Inbox: Who's to blame for snail's pace broadband?

Blame the customer - or customer support?

Blame the customer - or customer support?

The weekly Inbox column collects the best and most thought-provoking of the reader comments receives each week.
Readers were back in full swing following the Christmas break, and quick to respond to a story regarding Gordon Brown's latest economy-fixing plan: spend £17bn.

Should websites be rated like films? Readers joined the debate following a recent story on Lastly, are you getting the broadband speed you think? According to new research, half of Britons aren't - prompting a slew of comments.

Don't forget to post your own response to any of these stories or comments below.

UK broadband: Reality is half the promised speed
Ofcom has published the initial findings of its research into the real speeds UK consumers are getting from their broadband connections.

"Blood out of a stone"
Getting bandwidth in my area is a bit like getting blood out of a stone.

My ISP charges me for an up to 8Mbps connection and I get 1Mbps. I have rung them and BT several times yet nothing ever comes of it.

ISPs and BT should have SLAs forced on them and also be forced to reinvest profits to ensure the infrastructure is ready for tomorrow's bandwidth requirements.
Richard Davies, North Yorkshire

It's their own fault!
If people used good service providers (without mentioning any names) and paid proper money for their service they would get better speeds. I have experience in a number of locations where I have installed ADSL and I get speeds like 6.5Mbps with PlusNet and 17Mbps with Be. Using good filters and disconnecting the ringer wire had always gone a long way to fixing any slow connections I've had.
Anonymous, Heathfield

Passing the blame
Customer support try to blame the user's system with favourites being Vista, routers or anything else on their prepared list of answers. When my connection drops out, my internal wireless network continues to work fine but according to CS the outside modem connection is fine. The fact that this is a very intermittent, although frequent, phenomenon makes it all too easy for CS to blame anything but their networks.
Lionel A Smith, Fareham

Perception problems
The big problem is one of perception. Too many people see "up to" and read that as "will be close to".

Now, if services were sold on the basis of committed rates (effectively like ADSL in the early days) then market forces would deal with it.

It won't happen without it being imposed.
Simon, Cumbria

Do you agree? Have your say by posting a comment below…

Dear Gordon, here's how to spend that £17bn
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has earmarked £18bn for investment to help UK Plc get through the economic downturn - and with only around £1bn spent so far there's still plenty of cash on the table, so took a look at alternative uses for the funds, including training.

Investment is for life, not just for Christmas
Let's hope that if they do invest now that when the benefits start to come in they reinvest and reinvest and never think to steal it back to waste on public sector bureaucracy. Investment in manufacturing and production is for life not just for Christmas.
Alistair Thomas, Worcs

Where's the money coming from?
Perhaps he should tell us where he intends to get this money from? By just printing it he is devaluing our currency, our savings and our standing as a nation. He is an economic failure - where is our gold reserve? Sold at giveaway prices!
Chris Goodman, Fareham

It'll stop ageism?

It's all very well putting people through training courses but if companies and agencies won't give you a second look, possibly due to your age, what's the point?

A bit of volunteering this year and perhaps another two certifications before I finally give up accruing 'industry standard' qualifications nobody wants.
An Old Duffer, Southern England

Read more comments on this story…

Film-style ratings for UK websites?
The kind of ratings used for films could be applied to websites in a bid to better police the internet and protect children from harmful and offensive material, Britain's minister for culture has said.

Freedom of speech
"This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people. We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it."

I'm sorry but that is against free speech, it is censorship and having "a place governments cannot reach" is a good thing, those that disagree should take a long look at what China does with internet access to stifle debate and dissent
Karen Challinor, UK

Job on their hands
These people don't have a clue as to what they are talking about. Are they seriously suggesting every website owner should submit their website for a "rating"? Boy, they are going to have a hell of a job keeping up... not to mention that the web (i.e. http) is not the only protocol they would need to monitor.
Anonymous, Suffolk

Too many schemes
I already take the trouble to label pages on my websites as "safe for kids".

But, with so many different schemes, the amount of text in these stupid, badly designed labels is now a large proportion of the text in some web pages.

My web pages contain nothing which might offend: Why do I have to specify - separately - that they don't contain smut, and that they don't contain violence etc etc
Richard, UK

Old hat
This is all old hat, PICS header-based content rating systems like the ICRA have been around and available in browsers for over 10 years. The problem is that the vast majority of parents don't know how to use it and when they do 99 per cent of the web is blocked because the majority of webmasters don't use it.
Guy Reynolds, Letchworth

Read more comments on this story…

Please note, comments may be edited for clarity, grammar, spelling, punctuation and style. The views expressed are not necessarily the views of You can write to by posting a Reader Comment below…