back to article More than half of punters reckon they can't get superfast broadband

More than half the population does not believe it is has access to superfast broadband – despite the government promising that 95 per cent of the country will have 24Mbps next year. In a survey of just over 2,000 adults conducted by global research biz TNS on behalf of broadband pusher ViaSat, just 48 per cent believed they …

  1. andy 103

    Copper cabling, crap service

    The UK should have invested in fibre, years ago. There is an absolute ton of copper wiring that is simply the wrong material to do the job when it comes to super fast broadband. Fibre has always been the way to go.

    The second thing is, this is only something I give a shit about if it affects me personally. At the moment I have fibre, and it's fast enough to the point where I don't even care about measuring the speed.

    So 2 outcomes - the UK has relied on using a sub-standard product (copper cabling) and organisations (such as BT) whilst countries a few hundred miles from us were laughing 10 years ago with significantly faster networks. Not really a shocker, is it? Secondly, unless it affects you directly, does anyone care enough to "take action" over it? Thought not. So as usual, we'll put up with whatever crap we're given, and have a moan.

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: BT & Fibre

      BT wanted to lay fibre to homes over well over 20 years ago and the government stopped them by not allowing BT to offer cable TV services which was the only thing that wanted high BW links.

      1. Just Enough

        Re: BT & Fibre

        Well there's the rub.

        Rather than having a national comms infrastructure, in the UK we created a massive near monopoly in a privatised BT, and then deliberately prevented it creating a national infrastructure because it would disadvantage all the other companies wanting in on the action.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: BT & Fibre

          "Rather than having a national comms infrastructure, in the UK we created a massive near monopoly in a privatised BT, and then deliberately prevented it creating a national infrastructure because it would disadvantage all the other companies wanting in on the action."

          It does make one wonder how good a national network infrastructure we could build with £72B (+ overrun costs) and if it might be better for the UK on the whole that cutting 30 mins of the rail trip from Manchester to London. If everyone had 1Gb/s fibre to the premises, would we even need to travel so much?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Copper cabling, crap service

      "Fibre has always been the way to go."

      "Always" is a big word. Some of us can remember times when it not only wasn't the way to go but didn't even exist except when you melted the middle of a glass rod in a Bunsen flame and pulled the ends apart.

      Of course telephones existed in those days and it would have been silly to have waited for fibre to be developed so they were connected by copper.

      Some of us can also remember the times when cable was introduced and BT wasn't even allowed in so various other companies cherry picked the areas where they thought the best ROI was to be found.

      It was only when the cherries had been picked that it was demanded that not only should BT cable up the rest of the country PDQ but that the erstwhile cherry-pickers should be able to piggy-back on BT's investments when they couldn't be arsed to make their own.

      1. andy 103

        Re: Copper cabling, crap service

        "Some of us can also remember"

        Yes, this was called the past. Times have moved on. And other countries have been using fibre for a bloody lot longer than us, with amazing results. See Sweden or Finland, for example.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Copper cabling, crap service

          "And other countries have been using fibre for a bloody lot longer than us, with amazing results. See Sweden or Finland, for example."

          I'll observe here that it's quite easy to increase average broadband speeds if you don't serve rural areas. The only valid measurement is a combination of average speed *AND* how much of the population is able to obtain a connection.

          Cities in Sweden are connected to fibre MANs which are, as you say, very fast indeed. Rural areas have to make do with ADSL and VDSL however - so if the focus now is on improving rural access to broadband, Sweden doesn't have much to teach us.

    3. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Copper cabling, crap service

      The big problem here is if new housing is being built the area should be having fibre installed direct to premises country-wide and it should have been happening for at least the last 15 years but what's actually happening is they're installing copper. This is probably the biggest fail here; that's causing the most absurdity.

      Once they have that sorted then we could be looking at getting other areas upgraded from copper but they've not even got that sorted yet. And they're getting massive taxpayer funds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Copper cabling, crap service

        "but what's actually happening is they're installing copper. "

        Telcos don't install cabling in new builds, the developers do it.

        Also, if someone wants a phone line only - no broadband - it has to be delivered via copper as per Ofcom's rules about 999 service in a power cut. So even if the developer does install fibre, the first time someone wants a phone line only, copper has to be installed.

        1. Red Bren
          Unhappy

          Re: Copper cabling, crap service

          Regardless of who does it, FTTP should be mandatory for all new builds, with infrastructure to support connecting to any provider in the market.

          Last time I moved house I dismissed all the new build options because BT had an exclusive contract to install ADSL in every single development I saw. As VM were not permitted to run their cable until the development was finished, they faced the full expense of digging up the road, making it less economically viable, effectively handing BT a monopoly.

        2. streaky Silver badge

          Re: Copper cabling, crap service

          Telcos don't install cabling in new builds, the developers do it.

          Even if this is true, and I don't think it is because usually openreach show up and do it - it'll still be specified by BT. I don't think the power cut thing is true either because we don't have such a line on FTTP and nobody is shutting Hyperoptic down, plus it'd be an absurd rule to have given chances of the thing taking the power out also taking the phones out (storms/floods would be most common in the UK). But lets say both those things are true for argument's sake - there's ways around power like say backup batteries for phones or also requiring copper twisted pair with the FTTP; the reality is when you're installing cable it's no major cost to install others at the same time which is why various services piggyback road digging when they can. The install thing is a case of BT/OR specify the network standards anyway even if it is true. Indeed it'd be super easy for BT to specify the requirement to also ship fibre onto planning applications and that will all fix itself.

    4. Lodgie

      Re: Copper cabling, crap service

      The copper network was designed for phones and is perfectly suited to low speed data transmission. However, copper is perfectly adequate to provide high speed transmission over reasonable local distances so if you get fibre to a street cab and use copper for the final leg, it is adequate. Our home broadband (in the country) is 150 yards from a fibre cab and we are getting 75Mb. This is plenty of bandwidth.

      The contention ratio at the exchange is more important than quoted speeds, having fibre in the UK is like driving down a six lane motorway at high speed only to end up at a clogged roundabout (the exchange) where everything queues and waits for a path.

      1. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Copper cabling, crap service

        This is plenty of bandwidth.

        No, it isn't. It's a dog's breakfast is what it is. It's true that in the middle of nowhere we could use that sort of speed to cover up the fact we're getting short-changed, but in urban areas is astonishingly poor form.

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    Disruption

    "As many as 79 per cent said they would accept disruption to their home in order to get faster broadband – an obstacle often cited by the biggest providers as an obstacle to fibre."

    That few?

    I bet the figures are way higher if you have to suffer wet length of string speed levels.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Disruption

      "As many as 79 per cent said they would accept disruption to their home in order to get faster broadband – an obstacle often cited by the biggest providers as an obstacle to fibre."

      And how many said "how much?" when told what it might cost? Or wasn't that bit mentioned?

      1. Seajay#

        Re: Disruption

        And how many said yes but are tenants so don't actually have the authority to agree to the garden being dug up?

        1. BongoJoe

          Re: Disruption

          I live on the thirteenth floor of my block... ...and you're not digging up my window box.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disruption

      ""As many as 79 per cent said they would accept disruption to their home in order to get faster broadband – an obstacle often cited by the biggest providers as an obstacle to fibre."

      That few?

      I bet the figures are way higher if you have to suffer wet length of string speed levels."

      And yet - where fast broadband is available, only about a quarter of people take it up. The vast majority pick cheaper rather than faster.

  3. billh

    exchange only lines...

    Even in London there are still a lot of EO (exchange only) lines with terrible performance. No 'fibre' services as there is no street cabinet and the work-around appears to be to place a cabinets in the street outside the exchange building.

    For me the irony is that I'm on an EO line to one of first London exchanges to have FTTC services, paid for by the DETI next generation broadband project in 2011.

    1. n0r0imusha
      WTF?

      Re: exchange only lines...

      same here, i have also emailed openretch about it, they told me its not financially viable to intsall a streetcabinet, my speed is not bad but the 200m as the crow flies is actually an over 1km link....

      very efficient. the copper they pull out would pay for the FTTP probably

      1. smudge Silver badge

        Re: exchange only lines...

        the copper they pull out would pay for the FTTP probably

        Someone said, a few years ago, that the value of BT's copper was greater than the market valuation of the company itself. Not sure if that's still true, but it was an eye-opener...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: exchange only lines...

          "Someone said, a few years ago, that the value of BT's copper was greater than the market valuation of the company itself."

          Value as scrap or value as plant? There's a difference.

          1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: exchange only lines...

            > Value as scrap or value as plant? There's a difference.

            Scrap.

            https://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/sep/23/bt-copper-assets

            [icon: Albert Steptoe]

            1. Steven Jones

              Re: exchange only lines...

              If you read the note at the end of the article, you'll find it's a crap bit of mathematics by Tim Worstall. Basically he'd assumed that the total BT line length was for 10 pair cable and it's not. It's for single pairs. Secondly he'd not allowed for the weight of the insulation, which is half the weight of the cable he looked at (easily worked out from density of copper and the wire gauge).

              That little bit of a kindergarten mistake by the ever egotistic Mr. Worstall overestimated the amount of copper in BT's network by a factor of about twenty. I responded at the time. Neither he or the Register ever noted that howler.

    2. John Sager

      Re: exchange only lines...

      Same in the country. I'm on a EO line which is about 3km in line length according to Openreach's TDR. There is a cabinet 200m away from me which has finally had a fibre cabinet installed next to it, but it's awaiting activation. I am assured that they will eventually transfer my DP to that cabinet, but it looks like it'll be many months before that happens.

    3. iDavid

      Re: exchange only lines...

      My London EO line runs right past an FTTC cabinet at the top of my street to the exchange 1km away. Yet Openreach always says 'we are exploring solutions'. No VM either. #pissedoff.

  4. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Why 60Mb?

    Respondents said average speeds should be at least 60Mbps

    I'm curious as to why? What do most people do with that sort of speed? Does 4K TV need that sort of bandwidth? Surely the only reason for wanting that sort of bandwidth currently is downloading things. OK, I downloaded over 10GB of stuff yesterday (RHEL7.3 & a big service pack), but I wouldn't view my use as being that typical. I downloaded these over a ~35Mb link (it's an 'unlimited' link), I can't say that my life would be particularly improved if the link was 60Mb, not that I wouldn't be prepared to pay to get more BW.

    How many video feeds do you need to stream into 1 house to use 60Mb?

    In my case when FTTC rolled out in my area the first link clocked in at about 40Mb, a lovely jump from the previous ADSL2(?+?) at about 5ish. The moment I had a 2nd link enabled (I run bonded lines for HA reasons) the link fropped to sub 30Mb. I'm in the SE but not in London, we had FTTC before the various members of my family who do live in London and we weren't in the first wave of homes luckily enough to get it and our roll out was repeatedly delayed.

    To get much better performance and probably to get 60Mb here with current technology they'd have to go to something like FTTP. We don't have anything like that because of stupid war between the house builders and the cable companies when my house was built. It was when the cable companies were digging up every street and laying free cable TV, but they tried to persuade the house builders that they should pay the cable company to lay on the wiring on the new estate, so the builders obviously refused to pay for something that everyone else got for free.

    If the government want to help with the roll out of FTTP they should use the planning system. Refuse all planning for developments over a certain size (say 10 households) that don't include FTTP. That way there would be a lot of focus paid to getting the infrastructure to more parts of the country. You wouldn't get planning permission unless there was power, water and sewerage provision.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Why 60Mb?

      Also raw speed is meaningless without some idea of QoS/contention.

      60Mb/s with (say) 25:1 contention will usually give a worse experience than 5Mbps uncontended at peak times.

      For VoD it doesn't matter if a 4K movie downloads in 60 seconds or 60 minutes - you can't watch it any faster......

    2. You aint sin me, roit

      Re: Why 60Mb?

      For my own purposes the 38Mb/s I get is more than enough. What's more it's a relatively steady service, which is probably more important.

      Before fibre the best I could get was 2Mb/s - on a good day with a following wind. As it would take more than an hour to download an hour's worth of viewing, live streaming was not possible. 38Mb/s is more than enough to support live streaming, but as with everything else computer related your demands increase to the limit of what's available. Streaming is possible, but can it support the kids streaming onto their phones at the same time as streaming TV, downloading music, playing games online... ?

      At the moment the answer is yes (in fact easily), but I can foresee the day when I want to do more and 38Mb/s becomes a bottleneck.

    3. zaax

      Re: Why 60Mb?

      A family with two children will easly use that and more, which is why 1g is needed per household

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Why 60Mb?

        > A family with two children will easly use that and more, which is why 1g is needed per household

        Sure I'd love a 1Gbps line. But it would only help with downloading stuff.

        What do you need for a full HD high quality feed? About 3.5Mbps, so if you've got 2 kids and assuming 2 adults (OK I'm old fashioned) that would be 14Mbps you need for streaming. The time when the kids need/want more is when they're downloading the latest updates for Steam & the Playstation & the Xbox. My kids average Internet usage on their phones runs in the the 100s of Gigabytes per month and I have a broadband line for them (my normal service is metered, so I have an all you can eat one for them, it's cheaper than way).

        I'm just interested to know where people got that figure from and what they think they'd use it for until everyone is looking at much higher res streaming.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Why 60Mb?

          "I'm just interested to know where people got that figure from"

          As average speeds have increased and people hear about the fastest speeds available, their expectations of what "fast" and "super fast" means have risen accordingly. I suspect they were given a range of speeds to select as the most likely they thought they needed and most of them picked the value in the middle, the lowest being seen as the cheap option and the fastest as likely being too expensive.

        2. ilmari

          Re: Why 60Mb?

          Don't forget that kids (and I extend that to "tweens" too) these days don't just watch one HD stream, they might have 4 live streams going at the same time while watching YouTube and Netflix. Plus a few forgotten muted tabs with videos/streams going.

      2. joed Silver badge

        Re: Why 60Mb?

        I'd argue that the issue is not so much with available bandwidth but rather the price of the "luxury" (and one's willingness to pay). For crazy money you'll get your fiber and 1G. For most it's just not worth it, much cheaper to tell them kids to suck it up and find something more productive to do.

    4. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Why 60Mb?

      "I'm curious as to why?"

      It seems obvious from other responses most of them have no clue about what they were being asked. Probably had 5 check boxes and 60Mb looked like the most reasonable one above middle choice.

  5. Spindreams

    Stop moaning, I live in italy and the Maximum speed I can get is 7Mbps and I actually get about 2Mbps.... :(

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      No, YOU stop moaning. At least you don't have to put up with Virginmedia's endless price rises and lack of customer service.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        I stopped expecting customer service from Virgin Media so now I don't feel any disappointment at the lack of it.

      2. smartypants

        Upload drives demand?

        On our plan with virgin we get 200Mb/sec from our virgin coax... more than we know what to do with, but that's besides the point. We paid for that level mainly for the 12Mb/sec up. (Backing up RAW photos to the cloud is what takes the longest these days in our house).

        12Mb/sec isn't as much as the 19Mb/sec of some of the others, but we always get that speed even at peak - i.e. doesn't seem contended. It throttles during peak periods if you use it for over an hour, but it's unthrottled between 11pm and 4.30pm the next day during weekdays, so in practise you can easily upload 100GB in a day if you want, but most of my uploads are done by the morning if I kick it off before bed, which is good enough.

        I wonder if they'll tweak the ADSL balance in the future to improve the upload/download split...

        1. mdava

          Re: Upload drives demand?

          @ smartypants

          I'm intrigued to know what sort of volume you are backing up to the cloud - and where to and at what price?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You realise that BT is no better? They've put prices up several times in the last 2 years.

    2. BongoJoe

      You stop moaning. I live on Pen Llŷn and I can't get more than 1Mb/s.

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Nope, all you guys stop moaning. Here in SA we still have quaint ADSL (10Mb) in many areas, most suffer from rinkydink slow speeds (10Mb if you're next to the exchange, 2Mb if you're lucky), although a fiber rollout is on its way.

    And sky-high mobile (3G/4G) pricing, which is not coming down quick enough.

    Most of us still is reliant on copper which is blagged frequently. And, yup, so does fiber.

  7. 0laf Silver badge

    Yes or no

    There is fibre in my street but I can't buy it because the box is at capacity.So if I check online I can get 'up to' 76Mb but in reality I can only buy 'up to' 17Mb.

    So in the government stats can I get it or not?

  8. adam payne Silver badge

    Respondents said average speeds should be at least 60Mbps, six times the proposed minimum speed of the government's Universal Service Obligation (10Mbps).

    The government need a think a little bit bigger than that.

    The UK's digital minister Matt Hancock has said that pure fibre and 5G are the priority for Blighty's digital infrastructure over the next decade.

    This discussion has been going on for years and will continue to go until someone steps up and just gets it done.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "This discussion has been going on for years and will continue to go until someone steps up and just gets it done."

      People keep throwing in these words like "always" and "just".

      If someone should "just" get it done why not you? All you have to do is buy a lot of fibre, a lot of gear, recruit and train a few thousand staff and arrange planning for all the street works you'll have to do. It'll cost you billions but, hay, you can borrow that. Of course you'll need to be able to sell the product at a price that at least covers the interest and repayment of the loans. If you hire the staff direct you'll have to pay redundancy when you lay them off after the project's finished. How long will it take? If by "just" you mean a couple of weeks it's going to be a hell of a big ask for everybody. Or is just going to stretch for a couple of years? Or a couple of decades?

      Are you going to do that? How long will your "just" amount to?

      Why do you think it's been talked about for years? Could it be because nobody wants to take the risks and make the investment for something that you think can "just" be done?

    2. Loud Speaker Bronze badge

      5G?

      Laugh, I nearly ... I suspect it is really Tony Hancock that is the minister.

      I live in London, and rarely get 5M!

      I can see the fibre cabinet from my front door - it is about 5 parking spaces away.

      I asked the Openreach guy when he was going to connect me, and he said

      "%$£&^ Xpbwg %&$*!!!!!" - a good deal more informative than BT's customer

      service.

  9. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Post-truth survey?

    Interesting that all the questions were about what people 'believed' rather than what the actual facts were, e.g. according to BT (okay, pinch of salt etc) 86% of premises could have fibre, and that was six months ago, but only half 'believe' they can get it.

    Why didn't the press release/article include the actual facts, rather than headline erroneous beliefs. Targeted at the Dily Fail was it?

  10. lissiekay

    I think they need to stop looking at extending half-arsed solutions like FTTC out to rural areas and instead focus on bringing improved services to urban and suburban areas. People out in the sticks make an awful lot of noise about not having the same access to services as those in towns and cities, especially when it comes to things like TV/radio reception and broadband, but it's their choice to live out there and they have to take the rough with the smooth, just like those of us in urban areas have to put up with eg. traffic.

    The copper network in a lot of areas is terrible - I'm lucky in that I've been able to switch to Virgin at home after months of problems with my copper line and endless engineer visits but a lot of people don't have that option. I haven't switched to Virgin for extra speed (although I'm going from 10Mbps to 50Mbps) but for the reliability - I couldn't continue to use a DSL service that was down for 1-2 hours a day. There needs to be a big national push to replace copper lines with something else, whether that's 5G wireless or FTTP.

    1. James Hughes 1

      I think I speak for many living in rural areas when I tell you to fuck off.

      Have you any idea whatsoever of how much industry (including farming which now requires broadband!) happens in rural areas?

      No, I suspect not.

      You also seem to think that everyone in rural areas live there by choice. Also incorrect for a large number of people.

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        I'm just going to cite Ashby De La Launde again.

        Government initiatives are universally shit, no exceptions. If we want decent broadband in rural areas we need to dig stuff up ourselves. It's been shown to work, now let's repeat it.

      2. inmypjs Silver badge

        "I think I speak for many living in rural areas when I tell you to fuck off."

        And maybe we will tell you to fuck off. No one is saying you can't have fast broadband out in the sticks, just don't expect the rest of us to pay for it.

        1. Credas Silver badge

          No one is saying you can't have fast broadband out in the sticks, just don't expect the rest of us to pay for it.

          Does that mean I can get back the £80/year that I'm paying Thames Water for the London "super sewer" that's of fuck all use to me, then? No, of course not - national (or regional) infrastructure is a shared cost.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "just don't expect the rest of us to pay for it."

          Why not? Are you saying you pay the full market value for everything you buy?

          If BB is seen as a nationally required infrastructure then it should be priced approximately the same no matter where it is. I wonder how much your fresh water would cost if you were charged by the delivery mile compared to those living next to the reservoir? Reservoirs and power generation are both rural industries in many/most cases and yet rural dwellers pay the same urban dwellers who may be many miles from the source at the end pf long and expensive wires/pipes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "hy not? Are you saying you pay the full market value for everything you buy?

            If BB is seen as a nationally required infrastructure then it should be priced approximately the same no matter where it is. "

            The trouble with that John is that to provide ubiquitous fast broadband without government subsidy the cost to urban folk has to double - the 90/10 rule gets you every time. All ISPs will have to contribute else the urban folk buy a cheaper option and the subsidy to rural areas is lost and the rollout doesn't happen.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Reservoirs and power generation are both rural industries in many/most cases and yet rural dwellers pay the same urban dwellers who may be many miles from the source at the end pf long and expensive wires/pipes."

            What's more some rural communities were broken up to make way for reservoirs.

      3. midcapwarrior

        "You also seem to think that everyone in rural areas live there by choice. Also incorrect for a large number of people."

        OK I'll bite.

        What forces you to live in a rural area?

        Do you have rules like in China that require a permit to live in an urban area?

        1. Mycho Silver badge

          Re: What forces you to live in a rural area?

          Availability of jobs.

          To live in London and save what I currently do per year I'd need to earn 60K and even then I'd have a crappier house.

    2. rh587

      I think they need to stop looking at extending half-arsed solutions like FTTC out to rural areas and instead focus on bringing improved services to urban and suburban areas. People out in the sticks make an awful lot of noise about not having the same access to services as those in towns and cities, especially when it comes to things like TV/radio reception and broadband, but it's their choice to live out there and they have to take the rough with the smooth, just like those of us in urban areas have to put up with eg. traffic.

      The fact that you apparently have Virgin suggests you are in a decent sized (sub)urban area as NTL/Telewest/Virgin never bothered going anywhere even semi-rural.

      However, this has left you short on knowledge of rural life.

      1. You don't need to be rural to get terrible internet. My parents are on the edge of an FTTC-enabled village, but their line comes from the next village 3 miles away for reasons history does not recall. Fibre would make that moot, but lots of people in London or urban areas seem to have the same issue with EO lines and associated weirdness. A rationalisation of the network would instantly help.

      2. Why do urban areas need FTTP? You can do VDSL or indeed G.Fast quite efficiently over short distances. Yes, they're inferior to P2P fibre, but digging up roads is expensive and do you really need more than 300Mb/s right now? As B4RN proved, soft-digging can be done relatively cheaply and efficiently compared with the usual £/km quoted for laying fibre (okay, they were uber cheap by being community based, but even for a profit-making business, soft-dig is cheaper than hard-dig).

      3. DEFRA. Farmers don't get a "choice" about being rural. Nor do other, necessarily-rural industries. Meanwhile DEFRA are going paperless and demanding that farmers complete admin online, having downloaded 100Mb, 1000-page PDFs on compliance. This is one hand not talking to the other. If you're requiring rural areas to do their admin online, then it is necessary to ensure rural areas have adequate internet access. Since copper does not work over long distances, this leaves fibre. OR address your complaint to DEFRA and tell them to go back to Royal Mail based admin.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "instantly help"

        Another! I agree with your argument, in fact with all 3 parts of it. But on the existing scale of things "instant" just doesn't happen. Even simply relocating your parents' line would be just one of a myriad of jobs all competing for the same resources.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "it's their choice to live out there and they have to take the rough with the smooth"

      Ah diddums. Seriously, have you stopped to think what would happen if everyone from rural areas moved into the towns and cities? Would you be able to afford to live there any more because the house prices would shoot up? And the house you could afford might be several times your existing journey to work.

      Seriously, the better solution would be to concentrate on enabling as much employment as possible to move out from the towns and cities by improving rural communications and converting some of the newly vacant office space to residential so that the remaining urban workers could live close to work so that there's be less distance to commute. It would be far more sustainable that the present situation which has been driven by over half a century's worth of planning policy dedicated to separating residential and employment areas.

  11. rh587

    I'm feeling somewhat smug with my shiny new 50Mb Infinity (up in the West Midlands), as installed 8 days ago. Tis glorious. BT's new Smart Hub is quite decent as well - good 5GHz wifi and an IP6 address (at last!). Only major gripe is you don't seem to be able to change the DNS servers from BT's own to something sensible like 8.8.8.8 or OpenDNS.

    However, my parents are still labouring on 2Mb ADSL despite being a mere third of a mile outside a village with FTTC/Infinity. For reasons history does not recall, they are the last property on a phone line that comes out from the next village over - some 3 miles away. They're not really rural or remote by any objective measure, but the barmy historic layout of BT's network cripples their connectivity.

    With Fibre it would be a moot point, but since BT seem to have no interest in doing anything other than sweat the copper they could do with felling a couple of trees in opportune places and suggesting "how about you hook us up to that pole over there and connect us to the nearest village?".

    1. Haku

      I've had true 74mbit download with Infinity 2 for years here in Gloucestershire, until recently when BT screwed up and cut me off for 2 weeks because their internal departments don't communicate with each other properly, especially when it comes to billing...

      During that time my next door neighbour kindly let me use their TalkTalk wifi, it was a 'dialup' experience of 1.3mbit. So today I'm wrestling with a cheap TP Link router flashed with DD-WRT to make it a guest wifi hotspot so visitors and next door can use. The biggest problem I'm having is that the "information stupid highway" contains too many guides on this subject using old firmware & settings that don't always translate into the present firmware.

  12. Chris 125

    I'm damn sure people don't need 60Mbps right now. Even in a house with 6 people, that's more than enough to support everyone watching a 4K film simultaneously.

    Maybe they'll need it in the future, when TV aerials are a thing of the past, but perhaps we should concentrate on the plan of getting rural areas up to a workable level first before giving a fraction of the population some headline figures that only exist to give marketing something to work with.

    (Also, I wonder how many people complaining that 30Mbps on Virgin isn't enough are using the supplied modem router for WiFi, because that does a cracking job of reminding me what dialup was like. One £40 secondhand Asus-WRT device later, doubled my speed)

  13. David_H
    Megaphone

    You can get fibre in the country ...

    ... just the same as you can in the town or city; if you can sign up enough people to get a commercial company interested. The only problem is that it's bloody hard work! It took me over 2 years to get 1/3rd of the population signed up in my Parish and 2 other adjacent ones. But that meant that a commercial company could see the benefit and installed 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-premises to the 5 villages. And we get charged around the same, £45, for 100Mb (traffic shaped from full stream) as we did for <1Mbps with BT. (The full 1Gbps comes in at around £75pcm). Most of us have transferred out landline numbers to VOIP so that we can ditch BT completely!

    So how to use that bandwidth. From my experience... Browsing is still limited by the far end ability to serve content, downloading is very fast, multi-player gaming is very responsive, Skype etc. (for talking to children at Uni) is limited by their terrible speeds, catch-up TV works as expected, remote access to my work PC over VPN is exactly the same as sitting at my work desk. I originally had 200Mbps, but I've moved down to 100Mbps and I've not noticed any difference (except with very large downloads).

    Now I'm trying to get mobile phone coverage for our patch of (not very) rural Northamptonshire! (Without everyone having to buy a £70 Femtocell.)

  14. a_mu

    Why do I need 60 Mb/s

    Answer is so that I can get a reliable 8 Mb/s

    I wonder, if we paid per G byte of data ,

    would we have much less hassle with 'up to', as it would be in operators interest to encorage us to use more data.

    Lots of other problems with pay per byte,

    like my kids going crazy, but hay..

    Companies only seem to understand dollar sign, so no interest in doing more than they can get away with ,

  15. William 3 Bronze badge

    They most likely do have superfast broadband.

    But don't use ad blockers.

    So it's slow as shit as far as they're concerned.

    When adverts make up 70 to 80% of the content of a page.

    You can get an instance five fold increase in broadband by blocking them.

  16. dr john

    Why do they think 30mbs is slow

    Why do these people imagine they NEED 60mbs? Because they see adverts for 100mbs or are on 30mbs.

    In my previous home I happily streamed full hd video on a 10mbs service with almost no buffering, via wifi and a laptop connected to the tv. Or sometimes had the tv on while streaming music (which needs very little bandwidth, contrary to BT's advert showing a party using streaming music and needing their superfast modem and service).

    In my current home I took the free upgrade from 30mbs to 50mbs, and then to 70mbs. I can't see any difference at all. But even the 30mbs happily handled the tv streaming while my partner was taking a live webinar on her laptop and I was doing something else on my laptop and tablet.

    If you offer some people 100mbs, then everyone on 10mbs or 30mbs THINKS they are on a poor service. They simply have no idea what they actually need. Unless of course they are downloading a pirated copy of a movie and want it to happen quickly.

    If they are on a 30mbs service with a large number of homes all connected to the same box in the street, the high contention ratio makes them imagine that 30mbs is a dreadfully slow service. It could in fact be providing the same achieved rate as a 60mbs in the same street.What they really need is better service to the box or more boxes in their street, and then the service to each individual home will improve. Trouble is if the service to the street boxes is improved, the providers up the maximum level they will sell in that street, more people will then take it and the users may not see quite as much of an improvement as they'd expect. It costs money to add more boxes in a street or upgrade the service to a box, so the providers try to recoup the cost by selling the faster services, which negates the upgrade a bit.

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