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Join if you want to participate in the creation and distribution of maps, or have any data you want to supply (spreadsheets, databases, spatial data etc)

Broadband Speed Tests (10 posts)

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  • Profile picture of James Nunn James Nunn said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    Two separate surveys to complete to help us collect better data on broadband speeds in your area:

    BT’s own test:

    View the maps at:


    Third Party:

  • Profile picture of chris conder chris conder said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    FYI I have just used the BT test service from 10 homes connected to the Kirkby Lonsdale exchange. These homes have had engineer visits, paid for broadband, and not been able to get any service at all. The BT checker says they can get minimum 1Megabit service. They are between 9 and 11.5km from the exchange. They can’t get a signal and the BT checker is severely flawed. I hope you don’t use this data on your maps. They have tried new iPlates and all sorts of kit, the engineers have tried every trick in the book, but zilch. The BT checker is flawed.

  • Profile picture of chris conder chris conder said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    When my dad’s broadband connection is bad I can’t load the speed tests. Even the page doesn’t load. How do we collect data from connections like that, and how do we test people on dial up?

  • Profile picture of James Nunn James Nunn said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    I would expect BT’s checker to be optimistic also. I guess the problem with ISP’s own speed checks is that it is also based on theoretical speeds (distance to the exchange/cabinet). The maps I have created are probably similar in concept to their method and so may produce unrealistic results.

    The only way to get *real* data is to report the true speeds, which is why I am so keen to get people creating their own maps and sharing links to them for all to see.

    As for people with slow speeds, could you try this website I think it performs the test before the page itself loads. The result is shown at the bottom of the speed dial, in an unclear font which is a bit annoying.

  • Profile picture of Phil Thompson Phil Thompson said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    the connection speed is reported by the modem or router - simple on existing connections.

    If the speed tester or the ISP is such that the speed test won’t run that’s a separate issue and we should be using the line speed as the measure of available broadband.

    The BT tester does report the line speed and this is what folks should be asked to enter, otherwise you’re measuring their commercial package rather than the capability of the infrastructure.

  • Profile picture of Thane Brooker Thane Brooker said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    The data I’d like to see recorded should be the router’s sync speed, line attenuation and Signal to Noise Ratio margin. These figures will give the most accurate indication of current speeds for each area.

    It would be unscientific to blame poor speeds on ADSL and copper technology if the fault lies with an ISP trying to save money by oversubscribing their links. Fibre would not solve such problems, and such problems are likely to be exacerbated by fibre.

    Nine things can cause slow downloads that should be considered before posting results:

    1. Faulty wiring in the home
    2. Other load on the link (from the test PC or other PCs on the local network)
    3. Poor or incompatible router
    4. Incorrect BRAS profile
    5. BT’s VP congestion
    6. ISP congestion on their BT Centrals
    7. ISP Internet Transit congestion
    8. Test Web Server congestion and general Internet congestion en-route.

    Given enough samples for an area, 1, 2 and 3 should be obvious, as the houses with these faults will show lower than neighbours.

    3, 4 and 5 will change with FTTC and 21CN.

    6 and 7 is down to ISPs oversubscribing their links (common to any technology, not just copper).

    8. Is common to the Internet today, and not related to end user access.

    If you are using the BT Speed Tester, note that its primary purpose is to calculate if you are achieving above the minimum speed that is classified as a fault. Therefore, the test is not optimised to give an actual speed, only an above-minimum speed. The server is often overloaded and the speed it reports will be much lower than the speed you will achieve from other sites.

  • Profile picture of John Colton John Colton said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    My understanding of the BT/Openreach testing is that it seems to be a simple attenuation test only. ADSL relies on a range of frequencies that the copper telephone network was not designed for, and at distances beyond around 8 km from the exchange it is likely that loading coils will be fitted to the lines to balance them and reduce noise on telephone calls. These coils act as high-frequency signal filters and ADSL will not normally work beyond them.
    This was the case in Garsdale where many homes were told they could get ADSL broadband using the BT website checker and BT telephone help lines, but when speaking to an Openreach engineer working in a manhole he confidently stated “of course they won’t get broadband” and showed us there were loading coils in the cable joint in the manhole.
    Similarly, my parents broadband would not work, although they are closer to the exchange, and eventually they found a noise filter that a BT engineer had put on their line when they complained of a noisy line. Broadband fired-up immediately the filter was removed.
    The BT engineers seem to know where the loading coils are, but this information does not seem to be available to those selling broadband over BT/Openreach lines. This unfortunate situation has caused a lot of anguish, disputes, hassle and frustration for many people.

  • Profile picture of Phil Thompson Phil Thompson said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    Loading coils can be removed, and the RF2 filter ought to be replaced with an RF3. Does require the engineer to know they’re in place though.

    I wouldn’t agree with Thane that the BT speedtester will report “much lower” speeds than other sites, it seems pretty consistent in my experience and compares well with large file downloads.

  • Profile picture of Thane Brooker Thane Brooker said 1 year, 9 months ago ago:

    Phil, I don’t have the exact specs for the Speedtester so I’m speaking only from personal experience. I get about 1Mbps less on the BT speedtester than I do at and our own servers at Telecity. This is usually after a 2-3 minute wait to authenticate my logon details.

    More details are here:'s-Speed-checker. Possibly stage 2 or 3 of the test will be at full speed, although I’ve never been prompted with those parts of the test.

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