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Slow Peak Time Broadband Speeds Strike Vodafone UK ISP Customers UPDATE2

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 (9:25 am) - Score 12,971
Vodafone UK 2016

Not for the first time, customers of Vodafone’s fixed line broadband service (seemingly both FTTC and FTTH) seem to complaining about a significant drop in service speeds and a rise in packet loss during peak times over the past few days. The reports appear to echo the network congestion issues that plagued the ISP last year.

The reports, some of which have reached our inbox, appear to be flooding across social media (e.g. Twitter) and you can also find a large number of seemingly related topics on Vodafone’s own Community Forum. Interestingly a few customers on the operator’s new Cityfibre built FTTH broadband service are also reporting a similar sort of issue to those on their wider Openreach based “superfastFTTC (VDSL2) packages.

Overall the reports largely all tell the same story, which is that their broadband speeds remain fairly normal – albeit a bit slower than usual – during the daytime but fall away dramatically at peak (busy) times, such as during the evening hours when more people are online. The issue appears to have been occurring for the past few days, although quite a few people suggest that it started around Friday 23rd August 2019.

A number of customers with technical knowledge have also reported a rise in Packet Loss. Generally you want a low-latency connection with minimal packet loss. Networks are designed to auto-correct for packet loss but doing so can also increase the latency. A highly congested (busy) network is one of many possible causes for this sort of problem.

Sample Customer Complaint 1

Hi, For the past three days I’ve been getting speeds of under 10mbps both up and down on my gigafast connection. This only seems to occur during peak time. My Gigafast plan is 500mb.

Sample Customer Complaint 1

Was down to 1.7mbps last night, it was 33mbps this morning, but slowly dropping now down to 18mbps. Contacted Vodafone, what a joke that was, despite on at least 4 occasions advising I was not using their router they wanted me to perform tests on pages on their router. They then asked me to do a speedtest then told me it was my WiFi at fault when I had already told them I was using a hardwired PC. 1st line support is a joke.

Sample Customer Complaint 1

I’ve been having the same issue since Friday night. Meant to be getting up to 72Mbps, dropped right down to 6Mbps. It’s happening all times of the day.

Sample Customer Complaint 1

Same here, Friday night I was down to 1.5Mbps. Same issue on Saturday and Sunday. Things seem a little better today, I’m getting around 15Mbps, still down from my usual 54Mbps.

The fact that this issue started so suddenly suggests that the cause is likely to be related to a wider network fault or possibly the loss of major fibre capacity (e.g. a cable break somewhere). We note that the complaints have come in from across the UK and thus it’s been difficult to pin down.

One difference between this year’s problem and last year’s is that the 2018 issue grew gradually and appeared to stem from a general lack of network capacity. By comparison we hope that this issue may be one that doesn’t take as long to resolve, once all of the staff are back from their bank holiday break that is.

We have asked Vodafone for a comment and they’re investigating. We hope to report back later.

UPDATE 11:35am

I asked Andrew over at Thinkbroadband whether he had also seen a similar problem in his speedtest data and the answer came back in the affirmative. The same trend is not showing on other major ISPs, only Vodafone’s network, and it’s fairly evident when looking at the daily averages. As above the fall started on 23rd.

tbb_vodafone_speeds

UPDATE 1:24pm

By the looks of it the problem at Vodafone may only be affecting some routes, while others appear to be more healthy. Meanwhile we’re still awaiting a comment from Vodafone and will be watching tonight to see if the problems return again.

UPDATE 28th Aug 2019 – 9:09am

Several Vodafone customers reported that their broadband speeds were fine during the daytime yesterday but then dropped away after 5pm last night. As it’s early morning we’ve so far only had limited feedback but we should get a better picture as new data arrives. Meanwhile we finally have Vodafone’s statement.

A Vodafone Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We apologise to any of our home broadband customers who recently experienced slower speeds than normal. We have now resolved the issue and customers should now see their broadband speeds improving. The issue was caused by human error when carrying out some routine maintenance work.”

Sadly we aren’t told what kind of “human error” was involved. Hopefully service speeds tonight will be better.

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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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50 Responses
  1. Avatar David

    Vodafone seem to be positioning themselves against the likes of TalkTalk, ie value. This can only profitable with high contention ratio’s, which result in congestion at peak times…

  2. Avatar Chris Mottershead

    Vodafone have over subscribed in my area and left my business line degraded almost to the point it’s unusable and their response is you’ll just have to wait up to 6 months for it to be sorted

    • Avatar Lee

      Vodafone is not virgin cable network, so to many people in your area would have no impact on your connection (vdsl or adsl does not work same as cable docsis network)

      If open reach don’t have enough capacity all vdsl and adsl connections that are not on BT broadband (they get high priority) would be suffering from slow speeds and packet loss

      More likely that you got a line fault

    • Avatar k

      Lee, you might be right about his line but you are wrong about the contention issue. It depends on what kind of service the ISP buys from openreach. Often they have a certain capacity link to each exchange (LLU lines) This link will be contended to a certain amount, how much varies isp to isp and exchange to exchange.

  3. Avatar Osama Ameer

    I have had same problem. Slow speeds in late evening, nights. How can I get rid of Vodafone broadband

  4. Avatar NE555

    > How can I get rid of Vodafone broadband

    Easily – by changing to a different ISP. If your current Vodafone broadband is FTTC or ADSL, there will be many other providers you can switch to.

    If you are in contract, then check your contract T&Cs. Complain, and say you will kick up a fuss on Facebook and Twitter if they don’t let you go – they may let you go quietly. At worst, you buy yourself out of the contract – or take a second line from a second ISP (maybe even 4G wireless) while you wait for the contract to end.

    If you are one of the few people with Vodafone Gigafast, then of course your alternative options will likely be slower and/or more expensive.

  5. Avatar Jadoo

    As a SME, we fell for the Vodafone marketing blurb of guaranteed minimum speeds. Our experience tells a different story with intermittent slow speeds so dropping Skype calls, and occasionally no general internet available at all for a few minutes at a time. Shoddy!!

  6. Avatar Darius

    I am a Vodafone customer.i have had the same problem. The speed suddenly drops both on wifi and cable connection.i also have the same issue around 6 pm ..I am really dissapointed with the service.itnis annoying and have to do a lot of refresh to get back the connection. I will have to look for other providers.

  7. Avatar Dave

    Lots of core router issues recently, they appear to be using old bulldog gear and recent work have caused some to fail. The congestion is at this edge location.

  8. Avatar Lee

    Vodafone are cheap and cheerful. However, enough was enough when poor speeds etc started to affect my work. Struggle with Skype calls etc. Openreach engineering been out a few times and confirmed it’s due to packet loss on the network so they try to automatically reduce packet loss but it slows my speed. He reset the cap and I got max speed for 2 weeks. Everytime the engineer visits he jokingly says “see you in 2 weeks” he isn’t wrong. Needless to say, I am moving provider as Vodafone themselves confirmed to me they are unable to provide me a reliable service.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Openreach can do absolutely nothing to fix packet loss on Vodafone’s network. Not sure why you’re blaming Vodafone if Openreach can temporarily resolve the issue.

    • Avatar dave

      CarlT I was thinking exactly the same thing.

    • Avatar Jonny

      What might be happening is that you have a faulty router which is causing DLM to push your profile down and Openreach are resetting it, at which point you connect the router back up and the process starts again. I’ve seen this mentioned on the Vodafone forums a couple of times.

  9. Avatar Ryan

    I know a few people in my area who got Vodafone fibre and complain about its speed in rush hour my parents in the street down from me are Vodafone fibre totally hopeless.

    Not totally sure where the issue is lack of capacity at the exchange or core network,the issue doesn’t effect 4G on Vodafone in my area even at peak time it’s round 70-80Mbps.

  10. Avatar Mr Simon Parker

    Have had Vodafone broadband for over a year no problems pleased to say. There was supposedly problems with the Wi-Fi on the router however I’ve got my old BT Home hub 3 as a Wi-Fi extender which works great.

  11. Avatar Fabrizio

    I’ve noticed my ring doorbell being very blocky and put it down to my tplink powerline WiFi extender throwing a wobbly lol Now I realise what was the cause.Jitter is also high affecting my VoIP number. Contract is over in November thankfully; they’re cheap and cheerful but obviously oversubscribed.

  12. Avatar Stephen

    I have been experiencing this issue for the past 4/5 days and for me personally it’s only an issue at peak times, roughly 18:00 – 23:30

    The update from Andrew at Thinkbroadband is helpful but it would be good to see if he can look at the average speeds during the evening, as I am confident this will show even lower average speeds.

  13. Avatar CarlT

    Vodafone acquired their fixed line network from Cable and Wireless and don’t appear to have invested properly in upgrading it to handle the increased load from acquiring customers and indeed higher usage year on year.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they have a whole bunch of legacy transmission, routing and switching equipment in use acquired back then.

    They need to show the same care to the fixed line network they do the mobile one and, ideally, converge the two into a single network.

    I don’t really care what the issue might be, having huge swathes of customers suffer as a result of a single issue means you’re pushing your network far too hard. Capacity in the core should be relatively abundant to cope with failures – see presentations from Sky and others on how heavily overprovisioned their core networks are and how capable the kit they’re using is.

    This has been coming for ages and happened to BT Wholesale, too. They upgraded a bunch of equipment all over the place much as others did to increase capacity across the board.

    Somewhat less focus on 5G and expensive CPE capable of 5G and fixed line gigabit simultaneously and more on the network that’s actually supposed to deliver these services would be good.

    I wonder if they are in the process of building a converged network and, as a result, have just let the legacy fixed line one sit until they’re done with that project? A great idea that pleases the money men as no redundant spend, not so good if the migration doesn’t proceed quickly enough to handle the capacity demands.

    People commenting on issues on the edge the issues don’t appear to be local – they’re impacting both Openreach and CityFibre served customers apparently – this is the ex-CWC core.

    • Avatar Ferrocene Cloud

      There’s a bunch of legacy kit kicking around. Migration will likely drag for years.

      Core itself is well provisioned, but skimping on backhaul undermines that. Some AGNs are hammered.

  14. Avatar Mark

    And for me rubbish can’t stream a 1080p movie from 21:00 hrs to 23:00 hrs have complained constantly they said they would send out there new vox3.0 router instead of the hhg2500 model but instead they have sent out the same router threes times

  15. Avatar Sam

    I’m with Vodafone and had a big drop in speed on Monday night (26 August) starting at about 2100 hours.

    Doing the usual thing of restarting the modem did not help but then I noticed something strange…..

    The connection stats from the Vodafone modem showed my download/upload speed to be 73 down/ 16 up (pretty respectable) but checking the speed here at ISPreview and elsewhere, my speeds were fluctuating from less than 1 up to about 15, with the upload speeds being better at about 18.

    I started to think the problem might have been with my Wi-Fi, so I turned the Wi-Fi off and connected my Laptop directly to the modem with a Lan cable and ran the speed tests again, but was still getting the really slow download speeds.

    Fortunately, by about 0800 this morning (27 August) my download speeds had come back to normal, so I put it down to a glitch, but it would appear the problems were pretty widespread across the Vodafone network.

    I’ve been with Vodafone for about a year now and to be fair, I think this is the first time I’ve noticed an issue, so hopefully it was just a glitch and does not become the ‘norm’.

  16. Avatar André

    Bearing in mind the quality of their customer services and their mobile service this was, sadly, wholly predictable…

  17. Avatar Neil Grosart

    Just dumped Vodafone after 15 days… left Zen (cost) for VF with trepidation.

    Started well on the first day – 30Mbps (worse than Zen but training), getting to 38Mbps by Friday morning. Friday evening… 6Mbps. Not good.

    Same speeds on Saturday and Sunday… but back to 38Mbps on Monday.

    Prepared to accept it as a one-off (three-off??) and noticed sync speed going to 42Mbps.

    Oh dear – the following Friday – 4Mbps, worse on Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, Speedtest reported 1.49Mbps download, 0.79Mbps upload.

    Yesterday was my 14th day – I called to cancel but “the team dealing with this is not available” (bank holiday).

    So called this morning – first they tried to fob me off with “you’re out of the 14-day cooling off period”, so I directed them to their own website which says 30 days, and besides, I did call yesterday and you weren’t available.

    Then a tech bloke came on to patronise me about wifi channels. I asked how an ethernet cable is affected by wifi channels, and anyway, when using the same kit connected to Zen, it was never an issue.

    Eventually, they agreed to “let me go”… but only after 30 days.

    NOW Broadband is my next stop… they will take over the line in 14 days.

    Steer well clear.

  18. Avatar dave

    A year or so ago I considered moving my BT business line over to Vodafone to save some money (BT had just raised their prices, so I could get out of contract). When I called BT to tell them to let me out of contract, they made me a very good offer and I stayed with them. Shortly after, I heard about speed issues with Vodafone and was glad I didn’t move.

    I was recently looking at my personal spend and decided that the next time BT retail increase their prices, I will move my residential line over to Vodafone to save significant money. I remembered that they had speed issues previously but it seems that problem had been dealt with.

    A few days later and suddenly I’m hearing about Vodafone speed issues again. I doubt I will ever actually move either service to Vodafone. If anything I will move to Plusnet (Market A exchange limits options).

  19. Avatar Michael

    I have been having this problem with Vodafone for months now, it’s okay during the day, 20mbs although it should be around 30 and then during peak times im lucky to even get 2mbs.

    Going to complain and hopefully change to BT, but Vodafone’s customer service is rubbish.

    • Avatar Michael

      Should also mention that I contacted them a while ago about the problem and they basically said that the lines in my area can’t handle it during peak times and that they won’t be upgrading it any time soon. They said it in a bit more of a technical way than that though, probably hoping that I wouldn’t understand.

  20. Avatar James

    My Vodafone service activated yesterday and despite initial slower speeds and increased latency, seems to be fine for me. Admittedly, due to work I’m not actively using the connection during the evening. Was getting 70-75Mbps (actual observed speeds) with BT, currently sat at 60Mbps (sync) and roughly 55Mb actual. Hoping that after a few days, DLM will start nudging me back to the speeds the line can support.

    Customer service hasn’t been as bad as people make out for me but admittedly, I haven’t had to report an issue yet.

  21. Avatar zaax

    Plusnet had a DNS problem on the 23rd. Still not completely corrected as there seems to be some errors getting to Google and other well know sites

  22. Avatar Carl

    I was porting to Vodafone Friday but have canceled and staying with talk talk. Works fine and giving me a loyalty offer to stay with them.

  23. Avatar Rob Taylor

    Does anyone have an update on this? I’m still getting terrible speeds in the evening and Vodafone are useless at customer service.

    • Avatar Cobbler

      Same here, been shocking for the last few weeks. Can’t stream anything without buffering and cutting out.
      Think I’m going to go through their painful CS and try and get out of my remaining 10 months.
      Had this problem a few months back and it last for 2 months, got fixed and now back struggling again.

  24. Avatar Adam

    The issue is back once again tonight!

  25. Avatar Kayleigh

    Having the exact same issue again. Getting around 2 mbps. Started at 5pm this afternoon. Spoke to their customer services who are adamant theres no issues and are trying to blame on openreach even though I dont see any other providers having this issue.

  26. Avatar mway

    As of late yesterday evening Vodafone Customer Support were still claiming a new router would resolve this – despite me having tested with a non-Vodafone provided router in addition to their own.
    Hardly great customer service when it is clear from Twitter that they were aware of the problem much earlier in the day.

  27. Avatar Ron

    This has started happening to me again so its obviously not fixed.

  28. Avatar Steve

    Speed dropped again last night to 1-2 mbps just like last Sunday will see if it drops again tonight. Guess its not resolved.

  29. Avatar Craig

    This was happening again last night, so that human error must be ongoing..

  30. Avatar Brian

    Ive dropped from a steady speed of around 15mb to around 10mb and some days as low as 1.6mb. also finding that my upload speed is almost nonexistent and packet errors on upload have went through the roof

  31. Avatar Johnathan

    This is a problem in Leamington Spa too. Vodafone speeds crash between around 6pm – 11:30pm at points crawling. 60MBPS during the day to, at worst, 2MBPS in the evening. I just do not get how this can be legal. The vodafone app, of course, regists a consistent 79MBPS regardless of actual throughput. Technical support are absolutely useless. Now stuck in a contract with this for another 12 months. I cannot understand why OFCOM will not deal with this – or have I missed something.I so wish I had not left Sky, huge mistake. Brilliant service from Sky, consistent speeds and never a problem. Vodafone just abandons you to typing into an app to people who do not have a clue, are based overseas and click on endless stock answers many of which make no sense and do not care. What happened to Vodafone…….

  32. Avatar Lisa thompson

    What happened vodafone off line broadband wifi i am deaf why off how long online let know thank u pls u text me messagw

  33. Avatar Lisa thompson

    Pls text me what time open wifi broadband online let know thank u i am full deaf what happened wifi broadband offline never vodafone twll me before i am angry ok must tell me let know thank u

  34. Avatar Nigel Crouch

    I take phone and broadband from Vodafone and have no phone for a week and slooooow bband. Just checked and found zero upload speed. Customer service a fable.

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