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CorpCon: BT broadband ad banned over speed claim

We’ve all heard the ‘get up to x mb per second’ claims. I’ve heard it coming from singaporean ISPs as i’ve heard it here in the UK.

Now for those whom are quite tech-savvy, you know what this actually means. But for those whom are inclined to have faith in billboards as if it is no different from the tablets brought down from Sinai, listen up.

First, what the hell is MB per second? Most people are accustomed to MB meaning MegaBytes. Such and such a file is a 100 megabytes, that holiday photo you took with the orang utan pinching your butt is 1.2 megabyte - perhaps owing to the size of the butt, or the orang utan - an email attachment being 2.5 megabytes, and so on. So, when you look at, say, singapore’s Starhub’s ‘100mbps’, or similar claims by BT, you’re going to think, ‘hey, i’m gonna be getting x megabytes per second’ downloads!’ Not true.

The ‘mb’ in these claims actually refer to megaBITS, not megaBYTES. The conversion rate between megabits and megabytes is 1 megabyte = 8 megabits. So, a 100 mbps, or megabits per second refers to? Get out your calculators. Of course, these companies will tell you this, usually in ‘fineprint’ - which is synonymous with ‘rendering less visible that which might make you think twice about parting with your money’.

If we put up with Corporational Cons, it will certainly come at the price of us opportunistically compensating for the losses incurred through each other’s pockets.
Secondly, even if you have BTs allegedly 20mbps or Starhub’s allegedly 100mbps, you’re going to run into another problem that might prevent you from ‘blazing through the web’. That is the bottleneck problem. In other words, you can have a car that is able to match the F16 in speed, but there’s only so fast that you can go in a traffic jam. That ‘jam’ refers to the bandwidth of the site you’re accessing, the number of people whom are accessing that site at the same time, the distance of the site which you are accessing.

And of course, you won’t really know how much the ISP is actually giving you. In an unfortunately confucian state like singapore, where people check on their getting screwed by screwing each other, corporations can do as they please. I’ve often wondered why my lower internet speed allotment in Hong Kong, where i lived for a year, was obviously faster than the speed i experienced in Singapore where my broadband allotment was supposedly double that of my Hong Kong’s allotment. Thankfully, here in the UK, we have a body such as Advertising Standards Authority that checks on CorpCons and even clamp down on false claims. - BBC:BT broadband ad banned over speed claim.

Anyway, this brief article will be the first of the CorpCon series. If we put up with Corporational Cons, it will certainly come at the price of us opportunistically compensating for the losses incurred through each other’s pockets. Addressing cons at the ‘consumer’ level is the first step towards making us more human. Not doing so is simply going to turn us into gross opportunists, and turn such compensatory activities into ‘culture’.

Live long and prosper, nanu nanu.


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