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back to article BT earmarks super-speedy 300Mbit/s broadband for 50 exchanges

BT is planning to offer a 300Mbit/s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband service to 50 exchanges by the end of this year. The national telco has not said which exchange areas will get the FTTP service, which will cost subscribers £50 a month. The telecoms giant claimed it would be punting the fastest download speeds of all …

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FAIL

Have and have nots

While some areas get faster and faster broadband, other parts of the country are being ignored and are stuck at 2 meg or below. The gap between the fastest and slowest is getting wider all the time and I see no indication that BT are interested in increasing speed anywhere other than where it is dead easy and maximum profit can be achieved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well the government was supposed to be addressing this

Before the usual suspects played the anti-competitive card.

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Re: Have and have nots

"where it is dead easy and maximum profit can be achieved"

Well, they are a for-profit company, so that seems pretty reasonable.

Were their remit just to provide the best connection to the whole of the UK, this type of thing could be easily solved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have and have nots

I chose to live near a railway station, for good transport to the rest of the country. I chose to live within walking distance of a supermarket, so I don't have to drive whenever I want a pint of milk. I chose to not live somewhere that didn't have mains supplied gas.

These are all considerations when choosing somewhere to live, why is broadband speed and availability any different to any other utility, or any other pro/con about a location?

There are many things I don't have where I live, or aren't as good as other towns have (swimming pool/gym, beaches, etc), but I don't kick up a stink and complain that companies should be going out of their way to provide these to me, probably at a loss.

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Re: Have and have nots

Oh, dead. This is veering perilously close to the "I don't have kids, so why should my Council Tax be spent on schools?" arguement. The greater good, remember?

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Re: Have and have nots

You'd think are for-profit, but they also have been subsidised to provide better services across the country, which they don't seem to be quite doing.

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Megaphone

Re: Have and have nots

"Were their remit just to provide the best connection to the whole of the UK, this type of thing could be easily solved."

I doubt that. Based on water industry experience, a rural population requires something like 10x or 20x the network length per property connected as an urban population. Any common sense approach to national roll out would hit the biggest benefit areas first, and the smock-wearers wouldn't be getting rural broadband any time soon, unless they live next to a BT board member. That's also why some urban areas still don't have decent broadband.

The straw-suckers complain that BT won't do things because they don't make a big enough profit, but given the indicative ratios on network length, even if BT were prepared to do it at cost and with no margin, I'll wager that most of the have-nots wouldn't pay the true cost, and would be whining that they should be subsidised.

If they don't like the lack of urban facilities, then the sensible thing is to move. Should anyone with a nice five bed detatched in the country (big garden, with a view, please) wish to swap for my more modest suburban property (with an oh-so fat 60 Mb pipe) then I'll be pleased to receive their offers.

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Re: Have and have nots

@AC, sometimes you don't get that much of a choice - we recently had to move at fairly short notice and the rentals market is pretty dead around here at the moment. So we've got a nice house but I've lost my shed, garage and Infinity connection. I'm now on ~4MB which I wouldn't have accepted had I had a choice.

That said, I don't think it's BT's responsibility to do something about it (though I won't complain if they decide they want to blow fibre). I opted not to risk making my family homeless to try and get a better BB connection (kind of a non-decision really!), knowing the house was out in the sticks and the BB would be much slower.

Can't help think that a lot of the commercial incentive for BT to risk improving service to outlying areas disappears (or at least reduces dramatically) every time someone like Sky or TalkTalk start demanding access to x or y though.

If BT could see an ROI in (say) 6 years from providing faster BB to my area, it's possible they might consider it. The real unknown risk though, is whether the situation will be the same in 2 years time, if TT/Sky manage to get Ofcom to grant them access to another element of the infrastructure, what's the risk to the ROI? Say if Sky managed to get the cabinet unbundled for example. I'd certainly be hedging my bets if I were them.

Would still like a better speed though!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have and have nots@Ledswinger

Since you have insulted half the population with your post, I'd like to add....

Townie Cunt.

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Re: Have and have nots

@Ben Tasker

Surely you're not saying that the real world is a complex place and that "can't they just..?" arguments rarely hold water? I salute you, sir, but are you sure you're in the right forum?

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Re: Have and have nots

While I'm sure your modest suburban property wold appeal to some, I suspect many not-so-suburban dwellers don't actually have a 5 bed detached property in the country, but a 3 bed semi in a small(ish) village, several km from an exchange. It's many smaller villages and hamlets which make up the bulk of the "Market 1" (Openreach supplied, no alternatives) exchange users, who, if they're lucky, get the wondrous speeds of 1 to 5 Mbps and have little or no likelihood of going much faster for a number of years (and then, only if BDUK funding covers their exchange and more important, their cabinet).

I did what you suggested, a while (18 months) ago, and moved from a rural village (with a connection of 1.5 Mbps) to a suburban area, where Virgin Media is widely available. Unfortunately, the road I moved to has no VM service, so 30, 50 or more Mbps are unavailable. Then Openreach delayed (because last summer was wet) the upgrade to fibre at my exchange (by 9 months). If I'd still been in the old house, I might now get 75+ Mbps (the cabinet was ball-throwing distance), but where I am, the estimated speed is in the low 30s Mbps. It's definitely not always 'faster' in urban areas, and not always worth the hassle and expense of moving...

Far too simplistic to suggest people move. Do you really want 100% of the population to live in urban districts (save a few mega-landowning farmers whose "farms" are the complete rural space in a county, and who choose to live a short distance from the exchange to be able to get 10+ Mbps broadband (what I have at present) and everyone else is in horrible traffic filled urban jungles, where there are still a number with poor connections and the services/utilities infrastructure is under even more likelihood of collapse ?

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Coat

Re: Have and have nots

Exactly. However remember they are wasting money on paying parking fines too.

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Re: Have and have nots

I live in a rural area by choice, funnily enough the nearest motorway is just over 2 miles away and I have two train stations just over 12 miles away in each direction (West and East). I can buy my milk, roast and other goods in the village shop. Most importantly of all I live 1.5 miles from an exchange that delivers speeds of up to 20MB+ via FTTC.

Me, I synch at 3.4MB and get an average speed of about 2.9MB because I am attached to an exchange some 2-2.5 miles away. To make matters worse there is a nice long string of fibre runs straight down the middle of our high street linking London with Birmingham funny though that the people who own it don't want to allow the people whose road they ruined to get any use from it.

As far as I can see most villages and rural town are not actually that far from fibre whether it be the cable that runs alongside the railway lines. motorways (because all those wonderful motorway signs are cabled with fibre) and under peoples roads to connect all you lovely city dwellers but the owners can't be bothered to let us share in the benefits because it would slow down the speeds for the likes of you.

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Re: Have and have nots

I chose to live near a railway station ... etc.

These are all considerations when choosing somewhere to live, why is broadband speed and availability any different to any other utility, or any other pro/con about a location?

Before you get too smug about your choices, do you live near a Star Trek style matter transporter? A flying car hub?

The point is, you cannot choose to live near a non-existent utility. Broadband availability is different to other utilities as ownership of most properties predates the advent of broadband.

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Happy

Re: Have and have nots@Ledswinger

"Since you have insulted half the population with your post..."

I am pleased to have been of service. I'd even have given you an upvote if you'd had the cojones to post under your normal posting name.

But what is there to be insulted about? A few tongue in cheek terms like "smock-wearer" that I'd expect an interweb user to be able to tolerate, and the observation that the rural have nots probably wouldn't pay the actual costs of the facilties they want.

Is there anything else you'd like to contribute to the debate?

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Re: Have and have nots@Ledswinger

Since you have insulted half the population

80% of the UKs population live in towns or cities, so at most he's insulting 20% of the population, many of whom more than adequately fit the colourful characterisations offered by Ledswinger.

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Meh

Re: Have and have nots@ M Mouse

"Do you really want 100% of the population to live in urban districts"

No, and where did I or any other poster moot that?

Where people choose to live is a choice for them. But I chose my house based on its assorted facilities and relatively suburban aspect. As a result I choose (for example) to endure the costs and inconvenience of a relatively long drive to work as a trade off, and I don't have a good rail connection. But unlike the rural broadband moaners, I accept that those are outcomes of my choice, and that it isn't the job of the rest of the population to speed up my drive to work, or to subsidise a new rail connection, unless there's a compelling economic case (which there isn't).

I suspect there's many people who would be quite pleased to live in the country without high speed broadband, but lets go with your apparent desire for universal, subsidised high speed broandband, and see what transpires, eh? Fast forward not very far to a digital future, where we have universal high speed broadband, teleworking, and most of the population engaged as information workers, and where physical commuting is both expensive, unpopular and even frowned upon. What will happen when it doesn't matter where you live? I'll tell you: instead of the few rural peasants flocking to the satantic mills, what's actually going to happen is that the well-to-do of the mills will empty back into the countryside, which will become (far more than it already is) a series of expensive middle class ghettoes, leaving the urban areas for young hipsters and the poor. That may sound a bit extreme, but it is only an extrapolation of existing trends. Don't bother chasing broadband to the towns, because broadband could bring the town to you.

Is that what you're advocating?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have and have nots@Ledswinger

So when they pass a law saying Broadband is a right for every citizen....

Dont hold your breath, there are still area's with no mains electricity in the UK, or so far from the power station (my parents) that on sunday afternoon the voltage is down to 160V.

Broadband, Phone etc, they are still not a right in the UK.

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Flame

Re: Have and have nots

It cost my company £28000 to have 10mbps fibre installed to the property because broadband in rural areas is poor at best. The investment is needed in rural areas, nowadays why should a company be trapped in London? The government needs to stop investing in areas that don't need help, and BT need to stop wasting money on projects like this. Your average person doesn't need that speed, and the companies that do can probably afford it anyway.

They need to get a good infrastructure in first then worry about rubbish like this.

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Unhappy

Re: Have and have nots

Some of us are stuck at 0.33Mbps due to a fault that cannot be fixed until outside contractors come and remove the shiny new telegraph pole that they put in too deep.

On the other hand my work has a superfast 2Mbps connection while situated in a large business park just 10minutes away from the North Easts biggest data centre.

I'm guessing we wont even get a sniff at FTTC never mine FTTP...

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Re: Have and have nots@Ledswinger

"Is there anything else you'd like to contribute to the debate?"

Yes. Us straw suckers produce the food that you townies eat. Yet to get it we have to go to a supermarket and pay the same price as you for it, despite it potentially coming from a field half a mile away.

As another above states we do this because (aside from having to) there is a recognition that for the greater good I pay more than I should for my food so you pay a fair amount for yours.

We can, if you like, stop giving you food.

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Devil

Re: Have and have nots

It's jolly nice that you can afford to live where you do, and your lifestyle is good, but not everyone is as fortunate, often through no fault of their own. Are you an MP by any chance? Or a Council Chief?

You may also be aware that the current government is moving as much of its "services" onto the 'Net and we're all being encouraged to "do it online". Now in Dave and Nick's (and yours) comfortable little world this would be no problem, but if you're stuck in the end of a broadband no-go area you're going to be a bit stuck eh? Of course, no-one in authority considered this and over the next few years we're going to see the fallout.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have and have nots@ M Mouse

I grew up in the most rural parts of the countryside when I was a kid. Our nearest neighbour was 1 mile away, the village itself - no pub, no shop, 1 church - was 2 miles from them. When I was a kid, most of the people in the village worked in farms around the village, or in the market town a few miles further. There were a lot more farms then, as well as lots of small-holding.

Fast forward to today, virtually no-one works on farms anymore in our area, since it is mainly agriculture, produce/grains/feed, not much livestock - with modern machinery this means only needing a few people to man massive farms. All the small-holdings are gone, whipped together into larger farms.

Nowadays, there are more people living in the village, but none of them work there. They don't even work in the market town, they work in the country town and commute to and fro by car each day. There is no reason for most of this people to live here, apart from the idyllic countryside.

They all get what I would call reasonable broadband - even my old man right on the outskirts of the village, 7km as the crow flies from the exchange (in another village), gets 3.5 MB.

This is their choice, they choose to live in the village with no pub, no post office, and shit internet. I can say this with confidence, because a house in the village is vastly more expensive than the equivalent property in town.

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Devil

@Ninetailed

Ah, perhaps you're thinking he's got lost on the way to the Daily Mail forums?

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Re: Have and have nots

You really are an arse. The water you mentioned in many cases comes from rural reservoirs that feed metropolitan areas. 5 bed house? I wish..... we are priced out of the local market by townies buying homes that get lived in a few weekends a year.

Apart from the farms inland of here that provide food for the country, we are the guys that provide you with power, (Soon to be 2 power stations) warmth (LPG terminals that feed the national grid) and fuel for you car - again like the locally grown food we pay more for fuel refined 8 miles from where I sit than people in Cardiff 120 miles away.

Of course if we all moved to the city you wouldn't have fuel to drive or boot your computer to post your drivel etc - unless you rely on solar power - a good 1/3 of the UK's needs come through this county. Clearly you are out of touch with reality as many of our politicians.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have and have nots

STOP THE TRAIN AND GET OFF THE URBAN VS RURAL DEBATE!!!!!!!!

When I posted about the choices I made when moving house, and hinted that one of them was broadband availability, I think everyone (wrongly) assumed I moved to a town/city.

Actually, I'm in a rural area, in a very small town/large village, but I knew before I moved here that the exchange was well hung when it came to broadband (ADSL2+ at the time, FTTC now). I even asked the previous tenants what internet they could get.

This isn't a question of urban vs rural, plenty of urban areas have very poor broadband speeds, and equally plenty of rural areas have very good speeds.

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Unhappy

Re: Have and have nots

I live in one of the largest towns in the UK and the exchange here isn't Infinity capable and isn't on the published upgrade plan so won't be done for the next couple of years at least

So the argument that BT will only put stuff in the easy to get to / decent profit areas is crap. The rural exchanges around here, for example, have had fibre for at least 2 years if not longer and those 10 - 15 exchanges cover a total population of less that my town, so upgrading 1 exchange would have surely been more cost effective than having to upgrade 10 - 15

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have and have nots

@LedSwinger.

I pretty much agree with you. If people are going to live in "Marry your own Cousin" areas of the country, for the wide open spaces, it seems a bit hypocritical to demand others to fund your services.

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Re: Have and have nots

Re: AC,

Unfortunately, because you live in town and a considerable distance from any reservoirs, from now on you will only receive 0.5gallons of water per day, whilst us country folk have unlimited plans for the same amount. Sorry!

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Anonymous Coward

Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

Thinking business parks, enterprise zones, anywhere with a lot of start-ups (or where it is likely to stimulate start-ups) ? Or will it just be 50 exchanges in the South East?

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Meh

Re: Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

Follow the money...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

@AC Of course it will be restricted to the South East, after all why would anyone else need fast Broadband, London is the centre of everything and faster broadband will go with the new HS trains to concentrate even more businesses there. The rest of the country will become either a large slum or a theme park.

We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others

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Re: Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

What is not funny is that when HS is built it will probably be quicker to jump on a train with a large file to send to London on a USB Stick than it will be to send it on some crappy connections......

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Re: Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

I own a flat in London, Zone 2. BT still isn't able to supply fibre-to-the-cabinet to it. I therefore do not advocate that just moving to the south east will make you important in their eyes.

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Stop

Re: Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

I worked at an office in London which was surrounded by other business premises, BT didn't convert the cabinet to FTTC because there weren't any residential users. BT needs to preserve its existing expensive fibre business so I suspect this is why they are avoiding upgrading business cabinets.

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Re: Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

They said Enterprise zones were a priority for BDUK funds in Wales, except that the first tranche went to areas around Newport and Swansea (including the constituency of the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport that is so rural its a short bus ride from Swansea city centre).

The real rural areas are only now getting BT ADSL2 due to the spread of Talk Talk LLU having been previously "financially nonviable* for upgrade despite the predatory pricing arrangements in market 1 areas.

I have zero confidence in either BT or the government in regard to this area

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"The national telco has not said which exchange areas will get the FTTP service"

I'll save you some time, it's London.

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Holmes

It won't all be London Exchanges

There will be at least one in Cardiff and one in Glasgow & Edinburgh (as a sop to their governments)

I'd fully expect one or two to be in the N.W (Liverpool/Manchester) area.

so here's a challenge.

To All those who think the exchanges will be ONLY in London.

Why don't you pledge to give £10.00 to Macmillan Cancer if you are wrong. I'll do the same it all the exchanges are in London?

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Re: It won't all be London Exchanges

@Steve Davies 3

Nice idea: I'll match it.

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FAIL

"I'll save you some time, it's London."

I sincerely hope so: I live in Rotherhithe, SE16 on the Thames overlooking Canary Wharf (and Telehouse).

The best I can get is 370kbps from any provider as all I have is a skinny bit of copper and an exchange miles away as the cable lies. For this reason, I've now given up on wired broadband and gone to tethering over 3G for my connectivity.

I would willingly pay for fast broadband - cable, fibre or unicorn drool - but no-one offers the service.

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Anonymous Coward

"unlimited" package

did the " " come from the BT? If they did - well, it's clear what the "unlimited" means.

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Regulate

There's one very simple regulatory requirement that shoud be put on landline broadband and mobile operators: for every high customer density post code they provide infrastructure, 'x' rural postcodes must be provisioned in the same timeframe.

Broadband is the 21st century utility, coverge has to be universal.

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Happy

Re: Regulate

"There's one very simple regulatory requirement that shoud be put on landline broadband and mobile operators: for every high customer density post code they provide infrastructure, 'x' rural postcodes must be provisioned in the same timeframe."

I already pay my way for my VM broadband on fully commercial terms. I'll happily support your proposal so long as you're also proposing that the rural dwellers will pay the marginal cost of the service they want, on similar commercial terms.

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@ledswinger

Twat.

So many arguments but here are some...

Farmer's need decent broadband. (that's where YOUR food comes from - corollary - food in supermarkets costs pretty much the same countrywide - which means the people in the country where it's produced are subsidising the people in towns through transport costs)

Rural companies need decent rural broadband to stay competitive (that's where some product you buy comes from)

People who cannot afford to move in to cities/towns need rural broadband so they have some chance of competing/living on the same level as those in towns/cities. The government is pushing for more internet based services - should people who live the the country be denied this benefit?

So, its not as simple as you seem to think.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ledswinger

Thing is due to just about every interaction between government and public moving to an online service (Livestock control paperwork, DVLA vehicle paperwork, HMRC paperwork) basic (i.e. a solid 4mbit and above) broadband is a simple necessity of running a business or keeping a home these days. Most of the problems with rural broadband stem from long lines put in when noah was a GPO apprentice which have never been replaced.

Of course, if you do think the countryside has nothing to offer urban folk, we'll happily keep those big resevoirs of drinking water you seem rather keen on to ourselves...

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Re: @James Hughes 1

"Farmer's need decent broadband."

Funnily enough, agriculture has evolved quite successfully over the past five to ten thousand years with f*** all access to the internet. If your defintion of agriculture is "applying online for EU subsidies via DEFRA's crummy web site" then you may have a point, but that makes stuff all difference to the art and science of planting seeds, letting them grow, and harvesting them.

"Rural companies need decent rural broadband to stay competitive "

Another nonsense claim. So how did they stay competitive before? Most rural companies are rural because that's where their customers are, and the few that aren't are there as a lifestyle choice. I've lived half my life in the countryside, and I've not seen many rural data busineses in urgent need of 100 Mb connections.

"People who cannot afford to move in to cities/towns need rural broadband so they have some chance of competing/living on the same level as those in towns/cities"

<fx: Sound of sad violin playing> Last time I looked, rural rents tended to be higher than urban rents. This idea of some army of rural poor, unable to move to the bright lights, and wanting only an internet connection to give them the chance of a well paid rural job is complete rubbish.

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@Ledswinger

"Funnily enough, agriculture has evolved quite successfully over the past five to ten thousand years with f*** all access to the internet. If your defintion of agriculture is "applying online for EU subsidies via DEFRA's crummy web site" then you may have a point, but that makes stuff all difference to the art and science of planting seeds, letting them grow, and harvesting them."

Shows how much you know. DEFRA want to know when you buy, sell, move, lose or gain livestock and they want to know ASAP. You can't even transport livestock without filling a permit in.

By your reckoning, farmers shouldn't be using tractors as they got on OK without them in 1789...

"Most rural companies are rural because that's where their customers are"

And HMRC expects just about everything to be online now, same with HSE.

"Last time I looked, rural rents tended to be higher than urban rents."

Rural income is considerably lower than urban/suburban income. Also there's a massive shortage of affordable rural homes, pushing up rent costs.

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Re: @ledswinger

"Thing is due to just about every interaction between government and public moving to an online service (Livestock control paperwork, DVLA vehicle paperwork, HMRC paperwork) basic (i.e. a solid 4mbit and above) ...."

Are you still in short trousers? This type of stuff was eminently feasible on a 32k dial up modem back in 1993 - that was how every home accessed the web, and many businesses besides. The agriculture sites concerned are low graphics (eg CTS Online) and will exchange data with spreadsheets, and there's nothing onerous about the DVLA services. We're not talking about gigbytes of data being exchanged. A solid 4 Mb line is certainly nice to have, but to post on a tech site that it is some technical or human rights minimum just shows you up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ledswinger

I am in short trousers, due to the heat. But that's not important right now...

The world moves on, and with the ineptitude of government web coding you do need a reasonable speed to use govt websites. Also, there are a multitude of other services that rural locales find more essential e.g. online shopping (when your nearest supermarket is 45 mins away online ordering is a godsend) and distance learning.

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Re: @James Hughes 1

And if your definition of agriculture is doing the weekly RTI submissions to HMRC for the wages you pay to your staff?

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