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CBI Warn Brexit Sucking the Life Out of UK Broadband and Mobile

Thursday, February 7th, 2019 (1:32 pm) - Score 954
router with fibre optic cables on top

The Confederation of British Industry has warned that Brexit is “sucking the oxygen out of priorities” like deploying “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband and 5G. Instead the business group wants the Government to “take practical steps this year” in order to close the Digital Divide between London and the rest of the UK.

At present the Government wants 15 million UK premises to have access to Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) by 2025 and then nationwide to all by 2033 (here). In keeping with that their Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), which was published last summer, has already set out what further changes need to be made in order to facilitate their future “full fibre” and 5G mobile plans.

Despite this the CBI fears that the pace of progress is still too slow, particularly with the endlessly divisive issue of Brexit continuing to overshadow everything. In that sense they’ve once again echoed last year’s Ready, Set, Connect (PDF) report and warned that if progress isn’t made soon then the UK “risks a growing digital divide that leaves people and businesses behind.”

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said:

“There’s is a real risk that 2019 will be a year in which we overlook the rest of our economy.

There’s already a digital divide in rural areas across the UK. Our ability to enjoy world-class digital connectivity shouldn’t be determined by where we live or work. It’s not just a social case for national coverage, but a clear economic one.

Businesses have already invested heavily in digital infrastructure. In fact, the private sector will provide most of the £33 billion total investment needed to deliver full fibre networks across the UK. But Government must help firms access those hard to reach areas.

2019 must be a year of rapid uptake. First by extending support for businesses to help small firms adopt existing technologies like 4G and full fibre. And second, by expanding trials in new technology like 5G so businesses can explore the art of the possible with seamless connectivity.”

The CBI has also identified several areas for the Government to tackle as a priority.

Government Recommendations Include:

* Fast-track laws for firms to install internet connections in existing homes for private tenants and ensuring all new properties have full fibre or other gigabit cables installed when they’re built.

* Equip all new train lines and other transport projects with full fibre cables

* Get businesses ready for 5G adoption by raising awareness of its uses and how firms can use it – through government trials.

We note that two consultations related to improving access for fibre optic broadband into new build homes and existing buildings have already occurred (here), with an outcome expected soon. However it’s worth noting that running fibre alongside all new train lines isn’t likely to help improve overall coverage of Gigabit broadband, at least not by as much as you might think (core fibre coverage already exists in areas around most train routes).

Likewise we’re unsure about the merits of getting businesses “ready for 5G adoption” before the new network and related services have even been deployed or launched (i.e. drumming up interest only to then say, “sorry, it’s not available yet and won’t be here for awhile,” seems unproductive).

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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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30 Responses
  1. Avatar Kds

    Of course, it is. I’m sure Russia will help us.

  2. Avatar JTE

    If something is not working or moving along like it should then default is, Brexit is to blame

    • Avatar CarlT

      Probably because it likely is to blame. It’s sucking up all the Parliamentary and civil service time and has been for ages.

    • Avatar davidj

      Brexit is not to blame, the so called leadership of this country which have dragged it out this long are to blame. Even now they can not all agree.

      Perhaps it would not have taken so long or be wasting as much time if all the bureaucrats that want their 2p worth knew well before now what our un-elected leader had agreed to.

      Its like watching a group of puppies crap in a corner and them look around at each other with soppy looks hoping the others or something else entirely will get the blame.

    • Even now they can not all agree.”

      In fairness, neither can the rest of the country.. or so it often seems. In that sense the divisions in parliament simply reflect the same divisions in society. Mind you we do expect more of our political leaders.

    • Avatar davidj

      The “country” voted years back what they wanted. Rightly or Wrongly.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Indeed, sorry, I forgot. Democracy in the UK ended on 23rd June 2016 and however the goalposts change and however different reality is from what was promised dissent isn’t tolerated.

      It was all going to be super-easy. Over 40 years of pooled sovereignty, legal integration, etc, of course it could be undone in 2 years. We should’ve been out years ago, only upsides, etc, etc.

      My bad.

    • Avatar davidj

      “Indeed, sorry, I forgot. Democracy in the UK ended on 23rd June 2016 and however the goalposts change and however different reality is from what was promised dissent isn’t tolerated.”

      As i said the country voted. Whether you think the vote went the way you wished or not or if you think it was right or wrong is entirely irrelevant. That is what voting is, choice and the choice was made.

      The vote can not and should not be changed if you value democracy, some would like another vote (ive no idea about you personally and do not really care) well tough you do not get to vote again and again until you get a result what YOU want.

      The only goalposts that have changed is our un-elected leaders inability and not wanting to do what the majority wanted. Cameron quitting because the vote did not go the way he wanted rather than doing his job which he never even earned properly in the first place. And now some dotty woman who did not even have the sense to explain what she was negotiating to her cabinet members until almost the last minute.

      Reality of things and how you or anyone (including even me) perceives things either then or now is also irrelevant. You and everyone else had the chance to vote. The only democracy that has died, is from those that refuse to accept the decision. I accept the decision and would have accepted it if gone the other way (I really could not care less, OUR government more than Europe affect my life far more often).

      “It was all going to be super-easy. Over 40 years of pooled sovereignty, legal integration, etc, of course it could be undone in 2 years. We should’ve been out years ago, only upsides, etc, etc.”

      52% obviously disagree with you. You can claim its because of lies they were told, you can claim its because they have pixie dust for brains, it does not matter.

      The majority rule if you do not like it or how voting works there are plenty of dictatorships in the world where you can go live. Though to be honest some of the things our government have pulled in the past 10 years they are not far from being dictators now.

      Perhaps you would like to assist them further and allow them to just scrap the whole leave Europe thing and allow them to have an easy life, me i find it highly enjoyable watching them screw things up more and more and demonstrate how truly worthless they are.

    • Avatar CarlT

      So I would suggest looking at what we were told before June 2016 and what has actually happened.

      Anyone would think the people were blatantly and flagrantly lied to, and that where we are now bears no resemblance to the bill of goods they were sold to secure their votes.

      You may be fine with that, I’m not.

      You see stories on here about ISPs being busted for misselling yet politicians can lie to us, trigger major constitutional change in some cases to enrich themselves and that’s not punishable.

      That needs to change. You may be fine with it because your like the result: I’m not.

      Not sure if you realise this but while you’re claiming other people are undemocratic you’re also saying that regardless of whether or not people were lied to 2016 must be honoured. That’s a pretty dark path to walk down. Very 1984, goodspeak Ministry of Truth.

      Either way if nothing else 2016 isn’t going to be repeated. No sane, functional democracy is going to have such a poorly thought out, poorly planned and poorly executed referendum asking such a simplistic, binary question on such a complicated topic with such profound implications so that’s something we have given the world.

      Just need to do things like fix that majorities can come from 37% of the vote, the we’re the only country other than Iran where clergy are appointed to the legislature, that our entire second chamber is appointed, etc, etc.

      Then perhaps when we’ve done that we can get back to lecturing others on the state of their own democracies. In the interim we are an international laughing stock, too puffed up by hubris and self-importance to realise that the EU really don’t care about our remaining or not, the EEA nations don’t want us in that group as they think we’ll screw it up for them and the large economies are gleefully waiting to take us apart in trade negotiations, scarcely believing their good fortune.

    • Avatar davidj

      “Not sure if you realise this but while you’re claiming other people are undemocratic you’re also saying that regardless of whether or not people were lied to 2016 must be honoured. That’s a pretty dark path to walk down. Very 1984, goodspeak Ministry of Truth.”

      As i pointed out already “I really could not care less, OUR government more than Europe affect my life far more often”.

      Arguing which side lied is pointless, if we want to go down that path both sides lied before, during and now. In fact right now May and her party are liars…

      The Conservative manifesto from 18 May 2017 states…
      On Brexit it is “committed to leaving the single market and customs union while seeking a “deep and special partnership” and promised a vote in parliament on the final agreement.”

      On 22 September 2017…
      May made public the details of her Brexit proposal urging the European Union to maintain a transitional period of two years after Brexit during which trade terms remain unaltered.

      What happened to the “””committed””” to leaving the single market and customs union” just 4 months before that? Committed to change now means keeping something the same for 2 years does it?

      As for the vote on the signed agreement, that has been done, it was rejected. SO why are they still messing around? The EU big wigs seem to comprehend the deal was done you agreed. Why doesn’t she and her party?

      Ultimately my opinion is the poor public will have to end up going through another vote on this cluster f**k……. Another thing which May during here On 30 June 2016 announcment for leadership speech specifically the…
      “she insisted that there would be no second referendum, saying: “The campaign was fought… and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door… Brexit means Brexit”

      To argue one side in the EU leave Vs Say thing is better than another over lying is ridiculous, they all lie, have you not realised they do not serve us but thereselves and their desperate need for credibility?

  3. Avatar Bob2002

    Yet another anti-Brexit rant from the CBI – who have always been pro-EU and appear to want Brexit in name only. Still at least we didn’t follow their advice about joining the euro or believe we’d lose 1,000,000 jobs by voting for Brexit –

    https://order-order.com/2016/03/21/cbis-pro-eu-report-by-eu-funded-pwc/

    • Avatar CarlT

      Right. Paul Staines clearly doesn’t have any bias on this and PWC ‘funding’ from the EU is nonsense. They do work for the EU, yes, as do various other businesses, doesn’t make them ‘funded’ by them, makes them private enterprises that work for public sector organisations.

      They put that unemployment number as a worst case scenario, their growth prediction has actually been borne out by our slowing economy and we haven’t left yet.

      Maybe read what propagandists are referring to and twisting to suit their agenda before commenting on it?

      If you think it’s been entirely benign may I recommend a look at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dyz7HfjX0AEg1-n.jpg or noting the modified forecasts for growth from the BoE and European Commission.

      Employment has held up way better than many expected, however productivity is pants, growth is pants, investment is pants. I’m sure people will blame ‘uncertainty’ and claim that if only we had people who believed hard enough all would be fine.

      Either way playing the man not the ball doesn’t cut much ice. Bring some facts into the discussion and demonstrate why the CBI and, indeed, the above graph on business investment are so wrong, please.

    • Avatar Bob2002

      @CarlT

      You say don’t play the man rather than the ball, and do exactly that in your opening paragraph. Not only has employment held up it is at record levels, but you know that – the CBI and PwC were a truly spectacular million jobs out on their forecast. And you also know what happened to Osborne’s and the BoE economic forecasts made during the run-up to the Brexit vote – they were completely discredited and Andrew Haldane(BoE chief economist) admitted as such.

      Forecasts by the Treasury, the International Monetary Fund and the Paris-based OECD, all pointed to a recession after the vote, based on assumptions of steeply declining consumer spending and business investment. But no recession has occurred and Remainiacs have very conveniently forgotten how adamant they were the forecasts were accurate. The BoE can modify whatever forecasts it likes and we should look at them in the context of how pathetically inaccurate economic forecasting can be.

      Our economy has slowed, no doubt in part due to Brexit uncertainty, but the eurozone is teetering on the verge of recession – Italy actually is in recession – and the eurozone isn’t in the difficult position the UK is.

      The CBI are selling their judgement and they have poor judgement, those are the facts.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Read the report itself rather than the spin from a propagandist, Bob.

      Said propagandist shoved Economists for Britain / Free Trade forecasts down the throats of anyone who listened. Guess whose mid-range forecast is most incorrect out of them, BoE, OBR, etc, now.

      If Staines is to be believed the economy should have taken off like a rocket by now but, of course, the excuse from them will be that we haven’t left yet.

      Anyway: read the report.

  4. Avatar Mike

    It’s been a while since Mark’s posted some Project Fear propaganda, was beginning to think he had switched sides.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      If you personally knew some of the idiots who created this new and what they did business wise, as I do, you would realise that the ‘truth’ is a flexible concept. Understand they bullshit for a living. Well one of the clowns admitted that to a Paliamentry Select Committee so that is in Hansard.

      In the end BREXIT or no BREXIT will make little odds. What I am fearful of is the pain of a totally messed up transition from people who don’t understand and openly lie about their understanding of quite complex international concepts.

    • Avatar kds

      Project Fear propaganda are Putin puppets did, these things are actually happening. EU army Turkish are coming to remember all? 😛

      EU told us to f off. May is there begging again :D. most big businesses are ready to move. ask people of Sunderland. hope they have something else to do when the Nissan leaves. last I checked nothing else there.

    • Avatar davidj

      “EU told us to f off. May is there begging again”

      I imagine if the role were reversed and the EU wanted to alter the agreement she would be telling them to F Off (or i hope she would have the sense to at least do that right).

      I do not blame the EU for telling her to get lost, if she was too blind to see she was agreeing to something that benefited the EU rather than a part of our nation that helped get her the position of PM then she is more stupid than i first thought. Wish i could say im shocked but im not. As for the people of Sunderland i trust come the next election they will know who is actually to blame.

    • Avatar CarlT

      I wouldn’t bet on the people of Sunderland knowing who to blame next election. They’ll likely blame whomever they are told to and want to blame much as they did in 2016.

      I’m more interested in seeing who the next scapegoat for UK politicians and media will be.

      At some point the UK will have to take its head from its backside and acknowledge its place in the world but until then round and round we go

    • Avatar davidj

      “I wouldn’t bet on the people of Sunderland knowing who to blame next election. They’ll likely blame whomever they are told to and want to blame much as they did in 2016.”

      The people of Sunderland voted Leave 61.3% and Remain 38.7%. The government have not yet delivered what they wanted. They will know who to blame, assuming they can not think for thereself just demonstrates how sour you are with their decision also.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Cool. Then let’s ask them what they think now that Nissan have pulled back investment, despite bribes from government, and all the nonsense about how we could leave the EU while keeping the same benefits with none of the responsibilities has been shown to indeed be nonsense.

      Being the democrat you are you would be fine with an informed vote on the exact terms of departure, right?

      Of course you wouldn’t. Your interest in democracy ended in June of 2016.

    • Avatar davidj

      “Cool. Then let’s ask them what they think now that Nissan have pulled back investment, despite bribes from government”

      They were told before voting it may affect the car trade Toyota who are up their made it VERY clear. The way they voted then they did not care and i doubt they would now.

      As for government bribes, ah yes that will be from the government and their leader Mrs May who like you backed the campaign to remain in the EU before she became PM. The remain camp are so honest and not corrupt at all.

      “Being the democrat you are you would be fine with an informed vote on the exact terms of departure, right?”

      If you can show to me that the nation as a whole would understand such legal mumbo jumbo in the terms of leaving in which to produce and “informed” vote about the “terms” then please go ahead. Interesting you think people would be capable of that but do not think they answered a much more simple STAY OR LEAVE question with any mental capability.

      “Of course you wouldn’t. Your interest in democracy ended in June of 2016.”

      Id say it died for you more because it did not go your way. Did you also ask for egg and spoon races to be re-ran when at school if you lost?

  5. Avatar Mark

    When ever a Brexit story starts with the letters ‘CBI’ it’s best to love along, as it means it’s nothing but project fears rubbish spewed by those making money from being in that EU gravy train..

  6. Avatar Marty

    Couldn’t care less about the CBI on this topic. More uncertainty hogwash. People voted to leave companies are still investing in FTTP rollouts the & world will still turn. it’s the democratic process don’t like it? North Korea or Iran will be happy to have you.

    • Avatar Kds

      Yes I’m already started learning Chinese and Russian. It’s the future

    • Avatar CarlT

      The irony of a guy telling people who dissent from an earlier vote to go to North Korea or Iran, like it’s somehow them being anti-democratic.

    • Avatar davidj

      Dissent and Democracy is not the same thing. Even the majority of idiots in power and who run to be in power comprehend that. If they did not we would never get a result on any vote because they would be endlessly calling for recounts (or dissenting) until they got their own way.

      Short version. You lost TOUGH!. As i also stated earlier if you do not like democracy or voting in general which does not go your way you can always go live in a dictatorship, you will find those 2 pesky issues taken care of nicely.

      Personally though i would not recommend China or Russia to you. Having been to both of them, (neither anything like the media portray) i can say they have too much of a crack on and get it done attitude to everything so your dissenting which you value so much towards any decisions there would not last long. I suggest somewhere like Somalia where you can have a dissenting voice, constantly fight for what you want, get what you want from fighting, realise its not what you wanted, fight some more… REPEAT.

    • Avatar CarlT

      The irony grows, and that you don’t get the point and revert back to ‘You lost, get over it!’ alongside spouting utter nonsense speaks volumes.

      Whether it’s a general election or a referendum people are allowed to continue disagreeing with it. We even have elections on a regular basis to see if the people have changed their minds.

      If you can’t comprehend that you have no clue about democracy as you’re claiming it ended in 2016.

      This ignoring of course that you have no idea how I voted in 2016. I have zero interest in whether the UK remains in the EU or not at this stage I want the country to see the least possible harm to our economy, jobs and quality of life. If that means remaining as the WTO lunatics are either too deluded, too stupid or too corrupt as they’re standing to make money out of it so be it.

      I don’t think the UK should have ever joined the EU. We should have remained in EFTA and either the EEA or a Swiss bilateral series. We don’t play well with others and have a massive superiority complex coupled with hubris being a national pasttime.

      Vote Leave lied, used military propaganda techniques and criminally overspent. By their own staff’s admissions they lied. Leave.eu lied and their funding is under criminal investigation. By their own admission they made things up and played on the racist and nationalist card. The remain campaign was a farce and none of them were honest with us. If you think this is fine you really have no right to describe anyone else as undemocratic as you don’t believe in democracy you just believe in Brexit by any means necessary. A misled electorate lied to and deceived to win a vote followed by the government taking a narrow decision and pushing the most extreme interpretation isn’t democracy.

      A properly functioning democracy has a well informed electorate, votes on matters where the subject and the outcomes of the vote are well understood, and is open to the concerns of both sides of the debate. It’s not a football match where winner takes all and it’s not mob rule. Have a look at what the Scottish government produced for their independence referendum for how woefully informed we were in 2016. It was beyond pathetic.

      May I suggest you would be better served, being unable to tolerate dissent and relaxed about corruption, in another country and leave those of us who want to fix the problems in our democracy, whatever happens with Brexit, to get on with it.

      A healthy democracy requires opposition before, during and after elections and even referendums, and it is the patriotic duty of those who feel the outcome of such things is negative to the national interest to resist them by all legal, democratic means. They may be wrong but it is their absolute right. In case you hadn’t noticed after a general election the government doesn’t get to do whatever it wants for five years unopposed it actually has an opposition.

      The UK deserves better than anti-democratic nationalists trying to demonise any opposition to their one true Brexit. I’m sure you can find a Neon Nazi demonstration to join if you’re inclined that way.

      Either way you have no clue what a properly functioning democracy looks like and your absurd posts here removed any doubt on the matter.

      Spoiler: it doesn’t involve taking as inviolable results based on campaigns being fined for breaking electoral rules, investigations into campaign funders being passed to organised crime divisions, politicians shutting down investigations for political reasons and the electoral commission wanting rule changes because a plebiscite was so flawed they need extra powers to try and avoid them happening again.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Short version: I highly recommend you have a look at democracies where referendums are handled by grown ups.

      Here’s your starter for 10: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Swiss_immigration_initiative

      Alongside that how you would react if remain had won criminally overspending, openly lying, and being under investigation regarding funding by a group that usually handle organised crime.

      Exactly.

      Or I could just note Nigel Farage’s comment that 52-48 remain would be unfinished business.

      Either way I couldn’t care less that we’re leaving now, I care about jobs, prosperity and, indeed, my family’s quality of life. If you have such a problem with that I’d suggest that I’m not the one who needs to move to an authoritarian state. There are plenty that became authoritarian based on the ‘will of the people’ so you should be quite comfortable there.

    • Avatar davidj

      “Whether it’s a general election or a referendum people are allowed to continue disagreeing with it. We even have elections on a regular basis to see if the people have changed their minds.”

      Oh i see so you want to vote on the EU like we do with an Election. So we shall we be in, out, shake it all about every 5 years, yes that will be much better for the economy you are so concerned about.

      “This ignoring of course that you have no idea how I voted in 2016. I have zero interest in whether the UK remains in the EU or not at this stage I want the country to see the least possible harm to our economy, jobs and quality of life. If that means remaining as the WTO lunatics are either too deluded, too stupid or too corrupt as they’re standing to make money out of it so be it.”

      Until we have another “regular” vote like an Election in 5 years “to see if people hanve changed their minds” where the people may say NO again and then you can cry again?

      “…We don’t play well with others and have a massive superiority complex”

      FINALLY we agree on something this country or more precisely those that run it have deluded self importance, poking its nose it where it is not needed or warranted both at home and abroad. Accusing other of being dictatorships, repressive and other such blatant nonsense whilst claiming we have freedom, until they decide to ban this, ban that, censor this, censor that, bomb this, bomb that, but hey its us its not repressive here at all, its not like a former leader of this country committed war crimes in 2003 and will never be punished either 😉

      “A misled electorate lied to and deceived to win a vote followed by the government taking a narrow decision and pushing the most extreme interpretation isn’t democracy.”

      My opinion is both sides lied and both sides continue to lie and be less than transparant, unfortunately unless you remove them all from power (both sides) and totally alter the way in which the country is governed you are going to always have that even if the leave or stay thing over Europe never even existed, they would all still be LIARS to get whatever it is they want.

      “Have a look at what the Scottish government produced for their independence referendum for how woefully informed we were in 2016. It was beyond pathetic.”

      Ive not looked at it but i would not be shocked if for both sides of the stay or leave campaign it was more honest. In fact when it comes to laws in Scotland they seem to have their heads screwed on better than we do and update laws to reflect the modern age better than we do, an example being rules about buying a home up there, neither the buyer or the seller gets to jerk the other around like what happens here.

      “May I suggest you would be better served, being unable to tolerate dissent and relaxed about corruption, in another country and leave those of us who want to fix the problems in our democracy, whatever happens with Brexit, to get on with it.”

      Id say this country or more precisely those that govern it do not tolerate dissent already you can not for example legally protest in or around parliament square if the police do not want you to thanks to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act. As to corruption LOL given the past and things like the MP expenses scandal id say corruption runs deep enough that i doubt i could find many places on the planet that are more relaxed about dissent and corruption to live already.

      “A healthy democracy requires opposition before, during and after elections and even referendums”

      NO not AFTER, democracy is the right to choose, when the choice has been made democracy has been served. What you are advocating if you want choice before, during and after is some hybrid of communism and socialism.

      “The UK deserves better than anti-democratic nationalists”

      52% must be anti-democratic then, though im not sure how that can be possible.

      “Alongside that how you would react if remain had won criminally overspending, openly lying, and being under investigation regarding funding by a group that usually handle organised crime.”

      Ah the remain camp so honest its not like Mrs May had to bung the Irish a few million to even get to power is it? Or promise her party she will not run as PM in the next election if they all just pull together for one minute to save her job. As for overspending i think you will find the remain camp are still in part under investigation by the electoral commision on whether spending on the videos, featuring actress Keira Knightley, were reported correctly by Wake Up And Vote and adam&eveDDB, and a “reasonable suspicion” that joint spending had not been declared as such.

      PS… I already believe this is an authoritarian state, it has been for well at least around 20 years. Brexit has nothing to do with making it so.

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