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Spectrum Internet Says Government Broadband Rollout is “5 years too late”

Monday, October 5th, 2015 (1:23 am) - Score 1,793
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7. On 20th June 2015 Ofcom finally introduced their new harmonised migration system for fixed line broadband and phone providers (excluding DOCSIS, FTTP/H, satellite, mobile and wireless ISPs), which means that in order to switch consumers only need to contact their new (gaining) provider.

What are your thoughts on this system, particularly given that it currently only applies to BT and KC’s respective platforms, and do any areas still require improvement?

ANSWER:

I’m sure every AltNet has gone through the same headaches with the ‘big boys’ coming up with reasons why they couldn’t give (valid) MAC’s. We’ve heard so many awful stories from customers switching to us and telling us things that their provider told them – it’s been quite embarrassing to hear that companies allow this practice to exist. It also made the customers more determined to come across so their tactics didn’t work.

I’m happier that new customers can come to us and not have to deal with the dreaded call centre operatives. However, we’ve already witnessed ‘customer retention strategies’ that contravene the new system. We’ll feedback if we hear back from OfCom about the official complaint made.

8. What do you think of the Government’s plan to subsidise Satellite connectivity in order to bring superfast broadband to the final 1-2% of UK premises; would this be an effective or flawed long-term fix?

ANSWER:

If you are in the deepest darkest forests in the Amazon then satellite may be your only hope. However, in the UK if you can get mains power then we should look to get a wired broadband service. We’ve delivered hybrid solutions to windfarms using fibre and wireless technologies. I would prefer that more money was offered for a longer term solution than satellite, I’m afraid.

9. Ofcom recently proposed to open up physical access to BT’s Dark Fibre Optic lines for use by rival operators, what are your thoughts on this and do you think that Spectrum Internet could also benefit?

ANSWER:

Yes we would definitely welcome this, although I don’t see it being in as great a demand as some people expect. We need to ensure the service wrap by Openreach is better than those they provide on their lit fibre services. My worry is that I’m expecting it to be like the PIA [Openreach’s Physical Infrastructure Access product] with a bizarre charging mechanism in place that is overly complicated so that you will see little take up – or only for backhaul rather distribution.

10. Spectrum Internet appears to be making good use of the Government’s Connection Voucher scheme, which offers grants worth up to £3,000 to help businesses get superfast broadband installed.

Similarly the Welsh Government has touted an Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher scheme, which will provide up to £10,000 towards the capital costs of helping firms in Wales to install 100Mbps+ broadband, albeit only applicable to businesses in Enterprise and Local Growth Zones.

What are your thoughts on the first voucher scheme and its expected closured by March 2016 or possibly sooner if funding runs out? Could it be improved and if so, how?

ANSWER:

We offered advice initially under the pilot scheme based on our experience of the WG Broadband Support Scheme that. This led to projects in Gower and villages in Monmouthshire being able to get superfast broadband infrastructures deployed, and I’m pleased to see take up has grown.

It would be great to see the scheme extended, but there should be more caps on particular types of connections with emphasis on helping businesses that can’t get superfast broadband e.g. no existing infrastructure rather than just to get businesses connected to the FTTC box already sat on the business park or street.

One way that I think this could be done is to go back to getting 2 quotes from different providers to help businesses understand what options are out there.

11. The Government are considering imposing an industry levy (tax) upon broadband ISPs in order to help them raise around £500m to help bring superfast broadband to the final 5%. How does Spectrum Internet perceive this idea / what would need to happen for it to be considered fair and workable?

ANSWER:

If it was based on the number of connections an ISP has and types of connections, that’s fair enough.

12. What other hopes and plans does Spectrum Internet have for the future?

ANSWER:

We are looking to roll out a lot more of our own fibre infrastructure and partnering with other organisations is definitely part of our future strategy. You know what they say about great minds think alike! We’ve just entered into a venture with ITS Technology Group, another AltNet with very similar ideas to us.

We may also look at acquiring other businesses that would help our organic growth, which could mean we could look at the BDUK programme more seriously.

We’ve always tended to focus more on doing and delivering rather than shouting about what we might be doing – when you hear announcements from Spectrum Internet you know its because its been delivered and highly successful rather than just PR stunts. We’re just too busy for stuff like that, but it can mean we seem a little quiet in this industry.

One personal challenge for me is to work on a proper independent UK availability checker across all solutions so if anyone wants to get in touch to work on this with us, I’d be happy to hear from you.

—-

ISPreview.co.uk would just like to thank Giles Phelps for agreeing to take part in this interview and being so candid in his responses.

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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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4 Responses
  1. Avatar MikeW

    Q4 – Good to see the impact of ADSL2+ from the cabinet – perhaps the GEA-over-ADSL2+ product isn’t a dead duck after all.

    However, 15Mbps over 3km is quite high – my old exchange line was only 2.2km long, and could only get 13Mbps on ADSL2+. Perhaps the remote community was fed by thicker copper than average…

    Does Spectrum implement PSD masks for ADSL2+ from the cabinet, matching the VDSL2 ones in the ANFP? If so, how much does that compromise the speed that could be achieved?

  2. Avatar JamesM

    I live in South Wales and Spectrum are at my exchange. I like their approach and I am looking for a business grade line so I might well speak with them and see what they can do.

    • Avatar JamesM

      All i can see is a £250 connection fee on the home broadband pages. This can’t be right? No one will pay £250 to connect to home FTTC!

  3. Avatar TheoB

    It’s just not correct to say that the last 5% are entirely Rural – there are heaps of EO lines in inner London, and we’re not happy!
    I have just commented on
    http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2015/10/no-mention-of-broadband-as-uk-commits-gbp100bn-to-infrastructure.html#comment-160666
    before viewing the above, so I won’t repeat myself here.

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