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back to article BT reveals fibre-to-the-cabinet plans for 156 exchanges

BT has earmarked 156 more exchanges for its ongoing rollout of faster broadband, none of which will benefit from the company's 100Mbit/s downstream service. The fibre upgrade, which this time mainly targets areas in Yorkshire, the Midlands and Greater Manchester, will be carried out by the telecom giant's Openreach division over …

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Does this mean upto 20Mb/s will actually exist?

Since ISPs have been rather slapped for their "up to 20Mbs" offerings so far, will this FTTC mean they can actually offer their customers something a little closer to that?

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Not too bad

I occasionally get 17Mbs - I've got about 1.5km of cable between me and the exchange so I reckon it leaves port at 20Mbs.

At the moment I've got 9Mbs - had 13 earlier on today, stability would be nice.

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Anonymous Coward

20Mb/s

I've got a few sites pulling the full 20Mb/s downstream. What I don't get about the whole 20Mb thing is that back when ADSL2 Annexe M (or whichever annexe it is) was first announced it was supposed to be up to 24Mb/s and my Cisco docs still say it's up to 24Mb/s, but nobody offers more than 20Mb/s. So does this mean Cisco are bigger liars than most ISPs?

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RE: 20Mb/s

Wrong, www.bethere.co.uk - Up to 24 meg download!

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Anonymous Coward

24Mbps?

It's probably only 24Mbps if you use the baseband as an FDM channel - so no telephony over the pair.

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BE There

BE do 24Mb/s but you have to be basically sitting in the exchange to get it.

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Anonymous Coward

Telephony

"It's probably only 24Mbps if you use the baseband as an FDM channel - so no telephony over the pair."

Except of course that as a BT customer there isn't really any need to run PSTN telephony at all.

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Boffin

VDSL2 not VDSL2+

VDSL2 not VDSL2+ as stated in the article, as far as I'm aware there is no ratified VDSL2+ standard?

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how long

Ok,

so how long to do the rest of the country at this rate ?

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Stop

No idea

Funnily, the 2 other exchanges that surround my town have access to FTTC, but they seem to skip my exchange everytime.. hell i'm still waiting for ADSL 2!

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East Anglia

Notably none in Norfolk or Suffolk. Utterly shite.

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RoI

Norfolk and Suffolk are rural areas. Relatively low population density means fewer people to pay back the return on investment. That means you either have to wait until BT's cash flow means they aren't in such a hurry to see a return or else you ask the rest of the country to help pay for you.

Sorry but I draw the line at paying for NGA. I'll pay to ensure you have basic ADSL of some flavour because that's essential and I don't want even the poorest and most rural of our population to be isolated. But if you want the latest and greatest service(*) you'll have to move closer to the core of civilisation or be patient. That's the way it's always been. Service providers have to start somewhere and only a total pillock of a company would start out in the sticks.

(*)Not that I'm suggesting FTTC is the best technology possible but for most of us it's the best we're likely to get this decade.

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Hypocrite

So you'e saying you don't mind people from the sticks with their incredibly slow broadband paying exactly the same price as you do for your fast broadband? So you are, IOW, perfectly happy for them to subsidise your fast broadband and indeed your upgrade to even faster broadband. OTOH you object to anything you give the comms companies being used to provide faster broadband to those living in the sticks. Either you're a hypocrite or a complete cock.

The sooner ISPs are only allowed to charge pro rata for provided speed the better.

Personally I don't think BT should be allowed to upgrade one more exchange to Inifinity until every single one of their exchanges is at ADSL2 or 21CN or whatever silly name they've given that. They charge all ADSL customers the same (except the tiny rebate you get if your speed is below 512K or whatever) which is not at all fair. Imagine if your leccy bill was a flat monthly amount rather than being based on what you used. Would that be fair?

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bingo

1) What Grease Monkey said.

2) Not all of Norfolk and Suffolk is farmland spread miles apart, ya know. We do have these things called "towns" and "cities" here just like the rest of the country. Except, none of them have yet been earmarked for FTTC upgrades, while piddling little rural villages elsewhere in the country already have it, and countless are on the "to-be-upgraded" list.

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In actual fact

Not exactly the same price, a lot bloody cheaper. I live in a small town in Somerset that's not unbundled at all therefore slow speeds and expensive....

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WTF?

Fair

"So you'e saying you don't mind people from the sticks with their incredibly slow broadband paying exactly the same price as you do for your fast broadband? "

I think what he is saying that people that live in the middle of no-where should probably be paying more. People in low population areas are not subsidising everyone. Its the other way round.

"Would that be fair?"

Only as fair as everything else in life where you pay a fixed amount regardless of your usage.

Here's some examples :

Council tax

TV Licence

Road tax

Gym membership

Entry to most entertainment attractions

Leisure centres

etc, etc, etc

to name but a few.

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Grenade

Yes

>So you'e saying you don't mind people from the sticks with their incredibly slow broadband paying exactly the same price as you do for your fast broadband?

Yes, because it's more expensive to provide the service to you in the first place and more difficult for the implementer to get their money back. People in the sticks are getting the best service that can be provided for the money they are paying. As a later poster wrote some of you should probably be paying more and are being subsidised by people on more profitable exchanges.

It's the same as for any service:It costs the provider less to deal with people when they are all congregated together. Therefore they get a better price, better service or both. When people are spread out it's more expensive. The provider therefore raises prices or offers a reduced service.

Why do people struggle with this concept? Is it because it's the damn' internet and people think that the real world somehow doesn't apply? Well I've got news for you - it DOES apply. The further you are from 'the bright lights' the more difficult and expensive it is to provision for you. Either you pay more or you get a worse service. It's the same reason you probably don't get free pizza delivery, buses are few and far between and why you might not have mains gas.

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fair

To name but a few? Actually I suspect those are the only ones you can think of. The reason I think this is because some of them are poor examples.

A good example of that would be a leisure centre. Yes they are subsidised from council tax, but you pay per use (unless you decide to buy a season ticket).

Gym membership? Join a gym that allows you to pay per use. They do exist.

Road Tax? Well appart from the fact that there's no such thing as road tax we'll make an assumption that we know what you're talking about. In which case it's not a service you're paying for, it's the right to use a vehicle on the road for a fixed period of time. When you buy a passport for ten years do you think the price should be based on the number of times you use it?

And so on.

Broadband is a utility like telephone, electricity, water or gas. Your electricity supplier can't get away with providing you with an abnormally low voltage. BTDT. Had a property that was in a state of what might be termed constant brown out. The distributor tried to claim that the line length ment they couldn't get full voltage. The regulator thought otherwise and told them to sort it out. They did.

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Smug-mode on

>but fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services are expected to offer between 10 and 20Mbit/s.

Or, in my case, 40/mbit/s down and 10mbit/s up.

Its ver' ver' naice. Although I did need to get a new router as the ISP-supplied one didn't understand the concept of having non-NAT connection..

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Anonymous Coward

So...

Was this by Dual line bonding? if not what is it?

And further more what router did you opt for?

as a lowly 23mb down 2.4mb up Be customer I'm curious...

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Pint

Me too

I also get 40 down/10 up. Well, mostly around 33-35 down and 10 up.

Openreach supply a VDSL modem and that plugs into my router. I also got a cheap Netgear wireless router (it says "cable router" on the box, to distinguish i from an ADSLmodem/router). Any router that have an RJ45 (for ethernet) rather than an RJ11 (for ADSL) will do.

And it's not just bandwidth here: latency is also waaay down on what it was with ADSL which makes web pages even snappier. Faster than at work, more often then not.

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FAIL

oh aye!

Hopefully BT's ability to give accurate dates of enablement for FTTC and FTTP will be better than their adsl2 upgrades.

The exchange i connect to was given a RFS date for 31st March 2011 in January 2011 then 2 weeks before the date this was changed to July 2011. It suggests that BT aren't capable of predicting the work they are planning to do in the near future with any real accuracy at all.

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sounds familiar

Our exchange date was 31st Dec 2010, then 31st March 2011, ten days ago that changed to 30th June. Good at this, they aint.

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Not just the exchange that matters

Not all cabinets for a given exchange will be upgraded. Satellite villages will generally be left in the cold even when their parent exchange has been upgraded. There are even stories of modern housing estates getting left out.

So just because BT say your exchange is going to get FTTC/P doesn't guarantee you will.

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Imy
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Don't get too excited just yet...

Unfortunately the new-build estate I live in falls under the "too expensive to bother with" category whereas the rest of my town (Nuneaton) has been upgraded.

The unprofitable areas are usually those that are quite far from the exchange and currently get abysmally slow speeds i.e. the precise areas which would benefit most from infinity. All the while my boss at work has BT Infinity available to him but he is happy to stick with his 20Mbit ADSL2 - most of which he actually gets.

As already suggested, if your town is listed for upgrade, don't get too excited yet - it's not a done deal.

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Grenade

Race to Infinity winners

Served by one of the winning exchanges in the Race, what happens when most of the cabinets ARE in satellite villages?

It would generate a spectacular publicity disaster if BT failed to fulfil its "promise" Place your bets.....

(By the way at least 2 of the winning exchanges are not on El reg list)

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Anonymous Coward

Thats how it is for me...

... in North London, exchange supposedly done, but no plans to upgrade the street box, which seems very odd in a relatively affluent and high population area - you'd have though it was BT's advantage.

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I hear that logic

but what you may find is that a lot of these affluent areas generate the highest rate of complaints and legal obstacles to installing the new cabinets, or disturbing pavement flags.

When Nynex were rolling out what is now the Virgin Media network, some of the most lucrative areas of Manchester were never cabled because residents lodged injunctions preventing the flags being lifted or cabinets installed. Seeing as by that time Nynex were losing money all over the place (and BT are hardly overjoyed about this whole process) they didn't bother challenging any of these and any area where people complained simply didn't get cabled.

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Anonymous Coward

New Housing

"There are even stories of modern housing estates getting left out."

There's a reason for this. Remember the big cable roll out back in the nineties? That was the one that looked like it was going to go on and on and then all the little companies got swallowed up by Teleworst and NTHell and it stopped.* After the initial rollout was over loads of new housing developments got no cable provision even though the cable ran right past on the main road and houses nearby had cable.

One of my friends moved into a new house which the developer had told him was getting cable. No cable was forthcoming. He complained to the developer who told him the cable company was at fault. He complained to the cable company who told him the developer was at fault. After much digging he found that it all came down to the legislation behind the cable rollout being half arsed. The rules are that the costs of the utility infrastructure on a new development are down to the developer. The cable stuff wasn't covered by these rules so the developers didn't want to pay and expected the cable co's to pay. The cable co's (being short sighted) didn't want to pay and couldn't be forced to pay. The problem for my friend being that the developer had promised cable TV provision, they'd even put in coax from street boxes to the houses! In the end given that he was only third house down from the main road my friend paid for the cable company to lay in coax from the street cabinet on the main road. People living deeper in the estate never managed it.

I suspected that legislation for new housing doesn't cover FTTC. The developers won't want to pay the extra for the expensive FTTC gear in street cabinets, so they will opt to pay for plain vanilla copper frames. And the house buyers will suffer.

* Which makes the whining about BT's fibre rollout slightly annoying. Why is nobody else doing it in these neglected areas? All it would take is one competitor to make BT pull their fingers out. Virgin are happy to consolidate their existing customer base.

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Anonymous Coward

Up to a point, Lord Copper

"but what you may find is that a lot of these affluent areas generate the highest rate of complaints and legal obstacles to installing the new cabinets, or disturbing pavement flags."

Except that BT (or Virgin) could install their kit in underground chambers, but choose not to. They could even go FTTP, but choose not to.

Sure it's a more expensive option, but if they really wanted to bring super fast broadband to the masses as their advertising claims then they'd do it. It seems they are looking for any excuse not to and having no competition they are under no pressure to push past the obstructions.

Just wait untill we start getting delays due to "blocked ducts". Almost every BT fibre installation I deal with is delayed due to a blocked duct. It's bad enough when it's for one commercial premise, imagine what will happen when they're months late delivering to a whole housing estate due to a blocked duct.

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Hmm

In a lot of housing estates the last piece of cable to the house is directly buried in the ground, no duct. But even aside from that, how exactly do you propose that BT or a cable company put their kit in an 'underground chamber' without disturbing the pavement? I suppose they could sink a shaft in your back garden and then use a greathead shield to drive a tunnel underneath your house and foundations out to the street, and thus construct their chamber - but even then I don't know how they'd get a cable from said chamber into your house *without disturbing the pavement*.

Cost is the key factor in this business. No-one wants to pay much for broadband so it has to be done as cheaply as possible - if there's no profit, there's no broadband. Telcos have shallower pockets than they used to, meaning they need to borrow money to do this stuff. If your business plan doesn't promise lots of return then the money won't be handed over by investors. Even aside from that, isn't there a rule that BT mustn't subsidise services to prevent them getting all monopolistic and abusing their strength over other operators? The fact that no-one else is doing this suggest margins are already pretty slim.

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Stop

I hear that

We're waiting for a fiber install to our office. After paying multiple Ks to BT back in October and being promised the circuit would be live in November we're now 2 blocked ducts and a gas leak (that BT found? I didn't think you could find a gas leak so much as to cause it??) along and we're loooking at it finally going live at the start of next month. I'm not impressed, 30 users on an ADSL lines that manage all of about 5Mb/s isn't good!

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Unhappy

Some addendums

1) VDSL2+ isn't limited to 40Mb, that's just what BT are artificially capping it at for now - expect it to ramp up where possible. Many 40Mb lines currently connected are capable of more.

2) They may be enabling the exchanges, but they're not necessarily enabling all the cabinets attached to it. My exchange is enabled, my cabinet is not (and given they're now finished with the exchange, likely never will be) - apparently this is quite common with only the profitable cabinets being fibred up - the estimate is about 40% of an exchange's cabinets will be done. The digital divide is about to get even wider and more complex. It's easy to identify your exchange, much harder to identify your cabinet.

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Eh?

AndrueC, let me get this right. You draw the line at paying for rural people to get NextGenAccess, but it's just fine for them to subsidise your nice fast connection?

Tosser

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Subsidy?

It's the other way round, cities subsidise rural areas. The cost of a rural line is far, far higher than one in a city. If the Universal Service Obligation on BT didn't oblige them to average charges across the country, people living in the country would pay thousands a year for a phone line.

Don't believe me? Add up the cost of 50 telephone poles and three miles of armoured cable and paying someone to install and maintain that for a year, divided by maybe ten lines. Compare that to the cost of a half-mile of cable in duct and a green cabinet divided by a thousand lines.

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Flame

Two things about country dwellers it seems:

1.They don't know or understand what 'subsidy' means or how to calculate it.

2.They resort to foul language rather than engaging in a meaningful debate.

There's this thing called civilisation. It was invented tens of thousands of years ago because some humans realised that by congregating in large groups they could reduce the cost of service provision. The result was spectacular - not only were services cheaper, they were also better. The only downside was that with everyone clustered together tempers could get a bit short. Luckily a solution was found to this problem - civility. It means being polite to other people and trying to have mature discussions.

You seem to have demonstrated why the word wasn't 'rurality'.

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Boffin

Nottingham Archer?

Where is this? I am familier with Nottingham Longbow (EMLONGB) but where is archer? is it just a rebrand?

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FAIL

I'm living in a broadband wasteland...

There are just a few exchanges in Birmingham and the Black Country that are going to get fibre within the next year. Is BT blacklisting some areas? So much for bringing fibre to 80% of the country by the Olympics - or did they mean Olympics 2016?

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MJI
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Today from 2.9 & 0.448 to 40 & 10

Best so far out of 100 installs, can't wait to get home and try it

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FAIL

So still rotting here

Living in an area which would be easy for them to upgrade due to modern ducting between us and the exchange, still stuck on a lousy 1Mb/s

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Some of those exchanges in that list are very close to where I am...

But mine isn't listed. D'oh!

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I genuinely look forward...

...to the day this roll out is completed, and everyone realises that the real problem is not the speed of connection to the exchange, but the amount of back haul bandwidth available.

By the time all this is completed, and the ISPs have used every drop of capital and mortgaged themselves to meet consumer demand for a higher headline rate, what use will your 25Mbps sync rate be if you're regularly drawing throughput of 2-3Mbps due to back haul congestion?

Of course, what will happen then is we will be invited to start paying by the unit, like we do for electricity and gas, so the providers can get their money back and deter people from their idea of over-use.

Classic mis-directed consumer (and media) pressure giving us what we think we want, but going no way towards solving the problems.

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Boffin

Well yes,....

....we know that there are other bottlenecks between the exchange and the ISPs, but the one that is most limiting in the long term is the one on the local loop.

Once you have bandwidth demand at the extremities then you can throw new fibre at the core networks, but there's much less point in that before people can make use of it, hence why it isn't done.

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Anonymous Coward

Chicken or Egg?

What would be the point of having oodles of backbone bandwidth, if it can't be used?

What would be the point in having large connections to the premises, if there isn't the backbone?

Pick one and run with it, personally I'd like a faster connection to the home, then the backbone upgraded as a big backbone is useless to me, if I can't use it.

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Linux

Cabinet checker

We're on a business park out of the centre of town and we moved from being virtually on top of the exchange (20Mb down and 2Mb up) to being connected via what must be string (4Mb down and 0.5Mb up). But the main thing that kills us is a ping speed of 200ms from our new location to our dedicated server in Maidenhead. We used to have a ping of about 12ms. I was expecting significantly better seeing as we're only 1.8km from the exchange.

Our exchange is enabled (was meant to be Dec then slipped to Jan then March) and I've noticed the new beast cabinets along the main residential road. But I think all the wiring is underground here, rectangular concrete covers with "Tenet" written in the middle. There's one street cabinet with Alcatel branding which must have been attacked and set on fire by yobs ages ago as there's nothing in it.

I think this is one of those cases where the gov should actually have built the infrastructure then rent it back to BT or whoever else. But I wouldn't trust any politicians to pick the right people to build the infrastructure in the first place.

I wish there was a scheme whereby you could put a deposit down then once there's enough in the pot to upgrade your street cabinet then the work is done and you get 6 months' of service or something. Then that would provide decent numbers as to how many people are serious about connecting via fibre.

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Anonymous Coward

ADSL2

Out of interest how many of the exchanges on that list are already ADSL2 capable? Indeed what percentage of all the exchanges earmarked for Infinity are already at ADSL2?

The reason I ask is that some time ago there was a lot of talk about Britain having a two tier broadband system. There were those with slow or no broadband and those with fast broadband. The thrust of the article I read was that there were few people in the middle ground. I don't recall the actual threshholds they quoted in that article, but lets for a moment say slow was below 1Mb and fast was anything about 2Mb. The contention of the author was that if your broadband speed was less than 1Mb your ISP would more or less write you off as not worth bothering with. OTOH if you were above 2Mb your line was good and your ISP would jump through hoops to upgrade you further.

If a majority of exchanges earmarked for Infinity are already ADSL2 then that would tend to lend credence to that article.

It's been suggested that ISPs and wholesalers should only be allowed to charge a pro rata monthly rental based on your sync speed. So if they advertise "Up to 20Mb/s for £10pcm" somebody receiving only 5Mb/s should be charged £2.50 pcm. Seems fair. However I'm not sure that would help in all cases, since unscrupulous suppliers would use that as an incentive to improve your line while throttling your available downstream bandwidth at the exchange. It would also only work if we were allowed to choose our own upper limit. I for one have seldom felt the need for more than 8Mb. I wouldn't want my ISP upgrading me to 40Mb and charging me five times as much for something I don't want or need.

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Unhappy

Pay per speed?

The problem with that model is that it still costs the ISP the same regardless of the speed you get. If ISPs were forced to charge less if your sync speed was lower than expected the end result would be ISPs declining to offer you service. Why would they? At best they'd make a reduced profit from you, at worst a loss. Easier just to say "no thanks" to anyone who lives more than a mile from the exchange.

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Big (useless?) BT street cabs

A lot of folks in my street have moved to virgin due to BT's really crappy service.

Suddenly a month ago BT almost blocked the end of our road off with two vans and a crane

and installed a bloody great street cab! The thing was fitted on a bit of green land at the end of the road. There is no way this green turd would fit kerbside it is over 6ft tall and a good couple of feet deep! If this were in the town, the homeless would be eyeing it up as a nice little des-rez :-)

Anyway, no mention of BT upgrades but I have been getting lots of injuns calling late evening asking for my name (ha!) and saying they are from BT (or talktalk!) wanting to offer me a great deal. I hang up before they get any further.

Jacqui

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But...

Is there any news on BT upgrading their backbone, or are we going to see more and more "packet shaping" (aka, throttling anything more complex than email and http) or just ludicrous monthly caps?

Their cheapest offering has a monthly cap which you could blow in a couple of hours if you did manage to get their advertised top speed!

They've quoted me 32Mbs down and 8Mbs up on my bit of aluminium... Which is very tempting as I'm still coming to terms with my current ADSL staggering over the 2M down / 256k up line to a heart stopped 2.9M / 680k up a couple of months ago (no idea why or how, I just noticed Flickr uploads seemed to be rather speedy one night, and there it was!).

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Unhappy

It'll never work!

My town of Biggleswade is listed for upgrade; probably as a large chunk of the town was cabled back in the NTHell days. But, BT Vision, and their poxy PLT are detectable from approx. 25 homes spread across the town. VDSL doesn't like the noise PLT radiates and it drops its sync speed; so don't expect any lightning fast connections!

I guess I'm going to have to hang out for fibre to the home - maybe even lay my own conduit from my house to the pathway ready?!

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