back to article Well done, UK.gov. You hit superfast broadband target (by handing almost the entire project to BT)

The UK government has today hailed the completion of its superfast broadband project as a success – the scheme that has now brought 24Mbps to 95 per cent of the country by almost entirely handing the contracts to monopoly provider BT. Clive Selley, CEO of BT's broadband infrastructure division Openreach, described the …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Maybe

    It's a UK thing but I don't see 24Mbps as superfast at all.

    More like distinctly average.

    Trades description act anyone?

    1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      Re: Maybe

      Few days ago a friend in a small town in Spain asked my advice, should she go with the 500Mbs fttp installation recommended by the ISP or could she get away with their cheaper 300Mps offering.

      Here's me in UK only just got upgrade from 2Mps and that was by a lot of nagging to Openreach and threatening to escalate it to the Ministry of Culture and Sport (who are the branch of government who are actually responsible for these targets.)

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Maybe

        FTTP pays for itself much quicker in Spain due to the lower rollout cost as everyone lives in flats.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "as everyone lives in flats."

          Italy is rolling out FTTH by 2020 in the plain from Turin to Venice where a large part of the population lives in small towns and detached houses... these areas, although wealthy, was deemed "market failure" for short-term investment exactly because of the costs to cable so many houses, so the State stepped in. Open Fiber won the bid, it will build the network and will be able to lease it wholesale for twenty years, albeit the fiber network itself will be state-owned. Sometimes, you need a long term investment to build the future.

          1. Lotaresco

            Re: "as everyone lives in flats."

            "Italy is rolling out FTTH by 2020 in the plain from Turin to Venice where a large part of the population lives in small towns and detached houses."

            I live part of the year in a National Park in Italy. We don't have fibre and probably won't get it ever. However unlike the UK I don't have much of a beef with that because we have a 4G data connection that is unlimited and runs at 76Mbps. Other European countries seem to have got their act together on the delivery of communications.

        2. jerehada

          Re: Maybe

          But its a bigger country with a lower population density... And France?

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Maybe

            The density in towns and cities is very high, the density between towns and cities is very low. You can cover most of the population very easily.

            Spain has the most entries in this table.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Spain has the most entries in this table."

              Do you read the Wikipedia boxes? The accuracy of that page is disputed.

      2. Paul

        Re: Maybe

        when I was on holiday in Mallorca a year ago, I saw quite a few adverts for fibre internet.. for less than I pay in the UK for 36Mb/s (on FTTC, but long phone line, so I only get 6M up) I could have had 300M. I was very sad.

        although it has probably boosted BT's margins by sweating their copper assets, this only benefits them in the short term.

      3. Gdl

        Re: Maybe

        I'm on 100mbs right now as it was a free upgrade from 50mbs.a couple of years ago when I had 50mbs. Virgin offered me an upgrade to 100mbs for an extra £2 per month. What I found was that when I did a speed test I was getting around 50-60mbp. I know traffic and how far away you are from the exchange can play a part in this. But what I had discovered that my laptop had a wireless card that could only receive 64mbs max. Meaning if 100mbs came down the line, depending on the day, I would only get half of it. So I downgraded back to 50mbs. 24mbs will be fine for equipment today but these companies should be informing their customers about whether their equipment can receive these speeds in the first place. I don't think my playstation 4 can receive 100mbs with ethernet cable in and it surely is poor wireless because of the poor wireless card that's in it

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Maybe

          Your laptop may well be limited by its WiFi speed, but that's your choice - you don't have to use slow WiFi you know! Plus if you didn't live alone, someone else could use another laptop without slowing down your data rate.

    2. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Maybe

      I suspect it's down to the length of time it took to reach the goal, and 24Mbps was once considered 'superfast'. Bear in mind that'll be a minimum, although there's no guarantee the providers can give that of course.

      In fact I think once it was touted at 10Mbps or more? Or was that different roll out target? I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along soon.

    3. John Crisp

      Re: Maybe

      Funny... I don't see 24Mbps period. And not likely either til hell freezes over....

      Love to see how they actually calculate their percentage. My guess is it's a pretty large fudge.

    4. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Maybe

      1: Exactly which locations fall into the 5% 'less than 24mbps' category and can BT provide this?

      2 Can I detail several known locations which definitely do not provide 24mbps broadband?

      All area West of Holland Park, London W11 and W14 and East of the Olympia Exhibition center - specified as less than 5mbps with average 2mbps **

      Some area in Parsons Green and Walham wards, London SW6 - specified as less than 7.5mbps with average 3mbps

      Some area in Munster ward, London SW6- specified as less than 5mbps with average 2.5mbps

      Some areas around Henley on Thames (Wargrave, Remenham etc) which have broadband under 1.5mbps.

      I am presuming that in many of these cases they might have upgraded the fibre to the cabinet, but not done anything to upgrade the cabinet to premises lines, which are for many still the same very old copper cabling.

      ** In this case BT actually suggest that you use Virgin as they say they have no plans to upgrade FTTC or FTTP.

      All above provable by BT Wholesale line checker at http://www.speedtest.btwholesale.com (warning: Flash required to make the app run)

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Maybe

        I moved to a flat in a major town you've heard of, inside the M25 recently.

        No Virgin available. BT checkers all told me that the best I could get with VDSL ("fibre") was 6Mbps.

        Sod that, I didn't even try.

        Bought a Huawei 4G router, and a cheap data-only SIM. Can easily get 30-50Mbps throughout the peak periods and it covers the house. No line rental, no stupid charges, no installation cost, 30-day contract (though I could get it slightly cheaper if I went for a 12-month contract, or I could just retain the ability to change the SIM to someone else at any point, which I prefer). Even the latency is low enough to game over.

        Plus it's battery backed, I can carry it around in my pocket, and certain services (e.g. video from Netflix / TVPlayer) are unmetered and don't count towards my data allowance (which I rarely get close to anyway).

        Rather than a £50+ a month for a TV + landline + broadband deal, on an 18-month+ contract, involving engineer visits and boxes and wiring, I have broadband + I use a mobile phone anyway (or WhatsApp or Skype or whatever I want) + free streaming TV on a month-by-month contract that I can change to any provider I like.

        So far, it's been two months and I can't fault it. It also means if I go for a long car journey, I get to take it and connect my laptop the other end, etc. on the same package. Hell, it even has European roaming for free too.

        I don't get how BT are supposed to be competing against that with their current offerings. Some woman from a broadband company that the letting agency want me to use phoned up and couldn't compete either. And if I am ever skint, I just cut it off and carry on with the paltry data on my mobile package (because I rarely use data from my phone) and "top it up" next month instead.

        Hell, I bought a bigger antenna for it since then, given that it's saving me so much money.

        1. TheGreatCabbage

          Re: Maybe

          How much would it cost of you downloaded a game every month? (Say, 50GB data per month.)

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: Maybe

            The base package is 50Gb / month. If you go with Vodafone, 50Gb/month is £30 (was £25 over Christmas) and you can pay a few extra quid and exclude all Facebook, Youtube, WhatsApp, Netflix, Amazon Video, Google Play etc. (i.e. all the big-name sites) from such data usage.

            To be honest, I have a steam account with 1000 games. I don't pull anywhere NEAR that as you just can't play that amount of huge games that quickly and keep them all up-to-date.

            Sure, you have to be on the right package, but the right package can be £20 a month if you buy a year's contract and buy it at the right time.

            Sorry, but with install charges, line rental, etc. any home broadband is significantly more expensive and there are fixed-line ISP's out there giving you less than 50Gb a month without any possibility of exclusions!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Maybe

              Lee,

              I am glad you are getting the deal that is right for you, but unlimited service on some connections but not others, this is sounding like a sneaky way to remove net neutrality here in the UK?

              I know it might just be being cynical .... but .... i just dont trust ISP's

              1. Lee D Silver badge

                Re: Maybe

                Agreed on the net neutrality thing but on a mobile network, I think you'll find it's always been there. For a long time, anything like Skype etc. was dialled down compared to other access, presumably because it's competitive but you could reasonably argue that the real-time requirement isn't suited to what should be "data sent in the gaps" between their own real-time data (i.e. phone calls).

                Nowadays, not so much of that goes on, but if I was unhappy I could move to any other provider in seconds. Grab a SIM, slap it in. However, data usage limits are growing all the time (even if you exclude the "unlimited" offers) so it's not really a huge issue at the moment, I feel. Three do a package where only TVPlayer and Netflix are excluded - I can quite easily guess which company most people would go with, whichever one bundles the most. Nobody is going to just subscribe to a service purely on the basis that their ISP doesn't count it against them... it's the other way round, especially on mobile. They'll just move their number to a provider that doesn't penalise them for preferring a particular service.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Maybe

                  Not sure why you got downvoted ...

                  But I have to agree I have the three contract myself, and I like the unlimited data on netflix and amazon etc... but what if i wanted to watch youtube, or twitch etc etc Three have actively limited my choice of what content I can consume. worse will be when they only support certain paid for streaming services ...

                  The only reason I can't massively argue with the option, is that it was added free to my accounts.

                  I go with three as I detest Vodafone with a passion now, and no other service is worth considering in my area :/

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Maybe

              And how do you game with a ping of 300ms?

        2. Blotto Bronze badge

          Re: Maybe

          @Lee D

          after such a glowing review, mat least let us know who your mobile ISP is, how much you pay and how much data you get.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe

          sorry, but the data sims all have too smaller monthly GB download limit to be viable for home broadband

        4. bossey1

          Re: Maybe

          I applaud you. When 5G comes in, we the unloved should all show BT where to stick it. Having got fed up of waiting for a fast fibre connection from BT I've had to get Virginia Media in. They talk a good game but the service is so unreliable I'm positive they are quietly remapping customers to slower switches (Traffic shaping) until you complain then they temporarily move you again. As with all the other providers they just keep putting up their prices but we are not gaining the rewards. I have TalkTalk with a landline that I need and broadband for just under £20pm but this is only able to provide 5.7Mbs so I also have VM just to provide what is supposed to be 100Mps for £25pm. I can't get rid of the VM and their unreliable service because when working as it should it's stilla million times better than TalkTalk/BT.

          I'm seriously considering investigating your solution of I can move some of my reliance on the terrestrial link to cellular. Just need to check out signal strength and reliability properly

        5. jerehada

          Re: Maybe

          This a use case for 5g outside Europe. But not everyone has as good unbuilding coverage as you and contention / capacity at peak time caused people I know too many issues. But well done to you...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe

        "All area West of Holland Park"

        That's the entire length of the M4 corridor screwed then??

      3. bossey1

        Re: Maybe

        I'm astonished at these figures. Where I live in East London a huge swathe of customers only get the 2Mbs to 6Mbs you mention. As you've said checking the checker confirms your exchange is enabled but your cabinet isn't and other than that there are no further plans to bring it to you unless you are prepared to foot the thousands of pounds cost. Before, it all seemed to be about "the mile to the exchange". Since fibre took that excuse away, Service provider staff seem to blame BT and BT seem to blame local authorities. I feel our regulators are serving someones interest but not mine when I see these so called achievement claims. I bet proper checks at the premises by the regulator via an online survey to all subscribers would give us the truth. In a nut shell.... Rubbish

        1. Darren Forster

          Re: Maybe

          Yeah I think its a bit fake percentages, apparently our cabinet is fibre enabled but because we're over 3miles from the cabinet we can't get it. Instead we're stuck on 3-4mbps which is useless when you buy a PS4 Pro and Sony expect people to be able to stream everything, not to mention developers who can't be bothered finishing a game before release and then offering a 20Gb update once you've got it home.

    5. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Maybe

      Up until a few months ago my family were getting less than 500kbps, so yeah, 24Mbps is pretty fast.

      An HD Netflix stream is 5Mbps, iPlayer is 2.8, so you can already have four people streaming different things, I'd say that's pretty good for a home connection.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe

      Aren't the advertised speeds going to be based on the monthly average sometime soon?

    7. Ryan Kendall

      Re: Maybe

      I'm on up to 24Mbps and it's at 18-20 which struggles to stream Netflix.

      50Mbps is still slow and i'd called that average as I can get that speed just using 4G on my mobile phone at home and I'm talking rural North Cambridgeshire.

      The town I lived in was upgraded to infinity 4 years ago but BT decided not to upgrade the cabinet in the town centre (they only non-infinity location in town)

    8. Lotaresco

      Re: Maybe

      I live in a rural UK location. We had notification recently that we should rejoice because the "Rural Broadband Initiative" has just delivered (three years late) "superfast 24Mbps broadband" to our area. They seemed disappointed when I declined the offer, as did almost everyone in the area.

      The reason is simple, the telephone exchange is in the centre of the village, most of the residents live within a very short distance of the exchange hence DSL is 22Mbps for most users. A 24Mbps connection is as much use as eyebrows on a fish. There's also the issue that the "Rural Broadband Initiative" seems to be a synonym for "Political Face-saving Exercise". The job was given to a company that installed a microwave link on a hill near the village then ran fibre alongside existing phone wires. The price for a connection is an install fee of several hundred and rental of £160 a month, it's capped. The DSL service has no connection fee, no limit and costs £14(ish) a month.

      To make "superfast" broadband real it has to be superfast, it has to offer decent data capacity and it has to be priced at less than rip-off levels.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    24Mb/s? Superfast?

    *tears of laughter emoji*

  3. MrRimmerSIR!

    Come the Revolution

    There won't be any question of handing over money to a private monopoly provider, as there will be but one State run monopoly to do all the work just as efficiently as it did pre 1980s.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Come the Revolution

      Mind you, if you examine it closely, TCP/IP is suspiciously socialist.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Come the Revolution

        From each packet according to their back-off, to each packet according to their QoS.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Come the Revolution

      Well privatisation did kill off BTs fibre optic development. We did submarine cables and all sorts of stuff. In 1990 we could have made a 2.4Gbit FTTP over 10Km of fibre for less than £100 in terms of component cost. But hey, they didnt do that sort of thing any more apparently.

      1. Lotaresco

        Re: Come the Revolution

        "Well privatisation did kill off BTs fibre optic development."

        Ah yes the good old days when BT was doing cutting edge research but still delivering antique Strowger exchanges and internet connections were limited to 300/1200 baud.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hello bernie see you in July 2028

    Makes sense to me as there is one consistant standard of work.

    Last thing you want is some trench digger crew catapulting into the world of Digital Telecommunications like that worldcom geezer.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    95%? dubious..

    Anyone know how they actually come by this figure? I don't exactly live in the middle of nowhere (I know people in my town who can get 50-60Mbps) but my house is too far from the cabinet to get much better than 17.

    Think BT are including me in that 95%?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 95%? dubious..

      Or is it 95% of population, not location.

      1. Anonymous Bullard

        Re: 95%? dubious..

        Or 95% of people that only want 25mb/s

    2. cynic56

      Re: 95%? dubious..

      As far as my ISP is concerned, I get up to 38Mbps fibre and they are happy to charge me more to upgrade to 76Mbps. In practice, I have never actually reached even 15Mbps. I am certain I am included in the 95%.

      This is just a bare-faced lie by the Government and BT.

    3. Halfmad

      Re: 95%? dubious..

      I get "up to" 34Mbps.

      In reality I get 11. Which ironically is under my ISPs cap for their non-super-fast broadband.

  6. Neil 44

    Exchange-only lines?

    I don't know how many lines are "exchange only" (XO) but AFAIK there are no plans for anything faster than regular broadband for these (we get a tardy 6Mbs...)

    We don't have anything BT Openreach recognise as a cabinet (it seems our concrete pillar doesn't count...) so its a bit more than a mile to the exchange.

    This situation exists everywhere - town and country alike - and there's still no plan that will actually work...

    1. Joel 1

      Re: Exchange-only lines?

      @Neil44 I was on an exchange connected line in rural North Yorkshire (in fact only 300 or so cable feet from the exchange from what I can remember from the old number you used to be able to dial that would tell you). However, North Yorkshire county council was one of the first authorities to do a deal with BT to enable fast broadband to the every exchange in the county. One of the provisions of this deal was that there had to be provision for exchange connected lines (over a third of the premises served by my exchange).

      The solution BT came up with, was to install a cabinet outside the exchange to connect all the lines to, so that they could then utilise their FTTC product. Why they couldn't just put a rack in the exchange, and call it a cabinet, and mount the equipment there, I don't know. However, I did end up with 70Mbs actually delivered, so happy enough with the solution.

      So, don't believe BT if they say there is no solution available. It might be that they don't chose to enact it when not contractually obliged. Point them to the Pateley Bridge exchange, which had this problem, and they resolved it there.

      1. Neil 44

        Re: Exchange-only lines?

        @Joel 1

        Trouble is that at over a mile from the exchange, VDSL(as used from the cabinet to the house) will be slower than regular ADSL2+ - so we'd be no better off than are at the moment....

        It does work if you're close to the exchange though, I agree

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exchange-only lines?

          Exactly, unless you are within the golden 500m, forget it. Look at the speed vs distance graphs.

          1. TobyDog

            Re: Exchange-only lines?

            Think of BT's most iconic building in the UK.

            They only installed FTTC to the local residents at the tail end of last year - I walk past the cabinets every morning.

      2. simpfeld

        Re: Exchange-only lines?

        "Why they couldn't just put a rack in the exchange, and call it a cabinet, and mount the equipment there, I don't know. However, I did end up with 70Mbs actually delivered, so happy enough with the solution."

        I wondered this and looked it up. It took me a while to find the answer. Apparently they aren't allowed to, as they think VDSL in the Exchange would interfere with the in Exchange plain old ADSL (RF leakage etc).

        Makes you think the better solution would just be to get everyone over VDSL and ditch old ADSL completely (certainly for that Exchange) and if people don't want VDSL speeds just put them on a slower contract at the same price.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exchange-only lines?

          "[...] if people don't want VDSL speeds just put them on a slower contract at the same price."

          Would that involve customers having to buy a new router to support VDSL?

      3. John Sager

        Re: Exchange-only lines?

        There are apparently regulatory & legal issues for BT with putting VDSL kit in exchange buildings, hence the FTTC cabinet outside. Go figure.

        The village I live in finally got FTTC last year as there is an existing cabinet. They then took some of us who could benefit off EO lines and onto that cabinet so I now get 80/20 FTTC. However there are still dwellings in the village and the neighbouring one that are too far for FTTC and I believe that they are going to get FTTP eventually, in 2019 supposedly.

        Well, I say 80/20 and that's what I get nominally. However the raw sync rate as reported by my modem varies quite a lot and can often dip below 80 even though I'm only 200 metres by line length from the cabinet. Not sure why yet - there's no obvious correlation with the weather.

        1. PeterGriffin

          Re: Exchange-only lines?

          Either radio interference from dodgy electricals or poor connection on a terminal along the path. My ADSL was never amazing and VDSL sync'd at its 40Mbps cap but the line statistics were awful and the sync speed started dropping. I disconnected the bell wire, our unused internal extensions and made a new connection at the main socket. The result was close to double the SNR allowing continual max sync speed and a Fastpath rather than Interleaved connection. There is improvement to be had as periodic crackling and low level hum can be heard on the line - though I think that is outside the confines on our flat.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exchange-only lines?

        Yes they did that in my town, but the cabinet was 50m from the exchange,DUH!!

        OpenWretch say they won't split reroute the line to make use of a closer cabinet, but they managed to do right on the exchanges doorstep, THATS how they qualify to get the 95% coverage.

        Touted max speed adsl2+ 17mb, typical fttc speed 19mbs.

      5. ukgnome Silver badge

        Re: Exchange-only lines?

        Not strictly true - My house is XO as I live in a quiet norfolk broads village. Our sub-exchange looks after about 500 homes and businesses. For the last three years we have been on the basic copper line that manages on a good day about 8mbs.

        Then after xmas something incredible happened - I was looking to jump supplier and BT claimed it could get me fibre - Now it has to be said that they failed (or rather openreach) the first go live day, but a week later my router went blue and all independent speed checks show the line running at between 50-52Mbs

        BT dreams do come true

      6. Orwell

        Re: Exchange-only lines?

        Exactly the same here in East Sussex. After much fanfare and hype, the council gave BT (no one else allowed to tender, obviously) £50M. A green box was erected less than 100m from the exchange so my copper line will be reduced from 2.5km to 2.4km if I choose to pay more. So I have given up ever getting more than 6Mb/s down which is better than some in my village.

        1. Mark 110 Silver badge

          Re: Exchange-only lines?

          Central Liiverpool I am still running 1.2Mbps max . . . Only bad thing about buying this flat was moving out of a Virgin area :-((

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exchange-only lines?

      We've just upgraded to FTTC after they put a whole load of new cabinets in, so not all hope is lost.

  7. Alan Hope

    Leafy Glasgow west-end suburbs here @ 20Mbs (FTTC) but I bet we're included in BT's 95% figure. Wonder what the ACTUAL figure is. 10% perhaps.

    1. Chloe Cresswell

      Also, line spec or actual?

      Just been upgrading a client to a radio link.

      Openreach specs say the line they have can do 4.5/.6

      Actual line speed is 510kbps/254kbps..

  8. Jim Willsher

    Perthshire, 8Mb, EO line. 24Mb still seems a distant dream.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uptake

    We've delivered on our commitment to reach 95 per cent of homes and businesses

    Any how many of those 95% have actually decided to have it? ~20%, IIRC. What a useful way to spend taxpayers money.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Uptake

      Any how many of those 95% have actually decided to have it? ~20%, IIRC.

      No, it's higher than that. I think it's approaching 40% now. The problem with the original roll-out is that it targeted areas that were most valuable which is/was exactly what all CPs do. As a result those areas already had a lot of choice so take-up was relatively low. Now that BDUK has extended the reach into the less valuable areas take up rates are improving. Last I heard they were over 34% and heading toward 40%.

      Was it a good use of taxpayer money? Dunno. Taxpayer money being usefully used is a pretty rare thing anyway. I think I'd be happy to say that it was one of the better things that's been done with it. On the other hand it took a long time to get started whereas the BT+EU endeavour in Cornwall went much more smoothly and I believe was ahead of schedule.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uptake

      I live out in the sticks and for reasons only known to Openreach the area was enabled for FTTP. Of course they didn't tell anyone so if you don't know what a fiber manifold on a telegraph pole looks you wouldn't know. I dithered for 18months before deciding to order only to find that BT was the only ISP that would allow me to order fiber.

      I now enjoy close to 60Mbps but can not see any other local FTTP connections. This may be because enabling the area and so hitting the coverage target is not too expensive. The costly bit it extending the fiber to peoples homes.

      Oddly I still have the old copper line going to my house for a landline telephone, because BT were unable to port the phone number I have had for 20+ years onto the fiber line.

      1. Darren Forster

        Re: Uptake

        The cabinet we're on is apparently fibre enabled but BT keep telling us we're too far from the cabinet - 3 miles away - I have to wonder though surely if 60mbps fibre was pushed down the line it wouldn't go lower then 3-4mbps after going 3 miles would it? Although I do know someone down the road in another village who was offered fibre - he went from 3mbps down to 1mbps. I checked all his connections and even tested the speed with nothing more than a tablet plugged in and still 1mbps - I was like that's not fibre!

    3. Lotaresco

      Re: Uptake

      We've delivered on our commitment to reach 95 per cent of homes and businesses

      Any how many of those 95% have actually decided to have it? ~20%, IIRC. What a useful way to spend taxpayers money.

      The entire point of the exercise is to allow a politician or two to boast that they achieved something, not to actually do anything useful.

  10. Domquark

    Where?

    Where is this fast stuff, let alone superfast?

    I have one business customer in Feltham (for non-UK readers, a suburb of London) who is lucky if they get 1MBps - more often than not they get 600-700KBps. Another customer is just off Sloane Square (Central London) who cannot get anything faster than 3MBps. So much for "super" fast broadband!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Where?

      Well, I 'm on Virgin and get 100Mb/s. I could upgrade to 3 times that.

      1. Domquark

        Re: Where?

        Both customers get the same response from Virgin Business - "I'm sorry, but Virgin have no plans to install cables" blah, blah, blah. So Virgin are even more useless than BT - at least they are supplying something!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where?

        I'm on Verminmedia as well, on the Turgid 200 package.

        Unfortunately, IME I've never noticed any real world benefit in the progressive upgrades since I was on about 80 Mbps (might have been 60, even), but I'm not a happy bunny because with the crap Hub 3 that Virginmedia issue (and insist you use), things like gaming are possible, but spoiled, and much the same can be said for some streaming services that struggle with the Hub 3, VOIP and videocalls likewise. VPN is very dodgy as well on the Hub 3.

        I can understand choosing Verminmedia cable if your alternative is less than 35 Mbps, but otherwise, only consider VM if you don't care about gaming, VOIP, Skype, and are willing to take a chance on streaming. And you should also budget for a standalone wifi router, because the Hub 3 router is of similar low quality as cable modem side. The VM forums are full of complaints about the Hub 3 wifi.

        1. Domquark

          Re: Where?

          "VPN is very dodgy as well on the Hub 3."

          VM block VPN on their hubs. To unblock, see here: https://support.cultrix.co.uk/hc/en-gb/articles/202644875-VPN-Does-Not-Connect-When-Using-Virgin-Media-SuperHub

          "I can understand choosing Verminmedia cable if your alternative is less than 35 Mbps, but otherwise, only consider VM if you don't care about gaming, VOIP, Skype, and are willing to take a chance on streaming. And you should also budget for a standalone wifi router, because the Hub 3 router is of similar low quality as cable modem side."

          Couldn't agree more!

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Where?

            Business owners can get a leased line installed. There's almost nowhere in the UK that can't have a leased line. It can be expensive, yes. But hey if you're running a business you should be prepared to pay for the resources you need to operate effectively.

        2. Mark 110 Silver badge

          Re: Where?

          @Ledswinger

          So go back to ADSL then? I'm sorry but having been on Virgin for 10 years before I moved house you really don't want to give it up. BTs network is so shit compared to Virgins. Either stop moaning and switch back to BT or stop moaning.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Where?

        "Well, I 'm on Virgin and get 100Mb/s."

        Hereabouts Virgin have not only stopped dropping litter through the letter box, they told one of their (presumably ADSL) customers that they change to another supplier. There's no chance they'd want to try laying anything in these particular geological conditions.

      4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Virgin

        Well Whoopppppeeeeee Do.

        How's all that lovely pron then?

        The VM users in my street are actually worse off than those on FTTC. Why? Because 90% of the residents are on VM and it is delivered over an old bit of NTL Coax. Speeds at 19:00 on a weekday are around 5Mbits.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Where?

      @Domquark

      "Feltham (for non-UK readers, a suburb of London"

      A Welsh reader writes: Where is London?

  11. Colin 29

    Moving house

    I'm moving house in about a week. Several weeks ago I contacted BT to arrange for a telephone/broadband service to begin the day after I move in. Long story short, after a dozen phone calls I've learnt that it's not possible to arrange in advance, you have to wait until after you move in and then wait up to 2 weeks for them to complete the process. Requests made in advance are cancelled by OpenReach because the line is still in use *now*.

    This experience is not consistent with "great engineering achievements".

    1. Gio Ciampa

      Re: Moving house

      Some things don't change it seems (I had the same thing almost 10 years back)

      Do they still charge £125 for the privilege of this "service"?

      1. Colin 29

        Re: Moving house

        No, but their "solution" was to install another physical line to the property which would have cost £

  12. stu 4

    95% bullshit ?

    My parents live in central Scotland.

    So not the highlands - 22 miles SE of Glasgow. In a village on a main trunk road.

    They get 2Mb at the fastest sync speed - sometimes 1Mb.

    Perhaps they are just some isolated island of crap copper in a sea of optic fibre...

    or perhaps the 95% figure is about as trust worthy as... well BT or a politician.

    Perhaps if BT could only CHARGE for broadband over 24Mb and it was free with phone rental below that, that would be the kick in the arse they need to sort it out.

    For now. they pay the same per month that others pay for 10x that speed.. so were is the incentive for BT to make it any faster ?

    stu

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 95% bullshit ?

      Perhaps if BT could only CHARGE for broadband over 24Mb and it was free with phone rental below that, that would be the kick in the arse they need to sort it out.

      No. You just think that because you're too nice. Join me, and imagine you've donned the Darth Vader helmet (and mindset) of BT senior managers. Now consider how as evil business overlord you will react to that idea? A few people would indeed get faster broadband. But a cost benefit analysis will show that providing crap broadband for free to many addresses is a better outcome for you than investing big money to improve things for what (nationally) is a small number of customers. Those people would NEVER see any improvement over the BT network.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: 95% bullshit ?

      I think the key word here is "village".

  13. Piro

    24 down is adequate enough for most home users

    But it is certainly not "superfast" in this day and age.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 24 down is adequate enough for most home users

      The problem is the upload speed if you want to take advantage of any "cloud" service... if you just deliver ADSL2+, it's 3Mb only with special setups, otherwise it's just 1Mb. Good luck backing up some terabytes of photos, for example.

  14. tiggity Silver badge

    Pick a number

    Any number

    .. I think that's how BT give you your broadband speed estimates.

    None of the places I have lived have given anything like BTs figures (and that includes various ISP changes too)

  15. Stumpy

    BT told me that the maximum I could ever get from my line would be a platry 6Mbs, so when we finally got Hyperoptic to install in the block it was a welcome relief (although took me nearly three years of lobbying the tenant management board and the other residents).

    Now, I'm paying around £30/month for 100Mbs synchronous (FTTP) with phone, and regularly get faster than that (around 120Mbs).

    Odd though that when I called BT to have the line disconnected and they asked me why, they then stated that they could offer me 'superfast' 50Mb broadband with BTTV thrown in ... although they still couldn't compete on price. Also, when I asked them what had changed recently to enable the uptick from 6Mb max to 50Mb max they told me that there had been no recent engineering work. Go figure. Lying sacks of s**t.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Also, when I asked them what had changed recently to enable the uptick from 6Mb max to 50Mb max they told me that there had been no recent engineering work. Go figure. Lying sacks of s**t."

      I doubt the individuals concerned were knowingly telling fibs. More likely just an outcome of being a huge disjointed corporation, with appalling internal information flows. Virginmedia is every bit as bad.

  16. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Slowly getting there

    Some people in my village are getting < 2Mb. I used to get about 6Mb, but after Openreach replaced the copper to the house I was getting a stable 11.5Mb. So a lot of the problems are down to manky old copper or, I suspect, barbed wire, running to the premises.

    Having said that, our exchange was upgraded to FTTC a couple of years ago. Could I get it? No, 'cos I'm on Cabinet 2. But, the wait may have been worth it. After two years of sarky e-mails to Openreach, we went live on fibre a couple of months ago - FTTP no less (is this a recognition of the poor state of the local copper). After a five-day hiccup of no broadband at all, this morning my 304.94Mbps connection went live, and the phone is over the fibre as well, so no more crackles (I hope). A lot of people are having trouble actually upgrading - missed appointments by engineers etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slowly getting there

      re is this a recognition of the poor state of the local copper

      What makes you think its copper?, it may be the 'special' white copper , AKA aluminium put in in the past when there was a 'real' copper shortage.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Slowly getting there

        We do have some experience of that - not in the last few hundred yards, but it seems there is/was some Al between the exchange and the local cabinet, which caused grief cranking my ADSL2+ beyond 11.5Mbps - it kept renegotiating up to about 16Mbps when it continuously dropped out until they locked it at a lower speed.

  17. FlossyThePig

    Phase 2 - Super Duper Broadband

    So they have met the target for "superfast broadband" bringing FTTC to loads of sites. Then they will realise that 24Mbps is no longer good enough (remember when government were talking about 2Mbps) so have to instigate FTTP to 95% (and maybe talk about upload as well as download speeds).

    I'll still be stuck on 8Mbps (on FTTC) until they make a much higher speed a legal requirement for all.

    @ djstardust - What is "distinctly average"?

  18. AppealToReason

    Legal Right to Broadband !?

    Who will we be suing if we don't have high speed internet access by 2020 ?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Legal Right to Broadband !?

      Nobody because the legal right will include some kind of provider cost cap. You'll have the legal right to ask for broadband and the provider will have the legal right to ask you to chip in.

      If you choose not to pay £10k in excess construction charges the law will consider that you have made your choice and there is no case to answer.

  19. deanb01

    95% of statistics are made up

    So our exchange is FTTC yet less than 50% of the cabinets in the surrounding estates have not been converted. BT / Openreach seem to have a thing for counting a town as 'converted' once they've done the exchange, regardless of whether any of the population can get the service. It's all ballcocks.

  20. mrs doyle

    The superfarce rocks on.

    Judging by previous commenters the predictions made in 2009 for a digital britain are coming true, the whole thing is a complete farce, with manipulated statistics from an incumbent sweating copper assets and investing in football rights rather than infrastructure, as we said it would and the civil servants took no notice and so politicians and most of the public are now convinced fibre comes down phone lines. The ASA wants a kick up the trousers too.

  21. djvrs

    24Mbps

    24Mbps? That's more like 2.4Mbps for me... BT said it was too expensive to upgrade my exchange so moved on.....

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: 24Mbps

      BT upgraded our exchange with large council monies. Most people on the exchange in the village were on 17Mb as they were quite close and only a couple of people have upgraded to higher speeds. The rest of us had our cabinets moved back to the exchange so no change for us. Money and brownie points for BT, Nothing for the customer.

  22. Lostintranslation

    BTopenreach today:

    "We're working with government and industry to explore ways to bring Superfast fibre to as many people as possible but don't have a plan for your area yet."

  23. Slim99

    Superslow

    I'm on 3Mbps down and 150k up. Have to tether for decent Webex and big attachments. Apparently our cabinet isn't suitable. Come on guys. Work from home, otherwise I'd be on the Vodafone 50 Gig deal yesterday.

    Where am I? Outer Hebrides? Nope. 1 mile from Leicester.

    Gits.

  24. Charles Smith

    Dreamland

    Aside from Mr Ferguson, is there anyone who actually believes this BT/Govt propaganda?

    1. Kaltern

      Re: Dreamland

      Most of the target voters, of which there are many...

  25. markwalker_

    Surrounded by the 95%

    I'm another of the 5%, left with a copper line that'll do 6mb on the router, 2-5mb in speed tests.

    Within half a mile there are plenty of houses with FTTC capable of 70+ mb, so do I fall into their 95% because of how things get measured. Being in such a built up area in a big city & on such a low line speed I can't imagine 95% is accurate given all the rural houses in this country.

    My ISP (EE) list my line as a 6mb line, guarantee me a speed of 0.0 (seriously) & still I have to pay a line rental to BT on this. Surely it's not worth, nor justifiable to charge for such a poor service these days?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surrounded by the 95%

      After all the BDUK wave 2 phases are complete you’ll find many rural houses in the UK will have vastly superior broadband than in the big cities.

      My village got enabled for gigaclear a few months back. It’s taken us from 8Mbits in BT to 1Gig symmetrical proper GPON with no download limits or throttling of any kind that I’ve noticed.

      They’re also a proper ISP that knows how to deal with the technically minded as well as “normal” home users.

      It really has changed our lives here. I’m so glad my council decided to give the contact to Gigaclear opposed to BT. I can’t imagine being limited to 80Mbits let alone 24 either would be pure hell in comparison!!

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modern politics in the UK too then?

    When a company becomes too big and "powerful" where it starts to show signs of a monopoly or when a group of similar companies form a cartel then the government is usually all too eager to apply tons of restrictions because a monopoly is obviously bad for the consumer (which, in all honesty, usually is the case).

    But what happened with those regulations in this situation? I assume it's back to the common excuse of: "this is different?".

    They way I see it they're allowing this single company to seriously expand their monopoly position and it will only be a matter of time because that gets abused.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Super Muh

    You need to be hitting 200Mbit to be reasonably fast - superfast is over 1000Mbit. 24Mbit is occationally OK, at best. When my fibre drops to that speed the kids shout "what's wrong with the Internet? Can I reboot the box - it's shit today"

    1. jbuk1

      Re: Super Muh

      > 24Mbit is occationally OK, at best

      And here's me running 200mb fiber for 500 machines and still using 100mb host ports on some switches.

      I don't see anyone complaining about the speed of the internet here.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. slackshoe

    24mbps wasn't even superfast in 2008.

    Now imagine if they'd been rolling out FTTP for the last 10 years like they should have been.

    The 95% goal is a bit like when they tout the latest unemployment rate or household income. There's still entire rural and suburban areas that are woefully neglected for broadband. And will be for a good while longer.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: 24mbps wasn't even superfast in 2008.

      Now imagine if they'd been rolling out FTTP for the last 10 years like they should have been.

      Indeed. Those of you still not on FTTC would probably still be on analogue modem. It's very unlikely that BT could have afforded to roll out FTTP and xDSL at the same time. So the choice is you either wait twenty years while FTTP is rolled out or (as they have done) accept that the upgrade will require multiple steps with most people seeing a significant improvement every five or six years.

      1. slackshoe

        Re: 24mbps wasn't even superfast in 2008.

        Is that like when the government "can't afford" to fund the NHS or the Police, but can find a few billion down the back of the couch for the DUP or to bomb some muslims?

        Having worked for a couple of companies that have contracted BT, I'm quite well aware of how ridiculously wealthy they are, and how much money they're happy to waste paying engineers to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for paperwork to approve requests. They could have been planning a full fibre rollout a long time ago. The simple reasons why they haven't are manager bonuses, shareholders, and good old profiteering. Instead we've got a stopgap (FTTC) and now a stopgap for the stopgap (g.fast). Other countries are laughing at us, they can't believe how poor our broadband is.

  31. Sp0ck
    Thumb Up

    I live in a little village on the outskirts of Hythe in Kent and was lucky to get 1Mbps until the village got a grant. I was expecting BT to get the money, instead a small outfit called Callflow solutions won it and bunged in FTTC and I now get 24Mbps (on an upto 30Mbps service) and am extremely happy with it. I could pay £8 extra per month for an upto 100Mbps service but for my usage I wouldn't see any benefit.

    The thing is Openreach are now putting overhead fibre into the village so we're now going to have a good bit of competition.

  32. Darren Forster

    Still on 3-4mbps here

    We're connected to a fibre enabled cabinet but have been repeatedly told by BT we can't have it 'cos 3 miles is too far away. At the moment stuck on 3-4 mbps - my 4G phone on GiffGaff actually gets faster internet, if only there was a phone provider offering unlimited tethered data I'd tell BT where to stick their land-line. Don't know though why BT don't replace all copper cabling with super fast data only fibre, and then move all voice services onto VOIP, or even move all voice services onto VOIP make copper cabling data only, and use the entire audio bandwidth rather than using an ADSL filter to restrict it to high frequency only, we have a VOIP phone and never use the main phone line for anything but data.

  33. Anne-Lise Pasch

    Still 0.5 mb/s in my street.

  34. Spanners Silver badge
    Facepalm

    95% of what?

    I have a sneaking suspicion that this is a fudged (made up) figure. Is it...

    1 95% of the population

    2 95% of potential subscribers

    3 95% of families

    4 95$ of homes

    5 95% of "important" areas

    6 95% of The UK mainland

    7 95% Of the entire UK surface

    8 95% of something else?

    I am undecided if its number 5 or 8

  35. SilverWidow

    Hoo flippin' ray

    This announcement came on the very day I received a (tardy) response from BT to my enquiry, made months ago, as to when I would be able to get fibre broadband - according to the Openreach website they are "actively looking into it". My enquiry was prompted because half of the neighbours in the Devon village in which I live already have Superfast, while I and the remaining have-nots are struggling on with dire connections. The answer is, of course (given this announcement) that we can go whistle for it. Some of the remote/third-world countries I've visited have better communications than we do in this country.

  36. Busby47

    What's superfast broadband?

    As for the successful role out of super fast broadband. I am one of the few who would just like to get working internet. I am lucky if I get a 3mb connection and a stable line for more than 24hrs. Openreach are a joke.

  37. markcollins

    Sorry I personally do not believe these stats from BT/Openreach/the Government!

    I work in the telecoms industry and I hear of far too many people who simply do not receive these speeds in practise. E.g. I live less than 30 miles from London (in the Home Counties) - BT have rolled out SuperFast Broadband (FTTC) in our area - but Users can only get 1Mbps download speeds! Was suppose to be 6-8Mbps according to their system pre-installation!

    Quite worrying as the original Broadband Service the FTTC replaced, worked at 1.5Mbps! BT/Openreach's answer to address the problem - cancel the Service as they cannot achieve the quoted speeds - might affect their Stats! Luckily Virgin have recently rolled out fibre services in the area and the kids have recently stopped screaming at me for us to move!

  38. BigBadAl

    4G the way to go

    As an IT consultant I get to look at many different solutions for the clients I see. I have to say that if an ADSL or VDSL (FTTC) line has issues after installation, the grief and drawn out process is too painful to describe. After 4 months we now have the REIN engineers looking for interference on the line. Initial visit engineer was heard to say - well it looks okay at the moment...... The technology of ADSL / VDSL is pushing the physical constraints of the old lines it's coming down on. We have been using a mobile hotspot for 2 months now due to the unreliability of the connection. It's been brilliant - 12Mb inside the office and 8Mb upload allows us to operate reliably.

    We have a customer, an engineering company - can only get 0.8Mb - cannot justify the investment in a leased line. Initial installation costs looked like £10k due to his location. plus £300 ish a month. Sorted out a 4G LTE router with ADSL for backup. two external antennas and he gets 21Mb down and 12Mb upload - 40GB for £30.00 a month - no contract. he is delighted, yes he has gone over the limit but what will probably happen is he will get another SIM and swap it.

    We need to look at City Fibre - role out Fibre in the Cities and look to roll out to rural communities. Give them the grants and push any planning issues through. They (and other providers) are small enough and agile enough to be flexible and offer very good value for money.

  39. Disgruntled of TW
    FAIL

    One way traffic ...

    Once again, we're taking whatever medicine the incumbent monopolist gives us. Video conferencing, backup to the cloud and uploading video and photos will remain slow as our government has allowed Openreach to deploy technology which cannot provide "super fast" (ugh) speeds in BOTH directions.

    The future is sharing data, in both directions. Not what our short-sighted government has allowed to happen with our tax money.

  40. Liam O'Flaherty

    95% of the UK or GB? I get a MAXIMUM of 10Mb/s in BT23 ffs...

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