back to article BT hands £129m back to UK.gov after beating rural broadband targets

Both BT and the Ministry of Fun – or the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, if you prefer – have spun BT’s toeing-the-line-of-a-contractual-obligation as unbridled generosity towards taxpayers. A statement from the Minister of Fun, John Whittingdale, said: It's fantastic to see that the rollout of superfast broadband is …

  1. Anne-Lise Pasch

    Some days I wish we could just have 802.11zz - Use ALL the spectrum (yes, all of it) for a single world network. And then run everything on top of that network. No more not-spots. We could call it Skynet...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I keep some of it for using to see please?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another way to put it...

    "Thanks for subsidizing our equipment in areas where the demand was obviously high enough for us to have proceeded on a commercial basis".

    1. NeilPost

      Re: Another way to put it...

      Do you see Sky, Talk Talk, Vodafone or even Virgin Media digging to provide infrastructre in BDUK area's ??

      No, it's Openreach, or not-for-profit local inistiatives like B4RN. They are the only games in town (or village or hamlet I suppose).

      None of the above even bid for any of the allegedly lucrative BDUK contracts.

      So stop your whining. it's like private postal services, in the sticks you have to go Whistl.

      1. Oh Matron!

        Re: Another way to put it...

        Quite. If BT are forced to flog off openreach, it should come with the proviso that all of the other Service providers would be mandated to deliver services to any part of the UK for a fixed cost, exactly what BT do.

        I Don't think that's much to ask :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another way to put it...

      "Thanks for subsidizing our equipment in areas where the demand was obviously high enough for us to have proceeded on a commercial basis".

      I'm not seeing the problem. Parts of the country that wouldn't have otherwise got better broadband, got better broadband. It's been more popular in some areas than expected and so the money is being paid back.

      I'm looking hard to find the 'bad' in more people getting broadband for less taxpayer money than was expected. If the demand had been as low as expected and they'd proceeded without government say so I'm sure a rival would have taken them to court for abusing their market power.

      Near monopolies selling below cost is legally problematic;

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_Act_1998#Chapter_II_Prohibitions

  4. Mark Allen

    So when do they sort out the slow ones?

    I notice this on the list:

    * provide basic broadband (2Mbps) for all by 2016

    Can't seem them managing to do that in time. Far too many people are stuck on the far end of a line too many miles from the exchange. Especially bad in those areas with aluminium cables in the ground. Some of my clients have shocking speeds available - well below that "basic" level. Not as if these are out in the sticks either!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a numbers racket

      My cabinet is one of their FTTP successes. It's festooned with "ultra uber gigafast superfibre megabroadband is HERE!!! get it NOW!!!one" stickers. Ordering is filtered by BOTH phone number (ecxhange&cabinet) AND postcode (geographical data). Anyone living within the confines of the small "rural" village the cabinet sits in is permitted to receive the "ultra uber gigafast superfibre megabroadband is HERE!!! get it NOW!!!one" even though they don't really need it. Being so close to a fibre-fed cabinet they'd get stonking FTTC anyway. Meanwhile I live about two miles from that "ultra uber gigafast superfibre megabroadband is HERE!!! get it NOW!!!one" cabinet. Two miles of strands of copper wire festooned through the sticks. On the (depressingly rare) occasions the thing actually works at all, it peaks at around 0.8Mb/s. Am I permitted to order "ultra uber gigafast superfibre megabroadband is HERE!!! get it NOW!!!one" from my "ultra uber gigafast superfibre megabroadband is HERE!!! get it NOW!!!one" enabled cabinet? Being one of the few people in the country who both ACTUALLY NEED IT and should, in theory, be able to get it?...

      Dear Victim, Do you seriously think we can be arsed to hang a tube along two miles of poles AND blow a tiny glass fibre down it? LOAO! We've met our quota with all your rural neighbours who live right on the cabinet, thank you very much. You're one of those Scottish farmers in our statistics. Now piss off and leave us to our racketeering.

      BT Group PLC.

      PS We might send someone around between 8am and 1pm a week next Tuesday to feign a third minimum effort in repairing your fifth line fault this year. So don't go anywhere.

      1. NeilPost

        Re: It's a numbers racket

        it's your tax payers money in action !!!

      2. Andy Livingstone

        Re: It's a numbers racket

        " I am not in a position to confirm when infrastructure may be rolled out as not all infrastructure can be deployed at the same time." is the best BT can say about any future activity. It really is an OutRage

    2. BlartVersenwaldIII
      Devil

      Re: So when do they sort out the slow ones?

      I'm one of them; living in London's zone 3 and the gargantuan distance of 49ft from an FTTC cabinet. But after I move and speak to zen, xilo and AAISP I find out the house has an "exchange only" line - namely I'm connected to the exchange 1.7km away (as the crow flies - cable length much longer) directly rather than going through the cabinet. Was told I could expect ADSL speeds of "up to" 1.5Mb.

      It's the same for the whole row of houses. Asked openreach how I would go about getting hooked up to the cabinet and was quoted a price of £30-50k for the work. BDUK funds no longer available for London apparently.

      I'm told that there's a possibility an FTTC cabinet might be installed at the exchange within the next 5yrs to take care of the areas EO lines... at which point they said I should be able to get "up to 8Mb"... if I subscribe to their 80/20 service.

      As other commentards point out this is solely a numbers game. No-one actually seems to give a foetid shite about broadband for all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So when do they sort out the slow ones?

        Who would you expect to fund that £30-50K?

        Do you expect a government handout? It seems a lot of money for one individual to get broadband. Or do you want a private company to spend that kind of money on installing something you'll pay about £30 a month for?

        I get the frustration, but how would you solve it?

  5. spiny norman

    Bring back the GPO

    The whole telecoms infrastructure in this country seems to be a complete mess. I do get moderately fast broadband in the deep wilds of rural Warwickshire, but there's no sign of anything I'd call super fast. The mobile signal comes and goes with the wind, but I rarely find it's much better when travelling. The other day I almost fainted with surprise when the connection showed 4G, but I was right next to Heathrow.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bollocks.

    I can only assume they are talking about rural London.

  7. Flatlander

    Wits end

    So we're to be stuck with basic then. Business is really suffering now and moving is out of the question.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I have some of the money for a fibre cabinet?

    BT says not commercially viable.

    I am 0.1 Mbps away from the 2016 target....

    But I'd prefer 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps to 1.9.

  9. Phil W

    Actual cashback may vary

    BT are giving "up to £129m cashback" in much the same way as they provide up to 8/24/36/72 mbps broadband.

    Unfortunately due to the quality of the banks through which the money is being transferred uk.gov will only receive £1 million

  10. Bunbury

    Reimburse?

    The quotation for the MoF suggests that taxpayers will get the £129m back - that's what "reimburse" implies. But What seems to be happening is a reuse of the funds to build out new areas. While sensible, and good to see that kind of clause in such a contract, it's not reimbusement at all.

  11. Andy Livingstone

    What happened to the hopeful story?

    Are the Germans not planning to buy BT anymore? Shame.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What happened to the hopeful story?

      I know - it's a major UK industry still in British hands. That can't be allowed to continue.

      We should follow our normal path - cars, lorries, electricity, water, aircraft, steel, computers - of criticising and denigrating them until they go bust or are bought by a foreign company and then compain that there are no British industries left and that all the good jobs have moved abroad.

  12. mrs doyle

    Its all part of the superfarce. BDUK will go down in history as the quango who mismanaged Digital Britain. The funding all went to BT, who used it to cherrypick lucrative areas and have ignored the areas that needed it. The money won't come back. It will be re-allocated and wasted. Its a total shambles. The altnets should have got the money and built real fibre networks. This is the speed the B4RN customers get, out in the sticks, where dial up and satellites ruled.

    <img src="http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest/986392.png">

    unlimited gigabit symmetrical. for the farmers.

  13. Chris Evans

    £129m out of how much?

    The important missing information is how does the refund compare to the government subsidy!

    According to: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/01/public_accounts_committee_attacks_government_broadband_rollout_for_allowing_bt_to_monopolise_project/

    BT were given £1.2Bn. 10% rebate is not really a big deal.

    Another journalistic failure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £129m out of how much?

      "BT were given £1.2Bn. 10% rebate is not really a big deal."

      Can you point to any other recent government funded work that has come in under budget and has resulted in the contractor handing some money back or doing more work for the same money?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some places have benefited...

    Well I for one am glad of the government subsidy, as someone who lives in a rural village where previously 2 mbps and using iPlayer was unthinkable at home, I now have fibre to the cabinet and my broadband now tests out at 65 mbps. Also our exchange has been local loop unbundled finally as there's actually a reason for other ISPs to attempt to provide a service when there is something to actually offer!

    So without the government subsidies I'd have had to moved onto a service from a mobile carrier which although completely flaky and down whenever the wind blows in the winter, or it rains, or there's leaves falling off the trees (and yes I am exaggerating, it just seems that way!) was at least testing through above 2 mbps some of the time!

  15. Zmodem

    they should do a broadband only deal, im not having a payphone in my bachelor pad, its better to just use 4g

  16. This post has been deleted by a moderator

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