Feb 12

Are BT taking us for a ride with dubious speed claims?

Frustration at BT Broadband

For the past 10 months DSL was fine, a reasonably steady 3.5 Mb speed. Then for most of last week our BT Broadband connection seemed very slow indeed. Websites were sluggish and the whole network was slow. A call to BT resulted in them claiming that the network performance was just perfect. Using the BT Wholesale DSL speed test resulted in a test to the router of 4.3Mb.

Then on Saturday the network ground to a halt. Websites would not load and the concept of using the BBC iPlayer for television was alien. After an hour of buffering the iPlayer had downloaded enough content for 6 seconds. Amusingly enough the test programme was the Great Invention series on Communication.

The BT Speedtest refuse to load let alone run. A swift call to BT confirmed a problem that would be rectified.

On Monday BT called to close the call as they regarded the fault as fixed. This is where things get interesting. The performance still seemed super slow, file transfers were taking a huge amount of time and video on YouTube impossible.

I have used two DSL testing sites for some time as well as an iPad app. These tests are run on a Dell PC running Win7 64Bit with 8GB of RAM, by most standards a reasonable to good PC connected to the BT router with Ethernet cable.

These sites were constantly showing a speed of around a quarter of a meg. I first used DSL Reports in San Francisco over ten years ago when by first Pac Bell DSL line was installed in my Mill Valley house. Their first test showed 30K and then 134K. See results below.

download sped tests

Then I ran a test using the same service that BT use. Speedtest.net. The results: 0.29 Meg see below.

On the iPad I have used a great little app called QIP Speed Test. This measures the connection speed and records the results along with location. – Used mainly for testing 3G speeds on mobile networks when paired to am iPhone. This app recorded 0.3 Mg.


QIF test results

So in summary three different systems show a network speed of about 300K and yet BT claim this is a 4.2Mb connection.

How can this be?

If you ask BT they just say that the only test they use is the BT wholesale site. This is totally frustrating as this in no way reflects real life of the speed as the PC. The test site is a sham and a disgrace.

On the BT website help section forum there are many similar comments and issues with the BT test site. None have a solid answer as to why millions of people are being hoodwinked by BT.


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