Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Why broadband is slow in Brighton and Hove
9:54am Tuesday 1st April 2014 in News
Residents are facing a postcode lottery over broadband speeds in Brighton and Hove.
Figures from thinkbroadband.com have revealed the shocking discrepancies of speeds even between neighbours in the same street.
This is despite Brighton and Hove being one of the better-served areas in the UK, with faster average speeds than the south east as a whole and London.
While that might sound encouraging it papers over the cracks of the reality for some.
More than six per cent of those who tested their broadband had a speed lower than 2Mbps (mega bits per second).
The average for Brighton and Hove is 17.3Mbps. But the good news is the fastest 25 per cent of the city are getting speeds of about 36Mbps.
The map shows just how much speeds can vary between streets and sometimes even between houses.
There are several reasons why you might be twiddling your thumbs waiting for that download while your neighbour is merrily streaming away.
The main reason is cabinets – those green boxes you see on the side of the road.
Inside them holds the key to your broadband speed. Some will be BT, some Virgin Media and some for housing hardware for things like traffic lights.
For Virgin Media, while service does not vary in connection speed, some areas may have more people using the service and this can affect the actual speeds people experience.
For the telephone line-based services it is about the length of their specific telephone line back to the cabinet or telephone exchange, depending on the type of service. This distance limit is the largest factor, but congestion at peak times can still have an effect.
Two next door properties can have different speeds since there is no guarantee that the two lines are attached to the same cabinet or telephone exchange.
Andrew Ferguson, editor of thinkbroadband.com, said: “Brighton is fairly well served as there is near-universal availability of Virgin Media cable services.
“The availability of the Openreach fibre based services is also good, as almost all cabinets in Withdean offer this faster service.
“The Hove, Kemptown, Portslade and Southwick areas have a good level of coverage, but due to the number of small cabinets, have more holes in coverage.
“The decisions from both operators have led to the difference in speeds being very drastic, potentially even with between next door properties.”
And at the end of the day it is a case of you get what you pay for.
Mr Ferguson explained: “As these are speed tests done on people’s computers they do reflect the reality of what the person experiences and since it is human nature to try and choose the best value for money package the vast majority do not buy the fastest package available (Virgin Media offer a 152 Mbps option now).
“Even in areas where the fibre-based services from BT, Sky, TalkTalk and others are available we are seeing people not upgrading sometimes because of the extra £10 to £20 per month premium that this faster product commands, causing variation.”
In May last year BT was selected to roll out superfast broadband to the majority of homes across East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
The Go e-Sussex project will see 99 per cent of homes and businesses across the area able to access superfast speeds by 2016.
It means most locations – 96 per cent – will be able to get speeds in excess of 24Mbps while the remaining three per cent will get faster speeds but just below the 24Mbps mark.
A spokesman Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We have a specialist team that works on the Super Connected Cities Programme and most of the funding has been directed towards the voucher scheme for small businesses as this is technology neutral and is not necessarily reliant on the upgrade of street cabinets by BT/Virgin.
“We can’t advise private residential customers on the merits of one supplier over any others. There are times when we have supported their complaints by raising queries with suppliers direct about when a cabinet might be upgraded but it is BT or Virgin’s decisions which areas they upgrade the cabinets in and when.”
Tom Coady, 50, of Regency Square, whose provider is Sky, says: "I get 1-2mbps on Sky, but it is supposed to be a minimum of 7mbps.
"I live about three miles from the Hove exchange. Sky have asked BT Openreach to investigate. At one stage, streaming wasn't possible. Uploading takes hours, sometimes days."
Comments are closed on this article.