back to article Openreach fibre plan for 10m premises coming 'before Christmas'

Openreach chair Mike McTighe says the carrier has concluded its consultation on how to deliver fibre-to-the-premises connections across Britain by the year 2025 and will deliver its plan to do so “before Christmas”. “We will be publishing Openreach's response to that consultation before Christmas, and in that we will put out a …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

    With the increase in Wifi/5G speed wouldn't it be a better option to concentrate on Wireless solutions rather than digging up roads and pulling expensive cables/fibres..

    I am sure that even a 100Mb wireless solution would be preferable to a 20Mb existing broadband connexion.

    I have very little knowledge of the constraints behind Wifi/5G but it appears as though a physical cable/fibre would result in a higher TCO although I could be completely wrong on all points..

    ( By Wireless I mean any solution that doesn't involve cables/wires/fibres)

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      You may find this hard to believe but those who dont have fibre generally dont have 3g let alone 5g. I'm on 2Mb and cannot recieve 2G here.

      Its due to the laws of physics - they wont open their wallet until the government had opened theirs first.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      100 houses sharing a 100M 5G connection means they get an average of 1M each. Probably more in practice; but if half of them decide to stream iPlayer or NetFlix at the same time, it isn't going to work well.

      High-frequency microcells may have a role to play - but as Mr BT acknowledges, by the time you've got the fibre to all the lampposts down the street, you may as well have connected the homes as well.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      Wireless solutions are heavily contended in the 'last mile'. Ignore the hype from operators claiming gigabit speeds. Those are what the mast can handle under laboratory conditions. In the real world masts have to avoid interfering with other masts, buildings reflect the signal outside and prevent quite a few frequencies reaching inside, trees and geography block the signal. Distance from the mast weakens the signal. And perhaps worst of all everyone within range of the mast is sharing that juicy-sounding bandwidth.

      Increasing the number of cells can help but by the time you've got a high enough density (assuming NIMBYs allow it) you might as well go the whole hog and run fibre to people's homes.

    4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      wouldn't it be a better option to concentrate on Wireless solutions rather than digging up roads and pulling expensive cables/fibres..

      High-speed wireless connectivity can only be achieved by installing a very large number of wireless transmitters, all of which need to to be connected to the network somehow. It doesn't matter if the last 100 metres is wireless or fibre, you still need a core fibre network in place to support those final links. This is why Openreach wants to install the microcells that the article refers to; by installing one fibre network and connecting both homes and microcells to it, they can get both FTTP and 5G. As noted, though, the large number of cells means that they need to be hidden somehow, most likely in "street furniture" (which means 'lampposts")

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

        As many of you realise my knowledge of 5G/Wireless is limited, hence my questions.

        So how do they manage to get Wireless solutions working so well in the likes of train stations etc where there is a very heavy concentration of people, watching videos/tv/facebook etc.. Is it simply the fact that there are many/many antennae nearby ?

        Why did I ask my initial question : I have just recently moved and had to use a 4G Router during the period that my new broadband line was being connected and I was able to surface/download at respectable speeds, around the 20Mb mark which was fine except for the fact that it ate up my 40Gb limit in only a few days.. ( had to buy another 60Gb)

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

          So how do they manage to get Wireless solutions working so well in the likes of train stations etc where there is a very heavy concentration of people, watching videos/tv/facebook etc.. Is it simply the fact that there are many/many antennae nearby ?

          It could be. If they only intend to cover the station they can use lower power allowing more antenna. Another possibility is if most people aren't streaming content. Where data access is bursty (eg;most email, web browsing) you can tolerate far higher levels of contention. In fact it's quite amazing how far you can 'overload' a network when everyone is only pulling down data intermittently even if they are pulling down quite a lot of data each time. The important bit is how much time each individual is not using their connection.

          Voice calls appear bursty in comparison to the data rate these days so aren't as much of a problem but I remember being in Kings Cross during the millennium celebration and even texts weren't getting through. You could forget trying to make a voice call.

          Imagine you were serving tea to an office. If people keep wandering up when they want a cup you can probably manage with a single kettle. You might need a rolling boil kettle but basically you can just deal with each customer as they arrive. But now imagine what happens if Roger turns up and ask you to fill his two litre flask. That's going to take longer and increases the chance of someone else having to wait.

          Contention is not unique to wireless solutions - almost all parts of a network are contended to varying degrees. It's interesting to note that cable connections are more contended than xDSL connections although so far DOCSIS seems to be keeping pace at least in the downstream direction.

          1. Youvegottobe Joking

            Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

            That bastard Roger, every flipping day looking for 2 liters of tea, a bag of sugar and a pint of milk.

        2. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

          So how do they manage to get Wireless solutions working so well in the likes of train stations etc where there is a very heavy concentration of people, watching videos/tv/facebook etc.. Is it simply the fact that there are many/many antennae nearby

          This answer is in two parts:

          a) lots of antennae

          b) it still doesn't work correctly.

          Eg, when there is an event at the stadium near my house, 3G/4G data service is basically impossible nearby. This leads to things like trendy pop up retailers (there's a cracking bar in a canal boat by the stadium) who take payment by the ubiquitous iZettle suddenly can't process any payments, which leads to confused hipsters and much stroking of beards.

    5. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      "With the increase in Wifi/5G speed wouldn't it be a better option to concentrate on Wireless solutions rather than digging up roads and pulling expensive cables/fibres.."

      Sure, if you lived in a lovely climate. But we have crap weather in this country, which would affect wireless transmissions.

    6. Elmer Phud

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      "rather than digging up roads and pulling expensive cables/fibres."

      In some areas al that is needed is a small change in the law to allow BT to use competitors ducting.

      (It'd mean I could get full-fat fibre)

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

        ... and use Virgin Media's ducting too.

    7. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      Where do you think they plug the Wifi/5g socket/hub into? Thin *air*!?

    8. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

      Khaptain - for reasons that others have pointed out, this isn't really an option - even so, your question was a perfectly reasonable one so I'm not sure why you're deep in downvotes. Have an UV from me to compensate.

      Folks - can we try to reserve downvotes for comments that are factually wrong, trollish, offensive, off-topic or otherwise don't advance the conversation?

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

        @David,

        Thanks, like you I don't really understand the down-votes, I too thought my question was valid. Fortunately some people did take the time to answer the question.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    “But equally we are not stupid. "

    Citation Needed.

  3. cosymart
    Meh

    Christmas?

    Which Christmas? I don't notice a year :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Christmas?

      They were going to say 2026 but brought it forward 7 days. Personally I think it'll be more like Zager And Evans.

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    “Let me be very, very clear,” he continued. “Openreach wants to build a full fibre network.... We need to have a business case that washes its face, that I can take to our shareholder – which is BT – to get them to invest in and to come up with the cash.”

    There I was thinking that Openreach was supposed to be independent of BT... I'm sure any other shareholder (e.g. if Virgin Media has shares) is just as interested in making it happen too.

    I really think it's about time someone stepped in and nationalised Openreach and the BT infrastructure to put things back on a level footing rather than faffing around trying to get a BT-owned middleman to work to anything other than BT's advantage.

    Internet infrastructure is too important to be faffing about with BT "when we get around to it" schedules still.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There I was thinking that Openreach was supposed to be independent of BT.

      Bear in mind that Openreach is the network operator only - it doesn't own the assets, they're still owned by BT, in order to tie them to the vast pension liabilities some of which date back to GPO days. In terms of "investor cash" I doubt that McTighe is relying solely on BT for the cash, and with the regulatory certainty that he's asking for, other options become available, such as BT selling regional asset bundles, as has been done with gas distribution - but only the ownership interest, with the operations still undertaken by Openreach (like the concept of "System Operator" for electricity transmission networks). Another option, again with regulatory certainty, is securitising the future income streams to raise the capital to do a fibre roll out, and that becomes a form of secured debt that's very attractive to infrastructure investors.

      I really think it's about time someone stepped in and nationalised Openreach

      You obviously don't recall the sloth and customer-loathing disinterest back in the days when the state owned the telecoms network. I do, and its only the naieve who think that nationalisation would cure anything. But you'll have your chance in three years time, just vote for Comrade Jezza.

      Another pertinent example is the water industry, privatised specifically so that somebody would manage the assets properly, and somebody would invest the money to improve performance, after multiple decades in which both Labour and Conservative governments had refused to invest (whilst happily signing up to much tighter EU water standards). That's the problem with government - they never will invest carefully and sensibly, and even where they go for some madcap rush to invest, eg in electricity generation, they screw it up, they don't invest from taxation or government debt, they just foist it on customers who have neither say nor choice.

      Of course, Openreach could have found the money to install FTTP for a small housing development in its own pocket if McTighe wasn't fucking off to Australia to pontificate at conferences. Then again, one of his previous roles was as chairman of that customer-champion, and worker's paradise, JJB Sports, where he was shown the door after a string of problems and "profits warnings". Some might conclude that Openreach have selected the usual sort of fat cat part-timer.

      1. batfink Bronze badge

        "privatised specifically so that somebody would manage the assets properly" - Pardon?

        @Ledswinger - You must be thinking of a different part of the UK to where I'm living! I haven't noticed any inclination from my local lot to manage the assets properly.

        As you even say in your comment, it's been crap for years because of underfunding from successive gummints. This is the old outsourcing story. You decide to systematically underfund something, so (not surprisingly) the service drops. You then declare that the only way this can be rescued is to flog it off to your mates (sorry, I mean "private enterprise"), who will of course run it "much more efficiently". This seems to be usually accompanied by hefty subsidies from the public purse (I'm looking at you, railway franchises). So, quiet board positions/consultancy fees to look forward to for those concerned, beers all round!

        Even recently, we've seen this trajectory with Royal Mail. Years of underfunding, declaring it unsustainable, flogging it off => price rises for the punters. A good example of the better efficiency of the private sector, of course.

        None of this rant defends McTighe, of course...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "privatised specifically so that somebody would manage the assets properly" - Pardon?

          As you even say in your comment, it's been crap for years because of underfunding from successive gummints. This is the old outsourcing story

          It's also because gummint doesn't have the balls to reduce staffing levels when it would actually be prudent to do so, due to the concept that anything run by the gummint must provide jobs (even if they are pointless ones)

          Therefore, any technology upgrade which would pay for itself by reducing staff numbers can't happen on the gummint's watch.

    2. Mike Dolan

      Noooooo!

      "I really think it's about time someone stepped in and nationalised Openreach and the BT infrastructure to put things back on a level footing rather than faffing around trying to get a BT-owned middleman to work to anything other than BT's advantage."

      Ah, the good old days. Where all equipment was restricted and had to have green labels before being allowed to be connected to the GPO owned infrastructure. Some of us remember the reality of having a GPO setup.

      Ummm - no thanks.

      Openreach are crap. But going backwards is really not the answer.

      1. jabuzz

        Re: Noooooo!

        The main complaints about the GPO days where delays in getting a new line and call quality. The green sticker thing continued long after privatization, and has *ONLY* gone away as approval is now done at an EU level; what did the EU ever do for me and all that... Note further that the BS6312 socket as used by telephones in the UK where introduced on the 19th November 1981. I was not till the 19th July 1982 that the government announced it's intention to privatize BT.

        The call quality was fixed by replacing the older mechanical exchanges with SystemX and all the inter exchange links with digital ones. This was well under way before privatization, however many people ignorantly presume that because it improved after privatization it was the result of privatization.

        The other issue when the GPO where running the telephones was the delay in getting a new line. This was almost entirely down to the huge and I mean huge increase especially in the 1970's of the number of households with a telephone line. In 1970 that stood at 35%, by the end of the decade it was around 80%. That meant over half a million new lines where being installed every year, and thus resources where short. Not long after privatization the growth in new lines fell back sharply and thus waiting times dropped to something sensible. Again ignorant people presume that because the situation improved after privatization it was the result of privatization.

        I for one would be happy for the infrastructure to be spun out into Openreach and for Openreach to build a regulated monopoly fibre infrastructure. That we don't have one today is entirely the fault of Rupert Murdock who lobbied the government back in 1997 to reject BT's then offer to lay a full fibre network to every household in the UK.

    3. NeilPost Bronze badge

      How about Virgin media opening up their ducting/netowrk to competitors too.

      Sauce for the goose.. n'all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paying more

    > as Openreach builds fibre connections, it will need to encourage internet users need to pay more for their services

    Why? FTTP networks cost much *less* to operate than copper ones, because of lower fault rates and lower theft. Plus, with a fibre network you have the opportunity to sell more services over the top.

    This is rather like the migration from vinyl to CD, or from VHS to DVD. The companies took the opportunity to charge more, because the product was "better" - even though CDs and DVDs cost less to manufacture than records and tapes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paying more

      That's true once you have the network in place. However it will cost billions to fibre up even 90% of the network. Billions that will have to be borrowed from banks and from openreach's parent company. Not only will the banks require payment with interest, BT will no doubt want some return on investment. Like it or not BT and be extension openreach are public companies with shareholders who expect the company to make money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Paying more

        Whilst the do pay their taxes, they do also get rebates/grants. Something for the govt to consider as a "stakeholder" too.

      2. Nifty

        Re: Paying more

        Why didn't the cost prevent mass electrification and the creation of the national grid in the UK then?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paying more

      Why? FTTP networks cost much *less* to operate than copper ones

      BT and especially Openreach is a company where the union tail wags the dog. Even the middle management is unionised. The issue in this case is exactly the workforce reduction. 10 years ago it would have been from ~ 40k to ~ 16k. Anyone suggesting what he is saying today 10 years ago was immediately sentenced to detention in "Her Majesty Correctional Facility Adastral Park". It was suggested by quite a few people at the time as a natural conclusion to 21CN and it was killed in favor of FTTC (and whoever suggested it was made to regret it).

      The only reason he can suggest it today is because:

      1. Over the last 10 years the permanent Openreach staff has decreased naturally through attrition and was not replaced by new permanent staff, but by contractors like Kelly Communications. The size of the tail wagging the dog has decreased.

      2. The rollout of 5G will provide enough work for the remaining unionised permanent staff to be employed until it naturally drops to the number which is needed to keep the broadband + mobile backhaul network running. So the happy wagging of the tail will direct the dog in the needed direction.

      3. Openreach is a cost+fixed profit regulated company. Even if it was not for the union, the more staff, the more cost, the more profit. A massive rollout mandate agreed by the industry can offset to a point where there is no overall reduction and keep shareholders happy.

      If it was not for these three, he would have never suggested it. In fact, I still remember the days when anyone who provided him with this rather obvious brief would have been made to regret it. Thankfully, things have changed (hopefully for the better).

      1. Orwell

        Re: Paying more

        What, and kill the cash cow? Copper land lines make a heap of money for BT. They are not going to drop that in a hurry.

        Down here in Sussex I notice many properties far from civilization have fibre brought to a pole next to the house. Then at a small green box on the pole the signal is converted to copper for the last 50 metres or so. Why?

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Paying more

        Her Majesty Correctional Facility Adastral Park

        Snigger. I don't agree with your post, but that is an accurate representation of Martlesham Heath :)

        It was much better when it was BTRL.

      3. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Paying more

        BT may be unionised, but the Union tail definitiely does not wag the dog.

    3. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Paying more

      You seem to be forgetting the capital cost, and running of the equipment/routers etc. Full fibre os more sophisticated than 2 tin cans and some string.

      Also to ensure SLA, you need to contract and resource support. This costs too.

      Everyone wants broadband for the price of a tin of beans.

  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    They know what they need to do. They know what's needed to achieve that. But as ever it's the practicalities that cause the problem.

    Remove copper: Yes. Sadly its scrap value probably doesn't meet the removal costs. Ofcom and BT seem to be in agreement on the issue of power backup though so seems reasonable. Just got to hope all the CPs agree to moving their reluctant customers on to it.

    Changing the pricing environment: Ofcom did say a couple of years ago that it felt it had achieved satisfactory take up so was prepared to allow prices to rise to encourage investment. But the evidence for willing customer participation is weak.

    It'll be very interesting to see how the new report is received. I hope there will be some thought given to avoiding overlaying coax with fibre. The project would be a lot easier if everyone accepted that VM cable was good enough. Unfortunately that's effectively handing half the country over to VM. That will cause tears in two boardrooms. BT won't like relinquishing control. VM won't like being forced to offer a wholesale product.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Real" fibre?

    Or something like G.PON? I want decent upload speeds as well as download, as does anyone who wants to use cloud backup and the likes.

    1. coppice

      Re: "Real" fibre?

      I had 1G up and down fibre, which could run steadily at 1G both ways all day long, for 6 years. This service was provided by G.PON equipment. Now I've moved to the UK, and I get 1Mbps up/500kbps down on a good day. Welcome to the third world.

      G.PON allows for fast balanced up and down speeds. Its a matter of how it is configured. Over 6 years of use the Alcatel G.PON boxes in our 2 apartments hiccuped 2 or 3 times, and needed a power cycle. Those are the interruptions we had. G.PON seems like a very solid system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Real" fibre?

        Typical GPON is 32 users on one fibre port sharing 2.4G down and 1.2G up.

        For the vast majority of users, this means they'll get 1G/1G in those short bursts when they need it (mainly when accessing speedtest.net :-)

  8. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Removing Copper

    The problem with removing the old copper cabling, is that you can't remove a copper cable until EVERY service has been removed from it. But to do that, you need to have installed all the fibre in the first place.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We need to have a business case that washes its face, that I can take to our shareholder – which is BT – to get them to invest in and to come up with the cash.

    I stopped reading right there. Why would BT invest in fiber optics when it can continue to milk the copper cash cow?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Why would BT invest in fiber optics when it can continue to milk the copper cash cow?

      One possibility is that a tipping point has been reached. BT has been pressured into reducing the line rental for telephone-only copper and many households have dispensed with fixed lines altogether. That essentially means their profit comes from broadband subscribers but they represent a diminishing proportion of their infrastructure. Their competitor broadband providers see the costs BT charge them for access to the local loop going up while their ability to deliver increased speeds is reaching a practical technology limit. If BT isn't going to start delivering FTTP, they'll do it themselves.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Why would BT invest in fiber optics when it can continue to milk the copper cash cow?

      It's not as simple as milking the copper cash cow. Consider what's behind this quote

      “we need to be able to switch off the copper network. The economics don't make any sense if we keep the copper network running at the same time as we overbuild with a fibre network.”

      Why don't the economics make sense? Because customers with a satisfactory copper connection, either POTS or FTTC won't want to pay FTTP prices. All fibre would be a much fatter cash cow. Make no mistake, if OpenReach can get rid of copper everyone pays more.

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Take a for-instance:

      A large rural site I work for, with many incoming lines, just went all SIP.

      BT / Openreach couldn't be bothered (literally) to run a leased line when requested. They dragged feet for THREE YEARS. I'm not even kidding. So the order was forcibly cancelled. That woke them up enough to wonder why, because I think they were convinced they were the only ones able to actually get a line there.

      Turns out, even though Virgin's business postcode checker "said no", the man on the end of the phone said "Yes" when I asked. We moved heaven and earth and had to do all kinds of things to get it in (including digging our own trench through neighbouring land, etc.) but we got it there. And it's been there three years, speed as promised.

      BT / Openreach even tried to access the site AFTER their install was cancelled "to finish connecting us" and I had them removed. Literally, they took three years to put in three bits of empty plastic tubing that weren't even jointed. VM got their line there in 3 months.

      So would BT have wanted the work? No, because of one simple reason. In the years of flawless service since, we've ditched every BT line coming into the property and replaced them with a single SIP trunk over the fibre. It's cheaper, easier, allows us to redirect the lines on a whim from a smartphone, can be run over literally ANY internet connection technology we go to in the future, and "just works". Nobody outside could even tell we did it, we still have all the same numbers, better call quality (BT's copper cables collapsed at least once, and every time it rains we lost four specific lines or they went incredibly crackly), and no hassle.

      That's what BT don't want people doing, over their own fibre or over their competitor's. They know they'll lose all that easy money from the copper analogue/ADSL/ISDN lines overnight.

      I think SIP really worries BT. And I really hope I'm right. Maybe it'll force them to change their ways. I'm still surprised that Virgin Media don't just have a "SIP" option in their default home router (hell, with a Draytek router at home, I can plug in an analogue phone and it becomes a normal SIP client with failover-to-analogue-line if I want - and when unpowered is just a straight analogue phone connection) rather than faffing about with cable-splitters and whatnot like they still do. Surely one device could do cable TV, cable Internet and be an analogue phone interface.

      To be honest, workplaces are almost entirely IP and PoE now - phones, wireless, CCTV, etc. I think it's only a matter of time before some small startup pushes it into homes as a commodity technology with some IP/PoE gadget.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Many a negative anedcote of Virgin media's crummy installs would make even GPO Engineers of Yore chortle.

  10. druck Silver badge
    Unhappy

    “We need a regulatory environment that moves away from lower pricing to encourage investment in the network,”

    Given the continual above inflation increase in the line rental changes from all Openreach sellers, that excuse isn't washing with me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Openreach don't see that money. The line rental they receive is £7 a month.

      Broadband in the UK is really very cheap - the model Ofcom adopted has driven pricing down and encouraged wholesaling but it doesn't provide much incentive for infrastructure investment.

      The iron triangle in last mile networks consists of cheap, widely available and fibre. You can pick two of the three.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business plan

    1. Maintain monopoloy on local loop.

    2. Get Vladimir Putin's phone number in case we have to swing the government decision.

  12. msknight Silver badge

    Personally, I read that as...

    My translation - "You've nobbled our ability to rip people off on the copper network, so we want to switch it off and lock people into our fibre product instead."

  13. JamesGB

    Openreach FTTP creates a monopoly for BT

    If you move to FTTP and don't have a copper line as well as fibre you will be given a new phone number. BT are breaching Ofcom rules because they can't transfer numbers from copper to FTTP or vice versa, nor can they transfer numbers between FTTP premises even when both locations are on the same exchange.

    For those unfortunate enough to be on FTTP only (without copper) and having to use Fibre Voice Access (FVA) for voice telephony, you can't change provider because BT are the only provider to support FVA. In my opinion, from the emails I've seen between BT and Openreach, this was and is deliberate market manipulation to give BT a monopoly on provision of service.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Openreach FTTP creates a monopoly for BT

      can't transfer numbers from copper to FTTP

      As far as I'm aware, FVA is just a VoIP solution. There's nothing to stop you getting a VoIP service from anyone and installing your own adapter box for your existing phones. You can usually port an existing landline number to a VoIP service - though you have to port it while it's still in service, it's too late once the original service has been disconnected.

      1. JamesGB

        Re: Openreach FTTP creates a monopoly for BT

        I’m afraid you are wrong. FVA is not just a VOIP solution. VOIP fails as soon as there is a power cut FVA will continue to function so long as the Openreach battery back pack lasts and you can replace the batteries in the back up pack to keep it working.

        Trust me, I know because I have Openreach FTTP without copper and no one else can provide me with a service other than BT as I don’t have copper.

        I’d be delighted to be proved wrong by being able to move to another provider, but so far I haven’t been.

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: Openreach FTTP creates a monopoly for BT

          FVA is not just a VOIP solution

          OK, it's a VoIP solution with a UPS. Admittedly a consumer-friendly, small, UPS, that takes 4 AA batteries, but it's just a UPS - with a lifetime of about one hour. A VoIP adapter connected to your own UPS would do the same job. Look at the Openreach fact sheet and you will see that it's simply a SIP terminal adapter.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: Openreach FTTP creates a monopoly for BT

            OK, it's a VoIP solution with a UPS.

            It's a VoIP with a UPS and access to emergency services. To replace it with COTS VoIP devices you would need UPS on your switch/AP as well.

          2. JamesGB

            Re: Openreach FTTP creates a monopoly for BT

            So why won't/ can't any other communications provider offer me a service? Spitfire, Vonage, etc. as VOIP providers and all the main communications providers say they can't provide a service, not even broadband only. Hence my assertion the Openreach is creating a monopoly for BT.

        2. jabuzz

          Re: Openreach FTTP creates a monopoly for BT

          Buy a VOIP solution that has battery backup then it will work just like FVA. What FVA is just VOIP through to a POTS with battery backup you don't say.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Meet the new monopoly.

    Same as the old monopoly.

    "I can take to our shareholder – which is BT"

    Says it all really.

    As long as that situation prevails no other ISP really matters at all.

    All else is rhetorical bu***hit.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Meet the new monopoly.

      @ John Smith 19

      There are, of course, alternatives.

      1. All you have to do is find a magic money tree. Then OpenReach doesn't have to get its shareholder to get money or permission to raise loans.

      2. Separate OR as O2 was separated, watch some other telco take it over as O2 was taken over, hope they make the investment and watch the new monopoly operate.

      3. Find someone with the money to set up a parallel network.

      4. Nationalise OR and let HMG finance it just like they didn't for decades before privatisation.

      Big investments require big money - nobody's going to work for free and whoever makes the investment is going to want a return to make it worth their while. I'm sure everyone who's got and is happy with FTTC is really going to be happy paying for FTTP instead so that those who want the latter can get it without paying full whack.

  15. Trollslayer Silver badge

    How much

    will it cost the commoners?

    I don't need that bandwidth.

  16. Slap

    It saddens me

    It saddens me, it really does sadden me to see how far behind the UK has fallen in tech services.

    I moved away around 11 years ago, and at the time mainland Europe was a little ahead, but not by much. These days it’s a gaping chasm, at least compared to Switzerland and the nordic countries.

    We’ve had gigabit fibre to the premises for almost 5 years now, and even before that getting 50 - 100 Mbps was not really a problem unless you lived in the middle of nowhere (which is still a problem but at least you can get a reasonable connection these days)

    However there’s a significant difference between how the UK telcos operate and how the Swiss telcos operate. Basically the fibre rollout was government funded and done by the local municipalities. Private ISPs and Telcos then rent the usage of the network. Basically it was an investment by the Swiss government in the economy of the country.

    On the other hand the UK has left it all to private businesses, Therefore the people in charge of your internet are only interested in profit and shareholder satisfaction, and won’t do a damned thing in terms of investment until pushed by the government, which apparently they don’t have the bollocks to do.

    I say this without even a hint of gloat, as I may well move back in time, and if I do I really do not want to move back to a place that, in terms of delivering tech services, has become a third world country.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: It saddens me

      All well and good but you have failed (or perhaps deliberately omitted) to tell us how much Swiss citizens have to pay for their broadband services. Without that information it is impossible to make a proper comparison between what we get in the UK for the price we pay and the Swiss equivalents.

      You cannot have failed to notice (or perhaps you have!) from some comments in this thread (and comparable broadband - related topics from El Reg passim) that uptake of broadband is price sensitive, and it has also been noted any major move to FTTP can only be achieved by increasing costs to the consumer. I can see why BT / Openreach might see a widespread migration to fibre only as being a solution; if FTTC is withdrawn then consumers will have no option other than to pay more for fibre, other than to do without BB altogether or ditch fixed line BB by fibre and use mobile services instead, although in my perhaps limited experience (PAYG dongle) that is a very costly way of using the internet.

      If Ofcom gives the green light to this plan I would seriously question in whose interests Ofcom thinks it is supposed to be regulating; IMHO it certainly will be difficult to argue that it is working for the benefit of consumers.

      1. chris3453

        Re: It saddens me

        In NZ we have GPON fibre supplied by an ISPs who wholesale from the network operator (Chorus) my monthly cost for 100Mb/20Mb is $69 (about 40 pounds at the current exchange rate). For a 1G/500Mb connections its around $129 per month.

  17. cantankerous swineherd

    higher prices? not for me, broadband already on the edge of too expensive.

    1. nothanks2

      Broadband itself isn't expensive - but the mandatory "line rental" which accompanies it is. Fewer and fewer people are using their landline phones at all these days. I personally haven't touched mine in years, but still pay for the privilege of "renting" my line.

      Moreover, often it's actually cheaper to choose a package which includes evening/weekend calls than it is to select the "Broadband only" package.

      The whole system needs to be vastly updated.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The speed of a broadband connection falls dramatically when you remove the medium over which it is carried. The line rental pays for the copper pair - the phone service is essentially free. Where I buy xDSL abroad for customers there is sometimes the option of 'bare' DSL without the telephone service - it costs more than the version with the telephone service, because the telco knows there's no chance of call revenue and so increases the rental to cover their costs.

  18. Paul

    sing along time

    On the 12th day of Christmas, Openreach gave to me...

    12 failed promises

    11 lines a syncing

    10 megs a streaming

    9 glitching circuits

    8 bits per octet

    7 leds a blinking

    6 carrier failures

    5 ring tones

    4 local loops

    3 vdsl modems

    2 sync errors

    and a packet with broken parity

  19. nothanks2

    I live in a semi-rural area 3KM from a large town and get a maximum download speed of just 0.5Mbps, and there are many tens of thousands more properties like mine across the country. So I'm always left with a bitter taste in my mouth when I read about ISPs plunging money into upgrading areas which already enjoy comparitively excellent connectivity (e.g. 50Mb to 100Mb).

    Crap broadband affects property values. Many people have actually refused to purchase local houses because the broadband speed is simply too low to handle even the most basic of modern web browsing (spare a thought for those of us who have to buffer their 240p YouTube videos before watching). I'm also house-hunting and have outright rejected several properties because of their broadband speeds, too.

    Over the years I've tried to spur ISPs and the council on to solve my area's connectivity problems, but they are simply not interested because they make more money from council estates than they do from pockets of countryside bungalows.

    Long-range WiFi would be an extremely cheap and decently capable solution for properties in the middle of nowhere. £1000 will easily get you enough kit for a gigabit link which will work at distances of 5KM or more and can be shared amongst whole streets if desired, but again, the ISPs and the councils are just not interested -- believe me, I've tried.

    Another solution I've heard tell of is using the sewers, since most homes are connected to mains sewerage networks already. Perhaps someone more well-versed than me could say why that's a terrible idea.

    In any case, I'm happy that Openreach have the ambition to create a full-fibre network; I just have absolutely no faith that they'll actually ever pull it off.

    In the meantime, I'll hit "Submit" and wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... for the page to load.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not sure that many rural properties are connected to mains sewers - I think about half use septic tanks.

      There's nothing to stop you buying the wireless kit yourself and getting your neighbours to sign up, anyone can run a service in the UK if they comply with the various rules. There was a series of articles on here some time back about someone who did just that. if a commercial company doesn't want to do it it means they can't think of how they'd make any kind of return, but as an individual you'd just need to cover your costs.

  20. EnviableOne Bronze badge
    Coat

    a business case that washes its face

    Has anyone seen one of these?

    Does it also clean behind the ears?

  21. crom

    FTTP prices coming down?

    ...or are these the trade prices?

    I was looking around for options as I contemplate an office move and came across these significant price reductions launching from openreach in Feb 2018. I contacted our local BT business supplier but they'd not heard of them and said that FTTP on demand had been withdrawn and they couldn't supply it. Anyone know any different?

    https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/pricing/loadProductPriceDetails.do?data=LNo28YEt6b0mlOac%2BC6kSQFXgQ2BCzCEU1ae6o4sFOyrmMllOOG7b%2F12AmPFLBERe6YShZ82RgLOGLsH2e9%2Bmw%3D%3D

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