Sky and BT disagree that broadband crisis is coming

Broadband crunch - conjecture
Broadband crunch - conjecture

Talk of a broadband crisis point is inaccurate, according to both Sky and BT - two of the biggest providers of Britain's internet.

According to Virgin Media's executive director of broadband Jon James, people's internet usage is beginning to push at the average speed, with the prediction that people will begin to notice a degradation of service.

But according to both Sky and BT, criticism of the DSL service from the owner of Britain's biggest fibre optic network is wide of the mark.

Silly suggestion

"DSL speeds are increasing all the time so it is silly to suggest that there is a crunch point coming," BT senior media relations manager Job Carter told TechRadar.

"BT is also rolling our super fast broadband to two thirds of UK homes so customers will have access to much faster speeds than are available today.

"There are no services today which require 50 or 100Mbps but there may be in the future which is why BT is investing £2.5 billion in faster broadband.

"Upstream speeds are also going to become increasingly important and that's where BT's fibre network has the real advantage over others".

Sky's the limit

Sky's push into broadband has been a fruitful one, and the company will be hoping that limiting the new Anytime+ VOD service to its own broadband customers will accelerate the take-up.

"Sky Broadband is free from any network contention resulting from customer usage," a spokesman told TechRadar.

"We have a high-capacity, high-bandwidth network which means we offer a reliable service with consistent speeds and, unlike Virgin Media, we do not need to manage our network and slow down speeds when lots of customers are using the service.

"This has been demonstrated by the Sam Knows research which confirmed that Sky offers the most consistent speeds out of all the major ISPs.

"It also helps explain why we were the first ISP to offer a truly unlimited broadband service free from fair usage policies."

Copper negates need for traffic management

The traffic management by Virgin Media has been a regular bone of contention, but the company did try to address this:

"There are very, very slow networks that require no traffic management," said James. "Sky's network, for instance, is no slower or faster than any other network over the last mile.

"They have a very well established network behind it. They don't need to traffic manage because the nature of the slowness of the copper line between the exchange and the home does it all for them.

"There is no way they need to gate customers when the average is 3.8Mbps."

It's an argument that will roll on and on – but consumers will be hoping that they will feel the benefits of big companies pushing against each other.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.