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57 Cross-party MPs Back Report Seeking Compensation for Slow Broadband

Saturday, July 29th, 2017 (12:01 am) - Score 1,431

Grant Shapps’s (MP) cross-party British Infrastructure Group, which is supported by 57 MPs, has published its latest Broadbad 2.0 report, which among other things calls for consumers in the United Kingdom to be compensated for sub-10Mbps broadband speeds. Sadly it also makes some mistakes.

The original Broadbad 1.0 report, which was published in January 2016, grabbed headlines after it warned that “millions of citizens and businesses [were] experiencing slow or non-existent connections.” The blame for this was largely pinned on “systemic underinvestment stemming from the ‘natural monopoly’ of BT and Openreach,” which it accused of “stifling competition, hurting our constituents and in the process limiting Britain’s business and economic potential.”

The report, which relied upon a fair bit of old data, was far from perfect and failed to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the market or propose detailed solutions. Instead Shapps supported calls for the full separation of Openreach from BT, although the telecoms operator described his report and its recommendations as being “misleading and ill-judged” (here).

Nevertheless many people agreed with Shapp’s assessment and the report succeeded in showing that there was some political weight behind proposals for a more radical change. Since then Ofcom and BT have reached a voluntary agreement over Openreach’s “legal separation” (here, here and here), which includes new quality standards, as well as measures to open up more of their network to rivals and various changes to improve fairness

By contrast the new Broadbad 2.0 report appears to have switched tactics and instead focuses on broadband performance. In keeping with that it claims to have “found that as many as 6.7 million UK broadband connections may not receive speeds above [10Mbps]” and it makes some recommendations to help address this.

Broadband 2.0’s Recommendations

UK Government:

* Progress secondary legislation setting out the terms of a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO):

Since broadband is increasingly considered to be as essential as utilities such as water or gas, minimum standards must be introduced to improve accessibility and connectivity across the country. The Digital Economy Act 2017 sets out provisions for a USO that defines a minimum broadband download speed of 10 Mb/s. In order to set the terms and scope of this USO, secondary legislation to the Digital Economy Act must be progressed by the government.

* Provide statutory footing to the Voluntary Codes of Practice for broadband speeds:

Some of the largest UK broadband providers operate according to Voluntary Codes of Practice regulated by Ofcom. The codes of practice entail an agreement on the part of providers to share clear information about their broadband speeds, and provide redress for customers when speeds are poor. However, the voluntary nature of these codes is insufficient in a rapidly developing telecoms sector. BIG therefore calls on the government to provide Ofcom with the mandate to legalise these codes of practice, in order to make broadband providers accountable to the law.

Ofcom:

* Lead on the improvement of data collection:

Broadband download speed data recorded by Ofcom fails to differentiate between superfast connections that do not reach speeds above the proposed minimum standard of 10 Mb/s, and those connections whereby customers have actively chosen not to purchase superfast broadband. It is therefore almost impossible to determine the exact number of UK broadband customers that do not receive the speeds that they pay for. BIG calls on Ofcom to lead on the improvement of collecting broadband speed data that distinguishes between the take-up and availability of superfast broadband speeds. This is essential for developing a clear picture of how many broadband customers fail to receive the service they pay for.

* Consider fixed broadband speeds in a new automatic compensation scheme:

It is unacceptable that Ofcom has not considered whether broadband customers should be automatically compensated for consistently failing to receive the speeds that they pay for. Broadband speeds are a key indicator for whether customers are receiving a satisfactory service.

Broadband Providers:

* Take responsibility for making customers aware of their complaints and compensation procedures:

An automatic compensation scheme will only be as effective as the number of customers that know about it. Therefore, BIG calls on broadband providers to take responsibility for communicating future changes to their customer services in a clear and concise manner, in order to improve accountability and transparency in the sector.

Most of the recommendations reflect ideas that are already being debated (e.g. a mandatory code of practice for broadband speeds and better data collection from ISPs), while few could disagree with the generalised notion of asking ISPs to make customers more aware of their complaints procedures.

However there are a few problems with the report, not least of which is the fact that it makes the mistake of confusing data gathered from consumer speedtests with that of actual network availability (i.e. the claim that up to 6.7 million users may fail to receive speeds of 10Mbps). This is crucial because it results in a misrepresentation by overlooking the existing availability of faster services.

Today it’s estimated that around 93% of premises are within reach of a fixed line superfast broadband (NGA) service and we’re ahead of most EU countries (example). However there’s still plenty of work left to do in order to reach the next target of 97% by 2020 and the final 3% are expected to be catered for via a legally-binding 10Mbps+ Universal Service Obligation. The USO may very well end up being funded by BT and KCOM (here).

In reality around a million properties (not 6.7 million) would currently be unable to receive a 10Mbps+ speed and that figure will fall over the next few years as coverage improves. Put another way, the report’s 6.7m figure is bogged down by the fact that around half of home broadband lines are still connected via slower ADSL, even though faster networks are often available (i.e. a lot of people haven’t upgraded due to various reasons such as a lack of awareness, higher prices, fear of switching, satisfaction with their existing connection etc.).

Strangely the report also criticises the data collected by industry regulator Ofcom, which it says “needs to clearly distinguish between the take-up and actual availability of superfast broadband.” However the regulator has been doing precisely this for quite awhile, such as via last year’s Connection Nations 2016 report and various related studies.

Andrew Glover, Chair of ISPA Council, said:

ISPA members are actively rolling out super and ultrafast connections throughout the UK, increasing the availability of broadband of at least 10Mbps to over 95% of UK premises as speeds have increased to an average 51Mbps. As well as competing on the quality of broadband, ISPs compete on customer service, and new and existing consumer protection measures provide a strong basis for maintaining good service levels.

ISPA welcomes parliamentary interest in broadband and we have helped support MP’s local broadband campaigns, but it is important that research and reports that inform policy are robust. By failing to acknowledge the work that is already underway and selective use of data, this latest report falls short of this standard.”

Ofcom has already proposed a system of automatic compensation for a protracted losses of broadband connectivity and missed engineer appointments (here), which is expected to cost ISPs up to £185m per year. The above report’s idea of expanding on this to compensate for slow broadband will no doubt also appeal to a lot of people, but it could cost a lot more and be very difficult to implement.

The Causes of Slow Speed

The causes of slow speed are significantly more complicated to pin down than connection loss. Certainly some issues can stem from controllable aspects, such as regional network capacity or traffic management, but on the other hand ISPs cannot magically overcome any of the inherent physical limitations with existing infrastructure (particularly on ADSL / FTTC services provided via Openreach’s (BT) network); these cause most of the issues.

On top of that poor speeds can also be caused by problems that exist inside your home, such as poor wiring, weak / congested WiFi signals, home network congestion (i.e. lots of people / apps using your connection at the same time), hardware faults, restrictions on performance imposed by remote internet content services (websites and servers etc.) and so forth.

Lest we forget that affordable consumer broadband connections are often only possible because capacity is shared between many users, which is partly why the performance at peak (busy) times often suffers a fall (experiences vary). Even the best Gigabit capable “full fibre” (FTTP/H) ISPs may not always be able to deliver their top speeds because of factors like some of those mentioned above.

Suffice to say that it would be tricky to correctly judge when to apply compensation and such a system is likely to be hugely expensive. Extra costs like that will of course end up being passed on to end-users. It’s almost as if the goal of Broadband 2.0 is to give everybody a dedicated and uncontended connection, which is all well and good but that is a business connection and they can cost several times more than a residential service. Likewise ADSL and FTTC / VDSL2 users would still be hindered by the physical limitations of their line.

Mass market affordability requires commercial compromise, unless the Government is willing to build a national full fibre network at huge cost and then give it to every one of us on the cheap (as some other countries have done). However that opens up a whole new can of worms (anti-competitive practices, public spending etc.) and is unlikely to happen in the UK’s diverse market. As above, it also wouldn’t fix all the issues with speed.

So while we welcome the pro-consumer positions of Broadbad 2.0 and agree that some aspects need improvement, we are sadly frustrated by the fact that the report appears to adopt the headless chicken approach to policy making by proposing changes without fully understanding the challenges involved or offering any detail on how to implement and measure them.

SIDE NOTE 1: We’ve had one copy of the press release saying the report is supported by 57 MPs and another saying 56 MPs, so don’t be surprised if you see a few variations in the headlines today.

SIDE NOTE 2: If the rumours are true then right now the battle has already shifted and there’s a very real risk that the Government may downgrade its legally-binding USO proposal to a non-binding USC (Commitment). We should know soon enough.

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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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35 Responses
  1. Avatar Cecil Ward says:

    I want a fully uncontended guaranteed rate (on the access link) connection and am prepared to pay for it. It is essential that this option be available to those who need it. We require that level of choice. But most people do not really want such a thing, and certainly wouldn’t be willing to pay if they even thought about it, unless it were magically cheap. People generally want cheap and crap [reality], sorry, cheap and good [fantasy], but cheap is the overriding be all and end all. I am not in the majority.

    It’s a shame that this piece of political populism is so shoddy.

    Is any of it relevant to Scotland, by the way, or is it England-only?

    1. Avatar RuralBroadbandSucks says:

      @Cecil Ward: Some of us just want to be able to get what the rest of you have. Not necessarily having to be cheap, more reasonable and affordable. I currently have to pay for 2 ADSL lines, which still doesn’t get me close to the 10mbit USO, and, I cannot get ‘new customer’ rates on for switching providers as it is Market A (meaning BT only or a BT subsidiary with an additional fee).

    2. Avatar Chris P says:

      Cecil,

      You can already get an uncontended guaranteed rate, costs a lot more than broadband though and will require a survey, install charges, several items of carrier kit (fibre tray, adva, router etc) and likely ongoing rental charges in the thougsands per month.

      You can get whatever speed you want, wherever you want so long as you are willing to pay. It’s an option that will never be taken away.

      It’s just not economicaly viable to offer the same for broadband prices. Wholesale backhaul costs for broadband cost significantly more than the individual retail prices for BB, contention makes it viable.

    3. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

      “You can already get an uncontended guaranteed rate, costs a lot more than broadband though and will require a survey, install charges, several items of carrier kit (fibre tray, adva, router etc) and likely ongoing rental charges in the thougsands per month.”

      Which of course has nothing to do with the USO and MR Camerons original speech about it back in November 2015 and….

      “Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”
      -The Prime Minister David Cameron”

      Something that costs “thousands” per month is a luxury. It is not a right.

      Especially if it is “fundamental to life in 21st century Britain” if it is “fundamental to life in 21st century Britain” i imagine a lot are going to suddenly die or need to rob banks on a monthly basis for your lease line and similar suggestions which cost users thousands.

    4. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Ultraspeedy
      The solution to your problem with the cost of leased lines is to use broadband, which gives you a much lower price point in return for being a contended service. If you wish to have an uncontended service then you’re going to be paying rather more than you would for broadband for the privilege – usually hundreds of pounds a month.

      There is no contradiction between this and the government’s planned USO of course as this relates to broadband. If you decide to use a different mechanism to access the internet then you’ll have to pay the market rate for that service instead.

    5. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

      Not sure what you mean my post made it clear they were different products.

  2. Avatar alonso says:

    “…a few problems with the report, not least of which is the fact that it makes the mistake of confusing data gathered from consumer speedtests with that of actual network availability (i.e. the claim that up to 6.7 million users may fail to receive speeds of 10Mbps). This is crucial because it results in a misrepresentation by overlooking the existing availability of faster services.”

    NO that while factual it is not crucial or misrepresentation. People on ADSL who have not upgraded to VDSL or faster services it makes no difference. The number who could get 10Mb or more if they choose to do so also makes no difference.

    If a “UNIVERSAL” service obligation of 10Mb is introduced then that is what people should get… END OFF, does not matter which product they buy.

    The tech method of giving it to people does not matter. Everyone either gets 10Mb minimum or they do not, that simple. The USO is not a minimum VDSL speed its a minimum universal speed.

    IF 10Mb is the minimum a “BROADBAND” connection should run at and “BROADBAND” is the key word then what they have now should give a person them 10Mb.

    If it does not run at 10Mb you need to give them something else. A USO is not a you must buy x service to get a “universal” commitment, while we also sell something along side (IE still selling ADSL) which does not meet a universal commitment.

    Its also does not translate to phrases like “If you upgraded or pay more”. (Though Britain being Britain, that is probably what it will end up meaning in is barstewardisation of English language).

    People on ADSL should not have to upgrade to get a “UNIVERSAL” speed. Its either “UNIVERSAL” or it is not.

    If ADSL can not provide a “UNIVERSAL” 10Mb then ADSL would need to be scrapped in which to make 10Mb a “UNIVERSAL” speed. Of course that still does not solve the issue of providing 10Mb universally to all. Even if you hook up all the people that have not upgraded to FTTC then there will still be some that do not get 10Mb. There will also always be some that will never be upgraded 3% from the news item which we shall get to right now…..

    “However there’s still plenty of work left to do in order to reach the next target of 97% by 2020 and the final 3% are expected to be catered for via a legally-binding 10Mbps+ Universal Service Obligation. The USO may very well end up being funded by BT and KCOM (here).”

    Id love to know how they are going to give 10Mb to the 3% that will not be getting a faster product than they have currently from KCOM and BT…. Anyone know how???? Also whats happening to any that can take FTTC but it still not delivering 10Mb as they are too far from the cabinet………

    OH and finally NO before the BT furries say it RE-VDSL is unlikely to do that FOR ALL seeing as in just a small trial already there was at least 1 connection that barely managed over it, so unless thats the worst line in the UK there is bound to be others that perform poorer. (Obviously they being predictable are still going to say it and this lead to an boring idiot debate and links showing one connection from the most recent news item on the matter only doing about 11-12Mb[ish]).

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I completely understand your perspective. However, sadly what you want does not reflect the technical or economic reality of broadband service provision or how a telecoms USO actually works (you’ve been misled if you think otherwise). This is a competitive market with many different technologies, suppliers and ISPs, thus the USO doesn’t work as you envisage it (it might work if there was only one network and one ISP from a state run supplier but we don’t live in that world anymore).

      The USO will mandate provision “on request,” which means you have to order it from a chosen supplier (e.g. one of Openreach’s many ISPs) that can deliver 10Mbps+ and it is not provided automatically at the same or lower cost than you pay today. Often faster technologies cost more to deploy and so you pay more in order to receive them.

      You cannot simply sweep away the very foundations of today’s competitive market with a USO, not without causing all sorts of hugely complicated problems. You’ll find that the EU’s proposed USO for broadband is thus much the same as the UK’s proposed USO and understands these same realities.

      However if the rumours are true then right now the battle has already shifted and there’s a very real risk that the Government may downgrade its USO proposal to a non-binding USC.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I thought (cough) “alonso” would support the chapps report , our resident troll is behind anything that attacks BT.

      So as expected Mr Shapes hasn’t learnt from his mistakes from his previous efforts and neither have the cronies that support his report.

    3. Avatar alonso says:

      “This is a competitive market with many different technologies, suppliers and ISPs, thus the USO doesn’t work as you envisage it (it might work if there was only one network and one ISP from a state run supplier but we don’t live in that world anymore).”

      I would argue, all i have here is ADSL from Openreach that provides 2 Mb, i do not have a choice of technologies. Sure i can pick an ISP but 2 Mb is all i will get as that is all what is available here. It makes no difference which supplier i choose of Openreaches tech.

      “The USO will mandate provision “on request,” which means you have to order it from a chosen supplier (e.g. one of Openreach’s many ISPs) that can deliver 10Mbps+ and it is not provided automatically at the same or lower cost than you pay today. Often faster technologies cost more to deploy and so you pay more in order to receive them.”

      What is its exact point of a USO then if its not to bring 10 Mb to everyone at a realistic cost?

      Anyone can have a lease line or similar at the moment so if you are saying the USO is only based upon “request” of 10 Mb or faster then it is already here. Obviously that is not what a USO is supposed to be otherwise BT, Ofcom and the government would not be looking at introducing legislation for something that already exists.

      “the Government may downgrade its USO proposal to a non-binding USC.”

      That is about all it was ever going to end up being, much like the 2 Mb which became a USC. Nothing more than a fallacy and a we will do our best but ultimately tough luck if you can not get 2 Mb let alone 10 Mb.

      “I thought (cough) “alonso” would support the chapps report , our resident troll is behind anything that attacks BT.”

      What! I am not agreeing with his report. No where just for starters does it even mention how they intend to achieve 10 Mb for all. The figures of who and who can not get that speed currently could also be inaccurate. There is no point in a report if you say you want something but have no idea how to provide it.

      Im not trolling and i am certainly not attacking BT, the fact BT are trying is a good thing but ultimately futile with the tech many currently have. The only way to as close as possible guarantee 10 Mb to all would be either satellite (which still would not deliver to all for a few reasons) or a FULL FTTH network, which is never going to happen, oh and no i do not blame BT for that either.

      All im interested in is how will 10 Mb be given to all. I can not see how, please feel free to explain if you know.

    4. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      Well, of course if there’s a USO of 10mps, then they should get 10mps. However, the other side of that is that they will have to take the product that offers it. They can’t stick to ADSL and then demand 10mbs if it’s physically impossible.

      Of course, if you are arguing that ADSL should be removed from all lines which can’t support 10mbps then that is, of course possible. Whether the LLU operators would be happy to go along with that then I have my doubts, but it is possible.

      Of course people who put “end of” in their arguments are just trying to close down arguments. Let’s be clear. USOs are always and obligation to provide when asked (subject to cost caveats), not an obligation to provide whether or not requested.

      So, are you proposing that ADSL is unilaterally removed from all lines incapable of delivering 10mps?

    5. Avatar alonso says:

      “Well, of course if there’s a USO of 10mps, then they should get 10mps. However, the other side of that is that they will have to take the product that offers it. They can’t stick to ADSL and then demand 10mbs if it’s physically impossible.”

      What product will be made available by 2020 to all which guarantees 10 Mb? As said all i have currently is 2 Mb ADSL. There is no alternatives currently for myself and probably will not be come 2020, certainly there will not be for the all 3% currently incapable come 2020.

      “Of course, if you are arguing that ADSL should be removed from all lines which can’t support 10mbps then that is, of course possible. Whether the LLU operators would be happy to go along with that then I have my doubts, but it is possible.”

      It would have to be replaced with something better, faster and of similar cost before it were removed as so many still only have that as an option.

      “Of course people who put “end of” in their arguments are just trying to close down arguments. Let’s be clear. USOs are always and obligation to provide when asked (subject to cost caveats), not an obligation to provide whether or not requested.”

      What do you mean by cost caveats? The whole idea of the USO was to provide 10 Mb to all and as a poster pointed out above for it to be a right not a luxury. A solution which is vastly more expensive than ADSL would make it a luxury. I currently pay £25 per month for my 2 Mb any more than £50 which would be double that and the same price people pay for BT Infinity option 2 IMO would be a luxury. I do not see why it should cost more just for a few if its a “right”.

      “So, are you proposing that ADSL is unilaterally removed from all lines incapable of delivering 10mps?”

      No im asking what is the solution to those that only have ADSL at single digit speeds?

      People seems to poke fun at any report that says the broadband rollouts are a mess in this country but when asked how i will get 10 Mb they have no answer, which to me says it is a mess.

      If BT as they claim could fund the USO how exactly do they plan on giving me 10 Mb or the remaining 3% or anyone that is an exchange only line or anyone that can get FTTC but it does not deliver 10 Mb to them?

      Are they going to spend out on something that will solve those few issues? If they are they better get cracking to get it done by 2020, if they manage it then sure go ahead and cease ADSL services. Otherwise removing it will just make things even worse by providing some with nothing at all. Solution to the problem first, then they can remove the problem.

    6. Avatar Gadget says:

      Alonso, you may not be aware but even the telephone USO allows for cost recovery if provision is above a certain limit. [your comment above “What do you mean by cost caveats? The whole idea of the USO was to provide 10 Mb to all and as a poster pointed out above for it to be a right not a luxury.”]

      https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2006/ofcom-completes-universal-service-review
      “BT and Kingston may only charge the customer more than £99.99 where their actual installation costs are more than £3,400. In those cases the customer may be charged the difference above the £3,400 threshold.”

    7. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Gadget
      You’re right of course about the potential charges relating to a USO – it is of course a right to request, not a right to receive service. If you don’t like the quoted price then your right has still been fulfilled, you’ve simply decided not to proceed.

      Still Alonso may be encouraged by the BT offer to government (see later story), which would bring access to a minimum of 10Mbps download speeds to 99% of premises.

    8. Avatar alonso says:

      The old USO and costs for phone lines has nothing to do with the 10Mb USO. That which dates back to 2006 was legislation to “ensure that everyone in the UK can benefit from basic telecommunications services” (IE a phone line and very slow dial up or below internet) 10Mb is not basic or covered under that legislation.

      This is explained further today with the announcement of wireless and satellite touted as solutions. Thus Paying for a phone line does not come into things. It remains to be seen but the solutions put forward (apart from if they do FTTP for those that have no other way of getting 10Mb) will still not ensure 10Mb for all. Frankly shocked and amazed satellite is even being considered as the connection rate to that can vary by the hour. Oh well another government dodge.

    9. Avatar Gadget says:

      Alonso – I think you may have misread my comment judging by your response.

      Just to clarify your original comment I cited was “What do you mean by cost caveats? The whole idea of the USO was to provide 10 Mb to all and as a poster pointed out above for it to be a right not a luxury.” and I suspect most others take this as saying that there can be no caveats for a broadband USO at all across the whole of the UK – is this what you meant?

      My response was very clear in drawing to your attention that the current voice and functional internet USO which we have and you correctly identified contains a very significant caveat and discussions on the Broadband USO have also been aired about the existence and amount of any potential broadband USO threshold.

      I respect your position that you wish to have cast iron guarantees about the speed (download and possibly even upload, as well as probably other factors) and 100% coverage, but am pointing out that these are not likely to be forthcoming in the real world IMHO and that there is almost certainly likely to be discussion and horse-trading about what might be provided within the time/cost/quality envelope.

      So far this is the first and to my knowledge only offer from a network provider about what they are prepared to do to advance near-universal coverage, as opposed to cherry-picking. I have no doubt that one of the guiding “truths” likely to emerge is that other than the utopia of FTTP is that the solution adopted will almost certainly be a mixture of technologies, complete with caveats.

    10. Avatar alonso says:

      If cost is a factor in this new USO like phone lines was in the old and the cost of installing a 10 Mb service will vary home to home, then please explain why the installation of a satellite solution should cost thousands more for one home over the other.

  3. Avatar Chris P says:

    Great article Mark,

    I especially like the “Causes of asks Speed” analysis at the end. I wonder how long it will take for OFCOM, MP’s and the public to comprehend that slow bb may not always be caused by the access medium, and beating up the provider will just cause further problems for the consumer especially in circumstances where the issue is with the consumers home environment or equipment. It’s an issue non technical consumers will find very difficult to determine and comprehend.

    Interestingly ISP’s vying for titles like most reliable wifi and broadband will actually help non technical consumers increase their bb speeds by ensuring their connections and home environments are the best they can be. The consumer, for example, will just know that switching from talk talk to sky made their internet quicker despite it going over the same phone line, that is assuming the sky router and service is better performing.

  4. Avatar Gadget says:

    There is a very informative “dissection” of the report here https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/7773-big-claims-that-6-7-million-broadband-connections-fail-uso-test which also highlights some flaws and failings as well as offering
    “If Mr Shapps is reading this we are more than happy to meet and explain what our data can tell him about broadband in the UK and what the official Ofcom and Government figures also mean, we have 17 years of experience in UK broadband and deciphering the PR from the reality.”
    and
    “6.7 million connections is a lot higher than the number of premises that are under 10 Mbps based on the availability data Ofcom publishes, and over six times higher than what we are tracking currently where 904,000 premises are under the broadband USO”

    1. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

      They seem to have spent considerable time attacking the reports figures which is fair enough as some of it is indeed wrong. However now perhaps TBBs can explain its solution to give those 904,000 or roughly 3% the 10Mb which they are confident are under a capable 10Mb USO figure?

      Id also like to know how they think their speed guesstimates are any more realistic when their figures include wifi speedtests and such like which typically lead to a even slower result or less common bonded ADSL solution speedtests which lead to a more positive result but for a product which is not available to all and also expensive for most people.

      Oh and NO wireless as they suggest and if they want to nitpick will not do guaranteed 10Mb either for some of those people. It would not currently work for me in an area which has a UPTO 20 (something) wifi service already available mainly because where i live is very low ground (almost valley like) thus the wifi product is poor and will only supply my specific little area around 6-8Mbps according to the company that provides it.

      To give us faster they would need to spend millions on new infrastructure to their network. Even then as BT have already claimed they could potentially fund the USO that would not happen.

      So wonder what TBBs solution is to 10Mb for 100% of users? Would also suggest they look at the accuracy of their own data before they attack others.

    2. Easy solution is full fibre as it fixes all known problems. Problems are not technical at all, more a time and money exercise.

      Remember Wi-Fi is NOT fixed wireless

    3. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

      So no viable solutions from yourself to deliver 10Mb by 2020. Not enough time or money for full fibre.

      The wireless/wifi provider (call it what you wish) i referred to which can not do 10Mb in my specific location is https://home.airband.co.uk/ i trust in your own news item its providers like that where you wrongly say…
      “fixed wireless services which easily beat 10 Mbps”
      you were referring to, if so then Er no they can not guarantee 10Mb let alone “easily beat” it.

      Shapps’s report is a load of guff, but its even more guff when someone criticises it, is wrong about things and have no solution to the problem itself.

      I also note no comment on why you think your figures are more accurate when the data you collect from speedtests is far from reliable. It Neither gives a FULL picture on how the best and worst connections perform at due to things like wifi being used etc.

      Im all for decimating a report if its wrong but decimating it with more inaccurate information which you think is right makes you just as bad as the report you decided to go rage on. Unless 2 wrongs now do make a right? I almost thought i was reading the sun when i read your (erhmm) news piece.

    4. No viable solutions you claim because not my job to design and build it.

      Am around to inform and check what the operators/ofcom/gov say and help people understand more about broadband.

      If people want network design added then show me the money to pay for staff and time to plan it all.

    5. On the report Ofcom and use agree 1.4m in May 16 and 1.32m from us under 10 Mbps. The Shapps report is conflating takeup and availability and Mark is saying the same.

      User speed tests are irrelevant to our coverage figures, but we publish analysis of speed tests in addition. This helps to inform on product choices people make, verify financial results etc

      Odd you don’t discuss this on the site you are disagreeing with.

    6. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

      “No viable solutions you claim because not my job to design and build it.

      Am around to inform and check what the operators/ofcom/gov say and help people understand more about broadband.”

      A complete paradox..
      How are you helping people if you do not know how something will be provided?
      If its not your job to design things then why are you against a report which is about designing and delivering a product?

      “On the report Ofcom and use agree 1.4m in May 16 and 1.32m from us under 10 Mbps. The Shapps report is conflating takeup and availability and Mark is saying the same.”

      How are your figures more accurate than shapps when neither of them are the same as Ofcom figures? The difference in yours may be smaller but when we are talking about s product that has planned 100% availability a small difference matters.

      NO where have i claimed shapps figures to be accurate, with 3 different lots of figures now presented (yours, ofcoms and shapps) its hard to know which are correct.

      “Odd you don’t discuss this on the site you are disagreeing with.”

      Id first kindly ask you to please look back through this conversation and note it was another user that started the discussion about the news item on your site. So not really odd i should respond to a post to discuss it.

      Its also not really any more odd than reporting on something, tearing it apart on your site rather than filing you concerns over shapps figure via the proper consultation means. It would had been far more journalistic to just report the news, rather than try to dissect and destroy the item. Of course that is only my opinion much like yours on the shapps report.

      Finally shall we be honest it would not had been a discussion you would had allowed on your site.

    7. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Ultraspeedy
      The Shapps “report” is not a consultation so why would Andrew want to file his comments via the “proper channels”?

      The reason the numbers in the Shapps document differ from those from Ofcom is because Shapps doesn’t understand the data. The reason Andrew’s numbers differ to those from Ofcom is because he updates his every month whereas Ofcom’s are published annually and are at least six months out of date when first published.

      By all means disagree with others but it helps if you take a few minutes to understand the topic first, otherwise you’ll be no better informed than the aforementioned MP!

    8. Under what rules would the discussion not be allowed on thinkbroadband?

      I see no reason why it would be moderated due to breaking rules.

    9. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

      “The Shapps “report” is not a consultation so why would Andrew want to file his comments via the “proper channels”?”

      The prior consultation which ended March 2016 for the USO looked at his first report. The new one is likely to also the consultation for that ends 9 October 2017. Ofcom also took note of it…
      “Nevertheless many people agreed with Shapp’s assessment and the report succeeded in showing that there was some political weight behind proposals for a more radical change. Since then Ofcom and BT have reached a voluntary agreement over Openreach’s “legal separation””

      “The reason the numbers in the Shapps document differ from those from Ofcom is because Shapps doesn’t understand the data.”
      Or more likely looks at the worst scenario

      “The reason Andrew’s numbers differ to those from Ofcom is because he updates his every month whereas Ofcom’s are published annually and are at least six months out of date when first published.”

      Andrews data must be coming from another source than Ofcoms data if it is updated more regularly. Where is his data coming from? And what exactly makes it more accurate over Ofcoms?

      “but it helps if you take a few minutes to understand the topic first”

      I understand perfectly… 3 sets of data from different sources, all different numbers and none able to explain why theirs is more accurate.

    10. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

      “Under what rules would the discussion not be allowed on thinkbroadband?”

      The same ones as what ever has applied to other conversations you or your team dislike and comment removal on a daily basis.

      “I see no reason why it would be moderated due to breaking rules.”

      It wouldn’t break the rules, it would just be removed, if pushed as to why then im sure some nonsense response about me disagreeing with your figures and the questioning they MAY NOT be accurate you could sweep under the rug and deem it defamatory.

      PS i like your new news item about whos figues are most accurate and how you still think yours are the most accurate and upto date… Just 2 problems…
      Item 3 on your news item does not explain where you get that data, Item 1 and 2 did.
      Item 4 on your news item is obviously not accurate if its based on speed tests on your site, im sure i do not need to explain why do i?

      Oh and NO im still not going to comment there.

    11. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Ultraspeedy some aspects of your comments are predictably crossing over into the territory of trolling, kindly cool it. If you want to discuss how another site does something then take it to a personal convo and don’t continue it here. I won’t give another warning.

  5. Avatar Ultraspeedy says:

    “Today it’s estimated that around 93% of premises are within reach of a fixed line superfast broadband (NGA) service and we’re ahead of most EU countries (example). However there’s still plenty of work left to do in order to reach the next target of 97% by 2020 and the final 3% are expected to be catered for via a legally-binding 10Mbps+ Universal Service Obligation. The USO may very well end up being funded by BT and KCOM”

    I have only 2 questions from that…

    How is BT (as they are apparently likely to be the ones funding the USO) going to deliver 10Mbps to the news item mentioned final 3% that will have no upgraded services to what they have now come 2020?

    How are people that can already get FTTC but are either too far away from the cabinet or the wiring is too poor to deliver 10Mbps going to get their 10Mbps?

    RE-VDSL from what ive seen does not guarantee 10Mb, the latest article on here about it…
    http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/06/bt-update-lr-vdsl-broadband-speeds-xdb-fttp-fttc-progress.html
    See trial line identifier number 64. IE 4Mb or so before and 7Mb or so after.

    I suppose BT could supply wireless in some form to them, or upgrade to them to FTTP however i do not (and rightly before im nagged at) see them going to that expense. If its just say the odd house in a whole postal area or even several streets in an area that can not achieve the 10Mb it will be darn expensive for them to suddenly supply that odd house with 10Mb which others are already getting. Quite how 100% are ever going to get a USO of 10Mb i can not see. Or am i wrong in thinking a 10Mb USO means everyone can get 10Mb?

    “If the rumours are true then right now the battle has already shifted and there’s a very real risk that the Government may downgrade its legally-binding USO proposal to a non-binding USC (Commitment). We should know soon enough.”

    Ahh now this sounds more like it. If you can not deliver what you claim you will, move your goal posts and feed the public new BS. Typical really what government and BT has been when it comes to broadband for well over the last decade… vague aims that get watered down or worse were never possible.

  6. Avatar dragoneast says:

    Is the Internet anything more than a toy for the masses?

    It certainly seems that we throw our toys out of the pram over it.

  7. Avatar Cliff says:

    I am 7Km from the exchange and the cable is hung from poles. My broadband wired to my desktop is about 1.2 Mbt/s at best. Surely a copper cable can carry faster than that if the signal is clear. Why can they not fit boosters in the line – it is digital after all?

    1. Avatar 125uS says:

      It’s complicated, but mostly answered here;

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_line_constants#Twisted_pair

      The payload is indeed digital, but in terms of transmission, broadband presents as a broad spectrum high frequency analogue signal. In old money, it’s FDM.

      The problem with boosters it threefold – firstly; how to power it – secondly; crosstalk – if your signal was boosted, no-one else’s broadband would work – thirdly; where to put it.

    2. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      There are ADSL line extenders which regenerate the analogue signal by demodulating then re-modulating the signal. They can extend the range indefinitely, but it still leaves the problems of introducing cross-talk (unless all lines are treated the same way at the same point) and of powering it as that will be prohibitive as the 50V DC line power won’t be enough over long lines.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADSL_loop_extender

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