Broadband ISP Solutions for Remote and Rural UK Communities - Conclusions Page 8 - ISPreview
Broadband Solutions for Remote and Rural UK Communities
By: Mark Jackson - September 20th, 2010 : Page 8 -of- 8
"many challenges remain and at present the government has not moved fast enough to level the playing field between the largest and smallest players"

uk rural lake broadband solutions
On the surface this might seem like a good solution for meeting the UK governments target; they aim to make a minimum broadband speed of 2Mb (Universal Service Commitment) available to everybody in the country by 2015. However BET is highly expensive. You would require two telephone lines at double the cost just to receive a basic 2Mb service, which by 2015 will start to feel like dialup did back in 2006 when 8Mb connections began to propogate.

ISPs have also shown no interest (full news) after balking at the estimated installation costs of £850 for a single 1Mbps line (£1,050 for two lines offering up to 2Mbps). As a result BET would require substantial financial support (subsidy) from the government before it could be viable. Such funds would perhaps be better spent on deploying true fibre optic broadband solutions.


We're pleased to see that, Virgin Media's existing 50Mbps+ service notwithstanding, 2010 was the year that Next Generation Access (NGA) infrastructure building finally got underway. Crucially, BT began rolling out its new generation of up to 40Mbps fibre optic FTTC based broadband services, which at a cost of £2.5bn will reach 66% of UK premises by 2015. Many smaller operators, such as the i3 Group's Fibrecity project, Rutland Telecom, Fibrestream and Vtesse Networks, have since followed with similar services.

However, challenges remain and at present the government has not moved fast enough to level the playing field between the largest and smallest players. Smaller providers are often best placed to tackle the "The Final Third" of homes and businesses, locations that private investment alone cannot reach. Such ISPs are capable of operating outside of the traditional models (i.e. often considerably cheaper to roll-out) and deploying innovative solutions to difficult problems, but at present their ability to do this is seriously restricted by favouritism (e.g. Fibre Taxation) towards the largest players (e.g. BT and Virgin Media).

We expect that the situation, at least in some respects (i.e. forcing operators to make telephone/electricity poles and underground cable ducts more accessible), will improve over the next two years. However the effort is getting off to a slow start and we do not anticipate seeing any significant national movement to tackle the "Final Third", by deploying NGA broadband solutions, until 2012.

In the meantime, if you live in one of these locations, your best bet is to become pro-active. Get out there, talk to your neighbours, talk to some of the ISPs we mentioned, lobby your local council and get as many people as possible in your area discussing superfast broadband. The more interest you raise the better your chances will be. ISPreview often covers serious broadband campaigns in our daily news and will happily give free publicity to any that seek it.

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