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Test Snoops on the UK Broadband ISP Speed of your Neighbours

Posted: 19th Oct, 2009 By: MarkJ
broadband speedtest street mapComparison site Top 10 Broadband has launched a new addition to its website that allows visitors to see how fast their neighbours’ broadband ISP connection goes. The service, which might raise the odd privacy concern and is currently causing their site to be overloaded with traffic, has already managed to uncover some interesting trends.

StreetStats™ is not perfect though and does not identify which package a particular customer is using. Looking down upon your neighbour’s 1.8Mbps link when you receive 5.1Mbps might not provide the best representation, assuming your neighbour only subscribes to a 2Mbps service and you have an 8Mbps one.

One other issue is that Top 10 Broadband typically, being a commercial comparison site, favours the largest ISPs. This means that smaller and more reliable providers with only a comparatively tiny sample size of data are unlikely to get much of a look in.

Alex Buttle, Director at Top 10 Broadband, said:

“Until now broadband speed tests have only let you check your own speed. This is the first time everyone will be able to see what speeds their neighbours are getting and which broadband providers they are signed up to.

As our broadband StreetStats™ show, despite all the competition between the major UK broadband providers there’s still huge variation in the speeds their customers receive - even on the same street. Our new speed test makes the broadband landscape more transparent than ever.”

Service speed can of course also vary dramatically between homes and businesses due to the length of your telephone line, poor wiring, local environment interference (Christmas tree lights, microwave ovens etc.) and ISP side congestion or outdated equipment.

Never the less this is an interesting service and as soon as the website is working properly again we'll give it a bash. Those concerned with privacy can also elect to have their results removed, although ideally any system like this should be based off an "opt-in" and not "opt-out" method of personal data management.
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