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