I think we can all agree its been an "interesting few months". I'd imagine its been especially interesting for the broadband and mobile industries which at the drop of a hat have had a 40% increase in fixed broadband usage, and mobile companies reporting around a 50% increase.
As ever the headline figures don't quite do justice to the real-world. A recent report from YouGov (Internet Quality Drops) states that a 3rd of broadband users are experiencing worse broadband performance. The industry has responded that there are no capacity issues on the network. I can't comment on the details, but what I do know is that high-level statistics and performance indicators are useful at covering very localised issues. Ultimately I only really care about the connection to my house.
Reference the Forest Economic Partnerships own survey (How Fast How Good) we know that where people are on fibre connections in the Forest, they are generally satisfied, however for those of us on the slower ADSL connections (24mb or less) we are unsatisfied. Relating this to today, if you're not on Fibre; you are likely having a pretty miserable experience, which has got worse.
This brings me onto where do go next? FEP can highlight discrepancies between high level "everything is fine" statements and the real world.
How Fast How Good 2 (July 2020)
In July we will be launching How Fast How Good 2... which will be looking for at least 100 Forest Volunteers to monitor their landline broadband speed and performance over the month. This will allow us to reinforce the messages about local performance, and understand peaks of issues during the day.
Other Broadband News
Right to Request a Decent Broadband Speed
On the 20th March 2020, quite quietly the UK Governments commitment to broadband speed came into effect. Its called the Universal Service Obligation or "Your Right to Request a Decent Broadband Speed". This means that if you qualify you may be (insert government / BT caveats here) entitled to network improvements to give you 10mb/s download and 1mb/s upload. To qualify, you need to meet only one of these:
- Less than 10mb/s download speed, or;
- Less than 1mb/s upload speed, or;
- Pay more than £46.10 per month to get a better speed.
Ofcom Information Sheet
Apply to BT for your USO
Sam Knows White Box Internet Survey
Sam knows is a respected internet performance monitoring company; they represent the consumer and sell the information to the broadband industry. They are currently looking for volunteers to measure broadband performance across the UK to verify the official statistics. This could be an excellent opportunity to gather data in the Forest of Dean so I would encourage anyone with interest to sign up here: https://samknows.com/signup
And Finally... Dishonest Internet Provider Marketing
There I've said it, but over the last month, I've been contacted by a local business who are querying the language that ISPs are using about the products they are selling. There are particular terms allocated the speed of your broadband which broadly align with
- Ultrafast Broadband (up to 1000mb/s) - Fibre to the Premises / FTTP
- Superfast Broadband (up to 80mb/s) - Fibre to the Cabinet / FTTC
- Fast Broadband (up to 24mb/s) - ADSL
The query I got, is that if someone is offered "Superfast Broadband" but then only achieve "Fast Broadband" speeds is this mis-selling... it certainly sounds a bit dishonest. Let us know what you think?
David Trevelyan, Digital Connectivity Lead