back to article Prime Minister May hints at shaking up Blighty's 'dysfunctional' rural broadband

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested her government could intervene in failing markets, such as rural broadband. Speaking at the Tory conference in Birmingham today, she said: "Where markets are dysfunctional, we should be prepared to intervene." She added: "Where companies are exploiting the failures of the market in …

  1. Britt

    Rural internet, not fast enough to spy on effectively.

    1. tr1ck5t3r

      If you talk to BT engineers you'll know fibre has been around for a long time and is fitted around large parts of the country already. I was on FTTC back in the early 00's on an affluent new build estate but had a capped broadband speed to 2mb to maintain the charade along with packet filtering. Besides squeezing every last ounce of revenue out of the copper a form of planned obsolescence, the Govt also needs massive storage capabilities in order to spy on everyone. Its just a charade being played out by some arms of the Govt masquerading as business in this case BTOpenreach much like the CIA have invested in tech companies in the US to further military intelligence. Its called Bread & Circuses.

      1. illiad

        Trouble is, what TYPE of fibre??? there was a big ' put fibre in at build time' push, BUT!!! then BT go and change the standard for fibre communication, and find it does not work in 'old' fibre...

        cue big rush to stop complaints, and ripping out it all ..... :(

        yeah, all these fancy new words sound great, but I have yet to see the 'high speed using copper' to ACTUALLY work... and some actually think 'highspeed' is 10MBPS!!!

    2. Adam Jarvis

      G.fast is a pointless, expensive Cul-De-Sac Technology. Let's make that clear now.

      BT have bet all their money on sweating their copper assets, with pointless G.fast.

      Yes, G.fast is a pointless, expensive Cul-De-Sac Technology. Let's make that clear now.

      Any rural connection more than 500m by length should be real fibre (fibre optics) (premises approx 250m as the crow flies from the cabinet). That is the point/spot at which G.fast becomes exponentially more expensive over laying real fibre.

      This is due to the exponential increase in the number of G.fast nodes required, the increase in maintenance costs, corrosion, damp, windy locations these will need to be fitted. Before you factor in Crosstalk, low frequency Interference, where problems become an absolute minefield to solve, if you go the G.fast route, over real Fibre.

      Trouble is, you ask BT what's the best solution, BT are always going to give a technical answer which favours their own copper assets (which is basically what has happened). Ofcom has also shown itself to be biased towards BT. Just look at the EE/BT merger.

      I personally think 'In Interests of National Security' is pressuring/biasing ofcom to favour BT, i.e. GCHQ are also involved in this process, GCHQ want by and large, a single provider to have 'complete oversight'. I also believe Theresa May does, both organisations are control freaks.

      It should be real fibre to the premises (especially if the taxpayer is subsidising).

      The reason not to use a different technology such as G.fast for the last couple of hundred feet is it creates an artificial tap (as in water) in which Telcos like BT can make it appear Broadband is a 'limited resource' limited by the final G.fast connection and continue to bamboozle, obfuscate 'upto' speeds, and key, continue to differentiate on pricing.

      This is what BT want. This is because it is artficially been presented as a limited resource due to the final copper element 'tap' acting as metering, but with real Fibre its far less of an issue. Yes, faster switches are more expensive, but those costs would drop.

      Overall, given this statement by Theresa May, G.fast should be all but dead in the water (given last year's flooding it would be too, as have many FTTC cabinets).

      What I do believe makes sense, is less planning control placed (zero rates) on laying fibre rurally, as most locations hardly see any footfall at all and loosely laying fibres along river beds, hedge rows, public footpaths and agreed access with farmers, makes much more sense, especially in the short term to get Fibre in place and generating income, to then use part of the income to then permanently lay these protectively.

      Yes, some will get damaged but, the benefits outway the inconvenience. Malicious damage of temporary exposed brightly coloured yellow cabling should be seen as a serious offence.

      I also believe Blanket Gigabit Rural Fibre should be fought for.

      Rural communities should not just expect BT to provide it (BT are sitting on their hands regards Real fibre, using their current position to make sure they don't without subsidy anyway).

      Politicians have been conditioned though, BT are conditioning the public, milking the 'Fibre is very expensive, using Copper is cheap' line, while ignoring the pitfalls of sweating Copper assets, brings to the table going forward, over using real Fibre.

      We're at a crossroads, any further use of Copper will create real 'stuck in the slow lane' problems in the future. Apathy to Gigabit speeds has already set in, because its impossible for consumers to work out why a copper based 'upto' broadband connections randomly slow.

      Volunteer community teams working with Telcos should help with the roll out to reduce costs. There should be far less money spend on glossy expensive websites like Superfast-Cymru, and far more money paying towards getting teams of volunteers to help with the rollout. Less talk, more Fibre on the ground, more fibre connections.

      The B4RN model should be praised more, rolled out Nationally with a finite funding model, so that Communities that want to go this route can do so without the hardship B4RN faced setting up the model, but with the same outcome, getting Gigabit Fibre for everyone. The model should be funded in a way its tough to do, but achieveable, to prevent waste paying people that 'just talk the talk', its got to be something that each community wants to achieve.

      If BT don't want to be involved they should be banned from an area for 10 years, to allow local communities to do it themselves. So much money each year is wasted funding ofcom to regulator 'upto' Copper based Broadband, when much of this regulation is unnecessary, if actual Fibre was laid, and communities as a whole had control of this.

      1. BigAndos

        Re: G.fast is a pointless, expensive Cul-De-Sac Technology. Let's make that clear now.

        Great point on B4RN, I hadn't heard of that. I bet it would be cheaper and far more effective to just give affected rural communities funding to arrange something themselves rather than throwing money at the lumbering monolith of BT.

      2. illiad

        Re: G.fast is a pointless, expensive Cul-De-Sac Technology. Let's make that clear now.

        G.fast and other fancy names from BT actually means... We can 'get away with' NOT digging up millions of meters of copper... :/

    3. Adew1234

      May has a cunning plan to deploy hot air as a universal carrier

  2. Known Hero

    good starting point

    All the massive housing developments being proposed MUST install FTTP.

    Split the cost between the telco and builders 50/50 and you are also laying the ground to get the surrounding areas up and running to fttp.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: good starting point

      Split the cost between the telco and builders 50/50 and you are also laying the ground to get the surrounding areas up and running to fttp.

      You are joking aren't you? If the builders contribute to the cost that contribution will only apply up to the point at which the property is sold to an occupant. And the telcos will (perfectly reasonably) need to recover their investment, so guess who pays for that? Yes; the occupant, who will probably be forced to have an FTTP service (assuming that they want broadband in the first place) even if its performance far exceeds what they actually need.

      How would you like it if you went shopping to find that only top of the range goods were available on the grounds that "some people want it"?

      1. Captain TickTock

        Re: good starting point

        What is the diffence in cost of laying fttp vs copper to new housing estates?

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: good starting point

          What is the difference in cost of laying fttp vs copper to new housing estates?

          On what basis have you unilaterally decided that no copper needs be laid?

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: good starting point

            What's the gain from running fiber to the premises when having copper the last couple hundred feet can offer speeds up to a gigabit using G.fast over standard phone wire or cat5e, or higher using DOCSIS 3.x and RG6?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: good starting point

              Except for the last few meters fiber is no more expensive to install and very much cheaper to maintain than copper (and much much cheaper to maintain than aluminium phone wires) . The expensive part of rolling out FTTP to existing properties is bringing it into the customers home. This isn't an issue for new build estates.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                Re: good starting point

                Terminating fiber costs more, as does the the optical interface in the router. That's the reason why Intel backed away from using fiber for Thunderbolt, after all.

                What's wrong with putting a fiber cabinet on each block - or at the head of each cul de sac, if they're built like most US developments are? You do short copper runs from there to the houses.

                You're going to have to run the copper anyway - some people insist on a hard line telephone and won't want to rely on VOIP or cell, and the local cable company probably isn't equipped to deliver TV over fiber. I suppose if you really want you could run fiber to the home alongside the copper and leave it unterminated for "future use". But it'll never be used in our lifetime, because there is no usage case for > 10 gigabits in the home.

                1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                  Re: good starting point

                  As long as you stipulate the exchange has to have fibre and there is a maximum run length for the copper, that would be sensible.

                2. illiad

                  Re: good starting point

                  Many forget that companies like VM cable etc, DO NOT USE copper phone wire!!!

                  Its FTTC, then **satellite grade** coax to the home, and further inside, if you ask!! :) :)

                  then the VM convertor box provides you with a standard phone connector.. :)

                  1. hplasm Silver badge
                    Boffin

                    Re: good starting point

                    Er no. VM cable , DO USE copper phone wire.- two pairs per coax, actually.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: good starting point

                      Yup, it's called sidecar cable. One coax, two twisted pair. The latter is for the phone, the former for TV/Internet.

                      Was like that twenty years ago and it's not changed.

                      Yet.

                      Flip side: BT were supposed to have burried all their suspended cables (phone lines) by... six years ago... after they failed to do it for eleven years ago... after they failed to do that sixteen years ago... so what hope have you of them actually completing laying fibre to their exchanges? There are still areas with suspended phone lines that BT can't be bothered replacing, it seems.

                      Ah, well: Back to the drawing board...

                    2. Toltec

                      Re: good starting point

                      VM has been working on VoIP, the superhub 3 supports it, however a major issue is maintaining power to it should there be a local powercut. The green cabinets at the end of the road would need to contain UPS kit, given the frequency at which I see the cover missing or pulled off on ours, filling it up with lead acid batteries would be boon to the light fingered, recycling community.

                      1. DougS Silver badge

                        Re: good starting point

                        Sounds like Virgin Mobile (I assume that's "VM") uses the same HFC scheme that cable companies in the US do. Fiber to the node, where nodes are located every few blocks so you have maybe a couple hundred homes per node. For something like G.fast the length limitations are a bit shorter, but it is still cheaper to run fiber to a cabinet and copper from there.

                        1. illiad

                          Re: good starting point

                          Virgin Media! If you have ANY sense, you wont get decent broadband on a mobile! :O

                          Oh, it looks like you are clueless merican... ;?

                  2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                    Re: good starting point

                    > Its FTTC, then **satellite grade** coax to the home

                    VM have just been digging up our road to add their fibre to the area. And it was fibre - right up to the new grey termination cabinet on the pavement by our house..

                    Putting that in as a bit noisy - our house is built on clay and it felt like they were using a pile-driver to dig the hole deep enough for the cabinet foundations.. made the whole house wobble.

                3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                  Re: good starting point

                  > Terminating fiber costs more, as does the the optical interface in the router.

                  BT ran trials in a couple of villages where they removed all copper and went all fibre. The end user gets a termination that includes a couple of standard phone sockets so get what (to them) is a standard phone line - but which is then digital from the termination box in their house, instead of turning to digital at the line card in the exchange.

                  Don't forget that pretty well all telephony is now digital - it's just a case of where the analogue turns to digital. All but the smallest business users, for example, have digital phone lines into digital phone systems, and the only analogue bit is the curly cord and handset on the user's desk.

                  So having telephony being digital to the premises is nothing new and isn't hard or expensive.

                  IIRC BT announced that actually it would be cheaper to have FTTP and on-premises conversion. While the kit cost more than the very cheap master socket (very cheap, they don't even put brass inserts in for the screws now !), overall it saves them money as it's more reliable and diagnostics are easier.

                  So it would make sense for all new-build developments (at least over a certain size) to have FTTP. The cost to BT is very slightly higher in up-front costs IF they install the electronics up front, but long term it would be cheaper. They, or other ISPs they resell through, would have the option of charging different monthly costs for different services. So it would not mean everyone having the choice of nothing or a 300+Mbps service costing hundreds of quid a month.

                  It's certainly hard to see how it couldn't be cheaper than FTTC which is a complicated and expensive way of doing things which is only economic because of the cost of retrofitting fibre to existing premises.

                  And of course, the longer we carry on not getting started because "it's too big a job", the bigger we make the problem of having a sh*tload of installed copper to sweat the assets from.

              2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: good starting point

                > Except for the last few meters fiber is no more expensive to install

                But doesn't provide power to the phone to keep it going if the site power dies. This is a big issue in the US - carriers there are (contrary to the contracts they have in place) trying to push everyone away from copper onto fibre or wireless. Which is fine for connectivity but, in places that have spotty or erratic power delivery (like rural areas) can result in people having no phone coverage whatsoever if their local power goes down.

                Which isn't necessarily a problem - right up until you need to call the emergency services during a power outage that lasts longer than your UPS can handle..

                1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                  Re: good starting point

                  > But doesn't provide power to the phone to keep it going if the site power dies.

                  True, but sometime in the last few centuries, someone invented a device called a battery. IIRC, the NTE used by BT in the trial is locally powered, but has backup batteries. Which is all nice except ...

                  I've lost count of the number of bits of kit I've come across over the years with dead rechargeable batteries - so I do wonder what the long term plan is for battery maintenance in these units.

          2. illiad

            Re: good starting point

            well he is using 'politician talk' to say ALL, but mean 'MOST' ( and of course that varies from 70% *downwards*... :/ )

  3. macladd

    Yack Yack Yack

    The Gov and BT have been yacking on about rural broadband for what seems like years now. Openreach is usually the dominant supplier in those areas and have missed so many opportunities whilst planning the fibre networks. Take Caithness for example, John O Groats has just been enabled for fibre yet most of the communities outside the village itself still cannot get ADSL broadband let alone fibre. Of the mobile networks in that area, only 2 provide 3G which is either painfully slow or offline totally. One of the biggest issues is that Openreach measure the speed and availability to their network distribution point (DP) In rural areas this is more often than not several km's from the customer premises. According to any speedchecker, the customer can receive service which therefore then bars them from the satellite discount scheme for those that cannot get service. In reality, the customer cannot receive anything as the line is just too long. ISP's will accept an order, BT Broadband even go so far as to guarantee a minimum speed. The hardware is sent and the account is set up, hardware will not sync with the exchange so they blame that and send another, rinse and repeat! Eventually an engineer is sent who explains that he can't do anything due to length of line from DP and that the premises cannot receieve any form of data on the line and never will unless the DP is moved closer to the property. ISP then release customer from contract and advise that a guarantee of minimum speed isn't really a guarantee after all.

    The whole thing stinks. Local politicians are fully aware of the issue, but the Scottish Government keep passing the buck with no real resolution in sight. This issue is repeated all over the UK's rural areas yet no one seems to be doing anything about it. We all know Openreach wont do anything off its own back unless it being beaten with a big stick!

    1. rdhood

      Re: Yack Yack Yack

      I could have written almost the exact same thing about Dahlonega, Ga (or 90% of the U.S.).

      "John O Groats has just been enabled for fibre yet most of the communities outside the village itself still cannot get ADSL broadband let alone fibre."

      North Georgia College has been enabled for fiber, yet the entire rest of the city/county still can only get ADSL at a rate of less than 6mbps.... and it costs MORE than subscribers in CA/NY/NJ who get a 25mbps-100mbps.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yack Yack Yack

      Ashby De La Launde found a solution to being constantly passed over for broadband. They got local landowners together and handed out shovels, then got an agreement with the owner of a local high building to allow them to put antennae and infrared devices on it.

      Governments won't help.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Hyperoptic?

    Why listen to comments from Hyperoptic, when discussing RURAL broadband?

    "Hyperoptic specialises in bringing full fibre optic broadband direct to multi-dwelling buildings such as apartments and offices. If your building is within our catchment area, and enough residents show support by registering online, we can connect you to our future-proof full fibre network."

    They really don't seem to be interested in running fibre to single dwellings, along country lanes. And to be fair to them, they may be taking their time, but that is exactly what Openreach are doing in our area at the moment.

    Competition in in backhaul in rural areas is a silly waste of resources. Why spend the money to dig up the road twice or three times for different companies? (Same arguement for electricity and water - if I switch electric company they don't string a new cable to the house. 'Competition' is bullshit)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hyperoptic?

      Just because that's what Hyperoptic are doing at the moment, doesn't mean that's the limit of their ambition, does it ?

      Hyperoptic don't lay their own fibre (as far as I know). They use BTOpenreach fibre between the premises and the fibre node, with their own equipment and wiring in the Customer Premises and their own equipment in and backhaul from the fibre node.

    2. illiad

      Re: Hyperoptic?

      There is actually a tech that can transmit internet over the mains electric, but it not that fast, and complicated, so not much interest... :(

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hyperoptic?

      Hyperoptic are a lot of Hype and not much Optic.

      For a start, as others have pointed out, its not their network (although their sales reps like to talk like it is).

      Then there's the fact that they're only interested in "low-hanging fruit", multi-tenant dwellings (a.k.a. blocks of flats). And even then, they are only FTTB (fibre to the basement). They use CAT5/CAT6 to the door.

      All sorts of other things too. But I shall not be going in to those in a public place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hyperoptic?

        I think saying "it's not their network" is a bit unfair. AFAIK, apart from the fibre, it is all theirs.

        BTO commissioned the fibre for a business connection in the Southwark area, before they "lit" Colombo House. The comment we had was "you know the rack at the other end of this is empty, don't you ?" Which was OK as the fibre was commissioned in advance of the go-live date.

      2. illiad

        Re: Hyperoptic?

        Basement????? LOL DO note that 'premises' (Ya know that is what FTTP is? :) ) **includes** ALL of your property, including basements, and ALL floors that are part of it!!!

  5. Jamie Kitson

    Let me be very clear about this...

    Intervention means intervention.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me be very clear about this...

      Words mean things.

      May is essentially doing a Trump. Nothing she says actually means anything so people fill in the gaps.

      1. illiad

        Re: Let me be very clear about this...

        you are forgetting.... :)

        Its a CONFERENCE, where BIG things are said, and they work out later how to do it, and deny they said it if needed!!!!! :D

    2. Captain TickTock

      Re: Let me be very clear about this...

      or as Ed Miliband put it quite well, "Marxist Interventionism"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let me be very clear about this...

        I thought "Marxist Interventionism" was in response to her stealing his energy policy, which she had previously called that.

        1. Captain TickTock

          Re: Let me be very clear about this...

          I thought "Marxist Interventionism" was in response to her stealing his energy policy, which she had previously called that.

          Just checked, you're right, but this is more of the same innit?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Let me be very clear about this...

            this is more of the same innit?

            British politicians talking shite?

            Was it ever not?

  6. John G Imrie Silver badge

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested her government could intervene in failing markets

    She should start with something easy, like transport

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested her government could intervene in failing markets

      If transport is broken then they will have to start with something closer to home, like government.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested her government could intervene in failing markets

      intervene in failing markets

      Absent criminality, there is no such thing as a failing market. What fuckwit politicians mean by "failing market" is usually a "fully functional market whose results I disapprove of".

      By definition, for a market to work, it requires that you accept that anybody not able and willing to pay the lowest offered price goes without. In some areas (say petrol) the politicians are willing to say that's acceptable, in others (electricity) they are not. What this SHOULD mean is that they don't set up any market whose outcome they may not like. What it usually means is that politicians contrive a pseudo market, and then invent a thousand and one interventions to try and steer the outcome to something closer to what they see as the correct answer. Hence the multiple, chaotic, subsidy and distortion ridden domestic energy markets.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested her government could intervene in failing markets

        > Absent criminality, there is no such thing as a failing market.

        In evidence to rebut that I present the steel industry..

  7. Doctor_Wibble
    Trollface

    With my cynical hat on

    Which I so so rarely wear...

    Maybe there's a load of party faithful living in mansions at the back end of nowhere who have been nagging and saying their donations depended on it. Only if I'm being really cynical. And possibly stereotyping.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: With my cynical hat on

      I'm pretty sure they already have superfast broadband and bins emptied every week.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested

    yawn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested

      Exactly.

      So it's jam tomorrow then.

      Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, every l̶i̶a̶r̶ politician that ever opened their mouth.

  9. N2 Silver badge
    Trollface

    What a pile of poo

    720 million kilometers way & Rosetta can send us flicks of a space rock

    6 Km from the exchange & you struggle to send an e-mail

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What a pile of poo

      "720 million kilometers way & Rosetta can send us flicks of a space rock"

      But did you check the bitrate?

    2. illiad

      Re: What a pile of poo

      Hey if you have a billion EUR, you can do it too!! :) :)

      https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=cost+of+Rosetta+space+probe

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look carefully at the wording

    Maggie mk2 - I mean Theresa states:

    "Where markets are dysfunctional, we should be prepared to intervene."

    Please note that this does not constitute any a statement of ownership of the problem or form a binding promise to act, merely that they are prepared.

    Do you think that I have over-done it when watching "Yes Minister" ?

    1. billse10

      Re: Look carefully at the wording

      Overdone the Yes Minister? No......

      She didn't say "they are prepared" but that they "should be prepared" ..... a very different meaning to "they are " ....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    who really gives a shit

    Given the xenophobic bile coming from the tory part conference I can't really seem to give a f*ck about broadband speeds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: who really gives a shit

      Well you could try the mass hatred and anti-semitism coming from the labour party, instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: who really gives a shit

        Sadly you're both right - upvotes all round.

        We've currently got a divided and dysfunctional party in government and a divided and dysfunctional party in opposition. I'm really not sure which side horrifies me the most.

  12. ArthurKinnell
    Happy

    Re: good starting point

    I've just had fttp installed at home 5 years after BT telling me they could never better the 1mb connection I was lucky to get twice a week on the aluminium lines serving our rural village. 5 months ago a fibre box appeared on the shared utility pole outside our house. We now have 190mb internet and phone with no copper or aluminum in sight. It transpires that in our area BT are going 18miles (via poles) from the city exchange in all directions. And it turns out to be a cheaper exercise than upgrading all the sub exchanges (our closest being 2miles away) and laying new copper lines to replace the aluminium.

    I must admit I feel like I am living in 2100, now having fast internet and a telephone line I can use without hearing my neighbours conversations.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK is already in the dark ages

    ...listen to you all .. you'd think putting actual physical connections in the ground is the only way to get broadband to rural areas...

    In Spain, i often visit some friends in a village. Its about 12 miles up into the mountains and after Telephonica refusal to put in a line for years, another company rolled out some form of wimax repeaters up the valley and now everyone has a small microwave antenna on their house for up to around 8 or 10 M/Bit.

    A few towers were much cheaper than digging a hole.... but the UK has been so focused on BT and the cost of digging holes, tech has moved on.

    I don't know how politicians can even say "market economics" when BT exists and has fought for it's monopoly with apparent government support at every turn.

    Now i write this, i am wondering why the likes of Vodafone don't roll out 4G to rural places first and steal the march (and the customers) from BT's hole digging empire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK is already in the dark ages

      "Now i write this, i am wondering why the likes of Vodafone don't roll out 4G to rural places first and steal the march (and the customers) from BT's hole digging empire."

      Cost and internal coverage

      FTTP - globally that works out at about £2k per building, give or take. In rural areas it can be five times that, so call it £10K per building

      4G - In a rural area, you might be looking at £150K plus ongoing running costs for a new tower. The trouble is that that signal doesn't penetrate very well into buildings, so you might not cover very many properties with one tower. With four operators, you might not get much take up either, so you might have just spent a ton of money with no chance of recouping it.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: UK is already in the dark ages

      > A few towers were much cheaper than digging a hole...

      Rural Spain doesn't have anything like the population density of the UK - even the rural bits..

  14. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    what does it mean?

    "set the markets straight" means "set the markets straight"....

    ...in the same way that "Brexit" means "Brexit"....and, as Andy Hamilton so succintly put it on a Recent News Quiz, "Rumboflange" means "Rumboflange"

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I live in semi rural Cornwall, now Cornwall has always been, well for a number of years, ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to Broadband. So why is that? Well that'll be EU Objective 1 money, can't see us being ahead once that cash goes. Unless of course HMG stumps up, which of course isn't going to happen. I note the PM has now not mentioning the rail line being sorted at Dawlish anymore which was "promised" to be sorted by the last shower of shite.

  16. Ryan Kendall

    No even rural yet

    Obviously I'm in a town with a population of 11,000 is not classed as rural.

    But welcome to Cambridgeshire, where BT have confirmed to me that they are not doing FTTC for the foreseeable future. But the small villages surrounding my town get Infinity already :-(

  17. FredBloggs61

    We were "lucky" enough to have FTTC installed a couple of years back.

    When the big cable installation years ago, the village I live in was missed as we are just over a county border. The contract in the village/county I live in was being done by one company and the contract for the neighbouring county was another. Despite the fact, we have houses separated by a small bridle path, that are neighbours, the adjoining county company wouldn't install to us as we were out of their patch and the company with the contract for our county wouldn't install to us as it would have meant running about 6 miles of cable from the next town in the same county.

    I have enjoyed playing with Virgin sales staff who insist that we can have Cable. I have even paid the deposit for cable to be installed and then had arguments with them over failing to supply the service they have taken money for. Got a refund and an offer to provide the same FTTC service I already receive...

    My village cannot be unique in this situation, there must be a large number of potential customers who are just over county lines and as such have no cable.

  18. adam payne Silver badge

    Nothing will change until BT / BT Openreach for forced to change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What change will you force? The problem is financial in that the cost of deploying network isn't matched by the willingness of people to pay for it.

      Will you similarly solve rural transport problems by forcing Land Rover to sell cars to people for £500?

  19. Disgruntled of TW
    Stop

    Denial of own figures - here we go again

    I'm going to repost what I said the last time the gubbermint announced something about rural broadband, while they perpetuate the "extremely poor value" Openreach monopoly and the copper nonsense, while ignoring their OWN homework. Enjoy:

    Why does our Gubbermint ignore their own figures on ROI and benefits for infrastructure projects?

    HS2 is estimated by the DfT to deliver a benefit ratio of 2.3 to 1. For every £1 spent on HS2, it will return £2.30. The DfT paper is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/365065/S_A_1_Economic_case_0.pdf

    Right. Providing FTTP to the entire country is estimated to deliver an ROI of approximately £20 for every £1 spent. DCMS commissioned the report here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/257006/UK_Broadband_Impact_Study_-_Impact_Report_-_Nov_2013_-_Final.pdf

    Which project would you do?

    Is our gubbermint thick, or do they just ignore information they don't like, or doesn't fit their political agenda?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Denial of own figures - here we go again

      ...do they just ignore information they don't like, or doesn't fit their political agenda?

      I hope you read the second pdf in detail. I quote: Over our modelling period (to 2024), these interventions are projected to return approximately £20 in net economic impact for every £1 of public investment. This is an unusually high level of return for public funding, but we consider it to be realistic, given that broadband is a General Purpose Technology which has an increasingly critical role in the day-to-day operations of the majority of UK businesses. (snip) The bulk of this economic impact comes from improvements in the productivity of broadband-using firms, as illustrated in the chart below, but there are also significant benefits from safeguarding employment in areas which would otherwise be at an unfair disadvantage, from productivity-enhancing time-savings for teleworkers, and from increased participation in the labour force.

      The important point to note is that the report relates to business applications for broadband, not domestic / personal use. Now if every potential rural BB user was indeed a business then indeed providing them with genuinely high speed BB would be an investment with significant returns. However, if the rural BB users turned out to be purely or largely domestic users (hey everyone see this cool cat video) then the x 20 multiplier could easily turn out to be a complete fiction.

      If I can spot that then so can the government... and so could you, come to think about it.

      1. illiad

        Re: Denial of own figures - here we go again

        Yes, businesses will pay large sums of money, for installation and maintenance of their internet.... BUT 'normal people' cannot or will not pay high prices for it....

  20. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Infrastructure

    Who owns it ? Is it one company or does every telco own its fiber lines ?

    Does that mean, when, e.g., EE lay their fiber to your area, can you use that fiber for BT ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Infrastructure

      Any company can install last miles if they so wish, as long as they comply with the rules.

      In big cities, quite a few do, BT, Virgin, Verizon, Colt, KCOM, Level3 and others. The last time I had a proper look there were over 20 last mile owners in London - not people reselling BT stuff, companies with actual kit in the ground.

      BT has a universal service obligation to deliver a phone service to anyone who wants it, so most network is theirs outside of big cities. Virgin covers over half the population / third of the land mass with their HFC network.

      Because of the USO BT has to wholesale its last miles to other operators at the same rate it charges itself internally, which is a rate set by the regulator. That regulatory regime I think drives behaviour - if I wanted to set up a telco or ISP it's much less risky to just pay a monthly fee from opex to a network owner than it is to spend £2k of capex up front to install a connection before I see any revenue.

      In fact - lightbulb moment - maybe the way to improve rural broadband is to *remove* the requirement on BT to wholesale. It sounds counter-intuitive but look at the behaviour it would drive - network build.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this in keeping with the same government statement on another issue

    "Bullshit means Bullshit"

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