back to article Vaizey: Legal right to internet access, sure. But I'm NOT gonna die on the 10Mbps hill

UK digital minister Ed Vaizey has shied away from guaranteeing a legal right to a universal service obligation of 10Mbps by 2020. Speaking in front of a Parliamentary select committee on “Establishing World-Class Connectivity Throughout the UK”, Vaizey said the government will include a legal right to a universal service …

  1. hplasm Silver badge


    "... but really when you put a satellite on the house you are going to get nearer 10Mbps if not more."

    Depending on the size of the satellite on your house, you will either:-

    a. Have a satellite on your house.

    b) Have a house that has been crushed by a satellite.

    Don't see where internet access comes into it...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Whut??

      Dammit! Beaten by an hour. Have an upvote.

    2. John Sager

      Re: Whut??

      Well, he's a politician, and like the overwhelming majority of that breed, he knows eff all about nearly everything. You would think that ministers would do a bit of homework on their brief. I suspect, though, that none of the civil servants from whom he would deign to gather advice know anything about the subject either.

      I would be seriously pissed off if anyone seriously offered me Internet over VSAT as a service. I might be glad of it in the middle of Mali or Botswana but not anywhere in the UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whut??

        Well, he's a politician, and like the overwhelming majority of that breed...

        Vaizey is special. I work in a sector where he was a junior minster, and the universal opinion of many colleagues far brighter than me was that the boy is an oxygen thief

    3. Satellite TV Shop UK

      Re: Whut??

      Eutelsat Satellite Broadband 20Mbps Down and 2 Mbps Up is available now everywhere in the UK and Ireland and France and Germany, cost is £99 install fee and then its circa £39-49 per month depending on your data usage, just google Eutelsat Broadband for more details.

      Why put up with less than 10 meg when you can get 20Mbps installed in less than a week anywhere in the UK

      1. paulf Silver badge

        Re: Whut??

        I can't think why a subtle plug for Satellite broadband has come from a user called, "Satellite TV Shop UK".

        A quick look at the website of the Satellite operator you mention returns pages where the prices are conspicuous by their absence; but I can get a quote from one of their resellers (of which I assume you are one?).

        Since, as a likely spammer, you're an easy target I'll just ask exactly how much allowance is included in that £39-49/month? I'm guessing its ≈ √(fuck all).

  2. Graham Dawson

    The comparison to Luxembourg seems daft. A city a bit smaller than leeds and a country about the size of the lake district is in no way comparable to the uk, especially considering their very different demographics.

  3. Joe 37

    If I could get an actual phone line it would be a good start. The USO for voice telephony used to involve everyone paying £200 to get a line in.

    Nowadays, BT want nearly £30,000 to install one in the Cairngorms National Park. The so called USO only applies to the first £8,000 of the install cost.

    I'll quite happily take a 10mbit data only line instead. But the "USO" will doubtless be so BT and its pals can cherry pick what and where "Universal Service" applies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You have my sympathies Joe but I can see why BT would not want to spend £30000 getting a phone line to you. They probably don't want to spend £8000 getting the line to you either but are compelled to do so by the USO. There is talk in the press of BT having to open its poles and cable ducts to competitors. When that happens I guess the USO gets revoked and it's pretty much a given that no competitors will want to give you a line at a huge financial loss to themselves either. Unfortunately for you this means that unless you are really minted (in which case I would have to withdraw my opening remark about sympathy) you are only going to get a data connection when/if the low earth orbit low cost internet satellite constellations become a reality.

      1. streaky Silver badge

        I feel like I gotta preface this by saying I hate BT and everything they stand for and the damage they do to the UK economy and citizens by simply existing, but:

        If they're billing you 8k to put a line in there's a fairly decent chance it's going to cost them 800k to install it because you decided to park up in the middle of literally nowhere. Most people consider these things before they buy a house so you're probably SOL. If I'm right and you really need a line you should probably be happy it's only 8k.

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          "I feel like I gotta preface this by saying I hate BT and everything they stand for and the damage they do to the UK economy and citizens by simply existing, but:"

          It may be that you have substantive grounds for hating BT and everything it stands for but it would strengthen your case if you explained exactly what those grounds are.

          Furthermore, stating "the damage they do to the UK economy and citizens by simply existing without any sort of supporting argument is IMHO simply unacceptable. Please take a few minutes to explain this rather wild assertion to the rest of us.

          1. streaky Silver badge

            It may be that you have substantive grounds for hating BT and everything it stands for but it would strengthen your case if you explained exactly what those grounds are.

            I absolutely don't I was prefacing being on their side on this particular issue. You could also try reading my previous comments :=)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Luxembourg is aiming for speeds of 1Gbps by 2020."

    Not really a fair comparison, Luxembourg has just over half a million population and is 2,500ish km2

    The United Kingdom has a population of around 64million people and 242,000ish km2

    1. Graham 32

      So Luxembourg has 200people/km2 vs the UK's 264people/km2. Those numbers suggest it should be cheaper (per person) for the UK to wire everyone up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If all those people lived in the same place yes, but we have mountains and valleys and places in the middle of nowhere.

      2. MrTuK

        That is very true especially in densely populated areas but then there is the odd person in the lake district and other places equally out in the sticks which make it a tad difficult as they are more than 2 miles from a local exchange !

        But equally what they make on the roundabouts they lose on the swings, but they only complain when they are dealing with the swings and never happy anyway !

  5. Chloe Cresswell

    I have a client with a 10-11mbps vdsl connection (.5 up).

    The throughput varies from 1mbps to 9.5. But as it's 10mbps (well, 10041 this morning, the sync on down varies from 10040 to 11731) I bet that'll be classed as over 10mbps anyway.

    Another client was told they can't have help because they can have over 2mbps according to a postcode check. Phsyical line: 780/200, with a throughput of .3mbps.

    10mbps in this case is a question of "by which measure?"

    1. Unep Eurobats

      "by which measure?"

      Exactly: the rating of the connection is a theoretical maximum and often bears no relation to the speeds achieved in practice.

      A USO would be like trying to get everyone to work quicker by insisting that all cars had to have a maximum speed of 200 mph (OK, not a good analogy because of speed limits but leaving that aside you know what I mean).

    2. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: Phsyical line: 780/200, with a throughput of .3mbps

      TalkTalk? That's about the service (such as it deserves the name) they had nobbled me down to before I told them to stick it up their chuff. That was in South London on the same line I had previously had between 5 and 8mbps. It was obvious they'd throttled it and were calling it an acceptable speed.

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: Phsyical line: 780/200, with a throughput of .3mbps

        The VDSL? BTB. Line is 1,820metres (6,200 to the exchange, 1.8K to the VDSL cab), and is part copper, then aluminium, then copper.

        Today was a good example. Ping to (say) 42ms. 42ms, 850ms, 700ms, 800ms..

        Engineer ("Dave", one of our local Dave engineers, who I'm used to working with) has now sent the line back with "service unacceptable, CRS line" basicly "allow client to cancel with no penalties, we can't supply service on this contract"

        The Adsl? Demon, but wouldn't matter. Line was 7,100 metres to the exchange. Doesn't matter who you get at that range, unless the line is close to perfect, it's going to be pretty crap.

  6. Norman Nescio


    What would be nice is if the requirement were for symmetric 10 Mbit/s. At the moment, for pretty obvious commercial reasons, while downstream data rates are large, upstream data rates are so low that you can't upload large data sets in reasonable time. So if, for example, you want to upload a backup off-site to a friends house and vice versa, it becomes rather difficult. I know there are technical solutions to that (Full backup over several days, partials on a nightly basis), but some services just simply don't work - such as decent quality video between relatives. I know someone on ADSL2+ with 14 Mbit/s downstream and 440-odd kbit/s upstream (I know some specific reasons about that) - but it means that getting decent quality video from that end-point is not possible. Codecs are good (and continually improving), but they are not that good. That ratio (14 Mbit/s down, 440 Kbit/s up is worse than the old Prestel ratio 1200/75).

    The negotiation between the DSLAM and your modem could be made dynamic. Use a small number of frequencies for a permanent upstream and permanent downstream connection for control signals/protocol, then use the rest of the frequencies in a demand-determined manner, so that they are used for downstream when downloading, upstream when uploading, and split in the proportion of the length of the interface output queues for both-way traffic. It's just a slight modification to an LAG/LACP type of approach.

    1. Carl Thomas

      Re: Upstream?

      Sadly not an option. Have to have the same bands for upstream and downstream for all cables in the bundle else crosstalk between pairs causes problems. Your downstream signals getting blown away by the neighbours' upstream and vice-versa wouldn't work so well.

      Also, alas, not supported by the ANFP.

  7. Tubz

    David Cameron promised last year to give everybody the legal right to request a broadband connection capable of delivering a minimum speed of 10Mbps by 2020 ... so this is another one of his promises that are not worth the air used to speak them and just a lie, with the bar so low, even his useless government should be able to hit the target. Then again, based on past performance, they'll probably cripple the countries network infrastructure !

  8. Norman Nescio

    RE: Upstream

    @Carl Thomas

    Point taken, thank-you for the link to the reference (NICC ND 1405 V3.1.2 -- Guidelines on the Use of DSL Transmission Systems in the BT Access Network), and yes, crosstalk is an issue. I'll say one word - vectoring.

    This is an interesting read:

    and this:

    and a Belgacom page (in English)

    It would seem that vectoring effectively eliminates the crosstalk problem and would allow upstream capacities to be increased.

    Even if dynamic allocation of frequencies to upstream and downstream use is not possible, I would still like to see greater upstream capacity available, even if this had to be fixed in advance.

    I can also dream of CuPON, although the likelihood of its being implemented is vanishingly small.

    CuPON: The Copper Alternative to PON 100 Gb/s DSL Networks

  9. Sirius Lee

    What's the point in the Luxembourg comment?

    So because a country small than greater London and surrounded by 1st world countries is able to offer it's citizens a 1GB/s service it some how follows that the UK is a problem? Really? How is this relevant? I guess when you've an axe to grind anything looks reasonable even it's plainly daft.

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