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October 16, 2008

Virgin Media blasts speed test websites

by David Allen

Broadband speed tests have come under fire from telecoms provider Virgin Media.

A Virgin Media spokesperson criticised the tests as ‘inaccurate’ and added that they rely on ‘dirty data’ to put together results.

The company is particularly concerned that tests for its superfast 50Mbps broadband will be even more inaccurate than current tests.

Broadband speed test websites allow users to find out whether or not their internet connection speed comes close to what they are paying for.

A number of sites compile data from the tests to work out the fastest broadband provider each month.

In September, Virgin Media was found to be the fastest provider, narrowly overtaking rival O2‘s broadband service.

According to Virgin Media, the tests are not accurate because they merely test how fast data travels from one part of the internet to another, rather than giving a proper analysis of a person’s individual connection.

Data over the internet can be slowed down by bottlenecks and other delays.

Furthermore, the speed of a person’s internet connection is influenced by the processing power of their computer.

Analysts at broadbandchoices.co.uk, who provide free broadband speed tests, admit that Virgin has a fair point when it comes to testing its faster broadband.

Michael Phillips, director of the website, said providing an accurate test for 50Mbps broadband would be too costly for companies who offer free speed tests because the additional load on the network would require an extra server.

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