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Better Broadband to Boost England’s Rural Countryside Economy

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 (8:11 am) - Score 1,679

The Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has predicted that productivity and jobs in rural parts of England will grow faster than urban areas over the next 10 years (2025), which is largely down to the on-going boost from faster broadband / mobile connectivity and better transport links.

According to DEFRA’s report, workers in rural areas are currently 83% as productive as those in urban areas and yet rural productivity has the “potential to grow faster than the average expected rate for the UK“. Rural areas are already home to a quarter of all businesses (note: people living in the countryside are apparently more likely to run their own businesses), which is despite only around 18% of the population actually living in such locations.

But DEFRA states that the on-going £1.7bn Broadband Delivery UK roll-out of fixed line superfast broadband (24Mbps+) connectivity, which aims to reach 95% of people in the United Kingdom by 2017 and is currently looking at how best to connect the final 5%, will be a significant force for change. On top of that the report also highlights the Government’s efforts to tackle mobile not-spots (here) and their planned £15bn investment in national roads infrastructure as playing a major part in improving rural connectivity.

Overall it’s anticipated that the improved connectivity, spread of innovation, growth in knowledge-based industries and changes in working patterns (e.g. more remote-working and shorter commutes) should deliver higher wages and better economic output from rural areas, which could potentially increase by around an extra £35 billion. Rural employment in England could also jump by 6% (300,000 extra jobs).

Elizabeth Truss, Environment Secretary, said:

This is a truly exciting time for rural communities with the countryside set to become even more of an economic powerhouse for the UK, building our economic security.

Improved infrastructure is a great driver of change and our investment in broadband and transport links, together with improved mobile phone signals, is unlocking the huge potential for growth in the countryside where entrepreneurial activity is outstripping many parts of the UK.

Whether you’re in a cottage in Cornwall or a small business in one of our great national parks, you are better connected now than ever before – ultimately that means greater opportunities, more jobs and improved wages and a better future.”

We certainly agree that if superfast broadband can be made available to 100% of the population then there’s little doubt that rural areas would deliver a boost to the United Kingdom’s overall economy, although to achieve this would surely also require that the method of connectivity deployed is capable of offering a reliable, affordable and flexible broadband service.

Recently there’s been a lot of talk between BDUK and BT about using Satellite technology to fill the last 5% gap, which is worrying since these are useful stop-gap measures but they have several key pitfalls. Admittedly the high cost of hardware and installation (often around the £500 mark) could conceivably be mitigated by a voucher scheme (e.g. the ABC scheme in Wales) and speeds may improve beyond the current 20-22Mbps cap in the near future, but that’s only part of the issue.

Ultimately on a Satellite service you’d still be left with connections that can experience heavy throttling due to capacity constraints, meagre usage allowances unless you pay a huge monthly fee and high latency (useless for fast paced multiplayer gaming, time sensitive share trading and other time critical tasks). In the longer term a good fixed line or fixed wireless network would be the best way to deliver better and more easily upgradable connectivity into such locations.

On top of that we must also remember that Governments are nothing if not overly optimistic in their predictions and hopes, which will no doubt be magnified by the fast approaching May 2015 General Election. But as always this must be tempered against reality and as yet rural areas are only just starting to see some benefit from the BDUK scheme, which until very recently was still predominantly benefitting sub-urban areas and larger towns.

No doubt there will be a benefit but we must ensure that this isn’t hobbled by poor choices of technology that could create future problems.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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60 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    Its a superfarce. Having wasted all the funding on stupid cabinets to make a few go faster in semi urban areas they now realise the areas they were supposed to get online still have no benefit. BT partnered with Avanti satellite at the start of this project, they never had any intention of reaching the farmers and SMEs in rural areas. Defra should have had a few physics lessons early on. They could then have intervened. Now it is too late. The digital divide has grown even wider and digital britain is a joke.

    1. Avatar X66yh says:

      Well a village no so far from me has just finally got the last cab of its 4 enabled for FTTC.
      So that is up from around 2Mbps to 50Mbps plus for pretty well everyone – like 1000 residences.
      I doubt it’s a superfarce to them.

      So I suppose you want them not to have this service and instead be still on 2Mbps waiting in line for FTTP to come to them one day, eventually, maybe in a decade.

    2. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      Fingers crossed your posts are more factual in the new year and you stop this habit of making ill-informed or downright inaccurate comments then disappearing without engaging in discussion when people point out the inaccuracies and flaws.

      1) BDUK was never targeted at rural areas exclusively, it was targeted at areas not covered commercially.
      2) BT are reaching some pretty rural areas now.
      3) The digital divide is, fact, narrowing. I am on the edge of the 3rd most populace city in the UK and there are hamlets with a hundred properties that have as good or better access to high speed Internet as I do thanks to BDUK – I and the other 2/3rds of the country covered by the commercial programmes and on hybrid networks are increasingly frequently subsidising superior FTTP services in rural areas. Official and unofficial statistics prove that the gap is closing between rural and urban areas, and it’s thanks to the BDUK scheme you so hate.

      It seems quite clear you would genuinely be happier if areas like the 4 cabinets on sub-2Mb here had remained on it, alongside millions of other homes and businesses, in order to deliver FTTP to a few hundred thousand, max, hyper-rural premises.

      I’m sure in your mind altnets could pass the entire country with the BDUK cash exclusively, delivering active Ethernet to every property, however as you should be aware it’s cost B4RN £1,000 per premises passed and that’s without the equivalent cost of services provided for free by volunteers.

      To suggest how far that would go the entire BDUK budget to go from 66% to 90% coverage (just FYI it looks like it’ll surpass that) at 30Mb or higher is £530 million. Add to that the cash match from councils you get £1.06 billion. BT’s contribution is, largely, operating costs. Point Topic and others point to the costs of active FTTP in the last, most difficult few percent that you think should be dealt with as a huge priority as being £5k+ per premises passed, averaging more like £10k.

      If you want to know what ‘big telco’ is dealing with have a read of http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/fibre/t/4378968-have-fttp-from-bt-can-i-get-fibre-from-other-cps-fttc.html?page=1

      Yes, it’s a guy with access to FTTP who wants FTTC because he can get a ‘very good deal’. People like me who would pay a fair amount for a very fast service are regrettably in the minority. People who, like you, are obsessed with the manner in which connectivity is delivered are an even smaller minority.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I doubt her posts will change , as the saying goes ignorance is bliss

    4. Avatar No Clue says:

      and discursive opinion will often not match reality.

  2. Avatar TheFacts says:

    Please explain what you mean by the ‘digital divide has grown even wider’. Still waiting for you to tell us how many is the ‘few’.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:


      So you still don’t know how to do a Google search? The widening digital divide was explained on these ISPReview forums multiple times.

      BTW.: How is your research going on the questions raised some months ago? What has been the outcome of your FoI requests?

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      lol, Google is great but I seriously doubt if you type digital divide uk its going to show some nice pretty charts and graphs/maps showing a divide 🙂

      You could claim digital divide if 99% can get superfast BB and 1% can’t so… its a bit of a joke comment to be honest.

    3. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @The Facts – We should applaud the 40,000 homes passed a week – c160-180 cabinets installed a week (30,000 in total to do), while not ignoring that 12-20% of those passed are unlikely to see a benefit. This also applies to the 19m homes passed covered by the commercial programme.
      Neither should we ignore BT is sitting on premiums for USC – 8-10% of contract value for each county, clawback (take up risk) of c12% of contract value and the significant savings from phase 1 referenced at the EFRA select committee meeting on Dec 10%.
      40,000 homes passed a week is great, but BT has no solution (or resources) for 13-20% of these and those in USC areas, but BT is banking the cash under the current arrangements.

    4. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – It helps to know the background for words and numbers. Where does the 12-20% come from and what’s the Cornwall number?

    5. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @the facts 12-20% numbers are crude but represent cabinet samples in Surrey, exchanges in parts of London. The exchanges will include areas where BT has claimed full coverage in an exchange but only some of the cabinets are completed.
      It is not an unreasonable or unfair number to use at this stage. It is not single digit number. We should allow for the fact BT is notifying coucils that they are reducing their commercial footprint as phase 2 subsidies are being discussed.

    6. Avatar Moderation Please says:

      Do you have some examples of claimed full coverage but reality is different?

    7. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @moderation Please The headline claim of premises passed does tend to be qualified in the small print and the speed checkers by the distance limit of c1.2km from VDSL cabinet.
      There has been some supplementing of the cabinets with fibres being delivered to a manifold on a pole. This needs to be encouraged.
      What’s lacking is a level of transparency on the costs and white papers on the deployment plans describing the nature of the mixed economy solutions and the future proofing being delivered. The future proofing is important as NAO identified 20% of the budget for this aspect of the delivery.

    8. Avatar MikeW says:

      The digital divide – getting wider or narrower?

      If you believe that having a broadband connection that meets the definition of “superfast” (ie > 24Mbps) puts you on the good side of the divide, then there is a very good picture within the PDF below. It was part of a presentation by Chris Townsend (head of BDUK) to a RICS conference in November 2014.

      It shows, in a clear way, the number of properties fed SFBB via VM, BT commercially, BDUK etc.

      Page 3 of this document:

      Clearly BDUK phase 1 is bringing 4.1 million people within the umbrella of superfast speeds, while phase 2 will add a further 1.2 million. If that isn’t narrowing the divide, I’m not sure what is.

      Chris’s concern has always been the farming community – and believes that BDUK should have targetted this community first.

      When we talk of “farmers”, what kind of scale are we talking?

      There are 300,000 farms in the UK, perhaps 350,000 farmers, and around 540,000 in the farming workforce. Exactly how this maps to a number of families or properties is unclear, but 300,000 properties would represent 1% of the number of UK properties, while 540,000 would be 1.9%

      Those farms (and farmers) manage 70% of the land area of the UK. In comparison, the 95% of us that live in ONS’ “built up areas” use just 10% of the land area, so the farmers are clearly very dispersed. They almost certainly sit within the BDUK’s “final 5%”

      Note that the same BDUK document above likely thinks of them within the middle 3% of the final 5% (page 7), where the groups on either side can be seen as 1% within cities and 1% as the most remote locations.

    9. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      It’s worth noting that BDUK are actually funding some premises a distance away from cabinets that they have delivered FTTC to to receive FTTP as well, so that they hit the minimum speed.

      Yes – there are premises that have access to both FTTP and FTTC from Openreach.

    10. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @Mikew – Thanks – it is safer to treat these numbers as passed as opposed definitively within 1.2km of a cabinet. 4.1m is the intervention area including USC.

      However if the cost are reconciled and released from phase 1, USC premium is surrendered and the clawback can be released early, and BT has the resource, then delivering delivering fibre to manifolds on a sizable number of DPs can certainly be done.

    11. Avatar TheFacts says:

      How big was the sample and some links to completed exchange details please.

    12. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – This white paper you seek, what level of detail would you need? Details of every cabinet, sub duct, fibre, core network, blockages, pole, power costs…

    13. Avatar GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: “How big was the sample and some links to completed exchange details please.”

      Again, it was explained to you multiple times in the past how top do your own research, even how to make use of the Freedom of Infomation Act.

      BTW.: So how is your research going from the questions raised a few months ago?

    14. Avatar FibreFred says:

      He is asking nga for specifics on data nga already has, why would he do his own research when nga has the details ?

      You have a strange and very wasteful way of approaching things, sounds like you would rather build your own sundial than ask someone opposite you that has a wristwatch the time

    15. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @The Facts – white paper, re-write of 21CN guide, – no of POSI (80?), No handover points (1200 ?), handover point to aggregation node think (48 or 96 fibre cable) number of cabs per handover point (30 -60 range), aggregation nodes, spare fibres per cabs, spare tubes (looks like 1 – could it be 7 o 8) emerging rules on P-mnaifold deployment. Very Good work in Cornwall, more needed in Surrey and elsewhere. Lessons and rules on power costs and breakpoints would be good.
      Bascic tree and branch relationship (rural v urban ). I am tempted to draft it but its a bit daft given it will have written in BT already to a much higher standard.
      Several benefits – 1) it allows a better story to be told, 2) It would allow a better discussion on how to use spare monies from Phase 1,USC surrender, clawback 3) It helps write the case for a more ambitious cost tansformation – although this is out of fashion in BT. 4) It would assist writing the case for more resource which is the big stmbling block. This is also out of fashion in BT.

      ON > 1.2km distribution – There is a good Ofcom report on this which I will dig out which provides aggregate top down numbers. Bottom up by area is better but that’s local planning.

  3. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

    I suspect that’s because so far most of the BDUK work hasn’t benefitted the last 5-10% of “rural” areas, although that is now starting to change. Hence sub-urban and urban speeds have until recently improved faster than those of rural areas.

    1. Avatar gerarda says:

      The last 5% of the country is 25% of the rural population so still a significant gap.

  4. Avatar Matthew Williams says:

    I think that the final 5% is going to be need to be done by fixed line broadband to help make this a true reality. But if this is going to be done is very much up for debate sadly. I can see what Chris is saying how the BDUK project has so far concentrated on less rural areas is a problem but as Mark says that is now starting to change. In some areas such as Cornwall we have seen vast changes happen already for a lot of rural areas.

  5. Avatar dragoneast says:

    Can’t help wondering how much of this vaunted benefit is to allow bosses and politicians to distance themselves physically as far away as possible when the stuff hits the fan, so when their companies collapse, they sack the actual workers or their works go awry, they can issue platitudinous denials and comments from their holiday homes, without having to get their hands dirty? More gongs all round!

    Of course I don’t deny people living in the countryside (or the towns for that matter) their superfast broadband, I just wish to rest of us didn’t have to subsidise both their bonuses for manipulating the statistics, and their utilities.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      The fact that millions of hard working people pay, via taxes, for superfast broadband for other areas while being excluded themselves does indeed highlight one of the many BDUK issues and/or failures.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:


      That goes for many things that your taxes pay for, millions of hard working people pay taxes into the NHS and some get a very poor return on what they pay, others get great service.

      Same with many many others areas….. maybe you should take on those issues as well, I’d argue they are more important and pressing than having a nice looking speedtest.net result

    3. Avatar MikeW says:

      Careful @GNewton. Millions paying taxes, but not being covered? That’ll be hard when the total number of properties is only 1.5m

      In any case, didn’t the money come from BBC licence fund?

    4. Avatar TheFacts says:

      People who don’t work hard also pay taxes! Politician speak.

    5. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      Indeed GNewton.

      Let’s also think of the 2/3rds of the country, 18 million-ish households, who received SFBB via commercial investment but are also not seeing anything out of the BDUK programme and won’t. People who are on hybrid products but are subsiding FTTP to rural areas to the tune of nigh-on 4 figures per premises passed in some cases.

      It’s £1.06 billion over, what, 3 years? Not even 1/18th of 1% of public spending. For every £ the remote areas not seeing anything out of BDUK yet have put into this they are almost certainly receiving way more in subsidies other ways.

      Yes, I’m being a bit of a Richard, however you brought up taxes. I wasn’t aware we lived in a pay as you go state where everyone should get something out of every pound they put in in taxes. Given my household pays 4 times more just in income taxes than it receives in services I’m owed a fairly large refund.

      You really need to consider moving home if the infrastructure you apparently so desperately need isn’t available to you. For the sake of your own sanity if nothing else.

    6. Avatar FibreFred says:

      To Spain maybe… we live in hope

    7. Avatar GNewton says:

      “I’d argue they are more important and pressing than having a nice looking speedtest.net result”

      Agree, the BDUK should be immediately scrapped, the money is better spent on improving the NHS, or even on more simple things like actually fixing all the potholes on the road.

    8. Avatar GNewton says:


      “Of course I don’t deny people living in the countryside (or the towns for that matter) their superfast broadband, I just wish to rest of us didn’t have to subsidise both their bonuses for manipulating the statistics, and their utilities.”

      Broadband, including VDSL, is not a vital utility and should not be paid for by the taxpayers in the long run. The low takeup figures from taxpayer-funded VDSL areas clearly show that for most people it is not important.

      BT is a private company and has no need for public money!

    9. Avatar FibreFred says:

      All of the BDUK bidders were private companies, so basically you are saying no money should be spent on areas that Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Virgin, Hyperoptic, etc etc will not commercially cover, they can just be left to rot with whatever they have now.

      You always comment on the “Can’t do” attitude yours is simply a “Won’t do”

    10. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @GN – BT is not a private company, it is a public corporation. Similarly ECI, Huawei and Telent have no need for public money?

      Clearly the public funding for the arts is not vital.

    11. Avatar No Clue says:

      BT was privatised back in 1991.

    12. Avatar MikeW says:

      The terms “private company” and “public company” don’t mean what you think they do. The difference is to do with how the shares are traded.

      The “PLC” part of BT’s name tells us something…

      A public limited company (legally abbreviated to PLC) is a type of public company (publicly held company) under United Kingdom company law.

      The term “public limited company” and the “PLC”/”plc” suffix were introduced in 1974; prior to this, all limited companies bore the suffix “Limited” (“Ltd”), which is still used by private limited companies.

      BT Group plc, trading as BT

      British Telecommunications was privatised in 1984, becoming British Telecommunications plc, with some 50 per cent of its shares sold to investors.

    13. Avatar No Clue says:

      So the statement of “All of the BDUK bidders were private companies” is not true?

    14. Avatar No Clue says:

      Id call it clarification as in one breath you claim BT are a Public company but in the other state only private companies bidded for BDUK funds, so what is BT?

    15. Avatar FibreFred says:

      No, all I said was they were all private companies , in the case of Bt I was wrong , the point was they were all bidding for the funds regardless , no one was self funding anything

    16. Avatar TheFacts says:

      What’s the difference between the structure of BT and Fujitsu and other potential bidders? And why does it matter?

    17. Avatar FibreFred says:

      It doesn’t

      It stems from GNewtons comment “BT is a private company and has no need for public money!”

      I’m trying to make it clear to him obviously public money was needed for anyone who bid/won otherwise BDUK wouldn’t exist in the first place

    18. Avatar No Clue says:

      “What’s the difference between the structure of BT and Fujitsu and other potential bidders? And why does it matter?”

      I did not think it mattered, it was you 2 clowns names that argued if they were private or public.

  6. Avatar FibreFred says:


    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      Yup. Trolling.

      Anyone who’d rather argue about the status of the ownership of BT shares rather than anything meaningful is definitely trolling.

    2. Avatar Gadget says:

      It might be considered the Broadband version of Godwin’s Law 😉

    3. Avatar No Clue says:

      Mop those tears theres a good chap.

  7. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    You can all pontificate until you are blue in the face. The fact remains that BT can do WHATEVER they like to patch up their obsolete copper network with their own profits (maybe instead of trying to corner the content market), but the BDUK funding was meant to build the infrastructure needed to reach everyone, and it’s been wasted. It is too late to do anything about it now. But for the future, we must hope for third time lucky. The exchanges were enabled with funding in 2003/4, the cabinets in 2014, and maybe in 2024 we will see a government who finally grasp the idea that until everyone has a fit for purpose connection they can’t reap the benefits of being a digital nation. Maybe then, just maybe they will open up the market to real competition and recycle all the obsolete copper phone lines and do the job right. Just maybe.

    In answer to earlier commenters, yes its nice that a few go faster, but take up is so poor its obvious that the FTTC has been deployed where most people were happy enough with what they had. It is not closing the digital divide so that government/edu/heath savings can be made, because millions on long line lengths (not just farmers) still don’t have connectivity that works.

    1. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      ‘the BDUK funding was meant to build the infrastructure needed to reach everyone, and it’s been wasted.’

      No. The BDUK funding had a specific objective and has been used to provide as broad a coverage level as possible. Spending on the most difficult areas would’ve dramatically reduced coverage level at 24Mb+ for the cash and meant it took far longer to serve those properties.

      The objective was always to cover as much as possible as quickly as possible. On most metrics this seems to have been done by the first phase with the second phase to mop up most of the rest and a third phase to look into making 24Mb+ ubiquitous.

      ‘maybe in 2024 we will see a government who finally grasp the idea that until everyone has a fit for purpose connection they can’t reap the benefits of being a digital nation’

      Or BDUK phase 2, starting about now, then BDUK phase 3 will deal with much of what’s left 🙂

      ‘Maybe then, just maybe they will open up the market to real competition’

      The market is open to it, it’s just a really expensive thing to get into.

      ‘and recycle all the obsolete copper phone lines’

      Short of nationalising Openreach the government can’t do that.

      ‘its nice that a few go faster’

      Hardly call it a ‘few’.

      ‘take up is so poor its obvious that the FTTC has been deployed where most people were happy enough with what they had.’

      Indeed – cost is still the big thing for people. They don’t want to pay more for higher speeds and consider a few megabits to be quite adequate. The applications to push them into paying more still aren’t there for those on even ‘average’ xDSL.

      ‘It is not closing the digital divide so that government/edu/heath savings can be made’

      The data indicates that the digital divide is closing. In the 6 months to May 2014 rural speeds increased by 20% compared with urban and suburban increases of 5%. This trend, with the ongoing BDUK deployments, has accelerated throughout 2014, reports coming soon.

      ‘because millions on long line lengths (not just farmers) still don’t have connectivity that works.’

      The programme isn’t complete. Phase 1, 90% coverage at 24Mb+, well above the level you mentioned people were happy enough with what they had, completes in 2016. By 2017 coverage at 24Mb+ should be 95%+, leaving less than 1.5 million premises under that figure.

      Please note that these aren’t properties passed by an enabled cabinet but properties that can receive 24Mb+.

      As mentioned the easier stuff was done first, however for those who are on long lines and/or in rural areas BDUK has caused some interesting things to happen. Rural areas have seen more FTTP installed than urban and suburban areas, and some premises with long lines on FTTC cabinets have been provisioned with FTTP to ensure they are 24Mb+.


      Superfast Surrey had a very high target for premises passed at 24Mb+, this is a scenario that will continue to be seen more commonly as BDUK progresses.

      My main cause for alarm isn’t what this programme is doing, it’s that it leaves BT in a very strong position to push for subsidy for a subsequent programme to increase ultrafast coverage via G.fast and FTTP as it will be incredibly difficult for anyone to match the coverage and pricing they will be able to offer using infrastructure subsidised during BDUK.

      You are writing as though everything is done which it is not. Building networks, even when building an overlay to an existing one, takes a lot of time and work.

  8. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    You are right to be alarmed, because it has stitched up the monopoly’s strangehold, and there is no future path and not much hope for any competition now the low hanging fruit has been picked. There shouldn’t have been an overlay of the existing one, the existing one is obsolete, there should have been new networks, then BT would have had to replace their copper with fibre. proper fibre not just pushing it a km out from an exchange and sharing it with everyone. And premises passed is a superfarce. Its clear that in a few years time the whole job will be to do properly, as not only do we have the divide between locations in the UK, but as a country we’ll be left behind those who are laying fibre everywhere, the countries who haven’t had good phone networks and been conned into adsl. They are the ones who will be the digital leaders, whereas the countries who led the industrial revolution will end up as third world countries. The upgrade path needs fibre. Terrabits will be needed and we’ll be stuck on our phone lines and ‘upto’ speeds just like we have this last decade. Just so BT openreach can make a profit on their old assets. Whilst BT wholesale rook the ISPs who have to throttle and cap to keep prices low, and BTinternet fritter their profits on ‘content’. You really couldn’t make it up. And a hyped up yankee snake oil salesman with a multimillion pound advertising budget has conned everyone that he has changed the laws of physics and copper superfast is fibre broadbabd, and the feckless regulators let him get away with it.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Please provide some details of the funding required.

      And also tell us how many is the ‘few’. Repeating the same words does not make them right.

      Fibre goes further than 1km from an exchange, which you would know if you bothered to understand the rollout.

      Prices are low because of competition, which does not encourage investment.

    2. Avatar TheFacts says:

      ps. Just to remind you, the core network is fibre, not copper as you think.

    3. Avatar Ignitionnet says:


      ‘There shouldn’t have been an overlay of the existing one, the existing one is obsolete, there should have been new networks’

      Not sure you understand what an overlay is: it’s building on top of an existing network. The overlay part was using existing ducts and poles and installing fibre in/on them rather than building completely new.

      ‘BT would have had to replace their copper with fibre. proper fibre not just pushing it a km out from an exchange and sharing it with everyone.’

      Chances are BT would have liked to have done this. They can’t; LLU and all that. Blame Ofcom / the EU / Sky / TalkTalk, etc.

      There is nothing wrong with sharing fibre, PON is a pretty well proven technology, and in actual fact BT are, scarily, world leaders for long-range PON deployments believe it or not. The FTTC backhauls here are 5.5km incidentally. The backhauls serving rural FTTC/P are much longer still. 10km+ isn’t uncommon, and is for example the length between Deddington, a fully FTTP-available village, and Banbury where its headend is.

      ‘And premises passed is a superfarce.’

      No. It has always been how network coverage has been measured. It’s the number you see in Virgin Media and every other cable company’s reports, it’s the number you see in telco reports.

      In this instance there are 2 figures, premises passed full stop and premises passed at 24Mb or higher.

      ‘The upgrade path needs fibre.’

      Absolutely – though not, yet, full fibre to the premises everywhere. As you said, many people are happy with what they’ve got.

      ‘Terrabits will be needed and we’ll be stuck on our phone lines and ‘upto’ speeds just like we have this last decade.’

      We are a really, really, really long way away from needing terabits to our homes, our largest Internet exchange peaked at 2.349 Tb/s and has nothing higher than 100 Gb Ethernet ports. I wouldn’t be surprised if the average utilisation on B4RN is sub-1 Mb/s per customer despite having gigabit available. Certainly no more than a few Mb/s even at peak times.

      Across consumer networks as a whole in the UK it’s still a fair way off of being a Megabit per second even on all superfast networks.

      BDUK phases 2 and 3 will be completed before even 40Mb FTTC becomes unviable. More speed is desirable but 40Mb/10Mb achieves everything e-Government, e-Medicine, etc, require.

      ‘And a hyped up yankee snake oil salesman with a multimillion pound advertising budget has conned everyone that he has changed the laws of physics and copper superfast is fibre broadbabd, and the feckless regulators let him get away with it.’

      If you’re talking about who I think you’re talking about there, initials ‘BM’, that’s really not nice. He doesn’t have an advertising budget to speak of as he isn’t selling direct to the public.

      The original adjudication wasn’t based around any kind of confusion as to the laws of physics and was made in reference to Virgin Media advertising, not BT.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKXshCNXHNg <<< made in 2008, released in 2009, BT Infinity went live in 2010.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdeDd7ZibwQ <<< 2009.

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Props for trying but I just cannot see Chris ever understanding. 😐

  9. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    Props indeed for trying, but probs is that I understand only too well what astroturfing you two are up to, and be sure your sins will catch you both out. If you choose not to use your real names it doesn’t matter. we know who you really are.
    And snake oil salesmen are selling to the public, to politicians, to funders, to anyone who watches tv, reads newspapers etc. On the opposite side of the fence all the altnets have are blogs like this, where some of us find the time to put the comments that will form the history books of the future, the little voices crying in the wilderness… ‘it isn’t fibre broadband unless its fibre to the home’, but the masses see the blarney, not these blogs. They believe the adverts paid for by monopolies, and so do the politicians. hook line and sinker, so when the snake oil salesman pops in to take them for lunch…
    And of course I know the backbone for the telephone network is fibre. It has been since the 90s. that is what I mean, we could have done away with the copper over the last two decades, slowly but surely. Instead we milk the obsolete copper for revenue, and fall further behind. The whole job will be to do properly one day, so why not start doing it from the outside inwards, then everyone gets a good connection instead of wasting it making a few near cabinets go faster so take up is poor?

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      ” but probs is that I understand only too well ”

      Your ( very dramatic 🙂 ) comments say otherwise

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      It may not be the best technical solution, but I’m sure it is the best solution for the money available

      And that is the key part “the money available” no telco or our government has the money for a full FTTP rollout

      But saying that, that isn’t what you are interested in anyway, just using the money for rurals only and sod the rest, I’m sure the public would love your version of the rollout 🙂

      Its not about tech (the tech has been available for years) its about money and people making a return on their money, it should come as no surprise that this key point is lost on you coming from the business you are in yourself

    3. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Bad day on the farm?

      Accusing Bill Murphy of being a ‘hyped up yankee snake oil salesman’ shows desperation.

      You know BT was not allowed to roll out fibre by the government to protect the altnets called cable companies. A missed opportunity for the UK and we were not to know that the cable companies would give up installing in the UK. Why was that?

      Some years ago you were told on TBB that the core network was fibre, not copper.

      Yet again you fail to say how 100% FTTP would be funded and define the number of the ‘few’. The ‘whole job’ will not need doing again, the BDUK scheme extends fibre close to properties.

      People won’t believe you just because you keep saying something, back it up with real facts.

    4. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      Astroturfing? Really?

      As previously mentioned I was one of the original complainants to the ASA regarding the whole fibre optic broadband advertising thing.

      I spent over a year on a superfast broadband campaign, during which time I was rejected by two altnets out of hand. Too expensive.

      I’ve had meetings with MP, councillors, civil servants, policy makers and senior BT people.

      I wrote an open letter to BT’s head of network investment regarding FTTP deployment and have assisted analysts with research into these matters.

      I do more than my bit.

      You’re quite mistaken if you think that policy makers are under any allusion that FTTC is FTTP like this is some special piece of knowledge you and the ‘Real BSG’ only are privvy to, everyone else being blinded by advertising. The requirements of the BDUK programmes and what is being delivered are very clear.

      You’re also quite mistaken if you think most people care. People on the whole care about the right product for them. They don’t care what the physical media delivering it is. Most people are happy with ‘fast enough’ as you yourself said, which is why even in Openreach FTTP areas most people are using 40Mb and 80Mb packages, not the 200Mb and 300Mb available, and why in Hyperoptic apartments the vast majority are using the 100Mb or lower packages.

      What you accomplished at B4RN was amazing, and what could be accomplished is amazing, however you embarrass yourself insulting people who disagree with you and you ruin your own credibility with ill-informed comments that are factually inaccurate, indeed ignoring that they are factually inaccurate when evidence is provided to the contrary, and an obsession with buzzwords.

      Some comments you’ve made on here are also potentially problematic for B4RN. The lack of a delete or edit button in these comments is always a tripwire.

      Incidentally ‘astroturfing’ implies that I’m connected to the broadband industry professionally while pretending to be a bystander – I’m not. I do not work in the broadband industry and my income in no way depends on it.

      As requested by RB I have treated you with as much respect as possible from a misleading astroturfer propagating lies only a select few see through. However – thank you for returning to defend your comments per my request. It was appreciated and refreshing despite the content, so thank you again.

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