Get a 3G mast!
Mrs McCartney could contact a mobile operator to get a 3G mast installed on her rooftop. I am sure they would do the work for less that £130,000.
BT has quoted a pensioner £150,000 to install a broadband line to her home in rural Wales. The national telco contacted Beverley McCartney, who lives in Salem, Carmarthenshire, last week, the BBC reports. It had previously told her it could not connect her home, but was pleased to say it now could for the bargain price of £ …
Lived on the West Coast in NZ for a while - it was either 56k or satellite. Both were useless - rains so much there the satellite internet got rain fade like a TV does, lol, and when it did work the lag was so bad it ended up being no faster than a modem anyway for many web pages.
Satellite Broadband, and the Scottish 'Leccy Broadband
then again. she could always go outside the EU for her broadband
People need to accept the practicalities of where they choose to live - you want to run a network connection miles away from anyone else and it's going to cost a fortune. Why should everyone else have to cover it? I live in a city and don't see people in the countryside subsidising the cost of housing for me. I choose to live where I am so I have to accept the practical implications of that (smaller, more expensive housing, dirtier air, fewer green spaces, traffic noise, fewer appealing nature scenes to gaze at out of my window etc).
Can she not get satellite internet, anyway?
"If it's just one individual person and it requires upgrading the network for one person, no company would cover that," and I do agree with him, although, if the other people start signing up and start taking advantage of this *upgrade*, then the individual should start getting his/her money back.
any way, why get a broadband in the countryside? Isn't the whole point of going to the countryside is to escape the fast life? I don't know about you guys, but I for one will take my notebook (game loaded) with me when I go upcountry.... but won't even turn it ON until I come back. It just seem wrong to play games while I am there.
..without more detail about her circumstances. We don't even know if she has a telephone line.
My guess is that the village doesn't have its own exchange - most probably don't. Those living in the village are probably sufficiently close to the exchange that they can get some kind of service. She may just be unlucky in living several miles further out. In that situation the cost is likely for repeater equipment of some kind.
I can give an example of how that could arise. Look at the village of Bucknell, Oxfordshire. It hangs off the Bicester exchange. Most of the village can get between 4Mb/s and 2Mb/s. But there are several farms further out near the M40 that are probably still attached to the Bicester exchange. They likely can't get anything.
But basically we just don't know. BT aren't the cheapest service provider but providing network connectivity to a single property is never going to be cheap. I think most people involved in provision would shrug and say it's not a surprise.
If you can show me some backup for that assertion then I'll happily change my tune but I seriously doubt a like for like comparison will show that, for example, a three bedroom detached house in London is 66% cheaper than one on the sticks somewhere?
At the peak of the housing boom the flat I currently live in was assessed as being worth about £350K (I rent it - could never afford it otherwise). A quick scan of the classifieds suggested I could get a very respectable house in a rural part of Kent for about that sum (as opposed to a relatively small flat with no land and so on). Of course transport links would be useless and jobs lower paid and such like so I pay my money and I make my choice.
You're doing it wrong. He said on average housing was 66% cheaper in urban areas, that's not a like for like comparison, it's simply a comparison of the average cost of buying any house in the country compared with the average cost of buying a place in the city. Houses in the country are generally bigger and there's fewer flats, so it's perfectly believable when you combine it with:
London isn't the only city in the UK now is it?
Ok, so the person in the city gets a smaller house for the same price. Which is exactly what I said, isn't it? So by extension of that argument this lady should get the best internet she can for £20 per month (or whatever) as a city dweller. In this case that is apparently none (unless she can promise to sign up for one hell of a long contract).
But she wants the same service for the same price, regardless of cost. So my suggestion is, should I get the same house size as a country dweller at the same price? Evidently not.
But it seems stupid to me to say "well, you get 1% of the space and quality of life for 33% of the price so shut the hell up!" Also, thus far (an admittedly very short space of time) no evidence for the 66% actually means or how it has been calculated has been forthcoming (no doubt it will have arrived while I was typing this).
And yeah, London isn't the only city. So maybe it's fine for the country dwellers to subsidise the house prices for the 8 million odd people who live there...
Look, there are differences everywhere and everyone can find something to grumble about regarding where they live and what things cost and what service they get and so on. My basic point is that you should be bloody wary about simply taking the cost implications of where you live and just saying "well, everyone else will just have to pay for that because I want it." As a starting point it's exceptionally selfish.
"My basic point is that you should be bloody wary about simply taking the cost implications of where you live and just saying "well, everyone else will just have to pay for that because I want it." As a starting point it's exceptionally selfish."
Selfishness seems to go both ways here.
The unselfish thing to do here is to help this woman out. Sitting there and telling her to suffer because she lives in the country and you dont is pretty selfish - dont you think? Its almost the definition of selfish, in that you are more concerned with your own needs and comforts than anyone elses.
However, thats a non-issue and I only raise it because you keep talking about the woman selfishly wanting an internet connection she can use.
So rather than help her out, what we should do is force the banks to open a branch in her local area (she cant online bank), the Government has to provide a manned office where she can look things up and gain access to citizen services, the local hosptial should be forced to put a drop in clinic (she cant google ailments), supermarkets should be forced to provide an outlet for her to use. Etc.
I suspect it would actually be cheaper to give her bloody broadband.
The fact is every city dweller has taken advantage of the cost savings that have resulted from removing essential services to rural communities (because it can all be done online) and now people object to the costs of giving the rural communities the ability to access said services.
Remind me again which side of the equation is the selfish one...
But by that argument the unselfish thing to do is to help me buy a bigger house in the city? Saying that the unselfish thing to do is to give someone something is just lazy. It can also be selfish to expect someone else to give you it. But then I said that in my earlier post. You know, the one you quoted from?
I don't think that the banks should have to open a branch in her area so I'm not sure where you got that from? If it's not cost effective for them then I don't believe that they should be forced to operate a branch there.
I'm not sure also why the government has to provide her with "a manned office to look things up"?
I'm not arguing against removing doctors and medical facilities from her area either.
People living in cities and dense population areas have indeed had the advantage from the benefits of living near lots of other people. They have also had the costs of that. People living in the country have had a different set of costs, one of which is the difficulty and inefficiency in running wiring around the place. If they want that cost to fall on others then I think it is only fair that some of the costs of living in a city are shared out too. I'd bet that if she wanted to buy a house in her area it would be a damn sight more than £150K for the equivalent property in mine. I'll chip in the £150K for her net connection if she'll put up the balance of the cost of buying a three bedroom detached house in the burbs of London.
Finally, you may note that in my very first post I asked if she had access to satellite internet. It's not perfect but it's surely enough to make it unreasonable to expect everyone else to pay out £150K on her behalf for an upgrade?
But kudos on drawing so much irrelevant FUD into your post.
"It can also be selfish to expect someone else to give you it. But then I said that in my earlier post. You know, the one you quoted from?"
And as you can see from my post, I said the selfishness could go both ways. You know, the one you seem to be replying to. I never said the unselfish thing to do was to just give to everyone else. Dont you think it is lazy to accuse this woman of being selfish because what she is asking for might cost you a small amount? Who is being more selfish - her for saying that BT prices are outrageous and expressing a desire to have access to the internet, or you for saying she should shut up and suffer because of where she lives?
The point I was trying to make is that we have a society in which certain aspects are expected and assumed to be available to the population. Over recent years, these have largely been moved onto the internet on the assumption that people can access the internet. Rightly or wrongly the sites to access this (often essential services) have become pretty much unsuable on dial up connections (my bank for example is so convoluted that a logging in over a slow connection simply fails).
This creates a problem for those who have no internet access. Its easy (even lazy) to just say thems the breaks in this dog eat dog commercial world. It is also simply wrong unless we want a multi tiered society where even the basic ability to exercise democratic rights is constrained for some elements of society.
The cost seems to be the biggest issue for you. She is not asking everyone to pay £150k. She is saying it is wrong for BT to demand she pay £150k. I agree with her in that. I refuse to believe that is an accurate cost and if it is, would it mean she owned the exchange and equipment or are BT demanding she pay that so they can then lease the service to her? Its madness.
Some of the costs of living in a city are shared out - just not house prices because they come under a different demand model. You are obsessed with the fact houses are cheaper in some rural areas and ignore everything else. If you really want to live in a nice house in the country, why dont you? Is it simply the slow broadband that stops you?
I have no idea why she doesnt go down the sat route - why dont you ask her.
But kudos on your own irrelevant FUD and obsessions.
It's all about _actual value_, in terms not only of house price but utility prices, amenities and communications (mainly physical transport). The Welles Institute did a study 2 years ago - comparable properties in those terms are, on average, 66% cheaper in urban areas, although obviously that varies by region with the North-East having the highest _relative_ urban price and the South West having the highest _relative_ rural price.
Not being illegal does not stop it from being a breach of contract.
IIRC BT's Terms (and probably every other consumer ISP) have a clause stopping you doing exactly what you propose. Whilst not criminal, you could find yourself liable under civil law.
You also have to bear in mind that if they were to take you to court, they would not have to prove 'beyond reasonable doubt', the burden of proof is lower. They simply have to convince the court that it is more likely that you are telling fibs than them!
FAIL icon is for you my friend, it represents your inability to seperate criminal and civil law
Its only 3 miles away, not at the top of a mountain! I suspect she pays her taxes like everyone else which subsidies facilities for others, that she wont use either....
We need to move with the times and accept the cost implications if the EU make the Internet a "Human Right" then they should have to provide it the same as electricity and water is today, subsidised by all for all.
Point 1:BT is a private company. Your comment about 'everyone paying taxes' does not apply.
Point 2:BT's service obligation /currently/ stops at 'voice and data up to 28kb/s' Even then there is a get out clause if the cost is too high. The newly proposed requirement extends the data rate to 2Mb/s but still has a get out clause which would likely apply here.
My main point:
Although I generally applaud the idea of society helping out the less well off there has to be limits. The value to society as a whole of one little old lady (no matter how sweet) getting broadband doesn't justify the cost for me. In any case - she can almost certainly get satellite broadband anyway if it's really that important to her.
Moving to the countryside supposes that you have lived somewhere else first. I would bet this pensioner was born in her house 80 odd years ago and has never lived anywhere else. I would also bet that she no longer has a village post office or a reasonably local bank and every service she used to get from them has now been put online. So there she goes trying to move with the times, just so she can stand still, and now she's been told she can't even do that.
Sometimes technology doesn't accommodate everyone. I just hope she has an alternative that works.
Not everyone has the choice of where to live.
And, BTW, people in the country cross subsidise stuff for people in the cities - we pay the same taxes for generally less benefit (e.g. council tax in Cambridge vs outlying villages is the same).
You wank stains in the cities, you should really try to be less selfish, and, just for a change, think about what you write before spouting off.
Mind you, I get 8MB BB no problem where I live, right out in the sticks. So Nah Nah. That's probably better than most city dwellers. Ha Ha Bwahhhhahahha. And I have a nice view, decent house, garden and peace and quiet. Pity there are no shops, no public transport, knackered roads, no ER within 30 minutes, no police around (ever). Still, we havent had too many deaths by stabbing. So that's OK then.
Few, that's better. No idea what started that off....
Also, I find it interesting what people consider selfish - I'm getting roundly blasted by about half the people here (based on current up/down votes) for saying "I'm not sure I should have to pay for that" when, in fact, she's the one saying that. From my perspective it is selfish to expect everyone else to pay your bill for something like this.
Letting the faceless majority pick up your tab seems to be a fairly common theme in this country at the moment though.
Also, just to respond to some other points, I make no comment about whether this price is indicative of some gross inefficiency on BT's part or whatever - someone mentioned CAT5 cables and such like and that my indeed be cheaper. As someone else said though, once you're into digging up roads or dealing with any major work (surveying, planning permissions, engineer teams whatever - am speculating here of course) then the costs become astronomical.
@ bolccg and others
If it were a simple matter of this woman selfishly wanting an internet connection so she could download pr0n and warez, then fair enough. However its not that simple.
Existing without an internet connection is becoming vanishingly difficult. Add into the fact that banks have largely closed their rural operations, because so many people can do everything on-line and it becomes apparent that *we* all benefit from this move - we have supposedly cheaper banking and more efficient delivery of services, which should (in theory at least) result in reduced costs.
The problem is that people like this woman lose out on every count. To subidise the city dwellers dependency on doing things "on-line" she loses out access to banks (sticking with that example). So we all benefit from her not having a local branch - what does she get?
It may well be that a common theme in this country is that others should pick up the tab, but this is vastly outweighed by the variation theme that if I am all right everyone else can fuck off. Its ironic how the two are related...
Fair points and thanks for not insulting me :O)
I was pondering on this concept but more around the Government moving things online. I don't take your point about banks etc as those are private companies (present public shareholdings aside - that's supposed to be an abberation) and they can decide where to cut costs and who they offer services to. If the Government puts vital services and information online and therefore essentially everyone saves then I can see an argument for some cross-subsidy if the market will not provide a minimum service. But, as I said initially, can she not get a satellite service for a reasonable price? It might not be as fast as she would like and it might cost a bit more than she would like but that's the breaks for living in a low density population area.
I agree that private companies will decide where to offer services and where to cut costs, but again its part of a more convoluted problem.
At a basic level, the existence of urban internet has meant that companies can cut costs by closing bricks and mortar facilities to shift it online. We, the public, benefit (to a lesser extent) from this. However, it means those without internet access are doubly punished while people in the urban areas benefit. It seems selfish to me, to sit in a city with high speed internet and all the other services and refuse to support a fellow citizen who has no access simply because of where they were born(*).
Secondly, lots of services were privatised on the basis that companies would provide the service to all. While I would never class Amazon as an essential service, being able to access your bank account is. Commercial companies have to operate within some constraints to ensure that what they provide meets the standards we set as a society. Over and over we see how this privatisation has actually ended up shafting the citizen (trains are a good example) but does that make it right?
* ok, an assumption that may not be true in *this* case but it is the general principle that counts.
Surely the bricks and mortar stores will be closed in the areas with high internet access (i.e. where their customers will not be excessively put out or unable to actually purchase the products or use the services)? Thus the costs for whichever business you are talking about are cut and, presumably, prices for all will fall (or profits for shareholders will rise)? So the urban internet users are actually benefitting everyone else?
Or are you suggesting that a bank, for example, thinks "Oh, well, people in London now have net access so I will close my branch in Cardiff to save costs!" If they close their branch in an obscure place surely it is likely to be because it is unprofitable to keep it open (not enough customers to justify the costs) rather than because someone somewhere else has high speed net access?
Also, as noted elsewhere, including by me, it sounds like she could get net access through other routes that would leave her able to access these services, just not as fast as she'd like. Plus there's postal banking and phone banking and various other means.
Not to flog a dead horse but, you live in a high population density area and some things will be cheaper (e.g. wiring and plumbing related items based on physical distance and things that are based on scale) and others will be more expensive (space is at a premium). The inverse is obviously true. To just cherry pick one or the other is to my mind highly dubious.
"Or are you suggesting that a bank, for example, thinks "Oh, well, people in London now have net access so I will close my branch in Cardiff to save costs!""
Actually, with a caveat, that is what has happened - the caveat being as you say in the next bit about unprofitable areas.
This is fine with discretionary services (such as shoe shops) but some previously state run services that were passed over to private ownership there was an obligation to provide the service to the public. The easy route turned out to be tell everyone you can access our services online at www.example.com and close the branches. Only the unprofitable ones mind, but then those tend to be the ones serving the most vulneralble areas.
We really do live in a day and age where the only place you can survive without internet is in urban areas and, ironically, this is where you can get the best internet connections.
I moved to Lisburn in Northern Ireland a few years ago and it took three weeks to get an internet connection up and running. Life was chaos. It really hammered home to me how essential being able to connect to a website was - even for basic local government things. I can only assume its more important now.
I really do feel sorry for anyone without internet access. I have no idea how you manage to do things and you are basically paying well over the odds for everything you purchase.
you base your argument on her age and nothing else!
let us modify the story,
A gamer aged 21 years old, living in the countryside, wanted to connect a broadband internet connection to *his* house, he got a £150,000 quote from BT.
would you still be as supportive to this *gamer* as you are to the *old lady*? Just because she is an old lady who *MIGHT* have lived her life in the countryside does NOT mean we owe her a broadband connection.
any way, if you are right about how her circumstances *might* be, then she have lived her life without the internet. If she is new to the internet, then let her get a wireless limited connection or a dial-up. There is no need for her to get a broadband from the start.
I am not against her getting an internet connection, if she wants one, she can PAY for it. If she can't afford it then tough luck.
in this case, she wants a broadband (which have a very high installation rate), if she can afford the installation charge and the monthly charges then let her have it. I'll gain nothing by her being online and will lose nothing by her being offline.
the problem, she can NOT afford it and is complaining about the installation charge! So the only thing I am trying to say is "tough luck" find an alternative and stop demanding a broadband from BT.
and to add to my last post:
I still don't know why would people live out of town then want *fast* internet. I always take it slow when I am upcountry, heck, I don't even stay indoors that much. Even seating on a chair in the back of the house is more "correct" when I am upcountry.
if this lady really *need* an internet connection for some reason or another (as pointed by other posters) then *any* internet connection should be enough for her, why broadband if she can't afford it? Do you write to the news paper every time you want something and find out that it is too expensive for you? or do you try to find something within your budget?
> People need to accept the practicalities of where they choose to live
Yep, like in a village where other people already have broadband. Do read the articles before sounding off like a bigoted tightarse.
Of course, that's assuming you *can* choose where you live. Most people don't have a large choice as to where they reside, income being a major factor.
As you've focused on house prices (funnily enough not the cheaper groceries (subsidised by high urban prices), cheaper petrol (subsidised by high urban prices), higher salaries (subsidised by low urban salaries)), why do you think they are so high in urban areas (I'm guessing you mean London)?
Go away and google it.
So, your Grand Plan would result in even more over-population of urban areas (with astronomical house prices, higher unemployment in urban areas, generally leading to higher council tax), and the countryside would be a wasteland.
You see where 'the bigger picture' comes in? it isn't all just healy-feely junk you know, there are reasons why societies should be balanced. I say this as a country boy living in the city and knowing I probably have no choice but to live there, considering what I'm good at (IT, not rentboy, bit old for that).
3 miles is no trouble assuming line of sight (tho that might be tricky in North Wales). Microwave antennas can be had for peanuts second hand and regular 802.11 kit will work just fine with them, albeit directional and with extended range. I heard it's possible to get 20 miles over flat terrain with ordinary dvb-s dishes and bow-ties.
So presumably they charge the poor sods in cities where they are the one that exceeds exchange capacity?
The quicker BT have any monopoly rights removed the better.
I pay for a 512k BB - the line was tested and found to be suitable 1.5M by an engineer here. I pay the same as someone getting 8Meg - but will they upgrade??
No one is forcing you to live in the sticks.
You don't move to a village in the middle of nowhere and then complain that there is no multiplex cinema nearby.
I f I decide to build a house in the middle of nowhere all the utility companies will charge me thousands to connect it up, which is why many opt for oil tanks, personal generators and digging their own wells.
As others have mentioned, there are alternatives for broadband. They might not be as good but that's what you get if you choose to live in the sticks.
Wherever you live you have to make compromises to an extent. I get good broadband, plenty of pubs and two local cinemas, but can't afford somewhere with a garden, get to have my lungs destroyed by pollution, and there is not much in the way of peace and quite.
I am curious as to exactly what they would have to upgrade given she is only three miles away, but £130k isn't that much given the cost of carrier grade gear, and the probability that it would involve digging up a road or two.
This is what happens in the open market, some customers are just not worth selling to. I'm sure BT would be happy to let her go to a satellite or wireless carrier rather than lose £130k on her.
If you want universal coverage then you have to nationalise BT Openreach (which I'm actually in favour of).
>The quicker BT have any monopoly rights removed the better
BT do not have a monopoly. BT haven't even had a monopoly in their own exchanges for the last decade. Any CP (communications provider) could quote to hook this lady up. I suspect (can't prove, but it seems likely) that the lady either hasn't thought to ask anyone else or if she did they flat out refused or died laughing.
You might hate BT but they are the only telecommunications provider in this country that has put network equipment into every(*) exchange in the country and who therefore offer a service on every telephone line in the country. In the context of this story I think it's highly likely that they are the only company even prepared to do the work. If that's what being a 'monopoly' (using your definition) means then we should be glad that's what they are.
(*)Probably in excess of 99% of exchanges anyway.
> You might hate BT but they are the only telecommunications provider in this country that has put network equipment into every(*) exchange in the country
Did they fuck. BT inherited ALL of the nation's exchanges (except Hull's) an a national (global?) backbone when it was split off from the GPO and then privatised. That infrastructure had been developed and paid for by the state. And then given away at knock-down prices. BT did not build a national network from scratch (unlike Vodafone or O2). Sure, the network BT was given has been upgraded since then. But even so BT didn't install digital exchanges everywhere out of the goodness of its heart. They did it because they had to because of their universal service obligations as the incumbent monopoly telco.
PS: try getting a new phone line installed if your street doesn't have cable. BT is the only option. So much for "competition". As this Welsh granny has found out.
>BT inherited ALL of the nation's exchanges (except Hull's) an a national (global?) backbone when it was split off from the GPO and then privatised
Which was nigh-on quarter of a century ago. Get with the times. Most of the investment that gives BT its current value has nothing to do with the tax payer. Of course BT had its reasons for the national roll-out of ADSL as it does with FTTC. It's protecting the value of the local loop which is its biggest asset. That's why blathering on about it's PO days is irrelevant. What BT inherited from its PO days was a decrepit analogue phone network. Since then it has transformed it into one of the most advanced voice /and data/ networks in the world. They've invested way more than the PO ever did or ever would have.
>PS: try getting a new phone line installed if your street doesn't have cable.
That's not BT's fault. Anyone can lay a cable if they get the appropriate permits from local authorities. Virgin laid out a huge alternate network alongside BT's.
Mind you - just to even the score a bit I'll freely admit that BT are a bunch of wankers. In recent years they've got even worse. Awful customer service and they'll try and charge you whenever they can. Their policy seems to be 'charge the buggers and hope they don't complain'.
Still - the fact is that providing a data service to a remote house is not cheap for anyone. BT aren't the cheapest providers for bespoke work but I doubt their quote is that far out of the ballpark.
"Which was nigh-on quarter of a century ago. Get with the times. Most of the investment that gives BT its current value has nothing to do with the tax payer. Of course BT had its reasons for the national roll-out of ADSL as it does with FTTC. It's protecting the value of the local loop which is its biggest asset."
So what you're saying is that the network inherited from the GPO, running to the majority of homes and businesses in the country, gives BT no competitive advantage, even though BT are obliged to provide wholesale connectivity through measures in place to regulate the market, especially the market which depends on, ahem, BT's "biggest asset".
Having infrastructure in place is like having a ton of money in the bank, because replicating that infrastructure requires, well, a ton of money. Next you'll be saying that the incumbent water suppliers don't have any advantages and you can't see why competitors aren't laying pipes everywhere and building their own reservoirs and aquaducts. Those selfish, cheap bastards!
And the spoils of privatisation do still have an effect on the business today: that's 25 years of merely maintaining infrastructure, not having to build new stuff from scratch *and* maintain what you have. Next you'll be arguing that BT were saddled with lots of old, nasty stuff while pretending that BT weren't making lots of money off customers whose services were dependent on (and probably suffered from) that old, nasty stuff.
Sheesh! We all know that companies like BT just want the best bits of being a national monopoly and being in private ownership: a market position that is difficult to lose, and big paychecks for the executives and shareholders.
OK, the equipment may have been upgraded, but the premises which contain the exchanges, and a vast amount of the last-mile copper, all the telegraph poles, and the wayleaves agreements, and also many of the streetside connection boxes were in the original deal.
Not only has BT been able to use all of this without having to pay anyone, they have actually been able to achieve a capital gain on buildings which used to be exchanges, but have actually had the service consolidated into other nearby exchanges (think how much more compact digital exchanges are compared to the Strouger exchanges that have been shut down), and sold on. I was also told some years ago by someone in the telecommunications industry, that BT actually made money from ripping out the copper based long distance network, scrapping the copper, and replacing it with fibre.
If you were a new player, how much would it cost to put the last mile infrastructure in and buy the buildings for the local exchanges (especially in cities). We had an approximation when the cable infrastructure was put in 20 years ago (by the way, it was not Virgin, it was the small companies that merged to become NTL and Telewest that did the installation, and this is not Virgin Media by another name), and it was expensive then, and effectively bankrupted them. Think how much it would be now! (that's why they are experimenting with fibre through the sewers).
Who said she decided to move to a village in the middle of nowhere? Have you considered she may have been born and grown up there or at least nearby?
Not everyone has the ability, or the income, to move to London to get good broadband speeds but I bet lots of people in London would complain if they had to subsidise the costs of returning essential services to rural communities.
If she has moved there in the last 5 - 10 years then OK, this example is a poor one, but the fact is that we have a country in which having access to the internet is pretty fundamental, yet large swathes of the country are denied this.
The ironic thing is that all the magic broadband brings (home working, 24 hour access to services and providers) are only really available in cities where you dont need them as much.
If we could solve the rural broadband problem we could actually have the promised revolution. Just think of the changes:
- people who want to work from home, dont have to have a home near the office or suffer abysmal connections
- this would lead to less physical commuting and a massive downforce on the costs of living in the big cities, less pollution, less pressure on city schools, less environmental damage
- people who wanted to live in the city (for the "life") would be able to do so once more while "second homes" in the countryside would become occupied and some villages would cease to be "weekend only" places.
This cant happen until we get round the problem of broadband only really working in the built up areas.
For anyone who wants to see what it is like, try to go 2 months without doing ANYTHING on the internet - so no online shopping, no access to e-Gov websites, no e-statements/banking, no taking advantage of internet offers for utility services etc. Its barely possible now and I suspect in 5 years it wont even be that.
Perhaps she was born in the sticks and likes to live there, but if she wants mod cons she should consider moving.
I bet they won't build an opera house next door because she likes opera. I bet Tescos won't build a shop close by to give her 24x7 shopping. Why should BT have to give her uneconomical broadband?
There are alternatives like satellite. The silly old bat could go to http://www.broadbandwherever.net/
I live and work rurally in New Zealand. I have wireless broadband which gives me 2Mb/s. It costs more than city BB and is slower. I could move in to town and get high speed BB. I could also pay a few 100k to get all the trenching and cabling done to get city BB here. Instead I take the compromise.
I live in France. In a little town in the back of nowhere. Actually, between two nowhere towns. To give you an idea of the definition of "town", it would read "Pop. 150" on an American style sign. It probably wouldn't even qualify for a name of its own in British terms. It is a bunch of houses around a church.
My phone line is over 4.4km away from the exchange. Something said 4675 metres, but I don't know how it knows that? Is that to our boundary? Our house? Our phone socket? The Livebox lead is a metre and a half, is that counted? :-) So we're really really far from a nowhere place. Yet I get a megabit. It might be a lousy slow snoozefest megabit, but it is travelling down phone wiring from the sixties that lay 'dormant' for fifteen-odd years. And given how the wire flits around in the wind, it is surprisingly reliable. I was on-line all the way through hurricane Xynthia. Not a hiccup.
Come on Britain, you don't want to be one-upped by the *French* now do you? :-)
Bootnote: Isn't WiMax and directional Wi-like links supposed to provide coverage in outlying areas? I know a town nearby was going to try WiMax as an alternative to everybody having their own broadband contract (mainly for schoolchildren, some parents didn't see the point of broadband enough to want to pay for it), but after the recent global financial fiasco, the scheme was shelved "indefinitely". Shame, it would have been an interesting one to watch.
I don't think other people in her village have broadband. The BBC article says people in a nearby town 3 miles away have broadband and there are 50 houses in her village who would like broadband... that makes it roughly £3k each, right? She goes on to say that she wouldn't even pay £2k let alone £150k... seems you can't please everybody!
I note that people are down-voting posts that say "tough cheese", or something along those lines.
Hey, I live in Central London. I pay a fortune. I contend with overcowding, pollution and all that jazz. If someone wants to go and live in the middle of nowhere, then why on earth should I have to subsidise her connnection? I realise this isn't a popular thing to say, clearly.
At what point in Chris' post did he say he was more important because he lives in London?
By my reading he was saying that there are downsides to living in London that he puts up with. The downside of this lady living in the countryside is that getting broadband is going to cost her a fortune.
I'm guessing you have some sort of bee in your bonnet about London to have decided to completely misread/misrepresent his comment.
For the record I'm a very happy country dweller who doesn't see why he should pay for this lady to have broadband.
Perhaps all the people who have such a downer on city dwellers should prove their superiority by putting their hands in their pockets and clubbing together to pay this lady's bill.
Is there anyone there?
Heh I'm the AC you are replying to.
Have a look through all the comments, so many are stating basically saying "Ooooh you live in the country fuck off and shut up"
Try the national news where nothing happens outside the M25 (unless it's the BBC news who have finally discovered Manchester)
Hence my displeasure even though I do currently live in a city (which isn't London.)
For the other commenter believe it or not apart from housing, transport, food, fuel, clothing & electricity are all tend to be cheaper than other cities in the UK.
When I moved from London my monthly expenses actually rose (excluding housing as I was living pretty central) When it is all said and done my outgoings are about the same as London but without the extra money for living there.
Where I live a the average terraced house is more expensive than Barking, Bexley and also the counties of Kent & Essex (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/uk_house_prices/html/houses.stm)
BTW where I am living now is amongst the lowest salaries (for the same roles) within the UK. However before being called a whinge I am prepared to suffer for a better overall quality of life for my family.
So do you want to have another go at justifying higher salaries for Londoners?
With the original Welsh point however:
With the closure of local banks & post offices, plus the insistence of almost everything being placed online (including masses of stuff farmers and other rural people are expected to keep up to date with) for many people internet connectivity is increasingly important.
In addition when the forced digital switch over takes place how many people will lose their TV & radio signals and be told, Oh Mrs Jones just listen to us via the internet, which of course she cannot do?
With the amount of tax money spent on researching internet connectivity in the 3rd world would it not be an idea to roll out such coverage within the UK?
A fast internet connection to the village from nearby fibre (already mentioned) and a wireless hotspot / repeater / mesh network (also already mentioned) would benefit everybody in that area and be cheaper than upgraded exchanges and all that copper.
Bob and Bolccg seem to be missing a couple of important points. First the original telephone network was rolled out years ago (without megabuck subscription) and the whole idea of DSL is to use that copper network for broadband. I had to check out where Salem is - only 13 miles from Carmarthen and ot far from the A40 either. Second, 21CN was supposed to fix this kind of stuff. This is not on an island or on top of a mountain!
Since other people in the village already have broadband, the possible problems include: becuase they have run out of lines, because their stupid planning rules say that they can't do it or because of an incredibly long front garden/ driveway.
So how about tapping into the fibre that must be so close (on the A40) - a bit of Wavelength Division Multiplexing maybe (so cheap these days)? Or how about sharing a neighbours setup via wifi (or even running a Cat5) or a cheap point to point radio link from a box at the end of the garden if that's the real problem.
All that's required is a bit of imagination here!
> Second, 21CN was supposed to fix this kind of stuff. This is not on an island or on top of a mountain!
No it wasn't. 21CN fixes issues in the core network not the local loop. As a side effect of replacing equipment in the exchanges the DSL side gets a handy boost (they replace ageing DSLAMs with MSANs and probably couldn't get any that only did ADSL1).
> All that's required is a bit of imagination here!
And money - but you're basically right. BT aren't the only CP in town.
@Michael 28: A.N. Other has already written about the well known disadvantages of satellite (not just weather sensitivity, but also ridiculous latency). Wrt powerline: forget it. Scottish + Southern Electric were the only semi-serious UK player (check out the Keith Maclean interview on ISPreview) but even they gave up on it before their long-advertised "full commercial rollout " started to happen. Neither the technology nor the economics work for powerline broadband.
@21CN: BT's much-overhyped much-delayed 21CN seems to be quietly being abandoned as far as voice (which iirc was the initial public justification) is concerned, which doesn't bode well for areas which don't already have it committed for the broadband side of things. I don't think 21CN was ever promoted as anything to do with "last mile" problems, which is what we have here (though it sounds like it might be a few miles).
Sharing service with a neighbour already online does seem like a nice simple cost-effective approach, and even if done professionally would cost a tiny tiny tiny fraction of the BT-quoted price.
Being in the UK, any chance that she's been living in her (for example) 200-year old house for (say) about 40 years?
Geesh, I'm just a young fella and my house (that I decided to build 'in the middle of nowhere', ...a mile up the road from civilization) was built BEFORE the growth of the Internet into an essential utility.
Another example of that decrepid dinosaur of a billing and customer service front (known as BT), with its greedy boss and arrogant stupid staff getting it wrong again.
For those bleating about BT being a 'Private' company. Is that the same BT that the government was proposing a 'communications levy' whereby BT get to add money to landlines (which is a tax), to fund cable infrastructure (which Virgin does very well with)? So in other words taxing US more to fund THEIR infrastructure with no regard to private enterprise, competion or any other form of a market.
Utilities such as British Gas, BT, water companies are only private companies when it comes to shareholders dividents and the boss's salary. In all other regards they go cap in hand to the government (i.e. US) and plead poverty or unfair market conditions (such as effective competion). Nationalise rail and utilities and sack the bosses. Then sack anybody who is profligate with tax payer's money.
Is that the same BT that the government was proposing a 'communications levy' whereby BT get to add money to landlines (which is a tax), to fund cable infrastructure (which Virgin does very well with)? So in other words taxing US more to fund THEIR infrastructure with no regard to private enterprise, competion or any other form of a market.
I have never heard about any of that ever being planned.
The last government did want to place a levy on all fixed lines, regardless of provider, to create a pot that any provider could then apply for funding from to help expand higher speed access across the whole country though.
By the sound of it, the rest of the local village has taken up all the space in the exchange, and BT being the cheapskates that they are, won't upgrade the exchange further to support that one extra customer (fair enough economically speaking). So realistically she needs alternative sources.
Satellite is crap, we used to use it before BT finally got off there asses and upgraded our exchanges locally. It ok for download speed, but latency is laughable and getting pings to Google of about 1.2secs is not good in the slightest. Great speed for large file downloads, but for simple browsing etc, utterly useless. And everytime it rained the thing got disconnected anyhow, and it never rains much in Britain does it?
With her neighbours connected though, it might just be worth her buying a pair of good external Wi-Fi masts and borrow a neighbours connection. Hell could then share the bill with them for the connection. Just make sure the badgers don't nibble on the masts though!
As others have said, would suspect 3G is the way to go. The coverage of the decent companies like T-Mobile and 3 are pretty good now and would be surprised that they haven't got something either there or on the way there soon anyhow...even out on a mountain side these days can pick up great signals in alot of places.
A few years back BT started running adverts on TV to install a telephone line line to any premises for £100*. A guy in the remote hills took them up on the offer and they refused as it would have cost them a over £100,000*.
Complaints were raised, the local MP got involved and eventually they relented and provided a line via telegraph poles to the property.
*I can't remember the actual prices as it was a long time ago, but they were in that area.
while i doubt it would be quite that much, i'd fully expect it to cost 50-100k for BT to install decent broadband to me. I live approximately 2 mile from a town centre, and there is an exchange on my side of the town. however, due to the rediculous way that BT have got my phoneline going, it goes about 4x as far as it actually needs to (apparently they couldnt have strung a phoneline accross the nearby canal by my house... they have to go a mile past it, then cross the exact same amount of water, and come a mile back), and because the cables 20 years old its crap quality too, so we get rubbish quality broadband, that for most of the summer gets speeds roughly equal to a 56k line (when it works at all). its slightly better in the winter, and manages speeds that most people had 10 years ago.
but its not up to BT to fix all of that of course - because the voice line works, and thats all they're obligated to do. So because of the stupid way they chose to run the phoneline, i cant get proper broadband and they wont fix it. and in fact, if we suggest that perhaps they'd like to do something about the line quality, they essentially say "we dont care... would you like us to turn it off instead? no? **** off then."
there have been projects to cover precisely these issues.
Essentially a base station is setup in a village and folks in the area are supplied with suitable equipment to connect to the base station.
For more distant users a mesh network allows hops across end users kit back to the base station.
From the Radio 4 programme it ended up cheaper than putting in a lot of DSL kit into smaller exchanges.
...about incidents like this is that they show a TOTAL lack of internal oversight. There must have been quite a few people involved in sending out this letter. Did any of them give even a moment's thought about the likely PR result? Do they ever give a moment's thought to anything at all beyond the clock on the wall?
Did NOT ONE of them have the basic common sense and backbone to say to the boss/colleague, "Come on!! You're not SERIOUSLY thinking of sending this out?!!"
Mindless bloody jobsworths the whole crew at BT - their attitude to customers is simply contemptuous. You can take a firm out of the public sector, but by heaven it's a lot harder to take public sector attitudes out of that firm.
Their efficiency, quality, whatever you want to call it, is not measured by whether they do anything productive, or sensible, or in fact sane.
It is measured by whether the contract (order, task, etc.) has been fulfilled as specified.
So, if someone enquires if they can get broadband, and the end result of the enquiry is not only stupid but risible, there is no mechanism in the process to stop it being output - all that matters is that the task has been processed.
The more degrees of separation there are between the requestor and the actioner, the worse it gets. Hence why outsourcing / offshoring is generally such a disaster.
This will carry on until an outsourced / offshored childcare service starts leaving babies in the bath to drown, and then doesn't understand why the mothers are complaining - because the dead babies are all bathed and clean.
@John - totally totally right. Someone should have just sent her a standard letter saying 'Sorry but a ADSL connection to your home is not viable at this time. However we are working to improve the situation and hope to have something avalible to you in the future'
End of story..................
..she's an eccentric millionaire. BT did the right thing. They offered the service she asked for and quoted accordingly. It's unfortunate that it came to such a large amount but them's the breaks. At least they showed willing.
It's not up to BT to make assumptions about their customer's wealth or spending patterns. They quote for a job and wait to see if the quote is acceptable.
Get planning permission, get right of way leaves across everybodies land, get permission from highways agency (major roads) local council (minor roads) every local farmer (unaproved roads).
Then rent some plant and a crew to dig a ditch, closing roads, rerouting drains, gas lines etc.
Then lay some conduit, then the cables, then the network equipement.
Put aside a few 10K for when you have to dig it all up again in a year when some idiot digs through it with a JCB.
We had to pay something like this to run a fibre across our site because BT wouldn't let us put it in their existing ducts - on our property!
Anybody remember the name of the company in Cambridge that were doing individual microwave phone links from a mini-dish on your house? Had a big building opposite the science park - then went bust because BT were promising to connect anyone for 100quid.
& the gall to actually expect the customer to pay, oh bargain Ill just get my cheque book...
Im buying a house in France in a fairly rural area, the village has a choice of ADSL, RE-ADSL, ADSL-Max & ADSL2 with Fibre Optic soon, granted its probably not fibre to the door, but certainly a pleasant surprise to see such a good choice.
Not sure what scheme works in Scotland, but NI has (had?) one too.
Northern Ireland got government funding to get everyone (who wanted) onto broadband regardless of DSL availability. Quite a few folks ended up on satellite. It was a limited term contract and expired not that long ago . Can you guess who won the original contract? Hint: it includes the letters T and B, not necessarily in that order.
Heads BT win, tails the public gets ripped off.
1. 21CN is a core network project, not access network. It has no bearing on BB access and it is still being actively rolled out.
2. BT is a business, owned by shareholders who are mostly BT employees. The network BT inherited is very different to today's network. The core network has changed completely at vast cost and is being upgraded again at the moment. Buildings cost a fortune to run and exchanges are not consolidated (occasionally moved but extremely rarely closed).
3. Replacing copper with fibre is expensive. Terminations and switches cost a fortune, manpower costs yet more. Selling the copper cable barely pays for the shipping cost. Also, unlike copper, every node and termination has to be externally powered. Cost.
4. £150k is pretty reasonable. For this to work, she'd need a DSLAM installed near to her home, hence the high price ( £50k for a DSLAM in a cabinet plus £100k for installation, fibre blowing + splicing, power etc).
BT has an obligation to provide service but not where it is unfeasably expensive.
I've just moved back to the countryside from the city. I left behind my beautiful 24 mbps 21C connection, and have back a 5-8mbps. I don't expect super duper internet (yet). I do expect to be several years behind the best Internet on offer in cities. However, much like water and power, it should eventually filter down, while remaining behind the cutting edge.
If it costs money to sort it out, the massive costs in fuel duty which disproportionality impact rural areas more than cities (due to increased distance to travel, and the joke that passes for rural public transport) could perhaps be used. Yes, there is a tit-for-tat on just about all costs, and we can whine about it all day, but it serves little purpose.
Internet technology is something that can provide jobs and business in rural areas, and provide access to an ever increasing number of services - it's clearly a service that is a necessity for enough people now to be deemed "essential".
No, it is not required to live - but then, nor is electricity.
As for the more sociopathic city dwellers amongst us - it's a beautifully sunny day out here in the sticks. Nuts to you, too.
... BT's FUD department going on PR to remind the country and new government in particular that it wants money and for that money to be delivered soon.
Maybe some inspiring telecoms company might make the person a happy offer that might attract equally high media coverage (if so be sure to add that city based groaners did not contribute to the service).
"Anybody remember the name of the company in Cambridge that were doing individual microwave phone links from a mini-dish on your house? Had a big building opposite the science park - then went bust because BT were promising to connect anyone for 100quid."
Well yes, it wasn't the first one either, and it probably won't be the last. North Wales had a selection of community or council broadband wireless projects, e.g Anglesey Connected and another around Penrhyndeudraeth, in areas which BT said were uneconomic to serve with DSL. Suddenly once these alternative providers started proving that there was demand and looking as though they were credible suppliers, BT changed their minds and DSL arrived. "Step aside guys, we're from BT and we're here to help".
"1. 21CN is a core network project, not access network. It has no bearing on BB access and it is still being actively rolled out."
Yes it's core network not "last mile" access, and the broadband side continues to be rolled out despite some architectural issues (eg multiple single points of failure, which led FTTC pioneers AAISP to describe 21CN as "not fit for purpose" ). But have you seen any recently updated schedules for the once-much-vaunted voice side of 21CN? The voice side seems to have gone V. V. Quiet. Unless you have evidence otherwise.
I'd consider buying two of these and set them up between two building (one with a good ISP link or leased line) and them under cut BT and Virgin after all they don't provide a service in that area and you've got your own monopoly.
Though you'd need a micowave license, I believe and a good line of sight between the buildings (a laser link could be an alternative).
My dad in rural NSW, Australia, had this exact problem with Telstra. However, he got a contract job designing a, er, new long shiny pointy thing for the, er, wet bit of the Military, so he got a magic letter from some Government Grand-Poo-Bah, which when waved in front of a Telstra flunkie got broadband laid 15km to their house.
In 3 days.
Black helicopters, because that's pretty much what laid the cable.
This is what happens when you put important infrastructure into the hands of private companies driven by a greed.... eh profit motive.
I expect that in future years, as more and more infrastructure services such as water and bin collection are put in the hands of private companies, that we will see more and more of this happening.
You want an ambulance to got to X? Sorry we can make more money by only sending them to Y, please FOAD.
And to all the "tough shit" posters, congratulations, BB's propaganda has been successful, you may go forth safe in the knowledge that mega-corp-1 is looking after all your needs.
But BT has access to ex- Ionica old microwave link technology
little shocked that they don't consider it for UK rural arias for broadband links Since every other welsh hill out there has a BT Transmitter mast on it
BT can Also set up a Day time Solar & Wind Powered WI-FI Mesh Net Network to all of Wales
Given the continuous drive to reduce costs and deliver nearly all basic services online in both the public and the private sector, the issue of broadband connectivity is becoming acute. If broadband access is key to be able to participate in 21st Century britain and is becoming an essential service, then an obligation to provide universal service is required in the same way that other essential services are - water, electricity, etc.
Also so many posters seem to assume that living in a rural area is one of choice. This might be very true in the cotswolds and other desirable rural areas closeish to major urban areas. However large parts of rural Britain are not so lucky, are inhabited by people born there, who don't have the education, skills, money etc to move, or indeed want to move. They are therefore trapped and are becoming increasingly disenfranchised by the move to an online society propogated in Urban areas and then denied to them.
I'm sorry Mrs Granny of deepest ruralest Wales, but why should BT invest money to get broadband to your house? Will you demand that Tesco build a hypermarket on your doorstep? Or perhaps you'd like the M1 re-routed to a within few miles of your house (not too close mind, NIMBY) so you can get to anywhere in the country instantly on your G-Wizz.
Why should BT spend their money so you can browse the internet, update your facebook status with "Granny Gwladys just ordered her iPad, lol", and find men to have casual relationships with on Gumtree?
I live in a City, can I demand to have fresh country air (you know, the smell of horse manure) piped into my vicinity regularly?
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