back to article Gov.uk's broadband boast: Superfast fibre piped to 1 million Brits

More than one million British people now have access to high speed broadband as Westminster's plan to deliver access to "superfast" speeds to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 gathers pace. Some 40,000 people are being handed the keys to a speedier internet every single week, the government has announced. Some £1.7bn will be …

  1. 2460 Something

    Superfast?

    Spin and hype with a dash of more spin?

    I love this canned press release statements that tell us how wonderful our political overlords are.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Superfast?

      "I love this canned press release statements that tell us how wonderful our political overlords are."

      Expect much more in the coming months, election time and all that...

  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

    What is superfast?

    My local exchange has been upgraded. Those within the local village who could all get 16M or more now have FTTC. They are apparently taking orders for FTTC outside the village but even BT refuse to accept an order but may let me know when it becomes available.

    It seems they have achieved some trigger which means they get public money for their efforts but no-one is really better off bar one company that doesnt know how to compress images.

    1. streaky Silver badge

      Re: What is superfast?

      24mbit allegedly. I call superfast anything >= 1gbit synchronous but apparently I'm stupid. But yeah IIRC the legal definition is >= 24bit down (don't even ask about up, apparently the internet is one-way) which is superfast if it happens to be 1998.

      Also yeah the 1 million there have nothing to do with the government investment, and more to do with saviours like hyperoptic and to a lesser extent virgin if you happen to live in their better areas. You'll note neither of these companies received any government funds.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two years late?

    Our exchange was originally "planned" for upgrade in 2011.

    That was "cancelled" about the same time as rumors started about government money for "uneconomic" regions.

    The status then spent several years as "not in the plans".

    Some time this year (maybe end of last) it changed to "Coming soon" with a date of June this year as part of the new scheme.

    Come the middle of June it changed to September. I asked our County Council why the delay and was told it was because they "needed some temporary traffic lights because they discovered a need to dig to install the fibers" and "work on the cabinets is waiting on the fiber". If this is true, it sounds like very poor project management. And why can't the rest of the cabinet work be done anyway with the fiber connected when it is in?

    BT have now changed their web site and, though it still has a planned date of September, it now also says "within six months".

    1. Ragarath

      Re: Two years late?

      Sounds similar to our local roadside cabinet. We are on the local towns exchange being 3 miles outside of it. The exchange was one of the first in the country upgraded. We were scheduled to have our cabinet upgraded 2 years ago on the BT system.

      Suddenly the county got a load of government funding to roll it out to rural areas, the date slipped. Now all the other areas are being upgraded but we are apparently on the commercial rollout so not included in the government funded part, what a fuck up.

      And the best bit, the reason they can't do our cabinet is power. It's right next to the only rural traffic lights around our way. How many years does it take to get an agreement to feed of off them?

  4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "Culture Secretary Sajid Javid – an apparent Trekkie who has said he'd had almost no exposure to the arts before his appointment ...."

    So, he's never watched TV, never listened to the radio, never opened a book, never read a newspaper, never seen a film, never looked in a shop window.. .. .. .. .. Such inability to perceive the world around him, was he born without a brain?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      He's a politician...

      'nuff said.

    2. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
      Meh

      "was he born without a brain?"

      Never heard of a "Culture Secretary" who needed demonstrated one so what difference would it make? More soiled nappies at the Tate Modern (or whatever they call it now) or another tent covered with sticky notes of "People I have Shagged"?

  5. Efros

    Screw the other 62 million.

  6. speedbird007

    Superfast? Infill more accurate

    A couple of years ago fibre trundled past the end of my road but didn't connect to my cabinet. Bt replied to an angry message saying that connecting this cab had been deemed "uneconomic".

    Yeah right...let's wait to get (even) more lolly from the tax payer by back filling what we didn't - not coudn't - do in the first place.

    Makes my blood boil. Off to find a suitable router...

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Superfast? Infill more accurate

      Once the government gives a handout once, or even talks about it seriously, it acts as an impediment for companies to do anything on their own because it would put them at a financial disadvantage compared to the competition if they did it on their own and then later a government handout finances the effort for their competition.

      This is why all those US companies like Apple and Google have so much cash kept overseas, because the US had a repatriation holiday about a decade ago and hope springs eternal it will happen again. If Apple brought back $100 billion and paid taxes on it, they (and their shareholders) would be kicking themselves pretty hard if there was another repatriation holiday the following year that could have saved them $20 or $30 billion in taxes!

      The only way around this impasse is for the government to commit that if they do some further handouts for wiring rural areas in the UK that anyone who has done rollouts on their own is eligible for the same handout, plus an additional 10%. Then they wouldn't fear losing out, and there would even be an incentive in place to go ahead and do it now. Best of all, the government may not need to provide the handout down the road, if everyone has been wired :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Superfast? Infill more accurate

      Why don't you all go and shout at Virgin media then for not laying fibre anywhere outside of a major urban population centre??

      This network isn't a hangover form ex-GPO days - this is paid for up-front, if the money isn't going to come back in from it - why the hell should BT lay fibre there and install a many thousands of pounds DSLAM. This is basic economics - and I'm no BT lover believe me - but this expectation that BT should do whatever you want it to I find staggering. What about all the other communications companies out there - are they spending any amount at all to mop up the rural areas - are they bollox - and they wont because there is no money to be made from it whatsoever.

      It cost a good couple of grand per KM to dig, minimum, plus the fibres, ducting and then the DSLAM on top, plus any backhaul needed - are you really going to do that for a tiny number of rural customers? if the government want to pay through the BDUK scheme - so be it - but you cant expect a for profit company to lay fibre direct to your door just because you want it. Sometimes its purely just not cost effective and capitalism wins.

      Although sniffing around the Openreach website - a community can pay for the Fibre commissioning themselves and BT will contribute an amount which would make it commercially viable, so if you want it that badly, you can share the financial burden of installing it - what's that? Silence? What a surprise.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Superfast? Infill more accurate

        "It cost a good couple of grand per KM to dig, minimum, plus the fibres, ducting "

        How much does it cost to string fibre along the same poles as the existing copper?

      2. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Superfast? Infill more accurate

        "Why don't you all go and shout at Virgin media then for not laying fibre anywhere outside of a major urban population centre??"

        Because they're not pissing away taxpayer funds to provide internet a) where it isn't needed and b) at shambolic speeds. If *anybody* other than BT had gotten government funds and they sucked at it I'm sure we would..

        Oh yeah and then they have the cheek to call their network 21CN when it just isn't..

  7. Disgruntled of TW
    Joke

    Lies, damn lies, and BDUK ...

    Utter waste of time and space. Politicians that make vacuous statements without any factual basis should be fired. That's how it works in the commercial world. You lie, you lose. They'd best be careful, as I and many others have been to Westminster to point out (some of us to select committees) how irresponsible such claims can be when public money is being spent.

    Ed Vaisey, Maria Miller, and Jeremy Hunt are all too aware of this. Mr Williams of BT Group had rather a roasting on his 2nd and 3rd summons to the Public Accounts Committee to explain BTs fiasco with BDUK funds. The good bits start at 16:53:50

    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/main/Player.aspx?meetingId=14733

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Lies, damn lies, and BDUK ...

      Getting asked some hard questions on a video no one watches is really going to terrify BT.

      >That's how it works in the commercial world. You lie, you lose.

      if only.

      What's needed is a campaign with a catchy-title to take down everyone who makes easy money out of Westminster slime and stupidity. That includes the telcos and cellcos, the energy companies, the transport companies, the high street banks, the defence procurement circus, the shady outfits who would benefit from NHS privatisation at the expense of care provision, and too many of the big names working in major infrastructure in the UK.

      We have some of the most corrupt, greedy, self-serving and customer-hostile companies in the world.

      "Rip-off Britain" was a start, but it didn't go far enough or hit hard enough.

      A bit of hard questioning is fake-democracy panto. It won't change anything, and things won't improve until there are real consequences.

    2. Zack Mollusc

      Re: Lies, damn lies, and BDUK ...

      ' That's how it works in the commercial world. You lie, you lose. '

      Really? When was this EVER the case?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tip of the Iceberg and all that

    Hmm. The fact that BT are recruiting like buggery at the moment for fibre engineers (and that they have a 50 year project starting now to replace all the copper with fibre) means they're stalling somewhat on the FTTC rollout because they want to move to FTTP.

    This is because lots of smaller FTTP rollouts are going on in locations anyway (see York as an example where Sky and TalkTalk are installing a city-wide 1Gb FTTP network) and BT have suddenly realised that selling their copper to china and installing fibre can make them some cash. That's what happens when you put a banker in charge of the Openreach business!

    (Note you still have to have a pair of wires (can be aluminium) to your home at the moment to satisfy emergency services rules - they can't provide emergency lines over Fibre as yet).

    1. Disgruntled of TW

      Re: Tip of the Iceberg and all that

      No you don't. It remains optional whether or not you have a fixed line or not. Many homes run on mobiles now. You can, optionally, register your VoIP number at a specific address as a work around.

      There's no legal basis to "compel" a residential premise to have two wires with 45V to ring a bell and provide a dialtone on a phone when the premises have a powercut. If you MUST have a BT telephone line, then BT are compelled to provide that, but that landline is optional at your premises.

  9. batfastad

    Encouraging piracy?

    "You can download feature length films faster..."

    So the primary economic benefit to the UK of super-fast broadband he's quoting is... the facilitation of piracy?

    This comes directly from a govminster. Wonder what proxy he used to get around the ISP blocking? Someone better tell the City of London police immediately, an example needs to be made of these people!

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Encouraging piracy?

      " "You can download feature length films faster..."

      So the primary economic benefit to the UK of super-fast broadband he's quoting is... the facilitation of piracy?"

      You (you) miss the point. If you (HM Govt thieving gits) can get user A (gullible) to pay for their broadband installation, pay for their bandwidth and put up with hesitation and buffering of video when 20 other users hook up to the same 'superfast' 2Mb feed, then you can sell off the TV broadcast spectrum for oodles of cash ...

      Let's look at the benefits:-

      dosh for selling the spectrum,

      dosh for sucking money from individuals by selling them broadband (via tax and lovely consultancy jobs in the IT industry after the politicians are politicians),

      dosh as you've just pandered to the US with total control of the feed via DRM,

      dosh as you can insist that since all PCs are capable of picking up 'live video feed' they must have a licence

      dosh because of that old chestnut of central control and monitoring of an individuals communications for both 'snooping' and, more lucratively, the sale/implimentation of personalised advertising/spam/information.

      As soon as the 'broadcast' is taken out of tv the 'cost' ramp to the individual and society will start ... and those on high make money ...

  10. Andy Livingstone

    The Real World.

    Meanwhile there is Market 1. Without any sign of improvement. Higher charges, worse service. Is that why BT shares were high enough to give the share-save employees a large payout - at customers' expense?

    1. Neil 44

      Re: The Real World.

      Then there are exchanges that are still categorised as Market 1 but that have 3 LLU broadband providers in the building which makes them not Market 1....

      Ofcom contacted, but no meaningful response yet....

  11. Frankee Llonnygog

    It's all in the definitions

    A billion people in China have high-performance cars, so long as that category extends to include engine-less two-wheeled vehicles

  12. bed

    Various points...

    1. The terms used are all relative; "fast", "super fast", etc. are all pretty meaningless, especially when contention, ISP's Internet connection bandwidth, remote server performance and so on will impact on percieved performance.

    2. Here, in the north east of Scotland, life has been much disrupted of late by Openreach and associated contractors deploying traffic lights and cones while they ponder out-of-date documentation and then work from first principals to discover long disused, sometimes well obscured, manholes which frequently have to be rebuilt, then deploy drums of, perhaps, fibre(or is the fibre subsequently blown down the cable?) between the various manholes. And new green FTTC cabinets are popping up.

    3. The tax payer is, in effect, subsidising BT to upgrade the infrasrtructure. Whether we get to see much immediate benefit is doubtful since, for me, the FTTC box is only a bit nearer the house than the exchange.

  13. xyz

    and....

    ...having poked around my GF's BT router this morning trying to un-hotspot her, I noted that 3rd party targeted advertising (oh my not Phorm again) is enabled by default. Ergo, the faster they can lob this stinking pile o'shite out there the faster they can clog the thing up with 3rd party targeted advertising (for your comfort and security obviously). Being cynical, nice bit of cash in that, plus as it's based around your browsing habits, I presume GCHQ, mumsnet.gov.uk and FACT will be a few of the "advertisers" interested in what you've been peeking at. No wonder BT keeps getting all those lovely contracts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Please see icon.....

      'having poked around my GF's BT router this morning trying to un-hotspot her'

      This must be close to being the sentence of the week.

  14. Neil Harland

    Easy statistics

    Yes, easy for the minister to push this load of statistics out, when they have used the money that was meant to help the 'final mile' of hard to reach rural communities, which will not assist many voters / customers, (Depending upon which viewpoint you are taking), when actually what has happened to that money is that it has been mostly used to upgrade cabinets in rural market towns so that they now have 'superfast' broadband as opposed to 'fast' broadband. Coincidentally this has pleased many more voters / customers. The best that we have been offered around here after giving our time for nothing to assist with their research, is that we will be offered a new technology, (Fibre to the Node), that 'may or may not' achieve the outcomes desired.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy statistics

      FTTN looks very promising actually.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just wow!

    Still don't understand how this works. The government gives millions of tax payers money to a commercial entity to upgrade their infrastructure to become usefull. Then the same commercial entity gives it back to the tax payer at full price. Are we not due a discount seeing as we paid for some of it?

    If only I could get anything faster than 2meg. Oh, and that's megabits not megabytes. So to those not up with tech its 0.2 of a megabyte. I live between two towns which have both been enabled. Our little spot on their new fancy BETA map still says under evaluation.

    Fibre Broadband

    Shouldn' someone be dragging these company's over the coals for false advertising? Copper wire to the premises is not fibre broadband. It still uses a DSL technology.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just wow!

      Data throughput is always measured in kilo or mega bits per second.

      "If only I could get anything faster than 2meg. Oh, and that's megabits not megabytes. So to those not up with tech its 0.2 of a megabyte."

      Erm, how many bits make a byte in your world? Please enlighten those of us 'not up with tech'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: just wow!

        Yea, did mean to say 200k which is 0.2 of a megabyte. It was really late :-)

        Being so tech-savy, I thought you would have got the gist of what I was getting at. :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just wow!

      "Still don't understand how this works. The government gives millions of tax payers money to a commercial entity to upgrade their infrastructure to become usefull. Then the same commercial entity gives it back to the tax payer at full price. Are we not due a discount seeing as we paid for some of it?"

      My understanding of it is that for sites that are commercially viable, it takes ten years for an unsubsidised install to pay back. Sites that don't meet that criteria get a subsidy to bring them into that ten year pay back time. So I guess BT have to sell at full price to make back their investment. The government's not paying for it, it's making a contribution.

      I'm not sure how else it could work. If BT sold stuff at a loss they'd fall foul of UK and European competition law - isn't one of the monopoly behaviours that people complain about where a company sells things at a loss to keep the competition out?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just wow!

      BT I think you will find is paying what it would normally pay towards a 'viable' roll-out site, the difference is then made up by European funding and monies from the local council.

  16. Dave Bell

    ISP matters more than fibre

    The OpenReach vans are down the street installing the new cabinet. That will reduce the non-fibre part of my internet connect to tell that a quarter of what it was.

    I am not quite sure whether I need it. I switched ISP a few months ago. Some hardware at the exchange must have changed: I am getting three times the usable speed, and it hardly drops at peak time. My old ISP did a good job for a long time, but their service quality plummeted as streaming video struck.

    All I can say is, ask anyone trying to sell you an internet connection what they are doing about IPv6. If they don't know what it is, if they don't have a plan. forget 'em. If they don't have a plan, if they're still supplying routers to customers which cannot handle IPv6, they're incompetent.

  17. circusmole

    It's all smoke and mirrors

    I have been in intermiitent contact with BT over the past 2 years about getting an FTTC connection. There is an FTTC box about 60 metres from my house. They said that because my broadband speed is over 2mb/s they don't need to do anything (so sod off). But, I point out, I only get 1.5mb/s second - no you don't they reply (and so again sod off).

    Strangley enough over the past year my speed has gone from 1.5mb/s to around 2.2mb/s. Hmmm...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all smoke and mirrors

      They don't NEED to do anything anyway - its a commercial product and was never promised to all as a universal service. Do Waitrose NEED to open a store near you if there isn't one?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're apparently getting it...

    Well, we've been pushed back to September. And a presentation said that, in my village, about 160 properties from 700 won't be upgraded at all. .

    The one thing I love is that we've not taken this chance, and money, to leapfrog ahead. Oh no. We'll come up in line with FttC, so that BT can play this game again in 5 years time, when FttC looks like 56k in comparison to most of mainland Europe. Incremental change, so that BT can milk the process for every penny.

    I will admit we didn't really do all that we could, as a village, to argue the toss. A 'senior' lady was arguing 'for' the parish to buy up the bowling green, as a community service, but questioned the tax-payer contribution towards fibre.

    "I don't even use it, why do we need it? Now, the bowling green..."

  19. xpz393

    Superfast is here! (We'll just ignore Virgin/NTL...)

    I had to laugh earlier this year when BT started slapping big colourful posters on their green street cabinets in Nottingham proclaiming "Superfast broadband is here!"... Duh! I took out my first cable-broadand connection with NTL in 2006 at had 20Mb back then, which has steadily increased to the 160Mb I have now.

    Out of curiosity, I visited BT Broadband's estimated speed checker for my street... 4Mb on ADSL, 17Mb on their 'Superfast' fibre. LOL LOL LOL, BT. Not even close, and certainly no cigar.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Superfast is here! (We'll just ignore Virgin/NTL...)

      Lucky chap. Virgin media in my area just sucks apart from 00:00 to 06:00.

      Despite the promises of 100Mbits I could never ever get more than 10. The reason is the shitty copper cable laid by NTL years ago and has never been upgraded PLUS almost the whole street is connected to it.

      So I moved from VM to a FTTC connection and get rock solid 80Mbits.

      I can just hope that 50 of your neighbors don't sign up to VM and your 160Mbit becomes 1.6Mbit when they all start streaming 'X-Factor' in HD.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Wow.

    "More than one million British people now have access to high speed broadband"

    What about the other 7 million in London?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some of the best hypocrisy of this whole situation is that people want BT to pay to upgrade the network but eveyone want the cheap deals by the other OLO's and ISP's. What interest does a company have that charges £3 for unlimited BB have that you cannot get a fast speed when many of them are traffic managing the life out of it anyway.

    If more people were with BT for their service and the money was available for further investment then a lot of smaller exchanges may become viable.

  22. Bill Buchan

    Odd the assumption that us rural chappies don't need fast internet and that somehow only 2mb will work. Most of my customers are farmers, with more bloody computing power and GPS rigs in their tractors than most of *us* have in their houses. Farming, surprisingly, is now a high tech business, and they need fast broadband.

    BT of course, even after getting hundreds of millions from the Scottish Government, still haven't actually released concrete plans and dates - even after the six month planning phase.

    So a bunch of us down the pub said 'soddit' and 'lets fix it ourselves'. Which we did.

    http://www.Marykirk.com. The tech shopping list is on the web page. It boils down to:

    1. Find someone within 30km, line of sight, with fibre broadband. Hint: Google Earth allows you to draw a line between two points, right click, 'show elevation profile'...

    2. Install a Zen fibre connection. Zen are fantastic.

    3. Stick up some Ubiquiti Nanobeams for the long runs, nanostation (and nanostation locos) for the short runs - all between £50- £80+VAT each

    4. Stick in a really fast Mikrotik router - £350 would cover it.

    5. Stick in a £30 Mikrotik 951 router in each customer site, and stick a ubiquiti on the outside of the building.

    Ta-da. You now have a wireless internet service provider.

    So what you all waiting for?

    ---* Bill

    1. Smoking Gun

      Sounds very interesting actually. You guys got a case study?

  23. David 138

    hmm

    They have upgraded a number of exchanges here but not many cabinets. So i guess it all looks good on paper. However those with 24mbps connections are getting upgraded so thank god for that.

    You have to wonder what the uptake is for areas which already have good broadband? A lot of people couldn't care less. I would bite their hand off for anything better than the 1mbps we get here.

  24. Avatar of They Silver badge
    Mushroom

    HOLD ON.... One cotton picking minute.

    The population of London is what? 7 million, 8 million?

    "So this basically says our roll out of super fast broadband is soo pants we can't even ensure our capital has it at 95% coverage."

    Absolute shambles!!!

    That is all.

  25. Stephen Wilkinson

    Think I might have a bit of a wait: Apr 2016 – Sep 2016!

    Your postcode and cabinet are still to be evaluated by Connecting Devon and Somerset. Your exchange is within the programme. However, decisions on which cabinets get upgraded off the exchange will depend on the outcomes of pending detailed surveying.

  26. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    A brilliant store designer put up a Morrisons in my town. To make things super-fast they put in 8 self service tills. Great, a 'fast pipe'! Unfortunately there's only room for a bag or two in the outfeed and, with two rows of 4 tills positioned 2.5 trolley-widths apart, customer A has to wait until person C and D with trollies clear because person A can't get their trolley through a gap narrower than three trollies. Meanwhile the queue backs up although there are free tills ... Brilliantly fast on paper, crap in practice as all the customers block the pipe ....

    Now I've apparently got access to 'super fast broadband' along with 10K other customers ... how fast are BT's rural pipes? Is that the sund of clashing of trollies and delayed customers in the air? Negotiated, theoretical bandwidth is one thing, actual throughput is a completely different animal. Even at 50:1 contention ratio things will bottleneck.

  27. Alastair MacDiarmid

    highlands, undersea cables? how about 30 miles south of london.

    Tossers.

    Not even adsl 2+ here in west sussex, ten years after it launched.

    2mb if you're lucky

  28. FlossyThePig
    Thumb Down

    A another government sponsored project "done on the cheap" but costing a lot of money. The whole thing should have been tackled in the same way as setting up the National Grid. It should be considered a national asset not a BT goldmine.

  29. Previn
    Megaphone

    Statistical Smoke & Mirrors

    Far more would have access if BT actually commissioned the cabinets that they have been promising some people for several years. It seems that once an exchange is enabled a few cabinets are commissioned then rollout at a local level grinds to a complete halt. One cabinet near here has been put back 5 times, missing its original estimated availability date by coming up for three years.

  30. gr00001000
    Thumb Up

    Get Lucky

    If you're lucky you'll be in a rural area that isn't tied to BT only. Their FTTC offerings are fine, but they have no intention of making any fast moves on connecting areas.

    They play dirty tricks.

    The Goverment needs to look to grow all fibre businesses.

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