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Top Five Consumer ADSL Broadband Providers?

Posted: 30th Jan, 2007 By: MarkJ
Epitiro has released the latest Q4-2006 results from its Consumer ADSL Internet Performance Indicator (IPI) report. Typically readers should note that they only appear to test the network performance of the 10 largest UK ISP's:

Orange has re-entered the top five ADSL broadband providers in the UK, joining BT, Pipex, Demon and Virgin at the top of the table in terms of technical performance.

The fourth quarter Internet Performance Indicator (IPI) Report from Epitiro – the UK’s leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) provider for Internet access services – identifies BT as the best performing broadband provider. BT have held the top position for the last three quarters.

Epitiro’s customer experience monitoring and competitor benchmarking service ISP-I (pronounced “eye spy”), monitored the services from the ten largest competing consumer ADSL broadband providers, collecting 622,147 real-time data samples from eleven locations around the UK. This means that from 1st October to 31st December 2006, each broadband service was tested over 60,000 times on average.

ISP-I tests Internet services from the end-users’ perspective, providing detailed figures on the speed and reliability of Internet connections, how long it takes to connect to the Internet, downloads and uploads and the performance of both ping and DNS lookups.

“Our testing has shown that in terms of technical performance, BT and Pipex are still maintaining their position in the top five,” said Gavin Johns, Managing Director of Epitiro.

Overall Ranking - Q4 2006
1. BT
2. Pipex
3. Orange
4. Demon
5. Virgin

Increasing Speed Through 2006

Epitiro’s research has found that the industry average connection and HTTP download (web browsing) speeds have increased steadily through 2006, with the average consumer ADSL connection speed for the fourth quarter at 5.73 Mbps.

“ISPs are increasing their speeds, which is good news for bandwidth-hungry users,” said Epitiro’s Gavin Johns. “Speeds have increased from 3.82 Mbps in the third quarter due to new ADSL Max entrants into the ten largest broadband providers. However it’s unlikely that many ADSL Max services will perform at their full capacity of 8Mbps. The speed of broadband service reduces the further the customer’s connection is from their local telephone exchange.”

Interestingly PlusNet achieved the highest connection speed for the second quarter running, while BT offered the fastest HTTP (website browsing) and FTP download speed. Pipex offered the fastest FTP uploads. Elsewhere..:

Virgin’s services had the lowest packet loss rate. All ISPs experience some packet loss, but a high rate of loss can lead to problems streaming video and audio. Interestingly, the percentage of packet loss - whilst remaining low - more than doubled in the past quarter.

Virgin also had the lowest percentage of connection failures in Q4, suggesting that their consumer ADSL customers had the highest degree of uptime of the sample group.

Orange provided the fastest ping time, generally desirable to users that require frequent data updates from the Internet back to their computer, such as online gamers.

Typically Epitiro's limited coverage of ISP's means that consumers do not get an accurate picture of the market as a whole. Not to mention that connection quality is only part of the equation when choosing a new provider.
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