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back to article Tough luck, bumpkins! Blighty broadband speed gap misery worsens

Speedy broadband networks in cities continue to infuriate country bumpkins who are running out of patience with their painfully slow internet connections. Sadly, the gap between broadband speeds for urban dwellers and people living in the sticks is set to widen. Communications watchdog Ofcom said today the UK's average fixed- …

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Anonymous Coward

If you want the benefits of city living...

...live in a city. The population density makes providing to services that much more economical. Why run a cable to 1,000 people when you can run the same amount of cable to 10,000+?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Because we don't all simply get to choose where we live?

Just a thought. I have nothing else to add.

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Re: Because we don't all simply get to choose where we live?

'Because we don't all simply get to choose where we live?'

Yes, you can choose where to live.

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Re: If you want the benefits of city living...

On the other hand, why take a company private for short term gain, shafting most of the Country when it should have been kept public and provided provision for all. Otherwise let other people tender e.g. Fijitsu.

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JDX
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Re: Because we don't all simply get to choose where we live?

You're forgetting the demographic of this site. Children don't get to say where they live. But then they also don't contribute anything so the fact they can't torrent Breaking Bad as fast as they like isn't really getting my sympathy.

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Re: If you want the benefits of city living...

OK, can you tell me where I can park my 100 dairy cows, 20 acres of crops as well as my pigs, chickens and lambs? You do want to be able to eat don't you?

Last time I looked the "city" is not a suitable place to undertake many of the activities that people in the countryside carry out or for people who provide services to people living in the country to live. On top of this if we all move back to the city, we'd have to knock down huge numbers of detached and semi-detached houses to build blocks of flats or move to multi-occupancy in existing properties in order to accommodate all those country bumpkins.

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FAIL

Re: Because we don't all simply get to choose where we live?

>Yes, you can choose where to live.

I know several MILLION people who would disagree with you.

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Re: If you want the benefits of city living...

What I really fail to understand in all this is why it is so difficult to deliver decent broadband to the whole island. It is a small space with no truly rugged or wilderness areas. Is it just corporate infighting or political incompetence or a combination of those things?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If you want the benefits of city living...

"OK, can you tell me where I can park my 100 dairy cows, 20 acres of crops as well as my pigs, chickens and lambs? You do want to be able to eat don't you?"

Can you show me the person holding a gun to your head forcing you to be a farmer?

"if we all move back to the city, we'd have to knock down huge numbers of detached and semi-detached houses to build blocks of flats or move to multi-occupancy in existing properties in order to accommodate all those country bumpkins."

No you won't, there's plenty of brown-fiield sites in the city. I have never understood the UK's obsession with destroying its greenbelt. Well, there are tax advantages to new builds - so I guess the Fat Cats in Westminster are to blame (again).

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Re: If you want the benefits of city living...

"Can you show me the person holding a gun to your head forcing you to be a farmer?"

There may not be one now, but when all the farmers give up and go to the city to... be unemployed I suppose... then there'll probably be one or two gun wielding persons who want to know where all the food has gone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If you want the benefits of city living...

"What I really fail to understand in all this is why it is so difficult to deliver decent broadband to the whole island"

The cost of provision is too high to make a return at current market prices. That price is going down, not up. Telcos have to borrow to do this stuff - investors consider it a poor risk, which pushes up the cost of borrowing, making it more expensive again. Shareholders would rather take a larger dividend than have those telcos make risky investments.

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Re: If you want the benefits of city living...

All right then, you do realise that urban living is heavily subsidised.

Question to those of you complaining about rural broadband. How willing would you be to pay the true cost of things like food, water and electricity etc?

Keep in mind that a lot of the funding is specifically earmarked for rural areas but BT are exaggerating the cost and using the remainder to subsidy their city rollouts. I believe The Register even did a story on it at one point.

I'm sure many community fibre projects could do a lot more with the equivalent money awarded to BT.

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Anonymous Coward

I live just outside Euston in central London. I'd be thrilled to get as much as 9.6Mbps, but nope, too far away from the exchange for that... and as to fibre, not a hope in hell.

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Anonymous Coward

Me too. I live in near Shepherds Bush and on a good day I get 4 Mbps but it's too lossy for iPlayer to even cope with radio. No fibre down my street either. Or cable.

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YP
FAIL

ditto

I live in South Harrow, guess what 2.5Mbps was about the best I could get (despite BT saying I should get 6), on a very good day, and then it would constantly drop (I wish we had Cu, it's all Al round here). Still seems like sometime next eyar before the cable gets laid, despite the fact that one street over it's already there. So I had no option but to go to Virgin.

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4 miles from Leeds and 700k it was 1mb but recently has gone down. Why cant the universal service obligation be extended to say 5mb as bt don't care if there is no cable competition

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Anonymous Coward

The universal obligation is unlikely to work. USO doesn't oblige BT or KC to provide service at a loss, it says that they must provide service to everyone (within reasonable limits) and charge everyone the same rate, which is based on the average cost of provision.

Today's prices are based on making a small-ish and slow return on broadband service delivered only where it's profitable. If that was turned into a USO, the average cost would rocket and the price would rise to reflect that - do you fancy paying £100 a month for your 5M?

If I have 10 customers who cost £10 a month to serve today, I can charge £15 and make a profit, eventually. If I have those same 10 customers and then I add 'Mr Rural' who costs me £200 a month under a USO, my cost per customer just increased to £27. I've got to increase my prices to £40 if I want to maintain EBIT, or £32 if I'm prepared to reduce my margins.

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Anonymous Coward

"Sadly, the gap between broadband speeds for urban dwellers and people living in the sticks is set to widen."

I live in a large city and still only getting 4-5Mbps. Still no fibre!

Still, it doesn't matter really. the 4-5 is good enough for the price I pay (ZERO).

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So you're stealing next door's WiFi?

BT seem to be utterly useless at providing fibre connections. I live in a London borough, literally 5 minutes walk to a fibre enabled exchange but they won't provide me with Infinity. Fortunately we're cabled up so I've gone the Virgin route, and so far it is performing up to spec. at 60Mbits/sec.

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Unhappy

That would be capitalism and market forces at work. Something which city dwellers should be all too familiar with and supportive of :-)

Why should BT rush to install FTTC in an area that already has cable? Particularly given that they are investing heavily in rolling out FTTC to the vast majority of the country ignored by cable companies.

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Anonymous Coward

Why?

Because VM are pissing people off round where I live. No VM Fibre here. Sill the old CO-Ax and we are less than 10 miles from a lovely shiny VM Office (Hook). There are so many people on it in the evenings that my neighbours piggy back onto my FTTC link just to be able to do a bit of surfing. Last time I did a speedtest for them at 8pm it was 300kb and that is on a supposedly 40Mbit connection.

Yet VM still keep bombarding us holdouts with all adverts/offers etc promoting this fancy VM Fibre stuff.

The FTTC up the street from me not has 10 users. Fab 80Mbits download.

anon coz I don't want yet more VM junk coming through my letterbox.

don't they understand that the more they send, the less likely I am to want to takeup any of their offers?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Why?

Odd I thought Virgins broadband was still delivered via Coax whether the advertising says shiny fibre or not (Exactly the same as BT Infinity saying shiny fibre and giving new copper lines to the house)

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small village in scotland

circa 2000 people and 2Mbps <sigh>

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Re: small village in scotland

Large UK town population 420,000, 4mbps at best, and if I stand on my roof I can see the exchange

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Re: small village in scotland

edge of large but underpopulated village in suffolk., I get 5.5Mbps - nearest bloke gets 1.5...he is 250 meters further up the road..

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re small village in scotland

Even Smaller village circa 900 people, 87Mbs <ahhhh>

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Re: re small village in scotland

small town in England. That side of the railway: 5Mb+. This side. 1.8Mb

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Mushroom

Re: re small village in scotland

Small town in north suffolk. 19.5Mbs. Lovely.

50 yards away, 70Mbs but BT can't afford that vast length of string to get Infinity to me until Octemberary 2130

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Since when is this relevant?

Who cares about the "gap"? Frankly, I'd be happy to settle for 6mbit provided it's reliable. I'm on Infinity here, but I never use more than that: the only plus point to FTTC for me is greatly increased reliability

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Re: Since when is this relevant?

for those who don't get any adequate broadband or speeds above 4Mb, this "gap" sounds as relevant as describing a housing gap between availability of 5-bedroom houses and 10-bedroom (with pool) houses.

Shouldn't they be worrying about a minimum available speed for all and accept that some areas will get higher due to geographic, financial and other reasons.

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Re: Since when is this relevant?

Don't worry, one day you will discover Cat videos and will need that extra speed to watch them in HD..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Since when is this relevant?

I got a perfectly acceptable streaming of Nokia music to my phone across the 3G mobile signal as I drove home last night. It played better than Spotify on my laptop when connected to home wifi.

the UK government seems to be insistent on getting us online for accessing government (national and local services) but unless it plans on delivering my neighbours planning application for a kitchen extension as a full HD video presentation with 5:1 sound, I don't see that a very fat pipe is needed.

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Re: Since when is this relevant?

"Shouldn't they be worrying about a minimum available speed for all and accept that some areas will get higher due to geographic, financial and other reasons."

Great idea that, so long as those stuck in the slow lane get a discount.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Since when is this relevant?

"Great idea that, so long as those stuck in the slow lane get a discount."

Provision costs the same, regardless of the speed you receive. If discounts for slow speeds became mandatory, expect to either find ISPs refusing to serve people, or the 'discounted' rate being today's price with those getting higher speeds paying more.

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FAIL

Equality

The obvious solution is to make fast internet connections illegal, surely if we're all on 2 mbps or less than we'll all be equally happy yes?

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Unhappy

Re: Equality

ITYM equally miserable.

The aim of all social legislation, it seems :-(

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RFC 1149

and all that.

At the present moment in time, what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps that is worth looking at?

This smacks of the mildly irrelevant clock-speed wars that finally came to a halt in the naughties when everyone realised that their computer could do stuff much faster than they would ever need it to do and....of look, new shinies: phonez!!!

Flah!

Rosie

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JDX
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what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps

Perhaps downloading or even uploading files for work purposes?

Perhaps downloading (non-streamed) video purchases/rentals?

Perhaps you live in a house with your family or other people in a shared house... multiple video-streams will quickly suck up 10Mbps

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Re: RFC 1149

> At the present moment in time, what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps that is worth looking at?

Erm, you do remember this is Reg readers? We mostly work in computers, therefore we mostly use computers heavily, therefore we probably have lots of important stuff on large hard drives (build trees, databases, etc) never mind photos and videos - one RAW file from my camera is 17 MiB.

So, exhibit A: Off-site backups that take less than a lifetime to finish uploading?

No chance of me using cloud backup here with 3 Mbps down, 320 Kbps up. Yes, that single RAW file takes around 7 minutes for me to upload to a cloud backup server. If I go out for the day and take 200 photos, it'd take the best part of 24 hours to upload the sodding backups...

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Re: what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps

in a shared house... multiple video-streams will quickly suck up 10Mbps

So buy more phone lines. Would you expect all the people in a shared house to use only one car, or phone, or bed, and still get the same performance as they would have if they had exclusive use?

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Re: what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps

Its shoving stuff UP to my hosting server that gets me. 448k is a miserably slow way to post a cameras worth of pictures to give to someone else.

But he came, and we burned a DVD instead. problem solved. BMW faster than internet!

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Re: what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps

"Would you expect all the people in a shared house to use only one car, or phone, or bed..."

Yes. Yes. Well maybe 150 years ago.

The one car question depends on where you live, but 20 years ago most people I knew only had one phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps

> but 20 years ago most people I knew only had one phone.

And so they shared it. Sometimes they got no use because someone else was using it. If they wanted an unlimited phone that was theirs to use fully, 24 hours a day, they had to get one just for them.

Why should internet in a shared house be any different?

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Re: what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps

@Phil O'Sophical: I'm reasonably sure that buying more phone lines would simply move the contention from inside the house to outside it.

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Well, I'm "in the sticks" and getting 7.2 on my ADSL 2+ connection. "In the sticks" is relative because I am 3 miles from the centre of a major city but for reasons long lost in the mists of time they built a small local exchange to serve the village which my area technically is. So being classed as a small rural exchange it has been way down the list for upgrades every time - System X, ADSL, ADSL max, 21 CN etc. Then I have a long and tortuous route from that exchange to my house. What makes it even more irritating is that if I drive exactly one mile towards the city centre I am face to face with fibre cabinets left, right and centre all plastered with "Fibre Broadband is here" stickers.

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Anonymous Coward

Monty Python "You were lucky...." post

1MB in not very rural Anglesey. No options for anything better.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Monty Python "You were lucky...." post

"1MB in not very rural Anglesey. No options for anything better."

On the island too. I was on about 1 until I did the ring wire thingy - getting about 3.8 now, according to my router. SNR 9 dB - think that's bad, from stuff I was looking at when I did it a few years ago (comms isn't really my thing.). Might be worth a go, depending on the phone wiring in your place. And assuming oyu haven't already tried it - sorry if I'm insulting you with the suggestion.

Can't agree about "not very rural Anglesey", though. Can't think of anywhere here that isn't rural, strictly speaking :)

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Meh

It Rained. It's 472Kbit/second for you!

I live somewhere relatively-remote and my SDSL is delivered via a couple of miles of overhead phone-line: I get about 2Mbit/sec in each direction - when the weather's good.

Alas with the recent thunderstorms the router's been disconnecting rather regularly so the path is currently retraining itself s-l-o-w-l-y back towards 2Mbit/sec which it'll probably reach by the weekend.

In winter or when it's windy, it's trees bringing the overhead line down.

[Paradoxically, I also have BT fibre-to-the-premises: each night I park my car on top of a dirty great concrete-manhole with several inch-thick trunks running through it.. I'm sure if I offered them a kidney or two BT could dig a 30-foot-long trench to run some fibre up to the house then provide me with a whole slew of MPLS services over a 40Gbit/sec circuit...]

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Free money! But sold out.

A bit like our broadband. Village near Cambridge, 600m from the exchange, 20Mbit/s connection but frequently 0Mbits/s actually available because of massive conention for a feeble total bandwidth. I am paying for something I don't get - I call that fraud. I have a great idea, I will buy from an ISP who does not use BT for wholesale connections. Hang on - oh.

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Headmaster

Re: Free money! But sold out.

That MAY in fact benefit you.

Unless BT simply has no more total backhaul capacity.

BT does not run wholesale customers over the same backhaul virtual circuits. OK they may be over the same physical, but how much they get allotted depends on how much they spend.

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