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UPDATE Budget 2015 – Osborn Pledges to Deliver 100Mbps Ultrafast Broadband

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 (1:35 pm) - Score 4,007

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, has today set out the Government’s annual Budget 2015 report for the United Kingdom. Unlike past budgets this one is different because it comes immediately before a General Election and that usually means big promises, such as pledging 100Mbps “ultra-fast” broadband to “nearly all the homes in the country” and a possible 5Mbps+ USO.

At present the existing Broadband Delivery UK programme and related projects, which are broadly overseen by the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS), aims to make fixed line “super-fast broadband” (24Mbps+) services available to 95% of the population by 2017 (rises to 99% by 2018 when you include mobile and other fixed wireless solutions).

In terms of the fixed line superfast broadband target, the first goal is to push related services out to reach 90% of the UK by “early 2016” (£530m from BDUK has been allocated to this) and this should benefit around 4.2 million premises (over 2 million have already been completed).

Since then another £250m from the BDUK budget has been allocated to push that target to 95% via the Superfast Extension Programme (details) and a big slice of all this investment comes from a small part of the BBC’s TV Licence Fee. Contracts for this second phase are already being signed and all should be agreed by the end of 2015.

So far most of this BDUK funding, which is also being matched by local authorities (i.e. a total public investment of around £1.7bn so far) and the private sector, has gone towards helping BT roll-out their “fibre broadband” (‘up to’ 80Mbps FTTC / VDSL2) network into more areas. A few places have also benefited from BT’s 330Mbps FTTP technology.

But tackling the final 5% (roughly 1.5 million premises), which are predominantly rural, remains more of a problem due to the high cost of delivery and low population density. Last year the Government launched a £10m Innovation Fund to investigate this, which is piloting 7 projects that aim to “test innovative solutions to deliver superfast broadband services to the most difficult to reach areas“. There have also been various other smaller schemes involving the use of public funding.

As a result it’s perhaps not surprising to find that the Government, while being mindful of the coming General Election, have chosen to use today’s budget announcement to tout their on-going plans for both tackling the final 5% and boosting future broadband performance so that “ultrafast100Mbps+ speeds will become available to “nearly all the homes in the country“. Some of the key highlights are summarised below.

The UK Budget 2015 – Broadband Highlights

* Supporting long-term investment in the UK’s digital communications infrastructure, including by setting out a new ambition that ultrafast broadband of at least 100 Megabits per second should be available to nearly all UK premises.

* The government will also take further action to support the delivery of broadband in rural areas, including looking to raise the Universal Service Obligation – the legal entitlement to a basic service – from dial-up speeds to 5Mbps broadband, and subsidising the costs of installing superfast capable satellite services (this must apparently also be an “affordable” service and the scheme will be launched “later this year”).

* The [business] broadband Connection Voucher scheme, extended at Autumn Statement to March 2016, will be available in a total of 50 cities by 1 April 2015.

* The government will provide up to £600 million to support the delivery of the change of use of 700MHz spectrum, which will further enhance the UK’s mobile broadband connectivity. These funds will support the infrastructure costs of clearing the spectrum frequency, including support to consumers where appropriate, and retuning broadcast transmitters to enable broadcasters to move into a lower frequency. This will free up 700MHz spectrum for 4G mobile communications use through an auction next Parliament. The government will also centralise the operational management of public sector spectrum, and will reset the release target.

But take that 100Mbps commitment with a pinch of salt until we see some real details (funding, timescale etc.), since right now it’s clear that the private sector is doing most of the work and not the Government.

Ultrafast Broadband

In terms of the Government’s new pledge, it’s worth pointing out that the private sector is already doing much of the leg work. As an example, Virgin Media’s 152Mbps capable cable platform is being expanded (here) to reach 17 million UK premises by 2020 (around 60% coverage) and another double speed boost is anticipated for the not too distant future (est. 300Mbps). On top of that there’s talk of a DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade within the next couple of years, which could eventually foster Gigabit levels of performance (1000Mbps etc.).

Similarly BT’s existing ‘up to’ 80Mbps FTTC “fibre broadband” platform already has the technical capability to deliver 100Mbps+, although they’ve also announced a decade long deployment plan for G.fast technology and more FTTP (here). This, they claim, will bring speeds of 500Mbps to “most homes” and some will even get 1000Mbps.

In other words the private sector has already made a major commitment to improving broadband performance beyond the current levels. But historically the commercial interests of such firms usually only extends to the first 70% or so of the country, which means that many in rural and suburban areas (note: this includes some pretty busy places) could be left to wait and this is where state aid through Broadband Delivery UK tends to make the difference.

Indeed the Government had already signalled its intention to improve connectivity by proposing a new Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy (the full strategy is published today), which is looking some 10-15 years ahead to see what kind of services we might all require in the more distant future (here and here); today’s announcement is part of that same approach.

The Other Bits

Another key highlight of today’s announcement is the move to add broadband with a minimum download speed of 5Mbps into Ofcom’s legally-binding Universal Service Obligation (USO), which is something that respondents to our recent survey broadly supported, so long as they didn’t have to pay extra for it. But for now the are only “looking” at it, which leaves the door open for a rejection or change.

However the USO commitment also came in the same paragraph as a call for “subsidising the costs of installing superfast capable satellite services“, which is more of a worry. Satellite certainly ticks the speed and coverage box, and cheaply too, but it’s also an approach that has many flaws (network congestion, expensive usage allowances, high latency etc.) and this is thus unlikely to please rural villages.

A decent fixed line or fixed wireless broadband solution would have been a far more palatable option to such communities. It’s hard not to see Satellite as a cheap quick-fix, one that people can already buy privately themselves. The job on this front is not being done properly.

Elsewhere the move to extend Connection Voucher‘s to 50 cities and allow it to run until March 2016, which offer grants worth up to £3,000 in order to help small and medium sized businesses around 22 cities across the United Kingdom to gain access to a superfast broadband (30Mbps+) service, is technically nothing new (here). But the new city additions are listed below.

Connection Voucher Cities

Existing cities in which the voucher scheme is already operating (and will continue to do so):

Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry / Londonderry, Edinburgh, Leeds, London , Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford, York.

New cities in which the voucher scheme will be offered from April 1, 2015:

Bournemouth, Chelmsford, Dundee, Exeter, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Leicester, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Preston, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend on Sea, Stirling, Stoke on Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Swindon, Wolverhampton

UPDATE 2:14pm

The new Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy (DCIS) document reveals that the Government has “prequalified the expansion of Virgin Media’s ultrafast broadband network for the UK Guarantees Scheme” (mentioned above), which works by providing a sovereign-backed guarantee to help projects access finance.

The Guarantees are apparently provided on a commercial basis, with pricing depending on the risk and structure of a particular project. Guarantees for up to £40 billion in aggregate can be offered.

UK Guarantees Scheme for Virgin Media

Government can also act directly to ensure that it enables the rollout of ultrafast broadband. One example is through the UK Guarantees Scheme, which is in place to help infrastructure projects raise debt finance; the government has announced that it has prequalified the expansion of Virgin Media’s ultrafast broadband network for the UK Guarantees Scheme, supporting Virgin’s proposed £3 billion investment.

There is capacity within the £40 billion scheme to support significant further investment, and we are actively engaging with UK broadband operators to explore how the UK Guarantees Scheme can be used to support and accelerate their respective investment programmes.

The DCIS also revealed that the Government is inviting industry to highlight particular barriers to private investment in new ultrafast infrastructure and they will explore, with providers of both the networks and the finance, how these might be overcome, perhaps through innovative financial and commercial models.

On top of that the Government has said that they will be implementing the European Broadband Directive to reduce the cost of rollout, which was expected. Apparently the Government will bring forward a consultation on implementation this year.

UPDATE 2:25pm

It’s noted in the DCIS that the Satellite subsidy scheme “will build on the government’s commitment that there will be at least 95% superfast broadband coverage by 2017 by offering a superfast capable solution to around a further 1% of premises, and help to ensure that no one is left behind” (so it’s not a fix for the whole of the final 5%).

However the Government also said that they would carry out a further assessment in 2018 of general broadband coverage levels, use and demand. This assessment will include taking account of the impact of the deployment of both fixed and mobile services across the UK, and “will ensure that everyone has access to the services they need“.

UPDATE 2:31pm

On the 100Mbps commitment the Government has said that it “wants to maintain the principle that intervention should be limited to that which is required for the market to function effectively. In the case of ultrafast broadband, this market is only just beginning to emerge.” But they do claim to have identified a number of areas where “action can help support”, such as by employing the aforementioned UK Guarantees Scheme, but it still sounds as if they’re trying to claim credit for work done by the private sector.

Otherwise almost everything else boasted about today references projects and strategies that have already been announced before.

UPDATE 3:33pm

Consultation responses for the DCIS have been published online (here) and it’s interesting to note some of BT’s comments, not least how they “feel it is reasonable to expect that even low demand (perhaps single occupant) households will require a 10Mb/s speed in 2025.” But their opinions of medium demand households are a bit more useful.

For most family and larger households, although these represent a minority of the total UK households we expect their concurrent TV/video to drive higher bandwidth demand to be above any “median” figure. We note that the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) recently estimated that for the median household download demand for 2023 would be roughly 19Mb/s, but believe that a figure of 35Mb/s (representive of the 99th percentile of BSG’s analysis) is a more cautiously appropriate estimate for what could potentially be desired by most families.”

BT does however acknowledge that “any prediction may ultimately prove spurious” and have said that their G.fast deployment, with speeds of 500Mbps+ being promised, should be able to tackle most performance needs.

UPDATE 4:07pm

BDUK has kindly furnished us with a full list of the new Connection Voucher cities, added above.

UPDATE 4:22pm

A comment from CityFibre and the ISPA.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

We welcome also the government’s ambition for ultrafast broadband, encouraging investment in faster connectivity to homes and businesses nationwide. However the target of at least 100 megabits per second is too low. As the British economy becomes more digitally based, it is vital that even faster Gigabit speeds are achieved.

In infrastructure terms, the UK communications market is under performing, with one of the lowest shares of fibre-connected buildings in Europe, a result of a decade of underinvestment by BT. Investment in fibre infrastructure is critical for sustainable economic growth and future prosperity. Therefore, it is vital the government does all it can to encourage a competitive environment for fibre investment. CityFibre is one of the few companies that is both investing and building truly next generation ultrafast infrastructure with our rollout of UK Gigabit Cities.

A level playing field that enables the new generation of fibre infrastructure builders to invest in ultrafast broadband networks will generate greater levels of innovation, services, and GVA growth for towns and cities across the UK.”

Nicholas Lansman, UK ISPA Secretary General, said:

The new Government ambitions for broadband are good news. ISPA will be working with the Government to understand how these ambitious plans will be delivered. Government will only be able to do so in tandem with the breadth of industry, to ensure Government support is properly targeted and fosters competition.”

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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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44 Responses
  1. dave says:

    pretty sure they are just talking about FTTC as it will likely support 100Mbps within the next 3yrs. The govt will just increase the 95% coverage to 99% or so.

    1. DTMark says:

      I think that they mean 100Mbps, not “up to 100Mbps”.

    2. Astroturfer says:

      Without pair bonding FTTC will not support 100Mb to more than perhaps 50% of those on enabled cabinets even with vectoring.

    3. Paul says:

      “Without pair bonding FTTC will not support 100Mb to more than perhaps 50% of those on enabled cabinets even with vectoring.”

      Indeed i am confused with the ‘Similarly BT’s existing ‘up to’ 80Mbps FTTC “fibre broadband” platform already has the technical capability to deliver 100Mbps+’

      OVER 100Mbps… Since when did that happen?

  2. Steve Jones says:

    At the heart of this is how to raise the investment for the 30% or so which commercial development won’t cover. Even though some of the preparatory work will have been done with fibre deeper into the network, it’s difficult to see this being cheap. I would think anything from £5-10bn, depending on coverage. Just how much of this is public money we’d have to see, but there are other approaches, like charging a “broadband levy” or, possibly, abandoning national wholesale pricing.

    Clearly this meshes with the Ofcom review that is just starting. I’ve no doubt that they are taking very careful consideration of political announcements.

    As far as VDSL is concerned, that’s not viable for 100mbps, even though it might be theoretically capable of delivering such speeds, as it will only be available to a very small minority due to the distance issue. To get to 100mbps+ will surely involve extending the fibre deeper into the network (even wireless would involve pushing fibre out further).

    nb. I’m tempted to suggest 100mbps is being trumpeted to match what Angela Merkel is saying. It sounds like a nice, round, politically acceptable number.

    1. AndyH says:

      30-40% of lines in the vectoring trials in Braintree and Barnet could reach 100Mbps+. So it will cover some, but not all.

      It would be interesting to see BT’s reaction to the Chancellor’s statement. I bet they had no idea it.

    2. Paul says:

      Perhaps half the problem is MPs do not understand broadband and remember something vague from BT about 100Mb capability and automatically assumed… Oh that must be the stuff we are funding to get 90% coverage. What a shock the man is going to have when he discovers not everyone can get the claimed 76Mbps out of it currently let alone 100Mbps. I doubt even “nearly all” get the full 76Mbps currently, based on other news items about average speeds.

    3. MikeW says:

      100Mbps is certainly that nice round political number. You can bet it was set in the EU DA targets by FTTH-friendly politicians, as a “copper will never reach this” value to force deployment of fibre.

      You can imagine their groans as copper capability, inch-by-inch, increased to be able to hit the target. Not for all – not by a long chalk – but it certainly lets “the wrong technology” back in with a chance.

    4. NGA for all says:

      Your £10bn may not be too far off. The BSG/AM £5.1bn for FTTC will be £3bn with the state paying £1.7bn as it stands.

      The e exchange-side will be largely done, handover points and core is all done. This leaves the d-side with the end customer paying from the DP.

      Copy the french and use building regs to push MDU and business parks to put the passives in at their own cost pushing in pro-competitive open access conditions.

      It would be interesting once the NAO investigations are complete to see just how cheap overpaying an fibre network on existing passives is.

      You could declare a 25 year sunshine date for telephony, or let Manchester declare for an all fibre network to kick start the change.

      A more independent if not a fully separated Openreach will be place in 5 years so their will be less hesitation and less discretion on cost allocations.

  3. DTMark says:

    The 100 Meg for all is going to hugely expose the bodge job with VDSL.

    Which hasn’t tackled what needs to be tackled to get anything that works in the medium to long term. That being the last section of cabling/fibre to the premises.

    All it has done is place BT in a position to run rings around the government next time too since BDUK has put the nail in the coffin as far as private investment is concerned.

    Or, force the government to admit that BDUK was essentially “throw-away money” and to then begin a real superfast broadband project capable of those targets and longer term speeds.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Except sadly it’s not “for all”, it’s for “nearly all”, and there’s no specific funding or timescale. So they’re really just claiming credit for the work being done privately by BT on G.fast, Virgin Media with Cable and all the other little guys like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear or B4RN etc.

    2. DTMark says:

      Hmm. But add together the coverage of VM and the FTTP alt-nets, and we’re maybe at about 60% of the country – it’s a very long way from “nearly all”.

      If that phrase represents maybe 35% to go to get to 95%, a very quick calculation based on each node servicing about 20 properties – they’re going to need to be very close to get those speeds – suggests that might require something like 507,000 G.Fast nodes to be deployed.

      Surely nobody seriously believes that’s going to happen without the taxpayer being tapped yet again. BT is good at “making noises about tech” but miserably poor at getting off their backsides and actually deploying them. They are more a “carrot to get public money” than an intention.

      Now add up the cost of the BDUK exercise to the taxpayer, which is still rising, and then add the cost of the above assuming the taxpayer ends up paying for that too, and compare it to the cost to the taxpayer of a genuine superfast broadband project which created a framework that could bring serious private investment to bear.

    3. Paul says:

      “The 100 Meg for all is going to hugely expose the bodge job with VDSL.”

      “Except sadly it’s not “for all”, it’s for “nearly all”, and there’s no specific funding or timescale. So they’re really just claiming credit for the work being done privately by BT on G.fast, Virgin Media with Cable and all the other little guys like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear or B4RN etc.”

      Even with all them that as DTMark points out that is only what 60% or thereabouts? Personally i would not call that “nearly all”. Is there any actual quoted percent figures? If its taking claim just for what is being done and the around 60% all those you mention make up, then we are in trouble…. Maybe we should be allowed to take 2/5 of some of these spin doctors wages and tell them shut up you got “nearly all” of your money 😉

    4. MikeW says:

      The “ambition” for 100Mbps is just an indicator that they’re leaving it to industry for now. VM’s £3bn project is a 5 year project, while BT’s aim for G.fast is over a decade.

      Those timescales make it far too early to figure out any needs for public subsidy.

      I’m sure there’ll be *some* subsidies happening – but I’m equally sure it will have a different feel from today’s subsidies. I certainly don’t subscribe to the belief that “property X needed subsidy for superfast, therefore it automatically needs subsidy for ultrafast”.

      With BT going all-in on a G.fast approach, I think you can see the strategic difference:
      – Today’s rollout is about adding fibre head-ends, putting aggregation nodes on a fibre spine, deploying VDSL2 cabs that need power, and normalising EO lines.
      – The next decade’s rollout will be about deploying fibre DP’s on a sub-spine from the AN, and deploying G.fast nodes that don’t need local power.

      In today’s rollout, subsidies essentially pay for 4 distinct aspects:
      – adding fibre head-ends in remote districts
      – the civil cost of getting the fibre spine out a long way to the cab
      – the high cost of power installation when it covers only a few properties in a cab
      – building a new PCP for EO lines

      Some locations may suffer from one or more of these problems simultaneously.

      1) No new head-ends will be needed, though I’m sure they’ll be adding more equipment as demand increases.

      2) After the “superfast” subsidies, we’ll find 90-95% are within 1 – 1.5km of the fibre spine running to their cab. Getting fibre deeper into the network will mean an awful lot of fibre runs (possibly PONs) going less than 1km … and there’s a good possibility that this would be cheaper in rural areas than in urban areas.

      IMO, the portion of “superfast” subsidy that gets fibre out a long way today is less likely to be needed again in a decade. Supporting 20 users 500m from a remote cab (that needed subsidy) is going to be a similar cost as supporting 20 users 500m from a suburban cab (that needed no subsidy).

      Sure – there will be some new places that need long runs of fibre – but not any of the old places.

      3) The biggest problem at the fringes of the current rural “superfast” rollout is the cost of power – especially for small boxes, with costs shared over too few properties.

      G.fast has the potential to bring its own game-changer for that problem. It will probably take longer to get decent, cheap, reverse power working than it will take to get G.fast speeds working … longer to persuade people of the health & safety, but reverse power has the potential to remove the need for this portion of the “superfast” subsidy entirely.

      4) Once the EO lines have been converted to PCP within the “superfast” projects, there is no need for it to happen again. This portion of the “superfast” subsidy disappears entirely.

      I don’t doubt that some subsidies will be needed. Nor that BT will apply for them. I just think they’ll look very different from today, for circumstances we don’t yet understand.

      IMO, it all hinges on the power.

    5. NGA for all says:

      @Mike W – you should add pole mounted or DP manifolds to your list.

      Given the myth of FTTC costs is being dispelled – NAO all in average is down to £23k per cab/fibre path before BT’s contibution , there is a large proportion of the £1.7bn + BT’s 23% available for D-side work. 30,000 rural cabs at £23k is less than half that public subsidy budget.

      I assume the cost recovery generated using Ofcom hypothetical PST network are too great to change folks minds on inserting those power costs into the network.

    6. FibreFred says:

      “BT is good at “making noises about tech” but miserably poor at getting off their backsides and actually deploying them”

      Apart from deploying FTTC to 2/3rd of the country , apart from that and having the most FTTP coverage in the UK yeah I guess you are right 😉

    7. MikeW says:

      By “manifolds”, did you mean the manifolds used as part of FTTP delivery? If so, I deliberately avoided that side… I’m sure that where the costs of provisioning FTTP turn out to be better than the hybrid copper solution (FTTC today, FTTRN maybe, FTTdp later) BT will continue to install it – so such things will exist in both today’s and tomorrow’s rollouts. Hopefully getting cheaper over time, too.

      (But see my comment later about BT’s obvious direction going forward)

    8. DTMark says:

      This is all well and good for business parks who have alternate FTTP suppliers, and cabled streets, because those will be the only ones BT will be interested in targeting commercially.

      So, back to the other 35%..

  4. adslmax says:

    It’s all pre election lied! And broken promise! Don’t trust him!

    1. Alec Robertson says:

      He’s more trustworthy than Ed Balls or anyone in the Labour party.

    2. Alloneword says:

      Or any of them come to that

    3. danny says:

      Exactly its all talk just for the goons of the “tory dimwits “to be voted in they all a bunch of no brainers and they cannot even get “upto 38meg” in certain areas sorted never mind ” ultrafast “with the use of crappy copper whats been paid for over and over in rip off line rental . .BODGE BRITAIN

    4. DTMark says:

      As in the old joke:

      “How can you tell when a politician is lying?”
      “His lips are moving”.

      We have such shockingly amateur government in this country.

  5. Al says:

    Well as has been mentioned the big question is the 30% of the country that will not be deemed finically viable. However the actual figure might be less than that as my area is not in the commercial rollout but is planned for FTTC/P and I suspect the same might be true elsewhere so some areas might not need as much investment as some of the ground work for FTTP had already been done.

  6. gerarda says:

    Apparently 95% plus 1% equals nobody left behind according to the DCMS. No wonder they claim the coverage is better than it is if they they believe that 4% = no-one

    1. MikeW says:

      You missed a word – that it “helps” ensure. Not that it ensures.

      IIRC, BDUK broke the final 5% down into:
      – 1% that was the hard-to-reach urban
      – 3% of middling rural
      – 1% that was the really, really, really rural

      The 3% is almost certainly going to get wireless – unless some company decides they really can get fibre to them, or B4RN works out how to replicate itself.

      Assuming that the satellite is aimed at the really rural, then we haven’t seen anything at all that targets the hardest 1% urban.

    2. gerarda says:

      Wireless is only mentioned twice in the plan. Once in relation to Relish and once in terms of the trials . There is no suggestion that is going to cover 3 times as much as satellite.

    3. MikeW says:

      That’s the problem that DCMS has to overcome – they’re very anti-wireless entirely, but it is probably the only technology available in the timescales they are trying to run at (and have promised people).

      Once the government is formed after the next election, DCMS have to quickly choose – do they accept wireless being used for phase 3 (and probably deployed in parallel with fibre for phase 2)? Or continue to go deeper with fixed-line fibre?

      Our county council is prepared for the procurement choice to go either way, but are otherwise in limbo.

      I have no doubt (ok, little doubt) that BT could, and would, go deeper than 95% with fibre, more economically, with reverse-powered FTTdp nodes (whether carrying VDSL2 or G.fast tech). Unfortunately, it is probably about 2 years behind where it is needed to become viable for our final 5%.

      (Aside: As evidence, see how much faster BT are setting up scale trials for G.fast than they were with vectoring – about 2 years faster; BT themselves reckon commercial equipment will start appearing at the end of 2015, but they are running scale, public, trials in the summer. There has only been one interoperability plugfest between chipset makers so far! They want this to work, and want it yesterday.)

      Once you accept that BT have a big vision for G.fast and FTTdp, you see that they could choose to either overlay the wireless phase 3 work, or augment it (eg wireless backhaul + G.fast nodes tacked onto existing copper drop lines). There might be a limited life for any phase 3 wireless ISPs – which is risky for them.

    4. gerarda says:

      I thought Gfast was useless without vectoring. I am sure I read some where that the crosstalk from adding even a second line decimated the speed.

    5. MikeW says:

      G.fast comes with its own version of vectoring.

  7. Chris Conder says:

    It is getting more of a superfarce every year. The snake oil salesmen are winning this one chaps. Gfarce is the next magic elixir of life. Except its not.

    1. TheFacts says:

      We still wait for your proposal.

    2. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: We still wait for your answers and research results from the questions raised last year!

    3. TheFacts says:

      Please list the questions.

    4. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: You are quite poorly equipped, aren’t you, not even able to use Google?

      One of the questions raised is how to do longterm fibre broadband investment without burdening the taxpayers. Also, you raised various questions on different broadband statistics in the past to which it was suggested to you that you do some FoI and/or Google research, which you never did.

      Your constant posting of silly questions, and your unwillingness or inability to do your own research, even on simply question, makes you look you strange here!

    5. GNewton says:

      @Chris: Agreed. BTW.: TheFacts has already suggested a few months ago to do a nationwide government-funded fibre broadband rollout!

    6. MikeW says:

      An interesting read, that report. It states things pretty much as you’d expect – that there is no particular advantage in FTTH as yet.

      But it makes an interesting example assertion: that it will cost no more to deploy G.fast in 2016 followed by FTTH in 2023, compared with deploying FTTH in 2016. If a G.fast rollout delayed the need for FTTH beyond 2023, then it is quids in.

      The document doesn’t make any recommendation, but gives some options about what to do if you don’t rollout FTTH immediately. However, there is a companion document (Are we missing a trick) that believes we should have a policy to invest £100m in FTTH in a few specialised tech & media cluster areas, and monitor usage for signs of changed behaviour that would signal the need for wider FTTH.


      So the policy should be “wait and see”, but make sure you are monitoring it right.

      The unstated corollary is that, with VM and BT’s recent announcements, there is no need to chase gigabit yet, just for the sake of putting it on advertising hoardings.

      But they also highlight B4RN as a small project with implications for future rural roll outs.

    7. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: “As you have provided no information”

      You are truly a hopeless case, all you had to do is use Google, or, go 2 posts above yours.

      Go find something better to do in your spare time!

  8. Engineer says:

    100mbps capable lines are out there, we just cap at 80mbps.

  9. MikeW says:

    I was just reading BT’s response to the DCIS consultation. Remembering that DCIS is about the 2025-2030 time period, it was interesting to see this:

    In one section, they want to ensure that policy allows telco’s to retire redundant, inefficient products that can no longer be sold cost-effectively/profitably.

    Within the timescales, they expect exchange-based copper services to have the potential to fall into this category (one prediction mentioned was that exchange-based ADSL might be down to 2 million lines by 2020); they list LLU and WLR too, so it seems clear that exchange-based voice could go, not just broadband.

    However, they emphasise that the copper on the D-side will remain economic long after the E-side copper, and they expect market demand for copper D-side services (FTTC and FTTdp) to remain well beyond the 2025-2030 timescales.

    So there it is … copper “well beyond” 15 years.

    1. GNewton says:

      “So there it is … copper “well beyond” 15 years.”

      That will make you happy now as a BT shareholder!

    2. MikeW says:

      Hah. No such luck.

      I forsee only downside – another 15 years of trying to teach economics to the fibre-at-any-cost crowd.

    3. mrpops2ko says:

      What I don’t understand is why have providers not come up with interesting contracts to mitigate expansion cost? I would gladly sign up for 10 or 15 years if I got a totally unlimited internet connection, that was 1000/1000.

      Surely from that kind of information, you could create FTTH. Hell i’d even campaign to people on my street to make the commitment.

      I know providers like Gigaclear / BARN target those guys who get left behind, so that no alternative will really exist for them in the short term, but why wouldn’t providers tailor contracts like I mentioned? Again I can’t be the only one who would willingly sign up for a 10 year or so contract in exchange for a service that is 10x the speed. I wouldn’t even mind a fluctuating price either. Or being locked into £35 a month or so.

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