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back to article Ofcom: High-speed hookups still a UK monopoly - except in London

In a cascade of acronyms Ofcom has proposed price caps on high-speed leased-line connections: but only outside London where competition is having a hard time getting a foothold. Ofcom's consultation argues that within the capital BT's dominance in leased connectivity is being successfully challenged, and by "the capital" Ofcom …

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Unhappy

Wtf??

I assumed by the way they behaved that Ofcom _wanted_ a monopoly. They don't you say??

O.k. Heres an idea then. Hows about splitting BT in two? Put the copper cables in one company and let the rest of it compete on the same terms as everyone else. You'll soon see some competition.

Why the fuck do I have to pay a 13 pound monthly tax to BT for a phone line that I simply dont wan't, in order to receive BB from someone else? Split off the infrastructure, and you'll start seeing some creative pricing in the market. How about £5 a month for a line lease that allows BB but not phone? Pay more if you actually want landline calls. Ofcom are not an industry regulator. Theyre a lobby group for the telcos.

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Bronze badge

Re: Wtf??

That £13 per month (£10.75 if bought a year in advance, of which almost £21 is VAT) is mostly paying for the line without which your broadband link won't be much use. There's always the option of a fully unbundled operator (available for the great majority), where the wholesale cost of the copper loop is incorporated.

That's not to mention this article is not about the OpenReach copper loop, but wholesale fibre services...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wtf??

Broadband over copper that carries no calls is called EFM. That's about £225 a month for 2 pairs and will get you up to 8Mbps, as a bonus you usually get a fully managed router.

I'd stick with £10.75 a month by paying up front if I were you.

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WTF?

Re: Wtf??

If you shop around you can get the cost of line rental down to £7.99 with free weekend and evening calls.

And that is paying monthly, not in advance.

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Silver badge

Re: Wtf??

there are still small players in the market such as smallworld media who will supply you with a fibre connection alone if you so wish. Monthly rolling contracts too (for increased cost of course). 50mb and 100mb connections available (although not symmetrical and they will provide symmetrical connections for FAR less than say easynet (10mb symmetrical for less than 5k a year is absolutely fantastic value).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wtf??

Your paying that much due to your inability to shop around.

FYI I'm sitting on 80meg down, 20meg up fibre, not from BT and I get it for freeeeeee :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wtf??

How would splitting BT in two change anything? There's no commercial case to invest in last mile infrastructure, unless you're guaranteed to pass lots of high-value customers per mile, as in the City of London.

With the prices people are willing to pay, the only way to make money is to make a tiny slice of profit on millions of lines.

If you want to see competition in last mile provision, lobby Ofcom to put BT's prices up. That way there's room for new entrants who can charge less than BT and make a profit.

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Silver badge

All i want

is to see a sliding scale on BB costs. If I can only get 6mbps then why am I paying the same as joe blow a few streets down who's getting 24mb?

Wish ofcom would look into that at the same time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All i want

You have to remember it costs them the same(maybe a bit more) to deliver you the 6Mbps as it does to supply the 24Mbps, and that is due to the length of the copper, the further from the exchange the slower speeds you will get.

Until there is Fibre to the home, speeds will vary based on copper length, and its something buyers have to just accept unfortunately, although I admit the advertising is a bit off when only the people closest to the exchange get anywhere near the 24Mbps.

I just wish they had ADSL2+ on my exchange so I could get faster speeds!

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Silver badge

Re: All i want

It isn't the copper length which is the problem in my area its the quality of the line. We're within 1 mile of the exchange, well within. But the quality of the lines in our area is appauling because its a fairly old part of town, victorian houses etc.

A friend of mine lives about a 10min walk from mine, away from the exchange and he's the one getting 20mb which is why its annoying. And there's no garuntee fiber will even be put near our house because, like I said, old houses etc.

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Re: All i want

Because once you look at the actual data transfer you can get, both of you will actually be on something like 128kbit/sec which is only "burstable" to 6 or 24mb. That is if you were to use it 24/7, you could only do so at 128kbit without reaching your monthly cap or unspecified "fair use" limit.

Instead of increasing headline burst rates, ISPs should invest in the infrastructure to provide better sustained rates.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All i want

It's going to be a tight sliding scale as your transit per user will be 2 to 10p per Mbps per month.

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Silver badge

Re: All i want

yup. Aluminium cable up near us. less than 1km as the wire snakes but 4mb if you are lucky (on ADSL2). Shockingly bad loss.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All i want

It costs the ISP the same to serve you, regardless of your line speed.

If suddenly customers with lower speeds get to pay less, how do you think the difference might be made up? ISPs run on tight margins, they can't afford to lose that money so they'll either decline to offer service to people who can't achieve high speeds, or increase prices to those who can. My money's on the former.

I suppose the only alternative is to go to some kind of metered usage - whereby those who have higher speeds, and use it more, pay more. I suspect plenty of people would be unhappy about that too though.

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For once in your life, give over!

Why is it when we get an OFCOM article it brings out the 'my line costs £10 a month' wingers. It's not about your cheap BB line, it's probably not about the BT monopoly on fibre that means a 10Mbps link is £400 a month (yes, TEN Mega bits per second), its about my last quote for a gig fibre being £30,000.

You wonder why you get shite performance over your up to XMbps ADSL, it's becuase BT price gouges where you don't see.

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Re: For once in your life, give over!

£30,000 for a gig, your lucky. My quote was for a lot more than that for a lot less :(

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Silver badge

Re: For once in your life, give over!

30k for a gig seems fairly reasonable. Easynet will want 10k for 10mb

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Anonymous Coward

OK, but there are competition problems in retail markets too...

Anecdote: I live in Westminster, had a glorious 50Mbps* fibre broadband service and then in January Virgin spontaneously (ok, with 6 months' notice) left Westminster and took my fibre connection away... so I had to pay £200 to setup and install "up to" 11Mbps ADSL (which is actual 600kbps 'real world' max download speed, compared to real world speeds of 4.05MB/s with now-extinct-in-Westminster Virgin).

The reason given by Virgin for its exodus was "inability to compete with BT whilst having to rely on BT's infrastructure". So, yes, a bit off-topic of leased-lines, but not that much: same (lack of competition) consequences affect businesses and consumers, apparantly.

*Oh, and I'd like another rant: why does broadband have to advertise in megabits per second, when files/downloads are megabytes/MBs.... Obviously because "wow, download at 0.6MB/s doesn;t sound very marketing friendly, but Jeebus it is irritating dividing by "up to" 8!

/rant over. Thanks for listening.

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Silver badge

Re: OK, but there are competition problems in retail markets too...

Because some clueless stuffed suit in marketing looked at the numbers and thought to himself. "Mbps looks bigger! Bigger is better right? No one really understands what these numbers mean anyway. Lets just use the biggest one."

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Devil

Not quite

Because the vast majority of BB customers won't go much further than gaming, Facebook, eBay and Amazon, what really happened was this:

Some very well clued-up stuffed suit in Marketing looked at the numbers and realised that 'Mbps looks bigger! Most of the mugs we sell to think that bigger numbers always mean a better service! None of them will admit they don't understand what they mean. We'll use the biggest one. Size matters!'

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not quite

It's because in 1972, your 1200bps modem would have sounded really stupid when referred to as a 0.000143051Mbps modem.

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FAIL

Re: Not quite

Huh? It would've sounded ok as a 150Bps modem though, surely?

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Silver badge

Re: OK, but there are competition problems in retail markets too...

"why does broadband have to advertise in megabits per second, when files/downloads are megabytes/MBs"

Because that's how comms speed has "always" been rated. Look at your ethernet connection: 10Mbps, 100Mbps, 1000Mbps. Modems, similarly: 9600bps, 14400bps etc. This is because the modem/NIC transmit bits*, so that's how it is rated. Bytes are just a group of bits.

Also, to rate in "transfer speed", you would need to take into account protocol overheads. As these vary with the different protocols, this would become even more difficult.

*OK, I think GbE actually uses 8b/10b encoding, so is actually transmitting bytes, but you get my drift.

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Silver badge

Re: OK, but there are competition problems in retail markets too...

its up to you and your protocols how you wish to utilise your connection.

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Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: OK, but there are competition problems in retail markets too...

No, because data transmission has always been measured in bits per second. If you want to create a new marketing led unit of measure, I don't know - a netnit or something, fill your boots, but using bits per second will always be the standard.

(Try using bytes to measure terminal to terminal throughput if you're using a line protocol like 7N1 and then complain about having to do maths).

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