Ofcom to rerun controversial broadband speedtests
Ofcom is extending its controversial nationwide broadband speedtests, putting the telecoms regulator on a collision course with BT.
The tests, which are performed in conjunction with SamKnowsbroadband, see “white boxes” sent to thousands of volunteers across the country. The boxes measure a series of metrics on the broadband line, including actual connection speed, ping rates and DNS look-up failures.
Ofcom published the first set of results from the tests last summer, although they were hardly conclusive, failing to distinguish who was the fastest between five of Britain’s leading ADSL providers.
However, the results did upset BT, which languished near the foot of the nationwide speed table. BT claimed it was unfairly punished because it alone serves several rural areas, which are generally slower than major towns and cities. SamKnows insists the data was normalised to take into account factors such as distance from the exchange.
SamKnows is seeking new volunteers to join the speedtest programme. It’s particularly looking for customers of the following ISPs:
- BT – ADSL
- BT – FTTC (Infinity)
- O2 / Be
- Virgin Media
People who participate in the tests are given access to their own line data, allowing them to see how their actual throughput compares to the headline speed of their package.