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back to article BBC might pay for Tory broadband promises

Mandybill minister Stephen Timms has attacked Tory promises of "superfast broadband" as "hopeless" and lacking in funding. His comment, which was characteristically posted on Twitter, followed the Conservative party's launch of its technology manifesto earlier today. "Conservative broadband policy hopeless. Minor regulatory …

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OFI
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First

>At lunchtime today, the Tories promised the UK would be "the first country in Europe to extend >superfast 100 mbps broadband across most of the population".

Was this before or after they promised flying pigs?

We are just not even close to achieving this, what a desperate load of nonsense.

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Anonymous Coward

Ditch digital switchover?

Why didn't they use ALL the money for "digital switchover" to help fund 100Mb/s broadband accross the country, ditch terrestrial broadcasting and stream content?

BBC HD runs at 9Mb/s. Freeview box vs a simple streaming box, cost would be similar, no fiddling about with aerials to get a poor picture either.

Anon because I must be missing something and don't want to look stoopid.

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Boffin

Pedant.

According to the BBC, BBC HD runs at 3.5Mb/s.

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Boffin

Yeah, well

The iPlayer version does, yes. Tbh I'd rather the BBC had called that HQ rather than HD but I think technically it does qualify.

The person you are replying to though means the channel called 'BBC HD'. That does indeed run just shy of 10Mb/s these days. There's one or two people that complain quality has suffered since the drop from 16Mb/s but I think most people don't know and/or don't care.

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The plan...

1. Fund superfast broadband with BBC money

2. Sell it off to Murdoch

3. Profit!

As it's the Tories, we can add a fourth step -

4. Nice little non-executive directorship on stepping down from Parliament

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Terminator

While not wanting to make any politicians look better....

...it isn't just the Conservative Party whose MPs pass through the revolving door to industry when they are no longer in the cabinet.

They're all at it, and so should all be dealt with in whatever way will encourage the others the best!

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The plan... Labour

1. Fund superfast broadband with BBC money

2. Demand daily performance target reporting with snazzy league tables from the people doing the rollout, so they spend all their time doing reports.

3. Get bogged down in bureaucracy and never actually deliver, but burn through the money anyway

As it's Labour, we can add a fourth step -

4. Blame Thatcher for it, cause everything is her fault apparently

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Paris Hilton

4. Blame Thatcher for it, cause everything is her fault apparently

Well it IS isn't it? She even pioneered the silly grin.

Nigel Lawson got three positions as an advisor all with investment banks. What was that if not a precedent? If he had known what he was doing he'd have said something about today's fiascos instead of sounding off at the CRU.

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'Most' of the population

Sounds good - give 100Mbps to 51% of the population (those in the major cities, the low-hanging fruit for the providers) and leave the other 49% to send messages via runner with cleft stick. That's the Tory way! Let's concentrate on satisfying the needs of the many before the greed of the few. What the country needs is decent broadband for *all* the population. Let's concentrate on getting 8Mbps to everyone before we give 100Mbps to the lucky 51%. Faster would obviously be nicer but what will people actually do with 100Mbps? Download a DVD in a few minutes? Why bother - it's going to take two hours to watch it!

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re: 'Most' of the populate

I think you are confusing the terms majority and most. I'd agree that a majority of people just needs to be 51% but most people would expect most to cover more than just half.

Trying to establish what most people would consider to be termed as most people makes an interesting conundrum but I'd hazard a guess for it being around 70%, admittedly that still covers just the urban population and not the expensive to deploy countryside

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Pint

Why bother?!

Why bother downloading DVDs on your superfast connection? Two minutes after you get it the Rozzers will be banging down the door, suitably attired in MPAA tabbards, then 6 months in limbo in the court system while the Gov cuts off your connections ( ooh nasty! )!

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WTF?

"And Conservative support for poorly worked out BPI-drafted proposals for web blocking..."

As opposed to Labour support for poorly worked out BPI-drafted proposals for web blocking which looks ignorant and destructive?

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Anonymous Coward

ARGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

Why the hell are we turning even more into a damn communist state? NTL spent Billions (well NYNEX or whoever the hell did) rolling out a fibre network and now people are wanting to get upgrades off the tax payer. It is not fair that one comercial organisation pays out huge sums of cash to do something that another comercial organisation gets for free...all be it a few years later...

And why arn't BT paying for the it on their own? If they can't afford it and can't compete in the comercial market then they can fuck off...Let the company die, go bankrupt and fall down a deep dark hole. That's where most failed companies end up, but the govn't wont let that happen because we are not in a democratic capitalist society but in a communist one run by a team of dictators (choice of three team leaders though)

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Not here they didn't.

OK, I'm a rural boy. but the roll-out of cable has never reached many urban places. Small industrial places, for instance, but still with populations over 50,000.

The key point is that good broadband (and it would have to be a lot better before I could even get close to 8megs) is becoming socially very important. And so it can't be left to cherry-picking greed, as cable-TV was.

And you do know how long ago those networks were installed? Accountants don't expect a payback to take that long.

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WTF?

Free markets, except ...

""If the market does not deliver superfast broadband in certain areas, we will consider using the proportion of the licence fee dedicated to digital switchover to finance superfast broadband roll out"

Erm, what happened to letting the market sort it out ? I mean I'm not against a bit of social engineering by infrastructure investment, personally, but aren't these the same Tories who continually bash the lefties for fiddling with free markets ? The consistency is killing me.

Mind you, they probably won't have to roll it out to everyone, because 30%+ of consumers will have been disconnected for file sharing by the time they get started, so maybe it's cheaper than it looks.

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FAIL

Why 100 Mbit/s?

Errr.... the rest of the world (Japan, Korea, Sweden etc) are doing GPON now which offers 1 Gbit/s. Small cost differential from 100 Mbit/s for the access infrastructure. So why are we even talking about 100 Mbit/s?

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Because...

...this is the UK and the MPs want to help their friends in big business shift all that 100Mbit/s kit they have lying around, as well as recover the costs of the fab. pplants. In return, the MPs can expect sponsorships, junkets, directorships and help getting that peerage.

In the UK an MP will do what is right for them and that's it; not what is right for the country or their constituents. They are corrupt to the core - just look at the recent expenses fiasco. Scum the lot of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Those who lay cable

and allow connection to existing cable given tax breaks, that would be a wiser move.

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Stop

Easy target, try harder

Virgin Media have already said that they'll be doing 100mbps, and they cover ~45% of the country. Not too hard to get another 5% up to 100mbps

Rubbish target, try harder please

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Pirate

Disconnected for file sharing

Isn't that hopefully kind of dead now?

http://www.euractiv.com/en/health/meps-defy-commission-internet-piracy-agreement-news-326215

(Surprised El Reg hasn't reported this. 663 MEPs voting against ACTA. Still, at least we had the exorcism story.)

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Pint

Euro laws? Pah!

Since when have our wonderful leaders ever paid attention to far more sensible Euro laws?!

Correction, they do pay attention. When it suits them, their policies and any hint of lining their pockets!

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What is the point?

The rest of the world with the possible exception of Japan does not have the brain dead debt levels with which our fearless leader and total failure Brown has saddled us. They can afford and have already afforded fast broadband but it would be little use here, under the Brown Shower what use would it be anyway. After the stitch up with the BPI it would just see most users disconnected for have the front, (and I do not mean national front) to use the expensive facility.

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FAIL

All politicians are idiots regardless of party

The bandwidth of your typical telephone voice connection is the same as it was a century ago. We have the technology to provide 24bit 96kHz 5.1 telephone calls so why don't we have them?

Because it is expensive and utterly pointless.

100Mb home broadband is also expensive and almost as pointless. People can't consume data at 100Mb rates and where the hell is the data to fill millions of 100Mb links going to come from? Especially when at the same time they are trying to eliminate copyright infringing transfers which probably account for more than half of all home broadband usage.

You are not socially excluded because your net connection can't stream five 1080p HD video channels simultaneously.

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Happy

"...Funding needed, & soon,"

I misread that :)

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If I am paying for it, I want to own it

If I get charged extra for my internet connection so the money can be used to lay fibre, why should BT own that fibre and not me. If I pay extra for a TV license so the money can be used to lay fibre then why does the BBC own that fibre and not me? If either of these schemes goes ahead, the recipient will enjoy the money and tell the government "You promised everyone 100Mb, now you will have to pay for it".

It is easy to massively cut back on copyright theft. Criminalise speculative invoicing. At present, the music industry makes so much money from threatening file sharers that they have little incentive to actually sell music. Without all those settlements from people who have not read the speculative invoicing handbook, the music industry would have concentrate on making proper sales by, for example, selling at a reasonable price.

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Gagging to invest

I can't see many companies rushing to provide incredibly fast broadband at affordable speeds in rural areas; looks a little unlikely. They'll just have to fob off the country folk with a resumption of fox hunting instead.

Even in the cities, a lot of firms will probably prefer to try and get a free (or wholesale price) ride on the back of BT, rather than actually go to the considerable cost of digging up streets, especially given other noises from political types, including tories, about ending the free-for-all that sees the same street dug up over and over by different companies. That laudable aim - to those of us who like our tarmac not to be serially molested - is at odd with ensuring there's little regulation to stop all these generous capitalists building out wonderful network. So, not much joined up thinking there.

Arguably, of course, you could blame Thatcher if you wanted, at least to a degree. All the buggering about with BT for the last 30 or so years stopped them rolling out faster networks when they wanted to, and now that the government wants them too do it for the national good, they find they'd also have to let other people reap the benefits of their investment, because apparently that's the right soft of interference in the market.

On the face of it, this seems like a pie in the sky policy that more or less amounts to "We'll promise something that sounds 50x better than labour, with less tax, and we'll take a bit of money from the nasty old BBC." Someone probably thought that was a nice triple whammy of tory goodness.

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Grenade

Fox Hunting?

"They'll just have to fob off the country folk with a resumption of fox hunting instead."

You think they stopped? Interesting!

On the plus site 100 meg would be an offshoot. They can't get 8 meg to every one because DSL can't hack it. Laying fibre would be the best way to get to the 8 meg target (or DSL would have done it by now).

Its the infrastructure that is not there for 8 meg to all. Fibre puts it there.

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Paris Hilton

Talk?

Talk about an obvious lack of ambition ...

Poor UK?

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Unhappy

But exactly who is going to provide this?

It's got to be Virgin Media of course.

Once VM put out its 100Mbps cable service the Tories will claim it was their doing.

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More importantly..

..what the hell is anyone going to do with it?

I haven't heard of any killer apps coming out of those countries that already have NGA. They mostly seem to use it to watch HD TV - something we already have available courtesy of Sky and VM.

I fail to see the sense in bankrupting private companies and/or UK PLC in order to provide a service that has no known use. What would be far more sensible (and indeed this has been proposed) would be to give the not- and slow- spots a boost. 5Mb/s absolutely everywhere would be far more useful than 100Mb/s to some places.

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Unhappy

Self delusion

"the first country in Europe to extend superfast 100 mbps broadband across most of the population".

Yeah, yeah. The British have a great talent for self delusion

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url
Alert

"the first country in Europe to extend superfast 100 mbps broadband across most of the population"

so sweden is no longer in europe then?

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Anonymous Coward

FTTC/P?

Non-story - BT plans are well underway to deliver ths, anyway.

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The plan... #

2. GIVE it to Murdoch

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Eh?

At lunchtime today, the Tories promised the UK would be "the first country in Europe to extend superfast 100 mbps broadband across most of the population".

<cough>bull<cough>shit<cough>

As I previously thought, politicians are all liars. Nothing to see here, move along...

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FAIL

eh?

100mbps? That's easy. Even my ancient US Robotics Sportster managed 33Kbps, and that's years old.

Yeah /pedant as always, but one of these days someone will go quoting these figures and then make it real. You can just imagine the Tories going "Yeah! We've delivered 100mbps broadband to the entire country", and then making excuses for you getting about 1 char/sec out of your internet connection.

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licence fee

the licence fee pays for transmission of broadcast content. It might as well pay some of the cost for transmission of streaming content.

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Scrap DAB with rebate and convert license fee to internet tax, no losers

Given that creative content to mass audiences is increasing delivered over the internet via fixed line and mobile, it would make sense to reflect this trend by making the license fee internet-centric rather than broadcast and TV centric.

The internet license fee could be exactly the same as the TV license, meaning no extra cost. But every premises with broadband internet pays. Those without it who own a TV would still pay the old TV license.

Also Scrap DAB for all its performance, content and choice shortcomings, save on ongoing development and running costs, pass that saving as a rebate or waiver the license fee for 1-2years for DAB owners in compensation for their white elephant. Take a short-term financial hit but longer term it would pay off.

Wholeheartedly embrace the mobile internet as a broadcast platform.

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