back to article Gov claws back £440m for rural broadband

The government has clawed back £440m from its superfast broadband programme to connect an extra 600,000 homes and businesses in remote areas. The cash boost is a combination of efficiency savings and a clawback mechanism which re-invests money when people take up superfast connections installed by the Broadband Delivery UK …

Anonymous Coward

Radio 4 this morning

Government drone going on about how wonderful it all is and that fibre will be coming along at some point.

What no one ever seems to mention is that BT's idea of fibre, even when it is run all the way, is generally some form of GPON (cheaper to install), so still a very asymmetric service that doesn't fit with the general trend (good or bad!) towards cloud-based services. Anyone tried backing up 1TB to a cloud store?

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Re: Radio 4 this morning

"Anyone tried backing up 1TB to a cloud store?"

Why not back it up to a 1 Tb external drive which you can then put in a safe place? At least you'll know where it is. Or if you must back up to someone else's computer, just borrow a laptop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Radio 4 this morning

Backing up 1Tb to the cloud?

Why? Even if you had:-

1) the speed

2) your ISP grants you the rare hounour of having 1TB+++ of bandwidth

Why would you give that data to someone:-

1) You don't know

2) have never met

3) Could be a criminal

4) About to close down the cloud service forcing you to move it...

5) Have to pay monthly to let them keep your data

6) Not sure if the Cloud Service has been hacked and your lovely data stolen or encripted until you pay the ransom

Yes, I'm not feeling very festive. Had to go through the 'sorry, we are closing our cloud storage in 14 days' for a customer not that long ago.

They now keep their business data on different portable HDD's that are kept in several different fire safes within easy reach. Saved them more than £{lots} already.

They now realise that any data in the cloud is not really theirs any more. They might have access to it but that is as far as it goes..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Radio 4 this morning

I didn't say _I_ did it, but people do and service providers offer the facility ;-)

Personally I use a set of HDDs that are rotated though an off-site location and would never trust my data to a cloud service with the current state of play.

However, a lot of software (e.g. Acronis True Image) include "free" cloud storage and I suspect that a lot of people will be using this going forward.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Radio 4 this morning

"some form of GPON (cheaper to install)"

Your argument is that broadband should be more expensive?

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Re: Radio 4 this morning

re: Anyone tried backing up 1TB to a cloud store?

Yes, a client does it regularly, only they use dedicated circuits...

If you seriously need (upload) bandwidth then nothing has changed, get your chequebook out!

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Re: Radio 4 this morning

What no one ever seems to mention is that BT's idea of fibre, even when it is run all the way, is generally some form of GPON (cheaper to install), so still a very asymmetric service that doesn't fit with the general trend (good or bad!) towards cloud-based services. Anyone tried backing up 1TB to a cloud store?

Are we to assume that the "1TB upload" requirement is business based, not a residential requirement? I suspect that it is a need that very few broadband users have, and those that do will almost all be businesses; I doubt if I have uploaded that amount in the 10 + years that we have had broadband, and Mrs Commswonk certainly hasn't. Are we supposed to fight (and more particularly pay for) a much faster service than we need (or can probably afford) so that business can have it.

I would argue that there is a clue in the figures in the article, which show about a 30% uptake of "Superfast Broadband" in those areas where it is available. That 30% suggests (to me anyway) that the demand for faster and faster speeds is not as great as some would want us to believe. How can you possibly defend the idea of a lot more capital expenditure to provide (for example) FTTP when the public demand for it simply doesn't seem to exist? I won't try to argue that nobody genuinely needs the speeds that FTTP can support but those who do have no business trying to convince the rest of us that we do as well just so that what really does appear to be a minority requirement is met.

I suspect that the 30% figure is the same one that shot past in this morning's interview on R4 between Karen Bradley and John Humphrys. He was being his usual combative self, but it was a bit pointless because an interview on the subject needs both parties to have some proper knowledge of the subject, and neither of them could exhibit that knowledge. (I have tried to find the interview on iPlayer but it doesn't seem to be there, but then I find the way iPlayer is structured "unhelpful" anyway.)

While I have no argument with planning to roll out the existing service to a greater number of people I can see no serious case for heavy investment in a faster service that an even smaller percentage are likely to want to pay for. And for all BT's perceived shortcomings I don't think it can be blamed for people deciding that a slower service than is currently available is sufficient for their needs.

Look at it another way; a manufacturer that finds that his sales are only 30% of what he is capable of producing (or even is producing) is unlikely to stay in business very long, and his shareholders are likely to be somewhat displeased. In BT's case those shareholders are likely to be institutional investors responsible for pension investments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Radio 4 this morning

"Anyone tried backing up 1TB to a cloud store?"

Not 1TB, but I currently have 600GB in a cloud store. It's one backup amongst many.

It took about three days for the initial upload, PC on 24/7, with my FTTC connection but the incremental uploads seem pretty instant.

If your requirement is to regularly send 1TB file transfers to the cloud I think you're outside of the norm and I'd question if a consumer broadband product is really what you're after - in much the same way that a £99 all in one printer isn't going to do be suitablefor an office with a hundred people in it.

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Re: Radio 4 this morning

GPON is only asymetric if you want it to be asymetric. It's perfectly feasible to offer 1GB/s symetric to every house on the street on one piece of fibre. (although inadvisable: For the same reason 10base2 is inadvisable in a classroom and why cable TV ISPs were spam nests in the late 1990s/early 2000s)

One of my suppliers has a large selection of fibre mux/demux FWDWM equipment. Not one of the transceivers on offer is asymetric.

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Big Brother

Backing up 1Tb to the cloud?

7. So that the greasy grunnymint (I was trying to type grubbymint, but that sounds even better...) can trawl through all your data, you naaasty little terririst.

Your'e clearly GUILTY - you've got something to hide. Please report immediately to the nearest ....

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Re: Radio 4 this morning

i find crash plan works fine, you dont have to use the cloud services as you can set up remote PCs as backup targets (use friend code) only issue is ram with crashplan need to make sure you got 2GB free

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Radio 4 this morning

Umm, first mistake - relying on Radio 4 for technical news. It wasn't John (why haven't they shut down torrents yet) Humphreys was it?

You might as well have gone to the Daily Fail for their "expertise".

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Flame

Circle jerk

So HMG clawed back some of the money (our money!) which they gave to BT to roll out rural broadband - but they don't actually get to put the money back in the public purse for spending on schools, hospitals and bombs - they have to give it back to BT to roll out rural broadband. And meanwhile, most "rural areas" (including some within the M25) still struggle along with band which is more anorexic than broad.

I wonder if any of the civil servants who signed off on the original deal with BT are now working as highly-paid executives for (just a wild guess) ... BT?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Circle jerk

I don't think they have to, the story implies that they chose to.

Unless your argument is that enough people have broadband now, I'm not sure what your point is?

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90% of what?

90 per cent of the country now has superfast broadband

90% of the land?

90% of properties?

90% of the population?

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Re: 90% of what?

90% of whatever OFCOM deem it to be. Today it is probably the amount of Christmas Pud that got eaten at their Christmas bash.

That is the correct answer.

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Re: 90% of what?

OOOOOH! Oooooh! I know this one!

It's C, Population,.... because 90.1% of the UK's population,... wait for it,.... live in Cities / urbanised areas where there is a decent return on laying cable.

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Pint

Re: 90% of what?

Well spotted! Have one --->

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Boffin

Re: 90% of what?

90 % of MPs who need ultrafast pr0n to so their work properly?

There, FIFY.

Wot, me cynical

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Re: 90% of what?

unfortunately the 90% seems to be if you can get virgin cable or FTTC,

the problem with that is in areas where there is No FTTC but there is Virgin cable they tend to let the FTTN nodes to be overloaded (this is the Coxa side the fiber to the cab is fine they need to add more cards) and end up with unreliable service (mine has been ropey for last month but has more or less stabilised now) and if you can get FTTC you might be near the end of its range and can only get 10mb maybe and thats the best you ever get for next 20 years

FTTC is very stable thought, al my ping monitors give me a Flat avg and min pings on VDSL and ADSL connections (apart from when the line is been fully used as expected) where as cable i not seen a consistent ping for years now

really wish FTTP or g.Fast to the pole or to the street was used then at least we all have fast and stable connection (virgin really needs to sort out high utliation problems Sooner like within 3 months as they have no excuses as the nodes report back to virgin that thye are under high load so should plan to upgrade it)

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Unhappy

How about calling it "Recovered taxpayers money"

Sort of like what they do when they discover some big time crim has spent the money on fast cars and yachts that can be sold off and the cash returned to the exchequer?

BTW requiring the recovered money to bankroll more broadband is a better deal than the old nationalized industries ever got.

When the GPO, British Steel, British Leyland or British Rail made a surplus it ran something like this.

Nat.Ind. "Here's our surplus for the year. We'd like to invest it in some upgrades and improvements"

Treasury. "Thanks for that. Now bu***r off so we can spend it on outsourcing IT and a bunch of subs for those US missiles we just bought."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How about calling it "Recovered taxpayers money"

"Nat.Ind. "Here's our surplus for the year. We'd like to invest it in some upgrades and improvements""

It was even worse for the GPO. All revenue raised went to the exchequer. The GPO then had to go cap in hand to the government to ask for the money it needed to pay suppliers and staff. Extra money for new exchange kit or network rollout required elaborate dance routines and muttered incantations.

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Please stop repeating BT's and the Government's lies!

They call it 'Super Fast broadband' but it isn't ,when compared to many other countries. FTTC (BT Infinity etc) is a maximum of 76Mbps. Hong Kong and Singapore already have an 'Average' speed higher than that.

[url=http://www.internetsociety.org/map/global-internet-report/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAkO7CBRDeqJ_ahuiPrtEBEiQAbYupJdjxXSonBF773AFO-VKkQllypAtMGTI4i4_W_3SimuEaAicw8P8HAQ#download-speed-fixed] www.internetsociety.or [/url]

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Re: Please stop repeating BT's and the Government's lies!

FTTC (BT Infinity etc) is a maximum of 76Mbps.

I'm not sure whose lies *you* are repeating....I have BT Infinity FTTC service in my (rural) home and speed tests regularly return 85Mbps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Please stop repeating BT's and the Government's lies!

" Hong Kong and Singapore already have an 'Average' speed higher than that."

I'll observe that it's quite easy to have a high average speed by serving densely populated cities with some kind of fibre or coax product and then completely ignoring rural areas. The UK average would be greatly increased by cutting off any customer using ADSL and telling them they can't have broadband any more.

Any sensible measure must include both the average speed *and* the proportion of the population able to a) access and b) afford it.

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Re: Please stop repeating BT's and the Government's lies!

Hans it is lies you just gloating that your less than 100meters from your FTTC cab to get 80mb the avg i see is typically around 40mb but its speed ranges i see are between 10-60mb but lower numbers is more typical unless you can see the cab from your house

FTTP should of been the way yes it taken longer and may have been deployed later (as they now have fast FTTP connect module now so that they no longer need to be fusioned to splice fiber) more future proofed

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Super fast 24mb ...

Hahahahahahaha.

It was quite quick when they thought of it 5 years ago and the rate UK implements things it will be beyond 2020 when 4k video streams are standard.

Im sitting in Asia getting over 30gbps on free wifi in a bar. England really defines Quaint, or alternatively embarrassing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Super fast 24mb ... Units boy!

30gbps? or 30Gbps or 30 Mbps ??

Well it's not 30 Giga bits per second unless you have invented your own new Wi-Fi '802.11AZ' Protocol.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Super fast 24mb ...

Care to tell us which current WiFi standard supports 30Gbps (G not g) and which device you are using that implements that standard?

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Re: Super fast 24mb ...

If you hadn't made a typo and had actually written "30Mbps" I'd have given you an up vote!

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Anonymous Coward

Scotland, central belt...

...not exactly a small settlement between EDN and Glasgow. BT Infinity. 11Mbps. Yes, that's right, they sell this lousy bandwidth as Infinity here, because there's a fibre cable involved somewhere (allegedly). Alternatively I can have broadband with an estimated 1Mbps.

Quite shocking, given that this particular area has well above average disposable income.

Other physical alternatives (excluding BT resellers):

- Virgin: can't be bothered

- 4G: ~20Mbps on Three and EE here, but of course metered and capped and then very pricy

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scotland, central belt...

So there is a faster alternative available but you choose not to buy it due to cost?

Similarly, I have a mediocre Citroen but would love a Tesla. The Tesla is too expensive - but that's not Citroen's fault.

Isn't that the UK broadband problem in a nutshell? Some people want faster broadband but most aren't prepared to pay for it - the article says that takeup has risen to 30% which is still pretty small. Who is going to invest billions in rolling out kit that not many people are actually prepared to pay for? That will be why Virgin haven't covered your town, not enough people are willing to pay for the service to justify the investment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scotland, central belt...

4G is not broadband and is essentially not available beyond 20, 30 or 50 GB used volume, depending on provider. At least the prices skyrocket from there. Also, latency is higher and more flaky than any cabled connection.

The only actual broadband (as in cable in the ground) option is Infinity here, at a piss poor 11Mbps on good days and less on congested days, which I AM indeed paying for. I'd be happily paying double or even tripple the price for Infinity or Infinity 2, if they provided anywhere near the advertised bandwidth.

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Unhappy

I believe my village was one of the ones to benefit from this, so helps make up the statistic. We have three green cabinets and high speed fibre was rolled out to precisely one of them.

I think this is what's called a postcode lottery, or a two-tier service, or whatever.

The UK is becoming more like the right-wing reflection of Cuba every day.

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Anonymous Coward

Only the houses covered by that cabinet are included in the stats, is my understanding from a description of the process on ispreview. It's upto your council to decide whether or not to fund the upgrade of the remaining two, but they're targeted with covering as many people as possible with the money available and so will basically list cabinets in their county in order of potential premises served and work down the list until the money is spent. Tough for you, clearly, but the process is working as designed.

I'd imagine this clawback money lets them get further down that list.

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Big Brother

Low aim

What is the point of looking to the future and aiming so low? By the time this gets implemented the rest of the world will be on +Gbps speeds as standard and 24Mbps will just not work. The real plan is for the government to keep their mates in work building sub standard things that even before completion will need to be upgraded. I guess 24Mbps is enough for the spying to take place while the sheep celebrate a gift from caring big brother.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Low aim

" By the time this gets implemented the rest of the world will be on +Gbps speeds as standard"

Akamai's state of the internet report has the UK at 17th in the world and 9th in Europe. Even South Korea, at the top of the table only manages 27Mbps.

There's 200 countries in the world, give or take, so being in the top 10% doesn't seem to tally with your opinion that the rest of the world has overtaken the UK.

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What about the c*** broadband in URBAN areas?

'Rural' areas are being promised high-speed broadband, but, is there any hope for those in large urban areas that get, at best 1.7 Mbps download and 0.7Mbps upload? Are we to be in the unfortunate 5% and forgotten?

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Silver badge

30% takeup?

Sounds plausible. I can think of several 'domestic' use cases that can use speeds of 20+Mbps. House with several teenagers all streaming Netflix? Small business? But average houshold wathcing a bit of iPlayer and surfing amazon? No. We're getting FTTP in a few weeks, but I've still not worked out a way to justify going for more than 76Mbps nominal. The 20Mbps upload is what I'm really looking forward to - 8 hours for 1 GB at the moment (887kbps).

I know we will never need more than 640K of RAM, but what the hell will we need Gigabit connections for in the next decade or two? When we can teleport ourselves down the line, maybe, but not just yet.

And quality is important too. We upgraded to ADSL2+ a few months ago and my line was re-trained to 17.5Mbps. Nice. Except there were so many errors it was unusable. Cranked back down to 10 and it's fine.

Never mind the quality, feel the bandwidth.

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BDUK?

Is this Government speak for Bondook UK?

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Facepalm

24 Mb Ultrafast.

Yeah, I caught this on R4, I think it was yesterday morning when I was trying to down my breakfast, I was concentrating on salting my marmalade at the time.

Some daft government oik - I think she may have been minister of something or other - was referring to 24 Mb as SUPERFAST BROADBAND.

Anyone remember what her exact claim to the right to breathe was?

Really gives you hope, doesn't it?

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