Saturday, January 30, 2016

Oh How Things Have Changed - 228.73 Mbps! Thank You @VirginMediaIE #337

It seems like no time ago that I and my neighbours suffered the rubbish Broadband service from Eircom. Despite many promises from Eircom, our promised speed of 8 Mbps never got near 2 Mbps and was frequently lower - I moaned quite a lot about this (see post from October 2010 here). With the arrival of UPC (now Virgin Media) on our road in March 2013 - all that changed, and since then we have enjoyed great service. I saw an ad yesterday by Virgin Media claiming up to 360 Mbps so I decided to see what our speed was this morning. I had signed up for 100 Mbps, which was upgraded to 125 Mbps free by a Tech Support rep when I was making a service query. The test below shows a staggering 228.73 Mbps - I have no idea if I could spot the difference between 125 and 228 Mbps. The speeds are getting so fast and upgrading frequently - Virgin Media don't even bother to tell us that our speed has increased. It just happens (woohoo!).

Then (Eircom)
Now (Virgin Media)

However, I and my fellow residents of Dublin are the lucky ones - we are connected to a fibre network built by UPC/Virgin Media. Most people in the country are not. My mobile phone can only pick up a max broadband speed of 0.1 Mbps at my Mum and Dad's house near Carnew - yes, that's zero point one, over two thousand times slower than my connection here in Dublin. Of course, they are not connected to a fibre network, and the local broadband over the Three network is rubbish. Many houses cannot do things like watch Netflix, work from home, or do many of the things us Dublin residents now take for granted. 

There is news today in the Irish Independent that 500,000 rural mobile users 'to get better signal' (there must be an Election soon?). This is to cover mobile phone "blackspots" because the mobile phone companies do not have to guarantee 100% coverage. While it is not practical to connect every household in the country to a fibre network, actions such as allowing Amplifiers (currently illegal without a licence) could connect more people to better speeds and services. No doubt urban speeds will continue to get faster, but rural areas should not be left behind.

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