Sky Broadband – LLU competition works

My local exchange in the UK has only ever had BT’s ADSLMax product. Basically that means ‘up-to’ 8Mbps download and a paltry 400Kbps upload speed (on the standard product). There were, until recently, no other options available from this exchange, and so we were stuck on BT’s ancient IPStream platform, with the upload speed ‘cap’ and banded IP profiles that only further reduce your download speeds (see my article here about the travesty of ADSLMax).

Even in 2016, there was still no rollout plan for BT to upgrade it to ADSL2+ and WBC. This is a small to medium sized exchange with 1200+ customers. It’s not exactly in the middle of nowhere – it serves a small village! The cynic in me would say BT are doing this deliberately, to ‘encourage’ people to upgrade to the new FTTC service (paid for by BDUK, nonetheless). But for people not yet served by FTTC or just not wanting to pay more, we were stuck with ADSLMax, a technology introduced 10 years ago in 2006.

Thankfully Sky broadband has just installed LLU infrastructure in the exchange – that’s full ADSL2+, and importantly it is at a substantially lower price than BT’s offering (thanks to Ofcom’s artificial price floor on Market 1 exchanges).

I was paying over £40 per month for ADSLMax with the ‘Pro’ add-on (uncaps upload speeds), now I’m paying just £17 per month for ADSL2+. Look at these Speedtest.net results, they are basically double the speed for half the price:

Plusnet (BT ADSLMax)

Plusnet (BT ADSLMax with ‘Pro’ add-on)

Sky LLU ADSL2+

Sky LLU ADSL2+

I’d also like to point out that the Sky test was done at 4:30pm (nearing a peak time), whereas the BT test was done at 12:50am, not a peak time. This probably explains the ping discrepancy.

Another really nice feature is that Sky are now rolling out native IPv6 to all of their consumer customers. This isn’t a trial, it’s a full rollout. ipv6-test.com result:

ipv6

Top marks to Sky, who are the first ‘major’ ISP to begin a full rollout of IPv6 to their customers. I know a number of small ISPs have been doing it for years, but none of the larger ones have done yet. BT is also (apparently) rolling it out ‘by the end of 2016’, so could 2016 be the year of IPv6 in the UK?

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