TalkTalk: UK broadband lags behind Ukraine’s header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

A representative from TalkTalk, one of BT’s main rivals when it comes to providing broadband in the UK, has criticised the rollout of faster internet services in an interview with BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

The radio show was running an in-depth discussion of the impact of slow, patchy and non-existent on people in some of the UK’s most isolated communities.

TalkTalk told the Today programme that the UK was providing rural areas with broadband at a slower rate than many other countries, including the Ukraine.

While BT insisted that their £2.5 million investment in rural broadband was “a national success story”, the BBC decided to check the accuracy of TalkTalk’s claims in a follow-up blog post.

In terms of speed, there is no accurate comparison between the UK and the top five countries in the EU, according to industry regulator Ofcom. However, the House of Lords used data from the Ookla online speed test to argue that the UK ranked 26th out of 33 European companies. It is believed that this is the data that TalkTalk used as the basis for its claims on the programme.

There are also debates about whether broadband figures should be measured by what Ofcom defines as fast (30 mbps or more), Parliament’s measure (24 mbps or faster), or what TalkTalk describes as Ultrafast, which has a speed of 100 mbps or more.

In addition to this, BT prefers to use fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) as the basis for its speed, whereas some providers judge based on fibre to premises, which involves installing a cable into the building to be covered. This enables consist, extra-fast speeds across an area, whereas FTTC speeds vary based on a home or business’s location on the exchange.
Those who are not set to be covered by the government’s rural broadband programme can instead take advantage of Avonline’s satellite internet connections, which offer a reliable way to get online, even in areas where broadband is not available.