Home
 » Editorial Article » 
Sponsored

UPDATE Identifying Slow Speed as a Fault on FTTC Superfast Broadband Lines

Thursday, December 27th, 2012 (1:42 am) - Score 32,106
slow broadband speed

In the case of a 2Mbps upload your FTR would be 4% of the downstream rate or 128Kbps, while for the 10Mbps and 20Mbps speeds it would be 22.5% of the downstream rate or 2Mbps (note: 128Kbps or 2Mbps are both definitively faults on their respective products as they fall well below the 4% and 22.5% rules). This is best explained with a simple example, not least because the actual upload rate you receive will still depend upon the quality of your phone line and this real-world figure is what actually counts when reporting faults (i.e. not the advertised rates).

Let’s say you sign-up for a 40Mbps (10Mbps uploads) superfast broadband package but your ISP estimates that the line itself will only deliver 30Mbps (7Mbps uploads). This means that the 22.5% rule would apply to your service, thus 22.5% of 30Mbps (downstream rate) is 6.75Mbps. In other words, if you experienced upstream speeds of below 6.75Mbps then that would be classified as a fault (i.e. 6.75Mbps is just the FTR level for your specific line and has not been breached because you already sync at 7Mbps).

It should be said that, according to some ISPs, Upstream FTR isn’t all that useful for faults because the operator can often just drop the downstream speed margins to stop that happening (i.e. changing the FTR level back into their favour so that the slow speed isn’t classed as a fault anymore). Crafty.

NOTE: The previous 14 days history is checked to qualify the presence of any potential issue when such faults are assessed.

The 25% Rule

A lesser known fact is that of the 25% rule, which usually applies to services that initially sync up at 15Mbps Downstream or above. According to BTWholesale, “if the line rate drops by more than 25% over a 14 day continuous period then a fault can be reported“. In practice it helps to have a vigilant ISP on your side for this one as they’re best placed to provide BT with the necessary data.

Best Efforts

Some people often get confused between the above FTR rules for line rates/sync speeds and that of the “Best Efforts” performance promised by ISPs, which is entirely different and relates to throughput traffic.

Throughput (actual data traffic) depends on both your connection speed and also the available bandwidth between yourself and the source of the data through BTWholesale and the ISP’s network. This thus has more to do with the ISPs own quality of service and capacity at the exchange than the capability of the line itself.

BTWholesale’s FTTC products are promoted alongside a minimum downstream “Best Efforts” rate of at least 12Mbps for the Standard service and at least 16Mbps for the Elevated option (i.e. BTW promises a throughput level of at least 90% for the busiest [peak] 3 hours of the day); applicable to lines on the standard 15Mbps FTR. Home users will usually be assigned to the ‘Standard’ service.

Customers whom experience slow “Best Efforts” throughput speeds can’t report it as a fault with the line itself, although savvy ISPs can sometimes escalate it as a general problem to be fixed (especially if it relates to a capacity issue at BT’s exchange). In other cases the ISP itself might be to blame, which can sometimes be solved by swapping provider or nudging them to deliver the promised service.

Take note that lines which fall within the slower 5Mbps FTR have a slightly different Best Efforts rule but hardly anybody will be affected by that and it’s tricky to explain.

Conclusion

As a consumer it’s important to know when something is going wrong or if such behaviour is normal. Always keep copies of what your ISP promised when you first subscribed (e.g. a screenshot of the speed estimate for your line) and perform periodic speedtests to make sure that everything is performing normally.

It’s similarly important to remember that service speeds, even on FTTC lines, do vary. The loss or gain of a few megs here or there is usually nothing to get too concerned about, especially when it occurs at peak times where capacity is shared between many users. But keep an eye out for sharper problems that become more persistent or which break the above rules and, if necessary, involve your ISP. Check out our ISP complaints section for more help.

ISP Complaints and Advice
http://www.ispreview.co.uk/new/complain/complain.shtml

Add to Diigo
Tags: , ,
Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar dragoneast

    So how do you reliably measure your download, or upload, rate?

    I ask as I read with interest lots of boasts and complaints, but don’t personally find any of the available options consistent. But not being a stats junky (the exception, not the rule, I know), I just judge my connection OK as it works when and as I want to use it).

  2. Avatar cyclope

    Anything that has DLM in charge has the potential to horribly wrong for the customer, Most lines will generate errors, but if those errors are not having a negative impact on the connection, it’s best left alone, try educating BT on that

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Origin Broadband £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • SSE £23.00 (*33.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2486)
  2. FTTP (2138)
  3. FTTC (1645)
  4. Building Digital UK (1589)
  5. Openreach (1400)
  6. Politics (1397)
  7. Business (1222)
  8. Statistics (1087)
  9. FTTH (1041)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1019)
  11. Fibre Optic (963)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (907)
  13. Wireless Internet (894)
  14. 4G (882)
  15. Virgin Media (850)
  16. Sky Broadband (591)
  17. EE (582)
  18. TalkTalk (571)
  19. Vodafone (506)
  20. Security (408)
New Forum Topics
»
Supanet cancellation
Author: theblaggert
»
4G+?
Author: Bigyinuk
»
Switch to 4g
Author: M1keC
»
»
Openreach and BT
Author: Deanilson
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact