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back to article BT quotes pensioner £150,000 to get broadband

BT has quoted a pensioner £150,000 to install a broadband line to her home in rural Wales. The national telco contacted Beverley McCartney, who lives in Salem, Carmarthenshire, last week, the BBC reports. It had previously told her it could not connect her home, but was pleased to say it now could for the bargain price of £129, …

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FAIL

Yeah your screwed in the sticks

Lived on the West Coast in NZ for a while - it was either 56k or satellite. Both were useless - rains so much there the satellite internet got rain fade like a TV does, lol, and when it did work the lag was so bad it ended up being no faster than a modem anyway for many web pages.

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Anonymous Coward

Was the

downvote for the mispelled 'you're' in the title? I guess there are commentards here that sad, so maybe!

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Anonymous Coward

Get a 3G mast!

Mrs McCartney could contact a mobile operator to get a 3G mast installed on her rooftop. I am sure they would do the work for less that £130,000.

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£1million

Well how else would their chief get his £1million bonus?

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Happy

BT has heard of "competition", hasn't it?

Satellite Broadband, and the Scottish 'Leccy Broadband

http://www.satsig.net/uk-satellite-broadband.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_line_communication

then again. she could always go outside the EU for her broadband

http://www.wimanx.com/edonline.asp

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Flame

No sympathy here

People need to accept the practicalities of where they choose to live - you want to run a network connection miles away from anyone else and it's going to cost a fortune. Why should everyone else have to cover it? I live in a city and don't see people in the countryside subsidising the cost of housing for me. I choose to live where I am so I have to accept the practical implications of that (smaller, more expensive housing, dirtier air, fewer green spaces, traffic noise, fewer appealing nature scenes to gaze at out of my window etc).

Can she not get satellite internet, anyway?

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FAIL

Subsidies

"I live in a city and don't see people in the countryside subsidising the cost of housing for me."

That's because on average, housing is 66% cheaper in urban areas. You prat.

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Stop

pah

Its only 3 miles away, not at the top of a mountain! I suspect she pays her taxes like everyone else which subsidies facilities for others, that she wont use either....

We need to move with the times and accept the cost implications if the EU make the Internet a "Human Right" then they should have to provide it the same as electricity and water is today, subsidised by all for all.

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Anonymous Coward

Tosser

Not everyone has the choice of where to live.

And, BTW, people in the country cross subsidise stuff for people in the cities - we pay the same taxes for generally less benefit (e.g. council tax in Cambridge vs outlying villages is the same).

You wank stains in the cities, you should really try to be less selfish, and, just for a change, think about what you write before spouting off.

Mind you, I get 8MB BB no problem where I live, right out in the sticks. So Nah Nah. That's probably better than most city dwellers. Ha Ha Bwahhhhahahha. And I have a nice view, decent house, garden and peace and quiet. Pity there are no shops, no public transport, knackered roads, no ER within 30 minutes, no police around (ever). Still, we havent had too many deaths by stabbing. So that's OK then.

Few, that's better. No idea what started that off....

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Welcome

Exceedingly dubious about that

If you can show me some backup for that assertion then I'll happily change my tune but I seriously doubt a like for like comparison will show that, for example, a three bedroom detached house in London is 66% cheaper than one on the sticks somewhere?

At the peak of the housing boom the flat I currently live in was assessed as being worth about £350K (I rent it - could never afford it otherwise). A quick scan of the classifieds suggested I could get a very respectable house in a rural part of Kent for about that sum (as opposed to a relatively small flat with no land and so on). Of course transport links would be useless and jobs lower paid and such like so I pay my money and I make my choice.

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You accept the cost, then!

Point 1:BT is a private company. Your comment about 'everyone paying taxes' does not apply.

Point 2:BT's service obligation /currently/ stops at 'voice and data up to 28kb/s' Even then there is a get out clause if the cost is too high. The newly proposed requirement extends the data rate to 2Mb/s but still has a get out clause which would likely apply here.

My main point:

Although I generally applaud the idea of society helping out the less well off there has to be limits. The value to society as a whole of one little old lady (no matter how sweet) getting broadband doesn't justify the cost for me. In any case - she can almost certainly get satellite broadband anyway if it's really that important to her.

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@bolccg

> People need to accept the practicalities of where they choose to live

Yep, like in a village where other people already have broadband. Do read the articles before sounding off like a bigoted tightarse.

Of course, that's assuming you *can* choose where you live. Most people don't have a large choice as to where they reside, income being a major factor.

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Megaphone

Difference of perspective

Also, I find it interesting what people consider selfish - I'm getting roundly blasted by about half the people here (based on current up/down votes) for saying "I'm not sure I should have to pay for that" when, in fact, she's the one saying that. From my perspective it is selfish to expect everyone else to pay your bill for something like this.

Letting the faceless majority pick up your tab seems to be a fairly common theme in this country at the moment though.

Also, just to respond to some other points, I make no comment about whether this price is indicative of some gross inefficiency on BT's part or whatever - someone mentioned CAT5 cables and such like and that my indeed be cheaper. As someone else said though, once you're into digging up roads or dealing with any major work (surveying, planning permissions, engineer teams whatever - am speculating here of course) then the costs become astronomical.

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No, you Fail!

Care to source your claim? And if there's any truth in it, then presumably you are referring to cost of the entire property and not price per square metre.

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Re: Exceedingly dubious about that

You're doing it wrong. He said on average housing was 66% cheaper in urban areas, that's not a like for like comparison, it's simply a comparison of the average cost of buying any house in the country compared with the average cost of buying a place in the city. Houses in the country are generally bigger and there's fewer flats, so it's perfectly believable when you combine it with:

London isn't the only city in the UK now is it?

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Unhappy

Re: Perspectives

@ bolccg and others

If it were a simple matter of this woman selfishly wanting an internet connection so she could download pr0n and warez, then fair enough. However its not that simple.

Existing without an internet connection is becoming vanishingly difficult. Add into the fact that banks have largely closed their rural operations, because so many people can do everything on-line and it becomes apparent that *we* all benefit from this move - we have supposedly cheaper banking and more efficient delivery of services, which should (in theory at least) result in reduced costs.

The problem is that people like this woman lose out on every count. To subidise the city dwellers dependency on doing things "on-line" she loses out access to banks (sticking with that example). So we all benefit from her not having a local branch - what does she get?

It may well be that a common theme in this country is that others should pick up the tab, but this is vastly outweighed by the variation theme that if I am all right everyone else can fuck off. Its ironic how the two are related...

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Surely *you're* doing it wrong

Ok, so the person in the city gets a smaller house for the same price. Which is exactly what I said, isn't it? So by extension of that argument this lady should get the best internet she can for £20 per month (or whatever) as a city dweller. In this case that is apparently none (unless she can promise to sign up for one hell of a long contract).

But she wants the same service for the same price, regardless of cost. So my suggestion is, should I get the same house size as a country dweller at the same price? Evidently not.

But it seems stupid to me to say "well, you get 1% of the space and quality of life for 33% of the price so shut the hell up!" Also, thus far (an admittedly very short space of time) no evidence for the 66% actually means or how it has been calculated has been forthcoming (no doubt it will have arrived while I was typing this).

And yeah, London isn't the only city. So maybe it's fine for the country dwellers to subsidise the house prices for the 8 million odd people who live there...

Look, there are differences everywhere and everyone can find something to grumble about regarding where they live and what things cost and what service they get and so on. My basic point is that you should be bloody wary about simply taking the cost implications of where you live and just saying "well, everyone else will just have to pay for that because I want it." As a starting point it's exceptionally selfish.

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WTF?

@dogged

Where did you get that statistic? Unless you're speaking of *suburban* vs. *urban*? And it's certainly not true if you look at £/sq metre.

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Correct

It's all about _actual value_, in terms not only of house price but utility prices, amenities and communications (mainly physical transport). The Welles Institute did a study 2 years ago - comparable properties in those terms are, on average, 66% cheaper in urban areas, although obviously that varies by region with the North-East having the highest _relative_ urban price and the South West having the highest _relative_ rural price.

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Happy

@AC above

Fair points and thanks for not insulting me :O)

I was pondering on this concept but more around the Government moving things online. I don't take your point about banks etc as those are private companies (present public shareholdings aside - that's supposed to be an abberation) and they can decide where to cut costs and who they offer services to. If the Government puts vital services and information online and therefore essentially everyone saves then I can see an argument for some cross-subsidy if the market will not provide a minimum service. But, as I said initially, can she not get a satellite service for a reasonable price? It might not be as fast as she would like and it might cost a bit more than she would like but that's the breaks for living in a low density population area.

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Alert

but

"My basic point is that you should be bloody wary about simply taking the cost implications of where you live and just saying "well, everyone else will just have to pay for that because I want it." As a starting point it's exceptionally selfish."

Selfishness seems to go both ways here.

The unselfish thing to do here is to help this woman out. Sitting there and telling her to suffer because she lives in the country and you dont is pretty selfish - dont you think? Its almost the definition of selfish, in that you are more concerned with your own needs and comforts than anyone elses.

However, thats a non-issue and I only raise it because you keep talking about the woman selfishly wanting an internet connection she can use.

So rather than help her out, what we should do is force the banks to open a branch in her local area (she cant online bank), the Government has to provide a manned office where she can look things up and gain access to citizen services, the local hosptial should be forced to put a drop in clinic (she cant google ailments), supermarkets should be forced to provide an outlet for her to use. Etc.

I suspect it would actually be cheaper to give her bloody broadband.

The fact is every city dweller has taken advantage of the cost savings that have resulted from removing essential services to rural communities (because it can all be done online) and now people object to the costs of giving the rural communities the ability to access said services.

Remind me again which side of the equation is the selfish one...

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WTF?

Hmm

But by that argument the unselfish thing to do is to help me buy a bigger house in the city? Saying that the unselfish thing to do is to give someone something is just lazy. It can also be selfish to expect someone else to give you it. But then I said that in my earlier post. You know, the one you quoted from?

I don't think that the banks should have to open a branch in her area so I'm not sure where you got that from? If it's not cost effective for them then I don't believe that they should be forced to operate a branch there.

I'm not sure also why the government has to provide her with "a manned office to look things up"?

I'm not arguing against removing doctors and medical facilities from her area either.

People living in cities and dense population areas have indeed had the advantage from the benefits of living near lots of other people. They have also had the costs of that. People living in the country have had a different set of costs, one of which is the difficulty and inefficiency in running wiring around the place. If they want that cost to fall on others then I think it is only fair that some of the costs of living in a city are shared out too. I'd bet that if she wanted to buy a house in her area it would be a damn sight more than £150K for the equivalent property in mine. I'll chip in the £150K for her net connection if she'll put up the balance of the cost of buying a three bedroom detached house in the burbs of London.

Finally, you may note that in my very first post I asked if she had access to satellite internet. It's not perfect but it's surely enough to make it unreasonable to expect everyone else to pay out £150K on her behalf for an upgrade?

But kudos on drawing so much irrelevant FUD into your post.

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Anonymous Coward

@bolccg

I agree that private companies will decide where to offer services and where to cut costs, but again its part of a more convoluted problem.

At a basic level, the existence of urban internet has meant that companies can cut costs by closing bricks and mortar facilities to shift it online. We, the public, benefit (to a lesser extent) from this. However, it means those without internet access are doubly punished while people in the urban areas benefit. It seems selfish to me, to sit in a city with high speed internet and all the other services and refuse to support a fellow citizen who has no access simply because of where they were born(*).

Secondly, lots of services were privatised on the basis that companies would provide the service to all. While I would never class Amazon as an essential service, being able to access your bank account is. Commercial companies have to operate within some constraints to ensure that what they provide meets the standards we set as a society. Over and over we see how this privatisation has actually ended up shafting the citizen (trains are a good example) but does that make it right?

--

* ok, an assumption that may not be true in *this* case but it is the general principle that counts.

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Welcome

Not sure I follow this

Surely the bricks and mortar stores will be closed in the areas with high internet access (i.e. where their customers will not be excessively put out or unable to actually purchase the products or use the services)? Thus the costs for whichever business you are talking about are cut and, presumably, prices for all will fall (or profits for shareholders will rise)? So the urban internet users are actually benefitting everyone else?

Or are you suggesting that a bank, for example, thinks "Oh, well, people in London now have net access so I will close my branch in Cardiff to save costs!" If they close their branch in an obscure place surely it is likely to be because it is unprofitable to keep it open (not enough customers to justify the costs) rather than because someone somewhere else has high speed net access?

Also, as noted elsewhere, including by me, it sounds like she could get net access through other routes that would leave her able to access these services, just not as fast as she'd like. Plus there's postal banking and phone banking and various other means.

Not to flog a dead horse but, you live in a high population density area and some things will be cheaper (e.g. wiring and plumbing related items based on physical distance and things that are based on scale) and others will be more expensive (space is at a premium). The inverse is obviously true. To just cherry pick one or the other is to my mind highly dubious.

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Anonymous Coward

ok

"It can also be selfish to expect someone else to give you it. But then I said that in my earlier post. You know, the one you quoted from?"

And as you can see from my post, I said the selfishness could go both ways. You know, the one you seem to be replying to. I never said the unselfish thing to do was to just give to everyone else. Dont you think it is lazy to accuse this woman of being selfish because what she is asking for might cost you a small amount? Who is being more selfish - her for saying that BT prices are outrageous and expressing a desire to have access to the internet, or you for saying she should shut up and suffer because of where she lives?

The point I was trying to make is that we have a society in which certain aspects are expected and assumed to be available to the population. Over recent years, these have largely been moved onto the internet on the assumption that people can access the internet. Rightly or wrongly the sites to access this (often essential services) have become pretty much unsuable on dial up connections (my bank for example is so convoluted that a logging in over a slow connection simply fails).

This creates a problem for those who have no internet access. Its easy (even lazy) to just say thems the breaks in this dog eat dog commercial world. It is also simply wrong unless we want a multi tiered society where even the basic ability to exercise democratic rights is constrained for some elements of society.

The cost seems to be the biggest issue for you. She is not asking everyone to pay £150k. She is saying it is wrong for BT to demand she pay £150k. I agree with her in that. I refuse to believe that is an accurate cost and if it is, would it mean she owned the exchange and equipment or are BT demanding she pay that so they can then lease the service to her? Its madness.

Some of the costs of living in a city are shared out - just not house prices because they come under a different demand model. You are obsessed with the fact houses are cheaper in some rural areas and ignore everything else. If you really want to live in a nice house in the country, why dont you? Is it simply the slow broadband that stops you?

I have no idea why she doesnt go down the sat route - why dont you ask her.

But kudos on your own irrelevant FUD and obsessions.

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titles are for losers

"Or are you suggesting that a bank, for example, thinks "Oh, well, people in London now have net access so I will close my branch in Cardiff to save costs!""

Actually, with a caveat, that is what has happened - the caveat being as you say in the next bit about unprofitable areas.

This is fine with discretionary services (such as shoe shops) but some previously state run services that were passed over to private ownership there was an obligation to provide the service to the public. The easy route turned out to be tell everyone you can access our services online at www.example.com and close the branches. Only the unprofitable ones mind, but then those tend to be the ones serving the most vulneralble areas.

We really do live in a day and age where the only place you can survive without internet is in urban areas and, ironically, this is where you can get the best internet connections.

I moved to Lisburn in Northern Ireland a few years ago and it took three weeks to get an internet connection up and running. Life was chaos. It really hammered home to me how essential being able to connect to a website was - even for basic local government things. I can only assume its more important now.

I really do feel sorry for anyone without internet access. I have no idea how you manage to do things and you are basically paying well over the odds for everything you purchase.

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Boffin

@bolccg

As you've focused on house prices (funnily enough not the cheaper groceries (subsidised by high urban prices), cheaper petrol (subsidised by high urban prices), higher salaries (subsidised by low urban salaries)), why do you think they are so high in urban areas (I'm guessing you mean London)?

Go away and google it.

So, your Grand Plan would result in even more over-population of urban areas (with astronomical house prices, higher unemployment in urban areas, generally leading to higher council tax), and the countryside would be a wasteland.

You see where 'the bigger picture' comes in? it isn't all just healy-feely junk you know, there are reasons why societies should be balanced. I say this as a country boy living in the city and knowing I probably have no choice but to live there, considering what I'm good at (IT, not rentboy, bit old for that).

No offence.

nK

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FAIL

Correction

All incidents of urban in brackets should be replaced with rural... oops... didn't want to withdraw it in case people have commented... eek!

blx

nK

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WTF?

Bet it'll be...

"up to" 8Mb still too... :P

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Who cares?

Do doubt the pensioner in this article thinks she is owed broadband by BT / the taxpayer.

If she doesn't like the price, she can live with dial up, buy a sat phone or move. It's no-one else's responsibility.

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could be a bargain....

the quote may be for a fibre as thick as my arm, direct to london at a billion megga-jiggerbits, with a truly unlimited downloads and zero contention!!

but... then again...!!!!

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Troll

I am a title

"If it's just one individual person and it requires upgrading the network for one person, no company would cover that," and I do agree with him, although, if the other people start signing up and start taking advantage of this *upgrade*, then the individual should start getting his/her money back.

any way, why get a broadband in the countryside? Isn't the whole point of going to the countryside is to escape the fast life? I don't know about you guys, but I for one will take my notebook (game loaded) with me when I go upcountry.... but won't even turn it ON until I come back. It just seem wrong to play games while I am there.

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Coffee/keyboard

Escape to the country

Moving to the countryside supposes that you have lived somewhere else first. I would bet this pensioner was born in her house 80 odd years ago and has never lived anywhere else. I would also bet that she no longer has a village post office or a reasonably local bank and every service she used to get from them has now been put online. So there she goes trying to move with the times, just so she can stand still, and now she's been told she can't even do that.

Sometimes technology doesn't accommodate everyone. I just hope she has an alternative that works.

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@AC Thursday 27th May 2010 11:11 GMT

you base your argument on her age and nothing else!

let us modify the story,

A gamer aged 21 years old, living in the countryside, wanted to connect a broadband internet connection to *his* house, he got a £150,000 quote from BT.

would you still be as supportive to this *gamer* as you are to the *old lady*? Just because she is an old lady who *MIGHT* have lived her life in the countryside does NOT mean we owe her a broadband connection.

any way, if you are right about how her circumstances *might* be, then she have lived her life without the internet. If she is new to the internet, then let her get a wireless limited connection or a dial-up. There is no need for her to get a broadband from the start.

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re @AC Thursday 27th May 2010 11:11 GMT

I wish you'd make your mind up. First you're in support of the Lady in question, then against her.

You seem to have some sort of psychotic schizophrenia.

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@Woodgar Thursday 27th May 2010 15:14 GMT

I am not against her getting an internet connection, if she wants one, she can PAY for it. If she can't afford it then tough luck.

in this case, she wants a broadband (which have a very high installation rate), if she can afford the installation charge and the monthly charges then let her have it. I'll gain nothing by her being online and will lose nothing by her being offline.

the problem, she can NOT afford it and is complaining about the installation charge! So the only thing I am trying to say is "tough luck" find an alternative and stop demanding a broadband from BT.

cheers

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@Woodgar Thursday 27th May 2010 15:14 GMT

and to add to my last post:

I still don't know why would people live out of town then want *fast* internet. I always take it slow when I am upcountry, heck, I don't even stay indoors that much. Even seating on a chair in the back of the house is more "correct" when I am upcountry.

if this lady really *need* an internet connection for some reason or another (as pointed by other posters) then *any* internet connection should be enough for her, why broadband if she can't afford it? Do you write to the news paper every time you want something and find out that it is too expensive for you? or do you try to find something within your budget?

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WTF?

I'm confused

How can it require a network upgrade when other houses in the village already have broadand?

Anyone care to enlighten me?

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Boffin

Difficult to say..

..without more detail about her circumstances. We don't even know if she has a telephone line.

My guess is that the village doesn't have its own exchange - most probably don't. Those living in the village are probably sufficiently close to the exchange that they can get some kind of service. She may just be unlucky in living several miles further out. In that situation the cost is likely for repeater equipment of some kind.

I can give an example of how that could arise. Look at the village of Bucknell, Oxfordshire. It hangs off the Bicester exchange. Most of the village can get between 4Mb/s and 2Mb/s. But there are several farms further out near the M40 that are probably still attached to the Bicester exchange. They likely can't get anything.

But basically we just don't know. BT aren't the cheapest service provider but providing network connectivity to a single property is never going to be cheap. I think most people involved in provision would shrug and say it's not a surprise.

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If Other Houses...

...in the neighborhood have broadband, then it makes sense to share the existing connection using inexpensive radio gear..

No, it's NOT illegeal, unlike cable TV, once Internet bits get to your premisis, you can do anything you want with them.

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FAIL

But....

Not being illegal does not stop it from being a breach of contract.

IIRC BT's Terms (and probably every other consumer ISP) have a clause stopping you doing exactly what you propose. Whilst not criminal, you could find yourself liable under civil law.

You also have to bear in mind that if they were to take you to court, they would not have to prove 'beyond reasonable doubt', the burden of proof is lower. They simply have to convince the court that it is more likely that you are telling fibs than them!

FAIL icon is for you my friend, it represents your inability to seperate criminal and civil law

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Do a deal

Since other properties in the vicinity have broadband she just needs to do a deal with one of them and put up a cheap building to building link. Much cheaper than satellite.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed, done it before

3 miles is no trouble assuming line of sight (tho that might be tricky in North Wales). Microwave antennas can be had for peanuts second hand and regular 802.11 kit will work just fine with them, albeit directional and with extended range. I heard it's possible to get 20 miles over flat terrain with ordinary dvb-s dishes and bow-ties.

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Flat ground?

In Wales? You're kidding, right?

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Other houses have it..

So presumably they charge the poor sods in cities where they are the one that exceeds exchange capacity?

The quicker BT have any monopoly rights removed the better.

I pay for a 512k BB - the line was tested and found to be suitable 1.5M by an engineer here. I pay the same as someone getting 8Meg - but will they upgrade??

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Duh

>The quicker BT have any monopoly rights removed the better

BT do not have a monopoly. BT haven't even had a monopoly in their own exchanges for the last decade. Any CP (communications provider) could quote to hook this lady up. I suspect (can't prove, but it seems likely) that the lady either hasn't thought to ask anyone else or if she did they flat out refused or died laughing.

You might hate BT but they are the only telecommunications provider in this country that has put network equipment into every(*) exchange in the country and who therefore offer a service on every telephone line in the country. In the context of this story I think it's highly likely that they are the only company even prepared to do the work. If that's what being a 'monopoly' (using your definition) means then we should be glad that's what they are.

(*)Probably in excess of 99% of exchanges anyway.

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Correction

Of course BT don't offer a service on every line. Mea Culpa :)

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Anonymous Coward

why do people hate BT?

> You might hate BT but they are the only telecommunications provider in this country that has put network equipment into every(*) exchange in the country

Did they fuck. BT inherited ALL of the nation's exchanges (except Hull's) an a national (global?) backbone when it was split off from the GPO and then privatised. That infrastructure had been developed and paid for by the state. And then given away at knock-down prices. BT did not build a national network from scratch (unlike Vodafone or O2). Sure, the network BT was given has been upgraded since then. But even so BT didn't install digital exchanges everywhere out of the goodness of its heart. They did it because they had to because of their universal service obligations as the incumbent monopoly telco.

PS: try getting a new phone line installed if your street doesn't have cable. BT is the only option. So much for "competition". As this Welsh granny has found out.

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Give it a rest already.

>BT inherited ALL of the nation's exchanges (except Hull's) an a national (global?) backbone when it was split off from the GPO and then privatised

Which was nigh-on quarter of a century ago. Get with the times. Most of the investment that gives BT its current value has nothing to do with the tax payer. Of course BT had its reasons for the national roll-out of ADSL as it does with FTTC. It's protecting the value of the local loop which is its biggest asset. That's why blathering on about it's PO days is irrelevant. What BT inherited from its PO days was a decrepit analogue phone network. Since then it has transformed it into one of the most advanced voice /and data/ networks in the world. They've invested way more than the PO ever did or ever would have.

>PS: try getting a new phone line installed if your street doesn't have cable.

That's not BT's fault. Anyone can lay a cable if they get the appropriate permits from local authorities. Virgin laid out a huge alternate network alongside BT's.

Mind you - just to even the score a bit I'll freely admit that BT are a bunch of wankers. In recent years they've got even worse. Awful customer service and they'll try and charge you whenever they can. Their policy seems to be 'charge the buggers and hope they don't complain'.

Still - the fact is that providing a data service to a remote house is not cheap for anyone. BT aren't the cheapest providers for bespoke work but I doubt their quote is that far out of the ballpark.

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Re: Give it a rest already.

"Which was nigh-on quarter of a century ago. Get with the times. Most of the investment that gives BT its current value has nothing to do with the tax payer. Of course BT had its reasons for the national roll-out of ADSL as it does with FTTC. It's protecting the value of the local loop which is its biggest asset."

So what you're saying is that the network inherited from the GPO, running to the majority of homes and businesses in the country, gives BT no competitive advantage, even though BT are obliged to provide wholesale connectivity through measures in place to regulate the market, especially the market which depends on, ahem, BT's "biggest asset".

Having infrastructure in place is like having a ton of money in the bank, because replicating that infrastructure requires, well, a ton of money. Next you'll be saying that the incumbent water suppliers don't have any advantages and you can't see why competitors aren't laying pipes everywhere and building their own reservoirs and aquaducts. Those selfish, cheap bastards!

And the spoils of privatisation do still have an effect on the business today: that's 25 years of merely maintaining infrastructure, not having to build new stuff from scratch *and* maintain what you have. Next you'll be arguing that BT were saddled with lots of old, nasty stuff while pretending that BT weren't making lots of money off customers whose services were dependent on (and probably suffered from) that old, nasty stuff.

Sheesh! We all know that companies like BT just want the best bits of being a national monopoly and being in private ownership: a market position that is difficult to lose, and big paychecks for the executives and shareholders.

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