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back to article Peeved bumpkins demand legally binding broadband promise from UK.gov

The UK government's plans to deploy faster broadband connections to 90 per cent of homes and businesses by 2015 has once again been criticised by landowners in England and Wales, who have labelled the BDUK process as "too bureaucratic". The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) called on the Department for Media, Culture …

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Hmmm

You have to wonder whether the Country Landowners Association's motivation for this is really around improving broadband speeds or more around getting large payments for letting BT put new cables across their land. Maybe their members should all waive these payments, for the benefit of the whole rural community.

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Move House

Most people who live in the country do so out of choice. Not because they're dry stone wall builders or milkmaids, but because they're middle-class people want to live in their faux bucolic rural idyll.

That choice means that you don't have crowds, which on the upside means it's nice and quiet, but on the downside means that certain services that rely on higher population densities (like broadband) aren't on your doorstep.

So, if you don't like it, sell your house and move back to town. No-one says that people in rural areas should have ice skating rinks and bowling alleys, so why should they get 2mb broadband subsidised by people that are generally less well-off than them?

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Re: Move House

No thanks. Most people live in the country to get away from morons like you.

Now pony up so we can have some speedy internet.

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Re: Move House

Sorry Tim, but that's absolute bull. Although I don't want to live in a major conurbation I, like a lot of people in my village, could not afford to even if I wanted to. Sure the Cotswolds etc are full of people who work in London, etc, but there's a lot more 'country' than you seem to realize.

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Re: Move House

Most of the people I know* in the countryside live there because that's where they grew up. My dad gets 512Kb/s on a good day, before that he barely got 14Kb/s on dialup as the telecoms company only cared about voice quality.

It'd be interesting to see what percentage of people that live in the country are actually blow-ins - from where I'm [originally] from it's quite a low percentage.

* Of course, it my anecdotal evidence vs your preconceptions, I couldn't say which is more accurate.

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WTF?

Re: Move House

@Tim - There are too few words to express what a complete dickhead you obviously are. People in the country are not rich, unless you think Downton Abbey is some sort of reality TV show set in the modern age, and thats how we all look? By your rules, you must be some sort of chav sponging off the state while watching your Sky TV on a 60" plasma, since you obviously cannot afford to live elsewhere. Why should I pay your benefits?

Gas and electric provision is (almost) universal, and paid for by the tax system (or it was in the beginning), as was the phone infrastructure BT want to run this broadband off of. Tax systems charge everyone to pay for services that only a few may use (schools, roads, NHS etc). Your benefits are paid for by people who work - even those in the countryside.

Most people in rural areas are not middle-class commuters. Broadband provision is crap outside of a few concentrated areas even in large cities, and relying on BT to provide infrastructure over its shitty phone network without everyone paying is simply absurd.

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Re: Move House

Give broadband to the rural communities and you'll have an effect on the city crowds as less people need to move for reasonable access to what is more or less an essential service.

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Re: Move House

I live 8 miles from Reading "in the country", but in reality in the suburbs. My broadband speed is not bad. We are on a sub-exchange of Reading, there is NO 3rd party local loop unbundling at all. There are only 1500 subscribers in our village, so there is no incentive for anyone, including BT to provide anything apart from minimum connectivity.

I chose to live here, and thus have to live with the broad band rate provided. before ADSL, I used ISDN2, and asynchronous satellite internet. We now have just got ADSL+ and on a good day, and after extensive overhaul of my home wiring, I can get 10Mbs. I am not holding my breath for some magic fibre to arrive at our cabinet, ( There isn't one anyway).

P

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Re: Move House

Tim, the question is, how do you define "The Country"?

There is a tendancy for those that live in the smoke to see everything north of Watford, west of Reading, or south of Croydon as being "in the country". There are some quite substantial housing areas just on the edge of quite major towns; would you define those as being in the country? I'm currently lodging in an area in Gloucestershire that I would certainly not define as being "in the country" (pop: 30,000), but the broadband provision is quite simply pathetic.

As for most of them being middle class - please do wake up and pay attention. Most people outside of London do not live on large country estates being waited on by a staff of servants.

BTW, I'm actually in the process of moving from deep in the country (village of 584). I can't sell the house, because most people in the county can't get a mortgage; my neighbour has been trying to sell his house since the death of his wife 4 years ago. House sales have almost collapsed; most estate agents are surviving on one sale per week, where 5-6 years ago, they would have been selling 12 - 15 properties per week. We have 4 of the 5 most expensive areas in the UK in terms of the ratio of average price to average earnings.

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Childcatcher

Re: Move House

I was brought up in the countryside, as that’s where the farming jobs my father did were. There were no other children my age in the village, and there were no busses to use to visit friends or to go to college. Also there were no shops or recreational facilities, so I know the sense of rural isollation from first hand experience.

Now, with the lack of any jobs in villages (other than the farmers who cannot afford to employ offspring let alone any-one else) rural isolation is even more intense. For young people there is little or no chance of having a social life outside of the web, with the lack of public transport, and the cost of car insurance and fuel making independence unaffordable.

For many rural children the internet is the only way of having a semi-normal social life. It is only fair that with the lack of other opportunites for rural youth, that the one that is available (the internet) is presented in a reasonable way, and that means at least at the governments own low speed target.

I perhaps ought to state that I am Deputy-President of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs in addition to working at the bleeding edge of electronics and communications, so I am in a fairly unique position to know exactly what I am talking about on this subject!

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@Tim Almond

Well, the other commentors have already passed on most of my thoughts on your post, but also consider this...if farmers don't have decent broadband to help them (Farming is now a high tech business), your food price is going to go up. Would you be happy with that?

Also, there are lots of non-farming related businesses 'in the country' - loads of industrial units in my neck of the woods (well, fens), all of whom need a decent connection nowadays, but cannot get one. That puts prices up for YOU in your nice suburban dwelling.

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Re: Move House

Tim Almond, you DO realise that "the country(side)" has been around a lot lot longer than urban cities?

Oh, you don't, hence the totally ignorant and inaccurate comment.

FAIL.

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Megaphone

Re: Move House

Personally I live in the country so that I can drive 65 miles day, burn up the oil, and pump out a load of CO2, and hopefully when your grandkids grow up they'll have to walk, and wear smog masks.

Meanwhile I get about 3-4 mb though some days we get contention with others in the village. I'm thinging of getting a megaphone so I can stand in the road and shout:

STOP DOWNLOADING PORN ... IT'S MY TURN!

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Re: Move House

"As for most of them being middle class - please do wake up and pay attention. Most people outside of London do not live on large country estates being waited on by a staff of servants."

Which is hardly a definition of middle class. But go on, tell me whether people living in central Birmingham are richer than the people living in Solihull or Sutton Coldfield, or whether people living in central Manchester are richer than people living in Alderley Edge.

There are parts of the UK where being rural means poverty, such as mid-Wales and Lincolnshire, but on average people who live in villages in this country are richer than the people who live in towns.

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Facepalm

Re: Move House

what's that got to do with the fact that broadband relies on higher population densities?

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Re: Move House

"on average people who live in villages in this country are richer than the people who live in towns."

Wow, you really do need to get out there and see the real world. But hey; why bother finding out facts when you're more comfortable with your own misconceptions.

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Re: Move House

You've chosen to compare inner city with the most expensive suburban areas in the region. How about you compare say Kensington & Chelsea with Tilbury or Brentwood? I think you'll find that in general people living in the outer areas have significantly less disposable income in this case.

For every 5 miles I move closer to London, the cost of housing goes up more than £10k on average. Much of North Kent is an economic regeneration zone, and you don't get that kind of status unless the area is seriously depressed

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Meh

Re: @Tim Almond

"Well, the other commentors have already passed on most of my thoughts on your post, but also consider this...if farmers don't have decent broadband to help them (Farming is now a high tech business), your food price is going to go up. Would you be happy with that?"

If having decent broadband is going to help them, they can pay for it, as they'll see the benefits.

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Re: Move House

OK, London, Bath and Cheltenham are all more expensive than the areas outside of them. Now try the same exercise with most of the rest of the country.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Move House

No problem.

Feel free to move to the country next time you want some food.

My local dairy is 2 miles away, my local beef producer is about 1 mile away and pork, well I'd have to drive about 3 miles for that (next to a chicken farm which is handy). Eggs? 2 doors away.

How about yours?

Oh I see you want to get the benefits of the countryside, but want to live in your shit hole....

PS, it's cheaper to live in the country than the city centre.

Dickhead.

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Stop

Re: Move House

No-one says that people in rural areas should have ice skating rinks and bowling alleys, so why should they get 2mb broadband subsidised by people that are generally less well-off than them?

The government mandates that some actions -- such as filling in a self-assessment tax form or making a VAT return -- must be carried out online. This saves them a lot of money.

Is it not reasonable that people in rural areas should ask the government to spend some of that money on the infrastructure that makes those savings possible?

If the government won't pay to provide half-decent broadband in rural areas they should excuse people living in those areas from making tax and VAT returns online.

I live in a town and as I'm about 500m from the local telephone exchange I get ADSL2+ at pretty-much the maximum speed (close to 20Mb/s). BT Infinity FTTC and Virgin cable are available here, at various speeds up to 100Mb/s, should I chose to pay for them. I am frankly embarrassed at the enthusiasm with which the government backs schemes that will increase still further the maximum speed available to me when there are people only a few miles away who struggle to get a few hundred kb/s.

Getting a national minimum of 2Mb/s seems a worthier goal than pushing the maximum through the roof.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Tim Almond

Tim is of course absolutely right. If people want broadband they should pay for it, whether in the country or not. Why do they expect others to do so? There are too many folks out there who expect everything served up to them paid for by someone else.

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Re: @Tim Almond

@AC.

People are not saying they don't want to pay for it. They just want the same service for the same money as anywhere else. And I'm not talking about people is the Outer Hebrides. How about outer Cambridge, or outer Kings Lynn or outer, well, Lincolnshire..

Oh, and Tim is wrong BTW. He also a few kangeroos short in the top paddock (yes, we have kangeroos in our huge country paddocks nowadays) if he thinks what he is writing here is actually factually correct.

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Re: Move House

The government mandates that some actions -- such as filling in a self-assessment tax form or making a VAT return -- must be carried out online. This saves them a lot of money.

Is it not reasonable that people in rural areas should ask the government to spend some of that money on the infrastructure that makes those savings possible?

You don't need 2mbps broadband to fill in online forms. Even on 33K dial-up, sending a few K of data is not slow. 2mbps broadband is for entertainment and a few niche purposes.

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Re: Move House

That is why I can live with a 400kbps upload limit on my broadband when I submit the form. However, when I have to download megabytes of code to be able to see the form in the first place or to review the held documentation when checking how to fill in the form then I need a higher download speed.

Even if your original premise had any basis in reality the fact is that even if I moved to a city I would still not be sure to get a decent speed. I have a friend in Milton Keynes (modern UK town built in the mid sixties) who is on the Bradwell Abbey exchange. As exchanges go its brilliant, BT has installed fibre to the cabinet and all those lovely goodies and he still gets less than 1mbps download speed. My dad who lives in Liverpool on an estate larger than my village and gets his broadband through a LLU exchange only gets around 1mbps. So your suggestion is a load of bollocks.

As for me, I live in a village about 1 mile from a BT exchange that will go fttc in a couple of months time. The result is no change for me as I am on a different exchange which just shows how arbitrary such enhancements are and the pot luck you take in choosing where you live with respect to the broadband you can get.

Finally, 2mbps is not for entertainment and niche purposes for many people it is the way to get a better work life balance by being able to work from home, keep in touch with distant family members and to run a business. People like you are obviously envious of those of us who are able to select where we live whilst at the same time pay the majority of the tax that the govt receives but at the same time you ignore the fact that the majority of the people in the countryside are often worse off than people who live on sink estates in London. In my village there are around 75 private properties in a village of 350 homes. This means that the lack of supply pushes up the price. The same rules apply to good schools in towns and cities. At the same time it will also apply to broadband going forward since houses with good broadband speeds will increase in price faster than those with very slow connections. Its called supply and demand is part of something called economics.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Move House

Sellers set the price! House prices are overvalued at the moment so if you want to sell, lower your price. If you wait till wages increase to narrow the gap the relative value of the property will have decreased anyway so the perceived loss is merely psychological.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Move House

"As for most of them being middle class - please do wake up and pay attention. Most people outside of London do not live on large country estates being waited on by a staff of servants."

It's quite clear most people in this thread have no idea what middle class is. Probably because they are middle class but think of themselves as working class even though they own 2 cars, their own house, etc.

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priorities

How about getting mains gas and sewerage here first. As it is i can get quite alot downloaded in the 2 hours spent dyno rodding some brown blockage.

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Re: priorities

Mains drainage as gas would be a godsend to me, it would stop me having to spend a ton of money on heating oil and having to unblock the septic tank every couple of months, After that they can upgrade my broadband that is currently being carried by string with flakes of copper in it I think. I'm quite happy leaving iso's downloading overnight.

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Sceptic Tanks

Reduce the amount of oil you stuff down the pipes - decant any cooking oil etc to a pot (old plastic takeaway pt is fine) and put in household waste. Just doing that means my septic tanks hasn't needed emptying or unblocking for two years. TBH, you should never need to empty a septic tank unless your soakaway is knackered - again, fat residue is the normal culprit. Also, reduce the amount you flush - if its yellow, let it mellow as the Aussies say.

There, saved you enough money to get decent broadband!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sceptic Tanks

Or "if it's yellow, stick it in a bottle and sell it" as the Yanks say.

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Mushroom

Define "Countryside"

Money is being made available to improve connectivity in rural COMMUNITIES. I approve of that.

A Universal Service Obligation requires the service to be provided to every cottage, bothy, croft and henhouse in the UK. That is not financially viable for the country to support. It is a fact of life that isolated properties do not receive the same services as communities.

Next you'll be expecting the government to introduce a Universal Service Obligation for there being a superstore over a certain size within walking distance of every property? No, didn't think so somehow!

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Anonymous Coward

Press release.

"Peeved bumpkins demand legally binding broadband promise from UK.gov"

I just talked to a government spokesman and here's their answer to the bumpkins' demands, as written in their latest press release: "Ha ha ha! You fukken loooooosers."

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Thumb Down

Where does the money come from? Very few telco companies could even being to plan for a roll-out if there were penalties for under performing. About the only one that could would be BT - is that what they want? But even BT might decide enough was enough. The cost of meeting a decent USO would be horrible for the truly remote areas. Mostly likely BT would back out as well leaving the 'bumpkins' with nothing at all.

CMOT Dibbler would be proud :-/

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How much is too much?

The costs of such an obligation must be understood, before it is promised. Wherever costs can be cut, that must be also considered. It may just simply be too expensive. I do not agree with spending say £100 bn for rural broadband. It may mean rural communities will have to wait until technology catches up to cost effectively provide broadband,

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Re: How much is too much?

My village sits on the end of a lead pipe containing paper insulated wires, and until someone 'accidentally' put a hole in the pipe in the valley between us and the exchange it was full of water. It took a week for the water to stop flowing out, and our speed has increaded since.

Anyway to the point. "wait until technology catches up" BT will not update our wet paper system as they say that they do not have anything that old, because the replaced it all years ago. Maybe in the towns it was replaced, but certainly in my area of the countryside BT are keeping us well behind 'modern' technology.

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Silver badge

Heres an idea.

Take back some of that money from BT for being too slow and set up a system where if you can't get a minimum speed AND live in the countryside you get 4G at a reduced rate.

This is to continue until BT complete their roll out and supply proper broadband to everyone within a set distance of an exchange.

Then only those who live outside the distance can get the subsidy.

This would have the double plus of pushing BT to hurry up and also help those businesses that are in the country or are home workers who by being where they are contribute to the local economy and job market without forcing more people to commute.

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Anonymous Coward

When the publicly funded infrastructure of post office telephones was privatized, it took assets I'd payed for and 'gifted' them to pension funds and stuff. I was quite happy for them to do that at the time, it possibly helped pay for a trident submarine. However, its now pay back time, and I'm calling in the debt. I want synchronous 100MB to my outside toilet, and I wanna pay just £10 a month for it, and I want it now. Go on, off you trot, I've waited more than long enough......

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National Grid

The broadband network should be treated like the National Grid in the 1930s. Unfortunately the government (past and present) want something for nothing, delivered before their next general election.

I read that NZ have decided to skip FTTC for most users, going straight to FTTP as it will be cheaper in the long term. They intend to have a "world-class broadband network ".

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This government is against anything that is paid for by the majority, but used by a minority - NHS, Royal Mail, Welfare, but when the tory heartlands start complaining about broadband, all their retoric goes out of the window.

Build a new house in the middle of a field and you'll have to pay for every metre of electricity cable, water supply and sewage pipe that runs up to the property. Why should broadband supply be any different?

The vast majority of the yokels use mobile phones in preference to a fixed line. So what profit is there in the long term for BT?

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@jon smit

"vast majority of the yokels use mobile phones in preference to a fixed line"

You assume that you can get a signal for a mobile in the country. Possibly in such rural areas as Berkshire or Essex, but not everywhere is that fortunate. Where I used to live, the coverage was not that good for any of the networks - and I'm talking GPRS. 3G was only ever something that marketing people would promise without ever having any intention of delivering.

I'm betting that if some of the people moaning about preference being given to rural areas had to put up with some of the crappy service that we have to deal with, they might be singing a different tune.

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HMB

Government against... BLAH.....

Was that what you took away from the last few years?

For me I happened to get the impression that spending far more than we ever had to spend had left us massively screwed.

Me personally? What would I have given up to make the budget fit? Probably two massively expensive wars that didn't seem to achieve anything. Yeah... I would have given up those. Come to think of it, I don't think I'd ever want to vote for a Government that screwed us all royally so it could pointlessly kill members of our armed forces.

But perhaps you just wanted a less considered general venting at authority?

Booo!!! Hiss!! Authority!!!

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FAIL

You need to check your facts before you post.

If you build a house in the countryside and it does not come with a pre-installed telephone cable attached to the local network, you have to pay BT to run the cable to the property in exactly the same way as the gas or electric companies.

As for using a mobile, some people in the countryside do use a mobile on 2G because for most of the countryside there is no 3G and its doubtful if we will get 4G either.

And your assumption that we are Lib-Con (Con Lib) supporters is also insulting as is the idea that the Tories will provide broadband to the rural areas, they haven't so far and all the plans I have seen thus far don't show that changing (Central Beds council got ~£600K of the £500 million the Govt is throwing around).

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Anonymous Coward

The NHS, Royal Mail, and welfare are all in fact used by the majority. You're right that rural broadband would only be used by a minority which is why we shouldn't have to subsidise it.

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@AC 00:15

Did you not read the comments above that remind us that the Government are moving the majority of services on-line so virtually everyone will need internet access, and at a reasonable speed to cope with the pretty dreadful web sites and forms currently served up by them?

If anything the more rural the area, the more important decent internet access is. Try living in such an area (not always a lifestyle choice!) and I mean for a few months not just a week on holiday.

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Megaphone

Broadband prices in proportion

They should charge less instead of a flat fee using an up-to service.

Someone paying £35 p/m for a 24Mbit connection but only gets 6Mbit should only pay 25% (£8.75).

Also none of this throttling rubbish I would rather pay more to download more.

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Re: Broadband prices in proportion

So your idea is to make lines that are already being left out because financially not viable even less financially viable by limiting the amount telcos can charge for them?

Perhaps you're unaware that the cost to the telco is pretty much the same for a connection whether it's 2Mb/s or 20Mb/s. By knocking off 8% you've probably obliterated the profit on that under-performing line. It's a bit of a gamble to assume that the telco's reaction to that is to make it go faster. Given the huge expense of that it's just as likely they will decline to provide any service on that line at all.

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Re: Broadband prices in proportion

Edit: Damn. I meant 25% reduction. That would definitely push any xDSL connection into loss because margins are currently way below 25%.

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Bumpkins

Isn't calling people bumpkins a bit like calling them plebs?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bumpkins

It's a bit like calling some of the commenters above townie cunts.

Which, of course, they are.

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