> remind me, why did we hand BT a virtual monopoly, and then put next to no actual requirements on them?
No actually we had a virtual monopoly from the good old days of state ownership. We then sold this state owned monopoly to get a bankrupt government some much needed cash.
Having taken the dosh for this monopoly it was decided to stop it being a monopoly.
But rather than allowing it to compete, they then had their hands tied behind their backs for the first 10 years. Otherwise we'd have seen fibre to most houses back in the 90s. But the law only let them offer Video on Demand as a easy cash winner, they were not legally allowed to do cable TV, so encourage competition from other companies, who it was hoped would invest it laying cables. VOD only escaped because when they write the law no one thought about it.
But back then the technology for VOD didn't exist. I think they tried it out in Colchester. Being BT of course they wouldn't do the obvious thing to make money and sell pron, so the market research suggested that the main money winner which would have paid for it all was sados who had missed the start of Corry or East Ends etc... and couldn't bare the thought of not seeing it and would happily have paid BT what ever they asked for to be allowed their fix.
But hey, it didn't work. So BT were left with no way of funding a high speed network back in the days when Internet access was for us weirdos and El Reg was a news letter (OK they might have become a website by this point)
Now I can sit back and watch all the down votes come in. I'm not a BT fan, they've screwed up a lot of things, but that is the history of how we got into this mess.