UK Rural Broadband

A Sad Pathetic Excuse – A Technical Observation

People tend to think that rural broadband is let down by last mile infrastructure. That it’s not economic to invest in fibre to the cabinet or that phone lines are too long. So when you living in a rural location but you’re close the exchange things should work well right? Wrong.

My parents have an 8Mbps broadband package with Plusnet. Staying with my folks for the weekend I decided to transfer some files across from other locations.

The exchange is less than a quarter mile away as the cables go. The modem has full sync at 8Mbps. The file transfer speeds? Even from hosted servers it’s only bursting on the download for a few seconds before lapsing back down to a more steady 2Mbps (tested over FTP and separately over OpenVPN with identical results).

FTP download from a server in a data centre, note performance fluctuating over 2Mbps after initial burst.
ADSL Modem Syncs at Full Rates allowed by BT ADSL 1


Surely would see this too? No, it doesn’t. comes through at 6.77Mbps. My conclusion? BT optimise speed test to give high readings not representative of other network traffic.

Recorded results, note very poor upload.

This isn’t about the last mile communication being a problem, it’s the backhaul from the local exchange and BT’s piece of crap network.

BT, you are a sad, pathetic excuse for a communications company.

I thought it was Plusnet, not BT

Well Plusnet are owned by BT and like every other company in a rural “Market 1″ (OFCOM classification) area, all that’s available are BT wholesale services for connectivity.

Ahhh… the illusion of competition.

Value for Money?

My parents pay more than I do for my 50/5 cable broadband product that I have tested getting pretty much full rates in download and upload for all sorts of different types of traffic to and from high bandwidth servers.

1.4 MB/s equals 11.2 Mbps (MegaBytes to Megabits). This is how fast the same server used for my own FTP speed test above went on a cable connection.