British Internet sluggish during early February cold spell

by Michael Smith

According to anecdotal evidence, but also witnessed myself, during the recent snow weather that stopped many people from being able to get to work and instead worked from home via their PCs (or used the PCs for other purposes), the Internet in the UK slowed down rather considerably in this time.

This was even more so in evidence on the second day, the Tuesday, February 4th, when things were slowly, in some areas, grinding down to a trickle and the Net behaved like very thick molasses. Some services, like the BBC iPlayer, were not responding at all on the evening of that Tuesday.

As there is no other way of looking at this and as the frost and snow itself will not have had an impact on the speed and reaction of the Internet in the UK during this time – for it sorted itself out by Wednesday, when the majority of the people had managed to get back to work – the Internet in the UK is not ready, as yet, for the majority of us working form home. Sorry to say this, but it appears to be the truth.

Britain, on the other hand, is much better equipped in this regards though than the USA, for instance, where only a small minority can get access to broadband connections. Most of the USA, as soon as you get out of the major conurbations, are reduced to dial-up and some cannot even get 56kB connections. At least in Britain only a small minority cannot get – as yet – high-speed Internet from about half a megabyte upwards.

The problem, however, is that, as the snow problems have shown, the infrastructure of the British DSL Internet is not, as yet, up to the task of having that many people tele-commute.

It would be nice if all those that would like to do just that could but, alas, it would appear that it is still going to be some time off. That also means that the environment, unfortunately, will still have to put up with people commuting, often long distances, to work.

Hopefully though some day in the not too distant future the network will support all that want to work from home and all those that have to and all those that are at home being online at the same time. It would be nice, would it not?

© M Smith (Veshengro), February 2009