higher. However we have seen some customers with faster performance so it doesn’t appear to affect everybody.

The source said they would be “surprised” if it actually involved another large scale infrastructure change because of DR’s current financial problems and massive pile of public debt, especially with a new owner expected to be selected next month.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar DR Customer says:

    I too have heard that the cards in most cabinets cannot support more than 60Mb/s, which is why many do not advertise anything above 40Mb/s. I went with one of the honest ISPs.

    I didn’t think they would ever get round to sorting it out though, maybe I will upgrade my package once the work is done…

  2. Avatar Barrie J Thomas says:

    In all honesty I believe the pursuit higher and ever higher speeds to be a futile and fruitless waste of energies. There is little point in having a connection which is capable of delivering data at speeds of 60Mpbs if the rest of the network – i.e. the internet – can only supply it at 10 mbps.

    My connection is capped at 20Mbps and realistically achieves 17mbps against test sites. However, when browsing the internet and streaming video etc I always find that the bottleneck is NOT my connection, but the rate at which my connection is supplied by the content provider!

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Except “the pursuit higher and ever higher speeds” is also an organic process and if we stayed standing still then everybody would still be on dial-up and a lot of modern evolutions might thus never have happened (Smartphones etc.). The internet has always been a bit chicken and the egg on this front but with time it always adapts to what it’s given.

      For many the pursuit of faster speeds is just a very linear way of reflecting the far more important developments, which stem from an underlying infrastructure improvement. Many people with ADSL2+ lines cannot receive anything like the 17Mbps you do so consider yourself to be hugely lucky :).

  3. Avatar Alexander Atkin says:

    I do not believe ANYONE on Origin has actually connected at more than 70Mbit.

    From what they said to me, during the trials they managed to get connections up to 121Mbit but for reasons they would not go into with me they couldn’t offer anything higher than 70Mbit once the product launched. Line card problems would certainly explain that.

    I think this information may be correct too as my line stats recently changed from reporting a max attainable speed of 110/25 to 131/30. That might not seem much difference, but I have been logged the stats for 6 months now and its NEVER reported that high before, plus it was a sudden huge jump whereas normally line stats fluctuate slightly over time of year, weather conditions, etc.

    Fingers crossed that this means I will finally be sporting 100Mbit+ some time next month.

  4. Avatar Barrie J Thomas says:

    @ Mark Jackson

    My remarks regarding higher speeds were meant to be directed at the end-user pursuit in this regard. Far to many (IMHO) end-users seem to be pre-occupied with squeezing 2 or 3 Mbps more out of their existing 20Mbps connections in the belief that this will improve their internet experience and in my experience it won’t.

    And I do consider myself HUGELY lucky as my ADSL2+ connection used to provide me with a blinding 2Mbps on a good day with a following wind until I discovered Digital Region could offer FTTC where no-one else could 🙂

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