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back to article FAT PIPE for ALL: Britain’s new tech firms take it from the telcos

Reeling under the influence of half a bottle of wine and six tots of exclusive Scotch, I’m introduced to a young woman who produces award-winning reality TV programmes involving the over-elaborate and inconceivably incompetent preparation of food by members of the public alongside celebrity chefs who one assumes must no longer …

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Joke

So, to get a good deal, you did some collective bargaining? Sounds a bit socialist to me!

Seriously though, the vast majority of customers can't do that and that makes BT very happy (and profitable)

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It's just exercising buying powa with no threats of violence (government-sponsored or union-approved).

Seal of Approval.jpg

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Move in with the chicken shaggers...

Plenty of cheap and beautiful office space (think refurbished barns and farms) for probably 1/10th of Hoxton price (or less)

I'm on a £69/month 1Gbps symmetrical link (I suspect your 4Mbps ADSL upload at around 256Kbps). Ok it's a personal connection, but even the business prices are well below the cost of a leased line (250Mbps symmetrical for less than £150/month and £200 installation).

Plenty of lovely pubs, just avoid mentioning the Daily Mail thing, it won't make you popular (and honestly I know you'll have to pay for your leased line but have a minimum of self respect....)

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Re: Move in with the chicken shaggers...

I wonder if Hyperoptic and or other 1Gbps ISP's were invited to tender...

Certainly I can see the founders of Hpyeroptic being keen to sign up Alistair Dabbs buidling.

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Coffee/keyboard

Icon says it all...

Suspiciously, when you raise the question of inadequate internet access with politicians, they fart about supporting mono-browed, chicken-shagging hermits living in the sticks who apparently need gigabit broadband so they can order groceries from Ocado and browse FeatheredButtocks.com.

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Re: Icon says it all...

Same for me. Dabbsy's surpassed himself there!

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How wrong can you be?

And there was I thinking the "growing tech businesses" in Hackney were there to fleece gullible investors (and politicians). Now it seems they're merely victims themselves. Who'd have thought it.

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Re: How wrong can you be?

Nowt new in Hackney then,

When I lived there it was exactly the same with anything to do with the SSRH (Soviet Socialist Republic of Hackney) a.k.a. the Council.

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'I discovered that internet access in London’s Tech City was on a par with Will.I.Am’s contribution to the advancement of humanity, i.e. non-fucking-existent.'

Same could be said of his contribution to music.

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Mushroom

I'd disagree, he hasn't actively damaged the advancement of humanity.

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Trollface

Be fair, we now have using punctuation within your name as a method of announcing to the world you are a twat before they meet you.

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Out in the sticks is no better

If by any chance your located in any one of those business/enterprise/industrial/whatever-they-were-called-that-week parks that were plonked on the edges town in the 90s/early 00s the situation is even worse.

Back in those heady days all those offices probably only wanted 5 phone lines and a fax, so BT plumbed them in to the most convenient ramshackle small village exchange they could find (usually miles away), meaning when ADSL came about 4mbit would look like luxury.

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I'm not mono-browed....

Nor am I a hermit, I'm not too keen on chickens as mates and I don't use Ocado, but if the cap fits.... We live in a large village 5 miles from Harrogate and 7 miles from Leeds and when BT was questioned as to their progress in bringing a minimum of 2MB to us they replied that it was cheaper to take the Government penalties.

Great article as usual Alistair.

"Suspiciously, when you raise the question of inadequate internet access with politicians, they fart about supporting mono-browed, chicken-shagging hermits living in the sticks who apparently need gigabit broadband so they can order groceries from Ocado and browse FeatheredButtocks.com." Excellent.

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Re: I'm not mono-browed....

@Josco... you possibly have a different problem, in that there's a place 8 miles from Harrogate that is likely sucking up all the comms infrastructure in the region. The sort of place that thinks in terabits/sec, not megabits...

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Re: I'm not mono-browed....

"We live in a large village 5 miles from Harrogate and 7 miles from Leeds and when BT was questioned as to their progress in bringing a minimum of 2MB to us they replied that it was cheaper to take the Government penalties."

Josco, you could probably write to your MP and mention this if you could prove that's BT's position. They might be able to embarrass them into doing their job, or up the penalties so doing nothing is no longer the cheaper option.

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Anonymous Coward

Why BT

Double the Openreach line cost, but the 1Gbps install is 4K unless you take a 3 yr contract as I think a recent free install offer expired. You should have installed and subbed connections to the 80+ businesses, you'd be paying nada.

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If only more customers had clue

Problem with the DIY approach is Mr Dabbs would then have to figure out how to resell and manage 80+ medja companies contending a 1G EAD. This could be non-trivial, but amusing as a spectator sport.

The £4k civils quoted isn't bad. Costs would include the basic coring, running a new lateral, running fibre, splicing it into the 'manhole' (or chamber), installing a BFP, splicing into that, running ducts to this customer's 'comms room', installing an ODF, splicing to the ODF, splicing the metro fibre possibly at a few points on the way to the service node, testing the fibre and then handing the job to the fluffy guys to turn it into a service this customer wants. I may have missed a few bits out, but this part's often the easy bit.

There would also be contactinng the landlord/agent for wayleave, preparing method statements, risk assessments etc. In serviced buildings, agents may want a wayleave fee, riser rentals or just their legal costs paid. This part can take a lot longer. Especially if the landlord/agent already has a service company which may be competing.

Luckily if the chamber's in the path, there wouldn't be as much paperwork involved with the council, or costs for traffic management. Plus if you're really unlucky, the council's stopped the road so it can't be dug up again for a couple of years.

But getting fibre into buildings isn't as trivial as many people think, or as cheap as they think it should be. Neither is terminating it and turning it into a resellable service, but this is the sensible way to spread the costs. A follow-up with the solution from the winning bidder would be interesting.

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Re: If only more customers had clue

>> Problem with the DIY approach is Mr Dabbs would then have to figure out how to resell and manage 80+ medja companies contending a 1G EAD.

Not at all. We have a freeholder's management company with an extremely switched-on facilities manager. He's sent white papers to Parliament, lobbied everyone who'll listen and put the contracts out to tender. I'm just a tenant.

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Re: If only more customers had clue

You may be in luck then. Sending white papers isn't necessarily a good indication of clue, but communal purchasing may be. And you're luckier than being a tenant in a building where the FMCo tries to lock you into their voice & dtata services. Some buildings do this well, many do it badly.

Best way is to stick to simple transport and look for a way to get cheap/reliable 1G or 10G Ethernets. I'm guessing the tender will involve dark fibre (preferably diverse) from site to 1 or (preferably more) 'carrier neutral' datacentre. Things to watch out for would be O&M on the DF and additional charges for DC patching. If you think telco charges are bad, look into patch costs. Oh, and if you fancy another white paper, one asking about the rateable value of fibre would be helpful. He who lights the fibre gets the bill.

Other pitfalls to avoid tend to occur in the DC. A commodity switch with 24/48 10/100/1000 ports is nice and cheap. But if they're copper, they're distance limited which means media convertors, which means more cost and space/power required. Telco oriented switches (MRV, Ciena, Transmode etc) do pluggables making optical or electrical handoff easier. Then you just need service providers that are willing (or able) to x-connect their stuff to yours, which can be a challenge in itself with some suppliers.

If the FMC wants to play higher up the stack, well, good luck with that. There be real monsters :)

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I wonder if you were in my part of Glasgow, certainly sounds like it. I've got two orders (business & home) in with OpenReach via my ISP for fibre and all I ever get is within the next 3 months which then gets extended when the deadline nears. I know the fibre has been run down the street and I walk past the new cabinet every day but they must have already claimed the EU pork for the area and moved on :(

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S.M
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Top Marks Reg

Choked on my wine reading the Headline (11.30pm in Melbourne), the best one to date...

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Anonymous Coward

Serves you right for trying to open yet-another-fucking-digital-media-agency in Shoreditch. I honestly believe if every one of them was excised from the city, London's economy would greatly improve.

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BT has other priorities

It's far too busy throwing money at footballers.

Installing cables and stuff is sooo last-century.

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at least

BT can deliver something which resembles broadband in Shoreditch (2mb). In deepest chicken shagging Dorset BT simply charge us for braodband whilst delivering mere dial-up speeds which don't even allow their customers to use BT products like BT Sport/Cloud etc. 350 kbps max download anyone ? I threatened the bastards with Ofcom recently for miss selling the product and the broadband price came down pretty quickly along with the cost of my mobile phone calls combined with removal of the monthly data cap. Chicken anyone ?

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It is not any better in the States, at least not in smallish communities. Many of the towns where I do business here are under 50,000 in population. Getting a T1 is $3000/month. Yes, every single month. I worked in one company where I asked for an additional five phone lines (they had ten to start with.) When the phone company came and the tech went to the demarc, he said "this will be quick, the company before you had several T1 lines and your phone service is just using channels off of that.:" But due to tariffs and regulations the phone company could charge an arm and a leg to let us use the lines for data. Already installed and already in use. But only a few blocks away, in a different governmental district, the phone company could supple T1 lines at a tenth the cost to me. And the last mile is still a monopoly so there is no choice.

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if i weren't broke...

I would register featheredbuttocks.com and put a link to this marvellous rant.

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We did what Alistair did and got all the companies on our site to work together and come up with a shared solution (shared at the network layer so no security concerns). Despite our offices being in a converted barn yard in relatively rural Oxfordshire we all got 10/10 for £250 pcm and about £4k installed. That was actually cheaper than our existing dual-bonded ADSL solution. And more stable and faster.

I realise no-one likes spending money but if a business can't come up with a cost justification for a leased line it should probably re-consider if it has a valid business case. Of course they cost more than residential broadband - but so does any business service. You're asking for less contention and an SLA.

Having written that though it does seem silly of BT in this case to have run fibre past office buildings and not laid in provision for easy connection.

But hey I've been AWOL finding a job recently so not much posting here. I have a job now so I'll be a bit contentious: If your business is network based why do you need to be in London in the first place? The nice (lovely) thing about networks is that they allow you to work at a distance. Go find a lovely converted barn in the country and enjoy the fresh air and low house prices.

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>> If your business is network based why do you need to be in London in the first place?

Everyone asks this. In the kind of science fiction bollox that only CEOs, politicians and other people of limited intelligence believe, networked people can work from anywhere.

What happens in real life is that distance-workers don't work at all - they just goof off and watch daytime TV.

Bright minds need a place to meet up, spark ideas and get stuff done - not necessarily 8 hours every day but often - and it has to be somewhere mutual that isn't a noisy Starbucks with bad music and sticky tables.

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Good job man

Good job man. I've no time to say more of significance. I always thoroughly enjoy your work.

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