[Cerowrt-devel] How is DSL sold and bandwidth managed in the UK?

Fred Stratton fredstratton at imap.cc
Fri Aug 1 16:43:35 EDT 2014

Perhaps I should add that ADSL2plus services are generally not 
speed-limited, as well as being mostly uncapped.

There are exceptions. Free Sky broadband for Sky TV customers is capped 
at 2GB per month.

Primus, a Canadian company reknown for cheap offerings, has a capped 
option alongside an uncapped one on TalkTalk infrastrucure.

OpenReach offers 40/2 40/10 and 80/10 megabits/s as fibre options. 
Competitors tend not to offer the middle option.

FTTH is capped at circa 350/? megabits/s. BT Retail will install on a 
per home or business basis from the existing FTTC.

On 01/08/14 20:51, Fred Stratton wrote:
> I shall attempt an answer, probably to a slightly different question 
> to the one you are actually asking.
> Remember, the UK is a member state of the EU.
> Cable cost too much to install in the 1980s, partially causing the 
> demise of Nynex. Cable is routed underground here, like most 
> services.  All cable, which covers most major cities, out as far as 
> here in the suburbs,  is run by Virgin Media. No price competition. 
> Lost a lot of video content to BT and Sky. Probably price competitive 
> with Sky satellite TV.  Tiered bandwidth offering, comparable to fibre 
> in speed, heavily traffic-shaped.
> The telecom operator BT has no state involvement.
> BT is comprised of two parts. One is BT Retail, which has circa 38 per 
> cent of the retail market.
> The other part is the supposedly separate OpenReach, which owns and 
> maintains infrastructure, and sells services to 3rd parties. AFAIK, BT 
> Wholesale also sells telephony services to third parties on top of 
> OpenReach services.
> Because of its dominant position, the regulator, OfCom, regulates 
> OpenReach prices for services to third party service providers.
> It is currently investigating fibre prices, on the basis that these 
> are too high.
> Not all services come via BT. TalkTalk has the most separated 
> infrastructure. Sky uses OpenReach fibre backhaul.
> Local Loop Unbundling means that there are eight or so different 
> DSLAMs in each telephone exchange.  Sky and TalkTalk in addition have 
> their own non OpenReach voice telephony equipment.
> There are two tiers of ISP.
> One is composed of the big players. These are BT Retail, Sky and 
> TalkTalk. BT Retail have 5 brands operating as separate entities, 
> including Plusnet, notable for carrier grade NAT and traffic shaping. 
> None have caps or download limits.
> These three are focused around content delivery, principally video. 
> The service is cheap, with a plug in gateway provided. Contracts are 
> generally for one year. Customer service is hopeless. You are paid 
> inducements and cashback to change provider. Whilst the ADSL price is 
> cheap, the cost of the phone line is steadily ratcheting up.
> If the price of a service increases by 10 per cent or more in a year, 
> the retail customer can leave the ISP, whatever the contract says.
> I am obliged to pay money to a public corporation, the BBC. These are 
> a major online video content provider, and the main competitor to the 
> three main ISPs for content. These ISPs pay fees to Akamai principally 
> to access iPlayer, and complain about it.
> The others are the smaller players such as EE, and boutique providers 
> like Zen and AAISP.
> EE, or Everything  Everywhere, are T-Mobile and Orange, a combined 
> unit in the UK providing mobile telephony, and internet services over 
> the BT network. BT Wholesale, I think, provide and run their 
> infrastructure.
> Zen and AAISP provide a good service over lines rented from OpenReach 
> or TalkTalk. They have customer dervice and respond to faults. They 
> cost ten times as much as the big three, because they make their money 
> by charging for bandwidth. There are many others in this category. 
> Some provide ipv6.
> Retail customers find deals through sites such as this
> http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband
> The fibre infrastrucure has been rolled out by BT. Fujitsu, and 
> Digital Region, a public enterprise, have pulled out or folded.
> Sky and TalkTalk currently use OpenReach infrastructure for fibre, but 
> are introducing some of their own cabinets as a joint experiment.
> OpenReach FTTC uses Huawei or ECI MSANs. I have fibre cabinets 200 
> metres in either direction along the road.
> CPE for ADSL is customer installed, and is generally a 
> TrendChip/Ralink or BroadCom based device with the usual driver BLOBs, 
> a 2.6 series kernel, and telnet access.
> CPE for VDSL/FTTC is the official network endpint for fibre, rather 
> than the wall plate. The boxes provided are either Huawei HG612, or an 
> ECI equivalent.
> These are cut down gateways without wireless, configured as VDSL2 
> 'modems'. The HG 612 Is Broadcom based and has been unlocked. I have 
> used one on an ADSL2plus line. Source code is available, even some 
> Broadcom code released in error by Huawei. The ECI box is Lantiq 
> based, and blogic has had OpenWRT running on it. There are 
> configuration problems with uboot, so this not stable.
> This partly answers your question. Note also I have said nothing about 
> mobile internet.
> On 01/08/14 19:12, Dave Taht wrote:
>> uknof list:
>> There has been a long discussion on the cerowrt-devel list about 
>> how/when/ and where to get bufferbloat related fixes into the head 
>> ends and CPE, and it's confusing as to who can and what sort of 
>> devices controls what,
>> The uk seems to have a vibrant dsl based isp market all getting stuff 
>> from BT.
>> How does it work in Britain? I am under the impression that there are 
>> a lot of HFSC + SFQ based rate limiters there for various classes of 
>> service
>> See below for some open questions on the role of the DSLAM, the BRAS, 
>> etc...
>> Or see "the ideas on how to simplify and popularize bufferbloat 
>> control" thread:
>> https://lists.bufferbloat.net/pipermail/cerowrt-devel/2014-July/thread.html
>> On Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 2:04 PM, Sebastian Moeller <moeller0 at gmx.de 
>> <mailto:moeller0 at gmx.de>> wrote:
>>     Hi MIchael,
>>     On Aug 1, 2014, at 06:51 , Michael Richardson <mcr at sandelman.ca
>>     <mailto:mcr at sandelman.ca>> wrote:
>>     >
>>     > Sebastian Moeller <moeller0 at gmx.de <mailto:moeller0 at gmx.de>> wrote:
>>     >>      No idea? How would you test this (any command line to
>>     try). The good
>>     >> thingg with the ping is that often even the DSLAM responds keeping
>>     >> external sources (i.e. hops further away in the network) of
>>     variability
>>     >> out of the measurement...
>>     >
>>     > With various third-party-internet-access ("TPIA" in Canada),
>>      the DSLAM
>>     > is operated by the incumbent (monopoly) telco, and the layer-3
>>     first hop
>>     > is connected via PPPoE-VLAN or PPP/L2TP.
>>             So they "own" the copper lines connecting each customer
>>     to the DSLAM? And everybody else just rents their DSL service and
>>     resells them? Do they really connect to the DSLAM or to the BRAS?
>>     > The incumbent telco has significant
>>     > incentive to make the backhaul network as congested and
>>     bufferbloated as
>>     > possible, and to mis-crimp cables so that the DSL resyncs at
>>     different speeds
>>     > regularly...
>>             I think in Germany the incumbent has to either rent out
>>     the copper lines to competitors (who can put their own lines
>>     cards in DSLAMs backed by their own back-bone) or rent
>>     "bit-stream" access that is the incumbent handles the DSL part on
>>     both ends and passes the traffic either in the next central
>>     office or at specific transit points. I always assumed
>>     competitors renting these services would get much better
>>     guarantees than end-customers, but it seems in Canada the
>>     incumbent has more found ways to evade efficient regulation.
>>     > my incumbent telco's commercial LAN extension salesperson
>>     > proudly told me how they never drop packets, even when their
>>     links are
>>     > congested!!!
>>             I really hope this is the opinion of a sales person and
>>     not the network operators who really operate the gear in the
>>     "field". On the other hand having sufficient buffering in the
>>     DSLAM to never having to drop a packet sounds quite manly (and a
>>     terrible waste of otherwise fine DRAM chips) ;)
>>     >
>>     > The Third Party ISP has a large incentive to deploy equipment
>>     that supports
>>     > whatever "bandwidth measurement" service we might cook up.
>>             As much as I would like to think otherwise, the only way
>>     to get a BMS in the field is if all national regulators require
>>     it by law (well maybe if ITU would bake it into the next xDSL
>>     standard that the DSLAM has to report current line speeds as per
>>     SNMP? back to all down stream devices asking for it). But I am
>>     not holding my breath...
>>     Best Regards
>>             Sebastian
>>     >
>>     > --
>>     > Michael Richardson
>>     > -on the road-
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>>     >
>>     _______________________________________________
>>     Cerowrt-devel mailing list
>>     Cerowrt-devel at lists.bufferbloat.net
>>     <mailto:Cerowrt-devel at lists.bufferbloat.net>
>>     https://lists.bufferbloat.net/listinfo/cerowrt-devel
>> -- 
>> Dave Täht
>> NSFW: 
>> https://w2.eff.org/Censorship/Internet_censorship_bills/russell_0296_indecent.article 
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