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UPC Nonsense - contention ratio!

  • #1
    Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 12,432 mod dub45


    I recently emailed UPC (for the third time) and asked them what their contention ratio is. This is the reply I received:


    Dear xxxxxx

    Thank you for your email, my apologies for the delay in getting back to you.
    Having reviewed your account I can confirm that our Broadband Services are not available in the area you are living in, xxxxxxxx

    I reviewed your request with our Technical Support Desk and they advised that unfortunately we are unable to provide this information to non customers.
    If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to email us on [email protected]
    Kind regards,
    xxxxxxxxx
    Chorus ntl Customer Support Team

    Do BB customers have to sign a non disclosure agireement?:rolleyes:


«1

Comments



  • Haha! But to be honest, they have stated in advertising that they do not have any contention... go here and click on the 'conditions' tab. You will see the following:
    Average expected broadband speeds at peak times are 5Mb, 15Mb and 30Mb.

    That forms part of your contract with UPC... they are telling you you'll get the full speed at peak time.

    Now I admit that they have various other get out clauses, but under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations which state that
    Where there is a doubt about the meaning of a term, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer shall prevail.

    So it doesn't really matter. And to this point, no UPC rep has attempted to pass off their service as satisfactory based on this kind of nonsense...

    Imagine you contracted someone to provide you with 30 rental cars to carry your employees from and to work, but then they told you that you could only have 5 cars at 6pm as 'they were really busy then'.

    All the guff in UPC contracts wouldn't last five minutes in a court...




  • Someone should tell whoever writes that stuff about 'paragraphs'.


    They are incredible at absolving themselves of responsibility for anything they can --
    Installation is carried out by a third party installer. Chorus ntl will not be responsible for the installation
    :rolleyes:




  • the_law wrote: »
    Haha! But to be honest, they have stated in advertising that they do not have any contention... go here and click on the 'conditions' tab. You will see the following:



    That forms part of your contract with UPC... they are telling you you'll get the full speed at peak time.

    Now I admit that they have various other get out clauses, but under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations which state that

    So it doesn't really matter. And to this point, no UPC rep has attempted to pass off their service as satisfactory based on this kind of nonsense...

    Imagine you contracted someone to provide you with 30 rental cars to carry your employees from and to work, but then they told you that you could only have 5 cars at 6pm as 'they were really busy then'.

    All the guff in UPC contracts wouldn't last five minutes in a court..
    .

    They know that no one is going to challenge them in court so can eforce these terms

    If they wouldnt stand up in court then surely a reputable company would not have them in their terms and conditions in the first place?

    Also what relation does this new paragraphless set of 'conditons' bear to the actual Terms and Condtions?

    And I wonder if they actually know what they are saying?
    Average expected broadband speeds at peak times are 5Mb, 15Mb and 30Mb

    If the 'average' speeds that they quote are the actual speeds that they are quotiing for the product category then to achieve those averages the speeds could never fall at all - once they did the average would be dragged down. If you quote the top speed as the average then there can be no variance.
    Imagine you contracted someone to provide you with 30 rental cars to carry your employees from and to work, but then they told you that you could only have 5 cars at 6pm as 'they were really busy then'.

    According to UPC's terms and conditions they would expect you to pay for the 30 cars!




  • the_law wrote: »
    Haha! But to be honest, they have stated in advertising that they do not have any contention...

    Where do they state they have no contention?




  • IrishTonyO wrote: »
    Where do they state they have no contention?

    the_law wrote: »
    Haha! But to be honest, they have stated in advertising that they do not have any contention... go here and click on the 'conditions' tab.

    Average speed of 30Mbit at peak time means that they may never fall short... because modems are rate-limited to 30Mbit, so they certainly won't be any faster, and therefore the only way to maintain the average is to hit 30Mbit 24/7.


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  • the_law wrote: »
    Average speed of 30Mbit at peak time means that they may never fall short... because modems are rate-limited to 30Mbit, so they certainly won't be any faster, and therefore the only way to maintain the average is to hit 30Mbit 24/7.

    I suppose that if they don't understand the meaning of the word 'average' you cant hold out much hope for them overall?:rolleyes:

    So everyone on the new high speed effectively has their own individual 30Mbit line!!!! wow.......




  • hi, i upgraded to 30mbit last this weekend but the speeds i get are not more than 20mbit highest so i asked ntl/upc to switch me back to 20mbit becaus the 30 invole 1 year additional contract length but it seems the service is not possible here via cable, maybe fibre works but it´s not available here as well and costs much more :)

    i live in kilnamanagh/d24 btw.

    http://www.upc.nl/internet/snel_internet/speedtest/
    03.02.10 16:34
    test1 - down 15.34 / up 1.98
    test2 - down 19.42 / up 2.04
    test3 - down 13.15 / up 1.98
    03.02.10 18:45 -
    test1 - down 8.24 / up 1.82
    test2 - down 9.08 / up 1.75
    test3 - down 12.76 / up 2.00
    03.02.10 21:08
    test1 - down 9.56 / up 1.82
    test2 - down 8.52 / up 1.90
    test3 - down 9.49 / up 1.84
    www.speedtest.net
    03.02.10 21:12
    server dublin - down 18.25 / up 1.88
    server frankfurt - down 6.76 / up 1.70
    server amsterdam - down 13.59 / up 1.78
    server london - down 12.30 / up 1.88
    server galway - down 13.54 / up 1.81
    server limerick - down 8.64 / up 1.83

    rgds
    soeren.




  • dub45 wrote: »
    I recently emailed UPC (for the third time) and asked them what their contention ratio is. This is the reply I received:



    Do BB customers have to sign a non disclosure agireement?:rolleyes:


    Perhaps your time would be better spent not emailing ISP's asking for contention ratios when as you have stated in previous posts on other threads that their service is not available in your area, you wouldn't take it if it were and you seem to completely dislike them?

    This thread couldn't be any further removed from being helpful to anyone on the broadband section. Waste of time.




  • hightower1 wrote: »
    Perhaps your time would be better spent not emailing ISP's asking for contention ratios when as you have stated in previous posts on other threads that their service is not available in your area, you wouldn't take it if it were and you seem to completely dislike them?

    This thread couldn't be any further removed from being helpful to anyone on the broadband section. Waste of time.

    While I appreciate your concern as to how I might best spend my remaining time on this fair planet surely that is a matter best left to me (and my life coach of course!)

    UPC are a major player in the bb market (134,900 customers at the end of last September according to the Irish Times) and I would imagine that their claimed contention rates would be of interest to those people who visit here who have a general interest in the 'world' of broadband in Ireland Their claimed contention rates are conspicuously absent from their website.

    Given the present problems with the new products which are well documented elsewhere their contention rates may now be of interest to more people than previously.




  • hightower1 wrote: »
    Perhaps your time would be better spent not emailing ISP's asking for contention ratios when as you have stated in previous posts on other threads that their service is not available in your area, you wouldn't take it if it were and you seem to completely dislike them?

    This thread couldn't be any further removed from being helpful to anyone on the broadband section. Waste of time.

    I find this particular thread to be of great value to me. So with that in mind I'd really like to know what the real contention ratio actually is and why are UPC hiding behind babble and T&Cs?


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  • hightower1 wrote: »
    Perhaps your time would be better spent not emailing ISP's asking for contention ratios when as you have stated in previous posts on other threads that their service is not available in your area, you wouldn't take it if it were and you seem to completely dislike them?

    This thread couldn't be any further removed from being helpful to anyone on the broadband section. Waste of time.

    I actually find this very useful. It is now on record that UPC refuse to supply potential customers with their contention ratio.

    This makes it even harder for UPC to hide behind 'oh but you agreed to contention in your contract'. If the only information available to a potential customer is a) the headline speed of 30Mb and b) the expected peak speed of 30Mb - how can UPC claim anything less than 30 is fulfilling their obligations?

    For what it's worth, in my ongoing dealings with UPC not one person has attempted to call this kind of contention acceptable or been any less than reasonable. I have managed (admittedly a week later) to get the attention of a supervisor who sounds a good guy, so they get the benefit of the doubt from me for now.




  • Surely contention rates are an important feature of any commercial bb product and should be on the record just as much as the speed of the product or the cost?




  • dub45 wrote: »
    Surely contention rates are an important feature of any commercial bb product and should be on the record just as much as the speed of the product or the cost?


    Yes... but I would argue that in a properly managed network it should not concern the consumer.

    For example UPC have 135,000 broadband subscribers. Say they all took 10Mbit packages, that's 1,135,000 mbits, or 1135 Gbits, 1.135 Terabits of internet connectivity required.

    Obviously they don't have 1135Gbits - that's contention, but so long as it is far enough up the access network it's not a problem in itself. Average internet usage is probably only about a couple percent of sold capacity.

    Where the problem comes is in a local exchange for DSL, or at node level with DOCSIS. Say you plan on 2% usage at national level. So for every 1000 gbits sold, you have 20 gbits available. That (or something in its range) is absolutely fine and transparent to the end user. But it's a contention ratio of 50:1. It works because of the thousands of people who don't use their connections some days, who only browse on a 10Mbit connection etc. etc.

    However consider the DSLAM in the exchange that has 24 10Mbit connections on it. Total demand 240Mbits, but what if you only gave it 10Mbits connectivity? That's only a 24:1 contention ratio, twice as good as the 50:1 you plan with nationally, but it's ridiculously low. It means that if any of those 23 other people use their internet at all, you don't get the advertised speed - so you can't really go any worse than 10:1 at DSLAM level.

    So the closer you get to the consumer, the less you can contend the network. The same happens in power distribution networks... consider that there are some 1.3 million households in the state (before you consider commercial demand) and each with a maximum import capacity of around 16kVA, which at unity power factor is 70A. Say for conservatism that everyone's fused at 60A (you can see this main fuse in your own ESB cutout).... and that's 1.3million x 60 x 230 = 17.94 Gigawatts.

    The maximum available capacity to Eirgrid on any given day is around 6GW - less than a third of the maximum demand available to domestic installations.

    Electricians call this diversity, comms engineers call it contention. We don't have blackouts every night at 10pm, because diversity is well managed in the power network. Why do we tolerate poorly managed contention in broadband?




  • I find it amazing how selective some people reading seems to be!

    Like how so much of this was missed in the indept analysis ye've provided.

    Average expected broadband speeds at peak times are 5Mb, 15Mb and 30Mb. Broadband speeds are the maximum possible speeds only. Actual speeds will vary depending on internet traffic, the sites you visit and other factors.


    I'd get your eyes checked if I was you.




  • _Sidhe_ wrote: »
    I find it amazing how selective some people reading seems to be!

    Like how so much of this was missed in the indept analysis ye've provided.


    Average expected broadband speeds at peak times are 5Mb, 15Mb and 30Mb. Broadband speeds are the maximum possible speeds only. Actual speeds will vary depending on internet traffic, the sites you visit and other factors.


    I'd get your eyes checked if I was you.

    Eyes working just fine, but your concern for my health is touching.

    I don't think anyone will argue with 'Broadband speeds are the maximum possible speeds only.'

    Because they have a) stated that 30Mb is the average
    b) stated that 30Mb is the maximum possible

    therefore from basic mathematics their T&C imply that 30Mb is the constant speed available.

    The last sentence 'Actual speeds will vary depending on internet traffic, the sites you visit and other factors.'refers to the fact that UPC only connect you to the Internet at a particular bandwidth, they don't guarantee that the site you visit can serve you data as fast as you can take it. Which is reasonable. If Internet traffic at a particular site is high then of course it will be slower - for which UPC can hardly be responsible.

    'Other factors'... no, this isn't a universal get-out... contra proferentem?




  • the_law wrote: »
    Eyes working just fine, but your concern for my health is touching.

    I don't think anyone will argue with 'Broadband speeds are the maximum possible speeds only.'

    Because they have a) stated that 30Mb is the average
    b) stated that 30Mb is the maximum possible

    therefore from basic mathematics their T&C imply that 30Mb is the constant speed available.

    The last sentence 'Actual speeds will vary depending on internet traffic, the sites you visit and other factors.'refers to the fact that UPC only connect you to the Internet at a particular bandwidth, they don't guarantee that the site you visit can serve you data as fast as you can take it. Which is reasonable. If Internet traffic at a particular site is high then of course it will be slower - for which UPC can hardly be responsible.

    'Other factors'... no, this isn't a universal get-out... contra proferentem?


    The people who need their eyes tested or perhaps some other part of the body are the people in UPC who up this nonsense. It is badly written - badly formatted and mystifying.

    It is headed 'Conditions' - what is that supposed to mean to the customer or prospective customer? There are already three sets of Terms and Conditions - a fair usage policy which is supposed to be considered part of the Terms and Conditions and now we have another paragraph called Conditions?




  • dub45 wrote: »
    The people who need their eyes tested or perhaps some other part of the body are the people in UPC who up this nonsense. It is badly written - badly formatted and mystifying.

    It is headed 'Conditions' - what is that supposed to mean to the customer or prospective customer? There are already three sets of Terms and Conditions - a fair usage policy which is supposed to be considered part of the Terms and Conditions and now we have another paragraph called Conditions?

    As you called them yourself on another thread....
    dub45 wrote: »
    A multinational company

    .... With lots of "terms and conditions" ??? My god whatever next!

    are you genuinely surprised that a "multinational company" has a lot of terms and conditions?



    Again with Sidhe's point , this is just another ISP specific bashing thread filled with selective reasoning . If you want to complain about terms and conditions compare another "multinational" ISP - Vodafone.

    Here are their terms and conditions (a full third of this expansive page is the boradband t&c's)

    http://www.vodafone.ie/terms/services/#vodafoneathome

    And here is another set for pre 24/10/09...

    http://www.vodafone.ie/terms/fixedlegacy/

    and not to mention their own acceptable usage policy too. This whole thread bangs of "crackpot I dont like big business mentality". If people want to "fight the machine" a forum is a sad way to relive youth.

    If you have such an issue with a company why not actually do something about it?




  • hightower1 wrote: »
    As you called them yourself on another thread....

    .... With lots of "terms and conditions" ??? My god whatever next!

    are you genuinely surprised that a "multinational company" has a lot of terms and conditions?

    Not at all. Why should I be? I was merely pointing out that they have three sets of Terms and Conditions already none of them dated by the way. They have a fair usage policy which in the past they have claimed to be part of their terms and conditions.

    A densely presented paragraph termed 'Conditions' has recently appeared. Such a paragraph has to be of uncertain status - is it part of the customer agreement if they upgrade? Will a customer be told in due course that the 'Conditions' paragraph is part of the Terms and Conditions? Presenting material like this is unprofessional to say the least. It is not in the customers' interest to have 'terms and conditions' ' a fair usage policy' and now a 'conditions' policy at various locations on a website irrespective of who the company happen to be.

    Any company with terms and conditions should have the most recent document - dated - and available in a central source to their customers (and staff). Any previous versions of Terms and Conditions relevant to existing customers should be made available too. (with their applicable dates)

    If they wish to amend the terms and conditions at any stage then they should inform their customers in accordance with the procedure for such notification.

    That is not very much to ask really and is as much in their own interest as the customers. It displays a degree of professionalism and integrity.

    hightower1 wrote: »
    Again with Sidhe's point , this is just another ISP specific bashing thread filled with selective reasoning . If you want to complain about terms and conditions compare another "multinational" ISP - Vodafone.

    Here are their terms and conditions (a full third of this expansive page is the boradband t&c's)

    http://www.vodafone.ie/terms/services/#vodafoneathome

    And here is another set for pre 24/10/09...

    http://www.vodafone.ie/terms/fixedlegacy/

    and not to mention their own acceptable usage policy too. This whole thread bangs of "crackpot I dont like big business mentality". If people want to "fight the machine" a forum is a sad way to relive youth.

    If you have such an issue with a company why not actually do something about it?

    It is good to see Vodafone providing previous versions of Terms and Conditions for their customers. It is exactly the way it should be done.

    The thread which contrary to your opinion is of interest to people is about UPC not being willing to give information on their contention ratios. If they provided what should be basic information about a product there would be no thread at all to stress you.

    Fortunately boards has consistently proven over the years that it is possible to shame companies into behaving properly - it may not work all the time but it does work.




  • dub45 wrote: »
    Fortunately boards has consistently proven over the years that it is possible to shame companies into behaving properly - it may not work all the time but it does work.

    Admirable goal but tbh I cant see it happening. Dont get me wrong I dont agree with everything UPC do but I can hand on heart say as a customer I have not got as much bang for my buck from any other product or service (aside from xbox live) :D which even that relies on my UPC connection :)

    I dont trust any large company or sales spin,i dont expect them to do anything illegal but i also dont expect the legality to make sure whats allowed to be said in order to sell the product to be clear and concise, i always read the contract before signing and if you follow the line "buyer beware" not just with UPC but ANYTHING your forking money over for then you cant go wrong.




  • hightower1 wrote: »
    I can hand on heart say as a customer I have not got as much bang for my buck from any other product or service (aside from xbox live) :D which even that relies on my UPC connection :)

    People are forgetting the accidental nature of cable contention.

    One segment could be serving 150 houses in Glenageary which are full of oul dears. A hog in one of the houses has the segment to themselves and gets full speed 24/7. It is impossible to guarantee there are no hogs on your segment.

    Another segment could serve 150 student flats in Finglas and it could be dire.

    What is true is that each segment has a total throughput of around (all customers x 47 mhz shared on entire segment or so in Docsis 2) which translates into 150 houses x 3mbits or so or 450mbits......thats to get a number out there. I stand open to correction but there is an absolute maximum carrying capacity on cable and you do share it.

    That is a very crude number and of course then it depends on takeup and who your neighbours are. If they can upgrade to Docsis 3 before the hogs overwhelm them they will be OK. Resegmenting 150 houses into 3 x 50 would have an effect too.

    Certain areas have notoriously large segments, eg Blanchardstown.


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  • As Sponge_Bob says, contention isn't directly applicable to cable, and if you ring asking about it, they can't give a reply.

    If you are going to proclaim loudly on the internet about it, you should at least check your facts and technical details of cable, lest you come off looking like a fool.




  • astrofool wrote: »
    As Sponge_Bob says, contention isn't directly applicable to cable, and if you ring asking about it, they can't give a reply.

    Well it is directly applicable to cable but in a complex manner. UPC have the absolute worst customer service of any major communications company in Ireland, a legacy of our dearly beloved Chorus. However the answer to the contention question is simple once ALL the factors are explained.

    It depends entirely where you are located, that being a service unit ( a segment ) of 150-500 premises. In that unit the fibre changes to copper to the premises and everybody locally shares that copper.

    It depends on the wildly divergent quality of cable which varies from 500mhz to 1000mhz in the most recent plant.

    A 30mbit service requires a 6.4mhz channel at least and so 100 30 mbit users on a segment would need 640mhz leaving no room for de telly which I assume takes up 200mhz .

    An 800mhz cable would have room for (nearly) everybody in that example and the telly too..... by that logic. A 1000mhz cable would have room to spare but this only in recently enabled areas. Some techie stuff here if you have your anorak on.

    It depends on segment sizes as in the number of premises on a copper loop off a fibre. That is anywhere from 150 to 500 premises and each loop shares all that bandwidth locally. The segment size is the ultimate contention indicator assuming a perfect distribution of usage patterns across every segment.

    It depends on the user profile on the segment. It may be hog free or hog wild :D

    If you have 200 student houses on your segment over 500mhz cable then UPC will be complete sh1te like I explained but so would every other technology with the same users on it.

    And then it depends on the ability of the worst customer service people in Ireland to explain all that to you when they do not understand any of it themselves or have precise segment dimensioning information to hand together with a calculator :D




  • Very good and clear tech explanation here

    http://www.bci.eu.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/docsis-30-11.pdf

    UPC use Docsis 2 and will move to Docsis 3 over the next while. This will improve matters because they will make more effective use of the same bandwidth.
    But, because data over cable travels on a shared loop, individuals will see transfer rates drop as more users gain access.

    With peer-to-peer applications and teleworking becoming increasingly popular, the need for higher upstream capacity and symmetrical data flows in cable networks led to the development of DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 2.0.


    DOCSIS 2.0 builds upon DOCSIS 1.1, and provides all of the features and functionality that DOCSIS 1.1 provides. In addition, it provides the following enhancements:
    Significantly enhanced upstream capacity
    6.4 MHz maximum upstream channel width
    30 Mbps maximum upstream channel capacity




  • astrofool wrote: »
    As Sponge_Bob says, contention isn't directly applicable to cable, and if you ring asking about it, they can't give a reply.

    If you are going to proclaim loudly on the internet about it, you should at least check your facts and technical details of cable, lest you come off looking like a fool.

    Cable is more susceptible to contention than any other wired broadband. That second paragraph.... :rolleyes:




  • paulm17781 wrote: »
    Cable is more susceptible to contention than any other wired broadband.

    Yes. particularly if oversold or if speed bumps are granted in already congested areas.

    If properly managed it should not be an issue, eg stop selling the fast or indeed any packages where you cannot deliver and you KNOW that you cannot deliver.

    UPC has up to 1000 segments in Ireland, I could not be arsed figuring out precisely how many. Each must be viewed alone.




  • Just had UPC '25mb' installed.

    Was told by a sales rep called <name snipped> that the speed wont change regardless of peak times etc. I asked a direct and clear question about contention rates and was totally lied to. I asked at the end of a brief line of questioning about contention rates; 'So its 25mb all day?' and he said 'yes.'

    I'm about to get my complain on. I will have satisfaction.




  • Just had UPC '25mb' installed.

    Was told by a sales rep called Gary that the speed wont change regardless of peak times etc. I asked a direct and clear question about contention rates and was totally lied to. I asked at the end of a brief line of questioning about contention rates; 'So its 25mb all day?' and he said 'yes.'

    I'm about to get my complain on. I will have satisfaction.

    Seems he was about as tech savy as you are then what with dragging up an eight month old thread and all / buying a product from someone who didnt have a clue what he was selling. :rolleyes:




  • hightower1 wrote: »
    Just had UPC '25mb' installed.

    Was told by a sales rep called Gary that the speed wont change regardless of peak times etc. I asked a direct and clear question about contention rates and was totally lied to. I asked at the end of a brief line of questioning about contention rates; 'So its 25mb all day?' and he said 'yes.'

    I'm about to get my complain on. I will have satisfaction.

    Seems he was about as tech savy as you are then what with dragging up an eight month old thread and all / buying a product from someone who didnt have a clue what he was selling. :rolleyes:

    Surely you meant that the op bought a product from UPC whose employee didn't have a clue about what UPC were selling
    and as a result apparently gave the op false
    information?

    Is everyone who buys a bb product required to be tech savvy?




  • No, but it definitely helps to research things before you buy them.

    In any case, you more than likely won't have any issues with contention. It does depend on the area though. I'm in a place that only recently had the cable upgraded and my line never drops below 49Mb or so no matter what time of the day it is.


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  • No, but it definitely helps to research things before you buy them.

    In any case, you more than likely won't have any issues with contention. It does depend on the area though. I'm in a place that only recently had the cable upgraded and my line never drops below 49Mb or so no matter what time of the day it is.

    There is no evidence to suggest that the op did not do their research in this case he is merely reporting what he claims to have been told about the product he was sold.


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