Re: Danger of Spoilt Child Syndrome
"Could subsidies in Place A mean that Place B has to wait that much longer because it didn't get taxpayer money?"
Wait much longer than what alternative scenario? If we make a rather ungovernmental assumption that taxpayers are a finite resource, and the FTTC budget is limited, then if you choose area A to get a sub'd roll out, then all other areas do have to wait. But as (mostly speaking) the rural dwellers won't pay the full commercial cost of high speed broadband, they won't get it at all unless it is subsidised, and there is no alternative scenario.
All infrastructure services in rural areas are subsidised by townies, simply because you've got fewer users per metre of road/power line/water pipe/sewer/telephone line, and these services have essentially universal tariffs. I don't think BT are becoming any more subsidy addicted than they already are, but there's a related danger that they will do the contractual minimum of delivering fibre to the cabinet, but then leaving properties connected to the cabinets by wet string, considerably reducing the potential benefits.
Note as well the bits the Reg didn't get round to reporting - that this isn't universal FTTC, just coverage of 88% of the local populace, and that the plan covers 150,000 premises, so that's an implied subsidy of £320 per premise. That's an interesting figure, because you'd have thought that the yokels could afford to pay that themselves if they really wanted it - over ten years that would be about five quid a month, allowing for bad debt. Of course, that doesn't include any cabinet to premises upgrade costs, but you get the flavour.