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Ofcom’s Strategic Review to Rule on Future of BT Openreach Next Month

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 (9:24 am) - Score 1,851

Still not good enough, BT. The CEO of Ofcom, Sharon White, has told MPs that BT still isn’t investing enough into UK broadband infrastructure and confirmed that the regulator would “absolutely” give a final verdict on Openreach’s future in December. But the changes might have to be forced through.

Earlier this year the regulator posted its initial Strategic Review recommendations (full summary here and here), which found “evidence” to show that Openreachstill has an incentive to make decisions in the interests of BT, rather than BT’s competitors, which can lead to competition problems“. Ofcom also felt as if BT was failing to push enough investment towards improving national broadband connectivity and that engineering services needed to become better at fixing faults, especially for broadband.

A variety of changes were proposed to help tackle this, such as making it even easier for rival ISPs to access Openreach’s fibre optic lines and cable ducts, tougher minimum service quality requirements, greater access to data on the operator’s physical network / performance and the prospect of “legal separation” (i.e. akin to splitting Openreach from BT’s control, albeit not full “structural separation“).

Since then BT has also pledged to invest £6bn into UK broadband and mobile (4G and 5G) connectivity, which among other things has included a pledge to support the Government’s 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO), a plan to make 300Mbps capable G.fast broadband available to 10 million premises and 1Gbps capable FTTP to 2 million premises by 2020; with both rising to cover “most” of the UK by 2025.

However much of what BT has proposed will only benefit the more commercial friendly urban and sub-urban areas, where good connectivity already exists. But Ofcom wants BT to go further and also warned that telecoms operators are now “right at the bottom” of the customer service rankings. “I think they are now out of kilter with where public expectation is,” said Sharon.

Sharon White, CEO of Ofcom, told MPs:

“As the committee knows we set out very clearly a model for legal separation of openreach from BT, that was subject to formal consultation and we’ve received 100,000 responses. We are giving due consideration to all the views that have been put forward and we expect to be able to say something publicly very shortly.”

Sharon, who was speaking during yesterday’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee event (video below), also confirmed that Ofcom still hadn’t been able to reach a voluntary agreement with BT but would continue to press forward and publish an official statement on their final determination in December 2016. No delays.

Apparently the regulator is continuing to have “discussions with BT“, but Sharon noted that a gap still existed between both sides in “two or three rather important areas.” It’s known that BT remains bitterly opposed to Openreach becoming a “legally separate company” (no CEO likes to lose full control over part of their business, even if the BT board would still have a say) and they’re also concerned about the related risks / costs of moving staff and pension liabilities to the “new” company.

Sharon White added:

“BT hasn’t seen Openreach as a legal entity and we believe that’s an important gap. We think it’s important that the CEO of Openreach reports to an independent board, not through to BT Group. So that’s very much the status.

Obviously if BT matches our proposal from [July 2016] then we can move to reform very speedily. If not then, as we set out in July, we do have the powers to mandate and oblige BT to reform Openreach, which we will do.”

Interestingly Ofcom hinted that they were still open to the nuclear option of structural separation, but they remain “mindful of the costs and potential disruption” involved. Sharon clearly still prefers legal separation, which she said would offer more “consumer benefits” and avoids some of the costs of a “structural” split.

However if no deal can be done then it sounds like Sharon will attempt to force through “legal separation” rather than take the path of a full structural split. This has apparently already been discussed with the European Commission’s competition authority. December should be interesting.

Leave a Comment
71 Responses
  1. GNewton says:

    The idea that OR could somehow make autonomous decisions without having independent access to financial markets probably doesn’t work. A legally separated BT would still be wholly owned by the BT Group as its single shareholder, and it would be BT Group who would set and provide the total budget. What’s really needed is a full structural separation, which would give Openreach easier access to financial markets.

    1. fastman says:

      the last network provider that tried to do that was digital region !!!

    2. 125uS says:

      Even if it was a full structural separation, it would have the same shareholders as BT Group *and* BT would be its largest customer. There’s no easy solution to this. I doubt the government has the money to buy out BT’s shareholders of their stake in Openreach.

    3. Ignition says:

      To be fair Digital Region was in part destroyed by the costs of SLU. They mistakenly expected it to cost less than full loop LLU at some point.

      That and some pretty horrendously optimistic uptake projections and cost overruns.

    4. AndyH says:

      I don’t understand Gnewton’s arguments here.

      Shareholders have no powers to decide budgets/investments, that’s decided by the directors and board members. Shareholders have very limited powers, primarily being the ability to appoint and remove directors.

      How exactly do you fully separate Openreach from the BT Group?

    5. GNewton says:

      @125uS: You are probably right, initially the same shareholders would also be the shareholders of a fully independent Openreach. However, this would gradually change, and in a few years time the picture would be quite different. The important thing is: Openreach needs access to financial markets, not be restricted by a parent company. And it needs investment certainties, not hindered by BT Group. And of course it should not have to take onboard an overly large share of the pension burdens, the latter should NOT be redistributed according to historical employment patterns, technologies and markets keep to changing too fast anyway. Without these conditions, nobody would want to invest in Openreach. As a sweetener, the remainder BT should less subjected to Ofcom regulations, rather it should be given the change to become a genuine business.

    6. AndyH says:

      Why should the pension scheme not be allocated based on where the employee worked?

    7. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: A structural separation is not quite the same as Ofcom’s ‘nuclear option’.

      BT has a broad range of business lines. This can make it difficult for a single management team to maximize the profitability of each line, and keeps urgently needed infrastructure investment held back. It can be much more beneficial to shareholders to split up the company into 2 independent companies, so that each line can be managed individually to maximize profits.

      Shares of the original company are exchanged for shares in the new companies, with the exact distribution of shares depending on the situation. This is an effective way to break up a company into 2 independent companies: Openreach and the remnant BT Group.

    8. FibreFred says:

      And your speaking in a professional sense of what?

      What is your vocation, being an expert in these matters?

    9. AndyH says:

      @ Gnewton

      “BT has a broad range of business lines. This can make it difficult for a single management team to maximize the profitability of each line, and keeps urgently needed infrastructure investment held back.”

      And BT doesn’t have capable managers of its business lines at the moment?

      “It can be much more beneficial to shareholders to split up the company into 2 independent companies, so that each line can be managed individually to maximize profits.”

      I am confused by this. On the one hand, you say a split Openreach would go to the debt/equity capital markets, raise a large amount to build a nationwide FTTP network. On the other hand, you’re saying this would then maximise profits by diluting existing investors or increasing the net debt of Openreach to an extent that make it so over-leveraged, it would be a huge risk for any investor. It’s a little bit contradictory no?

      “Shares of the original company are exchanged for shares in the new companies, with the exact distribution of shares depending on the situation. This is an effective way to break up a company into 2 independent companies: Openreach and the remnant BT Group.”

      And who compensates BT for the divesture of its most profitable and largest asset? (which would need to happen)

    10. Chris P says:

      @GN
      I’m sure this all makes perfect sense in your head, but in the real world things don’t quite work quite like you want them to.

    11. brianv says:

      @GNewton can’t you just see BT Group and Ofcom “doing a Railtrack” with Openreach?!

      Dumping all the group’s pension liabilities on the infrastructure division. Bankrupting it. Before forcibly nationalizing it. By falling back on the taxpayer – via the Pension Protection Fund – to bail out its £14bn deficit.

      Meanwhile BT Group, now sans Openreach, carries on regardless. Plundering both public and private purses. Only in Britain.

      Though hopefully back in public hands, prised from the clowns at BT, a properly-resourced Openreach would roll-out FTTP within realistic timeframe.

  2. DTMark says:

    ““evidence” to show that Openreach “still has an incentive to make decisions in the interests of BT, rather than BT’s competitors”

    Of course it does. It isn’t a sort of charity co-operative nor is it legally permitted to act like one. So this is a statement of the obvious.

    We know that BT cannot take the country forward and deliver what’s needed thanks to its pensions burden. So we also know that private investment is needed from others, which in turn requires a structure that allows them to invest safely.

    However the government has been pursuing the opposite strategy, which is to say that broadband is a State affair and delivering the message that “private investment is to be discouraged at all costs”.

    In doing so, BT has gamed the government – notably with anticipated take-up figures – and the subtext of this announcement seems to be that the government has woken up to find egg on its proverbial face. The BDUK project completely failed to consider the effective monopoly position that BT holds in half the country, and largely still does, with serial idiocy like “Open Market Reviews” which are nothing of the sort.

    Having driven the UK into an environment where it is the local authority’s responsibility, not that of the private sector, to deliver and fund broadband, and ensured that there is simply no way in which any other operator can invest in this country’s fixed-line services on any scale, this seems to be coming a little late.

    Here are the original objectives for the government project:

    BDUK’s goals include facilitating the delivery of universal broadband and stimulating private sector investment to deliver the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015. To achieve these objectives the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have agreed 3 business aims:

    1.Create a level playing field between incumbents and new providers
    2.Open up access to infrastructure to facilitate super-fast broadband in many areas
    3.Facilitate the introduction of super-fast broadband in remote areas at the same time as in more populated areas

    We have largely achieved the opposite of this, rewriting the project objectives successively in order to claim success at meeting them.

    So now, we’re having another go at it. Maybe we can get it right this time.

  3. fastman says:

    biggest issue in this the “fix britain brigade basically don’t want to fund anything and just want cheaper costs – so be careful what you wish for as you just might get it is the old adage

    1. DTMark says:

      That’s largely a factor of decades of under-investment by BT. “Sweating the assets”.

      What do you think would happen to take-up of Openreach services in cabled streets if Openreach tried to charge more in order to pay for even G.Fast now, let alone competing with the potential speeds with the FTTP that Virgin is moving ahead with?

    2. 125uS says:

      Decades? Until about the turn of the millennium it seemed that access networks would remain largely static and that investment would go into core infrastructure – which is what happened. Until broadband arrived BT’s last mile network was experiencing gradual decline as people shifted to cable companies and the like for their telephony.

      I’m not sure what investments in access network technology BT should have been making decades ago, given the ban on them offering cable TV over their network – the only service at the time that couldn’t be delivered over twisted pairs.

      Even one decade ago the demand from the market was for BT to install ADSL kit in exchanges and to make copper last miles available to other ISPs and telcos to run their own services over. The demand for FTTP is a recent one and it seems odd to criticise a company for not doing (and paying) for something decades ago when the demand has only recently emerged.

    3. gerarda says:

      @125us BT had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and given the benefit of publicly funded broadband “stimulation” expenditure to install that ADSL kit.

      BTs sudden conversion to Gfast is simply a response to Virgins increased speeds

      Investing to future proof its business seems to be alien to BT.

    4. fastman says:

      Gerada — 21st century and given the benefit of publicly funded broadband “stimulation” expenditure to install that ADSL kit. ?

      what publically funded are you referring to ?

    5. MikeW says:

      “Investing to future proof its business seems to be alien to BT.”

      For a company with a legacy access network of copper, research into things like G.Fast *is* an investment for the future. Why do you think they bother doing it?

      “BT’s sudden conversion to G.Fast…”

      There’s nothing sudden about it. After VDSL2 (2006), the initial discussions about “Omega DSL” (named, because they thought it would be the final DSL development) happened in 2008, with BT’s involvement. The 4GBB project that fed the technical development of the G.Fast standard started in 2009, with BT’s involvement.

      BT were progressing G.Fast while Ofcom were still twiddling their thumbs over whether to allow BT to deploy fibre at all.

    6. MikeW says:

      @125us

      Worse than that, just 1 decade ago, Ofcom tied our future to a copper access network through the LLU scheme.

      Giving companies such as Sky and TT an environment that they were comfortable investing in LLU, just happens to simultaneously destroy the environment for putting in fibre and ripping out the copper.

      Hindsight is a wonderful thing…

    7. DTMark says:

      Yes, but..

      It’s not as if BT would ever work along duct to duct, pole to pole, “ripping out the copper”. A fibre infrastructure would have to be run in parallel anyway. The copper could optionally be recovered later – would be worthwhile recovering large bundles, it would fetch decent money.

      One of the “selling points” of FTTC was to being fibre within “spitting distance” of premises on the basis that Fibre-on-Demand (let’s just call that “fibre”) and other options like G.Fast would bear fruit.

      Let’s see it. At the moment, as I predicted (wasn’t difficult) and as it appears, G.Fast is just a cabinet-based and business park solution that doesn’t even exist yet. Need I point out that 2009 (G.Fast reference above) was seven long years ago.

    8. gerarda says:

      @fastman

      All the demand stimulation exercises designed to show BT there was sufficient demand to meet the triggers levels they had set on exchanges before they would enable them for ADSL. £5m was spent just in the East of England. And we are not talking about the last century, this was happening in 2004/5

    9. gerarda says:

      @wwwombat

      If at the time BT did not believe ADSL was worth investing in and expected that most people would want to stay on dial-up (see my previous post)Ofcom can hardly be solely blamed for not thinking beyond ADSL

    10. Gadget says:

      @Gerada – lets not forget the “phonebooking” that went on in some exchanges to falsify the demand. That said there were still some exchanges where there was a very slow march towards the ADSL trigger level, and if it were your money would you be prepared to bet it when folk couldn’t even register interest?

    11. brianv says:

      @MikeW

      G.Fast is a very new idea for BT. Until a few months back, BT was wedded to G.Vector.

      Though both technologies just more excuses to sweat BT’s corroding copper assets.

      Anything to avoid bankrolling a future-proof FTTP solution. Though that would involve hard cash. Of which BT has none. Thanks to its pension fund mismanagement.

      BT also failed to upgrade its ADSL equipment. Its exchange-based DSLAMs were (and still are) some of the oldest around (G.992.3; up to 8Mbps)

      Meanwhile Sky, CPW, C&W, Zen et al. were busy upgrading their LLU kit to G.992.5 (up to 24Mbps).

      We migrated to TalkTalk (Business) thanks to BT and its decrepit exchange plant.

      There’s a long and sordid history at BT Group of starving funds for equipment upgrades, maintenance and repairs.

    12. FibreFred says:

      “BT also failed to upgrade its ADSL equipment. Its exchange-based DSLAMs were (and still are) some of the oldest around (G.992.3; up to 8Mbps)

      Meanwhile Sky, CPW, C&W, Zen et al. were busy upgrading their LLU kit to G.992.5 (up to 24Mbps).”

      Really? So how can BT offer up to 24Mbps then on ADSL?

      In terms of hard cash you seem to be forgetting what they have spent on the commercial rollout of FTTC

    13. Gadget says:

      @brianv interesting take on it

      The other side to the statement is that the LLU operators have only unbundled where they can see a commercial case to do so, putting in ADSL2+ from scratch and in the process whilst covering a good proportion of the population have not unbundled a sizeable number of exchanges in the UK.

      Where they (LLU operators) have not unbundled they make a commercial decision if they will even offer broadband service via BTW. BTW has provided ADSL at virtually every exchange in the country where there would be nothing if looked at from an LLU perspective, they have also upgraded a good number of exchanges to ADSL2+. So whilst not ideal if you are on a ADSL only exchange at least it has something better than dial-up in 99% of cases.

    14. FibreFred says:

      More than a good number Gadget, according to Samwknows only 86 exchanges are not due to be uplifted

      https://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchanges/bt/adslmax

      Most were done years ago

    15. MikeW says:

      @dtmark

      The point isn’t really in the ability to pull copper out of the ground everywhere – although some misguided souls think the money from doing so is enough to make FTTP viable.

      The point is that BT would be free to choose whatever steps make economic sense. To ignore the copper where unused, and drop it from maintenance schedules. Or to rip it out if duct space is needed for fibre.

      Right now we have the worst of all worlds.

    16. MikeW says:

      @brianv

      BT were always following both G.Fast and G.993.5 vectoring. The switch away from vectoring came about suddenly … simply because G.Fast suddenly appeared far more capable in practice than anyone thought.

      Because of this, BT were being offered a choice of cabinet-oriented upgrades that they could choose from. They chose G.Fast over vectoring.

      They still have options for a DP-oriented rollout, but that’s a while off now.

    17. MikeW says:

      @fred, @gadget

      Interesting link, that. Plus the equivalent pages for other technologies.

      It shows that Sky has unbundled around 2700 exchanges (of 5500), about the same number that BT have put WBC ADSL2+ services in. TT have unbundled around 10% more.

      However, it also shows that all those have been dwarfed by the exchanges that have some FTTC – over 4000.

      Of course, we know that not all the lines on those extra 1000+ exchanges won’t have superfast NGA services, but we do know that the fibre spine has pushed out into those areas.

    18. TheFacts says:

      Over 5000 exchanges have some FTTC.

  4. Data Analysis says:

    So next months major story is Ofcom caving like a house of cards to BT AGAIN!

  5. fastman says:

    so virgin has its own network that covers 50% of the UK and no one else is allowed to use it

  6. fastman says:

    so what ofcom going to do about that – opening the virgin network ?

    1. Data Analysis says:

      Go ask them rather than continually asking on here.

  7. FibreFred says:

    So no doubt no agreement will be made and it will go to court for who knows how long

    Whatever happens gnewton won’t be happy so… every cloud eh?

    1. Data Analysis says:

      Court could be avoided if BT realised they are not there to do as they please but what a regulator tells them. If they do not like their industry being regulated then perhaps they should just go away (to be polite).

  8. Paul says:

    BT did have ambitions years ago, but Margaret Thatcher put an end to that. I’m surprised more people don’t know about it. Just Google Margaret Thatcher kills fibre broadband. Won’t help us here, but it’s an interesting story.

    1. Dumb argument says:

      Nobody cares what happened neigh on 30 years ago, and what decisions were made then have nothing to do with investment or lack of now.

    2. DTMark says:

      I would question precisely how BT intended to act back then. If it was planning to run FTTP nationwide then there’s a case for that article.

      If, on the other hand, as I suspect, it was to almost literally walk along the same streets as Virgin Media on the same day “upgrading” in a predatory fashion to crowd out competiton, then I can see why Thatcher acted.

      Of course, the fundamental failing was to sell a national asset for peanuts on the basis that “private = good, state = bad” dogmatically without considering that, actually, it’s “competition = good, monopoly = bad”.

    3. FibreFred says:

      “Nobody cares what happened neigh on 30 years ago, and what decisions were made then have nothing to do with investment or lack of now.”

      Nobody?

      Well sensible people would see it as relevant, trolls would see it as annoying

    4. FibreFred says:

      DTMark, Virgin Media wasn’t in the picture there it was a patch work of separate cable companies.

      I don’t think we’ll ever know what their plan was but even if they cabled the same locations back then as the cable companies we’d be looking at about 40% coverage which is great so… very relevant

    5. TheFacts says:

      Individual cable companies were building and expanding their areas, then the money ran out.

    6. MikeW says:

      “I would question precisely how BT intended to act back then. If it was planning to run FTTP nationwide then there’s a case for that article.”

      I’d question it too.

      On the plus side for BT, they would have been able to choose to stop providing service over copper as they rolled out fibre – so would get the maintenance gain almost immediately. They can’t do that today because of LLU.

      On the plus side too, the biggest plus side, it would have given them the ability to sell TV services, just like the cable companies were set up for, and would have had a relative monopoly, mostly fighting Sky and BSB. It is the ARPU from extra services that was the real target.

      Also on the plus side: BT were in the process of replacing all their exchanges with System X and AXE-10. A plan that integrated the rollout of fibre alongside rollout of the local system X exchange could have saved money through use of different line interface cards.

      However…

      What happened between 1986, when Cochrane was ready to go, and 1990, when it was stopped?

      A 1986 start would have locked in more gains from the System X replacements, and would have made even more sense. Why didn’t they start then?

    7. Data Analysis says:

      Surely its only the future what matters and what BT have planned. Personally i ca not understand that if they wanted to do FTTP all those years ago why are they so reluctant to do it now.

    8. MikeW says:

      Money.

      What’s the cost of fibre? What’s the value of fibre?

      vs

      What’s the value of copper? And what is the value of a subscriber?

      The answer to those questions have all changed beyond wildest dreams since the 1974 that Peter Cochrane started his quest for fibre.

    9. Data Analysis says:

      Makes no sense, if its Money. They are a richer company today than they were back then, how were they going to afford it back then if they can not afford it now?

    10. MikeW says:

      If that’s the only part of the equation you want to consider, then no, it won’t make sense to you.

    11. Data Analysis says:

      Do they make more profit now or 30 years ago?

    12. MikeW says:

      Who knows? Especially once you take RPI into account.

      But who cares, either? It’s even less relevant than how rich they are.

    13. Data Analysis says:

      So you are saying they are poorer being a private entity today? Do the shareholders know about this? Surely if they are doing worse than when they were 20+ years ago when majority government owned perhaps the government should take back control if they did a better job.

      Either things are better as they are today or back then, BT are either richer and have more to spend back then or today. Its not a hard or question.

    14. MikeW says:

      Being richer or not is irrelevant. Having more to spend is irrelevant too. More so if you ignore inflation. Hard or easy question, it still isn’t worth answering.

      Sky has more money than 25 years ago too. Maybe they should loosen those purse strings?

      Perhaps you’ve forgotten your degree in finance. Luckily the LSE Business School has put together some content from an advanced module that might help you out. Thank me later for digging out a link to great free content.

    15. Data Analysis says:

      “Being richer or not is irrelevant. …”

      No it is not considering one of your common answers to the why not FTTP the whole country is it would cost too much.

    16. Data Analysis says:

      Sky is a TV company not a broadband and phone company, they just happen to offer those products also.

      Using the logic Sky should be doing FTTP for the country, you may as well say Gregs the bakers should be fibering the whole country as they have wifi in their stores.

      BT is the incubant, which ofcom have now agreed with hence the seperation, so its back to them.

  9. FibreFred says:

    “Personally i ca not understand that if they wanted to do FTTP all those years ago why are they so reluctant to do it now.”

    Yeah nothing changes in 30+yrs in the telco landscape does it?

    Coming from the guy that doesn’t like reports 5yrs old , couldn’t make it up 🙂

    http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/11/talktalk-calls-bduk-stop-using-analysys-mason-bt-fear.html#comment-171846

    1. MikeW says:

      The proper study of history teaches us lessons for the future…

      There is one major place in the UK where telecom services haven’t changed quite so much in the last 30 years.

      In this “backward” place, there is one vertical owner of infrastructure and retailer of services.
      There is no LLU competition.
      There is no forced wholesaling of access.
      There is no competition from cable TV.

      The Rt Honorable Minister for Digital & Culture, Matt Hancock, recently picked out this place, this company, as an exemplar for adopting widespread FTTP deployment, even if they are being a tad slow.

      Who? KCOM
      Where? The City of Kingston upon Hull, and surrounding towns and villages.

      Without competition, this place was still cheap for phone calls. Without competition, this place had upgraded to System X before BT. Without competition, this place introduced ADSL first.

      Without competition, this place has chosen to deploy FTTP in preference to FTTC.

      I’m not sure that Matt Hancock, champion of competition, really meant to highlight the advances made by the least competitive city in the UK, but there you go.

      Is this what the rest of the country would have looked like if Maggie didn’t prioritise competition from Cable TV? If Ofcom didn’t prioritise retention of copper with the LLU market?

    2. MikeW says:

      I imagine there is a similar history in another place in the British Isles, outside the UK. Perhaps further lessons are available from Jersey Telecom.

    3. Data Analysis says:

      Oh no i agree plenty changes in 30 years. Which is the puzzle… BT are a richer company today than they were back then, how were they going to afford it back then if they can not afford it now?

    4. MikeW says:

      Income. Lack thereof.

    5. Data Analysis says:

      Not sure what you mean theres been numerous stories about their profits increasing each year.

    6. MikeW says:

      Stories about increasing profits alongside reports of their mass rollout of FTTP?

      When you see both together, then the former will be relevant.

    7. Gadget says:

      Interesting MikeW that the BBC also chose to call out the lack of speedy broadband in KCOM area recently http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38067272/autumn-statement-five-places-you-say-need-better-broadband-around-the-uk Realistically though there will probably always be the odd location where there is no fibre, long distance to exchange, non-LOS wireless and its those that will cost the bigger bucks.

    8. Data Analysis says:

      What mass rollout of FTTP is this? The 2 million (less than 10%) that is “aimed for” not promised in the next few years?

      Sorry can you try again in explaining how they were going to do a nationwide FTTP rollout back then but can not do it now?

    9. MikeW says:

      @gadget
      Yeah, KCOM have been slow, but since selling their national network (to CityFibre?) they’ve had enough money to speed up. They’ll have reached a decent amount by this time next year.

  10. MikeW says:

    @grrarda

    I’m not sure BT needed persuading much. At the same time, they were rethinking their entire core network strategy to be IP-based.

    They might not have been at the most active in the access network at the time, but they made up for it deeper.

    1. gerarda says:

      So the demand stimulation was just a ploy to get the public sector to pay for BTs marketing?

    2. MikeW says:

      I think you need to go back and answer @fastman’s question.

      After that, I’ll add the reminder that its perfectly plausible to put the bulk of your attention in one direction, for the bulk of your sub’s that are profitable, while simultaneously acting differently, with a differing degree of attention, to the sub’s that aren’t profitable.

  11. MikeW says:

    @DataAnal ysis
    Ah, you noticed there wasn’t a mass rollout of FTTP then?
    In which case, pointing out an increase in profits with an absence of fttp tells us nothing whatsoever about FTTP. Nothing about business cases not followed. In fact, it more likely tells us that the choice of FTTC was right.

    If you want to know why FTTP is less viable now, well, my job isn’t primary-level pedagogy. The paper here does a better job than I can, in only 32 pages – more than can be added in a comment here. There’s a lot of data to analyse in there. Go have fun with it.

    Robert’s paper includes plenty of items that affect business decision-making on FTTP. You might personally make different choices, and you might label Robert as biased because the paper is funded by BT (though he says he isn’t). But it is undeniable that these are all items to factor into a decision.

    1. MikeW says:

      Incidentally, that paper makes one great observation that perhaps sums up the reason that copper in the duct continues to hold its own, financially, vs fibre on a reel: Moore’s Law.

    2. Data Analysis says:

      If any of that were true its a good job BT didnt do FTTP back when Thatcher was around as today it would need scrapping and BT would be in a mess.

      Still waiting on how they were going to do it back then though when the tech was older and harder to deploy. They did not have the man power to even install a regular phone line for a customer back then the same week let alone fibre a country.

      Still cant explain how they were going to do it back then…. Or was it a case of quick before we become private lets try to scam Thatcher for the cash to fibre our network…. Only unlike the soft headed government today it didn’t work back then.

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Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*22.00)
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £21.95 (*36.52)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Reward Card
  • Vodafone £22.00 (*25.00)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £23.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £23.00 (*29.95)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Community Fibre £25.00 (*29.50)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Double Speed Boost
  • Hyperoptic £25.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £26.00 (*52.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £26.00 (*29.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Gigaclear £29.00 (*49.00)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3371)
  2. BT (2975)
  3. Politics (1884)
  4. Building Digital UK (1883)
  5. FTTC (1869)
  6. Openreach (1792)
  7. Business (1634)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1436)
  9. Statistics (1380)
  10. FTTH (1362)
  11. 4G (1244)
  12. Fibre Optic (1149)
  13. Wireless Internet (1135)
  14. Virgin Media (1132)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1123)
  16. Vodafone (819)
  17. EE (810)
  18. TalkTalk (747)
  19. Sky Broadband (726)
  20. 5G (726)
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