Why are Uk ISP's do stupid with speed?

  dave726587 00:21 15 Sep 2008

Seriously, i have a 4mb connection and it can only do around 400-450 kb a second and my friend has a 2mb connection and he can only download at around 200 - 250 kb a second and we are both on virgin media. My other friend who has BT Broadband gets the same thing..

why do uk isp's say that the connection is e.g 4mb when it can only download at like 400kb a second?

i have friends in other countries in europe and they actually get the speed they pay for. One of them has a 2mb connection and he can actually download at 2mb a second

Does anyone know why it's like this in the united kingdom?

it's really annoying..

  dave726587 00:22 15 Sep 2008

topic title says Why are Uk ISP's do stupid with speed?

but its supposed to be Why are Uk ISP's so stupid with speed?


  ambra4 02:00 15 Sep 2008

The speed of access depends on many things - 'theoretically' you could achieve 'up to' the following download speeds:

500 Kbit/s Broadband up to' 55 K per second

1000 Kbit/s Broadband up to' 110 K per second

2000 Kbit/s Broadband up to' 220 K per second

To provide a cost effective service - ADSL services are 'contended' (shared) at the following ratios:

50:1 - ADSL 500, 1000 & 2000 Home Users

20:1 - ADSL 500, 1000 & 2000 Business Clients

What this means in the 'worst case' is that you could be sharing a connection with 49 other users.

So if they were all using it at the same time 'theoretically' you would only get 10 Kbit/s (not very
fast at all - in fact quite a bit slower than a normal modem).

However, 'in reality' this scenario is very unlikely to happen and you should usually find it to be far
faster than a modem connection.

ADSL relies on individual users not making unreasonable traffic demands on the network to provide fast access speeds for all

However, 'realistically' you are unlikely to achieve these types of figures consistently due to various factors - including

The remote site you are downloading from may be busy and unable to supply the download at full speed.

In addition some sites will actually use 'traffic shaping' to restrict the speed at which single users can download from their site to help ensure a fair level of service for all their users.

Network Congestion - sometimes the interconnecting networks are unable to cope with the levels of traffic at peak times causing some slowdown.

Other Applications - you may be running other applications (for instance checking your mail etc.) at the same time, which can degrade download performance.

If you have more than one machine through your broadband connection (for instance if you are on a network)

If someone else is also using the connection it will cause your download to be slower than you might expect.

If you are a long way from the exchange it is possible that BT have installed your circuit using

RADSL - this technology is used to extend the maximum range for broadband services.

Unfortunately there is very little that can be done, as without it you would not be able to receive broadband services at all!

ADSL Equipment - ensure you are using the latest drivers for your ADSL equipment and operating system.

We have seen this to be important most frequently with ADSL modems connected via USB.

Also with USB modems you are best not to use un-powered USB hubs - instead connect direct to your computer or via a powered USB hub.

If you require a “guaranteed” high-speed connection to the Internet you could probably require a leased line instead of an ADSL broadband service

Due to their very high cost - for example for a 512 Kbit lease line BT charge £2100 for installation and £16936 per year (plus VAT) not to many home use will request a “guaranteed” high-speed connection

  Andsome 07:55 15 Sep 2008

You should contact Virgin. I am more than satisfied with my Virgin cable connection. I have 10MB broadband and have jut run a check at 9845kbps. It is ALWAYS a similar figure, sometimes even higher.

  mgmcc 08:11 15 Sep 2008

<<<<i have a 4mb connection and it can only do around 400-450 kb>>>>

Are you perhaps confusing "bits" and "bytes"? Your broadband connection speed (presumably Virgin's 4Mbps *Cable* service) is 4 Megabits per second, whereas the dialog box when downloading files usually shows a speed in "bytes".

4 Megabits per second (4Mbps or 4,000 kilobits per sec) equates to 500 kilobytes per second (500kBps).


Cable broadband, unlike ADSL, does usually deliver the full speed of the service you've subscribed to. At 450kBps (in Bytes), you are downloading at 3.6Mbps (in Bits) of your 4Mbps connection. There are other factors which will determine how fast you can download, including the ability of the server you're accessing to deliver the data at high speeds.

  FatboySlim71 09:21 15 Sep 2008

It could be one of a few reasons why you are getting speed as slow as you are:

1: Is your ISP throttling your connection, due to high downloading or them been oversubscribed?

2: How far from the telephone exchange do you live, as the further away you live from the exchange the slower your maximum potential speed will be.

3: Have you got a lot of telephone extensions in your home, as these can sometimes be a problem.

It would be a good idea to do the following, if you have got a new BT mastersocket, the lower half of it should have 2 screws in it, take these out and pull this part of the socket out, behind this you will a socket (TEST SOCKET) which is the same type as you plug your telephone or modem filter into, plug your modem/router filter and modem router into the filter too, into this and see if your speeds increase, as plugging using the test socket temporary disconnects all other extensions in your home. If you do see an increase then the wiring/extensions in your home will be the cause of your slow speeds.

Also it maybe a good idea to post this question on the below forum as they are very knowledgeable and it is regularly frequented by BT/Openreach engineers.
click here

Personally I find the big name ISP's are always slower than the smaller lesser known ISP's as I find the big names are sometimes way over subscribed.


1: You cannot get any satisfaction from Virgin.

2: You do live close to the exchange (see the below link) but first you will need to get your line attenuation level shown by logging into your modem/router.
click here

3: You didn't see an improvement by using the test socket.

4: You couldn't get any joy from the DSL forum I mentioned above, then I would think about changing ISP as you should be seeing speeds faster than you are on 4 meg package, see this link for ISP ratings. Virgin are next to the bottom of the list!

click here

  mgmcc 11:22 15 Sep 2008

<<<<Virgin are next to the bottom of the list!>>>>

That's for their ADSL service. Original poster is almost certainly on their 4Mbps *CABLE* service, which has nothing to do with phone lines or exchanges.

  FatboySlim71 11:29 15 Sep 2008

The poster made no mention as to if they are on the ADSL service, the advice I give was obviously only relevant for their ADSL service :-)

  woodchip 11:38 15 Sep 2008

Above all else your Download Speed is effectively governed by your Connection i.e How good a BT line quality, dependent or how good the cables and how long from Exchange

  Cymro. 11:41 15 Sep 2008

I have no wish to defend any ISP as I am with BT and have complained enough about them on this forum many a time. But at least some of our problems are not the fault of our ISP but with our own equipment.

I am on a BT contract that is up to 8Mb but due to distance from the exchange I can only get up to 6Mb. That was satisfactory enough until my speed suddenly dropped down to 1Mb.

I was on the phone with the BT help centre in India for ages and they continued to insist that the problem was with my computer. So I did all the usual things to try and speed things up, cleared the computer of all unnecessary things such as temp. files, ran CC Cleaner and virtually any other such program.

All this was to no avail as my speed continued at a stubborn 1Mb. I then came across a thing called "Windows Install Clean Up". I downloaded this handy little program from the Internet and got a download speed of 3Mb an instant improvement of 2Mb.

Now I am still below the 6Mb that I should be getting but the instant 2Mb improvement that I got by running "Windows Install Clean Up" must prove that it was indeed a problem with my computer as BT had claimed.

There are probably many people complaining of slow speeds when in fact the true cause of the problem is their own equipment. There must be thousands of houses around the country still using outdated BT wiring and master sockets with computers that are not set up properly.

  Cymro. 11:53 15 Sep 2008

click here
For any of you who may be interested the above is the site from where I downloaded the Windows Install Clean Up. It is listed as WinSock XP Fix Tool that fixes XP Internet connectivity and is at the top of the page.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

OnePlus 5 review

See the work of famous artists playing with toys

iPad Pro 10.5in (2017) review

Comment faire une capture d’écran sur un Mac ?