back to article UK chancellor puts finger in air, promises 15 million full fibre connections by 2025

The UK's chief purse-strings-puller Philip Hammond has pledged 15 million premises will receive full-fibre broadband by 2025, in an apparent bid to boost Britain's fortunes post-Brexit. But rather than invest money in such a scheme, like other governments in Europe, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has devised something much, …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Or

    He could just tell Offcom to do their effing job and stop BT running away with countless grants whilst delivering very little.

  2. Philippe

    2033 to "Finish" the job??

    That's not really ambitious, is it?

    You already can get 10 Gb/s internet access in Switzerland for 50 euro a month, and that clown is targeting a tenth of that in 15 years.

    Yes Switzerland is a much smaller country but at the end of the day 10 Gb/s should be the target not 1Gb which is old news in half the glove already.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Andre Carneiro

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    I’m gonna have to call you up on that...

    10Gbps for €50pcm??

    Ten gigabits? Broadband? Can GPON even support that?

  5. Herring`

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    According to Wikipedia, yes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10G-PON

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    And what is impressive is that the 2033 date is so that we will be 'prepared for Brexit'.

    Does he anticipate a very, very long transition period?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    "I’m gonna have to call you up on that...

    10Gbps for €50pcm??"

    I think OP is mistaken

    Swisscom

    "By the end of April 2018 more than 3.3 million fixed network lines were running on fibre optic technologies. Overall, Swisscom has given over 3.95 million homes and offices ultra-fast broadband with more than 50 Mbit/s. More than 1.37 million homes enjoy upload and download speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s."

    A quick price check brings 1Gbps in at about €78

    https://www.swisscom.ch/en/residential/internet-television-fixednetwork/internet/fibre.html

    Of course this is just one major player, but those stats seem very suspect.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    I guess the £350 million a week is going to the NHS for the first five years, then some of it will be diverted to Posts & Telegrams to put in faster tubes.

  9. Andre Carneiro

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    Looks like he’s right!

    https://fiber.salt.ch/en/offer-en/

    Astounding, if it’s true...

  10. Claverhouse

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    @Pen-y-gors

    "And what is impressive is that the 2033 date is so that we will be 'prepared for Brexit'.

    Does he anticipate a very, very long transition period?"

    Splendid.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 2033 to "Finish" the job??

    >"Astounding, if it’s true..."

    Indeed ! Almost worth moving to Switzerland for !

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    ...government also pledges to end poverty, homelessness and NHS waiting times by 2025 using market conditions and asking nicely.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: In other news...

    I wish "market conditions" meant an end to Theresa May's incompetence and this Government.

    'Pub Doorway*' now blocked by BT Drunk (sitting on hands) and Philip Hammond, talking incomprehensible drivel. BT's fcukbuddy Ofcom has that jealous- let's head home look, right now.

    An even bigger insurmountable step it seems, to get to the full fibre bar.

    *(Ye olde copper clad Country Pub).

  14. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Re: In other news...

    Why would this government want to end poverty, homelessness and NHS waiting times? None of them affect them or their friends.

  15. Timmy B Silver badge
    Pint

    Re: In other news...

    "I wish "market conditions" meant an end to Theresa May's incompetence and this Government."

    ^ This merits this >

  16. Paul

    I'd be happy with a full VDSL2/2+ 80Mb/s speed, but a long phone line means I can't even get the full 40Megabits/s lower tier, and my upload speed is just 5.5Megabits/second :-(

    Needless to say, there's nothing that can be done, as Openreach won't deploy a closer cabinet, so that's as good as it's likely to get. Although the exchange has been unbundled, there's no competition for the last mile, and there's no virgin media service in the area either.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course, you would, you've been conditioned to take whatever crumbs BT offer you.

    Sounds like absolute heaven, compared to the obfuscated, legacy copper carcass network destined to become the long term 'norm' for rural Britain, where there are no 'market conditions', just an awful lot of long crackly copper/ aluminium BT lines.

  18. FlossyThePig

    FTTC?

    ...my upload speed is just 5.5Megabits/second :-(

    ...and I thought my FTTC of 7.9Mb was poor.

  19. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Re: Paul

    I feel for you Paul. There are 2 green cabinets on out housing estate and BT only chose to upgrade the further one to fibre so all my lines are limited to 30Mb down and ~5.5 up. No Virgin here either (stupid greedy cable company tried to extort money from thick as shit builders) so no other option for the last mile. I know a lot of people do a lot worse.

  20. SVV Silver badge

    We aim to do this by doing absolutely nothing

    "This is ambitious.. and it will require industry to connect more than 2 million additional premises a year for the next seven years. We won’t do that by government diktat"

    But Phil, that's exactly how you are doing it, seeing as you've just said you want it to happen, whilst providing no plan, no money, etc!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK chancellor puts finger in air

    PROMISES

    PROMISES

  22. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Re: UK chancellor puts finger in air

    UNICORNS

    UNICORNS

  23. Mike Scott 1

    Typical of this government... They seem to think that by saying something will happen, then it will happen, without them needing to take any other action.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capped energy prices, anyone? No, Dermot Nolan, head of Ofgem has conveniently forgotten too.

    'wet blankets' and electricity clearly don't mix.

  25. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    It is not necessarily their fault. I have said it before, I will say it again.

    Someone needs to check the water supply in Whitehall for contamination with Bolivian marching powder.

    That would explain quite a few things regarding their behaviour and pronouncements...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile Cor-bin spews out promises like there's no tomorrow but rather conveniently never tells anyone how all his freebies and other claptrap are going to be paid for in reality.

    Let's face it. All politicians, irrespective of the colour of the rosette pinned to their jacket, are as bad as each other.

    If they were any good at getting stuff done, they would have a real job, instead of one where they get paid to sit around in committees and debates and waffle on about how they might do stuff.

    All politicians are experts at talking the talk. Less so at walking the walk.

  27. John H Woods Silver badge

    by saying something...

    and it's just a short step from there to

    I hear by / hearby / hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow ... that everyone should get slightly less crap broadband speed.

  28. John H Woods Silver badge

    There is a magic money tree*

    Not a big fan of Corbyn but we've got to realize that questions about how things "are going to be paid for in reality" are, at least to some extent, enthymematic, and the enthymeme they contain is, at least to some extent, false.

    A national economy with its own central bank and a still decent national credit rating is not 'like a household budget' and the ingrained idea that it is, in my opinion, perhaps the worst legacy of the Thatcher era.

    There are clearly some very good reasons for controlling the amount and type of government spending (a quick look at the litany of failures of command economies is instructive) but "where's the money going to come from?" isn't, as far as I can see, a very useful question. Better to ask, for instance, "will spending this money now be worth it, in terms of economic growth (or indeed some other social good)?"

    * In fact there are two magic money trees: both the state (public sector), and the banks (private sector), can simply create money. I'm not saying whether the existence of these trees is good or bad, or which it is preferable to eat from: I'm just saying "there is no magic money tree" is, purely and simply, not actually true. Those reluctant to borrow should say: "we don't want to spend that amount of money on that issue, and here's why" and those who want to borrow should say: "we think this is a good investment and here's why" --- then we can have a proper debate and get away from this "sorry there's no money left" nonsense.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: There is a magic money tree*

    @John H Woods

    The problem is that even if "there is a magic money tree", old Corbyn has made so many promises to so many people that they'll get so many things that even your magic money trees would be unable to cope if Mr Corbyn was forced to put his money where his mouth is for every single one of his promises.

    Mr Corbyn is a politician no better than any other. He sees an opportunity, or something the other side are "doing wrong", and he says "Labour will do this". Thus another hot air promise of spending more money appears out of his mouth, because "do this" is typically followed by "it will be free for them" or "we'll give them more money".

    The man is quite frankly so desperate to get into power that he is resorting to promising the earth which he would be unable to deliver in reality.

  30. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    So...

    Lets say for instance that Talk-Talk comes along and digs up my road and puts in FTTC.

    Does that mean that to keep the FTTC thingy I have to use T-T forever?

    Or can I carry on with the LLU concept and change to someone who actually gives a toss about the Customer?

    My guess is the former. If that is true and T-T does my street then they can get stuffed.

  31. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re: So...

    Not absolutely necessarily, I think.

    My personal situation is that I have moved to a rural village where there is next to nothing - just a communal WiFi tower that works when it damn well pleases. We are, however, going to get FTTH come next August and no, it's not a pipe dream. it's really happening.

    Right now, Orange is laying the fibers and will control the backbone, but other operators are allowed to come in and manage the last mile. There are two available right now, one is obviously Orange, and the other is a local telecoms company that already manages connections elsewhere in the region. There may be more operators signing on shortly - or not.

    In any case, if I were absolutely anti-Orange, I have a choice. I don't have to go to Orange to use that connection.

    YMMV

  32. TheCynic

    All new builds should be forced to have a fibre connection - period. How else can they drop pots by 2025 otherwise. But that would be nasty to the house builders who if they could get away with it would sell a broom cupboard as a place to live.

    I'd also go as far as saying new builds should have solar panels, especially those so many million qs m warehouses, and whole building battery options for the domestic premises.

    If the Germans can do it, why not us

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rhetorical, I hope*

    *because the Germans get off their arses and do the work instead of just talking about it

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >If the Germans can do it, why not

    And the Japanese, and the Koreans.

    I had dinner with some good Japanese friends in recent times, and a passing glance was given to the topic of home internet.

    When I told them what the experience was like for your average Joe in the UK, it was just incomprehensible to them why people would put up with paying so much for so little.

    Also, apparently line faults are rare in Japan and when they do happen, unlike in the UK where you have to practically get on your knees and beg BT to come in a reasonable timeframe, in Japan things get fixed somewhat quicker.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Rhetorical, I hope*

    >because the Germans get off their arses and do the work instead of just talking about it

    With the one exception of a certain new airport near Berlin.

    That one is the modern day equivalent of "don't mention the war" when talking to any German friend. ;-)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: new airport near Berlin

    "With the one exception of a certain new airport near Berlin."

    What's the saying? "It's the exception that proves the rule"?

    Readers might want to dig a little deeper into the airport story when they get a chance.

    Here's a very non-technical place to start for background (in English)

    https://www.thelocal.de/20170601/the-never-ending-story-how-ber-airport-became-the-laughing-stock-of-berlin

    The German airport industry had their "Grenfell" moment years ago

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%BCsseldorf_Airport_fire

    But engineers with clue mostly weren't in charge of the 'new' Berlin airport design and programme. For much of the lifetime of the programme, a US-trained MBA was at the top, and the programme was 'driven' by ambitious empire-builders. Should anyone be surprised at the (lack of) result?

    There's lots more to read on the subject. It might even make an interesting article round here one day. It certainly needs to be more widely known.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Rhetorical, I hope*

    "*because the Germans get off their arses and do the work instead of just talking about it"

    Deutsche Telekom were given a period where they didn't have to wholesale the service to other providers to give them time to make back their investment. It made the rollout of fibre financially viable. In the UK that's not the case.

  38. Mike Pellatt

    Market conditions

    Because 100% Business Rates Relief for Fibre Infrastructure for 5 years from 1 April 2017 is creating just the right market conditions for encouraging long-term investment with a 20+-year payback, isn't it ?

    Idiot.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Market conditions

    Removing business rates from fibre permanently, and *adding* business rates to copper, might make a difference.

  40. Commswonk Silver badge

    Re: Market conditions

    Are these the same "market conditions" that forced me to have and pay for a faster service than I actually need, as happened last year with BT? I (we) had about 56 Mb down which was quite enough; BT offered 72 Mb at an increased cost, but after a phone call they agreed to my paying the same as previously and staying with 56 Mb.

    Only weeks later an enforced price rise came along and put me on 76 Mb anyway. I was not amused.

    So... if BT suddenly comes along with FTTP in our area will I be forced to have it in place of the current FTTC? If yes then what market forces are going to be available to me to resist? I suspect none; it will be FTTP or nothing, I suspect. More money, please; look at the bandwidth we're giving you. But I don't need the bandwidth. Shut up and pay up...

    The "digital divide" risks widening, not narrowing, if advancing technology is enforced at increased cost, and users without shedloads of spare money start to wonder if they can afford to contnue having broadband at all.

  41. Medixstiff

    Meanwhile in Straya, our backwards politicians lead by an investment banker that made his money by selling off his stake in ISP OzEmail, has basically sunk any hope of FTTP for at least the next decade and lumped the taxpayers with what is now known as "Malcolm's Terrible Mess".

    Of course why would the pollies care, the taxpayer's are for it,l and after 8 years in office, they all get to retire on their yearly pay for the rest of their lives.

  42. NiceCuppaTea

    You could of course use a bit of "encouragement" by updating building regs to say all new build homes are equipped with FTTP. I know of at least 3 local housing developments that have been completed in the last 2 year that don't even have FTTC let alone FTTP.

    The internet is such a huge part of our lives now that it needs to be taken into account at the planning stages of housing development, not an afterthought.

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