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TrueSpeed Try to Beat BT with 200Mbps Guaranteed Broadband Speed

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 (10:22 am) - Score 5,239
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UK ISP TrueSpeed, which is deploying a Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network into rural areas around South West England, has attempted to steal some of the thunder from BT’s new 100Mbps “speed guarantee” by showcasing their own 200Mbps “guarantee“.

Yesterday BT launched their new range of G.fast and FTTP powered “ULTRAFAST” broadband packages (here) and as part of that the provider introduced a 100Mbps speed guarantee. “We want you to feel confident Ultrafast Fibre won’t let you down. So if your speed ever falls below 100Mb, we’ll give you £20 compensation,” said BT (the same also applies if your uploads fall below 10Mbps).

The CEO of BT Consumer, Marc Allera, also claimed that they were “the first and only company to guarantee speeds of 100Mbps for our customers, even at peak times” (we assume he was ignoring business connectivity and leased lines). However, on exactly the same day, TrueSpeed published a new video to showcase their pledge of a 200Mbps guarantee and that’s for symmetrical performance (note: their entry-level package runs at 200Mbps).

The video sees TrueSpeed pledge that “our fibre network gives every customer guaranteed minimum rocket speeds of 200 Megabits per second upload and download, even at peak times.” This is naturally a reference to their own network, excluding external WiFi and internet servers etc. (those are out of the ISPs ability to control).

However one apparent caveat to this otherwise impressive pledge would appear to be that TrueSpeed don’t seem to support it with an offer of compensation, should performance fall below the promised level. Generally guarantees do need to be supported by something, otherwise they become the marketing equivalent of a paper tiger.

On top of that TrueSpeed’s T&Cs appear to contradict the claim in several clauses.

TrueSpeed T&Cs

6.12 We cannot guarantee the Service will be fault-free. We strive to reach a 99.9% availability target for our UltraFast Residential and Home Office Services, however, although this is a guaranteed service level target, it is not guaranteed for our residential products. We will commit all reasonable resource to maintain this target.

8.3 We do not guarantee that maximum transmission speeds can be obtained at any particular time over our network. Unlike traditional DSL, where your line speed may vary depending on a number of factors, traffic on your TrueSpeed line will always be the speed you have purchased.

However, in line with industry standards, we engineer our network to take advantage of the fact that we do not expect every customer to use 100% of their capacity all of the time. At peak usage times, you may experience a small amount of congestion on the network as a result. We monitor our network closely and will endeavour to minimise congestion where and when necessary.

Even “full fibre” broadband ISPs have to pay for their data capacity and no doubt there will be times when that aspect comes under some strain, although today’s internet and WiFi constraints do tend to mean that most people will rarely be using the full speed of such a fast connection (i.e. you’re unlikely to notice unless the ISP is being very conservative with their network capacity).

As a side note, TrueSpeed’s video also pokes some fun at Openreach’s GPON based FTTP network, which can indeed suffer from some restrictions. On the other hand the claim “that you are just back to the bad old days of network contention and fluctuating speeds” with GPON is perhaps a little unfair.

A GPON based FTTP solution has its limitations but it is still in a completely different league to the old ADSL2 and FTTC / VDSL2 services and shouldn’t be conflated with those. Similarly recent enhancements to the GPON standards have added support for Gigabit class speeds, although you won’t see many symmetrical connections around.

TrueSpeed’s network is currently also significantly smaller than the G.fast and FTTP one that Openreach are building, although that’s a topic for another day. We have of course shot off an email to ask TrueSpeed about how they are underpinning the guarantee and will report back if they respond. Otherwise TrueSpeed appear to be doing an excellent job and we look forward to seeing their network expand.

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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.
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9 Responses
  1. Avatar mike

    Aren’t these guarantees just going to result in loads of rejected orders? To get 100Mbps in G.Fast, assuming the same line length, then you need to already be able to get around 60Mbps on VDSL. People who could potentially benefit from G.Fast will be refused service if their line isn’t quite up to 100Mbps (or 200Mbps in this case).

    • On G.fast, yes because it’s positioned as “ultrafast”. The idea is that ISPs will only sell G.fast to people when it can actually deliver a clear benefit over VDSL2 performance, which makes sense. So rather than lots of rejected orders the onus will be on ISPs to ensure that they don’t sell G.fast if the customer’s line is estimated below 100Mbps.

    • Avatar mike

      It seems a waste of time then. The only people who benefit are those who already have very good VDSL connections.

    • Avatar AndyH

      @ Mike – So we should ignore the 10 million premises that are due to be upgraded to ultrafast speeds with G.fast?

    • Avatar mike

      No but maybe it’s time the people who have almost no broadband are given something decent

    • Avatar CarlT

      The reasons they don’t have ‘something decent’ still remain and are usually related to cost. G.fast from cabinets is relatively cheap and very fast. Getting services out to those a distance from existing cabinets gets expensive quickly and takes far longer.

  2. Avatar JustAnotherFileServer

    Typo in the title of the article. Shouldn’t it be beat rather than best?

  3. Avatar Marty

    Sounds like something Sky broadband would do in their advertisements Or better still Virgin media will lofty promises when you only get 10% of the speed.

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