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stonewall100
03-05-2012, 10:48 AM
The expectation of KCC is that the BDUK/KCC grant approach could lead to 3 of the 4 Langton Green BT street cabinets being upgraded to a fibre optic connection between the Langton Exchange and these cabinets. If BT would win the KCC tender to provide the service then the people connected to these cabinets should have access to the advertised BT Infinity 2 broadband service of up to 76Mbps download speed. Yesterday I had FIRST-HAND experience of the signing-up process and service being offered for Fulham, as follows:

o The community had been made aware that the new service would become available around May 2012
o A check of the BT Infinity website on 1st May enabled the telephone number to be typed in, which confirmed the service was now available and that that particular telephone had a potential BT Infinity 2 speed of 72Mbps download and 20Mbps upload (with a variance of +/- 1 to 2 Mbps) – it has been about 4Mbps max with the normal BT BB service.
o The BT disclaimer says: "The actual speed is dependent on several factors such as the product option you choose, the processing power of your computer, how many people are using your broadband connection at the same time, whether you use a wireless or cable connection, the speed of the websites that you visit and how we're managing the network. Speeds can be lower at peak times - peak times are evenings and weekends." I suppose this is not unreasonable provided the new service is much better than the old
o I then proceeded to select a package. They range (incl VAT) from £18/month for up to 38Mbps (with 40GB usage) to £35/month for up to 100Mbps with “unlimited” usage. Each includes free telephone call offers. I selected the £31/month offer of up to 78Mbps, “unlimited” usage and unlimited free telephone calls to landlines.
o Any necessary equipment and its installation is included foc in the package
o I signed up and was immediately offered a selection of almost immediate dates and times (am or pm) for the equipment to be installed and the line to be activated.
o A text soon arrived confirming the engineer visit arrangements

In summary, the website and processes were surprisingly easy to use. All that now remains is to see how good the service actually is. I might buy a SamKnows white box so it can be monitored.

In terms of cost, the BT Infinity 2 package is only slightly more expensive than the current BT package providing the 4Mbps.

So if the BDUK/KCC initiative for Langton goes through and if, by coincidence, BT Infinity 2 does become available to those on the 3 selected cabinets then there could be a significant improvement in performance for the affected residents. Only time will tell how good it eventually is, and hence the value of the white box monitoring programme.

Lawrence

RobL
03-05-2012, 07:28 PM
Thanks Lawrence - useful to know.

Possibly better to provide links to the BT website for the packages, to get the information from the horses mouth as it were. I've always found the small print rather frustrating with BT packages, especially for items such as fixed IP addresses and details of "fair use policies".

Can you tell us when the announcement was made to the Fulham community, and how long from announcement to supply?

How was the current 4Mbps figure established? For example a Sam Knows whitebox or similar software, or an occasional website speedtest?

Signing up for a service is always made easy by providers that stay in business. It's the delivery that's the hard bit. Please keep us informed!

It would be very interesting to record, scientifically, what performance is delivered, knowing how far your friend is from their cabinet. That will helps us understand how many folks in our community will benefit from BT Infinity should it arrive here via the BDUK/KCC initiative. There will be a significant number of folks who will derive no benefit - that's based on the laws of physics, not marketing.

If the backhaul hasn't been upgraded in Fulham, the initial adopters will enjoy the honeymoon period when they have all the bandwidth to themselves, then when everyone gets on-board, the party will end as it has for many Virgin Media users in Brighton. I'm all for facts, so bring them on and tell us how the experience goes in Fulham!

Thanks,

--RobL.

stonewall100
05-05-2012, 09:43 AM
Hi Rob,
The BT Infinity 2 Website is http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumerProducts/displayTopic.do?topicId=29017 and the line check and price package are both available from there.

I believe it was the SamKnows website http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange/WRFULM that I checked about a 6 months ago. You input the house number and postcode and it indicates the available services and I believe it indicated then that FTTC would be available from March 2012. In the end it was May 2012.

BT have told me that the current max achievable is about 4Mbps and the above SamKnows web address indicates max 3.5Mbps ADSL for the specific address. I shall be there to see the installation/activation done next week and so will do a BT speedtest before work starts and ask the engineer to which street cabinet it is connected so that I can estimated the distance.

Lawrence

RobL
05-05-2012, 07:25 PM
Lawrence - still not clear to me how your 4Mbps was measured. Was it an occasional "speedtester.bt.com" website measurement, or were different metrics measured over time, repeatedly, with some average taken to avoid occasional unrepresentative figures?

It's very easy to make incorrect conclusions without some science behind the sample population. That's what is so good about the Sam Knows whiteboxes.

Websites that "predict" broadband speeds have precisely NO actual measurements available to them. They use knowledge of the infrastructure to "guess" using algorithms specific to the technologies the infrastructure database tells them exists. They don't know which cables have been replaced, which ones have a bit of rust/water ingress, or indeed the location of the BT cabinet in some instances. Errors in excess of 1km (5Km in one case) exist within BT's database.

Here's the article written by Ian Grant providing this information:

http://br0kent3l3ph0n3.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/lies-damn-lies-and-broadband-data/

To temper the excitement about the possible BDUK/KCC funded BT Infinity deployment to 3 out of 4 cabinets around Langton Green, here's a post from the same chap who is a respected journalist/blogger on Broadband in the UK.

http://br0kent3l3ph0n3.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/cornish-in-facebook-grumble-at-bts-broadband-costs/

C (http://br0kent3l3ph0n3.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/cornish-in-facebook-grumble-at-bts-broadband-costs/)ornwall's rollout was large, and is being met with mixed responses from the locals. We will have a continued monopoly by a single provider, which I don't relish from a competition perspective. You get it BTs way, or you don't get the bleedin' thing.

--RobL.

stonewall100
08-05-2012, 03:40 PM
Hi Rob,
I asked SamKnows if I could buy a white box for monitoring the BT Infinity 2 service that will be activated next week at my son's place in Fulham. SK told me that Ofcom has purchased some white boxes for monitoring BT Infinity 2 and for him to sign up at: https://www.samknows.eu . It appears to be an EC initiative. He signed up and was successful in getting a box. I asked SK if I could inform our Forum about the Ofcom initiative (for use by friends/family in BT Infinity 2 areas) and they said OK. They cannot guarantee everyone who applies will get a white box. Ofcom are also keen to get them to users of Virgin 60Mbps and 100Mbps. So if anyone has friends/family who might be interested, then go for it.

Lawrence

RobL
09-05-2012, 10:54 AM
Some interesting data on expected speed increases from BT Infinity.

NB: Note the importance of cable length against street distance - very different! One chap was 85 metres from the cabinet, but his line length was over 100m.

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5161-how-fast-will-fttc-run-at.html

(http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5161-how-fast-will-fttc-run-at.html) I believe the point to note here is the the speed and quality of the service remains dependent on copper, distance and what BT decide to provide for backhaul to the internet. Their disclaimer allows them to put 100 people with "upto 40Mbps" down a single backhaul pipe with, say, enough capacity for only 20 of them to get 20Mbps, and not tell anyone.

A community company could publish all of this data to its owners, as they're the ones affected by this commercial "balancing". The motivations are different!

As a final teaser ... here's some ACTUAL data (according to Origin Broadband - Sheffield based ISP) of the VDSL2 technology (same as BT Infinity, but most likely configured differently). These are actual measurements. Notice the markedly short lengths to the cabinet. Price points of £20-£35 per connection, and no mention of monthly limits, which you will hit VERY quickly with faster connections.

http://www.origin-broadband.co.uk/
(http://www.origin-broadband.co.uk/)
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5160-origin-shows-what-speeds-vdsl2-can-achieve.html

Oh - I'm nothing to do with Origin, BT or anyone else. In fact, I quite like the sound of B4RS Community Fibre, as anyone who follows the Forums on this site would know [SMILE].

--RobL.

stonewall100
09-05-2012, 03:08 PM
The effect of Cu line length is indeed interesting. Only one of the 3 cabinets in Langton that is indicated for possible upgrading to FTTC appears to have Cu connections that could go beyond 1,000 metres and that is the one in Langholm Road, which seems to supply the top of Groombridge Hill. But there again I would imagine a speed for only 15 Mbps would seem like heaven compared with what someone at that distance must be getting at the moment.

Lawrence

RobL
09-05-2012, 03:15 PM
The effect of Cu line length is indeed interesting. Only one of the 3 cabinets in Langton that is indicated for possible upgrading to FTTC appears to have Cu connections that could go beyond 1,000 metres and that is the one in Langholm Road, which seems to supply the top of Groombridge Hill. But there again I would imagine a speed for only 15 Mbps would seem like heaven compared with what someone at that distance must be getting at the moment.

Lawrence

Where's your line length data coming from Lawrence?

Let's not forget the extra money for the BT Infinity product, and that 15Mbps is only downstream. Upstream speeds would rule out Cloud storage and HD video, for example. Feels a bit like rural folks being charged more for less.

--RobL.

stonewall100
17-05-2012, 09:11 AM
I have now seen BT Infinity 2 installed at my son's flat in Fulham and have seen the massive difference it makes in both download and upload speeds.

BT gave a morning or afternoon slot choice for the visit of the engineer

The engineer phoned on the day to say he was at the street cabinet and was just about to make the fibre connection and so the broadband/telephone would be out of use for a short while.

20 minutes later he arrived at the flat and installed a new face plate on the main BT box in the flat. He then connected a modem and to it he connected a BT router. A few minutes later all of the lights on the BT router were blue and a speed check using www.speedtester.bt.com showed an actual download speed of 72Mbps and an upload speed of just over 15 Mbps.

An hour before the arrival of the engineer, a speed test had shown a download speed of 2.69Mbps (with a max of 4Mbps) and an upload of 0.76Mbps

I asked the engineer why the previous speeds had been so slow and he told me that the copper cable length from the Fulham exchange to the street cabinet was at least 2kms. Now that the new cabinet is fed by fibre optic it is like having the exchange in your own street. The new cabinet is only 200 metres from the flat but seems sufficient to cause a drop in speed from 78 Mbps down to 72Mbps.

The BT Infinity 2 service is currently providing a speed that is about 25 times faster than the old speed. A SamKnows white box has been installed so that the performance can be monitored longer term.

The monthly cost is around £40, which includes the BT line rental fee and free calls anytime (to landlines). This is not much more than was being paid for the previous BT broadband/telephone service.

Lawrence

RobL
17-05-2012, 09:39 PM
Thanks Lawrence.

Couple of points, small, but important.

The BT engineer didn't make a fibre connection - he made a copper connection to the cabinet. The cabinet is connected by fibre to the exchange. Given the BT engineer's comment that the copper length was 2Km to the Fulham exchange, how far is it as the human walks? That would give us another example of the likely difference between copper length and geographical length to better interpret "likely speeds" should FTTC ever arrive in Langton.

I wonder how busy the cabinet was, given the impressive speed experienced by your son? I wonder if he'd get that if there were 8 other folk on the same cabinet all downloading a Netflix movie at the same time? What about 20 other folk, or 30? Where's the contention point?

And we have to wonder about that, as BT are not likely to explain the over subscription at the cabinet level.

Yes - it's great to see speed increases like this, but at what cost (well - £40 per month apparently!) and for how long will they be enjoyed? BT will ultimately decide where to throttle the backhaul and your son will have no say in the matter. The small print in his contract will reveal the limits to which BT can contractually push the oversubscription. It is around 16Mbps downstream with nothing stated for upstream I believe. The "business" version provides a measly 100GB per month of data allowance, which I can get close to on my current (red hot) ADSL Max line running at 6.5Mbps. How quickly would I hit those limits with 72 Mbps at my disposal? 10 movies would get you well above 30GB, plus all your "normal" activity. For another £5/month, it can become "unlimited" apparently - where's the small print? ;-)

It is important to consider the bigger picture. With greater speed, comes greater data allowance. One without the other is a profit trough for the ISP.

Thanks,
--RobL.