Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Businesses The Internet

ISPs Lie About Broadband "Up To" Speeds 547

Haffner writes "Ars Technica has an article detailing the difference between ISP advertised 'up to x Mbps' speeds and the actual speeds, in addition to some possible solutions. They find that on average, the advertised speeds were 'up to 6.7 Mbps' while the real median was 3 Mbps and the mean was 4 Mbps. This implies that ISPs were falsely advertising by at least 50%."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ISPs Lie About Broadband "Up To" Speeds

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:49PM (#33283794)

    News at 11

  • by Rary ( 566291 ) * on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:52PM (#33283812)

    They find that on average, the advertised speeds were 'up to 6.7 Mbps' while the real median was 3 Mbps and the mean was 4 Mbps. This implies that ISPs were falsely advertising by at least 50%.

    "Up to" doesn't mean "median" or "mean". "Up to" means "up to", as in "maximum".

    That being said, it is rather sneaky to advertise a product by focusing on a theoretical maximum that you may (or may not) experience on the rarest of occasions. It's kind of like selling a limited service as "unlimited". But no one would ever do that, right?

    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:11PM (#33283952) Homepage

      Do you think Doritos would be allowed to sell bags as "up to a pound" when they averaged 9oz and some had quite a bit less? The big problem is it's one way. When you are promised Xmbps, you get some number, Y, where Y<= X. I would be amazed if more than 1% of the broadband population got higher than their rated speed. If it was a real normal distribution, or when you called to sign up they told you "you can expect to get X most of the time".

      But my parents have 12 or 15mbps cable internet. During normal hours (even early afternoon) it is almost never faster than about 8mbps, and that's with multiple downloads coming from what I assume to be a CDN, because most sites aren't anywhere near that. Over the last 5-6 years, the top speed you could reach on their cable line has dropped as more people have signed on, but the advertised speed (and the price) have both increased. They have a medium package since there is no point trying to get more on an oversubscribed line.

      I, on the other hand, pay for 6mbps DSL, and get almost exactly 6. I like getting what I pay for, and if I could only get 3, I'd pay for that service level.

      If your "up to" only applies to 5% of your customers, you're scamming them. If it was 30%, I think we'd all be a lot more forgiving.

      • Do you think Doritos would be allowed to sell bags as "up to a pound" when they averaged 9oz and some had quite a bit less? The big problem is it's one way. When you are promised Xmbps, you get some number, Y, where Y

        If they say "up to" they can provide any speed between and including zero and the "up to" figure and still be correct.

        I don't think anyone expects any industry to deliver more than promised, seems to be a lost cause.

        This problem will not go away so easily when the average person isn't paying attention and even supposedly technically knowledgeable people do not understand the language enough to see the weaseling before they sign up. Then there's the problem where a /. submitter and editor do not understand basic statistical terms.

      • If your "up to" only applies to 5% of your customers, you're scamming them.

        Try 2% getting close to the advertised speed, and 98% getting a lot less. According to OFCOM - the UK regulator - only a small fraction get anything close to the advertised maximum (unless they're on fiber). For example, regarding ADSL2 which was 'up to 20Mbps':
        "65% were getting less than 8Mbps, 32% between 8 and 14Mbps, with just 2% getting 14-20Mbps."
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/07/ofcom_broadbands_broken_promis.html [bbc.co.uk]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by green1 ( 322787 )

          I'm curious... do these speed issues pertain only to certain countries? or certain technologies?
          The reason I ask, is that my ADSL connection is advertised as "up to 15 Mbps"... the speed I get? 15 Mbps. now that doesn't mean 15 Mbps from any site, (you loose a fair amount just by virtue of the fact that you aren't always the only one going to a specific site, and there are often busy routers in between) but it DOES mean that I have 15 Mbps available, this is usually easy to see by downloading several things

      • by DeadPixels ( 1391907 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:57PM (#33284334)
        I actually like the parent's Doritos analogy - it's true when you think of it that way; there would be all sorts of uproar if physical goods were advertised and sold the way broadband is.
        "Up to" a dozen bagels in your order, or "up to" two patties on your burger would never fly. And who would work for pay on an "up to" scale? I'm sure companies would be happy to pay someone "up to" four hundred dollars an hour.

        Part of the problem, in my opinion, is the fact that a sizable portion of the population is not terribly computer-literate or technically savvy. They want "an Internet" or "a Google" or (my new favorite) "the Facebook" and don't really care much about how they get it.
        The average end user, in my experience, has difficulty distinguishing between a slow computer and a slow connection. To many, they might as well be one and the same. I get asked for help all the time with people saying "my computer is slow" and it turns out they actually have connectivity problems. ISPs not only take advantage of that mentality, they count on it. I'm sure many of you have seen the commercials for those sites like "FinallyFast" or "MaxMySpeed" or whatever they're called, where they advertise a "free scan" to tell if you're "infected" or "experiencing registry errors", and by purchasing their product, you can avoid having to buy a new computer. That is basically the same demographic ISPs are targeting; the population that knows they want a computer and an internet connection but doesn't know much beyond that. I would honestly describe it as predatory.

        I know I'll probably get modded down for not taking a more pro-capitalistic stance, but in my opinion this is a case where consumers are being taken advantage of - and there simply are no better options. It's very easy to say "vote with your dollar and don't buy their services", but an internet connection is critical for many people nowadays. I know several people who run businesses out of their homes using websites, VOIP lines, etc. For them, canceling their internet connection is just not an option. If there were an ISP that actually provided good service and had consumer-friendly policies, I would be more than happy to switch to their service and recommend all of my friends. The problem is that my options right now are "bad", "worse", and "even worse yet". Comcast blocks all torrent upload data in my area (disclaimer: I don't pirate content, but I do use torrents for FOSS/Linux downloads and similar uses); Verizon has declared that they plan to test a 150GB (if I remember correctly) monthly cap on FIOS in this area; and there's basically no one else around because they've been driven out of business or out of the area. Again, with the nature of the internet and the role it plays in communication and commerce, I would almost consider supporting it being regulated like a public utility, or at least with more oversight. It's all well and good to say "don't give them your money", but when I need the internet to obtain that money, I don't have many options.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mjwx ( 966435 )

          I actually like the parent's Doritos analogy - it's true when you think of it that way

          If the weight of a packet of crisps diminished the further away you got from the shop, it would not only be perfectly legal, but prudent to advertise as "up to 200 grams". So the Analogy is terrible

          With DSL your speed is entirely dependent on environmental conditions. With Cable it's entirely dependent on load. With Fibre, then you have a point as it should sync at whatever speed your paying for but with 2 Mbit Fibre c

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by taucross ( 1330311 )
            In my case, the packet of crisps most certainly diminishes the further away I get from the shop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It is not clear from TFA whether the histogram displayed there was drawn from the sample of experimentally measured _maximum_ speeds or just the "daily usage" speeds.

      If it was the former, then it gives us a snapshot of the underlying distribution of the maximum speed, and we can estimate the probability of "ISP lying about the speed", along with the variance of this estimator, directly from it.

      If it was the latter, the distribution of the maximum can still be estimated. However, this is usually difficult t

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sjames ( 1099 )

      It would be a lot more honest to advertise the "at least" speed, but they don't want to do that because according to the fine print they are actually offering at least zero Mbps.

      I wonder how they would feel if their customers offered to pay them up to $40/month.

    • Diet/exercise companies do this all the time. They show you ads of people with amazing figures stating they used their products and look at them. For the diet ads its the rare person that comes out looking like that but by US law they can use those people as their examples because they did use the product, they just had a rare outcome (why the fine print tends to state that these aren't normal outcomes, but most people don't read the fine print). Similar for exercise equipment, but while also "forgetting" t
    • It's kind of like selling a limited service as "unlimited".

      "Unlimited Internet" is phrase which took hold in the 14K dial-up days when AOL began offering unmetered service for a flat monthly rate of $19.95.

      The perfect compliment to your unmetered local calling plan.

    • As a guess, the "up to" speed is what you would see if you download something from one of their servers (e.g., retrieved your e-mail). They can't control how fast anyone else's server serves data nor how fast the other server's provider is. You might see something served that fast from across the Internet but don't count on it; too many variables.

      Besides, the "up to" speed is a lot faster than any speed estimate that involves realistic usage. Go figure that they quote it.


      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anaerin ( 905998 )
        No, typically the "Up to" is the maximum possible raw bandwidth, before any kind of packetization is performed. So if the line is capable of carrying 10,000,000 raw bits of data per second, they'll advertise it as "Up to 10Mb/s". Despite the fact that, even in a perfect situation the most you would get is 7.15Mb/s (That's 10,000,000/1,048,576 (or 1024*1024)*0.75 (To allow for packet framing overhead)), or a transfer speed of 915.5KByte/sec from the ISP's servers. That's without any packet losses, signal att
    • Would be nice if they advertised something more like a CIR.

  • by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:53PM (#33283818)

    Yes, some customers are getting "up to" the advertised speed. Since all the advertising says "up to" this isn't lying. Where's the story in this?

    • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:58PM (#33283866) Journal

      And how do we compare plans? If one ISP has "up to" 10 mbits, and another has "up to" 20 mbits, which one is faster?

      Not lying, but not in any way honest.

      • I would suggest understanding the base technology of the services you are considering.

        Cable for example is a shared platform. You may share 40meg of capacity with 100 other people and be individually limited to 5meg. Depending on the users, you may or may not not ever have the network congested so you will receive less then peak value, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

        You could be unlucky enough to end up on a node with dozens of heavy torrent users.

        The up-to is probably generally acceptable because 95

      • That's what advertising is! You don't compare products by their advertising, but by unbiased reviews, or by trying it out yourself (if there are short term subscriptions). A certain brand of beer won't get you automatically surrounded by hot chicks just as a certain brand of cigarettes won't turn you in to a cool cowboy sitting by a camp fire.

        Now if there was a standardised benchmark to test broadband speed.. - But for that you'd probably need government involvement, and who wants that, right?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jrumney ( 197329 )
        Sometimes the "lying" goes both ways. My connection was advertised as up to 2Mbps. During peak times I'm lucky to get 200k, but offpeak I've seen it running at 9Mbps.
      • In the UK at least...

        If they are both ADSL the chances are they are both going to be the same speed as they will both be using the same copper cable and the ISPs will all have very similar upstream connections...

        If one is cable and one is ADSL the cable will almost always be faster (unless you are very unlucky), and will always give the specified speed during off peak hours, although very few sites will send data at 20Mbs, a popular torrent (of say a linux distribution) with good seeds will easily hit your

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )

        Well you can't really compare ISPs based on a single number no matter what. I mean even if both were willing to offer you a CIR (which you need to pay more for) there are still different in terms of latency, peering, uptime, etc.

        I see nothing wrong with advertising maximum rates, as that is a consideration. Yes it is putting their best foot forward but if you aren't used to that in advertising you are being willfully blind.

    • by garcia ( 6573 )

      I'm one of those people and since moving to Minnesota I've always been one of those people. My DSL was "up to 2mbps" and I received 4.7mbs and with cable I'm "up to 7mbps" and receive 20mbps (18.85mbps according to my most recent aptitude safe-upgrade).

      This is a non-story in my most recent experience but I'm guessing it's not for others. In a previous life, back when I had DSL in college from VZW, we would routinely see 400k/64k speeds on a connection that was supposed to be 768/256. YMMV.

    • by prakslash ( 681585 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:13PM (#33283972)
      They set up false expectations. Unfortunately everyone does it. I have bitten by this more than a few times.

      Weight loss ad told me I could lose UP TO 50 lbs. I still need to request a seat-belt extender on airplanes
      My employer said I could make UP TO a million dollars a year if the company does well. I am still driving a beat up Kia
      And, worse of all, that nice email ad said I could increase my length UP TO 9 inches. My wife still has trouble finding it


      • I still need to request a seat-belt extender on airplanes.

        I don't know how much weight you actually lost, but just losing weight isn't always enough; you need to get some exercise to firm up your abs. Try sit-ups and crunches; you'd be surprised how much of a difference they can make, even if your weight doesn't change. And as an added benefit, if you get your stomach out of the way, your wife might just be able to see what you've got down below.

        • It seems you are talking about spot reduction, which has been repeatedly demonstrated and documented to be false.

          Ab workouts don't burn more fat from the abdominal region than any other region or exercise.

          • They tone the abdominal muscles, so that when you do eventually get under 7% body fat from the exercise that you do every day, you don't look like an emaciated swimsuit model.
      • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

        And, worse of all, that nice email ad said I could increase my length UP TO 9 inches. My wife still has trouble finding it


        Funny, she had no trouble finding mine last night.

    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:20PM (#33284030) Homepage

      If I sold toilet bowl cleaner tablets that hang in the tank, and say they are good for "up to 1000 flushes", would it be OK if they worked for only 500 flushes for the majority of people, and the rated amount for less than 5%? No one would accept that.

      When other industries advertise something (the weight in a bag of food, or of some raw material) they are advertising mean, and they have a lot of quality control to keep close to that number. Too much and they lose money, too little and people stop buying or they get sued for false advertising.

      But that doesn't happen in broadband. They think it's OK for the speed to be way less than the rated, but it is almost never higher (let alone by 50%). But I have two choices right now. I have DSL that maxes out at 6mbps, and cable that is supposed to go to 24mbps. But if the top cable tier delivers 8, what am I supposed to do? It's the fastest available.

      When bags of concrete mix turn out to be light, contractors stop buying because they are being ripped off and can buy another brand. The free market works there. Broadband has so little competition in most places (the majority of americans only have 2 choices, many only have one) that the options are usually "pay and suck up the false advertising" or "have no broadband at all".

      They aren't selling 24 and delivering 21, they are selling 24 and delivering 12. That's not a "not always quite there", that's "complete exaggeration."

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:33PM (#33284156) Homepage Journal
      It is not lying,but it may be deceptive,and deceptive advertising is an actionable offense. Two examples of not lying that got retailers in trouble.

      Many years a US discount retailer would make up prices and discount off these prices. The ad copy basically said they were made up, but in such a way that the consumer would think there were based in fact. This enabled the retailer to offer 50% savings on almost everything, though the prices were comparable with any other discount retailer. The company, whose name slips my mind, is out of business.

      A department store, maybe Foley's, also got in trouble due to a tactic that many would think was legitimate. They would offer clothing at a rather high price,then advertise a sale discounting off the high price. Now, these products were actually offer for sale, so the retail price was legitimate, but it was still seen as deceptive as there was no intention by the retailer to actually make a sale at this price, just to set a price for advertising a discount. There might have been some sales at the high price, but that was not an issue. This practice is not illegal, but one will see ad copy that states no sales may have occurred at the advertised high price.

      So really, on one hand this is not a big deal. The 'up to' might be enough. But given these two cases, and the fact that so few people get the 'up to' amount(much les than 10%), I would say additional ad copy would be required to make this legit. At minimum I would think a note saying that nearly no one achieves this speed. Ideally I would like to see a listing of the speed that the second and third quartile gets, in this case 0.5-2 mb. This would be most useful for the consumer as it would at least help the consumer know the kind of speeds they are likely to get. The fact that this is not done clearly indicate the 'up to' numbers are meant to be deceptive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by c6gunner ( 950153 )

      It's dishonest and intended to rip off the customer. They don't promise to give you "up to 500 TV channels" - they structure it so that you pay for what you want. Bandwidth should be held to the same standards.

  • in other news: pope wears hat bear shits in wood etc etc
  • by copponex ( 13876 )

    As if companies had incentives to lie. It's a good thing they don't, or we'd need some sort of third party to make sure they didn't rip anybody off. Where the hell would we get one of those?

  • Tell me about it. I was intermittently losing connectivity with a docsis 1.1 modem that was giving me 4+ mbit most of the time. The tech I called recommended I get a Docsis 3 modem so I did. I no longer have connectivity issues so it was a good call by the tech but I'm still seeing 2.x to 4.x mbit downloads and getting 0.3 Mbit uploads at best.

    I called back after getting the new modem to get it provisioned, then called the next day after running speedtests. They said I should expect closer to 7mbit down ins

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:54PM (#33283834)
    I have a small local ISP here. Comsouth.net they consistently run at 100 percent of advertised speed. I'm amazed sometimes how fast it is. No lag, no drop in speed after the kiddies get home from school. I don't know what's wrong with them.
  • I always taken "up to" X Mbps to mean you might get bursts up to X, but would hopefully average X/2 or so, and I'm a bit of an optimist. They've always been very careful to specify that you'll definitely get less than X, why is it surprising that you do?
  • by fudoniten ( 918077 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:57PM (#33283864)

    This is unbelievable! Next you're going to tell me that "3.9G wireless" doesn't mean anything, or that 9 out of 10 doctors don't recommend Crest, or that most items in an "up to 90% off!" sale are not in fact 90% off!

    Sounds pretty paranoid to me. If we can't trust company advertisements for unbiased information, what can we trust?

  • FCC analysis shows that the median actual speed consumers experienced in the first half of 2009 was roughly 3 Mbps, while the average (mean) actual speed was approximately 4 Mbps

    The real story is that over 50% of the users get less than 50% of the average bandwidth. I'm not sure how to explain it, but the difference between median and mean looks quite significant to me.

    • I expect it's because during peak usage, you get less bandwidth. But also more users are using it during peak hours (by definition). So the bulk of people are using it primarily at peak hours and getting <= 3 Mbps, and the remainder get >> 4Mbps on average (possibly pretty close to 6.7 on off-peak hours).

  • RCN in Chicago (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cspankne ( 98424 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:00PM (#33283880)

    I have RCN (Cable and Internet) in Chicago. I have spoken candidly with technicians who come out to do installations and I have verified through several phone calls with customer representatives that they "aim" for 60% of advertised speeds. I perform speedtests, using their preferred site and have found that I am almost ALWAYS at 60% of advertised speeds. In order to get over 10 mbit/sec down, I have to pay for the "20mbit/sec" rate, and am typically around 12 mbit/sec down. If I was a normal customer, I'd easily compare the 20mbit/sec advertise rate against competition and opt for RCN's as it is the cheapest price for that advertised speed. Complete garbage and misleading to consumers. How is this legal?

    • It probably is due to the fact that we are on different nodes of the network, but I have RCN 20 megabit as well here in Chicago, and I get pretty constant 18mbps... Consistant enough that I think they are throttling me to 18mbps, since I've rarely seen under and never seen over.

  • by Korbeau ( 913903 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:01PM (#33283894)

    Up to 7Mbps! Improved flavor, now without trans fat!

  • I've got a piddly 2Mbit/sec cheap connection here in urban USA, and top out at around 200KB/sec download speed. However, some sites can't push data to fill even that little pipe. If they are measuring sustained speed of a single download, your 20Mbit/sec connection can theoretically go 2MB/sec but are the server connections you're downloading from capable of sustaining those upload speeds for common uses? What about traffic congestion further behind the point of speed throttle you're paying for?

  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:27PM (#33284092) Homepage Journal

    ...tell them you will pay them "up to" the agreed on price for their service, but you will determine what the real sums involved will be.

  • They claim "up to X Mbps". As long as some customer out there gets X Mbps, they are NOT lying. They may be completely gaming the system, but most companies in their situation would do the same thing given the cable vs DSL competition right now....

    This is why there needs to be FCC regulated standards for stated services levels/Internet bandwidth based on real statistical measurements. Most cable and DSL modems out there are capable of bandwidth testing. Sample enough of them, take the median, mean, stand

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:29PM (#33284110)

    The mean is not the maximum. Remember grade school math?

  • by Rivalz ( 1431453 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:30PM (#33284122)

    Not everyone realizes that other people are getting substantially better internet for the same amount from the same company based on the same agreement.
    I think its high time corporate America fully embraces the "Up to" mentality.
    Here are some suggestions
    1) Restaurants / Groceries (Up to meals) Only give half the people half the portions of food.
    2) Gas Stations (Up to 1 gallon for $2.80) Some days we dont have to give any gas but if you go 24hrs without getting any gas we will give you a minor refund of what you paid.
    3) Cell phone minutes (up to 2100 family minutes during peak hours) But really only give 50% of the minutes to half the clients and charge them more for the rest.
    4) Warranty (We warranty all our services up to 2 years ( meaning we can deny your service before or after 2 years, but after 2 we will always deny it.)
    5) Intrest rates ( up to 2% fixed interest rate for the life of the CD ) Up to meaning we dont have to pay anything but at most we will pay 2%.

    Can anyone think of any others?

  • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:34PM (#33284160) Journal

    With unlimited plans, the ISP's incentive is to prevent you from using up all your bandwidth, because infrastructure costs money, so if you used up all your neighborhood's bandwidth, they'd have to upgrade their network.

    With a per-megabyte plan, the company's incentive is to provide you with more bandwidth than you could ever possibly need so that nothing will prevent you from downloading as much as possible.

    If we want fast pipes, we should be asking for pay as you go data plans.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by T Murphy ( 1054674 )
      If they switch to usage-based billing, they'll just target the numbers so they get the same or more money if customers don't change their habits, and they'll have less incentive to upgrade their system as customers won't be using that extra bandwidth once they learn how much it costs them.

      I think the best model for fair use of the neighborhood pipe is to have a moving window (say 72 hours), and your speed is a base (say 128 kpbs) plus a fraction of the available bandwidth determined by your usage compare
    • That's why we are where we are. Back in the day ISPs constantly tried to offer this. Particularly when the Internet was young and bandwidth was scarce, this was the best way to do it for high end connections. You buy a DS-1 or DS-3 and get the full transfer rate, but pay for what you use (or usually pay a flat fee for some and usage after that). It allowed for the ability to offer higher rates to more people for less money. They'd show businesses how it'd cost less. Didn't matter, people didn't like it beca

  • I wonder how many people really care? For email and web browsing does it really matter? Would the 50% difference even be noticeable? How many people even measure their speeds?

    Now for a heavier user like me and many other slashdotters who do a variety of things on the net the difference is significant, and I hold my ISP accountable when I get more than 10% less than the up to number. Since I have Optimum Online Boost that means 30mbs down and 5 up. Which I get unless there is some serious interruption due to

  • I don't care what your maximum is as I'm merely going to consider that the maximum burst speed under optimal occasions. What I want to know is, what is the CIR? Ya, I know, it doesn't exist in residential service, well, that sucks.
    • In the business telecom world, we've had CIR as long as I can remember. We don't have the ambiguities that plague residential communications. Of course, we pay substantially more for the privilege.

      I think the label that they suggest is s GREAT idea, just put a CIR on it and we're good to go.

  • In other news, water is wet.

    Seriously, is there anyone on slashdot that wasn't well aware of this? I think its even safe to say 99% of people GLOABALLY don't get speeds as advertised. In fact I had a connection that I know for a fact could never, ever possibly hit the advertised speed as advertised was 5mbps and the modem was throttled to 4 mbps max in the firmware. Not that I even had to worry about that as 3mbps at 2 am on a good day was like greased lightning compared to normal rates. It was the "Premium

  • by nomadic ( 141991 )

    My first modem was 2400 bps. It was slow enough that I could read text as it came in. My next modem was 9600 bps. Door games ran a little faster, which was cool. My third modem was 14.4k. I was able to download Doom. It took me 6 hours. You all need to calm the hell down and get some perspective. Bunch of spoiled babies.

  • ...that the mean and the median are both less than the maximum? Not surprising.

  • "Ars Technica has an article detailing the difference between ISP advertised 'up to x Mbps' speeds and the actual speeds, in addition to some possible solutions. They find that on average, the advertised speeds were 'up to 6.7 Mbps' while the real median was 3 Mbps and the mean was 4 Mbps. This implies that ISPs were falsely advertising by at least 50%."

    ...In other news scientists have discovered that water is, in deed, wet.

  • The UK regulator has been talking to the advertising standards people, and its likely the voluntary 'code of practice' will get toughened up to prevent ISPs using the 'upto' get out in advertising. Of course there is the risk that Cameron will scotch things, but the requirement for 'typical' speeds is likely in the medium term future.

  • by Clovert Agent ( 87154 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @11:12PM (#33284480)

    It's standard marketing bullshit. Every time you see "up to" in an ad, replace it with "less than". "Up to 10mbps", "up to 80% shinier hair", "up to whatever". If one out of the entire sample/customer base experienced an anomalous outlier result, they will claim "up to" that. You're statistically unlikely to be the anomalous outlier, therefore you will experience less than what they're claiming.

    "Less than" is more accurate anyway. What you experience may be anything in a wide range of values below that, but you KNOW you won't experience more. So do the mental substitution, and I promise your perception of advertising will change as a result.

What is research but a blind date with knowledge? -- Will Harvey