A picture is slowly emerging that suggests that the UK's incumbent telco - BT - has a perceived stranglehold on the rollout of a faster broadband network in hard to reach parts of the UK. That's despite the fact that BT recently revised its duct and pole pricing plan for rivals wanting to gain access to the company's physical …
Government cant promise anything
"The government meanwhile continues to defend its stance on delivering the best broadband network in Europe by 2015."
Yep I think they lost the ability to make such promises when they sold off BT in the first place, they thought they could make some fast cash, lost out in the long term and still have to stump up £500M+ cash to get BT and the other providers moving.
Speaking as a bumpkin
I can't say I'm surprised. BT never changes. "Rural" to BT seems to mean "living somewhere where you can see a tree".
The mention of Cumbria and the Highlands and Islands may create the impression that the problem is peculiar to remote locations**, and this can lead to a certain amount of sniping by city dwellers. Not so. Where I live, it takes 15 minutes by bike from my house to Cambridge Science Park, and nearly that long by Internet.
**These places deserve good connectivity as much as anyone else, but the physical problems may in some cases be greater.
The forgotten "not spots"
I'm luck enough to live in a village that's just got FTTC. Openreach proudly proclaim it as Infinity enabled. What they don't say is that they only upgraded one cabinet and have no plans to do the other. So half the village will remain a "not spot" for the forseable future. Perhaps I should do a deal with my neighbours at the bottom of the garden who are on the lucky side?
So what's the criteria for "best" broadband network? Percentage of people who theoretically could have access if they wanted? Percentage of people actually hooked up? Peak speed? Average speed? Reliability?
Since it's a government claim, I fully expect the criteria of 'best' to be 'the one that stacks up the least embarassingly against the competition'. meanwhile in the real world I very much doubt that the UK will be even close to the top in any one of those criteria except "Percentage of people who theoretically could have access if they wanted " which will probably be made-up anyway
In rural areas - I'm in wensleydale - BT has all the aces. poles, ducts , cable (a lt of rubbish aluminium) and exchanges. Mobile operators don't want to know as they work on resident numbers not visitors - hey you get 2 million people a year, sorry says 3 can't give you 3G.
Th only ways are 4g via a new (nationalised?) company or bribing BT.
And BT only has to provide lines capble of 56k data, if data transmission existed 100 years ago they could achieve it then.
Instead of pandering to those who have moved into the sticks to pursue the simple life or the fox, or to get away from the sweaty masses, why not do something about the much greater number of people living in quite ordinary towns and suburbs who can't get decent broadband service? I bet the ROI would be much higher -- and I don't see disappointed and disgruntled members of the Countryside Alliance switching to Labour so the Government has nothing to lose.
and who is surprised by this?
Ge the Dutch companies who did their high speed and toss these wankers to the back of the shed.
Stop privatising massive infrastructure. It hasn't ever worked and will continue to never work.
Rural? No, just unfortunately located..
In fact I who am rural but happen to be only a couple of klicks from an exchange get a very decent 5.5Mbps synch rate..Villages as such are MOSTLY clusters in a small geographical area and are easily sorted.
Not so the vast suburban sprawls that have grown like topsy. Some of which have 5-6km line runs.
BT as a commercial operation cannot be expected to wire up non profitable areas for high speed access. The question is as to whether such areas should still be wired, and, if so, who pays and how.
There is a tendency to think it would all be some much better if BT was nationalised..those of us who can remember the GPO can assure you that for all its faults, BT is better than that!
Personally I would say that the last five miles should not be nationalised, it should be localised: BT openreach should be totally divorced from BT the group, and should be partnered with county and borough councils, and the infrastructure paid for out of local taxes.
The ISPS can stay as private listed companies or whatever- that's competition which is needful.
The ISPs including NT Internet can then rent rack space in the local exchanges.
Backhaul is a national issue of course, and there is some argument that a national fibre network is not a bad thing to subsidise: As long as its not RUN by the government.
Almost anything that is run by a government ends up as a total disaster. Elections seem to be the worst of all possible worlds when it comes to selecting competent managers of anything.