back to article Bullish Vodafone barges back into UK consumer broadband market

Vodafone is plotting to re-enter the UK's competitive broadband market in 2015 – with a little help from arch enemy BT. The mobile operator said this morning that it would use the Cable & Wireless Worldwide network it bought in 2012 to tout its rival service at Brits. That acquisition gifted Voda with access to nearly 13,000 …

  1. ukgnome Silver badge


    I mean, they provide an excellent service at the place I work. What could go wrong.

    *Do let me know if you haven't picked up up the sarcasm.

    1. earlyjester

      Re: Yay

      sorry I missed the sarcasm, probably due to the lack of signal at home thanks to my works choice of vodafone as our mobile provider

  2. ElNumbre

    First/Final Mile

    And thanks to the virtual monopoly that Openreach has on the leg between the consumer and the point of presence, money will continue to flow into BT Groups coffers despite the backhaul going on C&W.

    The only way this would be exciting is if Vodafone actually released a wireless broadband package using a fixed 4G terminal with similar data allowances and costs to a traditional PSTN presented broadband offering.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: First/Final Mile


      I don't see Voda's network infrastructure investment being up to the job of using 4G as a broadband substitute. Not after 4-5 years of under-investment

      Remember when they used to boast (with some justification) about being the most reliable network?

    2. Terry Barnes

      Re: First/Final Mile

      "And thanks to the virtual monopoly that Openreach has on the leg between the consumer and the point of presence"

      Virgin's last mile network covers around half the UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: First/Final Mile

        Virgin's last mile network covers around half the UK.

        Possibly by population, not geography.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Lost all faith

          Not much call for fixed-line connectivity by cows, trees and wasteland though. If their reach was 100% of people in the UK but didn't go up to the top of Snowdon is anyone actually going to care?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not taking over TalkTalk then as rumoured since at least 2009?

  4. Test Man

    So... this is LLU, yes?

    And for places where they can't get LLU set up, they'll be rolling broadband out over Openreach lines rented from BT Wholesale, yes?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      And for places where they can't get LLU set up, they'll be rolling broadband out over Openreach lines rented from BT Wholesale, yes?

      Sorta :)

      They always have to use Openreach lines and (for FTTC) equipment to get to the exchange but after that things vary.

      For LLU ADSL the line goes into the CP's MSAN and they arrange for the data to be carried from there. Exactly what route this takes probably depends on the CP. The early part from the exchange is often on BT fibre but with capacity reserved just for them. Some exchanges do have third party fibre in them though.

      For LLU FTTC there's something called GEA (Generic Ethernet Access). This is where BT get the data from the cabinet to the exchange then leave you to work out what to plug into the Ethernet socket. From this point on it's going to be the same as LLU but worth noting that unlike ADSL LLU the MSAN is not used to decode the analogue signal. That's all done in the cabinet.

      For everything else (ie; not LLU) there are two choices these days:

      WBC (Wholesale Broadband Connect)- This is where BT carry your data between the cabinets and your servers.

      WBMC (Wholesale Broadband Managed Connect)- This is where they carry your data between the cabinets and one of several nodes scattered around the country. You then arrange to carry it from there to your servers.

      I think that's about it :)

      As for who does what in this regulator enforced house of cards:

      BT openreach - Owns pretty much anything that's physical. Lines. DSLAMs/MSANs, cabinets. If you can touch it it's owned by openreach.

      BT wholesale - Creates various products for CPs (Communication Providers).

      BT retail - This is the 'BT' that consumers know and love. Or not. The only member of the trifecta that you can actually talk to.

      One minor point. With ADSL LLU the CP talks to openreach to get their own MSAN installed in the exchange. They never need to talk to Wholesale. With FTTC CPs always go to through Wholesale. I don't know if it's possible to avoid that for FTTC unless you go with SLU (which means installing your own cabinet and hardly anyone wants to do that).

      More info here.

      1. Elmer Phud


        I'd like LLU to be widened so BT can take advantage of other networks.

        I'm FTTC with a UG the OH feed from the other side of the road yet there is another green cabinet about 100m away and the green pipe is within 2m of my door - but it don't belong to Openreach.

        It'd be nice if BT could give me a bit more speed instead of having to resort to copper and a small black box on top of a pole.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: LLU

          I'd like LLU to be widened so BT can take advantage of other networks.

          I can't see Ofcom allowing that. At the moment you only have to let other CPs use your network if you are considered to have market dominance. So far only BT qualifies. Even VM doesn't meet the criteria - although some people think that's part of why they stopped their roll-out. It's also supposedly a major reason why BDUK contracts all went to BT. Whoever won them was required to make them open and the profit margins when you do that are so tight only BT can find backers who will wait long enough for the RoI (rumoured to be 15 years on average).

          Sometimes I think that Ofcom has driven us down a blind alley. But now and again I read stories of what things are like on the other side of the pond and maybe they did the right thing. Ironically in the so-called land of the free they have telecoms monopolies which lead to high prices and poor service. Over here we have very tight and tough regulation and that's led to choice and low prices.

          Frankly my interest in this stuff stems at least in part from the 'soap opera' nature of it :)

      2. AndrueC Silver badge

        Lines. DSLAMs/MSANs, cabinets. If you can touch it it's owned by openreach

        ..unless someone else owns it :)

        To clarify - CPs can install their own MSANs in the exchange and that's LLU. The customer's line is plugged into the MSAN and data (maybe voice as well) is handled by the MSAN.

        1. Glenturret Single Malt

          Is this a piss-taking competition to see who can use the largest number of abbreviations/acronyms in the smallest number of words or are these messages all real and meaningful?

          I can't tell.

  5. kmac499

    Demon Vodafone...

    No I don't think they are the spawn of the Devil but they have been sitting on the once well respected Demon name for a couple of years now. Finally a FTTC Inifinity style service? shame so many of us Old Demons couldn't wait and left for BT.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Sort of

    "BT has been elbowing its way back into the consumer mobile space it abandoned in 2002 with the sale of Cellnet, which later became O2."

    IIRC Cellnet, originally only part owned by BT, & BT Mobile were merged to become O2 which was then hived off as a separate company for which Telefonica made a takeover bid and won.

    It always seemed to me to be a daft move for a major telecoms business to get out of mobile. But understandable; within BT Mobile the rest of BT was known as "Big BT" and it wasn't a term of affection.

  7. spiny norman

    Once well respected Demon

    Tell me about it. In the Thus era, Demon messed up the direct debit and didn't collect my monthly payment for a year. Maybe I should have noticed, but the first I knew was when they sent a very nasty debt collection agency after me. By the time they apologised and offered token compensation I'd signed up with BT.

    Thing I don't understand about Vodafone's mobile signal is, in my home office I can get a reasonable signal, but the direction I have to point the phone to get it changes every day. What do they do, drive the mast around on the back of a truck, or swing the antenna round from day to day, so everyone gets their fair share of lousy signal?

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