back to article Ofcom fleshes out plans to open up BT's ducts and poles

UK comms watchdog Ofcom has fleshed out its proposals to open up BT's ducts and poles - intended to encourage rivals to access Openreach's infrastructure and lay their own "full fibre" networks. Part of its plans, outlined in the once-in-a-decade Digital Communications Review earlier this year, include the promotion of large- …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Universal Service Obligation?

    And will these capitalist competitors be required to provide a service everywhere? Or just cherry-pick the easy and profitable areas, forcing the unit costs for BT and Openreach in less crowded or complicated areas up? As has happened with the Postal system.

    1. Doc Ock

      Re: Universal Service Obligation?

      O' Reilly ?

      Let's not forget that nearly £2bn they were handed for rural services, oh and it was more profitable than they initially lied about so have to hand some cash back.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/16/bt-to-return-250m-to-the-taxpayer-after-government-backed-broadb/

      Isn't BT a capitalist venture as well ?

      Just how many BT employees, contractors or pensioners are there posting on this forum ?

      1. davidak
        Headmaster

        Re: Universal Service Obligation?

        Not this again. BT were not handed 2 billion. They were the last remaining bidder for it after all the others dropped out due to it not being worth their while. Fujitsu being the last of the others to bail out.

        1. Doc Ock

          Re: Universal Service Obligation?

          >Not this again.

          Is that because BT rigged the PIA pricing and was awkward as possible so other bidders dropped out ?

          http://www.itpro.co.uk/639142/bt-pia-fibre-broadband-product-fails-to-attract-bidders

  2. djstardust

    How many times?

    Jesus wept .... this must be the fifth or sixth consultation on this very issue in as many years all carried out by OFFCOM, and strangely nothing's happened.

    Useless toothless overpaid bunch of self serving morons. and that's on a good day.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: How many times?

      That would explain the deja-vu.

    2. Colin Bull 1
      Devil

      Re: How many times?

      I think it would be nice if there was someone at Ofcom who understood what IP telecoms is all about. In most areas it is is far more economic to have infrastructure provided by a single organisation. AND THAT CANNOT BE BT or OPENREACH. It needs to be and independent organisation similar to National Grid for power. Not someone who is competition with its customers. BT / Openreach have a vested interest in keeping multiple copper pairs to each premise from the exchange. IP to the cabinet or premise is the way forward. Why has line rental gone up 40% in the last 10 years when IT hardware has gone done by about 300%. Because BT and the other majors are gouging the line rental only customers.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: How many times?

        BT / Openreach have a vested interest in keeping multiple copper pairs to each premise from the exchange.

        Please clarify exactly what this "vested interest" actually is and how it works to my detriment.

        Try as I might I cannot identify "multiple copper pairs" to any of the local properties (houses) although I expect that business premises would have them. Having got that out of the way you are implying that BT should stop "keeping multiple copper pairs" and replace them with fibre. And who exactly would pay for that? I would take a very dim view if BT chose (or was forced) to take away my existing service and tell me that in order to have the new service I would now have to pay £X/month more. Ah; but it's a faster service and thus so much "better"... which overlooks that fact that the speed I get now is perfectly adequate for my needs and I would bitterly resent being forced to pay for a service that I don't need and / or more for the same service as I am getting now.

        So BT may or may not have a "vested interest" in maintaining the status quo but I also have a vested interest in it as well. If you have a demonstrable need for a faster speed then all well and good, but don't try to force me to have it as well so that I can subsidise your getting it.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: How many times?

          BT / Openreach have a vested interest in keeping multiple copper pairs to each premise from the exchange.

          Of cause BT have a vested interest in maintaining the (predominently) copper paired network. This is because they have Universal Service Obligation to provide telephone services, which due to current Ofcom regulations can not be replaced by fibre.

          Currently there is no universal service obligation on data services. However, if look at what Ofcom's other hand is working on, we can see that the only reason to disentangle Openreach from BT is to enable the placing of a universal service obligation for fibre-based data services. Which given what has happened to-date, would indicate there is no real mileage - other than short-term opportunistic gains from laying your own fibre infrastructure - your money is better spent lobbying Ofcom to push Openreach to delivery FTTP/H - which is exactly what Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone have been pushing for.

          If Ofcom really were interested in creating a market, they would make it much more attractive for Virgin and others to lay their own infrastructure that isn't based on a network topography that dates back to the 1870's.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: How many times?

            This is because they have Universal Service Obligation to provide telephone services, which due to current Ofcom regulations can not be replaced by fibre.

            Care to quote the bit that says it must be over copper ? I doubt it specifies that, more likely it specifies the obligation of a basic telephony service - which contrary to popular belief can be provided over fibre, including provision for emergency calls during a power cut (search for Deddington).

            1. Commswonk Silver badge

              Re: How many times?

              Care to quote the bit that says it must be over copper ?

              I'll come back to that shortly... I followed your suggestion and searched for "Deddington" but found nothing to enlighten me. Perhaps a more closely specified search term would help...

              I very much doubt if there is any requirement for the USO to be provided over copper wire. However any suggestion that it should be done over fibre (note should not could) ignores the economic reality that to do so would require suitable terminal equipment in customers' premises, and this context "suitable" means battery - backed. Now for those subscribers who do not want the internet (and I suspect that they do really exist, albeit in diminishing numbers) this additional terminal equipment might be an unwanted embuggerance; for those with a broadband service it would require a "different" terminal to those currently on offer. In both cases, however, part of the extra would have to be a battery, which because of charging requirements would require a bigger wallwart than those currently supplied. Standby batteries, however well treated, do not last indefinitely and a replacement cycle of about 5 years would probably be necessary. If the batteries were internal to the equipment then it would require at least semi - specialist effort to replace them, whereas separate batteries might not need that, customers could easily be unhappy of they had to engineer the replacement themselves. In both cases the batteries would require specialist disposal; they must not be disposed of as and with domestic waste. (FWIW used batteries are counted as Hazardous Waste, with all that implies.)

              OK; the "fibre only" approach might just about be viable on new builds of large estates, but the economics of replacing the existing copper local ends with fibre (including terminal equipment) simply don't add up outside of a truly eye - watering increase in subscribers' costs. The "battery problem" would still exist, of course. Even the new builds would have to pay more for their service because of the need for terminal equipment; that or everyone has to pay more (so that everyone is treated equally, if only in financial terms) even if they remained on copper.

              The "we must have fibre everywhere; let's ditch copper" argument only works if the economic realities are completely disregarded, along with the logistic complications of ensuring that the back - up batteries were correctly managed thoughout their service life.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: How many times?

                "The "we must have fibre everywhere; let's ditch copper" argument only works if the economic realities are completely disregarded"

                The economic realities are that the copper network is utterly buggered across large swathes of the country and copper-clad aluminium/aluminium pairs are still in service despite claims to the contrary, as are increasingly cranky 60 year old water-logged paper-insulated cables.

                It's cheaper to replace those with fibre than copper.

                The difference is that if BT runs fibre to do that, it has to eat and amortise the installation costs over 10-20 years, whereas if it sells FTTC it can charge 150% of the equipment price upfront AND charge stupidly high rates to keep it running.

                The dialtone argument is a strawman. Backup batteries capable of keeping a GPON terminal running 24-48 hours for dialtone are readily available - and have unmaintained service lives of 10-15 years. They don't need to be rechargable. You can even use a few supercaps to do the job.

                This has already all been proven. Trying to point out that BT/Openreach can't do XYZ looks pretty silly when NZ's Spark/Chorus demerger and subsequent showing that it CAN be done economically has already happened - in a similarly sized country with less than 1/10 the population, 1/10 the population density and average terrain which makes the Scottish Highlands look friendly.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

            3. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: How many times?

              " I doubt it specifies that, more likely it specifies the obligation of a basic telephony service"

              It does. Which has been "creatively" interpreted as meaning that dialtone must be supplied, even where it's not wanted.

        2. Snafu1

          Re: How many times?

          It's difficult to get power over fibre, & AFAICR the 'rules' (WTA 1948 IIRC plus amendments, but I may well be wrong; I haven't checked) still state that at least one landline telephony connection to a premises /must/ be (locally) independent of the Grid, (whether or not the premises' owner uses that connection), for emergency services callout and/or broadcast (the latter for national emergency, eg war, plague or similar)

          This leads to battery connections as mentioned below (/above, depending on display), with their concomitant problems, replacement schedules etc..

          Sat connections are unreliable (weather conditions) & require power; (buried) fibre is more reliable (mostly - check flooding problems & vermin) but still requires power. There isn't much of a way around this..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many times?

        Sadly there are people who work for Ofcom who really, really understand digital communications, but they are kept in locked cupboards and never let anywhere near the policy wonks.

        Never let technical, physical or commercial reality get in the way of a popular public stance is probably the motto of every Of..... charperson.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: How many times?

        "In most areas it is is far more economic to have infrastructure provided by a single organisation. AND THAT CANNOT BE BT or OPENREACH"

        It can be Openreach - look to New Zealand and the TelecomNZ -> Spark/Chorus split and demerger.(*)

        This was specifically done after TNZ proposed the BT/Openreach model - the competition authorities there studied how it was working here, noted the ongoing market abuse by BT and said "No. Full split. If you want any more broadband money, you'll do it without arguing"

        The last part is what convinced TNZ not to argue. Losing a few billion income and having lots of stuff they didn't want disclosed dragged out in courtrooms was the key - it would have exposed them to extra litigation with court evidence in one case being used to prove liabilities in dozens of others.

        Once freed of the tyrannical hand of head office, the newly freed up "Chorus" rapidly started hunting down new customers and providing good service to all comers. Former "competitors" were now potential clients and the equivalents of Virgin are able to lease dark fibre or run their own cables in Chorus ducts.

        The result is that Chorus is robustly healthy(**), even with regulated copper/fibre prices (which are going down on copper pairs, despite Chorus' objections - the idea is to force the country across to fibre by making it more profitable than copper) that started off at about half the previous monopoly incumbent pricing and are now significantly lower than that.

        The ironic part is that the former incumbent is now rather sick and struggling to get financing, even crying poor and that the newly regulated lines pricing was far too high(***) - demanding a special discount (which it didn't get). Everyone else was happy with rates that had been halved and not having to use telco-supplied NTUs on tail circuits, etc(****)

        (*) Share split, issued to existing shareholders. Complete split of offices, directors and CEO. Telco kept its exchanges and distribution plant. Lines side company got everything from the MDF outwards and all supporting outdoor plant. Lineside copper rates regulated. Dialtone supply not mandatory for *DSL, rules put in place limiting maximum shareholding by any one entity, to prevent takeovers and any shareholders over that limit at divestment given a hard deadline to sell their holndings down

        (**) Despite dire predictions of not being able to get finance (proven wrong), pensions liabilities (proven wrong) and inability to get business (proven extremely wrong). It's taking on more staff to keep up with demand and quite profitable despite regulated line rates that everyone's(+) happy with.

        (***) Line charges were set by the ministry of commerce after consultation and using figures supplied by Telecom New Zealand. 12 months on, the screaming from Spark(formerly TNZ) made it clear how much of a cash cow that the lines business had been. The myth of the "sick lines company" had already been pretty much exploded by then, but the fact that the former incumbent dialtone provider was whining that lineside charges were too high to make a profit underscored how much they'd been ripping everyone else off and hiding the real situation by creative accounting. They were fundamentally dishonest with the figures they supplied the regulators and thought they'd get away with demanding special deals later on. It didn't go down well.

        (****) This is a backdoor way of holding your competitors to ransom. Putting NTUs on means you can charge far higher leased circuit rates instead of dry pair rates. Telecom NZ withdrew all dry pairs in the 1990s when they realised people were buying and installing their own NTUs (and managed to cancel the type-approval for all non-TNZ-owned NTUs). As with BT, what that means when you buy a leased circuit from a competitor is that unless the competitor has physical connectivity to your premises the "last mile" is across a subleased BT circuit, meaning that there are actually 3 sets of NTUs in place (BT-BT--XYZ-XYZ--BT-BT) resulting in the cost for such a circuit often being higher than buying directly from the incumbent AND the BT/XYZ interconnect causing major issues(++)

        (+) well, almost everyone. The former incumbent is still getting used to the idea of not being able to hold the country to ransom.

        (++) Our painful experience with this was that whilst faults on our 1GB/s line were invariably BT equipment, Virgin wouldn't call them until they'd had a tech onsite to verify the problem and then we had to wait for the BT tech to show up and fix things. This added 18-24 hours to circuit restoration times. Unsurprisingly we've gone back to BT but only because they're no viable alternative (Because we went to Virgin, BT immediately dropped the price they quoted by 55% - and THAT is how a rapacious telco can hold everyone to ransom. I'm quite sure that come contract renewal the prices will bounce up again, now they have us back in their sweaty paws.)

  3. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    Don't every body rush...

    It'd be nice to think this will result in a massive FTTP roll-out but I doubt it.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Even with a demerger, there won't be a FTTP rush. The first part is ensuring equal access.

      In a demerged environment the USO is split into a connectivity part (lineside) and dialtone side (all dialtone providers), with an option for making a BB USO that has similar splits for lineside and backhaul components.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just waiting for Sky to complain...

    I'm sure Sky will be upset by being allowed better access to the ducts and poles.

    Definitely not what they wanted last time they complained to OFCOM.

    Access to ducts and poles would require them to invest time and money in installing infrastructure, when what they want is BT/OR to invest the time and money and give them free access to it.

  5. Warm Braw Silver badge
    Coat

    "Ducts"

    That use of quotation marks got me wondering what distinguishes a duct from other small, underground tunnels.

    I suppose if it warps like a duct and cracks like a duct...

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: "Ducts"

      "if it warps like a duct and cracks like a duct..."

      Then you need to send someone to repair it - mind you it's not complicated, a trained chimp could do it so don't go for an expensive repair option when all you need is duct ape.

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "Ducts"

      I think you should quack your bags and go...

  6. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    The state of OpenWretch is ridiculous

    Forget broadband, it's hard enough to get a thing called a "phone line".

    We have a customer in Wales who needs four lines (they moved office). They currently have one. To get the other three in, is going to have taken almost four months! We get a series of messages from Openreach along the lines of "pole is condemned - next update in three weeks" or "survey resources scheduled - next update in four weeks". In the meantime, the customer's old phone lines are in a building occupied by a new tenant, diverted to the one working phone line. We can't move them anywhere, because an order is present on the line (the move to the new premises) and if we cancel the order so we can do something with the phone lines, we will have to start the order all over again from the beginning.

    Oh and they can't have broadband on the 3-line multiline because "openreach don't allow that".

    And just to really rub it in, we have had to increase the SNR target so much just to get a stable broadband on their line that they can only get about 300kbps!!

    But most people think the whole country has "fibre". We need to end this marketing lie that FTTC is "fibre".

  7. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Can someone clarify ...?

    I thought the idea of spinning off Openreach was to make it equal and open to all? (I won't mention cronies and hedge funds making a fortune out of it on the stock markets). If that is the case, why are we talking about other companies having access to the ducts/poles etc surely that will still be overseen by Openretch? If not I have visions of telegraph poles and ducts looking like those in Bangalore, the exchanges looking like my mums knitting basket and the whole lot being completely unserviceable.

    1. Toltec

      Re: Can someone clarify ...?

      I immediately wondered what happens when company A pulls in a new fibre and damages company B's existing fibre?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can someone clarify ...?

        "I immediately wondered what happens when company A pulls in a new fibre and damages company B's existing fibre?"

        They're in sub-ducts, usually containing further microducts (tubes of varying diameters down to 5mm). E.G. a 25mm sub-duct can contain 3 * 10mm microducts and a 72 fiber mini cable will fit in a 10mm microduct. Your house would need one of those fibers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can someone clarify ...?

          What tard down votes a factual statement? No fiber broadband for you.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Can someone clarify ...?

        "I immediately wondered what happens when company A pulls in a new fibre and damages company B's existing fibre?"

        The same thing that happens when contract Z digs up a duct and wrecks lots of fibres - liability insurance kicks in.

        In any case, Company A won't be pulling in new fibre without oversight and in most cases will be contracting the lines company to do that work for them.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Can someone clarify ...?

      "If that is the case, why are we talking about other companies having access to the ducts/poles etc surely that will still be overseen by Openretch? "

      Look at the New Zealand model. Openreach (Chorus) own the ducts and poles. They are free to sell access or space to all-comers - and do.

      However the considerably lower access charges that result from separating out the monopoly lineside from the incumbent dialtone provider mean that most people take the leased service option, not the "run our own fibre" one.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will something similar

    be done to open access to Virgin's cable?

  9. Asterix the Gaul

    Alternatives

    Elon MUSK recently declared his intention to launch a global internet service by launching(4,425) satellites from Space X.

    "The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and professional users worldwide."

    This will take around ten years, with an initial 800 sat's being deployed.

    I think that he could be onto a winner here if BT landline & broadband charges are anything to go by.

    I am well into my seventh decade, I hope these come about before I go up the chimney, as I am sick of 'rip-off' UK & would happily help the guy by signing up for the service(providing it's cheap0

    Unlike BT\Open Reach, Musk is offering over 2GB\sec for users, that should help Stream providers, hopefully, it will kill off the BBC at the same.

    However, I think that ALL countries should finance the eventual removal of end-of-life sat's from around the planet, because of the effects on future space launches.

    In the extreme, if we ever needed to escape from Earth or deal with an incoming asteroid, we would potentially be well & truly screwed.

    1. Len Goddard

      Re: Alternatives

      Nah. Satellite broadband is crap for gaming - the latency is too high.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Alternatives

        Nah, shouldn't be that bad. The reason Mr Musk needs several thousand satellites is because they will be orbiting in LEO - about 800 miles high. The latency on that shouldn't be noticeable.

        No it's that '2GB/s' I'd take issue with. Firstly it's more likely to be '2Gb/s' but either way that's a lot of radio bandwidth to find. Spot beaming might help a bit but I can't see that being per-user. I don't think you could even have a service that allowed bursting to 2Gb/s.

        It might possibly be the total bandwidth available at ground level but that will then be shared amongst who knows how many users. 2Gb/s (even 2GB/s) shared by 22 million households in the UK ain't so clever.

  10. dmck

    If I were OpenReach once a separate business I would double the prices.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the same way Microsoft makes it expensive for Companies still using XP...

    Maybe the way is to manipulate the business rates paid by BT for Copper Lines, make Business Rates prohibitively expensive using an escalator pricing model over the next 7-10 years. Like Windows XP, make the case that Copper is obsolete. State that, if BT want to carry on using Copper/Alu, its going to cost them, for standing still.

    Price Long term Fibre Business rates, cheaper, the quicker BT get them laid. Relate the Business Rates paid by Telecom Companies to how relevant/matched their offerings are, to what UK Business and Consumers expect/currently need.

    Have an annual specification of what Average Broadband Speeds should be achieved. Better coverage, shorter install times/fix times, 'down-time', all been factors to reduce the obsolete tech 'fine'.

    After all there is a productivity cost to UK Business, that we're all paying by BT continuing with this Pointless Obfuscated, Bamboozled Copper Carcass 'upto' G.fast rollout.

    BT are profiting at the expense/misery of everyone else.

    BT are the drunks blocking the doorway for everyone else.

    (The problem is the regulator, ofcom/The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) , successive Goverments have allowed this Big Fat Drunk to occupy the doorway, make it their home)

    Business Rates may be the way to 'persuade' BT to get off this path - because its the equivalent of BT continuing with Windows XP, over Upgrading to Windows 10/Linux. Yes, it works for BT, but causes misery/costs for everyone else.

    1. Blotto Bronze badge

      Re: In the same way Microsoft makes it expensive for Companies still using XP...

      What are you smoking?

      If you want to intentionally tax copper so fibre is cheaper that's great but what about those of us who are happy with our copper connections (VM coax here as vdsl is ~22mbs and no one can beat £16 for phone, basic tv I don't use and 70mb bb VM offered me to stay)?

      For many cheap adsl or vdsl is more than adequate and low prices are as a result of the regulated wholesale price ofcom mandated on openreach stifling any incentive for joe public to pay extra for fibre.

      Ask yourself why the altnets aren't borrowing billions to put fibre cables in existing ducts to build a new national fibre network. The answer is it's cheaper fir them to do what they are currently doing.

      In 5 years time we will all be heading to 5g wireless anyway, no non rural operator wants to be saddled with huge debt sunk in domestic fibre tails when consumers (aside from a select few) don't want it. Most proper business (Ethernet) circuits are fibre now (at least last 10 years) anyway, only dsl based stuff is still copper. But. business can offset the install costs against taxes so fibre install fees aren't a huge barrier and are cheaper now than before.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the same way Microsoft makes it expensive for Companies still using XP...

        "In 5 years time we will all be heading to 5g wireless anyway, no non rural operator wants to be saddled with huge debt sunk in domestic fibre tails when consumers (aside from a select few) don't want it."

        You must be a BT marketing guy with absolute no technical understanding of the underlying technology. But in simple terms for you, here goes, just for you.

        I'm sure you'd be pretty pissed off if the only mobile phone you could buy and use was a Nokia 3210 in 2016, when technology has moved on. Well in 2017-2020, it's the same with BT, Pointless obfuscated, bamboozled 'upto' G.fast is obsolete before its even out of trial.

        Do you even understand how Wireless/Mobile 5G is delivered? Every mast needs a fibre backhaul or Microwave relay link to a fibre backhaul to deliver 5G speeds.

        Do you even realise how many mobile transmitter mast sites and the proximity between each (with line of sight, no obstacles, hills) you'd need to achieve blanket wireless throughput at 5G speeds to cover the UK? Roughly 1 mast every 1km2 as a minimum to achieve that sort of throughput.

        It's the same with G.fast, the UK would need to be 'carpet bombed' with G.fast nodes to get any resemblance of Ultrafast Broadband in terms of average speeds, across the board.

        It's a non starter. It's just BT doing headline grabbing bullshit. Yes, there is a percentage living 'on top of' existing FTTC cabinets that will see G.fast improvement (where G.fast is mapped 1:1 with existing cabinets), but anyone 150m radius from the G.fast enabled Cabinet, most of the real benefit of G.fast is gone.

        For wireless/mobile 5G - Masts have a max 100-150 concurrent users per mast, and at those usage levels you'd get nothing like 5G speeds. Add hills, trees, background interference. LIke Satelite, 5G isn't going to suddenly deliver broadband to 22million households in the UK, somehow making Fibre obsolete overnight.

        It's actually the other way round, 1Gbps+ real FTTP Fibre blanket coverage, would make the 4G speeds on EE obsolete overnight

        Hence the reason BT have no interest in investing in FTTP. How the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) didn't see this (they probably did, just decided to ignore) is just plain incompetence/corruption, in allowing the takeover of EE.

        Why would you even bother with mobile 4G avg 10-20Mbps if you have a nearby 1Gbps Fibre connection?

        The important bit (for you) is 5G in the manner you expressing can't be done without Fibre rollout.

        At least understand the technology before spouting nonsense.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In the same way Microsoft makes it expensive for Companies still using XP...

          "In 5 years time we will all be heading to 5g wireless anyway, no non rural operator wants to be saddled with huge debt sunk in domestic fibre tails when consumers (aside from a select few) don't want it."

          Someone planning to break the laws of physics?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahem...

    No more product development work going on in BT for copper infrastructure, any idea what that might mean?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Although I live in a far-flung part of the country, and on the outskirts of a modest town, my service is scheduled to be upgraded to fibre. People on the next cabinet down the street already have it.

    It wouldn't be so bad waiting if I knew when it was going to happen. But BT steadfastly refuse to give even the slightest hint of a timetable. For now, I am playing the only card I have, not having any wired/fibred connection at all, phone or broadband, because I am damned if I will pay for the pathetic speed that is available. (Use 3G/4G for now.)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: People on the next cabinet down the street already have it.

      I was in the opposite situation, my cabinet was the first one of the two in the village to be upgraded. It was another six months after my cabinet went live before work started on installing the second FTTC cabinet.

      If it is any help the BT Openreach availability checker: https://www.homeandwork.openreach.co.uk/when-can-i-get-fibre.aspx will give an indication as to whether your cabinet has progressed beyond the "We are exploring solutions" stage.

      The laugh I had this past month, has been that BT for so long delayed installing FTTC - not enough subscribers etc. and now after having been live for circa two years, they have just installed a second FTTC cabinet adjacent to the first...

      Like you I used a 3G dongle (with external antenna) until FTTC was available; however, I've maintained my 3G contract, using it as backup connectivity on the occassions the FTTC has been unavailable.

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