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Top Five Consumer ADSL Broadband Providers

Posted: 11th Dec, 2006 By: MarkJ
Epitiro has released the latest Q3-2006 results from its Consumer ADSL Internet Performance Indicator (IPI) report, which highlights Pipex and Plusnet's entrance into the top five.

The Internet Performance Indicator (IPI) Report from Epitiro - the UK's leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) provider for Internet access services - identifies that BT, Pipex, Demon, Plusnet and Virgin provided the UK’s top five consumer ADSL broadband services in the third quarter of 2006 in terms of overall technical performance.

Epitiro’s customer experience monitoring and competitor benchmarking service, ISP-I™ (pronounced “eye spy”) monitored the consumer ADSL broadband services from nine of the largest competing consumer ADSL broadband providers. ISP-I™ provides real-time data on the speed and reliability of Internet connections, how long it takes to connect to the Internet, file upload and download speeds and performance of both ping and DNS lookup – and all from the customer’s perspective.

On average the sample ISPs were tested 58,313 times from eleven locations around the UK from 1st July to 30th September 2006. Gavin Johns, Managing Director of Epitiro said, “Our consumer ADSL testing found that in terms of technical performance, BT topped the overall rankings for the period July to September 2006.”

Overall Ranking
Q2 2006
1. BT
2. Virgin
3. DEMON
4. AOL
5. Orange

Q3 2006
1. BT
2. PIPEX
3. DEMON
4. PlusNet
5. Virgin

Epitiro has found that the national upgrades to ADSL Max are providing faster total speeds than the previous 2 Mbps IPStream and Datastream ADSL services. The average connection speed for the period 1st July to 30th September was 3817.82 kbps. Plusnet achieved the highest connection speed in Q3.

Although consumers, ISPs and commentators often consider connection speed to be the most important attribute of broadband, Mr Johns explained that speed of service is just one indicator of broadband performance: “Consumers want a fast Internet service, but it must also be reliable and resilient. There are a variety of performance indicators that deliver for different types of users. For example, connection reliability or downtime is very important. There’s no point having a fast connection if it is not available when you want to use it.”

Tesco had the lowest number of connection failures in Q3, suggesting that their consumer customers had the highest degree of uptime of the sample group. BT performed best in regards to the speeds their customers experience uploading and downloading to consumer webspace

BT also topped the ranking in terms of HTTP download speed. In the main, faster HTTP download speeds deliver better general browsing of websites. Demon had the lowest packet loss. Whilst all ISPs suffer from packet loss, unacceptably high rates can cause poor audio and video streams.

Plusnet had the fastest ping speed. Good ping performance is generally considered desirable to users that require frequent data updates from the Internet back to their PC, such as online gamers.

Regular readers will recall that Epitiro's previous set of results drew criticism from some ISP's, which pointed out how they hadn't include all UK ISP's, focusing primarily on the largest.

It's still useful for evaluating how the networks of major ISP's are managing, although we'd dearly like to see them expand their coverage to include smaller providers too. Support quality, price and other service aspects are not covered.
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