Broadband problems

This is not a plea for help; more an 'I wonder what is happening?'
We have the FTTC cabinet against our garden wall, and fibre broadband via Zen. The service has been excellent and continued until a couple of weeks ago when, one Friday evening, speeds suddenly tumbled to around 3 Mbps, from a usual 70/80 plus. Did all the usual rebooting, and, Saturday morning, phoned Zen. They are great - immediate investigation, line monitoring, calls returned when promised, real people, speaking English, no script etc. This went on through Sunday (the problem and the Zen response) and, on Monday, we were told there was a 'major contention issue' at the next exchange down the road (about 10 miles away), rather than our line, or our local exchange (100 yards away). BT had been contacted, and work in the exchange promised for 16/17 Nov.
Since then, the service has been usable, whilst avoiding major downloads. However, it is worse in the evenings. There are fairly regular drops in service which don't bother me, but drive wifey/son insane as they play online games.
That was fine until late last Thursday, when the connection was almost dead. That continued all through yesterday. I could just about download mail and news, and very occasionally one of us could reach a web page if text only. No chance loading high graphic content, such as BBC News.
This morning (Sat), we're back where we were a few days ago, with the web accessible, online games playing fine etc.
Hopefully, BT will wave their magic wand early next week. Should it prove to be a BT fault, then I'll be very pleased with the Zen response. Less pleased if it turns out to be a Zen problem. I imagine, though, that if it is a BT problem, it would effect everyone in this area, not just customers of a specific ISP?
--
Graeme

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On Sat, 14 Nov 2015 09:06:02 +0000, News wrote:

Depends.
This is the key...

All domestic ADSL is contended, usually 50:1. That means, roughly speaking, that there's the potential for 50x as much bandwidth to be required by customers as is available at the kit. Normally, that's not a problem, because nobody flatlines their connection 24x7. At peak hours, the contention can cause it all to slow down, but with today's fast fibre speeds, that's less noticeable than it used to be.
Unless and until you find you live next door to a bunch of 24x7 heavy downloading piss-takers...
But surely that affects everybody on the exchange? Well, no. It probably just affects the people connecting to the same actual switching kit as the piss-takers. If Zen have their own kit in your exchange (LLU), then it'll only affect Zen customers.
You can pay for lower-contention connections - many business-grade are 20:1, some are 5:1, some are 1:1 (hideously expensive).
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Thanks Adrian. Yes, I understand contention, and the risks.

It just seems to be too regular, and lasted too long. The problem first became apparent 23rd October, and whilst I can see that someone, somewhere could swap the line, could they do so for three weeks solid?
My own theory is that, FTTC being fairly recent here, the uptake has been far greater than envisaged, but that does not explain why the service suddenly nose dived. I would expect gradual degradation. Son, plugged directly into router/modem, could see speeds around 100 Mbps, which suddenly dropped to 2 or 3. Dunno.
--
Graeme

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This presumably is where the sensible usage policies come in. I have encountered the odd time when my virgin connection is still fast but the actual throughput is jerky and all over the place. I assume this is when lots of people are viewing hd, gaming and downloading files with multiple connections to speed it up.
Brian
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We've got the VM 100 Meg service here and Zen elsewhere but the VM service, cannot fault it always shows the paid for download speed:)
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You're likely to get a more informed comment in uk.telecom.broadband, as well as actually being on-topic.
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OK, have done. First time I have subscribed to a new (to me) newsgroup for many years :-)
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Just call Zen and let them know what's going on ASAP!....
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