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By: MarkJ - 31 October, 2011 (8:02 AM)
broadband speed controlbtInternet providers that use BT Wholesale based broadband ADSL / ADSL2+ lines ( e.g. AAISP , Zen Internet , BT , PlusNet and many more) will soon gain direct control over their customers line speed settings (DSLAM profile).

The move could allow ISPs and, in some cases, customers more control to determine whether or not to get the best speed possible out of their broadband connection or to prioritise stability.

At present BT uses Dynamic Line Management (DLM) to determine the best speed as a balance between performance and stability, yet despite recent improvements (here) this solution doesn't always get it right. It can thus be beneficial for an ISP or end-user to have more control.

The Director of AAISP UK, Adrian Kennard, explained:

"In some cases the DLM makes matters a lot worse than simply picking some settings and leaving them. It is also impossible to properly tell the DLM what the customer wants - some people want the highest speed, but they know that the line will go off line at high speed every night and don't care as they are asleep! Some people must have a line that is reliable and really do not mind if it is set to only 500K if it works all the time.

These are extremes, but especially with reliability the DLM itself causes resyncs and changes in the name of keeping the service reliable! In some cases the line characteristics mean the DLM cycles through different settings over a period of several weeks - thinking it can do better and then finding it cannot over and over again."

A number of major unbundled ( LLU ) broadband platforms, such as those operated by BE Wholesale, have had this feature for years and AAISP claims that BT will now finally be introducing it onto their own network in December (date yet to be finalised).

In most cases ISPs will probably seek to retain control over this, although AAISP is already looking to give end-users the ability to adjust their line speed (i.e. turn DLM off) as and when required.

UPDATE 10:53am

A reader asked for clarification on whether or not the change will only affect 'up to' 24Mbps ADSL2+ (21CN) lines. AAISP have informed us that, sadly, it looks like it will. In other words those who can currently only get the slower 'up to' 8Mbps ADSL (20CN) service will not benefit.

BT is currently expanding its coverage of ADSL2+ services to 90% of the country, which is due to complete in the spring of 2013.
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