back to article Darling supports broadband by raiding Granny's digital fund

Alistair Darling used today's Budget to back calls for Universal Service obligations to include access to a decent broadband network regardless of where in the UK your home or business is. The Budget pledged support for universal access to a 2 Megabit broadband network. This will be paid for by the underspending on the Digital …

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Silver badge

Fixed that for you

“The UK’s freelancers will be asking where are the helpful measures such as the repeal of IR35 and other distorting tax laws like s44-7; they will be sorely disappointed again by the lack of answers.”

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“The UK’s freelancers will be asking where are the ways for them to pay even less tax and shove even more of the burden of paying for this country onto other people; they will be sorely disappointed again that they have to pay some tax, however little it may be."

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Not so "New" Labour

For a country that gave the world the Industrial Revolution, the steam engine, the transAtlantic cable, Adam Smith and the like, it's truly sad to see the state of broadband in Merry Olde England. There is a very simple, straightforward solution. Abolish state-owned telecoms in favor of market competition combined with a healthy dose of anti-monopoly law. As long as BT, Offcom, or whatever it calls itself, continues to control the game, Britain can look forward to a nineteenth century communications net extending well into the twenty-first century.

Here, in San Francisco, I can choose from cable TV (20 Mbit), POTS (8Mbit), optical fiber (off the charts but pricy), 3G, 4G, and WiFi for my internet needs. Right now I have both a DSL and Cable connections for an aggregate of $75 per month with 20Mbit download and 8Mbit upload. Even folks living in the boonies can still use 3G at rates up to 7Mbs with 4G to be rolled out in most areas by the end of next years with rates well exceeding my current set up. When that comes along, I'll switch since I'll be able to take my broadband with me.

Mr Gordon Brown, deregulate and encourage competition!

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Thumb Up

Very nice.

Right now I am stuck on a crappy 512kbit line. I would love to be able to see some kind of decent speed, especially since with the distance I am fairly sure they will have to build a new exchange for my area, meaning I will get even better speeds than people who are closer to the exchange I am currently on.

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Dead Vulture

All the money gone?

I look at the UK and think all the money they spend on welfare (£220bn+) yet peanuts on infrastructure. Maybe if it was opposite everyone would have a job, business would be efficient and the lazy would die of starvation.

Instead the lazy get all the money and the rest have to work with the shit infrastructure to pay for it. Madness.

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Black Helicopters

Be afraid..

If you live in Yorkshire - what are the bets that this next generation network

includes some next-generation snooping features?

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Broadband Speeds

I always wonder why (distance from exchange?)

I get a very stable 8Meg connection with Eclipse

and my nextdoor neighbour gets an unstable 1Meg connection from BT

The distance from the exchange can't be more than 250 Metresand our

drop wires come off the same pole !!

Bt have told my neighbour that 1Meg is the best he can get

Wierd

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Flame

Why ?

Why should we the general public pay for broadband to be provided to the very small number of people who choose to live in the middle of nowhere?

A good socialist society provides the "essentials" of living - food, warmth, shelter, heathcare. Access to 2Mbit broadband is not exactly essential. Everyone has dial-up, which gives access to the internet.

Those who choose to live in the sticks normally drive 4x4s too - are we proposing they should get a cut in their road tax and fuel - no! Then why are we subsidising their broadband.

As for the second point - Contractors not being helped - T O U G H ! ! ! . You are typically amongst the top 10% of earners in the UK - get on with earning and paying tax and stop whining!

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@AC 9:06 (why?)

Just for the record, not everybody who lives in the stix is there by choice. Many of them live there becasue that is where they were born and raised, and they either dont have the wealth, or the inclination to move to the big smoke (especially just for better broadband) , and nor should they have to.

Also, I live in greater london, and i see many more (sparkling clean) 4x4's around than i do when visting relatives who live further out, so i dont see what that has to do with anything.

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@Paul Young

I get a very stable 8Meg connection with Eclipse

and my nextdoor neighbour gets an unstable 1Meg connection from BT

Maybe your neighbour is an idiot then, BT are only responsible up until the master socket. Are you saying that Eclipse magically replaced all the cabling to your house.. err no they use exactly the same BT infrastructure!

If your neighbour does some rubbish DIY phoneline extension that causes so much noise on the line that ADSL can only work at a low rate, you cant blame BT for that!

Start by disconnecting the extensions, and replace any worn out phone wire and ensure its terminated correctly. Use google for research and remove the extra bell wires that you dont need to reduce noise (30second job) and then replace the 50p face plate with a decent quality one (£10-15) Hey presto, cometh the superhighway!

I like to kick BT as much as the next man, but you have to get your own house in order first! If you pick up the handset and can hear noise on it, how exactly do you expect ADSL to work fast on it??? Do the checks, make sure your wiring is in order, then report it if its still a problem and BT will come out and fix it!

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@AC 9:6

"Those who choose to live in the sticks normally drive 4x4s "

Actually, we don't; nor do we all drive tractors. In fact, by far the majority of 4x4 drivers live in nice comfortable suburbs. These are also the same smug twerps that buy all the spare housing in villages, pushing up the prices so that the locals can't afford to do so, and don't spend any money in the area, so all of the local facilties get closed down.

Then when they do go down for their 3 weekends a year, they bitch like hell, because some town / city council has done a deal with the rural council to dump all of their waste in that area. What pisses me off is that I am having to pay extra on my council tax because the unitary authority is accepting waste from a city 100 miles away. In other words, I am subsidising your garbage. And I would also suspect that I am subsiding your clean drinking water.

"Access to 2Mbit broadband is not exactly essential"

It could also be argued that electricity is not essential. But in the modern world, both things are now seen as important to the functioning of a civilised society.

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RE: Not so "New" Labour

Raymond Cranfill wrote: "For a country that gave the world the Industrial Revolution, the steam engine, the transAtlantic cable, Adam Smith and the like, it's truly sad to see the state of broadband in Merry Olde England."

Except Adam Smith didn't come from "Merry Olde England", did he? He came from Scotland, as any fule kno

...and as Wikipedia (rightly) says: "The history of the steam engine stretches back as far as the first century AD; the first recorded rudimentary steam engine being the aeolipile described by Hero of Alexandria". Once again, nothing to do with "Merry Olde England"!

Besides, I don't think this budget affects only England. Last I looked it was the UK Chancellor who made the UK budget and that includes Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland as well.

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@ Flatspot

Hmmm thanks for that

Thing is both houses are only 2 years old and there is only one Master Socket in the building

No extns, we both have cordless phones.

I have a wireless router and he has a wired router.

We have researched the problem, and BT "DID" confirm that he could only have a 1meg connection.

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@Raymond Cranfill

But then the problem is that in the sticks they get bad internet access. Competition doesn't exist when something isn't profitable which is why BT are the only provider in some parts of the country.

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@Raymond Cranfill

Are you under the impression that BT and offcom are the same? And that BT are state owned? Neither is true.

BT is a private company, the former incumbent nationalised provider, but sold to the public by the Milk Snatcher and bought up by people who didn't realise that it belonged to them all along...

Offcom is a regulator. Regulators are essential in privatised service industries to stop companies taking the piss out of their customers (to prevent too high prices for comodities that can't be purchsed elsewhere etc.)

Also, where you live, in San Fran is a highly populated area, no? What happens when you go out to mom and pop's farm in the sticks? Can you still get all of the broadband options there? No, you can't.

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sam

A right to broadband? wtf...

People choose where they live. No one in the UK is stuck in a particular area.

If you want to move, you make sacrifices.

You rent, you move away from your friends, you adjust to a new pace and style of life.

Poor access to services is an implict part of the deal when living in the countryside. It simply doesnt make economic sense to provide them.

If someone in a rural area wants access to high speed broadband, they should be willing to pay a price reflecting the cost of that provision, and should decide if its worth it. Nothing stops a local interest group all pitching in for a microwave link, instead of lobbying central government for more subsudies for thier unsustainable lifestyle.

Grow some balls and move, accept the realities of your environment, or do something to change them. The countryside is a money sink anyway.

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@sam

Yes that's right, it's perfectly possible for a farmer to commute to his (or her) farm from the nearest city.

We're not talking about people who have chosen to move to locations, they are already there, as are their jobs, families and communities. It would be perfectly possibly for BT to turn around and say that they can't be bothered with supplying anything to these communities becuase it's not financially viable. While we're at it, why should they have buses, trains, electricity, water, sewage services all of which aren't financially viable outside major population centres. Broadband or realisticly fast access to the internet is becoming more and more essential to daily life as more and more services are becoming internet based. Dialup doesn't really cut it these days as lots of web sites are being made lazily and shifting large ammounts of data about.

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