back to article Why does no one want to invest in full fibre broadband, wails UK.gov

The UK government has launched a review to figure out what’s holding back investment in "full fibre" and 5G networks and how policies could help the telco market. The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review is part of efforts to push fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and 5G networks in the UK, and follows last week’s Budget …

  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    All aboard the gravy train…

    The UK government has launched a review to figure out what’s holding back investment in "full fibre" and 5G networks and how policies could help the telco market.

    … please sign me up for meetings and shindigs in exotic locations before pointing out the obvious: the timeframe for return on capital is unsuitable for the private sector.

    1. streaky Silver badge

      Re: All aboard the gravy train…

      the timeframe for return on capital is unsuitable for the private sector

      Explain Hyperoptic and peers.

      The actual reason is BT are happy getting free taxpayer funds to *not* do it thank you very much, one of the fundamental reasons why current government strategy is broken.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: All aboard the gravy train…

        Explain Hyperoptic and peers.

        Don't see anything like a universal rollout. Looks very much like the standard kind of cherry picking. £100 million in funding won't pay for that many pavements to be ripped up and relaid.

        1. streaky Silver badge

          Re: All aboard the gravy train…

          They're pushing towards, regardless you don't have to rip up pavements to do a national FTTP roll-out - seems like one of those mythological ideas people have about the way things work. Regardless if HO can do it locally with no government help and be a viable business it can be done nationally by BT with the government help that they are getting. There's plenty of this going on in the rest of the world if you want other examples.

          None of this would be so bad if BT didn't know exactly how to do it.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: All aboard the gravy train…

            if HO can do it locally with no government help and be a viable business it can be done nationally

            This is flawed logic: it's always easy to cable up up a couple of hundred thousand places, but it becomes increasingly difficult to do more. Or, in investors terms, the returns on investment become lower and lower.

            Openreach should certainly be taken off BT to remove any conflicts of interest and OFCOM's plans to allow other companies access to Openreach's ducts will help, but without the prospect of getting more money from customers, rollout will be limited.

            1. streaky Silver badge

              Re: All aboard the gravy train…

              I disagree, although I totally see your point.

              Certainly at the bare minimum when BT is replacing cable anyway and when new housing is being built (and especially in this case) BT should be specifying that house builders lay fibre to people's houses, at the very minimum so it can be upgraded in future.

  2. Mike Scott 1

    That's what we need.. another review to tell us how pitiful the state of the national infrastructure is. That will really set the jet burners under a proper improvement program, driven by an active and competent regulator, empowered by a decisive government, and delivered by organisations focused on quality and customer service to deliver long term profits and shareholde rvalue. We can dream. All we will get next summer is a report telling us things havn't improved, the UK is sliding down the comparative tables, and something really really must be done... Perhaps another review. And so the cycle recycles.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Actually I suspect that it's all down to basic market forces. I suspect that the Telcos know full well that a widespread migration to FTTP would have to be accompanied by a corresponding monthly price increase to their customers, and in turn the customers might not be too pleased to find this happening.

      I cannot claim to know the full details of Ofcom's remit but I strongly suspect that it doesn't include forcing end users to pay more than they want for a service that may well be far more than they actually need.

      I don't doubt for a moment that there are areas where the existing services (ADSL / VDSL) are woefully inadequate and no - one could argue against concentrating some effort and money in engineering a solution for those areas and their occupants.

      At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious providing those who have a good enough service with a much better one does absolutely nothing for those receiving a poor service. That would be rather like treating someone who is ill in London in the expectation that someone in Manchester will get better as well as a result.

      I know the above risks downvotes but what on earth is the point in failing to address a problem that really does exist by addressing one that argably doesn't. How would you like it if the budget supermarkets were closed down by diktat so that we all had to pay Fortnum & Mason or Waitrose prices?

      1. Mike Scott 1

        I hear what you are saying, but it would be preferable if more consumers could make the choice to take a better service, rather than be stuck on the minimum possible the telco can get away with providing.

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          A very fair point; it ought to be straightforward to poll BB users to try to find out (amongst other things) "how much more would you be willing to pay for a faster service?"

          I write as someone who declined BT's offer of a faster service at contract renewal time because it cost more (OK; not that much more) so I stayed on my current speed at the same price. I am rather annoyed (well, pissed off actually) that I now find I am going to get the faster speed (which we really do not need) at the increased price regardless.

          To return to my earlier "supermarket" analogy, it's rather like getting to the check - out with a chosen lower price product to find it whizzed away and replaced with a costlier one because that's what the shop wants to sell.

          1. Anonymous Blowhard

            @ Commswonk

            I take your point about consumers being forced to subsidise infrastructure, but the supermarket analogy doesn't really apply; when it comes to supermarkets you do have the choice of driving further to get to the type of supermarket you want.

            At the moment the problem is that, for the majority of the UK, there is no commercial incentive to roll out fibre. It's a bit like there's no commercial incentive for private companies to build toll roads to villages; the costs are so high that you would never get a viable user base to pay it off faster than the interest on the capital investment accrues.

            So it has to be seen as a national infrastructure project, and the government has to decide whether it's willing to fund this out of taxes; maybe it could be presented alongside HS2 or future airport expansion to see which gives the country a better economic outcome?

            Trying to create a "market" for this to attract private investment has been a failing policy since Margaret Thatcher cancelled BT's project in 1990.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              @ Anonymous Blowhard

              "At the moment the problem is that, for the majority of the UK, there is no commercial incentive to roll out fibre. It's a bit like there's no commercial incentive for private companies to build toll roads to villages; the costs are so high that you would never get a viable user base to pay it off faster than the interest on the capital investment accrues."

              "So it has to be seen as a national infrastructure project"

              Sorry to chip in here but why? I included the large paragraph above of yours which points out it is expensive and has no ROI (it isnt worth doing so nobody wants to do it) so why do taxpayers have to be fleeced to do something there isnt the customers for (lack of demand)? Maybe listening to what people want (or in this case dont) is a good idea.

              "Trying to create a "market" for this to attract private investment has been a failing policy since Margaret Thatcher cancelled BT's project in 1990."

              In what way?

              1. Anonymous Blowhard

                Re: @ Anonymous Blowhard

                @codejunky

                I meant to add that the likelihood is that, for the country as a whole, the ROI is positive. But the ROI will be hugely positive for some areas and hugely negative for others, so private investment wants only to do the profitable bits.

                Like other national infrastructure projects (e.g. the armed forces) we spread the bill amongst tax payers on the basis that they will all, in theory, benefit from the investment.

                If we see broadband as a national imperative, with benefits across multiple sectors (employment, commerce, education etc.) then we have to invest as a nation, trying to create a false market economy in this area has achieved nothing; for most of us there is still only one physical broadband connection (BT copper) and all we have managed to do is give consumers a choice companies they can pay for using it.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: @ Anonymous Blowhard

                  @ Anonymous Blowhard

                  "I meant to add that the likelihood is that, for the country as a whole, the ROI is positive. But the ROI will be hugely positive for some areas and hugely negative for others, so private investment wants only to do the profitable bits."

                  I can accept that it would be more beneficial in some places than others. So why wont the private do it anyway in the positive areas as it has so far with general internet service? If there is demand then the places worth investing in would be doing so.

                  "Like other national infrastructure projects (e.g. the armed forces) we spread the bill amongst tax payers on the basis that they will all, in theory, benefit from the investment."

                  That is a good example. There is an article already on the reg about the over expensive drones which dont seem to have much use but to employ people in the UK. We could buy already working drones if we cared about the armed forces but no. Same with a lot of military kit including weapons that actively do not even work. Another example is the expected over-budget and expected under performing HS2 project in the national interest with little chance of being worth it.

                  The gov will always find ways of spending money that isnt theirs. Doesnt mean there will be any benefit.

                  "If we see broadband as a national imperative, with benefits across multiple sectors (employment, commerce, education etc.)"

                  To what extent? There will be a point where more investment returns reduced improvement. We can already remote commute/communicate, buy online, learn online for the majority of the countries population. Bumping up their speed without a need will give them a slightly faster experience they are not willing to pay for (or we would already be doing it). Taking the money off them and forcibly spending it on an upgrade 'for their own good' doesnt really help them.

              2. Commswonk Silver badge

                Re: @ Anonymous Blowhard

                @codejunky: "Trying to create a "market" for this to attract private investment has been a failing policy since Margaret Thatcher cancelled BT's project in 1990."

                I had a read of the linked article and finished up feeling a bit annoyed. While I understand what Dr Cochrane was saying (it was quite clear after all!) I still think that as written the article may be misleading - albeit not deliberately - or it also may or may not fully represent Dr Cochrane's views. (If they are fully represented then I would have to argue with him (risky!) about his conclusion. I will paste a paragraph from the article, being a quote from Dr Cochrane.

                "For example, I am sitting here, I work all over the world and say I want to upload a 350MB file. 350MB is not huge. With my old broadband, when I had less than 0.5Mbps upload you'd start in the morning and finish sometime in the middle of the night. Now I've got 32Mbps upload, I can actually watch it going. If I was in Hong Kong it would be instantaneous. Imagine having a discussion and putting a 10 second delay between each word, it wouldn't work."

                Was Dr Cochrane concerning himself solely with the world of work? I can fully accept that "work" needs fater BB than residential use does, but the problem then becomes "of all the broadband circuits currently provided how many are for "work" and how many are for "leisure" applications, i.e. residential?" I don't know but I strongly suspect that the vast majority of the total circuits provided to premises are not for work applications, even allowing for those who want or need to work from home.

                If we accept that the difference in usage "types" exists then we have to decide what general standard of BB provision should exist; (a) extremely fast to suit "work", in which case residentail users have to pay heavily over the odds to subsidise business user; (b) a fastish network with user costs set to be affordable by residential users, but which as a result may not be fast enough for (some?) business; (c) a mix whereby there are greatly different speeds available depending on how much the end user is willing to pay, and so on.

                His argument appears to be based on the idea that it has to be "one size fits all", which in a way I can understand, but it ignores the economic reality that non - business users won't want to pay business rates.

                If I have misrepresented what he was thinking then I will / would apologise, but to me his case is so "business - centric" that I cannot really see it being relevant to non - business applications.

              3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: @ Anonymous Blowhard

                so why do taxpayers have to be fleeced to do something there isnt the customers for (lack of demand)?

                So, like motorways, airports or railways? More evidence that you have a very poor idea of how the world works.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: @ Anonymous Blowhard

                  @ Charlie Clark

                  "So, like motorways, airports or railways? More evidence that you have a very poor idea of how the world works."

                  Well said! With the EU desperate to throw cash the Poland made airports larger than will ever be needed. The Greeks in the same way built a rail network that would never be able to pay for itself (unsustainable). The US with its roads to nowhere.

                  So you think its a good idea to rob the tax payer for these projects built for larger capacities than could ever be ROI justified? If so I truly have no idea how your world works. This isnt about creating a connection from point to point, this is about taking something already working for the majority and spending vast sums more to make it a bit better which serves the few but costs the many.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "when it comes to supermarkets you do have the choice of driving further to get to the type of supermarket you want."

              There are still premises who don't get any options beyond ADSL. Should they continue to lose out because someone else, who already has FTTC, wants something better still?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "I hear what you are saying, but it would be preferable if more consumers could make the choice to take a better service, rather than be stuck on the minimum possible the telco can get away with providing."

          I hear what you say. But would these customers who want to make the choice be prepared to pay the full price on their own. And would they still want it when they found what that would cost? And what about those customers who don't have the choice of FTTC because the backbone for that isn't complete? Should they still stay on ADSL because resources have been diverted into FTTP?

  3. adam payne Silver badge

    This one's terms of reference (PDF) say it will to look at the telecoms market to understand why companies would fork out on new digital infrastructure and what barriers are stopping them from doing that.

    It will also look at how incentives differ across the UK and different parts of the market, and ask what policy interventions would be useful.

    BT is a barrier all by themselves. They don't want to go full fibre as they want to keep their line rental slush fund.

    BT has no incentive to do any work towards full fibre.

    1. Andytug

      This.. and there's zero profit in it.

      The Government should be concentrating on subsidising broadband in the rural (and often not so rural) not-spots with either no coverage at all or sub 5MB, before trying to sell 100MB or more as some sort of upgrade to those who don't need it (our house of 5 with multiple devices often watching video manages fine on 40MB FTTC) and certainly won't pay a premium for the privilege.

    2. Mark #255

      on line rental

      They don't want to go full fibre as they want to keep their line rental slush fund.

      Line rental is a contribution towards upkeep of the wires (whatever they're made of) between a property and the exchange.

      I'm not sure why changing over to a fibre-optic line does away with the need for that upkeep, or the need to fund that maintenance.

      Of course, you could be arguing that the amount of maintenance vs cost of line rental is not balanced, but that's a different argument to the one I inferred from your comment.

      1. cbars

        Re: on line rental

        Think the point was that at the moment it goes to BT. If other companies stick in Fibre, no need to pay BT. If the cost of maintaining Fibre is lower (better cladding, underground, whatever) then that is further argument for BT to NOT put it in in place of existing lines.

        But yea, line rental is also overpriced unless those engineers are on an amazing salary.

    3. Streaker1506

      Why does no one want to invest in full fibre broadband, wails UK.gov

      Why does nobody want to Invest / bankrupt themselves if only <25% want to pay for it.

      There FTFY

      Bugger all to do with BT more to do with OFCOM reducing the wholesale cost to the point where it is cheaper to rent than build.

      S

  4. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    FFS

    " why companies would fork out on new digital infrastructure and what barriers are stopping them from doing that."

    Benefits:

    People can get shit done quicker and the Telco can charge more.

    Barriers

    It's costs a fuck load of cash.

    There, I've just saved the country several million Pounds on another useless committee.

  5. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Eel's discount consultancy says..

    Cost, and policy.

    So it would cost a lot of billions to roll out fibre everywhere. It would also be extremely disruptive, and policies get in the way.

    So in a perfect world, there'd be clean ducts to every property so you could blow or pull fibre. Then at an agreed date & time, cut 25m+ households over from copper to fibre. That assumes customers are in, have done prep work like making sure space and power is available.

    Reality is ducts are full of copper, roots, collapses and don't have enough space to build in parallel. So either big service disruption while that's fixed, copper's pulled and fibre's installed, or massive civils costs and road disruption to dig in new ducts. Plus of course sorting out wayleaves.

    So then you've spent thousands connecting a new customer. How will competitive access, ie LLU-style services work? Will the customer, or new operator have to pay the original install costs + modest ROI before services are ported? If there's some form of investor protection, that'll just create local monopolies and network islands, which might not be good for consumers. A USO model where all operators kick in to an infrastructure fund to pay for rural services might work, but experience from places like the US show that's gamed, or competitors don't want to pay. Or the costs just get paassed through to consumers, increasing their bills.

    That's a subsidy issue, which is also governed by national and international law. There's some wriggle room around services being part of critical infrastructure (safety of life being one, ie making an emergency call). But needs a political decision and firm control over the market (ie incumbent(s) + competitors) to make it so, and prevent the usual regulatory shenanigands to give someone a competitive advantage.

    Then there are other political challenges. So councils (not just in the UK) don't like roads being continually dug up to install ducts and access chambers. So councils can put 'stops' on roads that prevent new installations for a few years.. Which is a problem in big cities like London, Paris, Frankfurt etc. We'd love to give you new fibre, but can't touch the roads till 2023.

    Again that's a political decision, so costing up a full UK fibre rollout, figuring out competitive access, acceptable ROI and OAM costs per connection and then planning the 'Big Dig' to make it happen.. Which is a lot easier said than done.

  6. TwoWolves

    Some falsehoods

    While I agree with most comments under here I wanted to clear something up.

    I live in a small village surrounded by sheep and cows, no street lighting etc. and we have gigaclear fibre to my door. I don't work for them or have shares in them but the service is far better than BT ever was and somehow they make it cost effective. They are also connecting all the surrounding villages at quite a pace.

    It's not impossible and I suspect the monopoly that BT holds is a major part of the problem.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Some falsehoods

      Ah but Gigaclear gets criticised for high prices. Personally I think these are sensibly prices for the most part but a lot of people won't be too impressed by £42pcm for 50Mb/s with £130 installation fee.

      But that's what Gigaclear charges whereas BT has the additional problem that other CPs (eg; Sky, Talk Talk etc.) take a chunk of the profits off the top where the consumer doesn't go with BT Retail (or PlusNet).

      1. Mike Scott 1

        Re: Some falsehoods

        I would happily pay that. It is less than I'm paying BT for <5Mb.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Some falsehoods

          BT unlimited broadband is £24 for the first 18 months including line rental.

          PlusNet is £20 for the first 18 months.

          Pulse8 will do that speed for £25 on a rolling monthly contract.

          Sounds to me like you need to shop around a bit. Don't forget that if you're on a BT line you have a large choice of providers and plenty of leverage to strike a deal that suits you. On a Gigaclear connection you have no choice and no leverage.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Some falsehoods

            AndrewC, you're cherry picking your BT pricing data.

            How about listing BT's regular Broadband prices inc Line rental, rather than the first 12/18 months. Not everyone wants to be tied to an 18month contract.

            BT Unlimited Broadband (ADSL) is £42.99 a month inc line rental.

            BT Unlimited Infinity 'up to' 52Mbps is £41.99 a month inc line rental.

            BT Unlimited Infinity 2 'up to' 76Mbps is £56.49 a month inc line rental.

            Gigaclear doesn't look that bad when you list BT's actual prices.

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: Some falsehoods

              I'm not cherry picking. I just posted what they currently are and indicated that pricing was for the first 18 months only. I also provided information on one ISP that was cheaper and offered a rolling contract. As per their home page.

              "Quality Broadband

              No Contracts"

              There is no reason (other than poor research or inertia) for anyone to be paying over £30pcm for a basic broadband service and telephone line over BT's network in today's market. I don't necessarily think that's a good situation to be in if we want further investment but someone posted a problem so I provided solutions to it.

              Oh and I'm not sure who the LLU comment was directed at but none of the solutions I posted require it. Pulse8 does use it for backhaul in some cases where available but can also offer a WMBC service where it isn't. Anyone with a copper telephone line outside of Hull can sign up for those services.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Some falsehoods

                "I just posted what they currently are and indicated that pricing was for the first 18 months only."

                AndrewC : You're "Cherry Picking" As stated, not everyone wants an 18-month BT Broadband contract. The monthly contract Pulse8 prices indicated require the exchange to have LLU (assume the backhaul is TalkTalk LLU, good luck with that, rather than BTW).

                These are Pulse8 prices for Market 1 Exchange (BT Wholesale as the sole provider of broadband services, no LLU). Market 1 Exchanges are not uncommon in Devon.

                8Home is £28+£13 Line Rental = £41 a month

                8M is £30+£13 Line Rental = £43 a month

                8M+ is £36+£13 Line Rental = £49 a month

                "but can also offer a WMBC service where it isn't."... (assume you mean WBMC-Wholesale Broadband Managed Connect).

                Yet, you fail to list the price for WBMC (more cherry picking), which will be higher, (as shown).

                You're only showing BT's (long contract) headline offers and omitting details where it suits you (the fact the exchange needs LLU for those Pulse8 prices. As said, you're cherry picking pricing data to suit.

            2. inmypjs Silver badge

              Re: Some falsehoods

              "How about listing BT's regular Broadband "

              Why? You have to be some kind of dumb to pay those prices. When your deal runs out you get another from someone else or get a retention deal.

              I am on my 4th year with the same ISP and have a 2 year contract at £29/month for unlimited 80/20 FTTC and phone line with caller ID.

              Adding to the quoted gigaclear "£42pcm for 50Mb/s with £130 installation fee" above - that is without phone and for a 15 month contract and installation is *from* £130 and there is a £100 activation fee.

          2. Mike Scott 1

            Re: Some falsehoods

            If only...No LLU on my exchange only line... no options apart from BT. All the more galling to see special offers continually advertised, which are not available.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some falsehoods

      They don’t have to wholesale so they get all the revenue - makes the business case much easier. Not just the network rollout but the OSS and so on. Don’t they also use volunteer labour?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Some falsehoods

        I don't think Gigaclear use volunteers but the smaller ones like B4RN do. Also I'd like to stress that I've not heard any complaints about the service Gigaclear offers and personally I'd be happy to pay those prices although I'd whinge a bit at £2pcm for a static IP address.

        But based on historical issues I've had I would be a bit concerned at not having a choice of ISP. No ISP is perfect and at least on BT's network I can jump ship or at least threaten to.

        1. mrs doyle

          Re: Some falsehoods

          You don't have a choice, you are stuck on openreach copper, no matter which ISP you choose it won't improve the connection. Choice is a fallacy. You can choose multiple variants of rubbish or a single good one.

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    For the foreseeable future

    Brexit.

    Anything else is just the trimmings on a turd turkey.

  8. steelpillow Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Bureaucracy

    There are plenty of companies offering FTTP.

    Here I am, a Parish Councillor for Royston Vasey (well, near there anyway) and we have received several offers to lay FTTP provided we can drum up enough launch customers from out of the sticks. Did that and County Highways decided that they would interpret the law differently from everybody else and they refused permission for fibre to be laid using standards that several other local authorities have accepted. It made the whole game uneconomic so the whole of rural South Worcestershire lost its chance for FTTP.

    Meanwhile BT took 8 MEELIONS off the County Council to do what they were going to do anyway and lay just enough fibre on the lucrative bits to preserve their local loop monopoly.

    My elected County Councillor is spitting feathers but powerless to bring his career bureaucrats to task.

    This inconsistency among local authorities is a know nationwide problem. All it needs to fix it is a national standard for fibre laying, with exemption from planning consent if you meet that standard.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Bureaucracy

      I'm curious what they objected to on the civils side? Much of that's covered in docs like the 'Design Manual for Roads and Bridges'.. Which comes with two volumes, one about how to dig holes, another to fill them in. Or re-instating. A decent planner should've known how to do it properly, or challenge any objections.

      (which is, of course another cost. So is keeping the VOA happy and paying the appropriate rates on lit fibre.. Which is of course another tax/cost to consider with any proposed national rollout)

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Bureaucracy

        So is keeping the VOA happy and paying the appropriate rates on lit fibre

        Isn't a big part of the problem that the VOA wants to charge rates as if all parts of the infrastructure are fully utilised ? So if you need (say) 6 fibre cores now, but expect to need more in the mid term, you blow in a (say) 20 core - you only light up 6 cores, but pay rates on all 20. At my last job, we had people coming to us asking for options when their ISP told them "Sorry chaps, they've just changed the rates rules so we can't afford to keep you connected and are shutting down the network".

        IIRC, in one case, there were something like 5 radio towers involved to service one customer at the end - but they were being told to pay rates as if each of those towers was fully utilised for dozen or even hundreds of customers. AIUI, BT/BTOR aren't taxed in the same way and have a financial advantage of competitors from this difference.

        So there's the government asking why there's a problem, when for years people have been telling them that their own policies are part of the problem.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Bureaucracy

          It's complicated :)

          Here's an 'explanation' from the VOA-

          http://manuals.voa.gov.uk/corporate/publications/Manuals/RatingManual/RatingManualVolume5/sect871/rat-man-vol5-s871-pn-Fibre-2017.html

          Radio masts are rated differently, and the issue's similar. So there's a rate charge per lit fibre based on route length. Sometimes that's capped at a 6 fibre value, or if you test installed but unlit fibres, they may magically shift from being 'under construction' to live, and attract rates. And if you look at the examples in that doc, there can also be an element of extraterritoriality, ie VOA charging for fibre in France. And there are rates for PoPs and pretty much everything included in service provision.

          And of course there's VAT to pay on services provided across lit fibres. So it's a cost to service providers, and the VOA to manage, especially if valuations get challenged. And as usual with taxation, multi-dipping with VAT on top of rates, and Corporation Tax if you manage to make a profit.. And the incumbents, ie BT, Virgin get different rules applied. So your typical bureaucratic bag'o'nails.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bureaucracy

      I’m confused. Royston Vasey is in North Derbyshire, which is a long way from South Worcestershire!

      Local broadband for local people.......

  9. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    The simple reason is because our broadband is cheap and the cost of a rollout is high.

  10. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Í do not understand

    What do they mean? Lack of full fibre network? Openreach are turning up to connect my FTTP next week. If they can do that in the wilds of Wales I assume they've already connected up all the towns and cities. Haven't they?

    Okay, I'm still pissed off with the costs - BT Business are £150 for 300mbps, BT Residential are £80, so I'm stuck on a basic 80mbps connection until BTBiz get their pricing act together, but 30mbps upload? Mmmmm....nice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Í do not understand

      "What do they mean? Lack of full fibre network? Openreach are turning up to connect my FTTP next week."

      The only reason you're getting full fibre FTTP Pen-y-gors, is the fact it's being paid for by taxpayers as part of the Superfast Cymru roll-out. Count yourself lucky you're part of the 2.1% of the UK with full fibre FTTP.

      You'd be sitting there twiddling your thumbs, with you old piece of damp wet "up to" BT copper carcass string, otherwise, like most of rural England and the Scottish Highlands. Make sure you tell your neighbours to grab it with both hands too, don't leave the green splitter boxes to gather cobwebs, unused.

      It's worth noting too, the Welsh Superfast Cymru contract stipulates a minimum 30Mbps as part of that contract, not a pathetic 10Mbps USO, which would mean you still have BT's obfuscated, bamboozled "up to" copper carcass Broadband.

      Do your bit, deliver a few leaflets locally, let other's know, BT won't do much to advertise this FTTP service, because it affects their bottom line in terms of "contract clawback", if it proves popular.

      BT/Government/MPs are watching the Welsh rollout, regards the take up demand for FTTP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Í do not understand

        Since 2012, the Welsh Government has invested over £162 million of EU and public funding in broadband infrastructure across Wales where the commercial market alone could not make the case for investment.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is amount you can charge or get people to pay greater than the cost to build it dived by say 5 years?

    If the answer is no then it won't be built however,

    Can you factor in a swindle of investors or loads of taxpayer money?

    If the answer is no then it won't get built however,

    Final push, can you get a regulatory path that forces people to use what you build or force people to pay the price you want?

    Answer no to this and it's not happening.

    Capitalism 101.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Final push, can you get a regulatory path that forces people to use what you build or force people to pay the price you want?

      There is - or appears to be - a body of opinion that would support this approach.

      Please do not encourage them.

  12. Oldfogey

    Not everybody....

    FTTC reached my area a year ago. I looked at the cost, then looked at the performance I was actually getting on basic adsl.

    With just a couple of people in the house, no gamers, no Netflix or suchlike, and ads blocked, we find the result quite adequate. It seems that that is a common attitude here (I can't speak for anywhere else), and the take up has been poor.

    If the cost margin reduces I will reconsider, but FTTP has no chance.

    Perhaps this is why it's uneconomic?

  13. dubious

    Yes the roll-out of fibre is expensive, but chances are once you've got a fibre to each house, that's pretty much all the cabinet/prem network investment you need for the next 20* years (copper has lasted +100 years after all). Amortised over that sort of time frame it really shouldn't affect bills. Unfortunately publicly listed companies rarely withstand shareholder pressure for short term profits, so strategic planning has become something of a rarity in large Western businesses.

    Maybe I'm just salty that you can get pukka FTTP up in darkest Malham, yet the current place I am staying at while over here is 10 miles outside Reading, supposedly a UK IT hub, and I have the indescribable pleasure of 4M ADSL that drops packets like a meth dealer high on their own product when it's windy or raining... I'd say it's like going to a 3rd world country, except many of them have better Internet access than this.

    * Maybe swap out transceivers now and again, maybe switchout PON for AON, but we're always told running the cable is the actual expensive bit.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Duffy Moon

    Gubmint investment

    Scrap that complete waste of money HS2, re-nationalise the communication infrastructure and invest in it.

    It's too important to leave in commercial hands. A world run entirely by business is not one in which I want to live.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Gubmint investment

      A world run entirely by business is not one in which I want to live.

      Or, for that matter...

      A world run entirely for business is not one in which I want to live.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Gubmint investment

      It's too important to leave in commercial hands. A world run entirely by business is not one in which I want to live.

      I'm guessing you're too young to remember what Post Office Telephones were like. Just like the trains, when run by the government they were crap by today's standards. For all the faults in the current setup, it's far far better than before privatisation.

      Yup, there's nothing so bad that government intervention (or ownership) can't make it worse !

      1. Andre Carneiro

        Re: Gubmint investment

        It’s a bit unfair to compare an infrastructure as it was 20+ years ago with the current one, especially considering the pace at which it has changed.

        Telecoms have changed immeasurably since the Government owned them, and just because they made a meal of it last time doesn’t necessarily mean they would cock it up this time.

        (Wishful thinking?)

  16. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    Investment

    The advantage of publicly owned infrastructure is they can take a long term view and are not beholden to Shareholders to make a profit. Also it gets around a lot of the anti-competative state aid issues, and allows the state to put more in.

    I've said this before and probably will again if the privatised BT hadnt just sat on there arse for the 80s and early 90s we'd be full fibre by now anyway...

  17. DukeboxDurie

    Oh....wait til there is no net neutrality and you'll see it rolled out

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