back to article BT reveals vanishingly small detail about its fibre broadband network

BT's Openreach has released a tiny amount of information about data usage over the former state monopoly's fibre network. In fact, it's so insignificant that Ofcom wasn't even aware of the firm's shiny new quarterly index until The Register flagged it up to the UK's communications watchdog. Highlights (if you can call them …

  1. edge_e

    Blighty data usage peaks during Downton Abbey, in case you wondered

    Is that because blokes know they have an hour without interruption while the mrs watches telly ?

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force...

    "as if millions of forelocks were repeatedly tugged then suddenly realisation dawned. I fear something terrible has happened."

    Tramp icon, obviously.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Seems to concur with my use

    Period Usage

    03 Oct - 03 Nov 47.36GB

    03 Sep - 03 Oct 25.83GB

    03 Aug - 03 Sep 22.02GB

    Used 23Gb since 3rd Nov. Those effing great Databases that I'm working on and stupidly large Server 2012 Patch files (1.088Gb...Wtf?)

    seems to make up for most of it though.

    I guess BT will have to keep on laying fibre for a while yet.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Seems to concur with my use

      I'm lucky, here in Germany. The local telco laid fibre in our small town several years ago. I am currently on 35mbps, although I could pay extra for 50 or 100mbps, but even with streaming HD films from Amazon Prime the 35mbps is usually fast enough.

      In May I re-ripped all of my CDs and storing them in the cloud, plus our streaming and normal activities pushed our volume up around the 700GB mark. I think on average though it is much more around the 400 - 500GB mark.

      Even 10 years ago, when I was living in Bavaria with a 2mbps line, I was getting through 150 - 200GB a month, doing testing for the pre-release builds of SUSE.

    2. Probie

      Re: Seems to concur with my use


      A light day in my household incurs about 11GB of traffic, a heavy day (ie Saturday and Sunday) is between 25-33GB.

      A month we consume damn near 467GB a month, of which 90% is Netflix or CBBC IPlayer, 8% is Facepunch and the last 2% is likely me doing ISO's or patch files. Its either that or a LOT of porn.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Tezfair
      Thumb Up

      Re: Seems to concur with my use

      I do an average of 230Gb a month on regular 8mb ADSL. I think my fair usage policy is supposed to be at 30Gb but no ones bothered to get in touch. Not sure that fibre will make much difference other than the faster uploads

  4. alpine


    'Former' state monopoly? As long as BT is allowed to hang on to Openreach, it still is a state monopoly except in those highly restricted areas covered by cable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Former?

      While I agree with you about the monopoly how is BT a STATE Monopoly?

      Perhaps you meant to say, State Sanctioned Monopoly? Or did those BT shares that I once owned never exist?

      1. Oh Homer Silver badge

        Re: "STATE Monopoly?"

        BT was owned by the state from its inception in 1980 until its privatisation in 1984.

        Prior to that, the network, which later became the property of BT, was created, owned and operated the GPO, which itself had formerly been a government department. BT was spun out of the GPO, which is why it inherited that network.

        The fact that this network was constructed by the state (i.e. the taxpayer) in the first place, means that the fact of it technically being a monopoly is somewhat moot, since it was a "monopoly" created by the people, for the people.

        It's still a monopoly, in every sense that matters, only now it's a monopoly that only benefits a small handful of privateers, to the tune of £3.17 billion a year, while everyone else pays through the nose for the privilege of being connected to a network built with taxpayers' money.

        This is presumably what free marketeers mean when they talk about the "benefits" of a free market economy.

        1. Philip Virgo

          Re: "STATE Monopoly?"

          Telegraph and voice were brought to the UK by the private sector but the General Post office exercised its monopoly powers to license them (after Indian Mutiny has revealed their importance) and then nationalised most of them in 1912 - to facilitate mass eaves-dropping, justified by the spy scares during the run up to the First World War. Abut that time the suffragette's began causing chaos by cutting the lines. Were the suffragettes cutting the lines as a protest against the government because they had been nationalised? The historical articles I have consulted do not contain any clues.

          1. Oh Homer Silver badge

            Re: "STATE Monopoly?"

            I'm fairly confident that there's nothing left of the infrastructure built by the Electric Telegraph Company in the 1840s, save for what's been preserved for posterity in museums.

            The same was certainly not true for many years after the privatisation of the publicly funded GPO telecoms infrastructure.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Former?

      Virgin reaches more than half of UK homes. Reaching most homes doesn't equal 'highly restricted'.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Former?

        Virgin reaches more than half of UK homes. Reaching most homes doesn't equal 'highly restricted'.

        I guess that depends on context.

        The context usually being whether Virgin are trying to have a pop at BT or not. When they are, their areas are "highly restricted", when they're not and are instead are trying to sell, you'd think their network covered every house in the UK, twice

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Former?

      Highly restricted by the fact they can't be bothered to roll it out. Just like Virgin and friends will complain BT took all the rural broadband money, yet they all chose to drop out of the bidding process. It has been over 30 years since BT were privatised. If they still have a monopoly it is because the other companies don't want to provide service to places they deem unprofitable. That is their choice, not the fault of BT.

  5. Richard Jones 1

    I Guess Those Are the Ones With Decent Access

    The index also shows that a quarter of homes were munching their way through 75 per cent of the total data consumed in an average month.

    I think the title says it all, those poor blighters with 0.5 MB access or less will not be downloading very much!

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I Guess Those Are the Ones With Decent Access

      Exactly, sod making sure that central London has 1000Mb/s access, why not make sure that the countryside has at least 1Mb/s first?

      >>>>>>>>> might as well have one while you're waiting for an email to download.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I Guess Those Are the Ones With Decent Access

        Most places I know in central London seem to have slower access than those outside the big smoke. I'm a few miles east of central and get about 6Mb on broadband. 4G is 5 times quicker in the same location.

      2. streaky Silver badge

        Re: I Guess Those Are the Ones With Decent Access

        Exactly, sod making sure that central London has 1000Mb/s access, why not make sure that the countryside has at least 1Mb/s first?

        Valuable low hanging fruit, probably.

        Issue I've seen no attempt by BT to actually do this which is precisely why companies like Hyperoptic are growing so fast.

        I want to say eff the countryside but I know it'll get me downvoted - but I will state that I moved from the countryside to London because essentially this issue but there's no hope of BT sorting it out.

        Internet connectivity by any of the major providers in London is utter trash just like it is in the rest of the country. It's no better and sometimes it's worse. We're just lucky that because of the density there are providers like Hyperoptic around that are trying to build fit for purpose networks.

    2. chris 17

      Re: I Guess Those Are the Ones With Decent Access

      @ Richard Jones 1

      this was a review/report just for those using UK Fibre connections, not plain ADSL.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I Guess Those Are the Ones With Decent Access

        > this was a review/report just for those using UK Fibre connections, not plain ADSL.

        Yeah, but there's fibre and there's fibre. My "fibre" is fibre followed by 2900m of copper.

      2. mrs doyle

        Re: I Guess Those Are the Ones With Decent Access

        They aren't fibre connections, they are stuck on phone lines too. Hardly anyone has fibre unless the other companies like hyperoptic or gigaclear provide it. BT doesn't do fibre. Its a farce.

  6. james.aka.damingo

    "Streamed movies"

    "Average super fast broadband use per line....45 HD Streamed Movies".

    Yes streamed; most defiantly not torrented. And the 25GB up was also not the seeding of said torrents.

    -- Dear tracking software review agent. I don't torrent.

  7. Dan Atkinson

    Windows 10 also responsible?

    I'd like to throw it out there that Windows 10 is probably one of the reasons for traffic being higher during the summer, given that everyone using Windows 7/8 was downloading about 6GB on each of their computers.

  8. Fink-Nottle

    Couldn't agree more.

    "fibre broadband network will be one of the great British success stories in history."

    It'd certainly be historic if fibre broadband was to become a great British success story.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Couldn't agree more.

      It is a great British success story round my way. But then BT had nowt to do with it.

  9. Captain Queeg

    Upping the ante...

    I had cause to ring Sky and they tell me I'm regularly using 1tb a month, but they're relaxed about it..

    It's looking increasingly as though I'm going to blink first. ;-)

  10. Tromos

    data usage peaks during Downton Abbey

    That'll be people streaming something they're interested in then.

  11. mrs doyle


    What a ridiculous farce this is. Fibre broadband doesn't come down phone lines. Where's the regulator when you need it? What about all the millions who aren't close enough to the rubbish cabinets to get even 2Mbps yet are classed as having fibre broadband?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: superfarce

      How do you think BT fibre broadband gets into the house then, if it's not down phone lines? Except for a tiny few with FTTP.... Magic data imps?

  12. Blinkered

    BT Oversubscribed Products

    BT Superfast Braodband?

    30m between my connection and the Cabinet - connected at 80 / 19Mbit

    Typical 24 Hour Period Analysis here :

    00.00-15.30 Connection works largely as advertised

    15.30-18.00 Connection speeds drop steadily (largely on the upstream bandwidth)

    Kids coming home from school playing games - businesses starting daily backups?

    18.00-22.00 Speeds hammered down to 20 / 0.7Mbit

    Even streaming standard iPlayer virtually impossible without buffering - gaming forget it!!

    22.00-00.00 Speeds steadily increase back to as connected speeds

    So it seems there is insufficient capacity at peak load times and that all 'as connected' / 'as advertised' speeds are arbitrary, BT by their own admission traffic shape their network to prioritise data for their BT TV products so as to give their customers unbuffered IP TV, presumably at the sacrifice of those of us who feel that with an 80 / 19 package and connection we shouldn't need to pay extra to view catchup on iPlayer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BT Oversubscribed Products

      very likely to be the ISP not the FTTC provider

  13. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Fibre Keeps You Regular

    This traditional platitude has taken on an amazingly prescient meaning in the 21st century.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    21 grams

    Is there any chance of any balanced journalism from El Reg? This is no more than a headline grabbing short article. A look at related articles and you just love to bash BT. No company is perfect, but in my area I waited 20 years for the assigned cable company in my area to lay cables, which never materialized - it was Openreach (BT) who finally delivered a fibre cabinet.

    "....former state monopoly's fibre network" Really? The network sold off by the state some 30+ years ago I doubt exists any longer, it almost definitely wasn't fibre and has taken considerable investment from shareholders I'm sure - and some from the BB subsidy, agreed.

    Sky, TalkTalk, Vodaphone etc all had the opportunity to bid for those subsidies or reinvest some of their vast profits in a network of their own. Of course why should they when they can lobby a regulator hard and get access to someone elses network instead, all with zero financial risk !

    Do we see the same arguments over equivalence of access to Sky's content or Virgin's network?

    EL Reg your better than these tabloid headlines....

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