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back to article Surprise! BT pockets £70m North Yorkshire broadband rollout

BT has been awarded a £70m contract from North Yorkshire county council to improve broadband service in the area, and will win a similar contract for Cumbria by default. Japanese tech giant Fujitsu, the only competition faced by BT for the work, withdrew from the contest in Cumbria but remained in the running for the North …

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Great..

Meanwhile, in a relatively central area in the south, a village where I live, I average about 1.6Mbit/s, 2 if I'm lucky, with a terrible upload speed.

How about we work on getting everyone up to a decent standard of say 10Mbit symmetrical, instead of working on giving a handful of people 80Mbit for a high price.

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Re: Great..

That's the same reason why I told the lying Sky sales rep to sling his hook yesterday. He claimed BT Infinity would be here in a few months and I'd get 40Mb/s (note, he didn't say "up to" either!).

Not according to BT. Much of this large metropolitan area will have upgraded exchanges by the end of 2012, even outlying rural areas, but not my local exchange. Even the BT site tells me I'll get 2-6Mb/s (estimated speed, 3.2Mb/s). I'll stick with VirginMedia thanks very much.

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Big Brother

That's not a race...

it's a HEARSE.

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Alert

Is it still a race if there's only one horse?

It depends if the horse completes the course or simply drops dead halfway round

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Same here........

I live in a village in Kent, I'm lucky if I can get 2meg down and 400k up, apparently we have been awarded a government grant to get us high speed access, this has stalled at the tender stage, i wonder if that is because BT are the only ones to have submitted a tender.

This is not really surprising as BT (via openworld of course) own all the copper to the homes, so why should anyone else bid? I for one couldn't give a rats arse who wins the tender, just as long as we get FTTC.

I am (happily) with Talk talk, so once we are FTTC'd up I 'should' be able to take up an 'upto' 24meg service from them. I would be happy with 10meg.

I can't see Virgin bidding as they would have to cable up the whole village and hope for a good take up of services, and tbh, I can't see that happening.

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Re: Same here........

"I can't see Virgin bidding as they would have to cable up the whole village and hope for a good take up of services, and tbh, I can't see that happening."

Virgin are now a US listed corporation, and are thus being wrung out for short term cash gains to satisfy gormless US stockholders who expect to see relentless quarter on quarter increases in earnings per share. Network investment is limited to defensive work on speed upgrades, and potential cable build out simply isn't happening, regardless of the potential take up.

This also means that OFCOM (a hypothetically competent OFCOM, that is) cannot offer Virgin the opportunity to take on and upgrade local loop areas if BT doesn't want to upgrade them. There would still be cherry picking, but at least such a solution would focus BT's mind. Maybe invite foreign telecoms players in to take over selected Openreach assets (at privatisation book value plus subsquent investments), or ask the mobile telcos to do it.

Should that seem unfeasible, I'd point to the prior sale of selected regional gas distribution networks in the UK by Nnation Grid Transco, at the behest of OFGEM.

But with no threat, BT won't do anything (except run high speed broadband to the chairman's country palace).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Same here........

How would giving chunks of BT's network (paid for and owned by shareholders) to a foreign company change anything? The elephant in the room in high speed broadband is that the market price is too low to justify investment other than in areas where you're absolutely certain to be able to sell it. That pretty much means places where people already pay for high speed broadband.

That low market price tells us that there's not a high demand for these products. With only two volume suppliers in the market, prices ought to be much higher than they actually are.- if they're stable, demand is being met, if they're falling there's more supply than demand.

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Anonymous Coward

Is anyone else just glad its a British company that gets the public money?

I'm all for international business, BUT when it comes to spending public money, keeping it in the UK is a good thing..

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Ordinarily I'd agree. However, BT are contemptible cretins who will do as little as possible as cheaply as possible.

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@Simbu

"However, BT are contemptible cretins who will do as little as possible as cheaply as possible."

and charge as much as possible.

FIFY

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Dire Straits

With zero competition they'll do what BT are the best at doing, that is the least they can get away with. If you're still too far from the main exchange (friends farm has 6 miles of damp string) then your chance of having broadband are not going to improve.

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Cut out the middle man

Congratulations BT, as others have said, on winning another one horse race. Can we just cut out the whole BDUK/County Council/Local Council/ERDF charade and admit that we are paying through the nose for BT to do what they should already have done off their own bat? At least then we might finally get it all done a bit cheaper.

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Re: Cut out the middle man

Out of curiosity why do you think BT should have done all this off their own bat? There not a charity, and unless these subsidies exist, no company can expect to make a return on investing fibre and/or faster broadband to rural/remote areas!

The whole one horse race issue might be valid, but that's not BT's fault for still tendering, and ultimately winning, and if the end result is other providers can run services on top of BT, thus offerng choice, surely its a win win for everyone??

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Re: Cut out the middle man

"Out of curiosity why do you think BT should have done all this off their own bat? There not a charity...."

I'll tell you why. Because BT Openreach operate a defacto monopoly in local loop hardware, publishes wilfully complex and non-transparent accounts to disguise the returns being made, and thus enjoy fairly generous profits for zero commercial risk. If high speed broadband over copper/fibre can't be done in rural areas, then let's have BT admit that, pull out the copper wires, rewrite the service obligation to let them off the hook, and use (upgraded) mobile networks for rural telecoms and broadband.

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Re: Cut out the middle man

The USO does not apply to broadband, so they are already off the hook, so to speak!

And their not saying high speed broadband over copper/fibre can't be done in rural areas, just that's its more expensive due to more kit required and less customers!

What your suggesting is BT are forced to write off large parts of their network, and then expect that other (mobile) companies will be willing to upgrade their networks to take up the slack, which they are as unlikely to do, as BT, without any subsidies!

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Dirt cheap compared to American subsidies

Hmmm, 70M for 365k homes? Just under 200 quid of subsidy per connection. That's bupkis. The FCC has offered the big telcos "Connect America Fund Phase 1" subsidies of $775 per home to bring 4/1 broadband to unserved homes in their dial tone service turfs. This is a capital grant, only to places that have no "unsubsidized competitor" now and where they promise they weren't planning on bringing it otherwise.

We have some rural telcos here whose USF subsidies are over $1000/month, mostly going to pay off government loans of over $20k/home, though the new CAF rules "presumptively" cap subsidies at $250/line/month, meaning that very high cost subsidy suckers have to write a note to justify it. Some of those are realistic (it's a big country and there are some seriously remote areas). Some haven't been seen yet and will be a real laugh.

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Not to mention...

That BT have used anticompetitive practices(*) to scupper contracts issued to alternative providers, resulting in the allocated EU money being pocketed by councils and the feckless companies who originally got the contracts being substantially out of pocket for the work they'd already put in.

They did this in Ewhurst (Surrey) and then took their own sweet time actually installing anything, so that the villagers finally got FTTC (in some parts only) about 2 years later than they would have if the original contract had been seen to completion - and they still don't have the 100% coverage they would have had.

(*) BT originally stated they had no interest in providing FTTC to the area. Then as soon as EU funding had been secured and broadband rollouts announced for various rural areas in Surrey, they announced that there was enough demand after all. This resulted in the contracts being cancelled and EU grants being withheld. Previously BT had simply waited until several Surrey companies had rolled out wireless broadband, then put in ADSL services in the same area at substantially lower cost - the wireless companies went bust as a result.

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