"Up to" speeds

I have just had a very interesting conversation with a Canadian, moved to UK and looking to get our services.

Step 1 was to say, please, please, please, read the terms carefully - we don't know what is "normal" for you and how that compares to what people in UK expect, so read them and ensure you are happy with the terms... I think that is fair.

But he went on our order system and saw we quoted VDSL at 64Mb/s. The fact I had to explain "Mb/s" is same as "Mbps" is a concern.

What was interesting is we quoted the 64Mb/s and he asked how that compared to Plusnet's "up to 76Mb/s".

This is the crux of the matter. The "up to 76Mb/s" is a general UK wide "up to" for VDSL, I assume. We quoted 64Mb/s for a specific address.

The point I had to make was that for VDSL, the speed will be the same for anyone using the same copper pair and the same modem in the cabinet. The forecasts and estimates are just that and ALL WILL BE THE SAME regardless of the ISP.

Now, we know the backhaul and ISP network matter. AFAIK Plusnet are no that bad. But for forecasts on the last mile VDSL sync speed it does not matter who he goes to.

So finally, having explained that, he asked why buy from us?!

19:44 <RevK> We are better in many other ways, best to ask customers on #A&A for
             unbiased opinion.
19:44 <RevK> We usually have better backhaul - you have looked at VDSL sync speed
19:44 <RevK> We have better technology (working IPv6)
19:44 <RevK> We have better politics (I sat in parliament talking to a committee to 
             help protect the freedoms of our customers)


  1. The "up to 76 Mb/s" can be wrong the unexpected way round too. I'm only 110m from the VDSL cabinet and getting about 79.6 Mb/s (and 19.9 upstream) which clearly is not "up to 76".

  2. Will the speed be the same? If ISPs suffer from wilt (still) - time-of-day-based congestion, contention in various places or technical faults - then that is a reason to buy from a good quality ISP, is it not? An AA user, I happily pay a small fortune for BTW Premium traffic prioritisation on ADSL2 in the hope that that will avoid any such wilt outside AA's control. That could be another reason why speeds are not the same. (Is there no such prioritisation thing for FTTx?) VM has been accused of such wilt.

    1. The VDSL sync speed would be the same, yes. Nobody forecasts the "congested speed at peak time" do they? Yes, a good ISP is better, we are better than a lot of ISPs (some say the best, obviously). But the forecast VDSL sync speed should not be the deciding factor, that is my point. As you will have seen from our status pages we take congestion in the back-haul networks very seriously and get it fixed.

    2. This is a large part of why I'm with AAISP. In my experience with other ISPs, if there are contention issues which affect you it's unlikely that they'll ever get fixed or if they do it'll be whenever they get around to it. They certainly wouldn't keep customers up to date on where they are with the fault and your only point of contact is someone in a call centre with no more access than the customer has.

    3. In theory the 80Mbps (76Mbps with overheads) service is prioritised over the 55Mbps and 40Mbps services between the VDSL2 cabinet and the GEA link where its handed over to the ISPs backhaul arrangements.

      Obviously that's only going to be a factor if that (short) link is running hot - which I guess some might be by now if its a full Huawei MA5603T cabinet (384 ports).

  3. This doesn't just apply to VDSL - we've seen cases where a customer has got quotes for leased lines and some suppliers have said "£X for a gigabit bearer subject to survey" while others have said "we can't do a gigabit bearer in that location" and offers a lower speed bearer (again, subject to survey).

    So customer goes to the "faster" supplier, survey is done and they find that it isn't possible so offer a lower speed. The "lower speed" suppliers have already been ruled out and the customer doesn't re-evaluate all the suppliers in light of this new information.

    The end result is that the supplier that inaccurately quoted a fast "subject to survey" speed gets the business instead of the one who was more realistic from the get-go.

  4. FWIW, plus.net do 'traffic prioritisation' which is really annoying:


    They rather misleadingly state that they give 'software updates' a 'low' priority (on the grounds that's usually not something users care about the speed of) but my experience is that it also causes slow speeds when installing software. In some cases if I want to install an app on my iPhone it's quicker to switch off the via-plusnet-vdsl-wifi and grab it over 4G instead.


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