back to article Villagers revolt over BT chairman's broadband

BT chairman Sir Mike Rake has reportedly upset some of his neighbours in the Oxfordshire village of Hambleden, because he's got broadband and they haven't. The locals have been waiting for service for five years, The Telegraph reports. Meanwhile, Sir Mike moved in about a year ago, and is already enjoying broadband thanks to his …

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Huh

BET is a poor solution IMO. It's a sticking plaster on top of the sticking plaster that is ADSL. In order to give decent coverage BT are going to have to install additional copper in a lot of areas because these exchanges often rely on DACS to share lines.

Some would say 'better BET than nothing' but that's a very short-termist viewpoint. It would make far more sense to bite the bullet and go for FTTC in these villages and look at FTTP in urban areas. Unfortunately the nature of internet connectivity in Britain (charging the lowest price possible under continued pressure from the regulator) is strangling investment. Only BT has the resources to even attempt an upgrade and even BT is not so stupid as to spend huge sums on it. The RoI just isn't there at the moment and with Ofcom at the helm it may never be.

The only good thing about the situation is that we do have some of widest coverage in the world. These not-spots are actually quite rare. Our average might be less than 5Mb/s but it's an unusual property where you can't get some form of broadband.

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Basingstoke FTTC divides the town! letter to BBC...

Hi

Following my conversation with the South Today newsdesk earlier, I am

summarising what I think are the salient facts of the story relating to

the rollout (or lack thereof) of the new highspeed internet service from

BT Openreach in key areas of Basingstoke.

Background

-----------

"In Basingstoke, for example, 50% of telephone lines are more than 6km

from the exchange, and in Hampshire as a whole a quarter of postcodes

get less than 1Mbps."

(Source: BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8068676.stm)

Earlier in the year, BT announced that they would be trialing "Fibre To

The Cabinet" in Basingstoke which means that the internet signals are

sent via fibre optic cable to cabinets close to homes and offices,

bypassing the long copper wires to the exchange and providing speeds up

to 40 mbit/sec.

Myself and a few other people I know have been waiting impatiently for

this, due to the lack of speed and constant line drops in our parts of

Basingstoke. Work started and we all waited patiently for the

construction work on our local green cabinets...

Availability finally clarified

------------------------------

Finally the availability information is beginning to emerge, and the BT

line checker was updated so that ISPs could see if FTTC was going to be

available... however, it didn’t show up for us! Is this a mistake? Did

they leave us out?

After much frustration, communicating with my (extremely helpful) ISP,

and a few other people including a very helpful person in the local

Council, I have found out that BT are NOT enabling the cabinets in my area!

So, what/Who ARE they connecting? it seems a small percentage (only 77

cabinets) about 35% of cabinets if my maths is correct - don't quote

me!)in Basingstoke are actually going to be connected to FTTC.

Logic and common sense would dictate that one would update the cabinets

in the areas already well known for poor broadband, like Hatch Warren,

Beggarwood and Chineham, but no, They saeem to be installing shiny new

cabinets in a lot of areas with already reasonable internet coverage.

What sense does this make?

The Story

---------

We can get a group of people for you to interview, and can show you the

new cabinets being installed in some parts of Basingstoke, and highlight

the seemingly random choice of 'haves' vs 'have-nots'...

It would be great if you could try and get someone from Openreach to

respond as well. What we really want is to get either well-founded technical reasons why

a particular cabinet will not be done (e.g. lack of power, no space to

place new equipment, etc) or for them to come clean on the commercial

reasons (not enough customers per cabinet, etc). We would like the

opportunity to comment on their reasons and hopefully enter a reasoned

discussion with them.

Commercially it seems they have made a peverse decision! There is little

incentive to up-sell a new service if you already have good broadband.

People (like me!) without good service would willingly pay a premium to

get something reliable.

We think this would make an informative story and of course we would

welcome a detailed explanation from BT Openreach on how they came to

choose the rollout plan, what the future plans are, and how we can

influence the re-prioritisation so that they deliver resonable internet

to the parts of town that need it most.

I would be happy to discuss this with you further...

-- With Best Regards Tim Robinson, Director TxRx Communications Ltd +44 1256 810630 Registered in England 6260998

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Goodbye roads, tv, public services

"Shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said earlier this month he favoured letting market forces dictate investment."

God help anyone living in a rural area if this idiot ever gets put in a position of power. The average village of a couple of hundred people hasnt got much market power against a city of a couple of million so why should a company bother installing, well anything in a rural area.

Roads, gas, electricity, telecommunications, medical services - there is a reason these things are controlled by governments and that is that market forces would see millions of people in rural areas receive none of these because the market is too small to make it worth a company to build the delivery infrastructure. It is for this reason that broadband cable laying SHOULD be the domain of the government...

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You pays your money................

This is silly. If you live in the country miles away from the nearest exchange, tough. You chose to live there and therefore have to accept the bad as well as the good. It's a bit like someone living in a city and complaining about the lack of quiet (as there is in the country) or the sheep in fields etc. If you live in a city, don't complain if it's noisy etc.

People in the country don't have a god given right to broadband just like people in cities don't have a right to quiet. If that's where you choose to live, you accept the benefits and limitations.

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WTF?

fail

You idiot.

Does this apply to water, and electricity and phone lines too?

What about postal services?

What about all the things that are built in the cities, paid for with taxes from those in the countryside too?

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To black and white

Of course there will be differences

I don't think many in the countryside expect 20Mbs lines any time soon but providing tolerable 1mbs to the countryside is reasonable when you consider broadband is basically essential now for school age children, businesses, consumers..., access to government services. I think your treating it like a luxury like a nice view or walking distance to a train station which it no longer is.

I'm guessing you live in a city?

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Anonymous Coward

Mad Mike, how many resevoirs in your town...?

Just to reply to "Mad Mike's" comment that people in the country don't have a god givenright to broadband just like people in cities don't have a right to quiet. How many resevoirs are in his city may I ask?

If he lives in the city miles away from the nearest resevoir, tough.Why should we all have to pay in order to supply him with water...

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Three Words

Get Over It

Come on, the chairman of BT gets to be part of a trial of a BT product? What's the big deal? Suck it up and accept you aren't the chairman of BT either.

If the local residents had any smarts they'd ask whether this means that their local exchange will be ready for the final product first when it becomes available, and they'd have a very good argument for why it should be.

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Bloody Whingers....

..actually as much as I hate BT, I'm with them on this one.

How about putting it this way.

Yes one of you can have this tech. in order to, you must attend a meeting every Tuesday (unpaid), consult with people on a regualr basis (unpaid) and write up your experiences for every website you visit and report back any faults you find (unpaid)

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FAIL

Local Tory MP Paul Goodman

Local Tory MP Paul Goodman said: "Unless all BT staff members are entitled to participate in the trial on exactly the same terms, I think some of my constituents will find this very strange."

Yet the same guy also finds it very strange that some of his constituents had issues with the fact that they weren't taxed on exatly the same terms as himself?

Whats the old phrase about idiots, glass houses and stones?

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Anonymous Coward

"if you happen to be the chairman"

Well, it's just the luck of the draw isn't it. Next year, you could be BT's chairman!

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Anonymous Coward

hang your head in shame

corruption's ok because it's expected? yeah, nice one.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Villagers revolt over BT chairman's broadband

The point I sought to make is that don't think it's corrupt for the chairman of BT to ensure he gets BT broadband.

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err...

I hardly see that this is corruption - It'll be an unpaid trial and while the BT guy will get a nice service that he didn't previously have, it's in order that the rest of the people in the area can get it too... I wonder how much they'd complain if they were on a tiral and the service was patchy, which is likely with this sort of thing.

As for the guy who runs a company whinging on - You don't run a company on non-proven technology, what would his customers think if it all failed and he was forced to admit he was using trial tech?

If this technology works, BT will surely be rolling it out, no?

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Badgers

Well.

It's fairly obvious what Mr Ashworth should do. Apply for a job at BT and work his way up the hierarchy to become chairman. If he's done that and been unduly hindered in his efforts by BT themselves, I think he can claim a unfairness. Until then, shut up and accept that new technologies need trialling and the most effective way to find volunteers and monitor their progress is by picking within your own staff.

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Stop

The peasants are revolting!

Cue scenes of an angry torchlit mob hurling 56K modems across his moat (all these fat cats have moats, right?)

He's the chairman of BT, naturally he gets preferential treatment on BT services. Because he is the chairman. Of BT. When my boss asks his minions to get something done, we do it. Being the top dog has its perks. The manager of my local fleapit probably gets to see the latest cinema releases before I do but I'm not up in arms about it.

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It's a tad insensitive though...

Hi, I'm from the town. I'm a Sir you know?

Wot, no broadband? How do you serfs cope?

You there, Snidely, get me some more speed, there's a good fellow...

Ahhh, much better.

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hahahahahahahahaha now shut up

"The chairman of BT is given preferential treatment over long-serving customers,"

Yes.

There's millions of customers but there's only one chairman and you can afford to piss off one or two customers but not that one Chairman; he's the fucking boss, do you really think a single person in the company is going to say no if he asks "so can you guys sort out some broadband for me?"

If you've never done a personal favour for your boss that is above and beyond the call of duty (setting up his home wifi, fixing his wife/kid/gran's laptop, helping him choose a computer for his daughter's christmas present) then that's probably why your career is languishing amongst the useless jobsworths.

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BT in poor customer-service story shocker!

That is all.

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1,000 lines

The guy claims to have 1,000 lines with BT - he's a liar. I just Googled his name, found his company, Abacus Recruitment, and looked at their website.

If they have a quarter of that, I'd be surprised.

Liar.

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FAIL

LOL

BT had ADSL for over for years before they began to roll it out - this was so they could make as much money by ripping their customers of with 'Highway' (the supe slow super expensive 192Kbps service) - Now their chairman gets a whopping 1Mbit ???

Advice for the people who have been waiting 5 years for BT - GET CABLE

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FAIL

Cable in a village? Get real.

When are the cable companies going to serve that village? I live not that far away in a large town and we don't have a cable service. Heck - I work in the even larger town of Bicester and less than a third of that town has cable.

So no, don't get high-and-mighty with your cable crap. That bunch inherited their network at rock bottom prices and still can't make a profit with it.

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The real story here...

...most of us have faster broadband than the chairman of BT.

The very notion brings a smile to my face.

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Anonymous Coward

If you don't think it's corrupt

Ask how many top BT employees were in the Phorm trials.

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Stop

The IT dept brown nosing thats all.

We used to have to do this all the while where I used to work. Whenever a new piece of IT came in it was always given to the execs to trial. The fact that these were the dumbest IT luddites ever wasnt an issue as long as our brown-nosing managers looked good.

The problem was they never used it, so an actual useful piece of tech that could have really helped our salesforce folks would be abandoned due to 'lack of appetite' or user apathy. Happend time and time again.

I bet the locals would be even more outraged to learn that chances are he has never ever used his broadband.

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Anonymous Coward

....and bears shit in the woods.

I had a contract for a large plc. Despite having different sites around London, they also had some special offices in what used to be a house in a very posh part of London. It was a nice pied a terre for the chairman as it was so handy for West End shopping and going for a posh night out - with the added bonus that the chairman wouldn't have to mix with the proles. I had to do some network upgrades there but I could only go by appointment so that the upper echelons would not be contaminated by my presence.

Getting back to the village in question - why don't they band together, get a leased line (or maybe two) into some ISP and put a few access points on the church spire? If they want to get really funny, they could use VoIP instead of landlines.

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Pirate

Leased Line? Don't make me laugh!

Do you realise the cost of a Leased Line mate? Most rural villages (I live in one in Aberdeenshire) are several miles away from an ISP's POP, hence you can count the cost in the serious thousands. Contrary to popular belief, not all village dwellers in the rurals are minted - only moving there for the few acres the horses can graze in. When I first moved up here there was no ADSL so I looked into a 2-way satellite connection. Great connection - if you can afford the latency! VPN is pretty much a no-no.

Took me over 6 months of lobbying BT to get ADSL - long story! However, I now enjoy a 7.1Mbit/s connection - which is nice! Roll on 21CN and ADSL2+!!

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what i don't understand

is why the chairman of BT has a 1Mbit experimental broadband service when he could easily have a proper line installed and write it off as a business expense.

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I know this place

I have a client who lives nearby in Medmenham (she used to live in London but moved out there about 18 months ago) about an hour west of London near Marlow. She wasn't aware that broadband wouldn't be available, being an average non-tech punter she just assumed that having a BT line was sufficient. Wrong. The only service she can get is dial-up (special 'always on' rate from BT!). She said when the villagers heard the BT CEO was moving in that they thought broadband would happen pretty sharpish - well, here's your answer to that!

I also looked into the possibility of a 3G card but the coverage is barely good enough for regular mobile phone use!

I suggested that some of the villagers club together and install satellite broadband and share the service (a friend of mine supplies the kit, I think for about £2k) but they decided to wait to see if BT brought ADSL in generally....

@Sarah Davis - "GET CABLE" - really dumb comment. Did it not occur to you that cable companies don't like installing cable to remote places either for the same reasons BT don't like laying better copper? Thought not. Twunt.

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Wireless

They should force him to put Wireless Router in his house so they all can have free access to the Internet.

Network the village with Wireless.

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He can have any perks he likes

As long as the sodding Tax man knows about them and charges him on them.

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Flame

The villagers are revolting

The opposite side of the spin would be to say that the Chairman of BT is eating his own dog food - and at beta level as well :)

To say its "corruption" is probably just jealousy, most people get some perks at the company they work for (employee discount and whatnot) and amazingly the top people get the best perks. It's not rocket science to work that out. Some people really do think that everyone in a top exec job has somehow just woken up one morning and been handed it on a platter, these are probably the same people who put in the bare minimum at work and then wonder why they never get the raise or the promotion.

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Stop

I want everything!

Lets face it v90 modem dialup is pants compared to broadband, but it's quite a bit better than nothing! if Mr CEO has fast access then the likelyhood is that he's also using it *for work* video conf, working on endless powerpoints and spreadsheets that he gets sent etc., I would find it unlikely that he's spending his time watching xfactor outtakes, funny cats and downloading a dodgy copy of 2012, if someone had a real need for broadband then maybe they could get off their "we live in a lovely quiet village" arses and get satellite or some group wireless, there's no social exclusion at work here, the "we don't have gas or streetlights" brigade should know what they are buying into when they move there! it's like a vegetarian complaining about lack of choice or difficult diets.

You wouldn't catch Bear Grylls sleeping in a hotel would you? either be honest about the choices you make or just shush.

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Freetard

"but shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said earlier this month he favoured letting market forces dictate investment"

'cos he dosen't want to pay the £6 levey...

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SHDSL isn't a consumer technology and @Mad Mike : I agree

At least you took some time to research the story, Chris, in comparison to other 'news' websites who didn't even look at the first hit on Google..

I don't know how much SHDSL will cost, but I suspect it'll be close to SDSL i.e. too expensive for consumers. It requires multiple lines as SHDSL uses voice frequencies, and a router at upwards of 100 quid. I bet the village inhabitants won't want this..

I agree with Mad Mike : some things you have to accept living in the countryside. I now have a nice fast LLU ADSL2+ connection, but for at least three years I was on bonded ISDN whilst friends closer to a city were paying about a third of the cost for well over four times the speed. If I was even further into the countryside, I'd expect less service..

Reservoirs? Can't be bothered getting into a tit for tat. There's loads of reservoirs near me, but I think my water actually comes from the Lakes rather than a couple of miles away.

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I'm so close to agreeing...

the major caveat being that it's a bit of a meagre trial if there's only one person trying it on said exchange.

The trialiness seems to be a bit of marketing spin after 1) the chairman threw a hissy fit 2) the IT dept did a bit of seeing what they could do to spare themselves more hissy fits.

Call it a hunch, but I'm willing to be that there'll be a few folks in the neighbourhood who can afford the £3000 per line quoted. They merely resent being treated like the great unwashed when they've got houses costing squillions. I'm not sure which attitude is funnier.

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Possibly. It's all about the money.

Possibly - I expect it'd be easier with multiple people, but it is at least proving the principle over an extended distance. Frankly I don't think BT has anything to apologise for - they could easily have put in a leased line at a cost vastly more than 3K.

The attitude of the community is quite funny as you say. There are always ways broadband can be provided to a community and I've heard second or third hand of a number of them. End result? People aren't actually prepared to pay for it, refuse to understand the issues and simply want a magic broadband wand to fix their problems. Alternatively, perhaps they just want a facts free downtrodden proletariat rant over a pint in the local pub.

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Thats Capitalism!

have 1 national ISP and expect equal treatment or let the market run it and expect it to be run for profit as the only end.

That is all.

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Market forces my arse

Just another excuse to (1) deny service

(2) supply service at outrageous fees

(3) get out of paying your share.

@Mad mofo and his buddies....hope your city runs out of food soon...those folks living in the country won't be worrying about feeding your filthy city mouths.

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Unhappy

Leading Edge Britain?

I reside in VietNam and many of the more remote towns have fibre optic broadband. Almost every telephone has dial-up **digital** InterNet access.

We have multi-Tera-byte fibre backbone along the north-south axis of the country and only today they made live a trans-Pacific direct fibre link, to the U.S.A., rated at 2 Tera-bytes.

We also have digital services through our own satellite

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Anonymous Coward

@Vietnam

So in summary, invite the United States to invade and things become brilliant?

For examples, see Vietnam with their 2Tbit connection to the United States, and Japan with some seriously high-tech industry developed after Hiroshima ;)

Well we're already Airstrip One, an invasion can't be that far off the cards if we annoy Obama.

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Boss of what

He's just a sock-puppet for the shareholders, as are most bosses. That's why this country is so fubar, it ain't about greatness anymore, it's about margins and has been since Thatcher decided society didn't matter. Seems like you bunch of pigopolists agree.

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Grenade

The Sad Effects of Broadband

I live in a village in the very rural West Highlands where we do not have digital radio or TV nor even terrestrial Ch.5. VHF and mobile cover is patchy at best and can only provide basic mobile phone cover. We have had an influx of people from NIMBYLAND who appear to speak a dialect of English called Estuary-land and believe green civil engineering should not take place near their homes in case the homes (perhaps I should say Properties) are devalued or the view spoiled. Thank goodness nobody is digging the place up to introducing Cable or there would be a real row.

The local feeling is that these incomers only came here because we have a reasonably good broadband service but without the green energy the Estuary-lander are blocking we might, in the future, all be back using the old 56k modems or maybe even semaphore. This disaster will all be blamed on BT because they provided the broadband which led to the arrival of the Estuary-landers.

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't this a Corporate Governance Issue?

Hmm, I think there are a number of issues that have been missed. In the interests of balance, I have no interest in BT whatsoever. Couldn't give a monkeys about them. The biggest fail I can see here has been by the BT PR department .

So he's the Chairman - that means he's been appointed to look after the shareholders interests ensuring that the Chief Exec and Board are running the company effectively. It doesn't actually give him the automatic right to every new product the company produces unless that provides a greater benefit to the shareholders than the cost of the product. He doesn't own BT , the shareholders do.

If he is partaking in the trial genuinely then all well and good. What were the evaluation criteria used in choosing his household for the trial rather than say the local school or library or an IT Homeworker ? How were triallists chosen ? This is a technology trial which will have a limited budget.

Other questions that come to mind :

Should the taxman be informed? If the whole household has access to broadband thanks to the trial then is there a benefit in kind isn't there? Not an issue if he is genuinely a triallist.

Also as Chairman doesn't he need to be in the office ? He's paid an awful lot of money to give the company his fullest attention.

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Stop

What's the problem?

What's the problem here? He is the chairman, of course he will get preferential treatment and he is trialing the technology which is sensible.

People think they have a god given right to this service. They are a business, they could just go screw all of you.

The current technology has limitations, its not there fault. The fact they are trialing something which could benefit you idiots, seems to wash over your heads rather than be seen as positive. They can't just roll it straight out without testing.

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Wow..

If I were chairman of a multi million pound company I wouldn't be getting my broadband from a shite ISP like BT

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@kwikbreaks : it's different in remote areas

This isn't an OpenWorld service - it's a business line, possibly with 1:1 guaranteed bandwidth, but I'm willing to be corrected on that.

In remote areas it's not unusual to find that the *only* choice is BT, due to the high investment and extremely long payback period. A number of the remoter areas of Scotland and its islands appear to have only happened due to a number of grants and co-operation between BT and Thus.

Frankly, I'm impressed many places have broadband at all, and very thankful I've moved in the last eight years from 128Kb (bonded) transfer to sustained 10Mb+..

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Big Brother

Ahhhhhhh

Kick him in the nuts.

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