back to article Government calls for ideas on how to splash £400m on fibre

The government is asking for ideas on how it should splash £400m earmarked for fibre broadband investment. Its call for evidence document follows the announcement in the Autumn Statement, which aims to invest up to £1bn in digital infrastructure via matched private sector finance. It also intends to fling £700m at 5G - even …

Silver badge

Digital minister Matt Hancock

So he's program?

We should have more politicians like this, at least we could switch the sods off when they screw up instead of retiring them with a fat pension and a seat on some pal' s board.

Problem is, who writes the programs?

8
0
Silver badge

Re: Digital minister Matt Hancock

Problem is, who writes the programs?

That's quite obvious: trainees doing homework assignments.

7
0
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Digital minister Matt Hancock

So he's program?

Yup. Malware probably.

6
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Digital minister Matt Hancock

We are talking government here. Capita/Steria write the programmes along these simple guidelines:

1) How much is there to spend? £400m

2) How many programmes are required? 1

3) That will be £400m upfront please and another £800m cost overrun.

4) Yippee! Trebles all round boys!

7
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Dear Govt.

Don't give it (back?) to BT.

There's an idea for you.

6
1
Holmes

the £400m digital infrastructure scheme is aimed at city areas where there are big businesses

So central London then, as usual, while the rest of the country festers.

9
2
Silver badge

Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

There are bits not far from Old St that are on country bumpkin type speeds.

Apparently, the cable ducts are far too full to run any Fibre.

But yes, make sure it is spent only in places that are outside communting distance of London.

Make sure that it is FTTP, none of this FTTC cop out.

8
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

Make sure that it is FTTP, none of this FTTC cop out.

That's fine as long as you accept that it will mean upgrading significantly fewer properties.

5
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

Do you ever stop pushing the well worn BT biased line 'FTTP is expensive, FTTC is cheap', bullshit?

FTTC rollout is only headline 'superficially cheaper', when you specifically select 'easy' rollout locations where there are existing cabinets, where it suits selective FTTC rollout. If you had 20 spaced out rural hamlets of groups of 10 houses. or less, to cover - the maths for choosing FTTC, don't stack in its favour. When you include the long term maintenance too, sweating the copper carcass is in the interests of BT and no one else.

Rurally in Wales, the choice of FTTC over FTTP was the wrong one (outside a few market towns, within the town itself). FTTC has been expensive, while leaving large gaps in 'upto' coverage. FTTC not cheaper overall, if you still need to infill the areas with FTTP that FTTC misses, which is now the case in Wales.

7
1
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

Do you ever stop pushing the well worn BT biased line 'FTTP is expensive, FTTC is cheap', bullshit?

Maybe you should have read the article (or even just the headline) more carefully.

You (my highlghting): FTTC rollout is only headline 'superficially cheaper', when you specifically select 'easy' rollout locations where there are existing cabinets

And from the article:He said the measures are "part of a package aimed at keeping businesses in the UK" and are not really intended to improve connectivity outside of major cities.

Your points about cost and location are valid. Unfortunately they are not relevant to this news article. Nor, consequently, as a criticism of my response. In the areas this funding is going to target FTTC is considerably cheaper than FTTP.

Mind you they have been talking about 'gold standard fibre' and if they are targeting businesses FTTP makes more sense than FTTC so you may well get your wish.

1
0

Re: Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

Make sure that it is FTTP, none of this FTTC cop out.

"That's fine as long as you accept that it will mean upgrading significantly fewer properties"

AndreuC,

The criticism of your comment is fully justified.

You're making this assumption here without any regard to the topology/landscape - properties types serviced, you didn't clarify your generalised comment and is based at best, on some stereotypical 'urban' landscape. You're making this statement 'FTTC is cheaper' without knowing the properies being serviced.

I'm picking you up on it, because that's a typical biased type BT statement (as though from the horse's mouth. Maybe you're just too close to BT, you hear this line everyday from BT's marketing dept).

Let stop this bullshit. It's an outdated idea. FTTC v FTTP costs differences are less significant today, because most of the selective 'ideal' i.e. cheaper, cherry picked locations are already serviced, i.e. where there are existing POTS cabinets.

New FTTC 'infill' rollouts will often mean either new copper cabling, redirects of existing lines (exchange only lines). These new FTTC cabinets also will require new Power/Connections to Grid, new Cabinets + Planning, because they required to be 'active powered'.

This includes actively powered FTTdP,FTTrN infill.

There is also the upper limitation of the copper carcass technology, its a Cul-de-Sac limited use technology going forward.

These problems are far less of a problem with true passive fibre, in order to achieve the 'infill'.

I rightly, brought you up on it, because you're feeding the usual BT well worn line that FTTC is cheaper, without any clarification.

With proper planning/use of Mobile Phone Apps for customer notifications/updates, upgrades to true/pure FTTP could be 'street upgrades at a time', not individual properties.

There needs to be a fundamental change to get BT/Customers 'on side' together, to make the FTTP rollout as cheap as possible. Maybe that means Competitions again/use cases, where Communites have to justify why they should be first, all in the roll of getting people 'actively interested' in real Fibre.

Maybe, having local campaigns/targets of 50% take up in the towns (based on the old exchange notion), could mean BT agree to rollout out FTTP to the remaining properties on the outer edges of an exchange. Make the people living closest feel the guilt/peer pressure from the 'outer edge' neighbours without FTTC, living in notspots.

I just don't buy it, that there aren't better ways of rolling out true/pure FTTP, using today's mobile app technology to keep people upto date.

If I can get 1 hour notifcation of a DPD delivery, showing where the Van is on route, BT can do the same for FTTP rollout. The idea that its difficult to contact Customers to enable access for Fibre to the Premises, is been excessively laboured by BT 'as difficult', because its in BT's biased copper carcass interest not to rollout true/pure FTTP, especially now they own EE.

BT are basically sitting on their hands waiting for more handouts.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

>That's fine as long as you accept that it will mean upgrading significantly fewer properties.

I seem to recall Verizon saying fibre cuts its space and electricity costs so much it pays for itself. I can see digging trenches might be expensive, but what about those with telephone poles and wires above ground? Can you just wrap it around the existing copper?

3
0
Silver badge

"So central London then, as usual, while the rest of the country festers."

Well London does subsidise the rest of the country...

At least let's not waste it on Scotland seeing as hopefully they will be leaving the UK soon after Brexit!

1
7

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

"their standard of FTTP means *four* fibres to the premises, not just one!"

Surely any sensible comms provider would lay (blow?) more than one, given that the cost of the fibre itself is almost negligible if you've already got everything else in place?

Apart from all the other obvious benefits, having spare fibre out as far as the customer might allow Openreach to routinely return to their decades-old low-tech approach to diagnosis in the "last mile" before the end user: if something's misbehaving, then swap the customer-specific last mile wiring with another piece of wire/fibre not currently in use, and see if it helps anything. If proper service is restored, great, no further diagnosis immediately necessary (though it would be helpful in the medium term, as a former "spare" pair is now apparently showing faults, and you might need that spare one day).

Of course while BT/Openreach are allowed to continue treating routine fault diagnosis as a revenue opportunity, nothing much will change in terms of cost effective maintenance and repair. The usual £100-200 charge to the BT (Openreach) customer for diagnosing each fault can be quite significant to a retailer outside BT, but is simply a book-keeping exercise between BT Retail and BT Openreach when the customer is BT Retail.

Happy New Year.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Not all of London has 'superfast' Broadband

"Swisscom, like BT, has a universal service obligation"

As I understand it, BT's universal service obligation was and is only for voice (and maybe 28k8 for data, ie fairly bog standard analog stuff, irrelevant to 99% of modern requirements).

Last time I looked, the UK still has no legislated broadband USO, Correction welcome. We do have lots of politicians and industry players hand wringing, which mysteriously results in taxpayer's money (BDUK etc) going almost exclusively to BT.

Don't trains run on time in Switzerland? How do they manage the efficient and affordable movement of people and data?

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

"The government is asking for ideas on how it should splash £400m earmarked for fibre broadband investment."

How about, uh, hire companies that dig cable trenches and put fiber in them? In areas where there isn't any fiber yet? And connect everything "to the internet"?

Seriously dear Britons, sometimes your government seems a bit weird.

10
0
Silver badge
Joke

"How about, uh, hire companies that dig cable trenches and put fiber in them?"

Cable trenches that cause more roadworks? You must be 'avin a bath.

2
3
Silver badge
Stop

How about, uh, hire companies that dig cable trenches and put fiber in them?

Sure, but such things need careful planning and execution in order to avoid fucking up other important infrastructure wot might be buried in the ground. Based on your spelling I will point out that even the mighty Google has had to rein back its plans due to the cost and difficulty in your own country.

Seriously dear Britons, sometimes your government seems a bit weird.

A bit weird? I think most Britons could come up with some far more offensive and derogatory descriptions than that. Ignorant, self-serving, arse-holes would be my contribution.

12
0
Silver badge

Not my own country. (BTW, not God's own either... ^-^ )

"... such things need careful planning and execution in order to avoid fucking up other important infrastructure wot might be buried in the ground."

All in a day's work for a civil engineer. Who'll also know who keeps plans of what is buried where and how to read them. And can tell you in advance which permissions you'll need and how to get them. And at least a good approximation of how much it will cost. And how to set everything up so it will actally work.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

"All in a day's work for a civil engineer. Who'll also know who keeps plans of what is buried where and how to read them. And can tell you in advance which permissions you'll need and how to get them. And at least a good approximation of how much it will cost. And how to set everything up so it will actally work."

The UK does have companies and people that claim to be able to do that kind of stuff. Some of them actually can and have done that kind of stuff. But the ones that can do that kind of stuff have often been subcontractors to BT (Openreach), and the ones that have tried competing with BT (Openreach) know that it frequently becomes a pointless exercise, for reasons of political clout rather than reasons of technical and/or commercial competence.

Hence in 2013 Fujitsu (and everyone else before them) stopped trying to compete with BT in the BDUK rollout:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/18/fujitsu_exits_bduk_race/

(in particular, the comments, in particular, the last one)

And some have promised to be able to do this kind of thing (competing against BT) and failed to deliver. E.g. Have a look at the works of H2O Networks, and their various alter egos (FibreCity, and CityFibre, and...). In particular their abandoned rollouts in the UK (Bournemouth, Dundee, maybe more) and in Australia's NBN.

Happy new superfast year.

0
0
Silver badge

"All in a day's work for a civil engineer. Who'll also know who keeps plans of what is buried where and how to read them. And can tell you in advance which permissions you'll need and how to get them. And at least a good approximation of how much it will cost. And how to set everything up so it will actally work." --- allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

This is true, certainly of making holes in the ground ... as in the ancient joke: if you look up "Boring" in the yellow pages it says "see Civil Engineers"

1
0

A few grand could be used to run FTTP up to my door. Even replacing the crappy aluminium wiring on the FTTC link would help.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Superfast Crymru paid for the rollout of Copper too.

With the Welsh rollout, there was fair amount of BT trickery to 'just' meet Superfast Cymru contractual targets, i.e. upgrading of 0.5mm Copper to 0.9mm Copper lines in places, to avoid some use of FTTP.

Not exactly in the spirit of what taxpayer thought they were paying for i.e. 'Fibre rollout' which instead, at times, amounted to upgrading BT's legacy Copper Network.

3
0

Typical government thinking!

If they don't have a clear idea on how to spend the money then don't!

It is typical government thinking that believes a budget exists only to be used up rather than deliver a clear benefit to the tax payer.

7
1
Silver badge

Re: Typical government thinking!

Budgets are for spending. Same thing in the oh so efficient private sector. (Ever tried giving money back to the beancounters? Way harder than getting some in the first place.)

As I'm in a somewhat feisty mood (christmas with the relatives, need I say more?) - technically your gripe is with the administration. As in a democracy, the government is the people. Technically.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Typical government thinking!

In an ideal world it would fund 400 B4RN 1Gbps FTTP Type schemes, where the hard work of creating the intial community scheme, gaining the backing/funding has already been thought through/worked through, so in theory the success and lower cost per FTTP connection, could be replicated. We need to be backing proven 'copy cat' schemes like B4RN, going forward.

A Key objective though is that these communities should be 'on-side' and interested/show willing.

Above all, the other key objective should be about puting more Connected fibre in the ground, not talking about it. Not paying people to talk about it, producing glossy bullshit.

The most important thing is for this money not to end up in the hands of BT, because - let's face it, we are needing to allocate/inject £400 million for no other reason, than the failure of Ofcom regulation/BT market dominance (allowing BT's EE takeover was sheer madness) which is preventing the market itself from rolling out competing true/pure FTTP, to BT's obfuscated, bamboozled sweated copper carcass 'upto' infrastructure.

One aspect that rarely gets mentions is true/pure FTTP would allow virtualised operators to co-exist over the same fibre, so you could take multiple subscriptions from various ISPs at once, as there would be sufficient Fibre bandwidth to deliver multiple services.

The main reason BT are pushing Pointless G.fast is so they can place artificial restrictions on the subscriber, by placing an 'artificial tap' between the customer and the cabinet/pole Fibre endpoint, by using sweated copper on the final segment, to keep 'artificially restricted services' under BT's control.

3
0

Re: Typical government thinking!

Well there's a wrong headed thought. In the public sector, if you have money left over for any reason, you should spend it on something (anything - Scott Adams recommends loo paper, as it's flushable if you need the storage space later on) as if you don't spend your full allocation, you obviously won't need as much in future budgets...

0
0

BDUK - cheap capital for BT

When the BDUK scheme turned out to be funding no-one but BT, I said then that all it was doing was subsidising BT's infrastructure investment that they should have been carrying out anyway to maximise shareholder returns.

The fact that 25% of our money that was given to them is now being returned because, errr, take-up was grater than BT "estimated" just goes to prove this. It really has been a shocking waste of our money.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: BDUK - cheap capital for BT

We have a lame situation now, where dominant BT acts like the sole contractor to the UK Gov.

There is no innovation put forward by BT themselves (off their own back). We, the taxpayer, have to fund and tell BT what techincal improvements we need (via technically incompetent Government direction), and if we don't, the contractor (BT) does nothing.

BT knowing full well they have a good enough income stream with the existing (taxpayer funded) FTTC and EE Mobile Network to see them through to 2030 providing a limited (but very profitable) subset of the overall UK customer base. BT don't care because they know they can hold the UK to ransom.

The pace of technological change no longer needs to be set by BT, because BT know the UK as whole, will set this for them and pay them handsomely, through sheer deperation to compete in the World Economy, in order to keep up. BT don't have to do any real investment themselves.

I mean, why would BT want to upgrade its Network to a true/pure Fibre FTTP 1Gbps+ Network now they own EE, when it would obsolete the data speeds (and the income) of 3G/4G EE overnight.

The CMA (Competiton and Markets Authority) / Ofcom decision regarding BT/EE merger was incredulous, to say there was no market overlap between EE/BT. For anyone technically versed in such matters that decision comes across as technically skewed at best. At worse, highly likely corruption took place.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

How about abolishing OFCOM?

£400M should just be enough for the golden handshakes.

4
0
Pint

Just give it to Crapita and Fujitsyou

And we can watch the money go down the drain faster than a dodgy kebab on Friday night after an extended drinking session!

1
0

Really?

"Currently 91 per cent of the population has access to 24Mbps".

Where does that figure comes from? Which jobsworth verified it? How was "access" defined: constant, intermittent, one-third constant?

1
0

Re: Really?

It's like average Broadband speeds, they should be averaged over a 4 hour peak usage period, not over the full 24 hours, i.e. not through the night when speeds are at maximum for those hours, when no one is using it.

Also special days of maximum of peak usage; Olympics Coverage etc, should be selected in advance (at the start of the year) for monitoring for separately produced Data, to show the Backhaul network is up to the demands of peak usage, on key dates.

The current Ofcom average speed data is flawed, when measured over 24 hours/quiet periods. And Ofcom, why isn't all data published, we're paying for this monitoring. Make all gathered data public, good and bad. Stop producing pretty trickery, little data sets that make Ofcom look good.

0
1
Gold badge

Re: Really?

I imagine that "access to" is short-hand for "we've found a copper wire and installed an ADSL2 modem at our end" and "24Mbps" is shorthand for "this is the maximum possible speed assuming that the customer is next door to the exchange".

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Can we at least finish FTTC

I've been at the "We're installing the new fibre cabinet and laying the fibre cables to serve your home or business. You can't order a fibre service today but typically it'll be available to your premises within the next five months." for over 2 years.

Why? A lot of businesses have expensive FTTC connections around here - wouldn't want them switching from that honey pot......

0
0

Be plenty of capacity in the City once all the banks and corporations move to the EU.

Unless we become a cheap and nasty corporate tax haven.

0
0
Holmes

Super-Dooper Broadband

A number of questions to ponder:

1. Who is going to stump up the cash to upgrade the system when FTTC doesn't give the speeds required?

2. When are we going to get matching upload and download speeds (we only ever hear about download)?

3. What will BT call the potentially much faster FTTP service when(/if) it becomes mainstream?

4. Why ...

0
0

use it to pay off all the phone bills the public has never paid, so the 50% of the population can actually get access to fibre

just because your street is covered, it does'nt mean you can have access

0
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018