Broadband Speed Its Your Call

Improving home broadbandLast month in our broadband speed blog we gave 3 tips to try before doing anything else. This could have increased your broadband speed or identified that the slowness was not the result of where you placed the hub.

For some that won’t have changed your speeds so what’s next?

The Universal Service Obligation

In March 2020, the USO became live. Under this obligation every household should expect to have: 

  1. A download speed of 10Mbps or higher and an upload of more than 1Mbps. In the event that the service is less than either of these, the customer can request that their service is reviewed so that it complies with these norms. 
  2. If the cost of the upgrade is £3,400 or less then it is free of charge to the user. Over that amount then the excess is paid by the user. 
  3. To be upgradeable the area must not be subject to already planned upgrades. 
  4. Openreach or other providers have 60 days to respond with a quote. 
  5. Then the work can be completed in 12 or 24 months. 

USO is firmly weighted towards the provider rather than the consumer. 

Guaranteed Speeds

The key question is how and when are the speeds measured. Badly placed hubs reduce the attainable speeds hence our first blog to rule this out. But others will be caught by a higher service level which takes the service marginally over on the average speeds in a 24-hour period. 

Action: Literally it’s your call. Ask your current provider what their guaranteed speeds are. Then check out all the broadband providers desperate for your business. In each case ask them to quote the guaranteed standard service levels. If you need to pay more to get the speed you want, do so.

Service Upgrade

A service upgrade request is weighted towards urban settings where the cost is more likely to be less than £3,400 by simple proximity to networks and faster solutions. For rural settings, the simplest way to delay anything proceeding is for the provider to quote a silly price for the work at the outset. This silly quote can appear logical given the distances that need to be covered and that most people have no benchmark to judge the cost by. 

Areas proposed for upgrade is a moveable feast and will catch a lot of people out. It often has blanket coverage of an area so even if planned and you’re an isolated property, you might be ‘missed’. An area may be identified as being in need, but the actual technological solution may not be known, as that part of the process has not been started. The actual build date will therefore be unknown. This is not very useful to the household with poor broadband. 

Action: Check out Fastershire and enter your postcode. Act on what the response shows. If planned then you’re limited to guaranteed speeds options above. If done, then find that new deal and enjoy the faster speeds

Network Upgrades take Time

Openreach has sixty days to respond with a quote after all the other steps have been taken. For most properties Openreach is still the main first option to upgrade an individual or group of properties. Where other providers wish to quote, they are still typically reliant on access to Openreach infrastructure and therefore precise information. Numerous media stories show that this is not the easiest or timeliest thing to achieve. 

Remember network upgrades are considerable pieces of work. They take time. But 24 months for completion when the first stage could easily have taken 6 to 12 months (ie up to 3 years) to achieve is a significant delay. 

Action: Talk to your neighbours, find out how many others have slow broadband and whether they are purely domestic or run businesses from that location. If more than 10 properties are suffering from slow broadband, then send an email to FEP. We can’t promise anything. But we are always interested to know where the slow spots are in order to flag them.

The next step is to find network solution providers willing to quote for your neighbourhood.