back to article 10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

The government has finally published plans for how everyone in the UK will have a legal right to 10Mbps speeds by 2020 after rejecting a voluntary offer by BT. Under the plans, industry will have to fork out for the universal service obligation (USO), rather than having a publicly funded scheme as previously proposed. Ofcom …

  1. defiler Silver badge

    One can only hope...

    ...that the infrastructure work for these remote locations is done in a forward-looking manner. In other words, bung some fibre in there. Given that I expect they'll be digging a trench anyway, adding fibre to it is a minimal cost, and adding a lot of fibre is a rounding error beyond that.

    That way, when UK Gov turns around and ups it to 50Mb/sec in the future it's a case of changing terminating equipment (or even just unthrottling the lines).

    (Happy to be about 300m from the exchange.)

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: One can only hope...

      Yeah I'm 500m from an exchange and about 20m from the cabinet..

      The exchange supports fttp but I can't find a provider that will do it (even if I pay)

      Zen even told me that fttp won't get rolled out to me because I can get VDSL @75mb/s

      As for trenches, while I agree I do quite a bit of work for a company that digs those trenches for open reach gigaclear and virgin... New trenches will be a last resort, they will either use existing duct (which is still ok because they can shove fibre down there) or overhead cable to keep costs down.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: One can only hope...

        > As for trenches, while I agree I do quite a bit of work for a company that digs those trenches for open reach gigaclear and virgin... New trenches will be a last resort, they will either use existing duct (which is still ok because they can shove fibre down there) or overhead cable to keep costs down.

        "Last resort" aka "normal operation" cos BT/Thames Water et al. won't play nicely. I have a BT pole on my property but Gigaclear had to trench cos there's no way BT will help out. Not aware of Gigaclear being able to use other ducting from any of the pics they put up on their twitter feed of installs going on in villages (perhaps there aren't any?)

        Regarding suppliers of FTTP, BT do offer it on demand in some areas (YMMV, naturally):

        https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/ultrafastfibreaccess/fttpondemand/fttpod.do

        1. Frenchie Lad

          Re: One can only hope...

          Welcome to the real world. The only way I could get telecom competitors to cooperate via common POPs is by threatening legal action. Hard work all the way.

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: One can only hope...

          ""Last resort" aka "normal operation" cos BT/Thames Water et al. won't play nicely. I have a BT pole on my property but Gigaclear had to trench cos there's no way BT will help out. Not aware of Gigaclear being able to use other ducting from any of the pics they put up on their twitter feed of installs going on in villages (perhaps there aren't any?)"

          Last resort as in they cant do it cheaper is what I was getting at - one of the reasons that they might not be able to use existing duct might be that the owner wont let them run cable through it.

          Dont know why you brought Thames water into it - Its very unlikely that the two utilities will be buried close to each other.

          As for the pictures on the gigaclear site - you suggested villages - commonly served by overhead cables - so there is likely no existing suitable duct available.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: One can only hope...

            It would be cheaper for 3rd party providers of fibre to run them on BT poles for a nominal rental than to dig a trench, yet it's only recently that anyone is making Open reach do this:

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43168564

            Thames Water as there's always been mutterings of running fibre up the sewers for an easy duct to every property.

            True, there's not much duct in villages, but the poles and sewers are there and would probably be much less effort to use than digging trenches.

            I built my house and, despite having a BT pole right outside my plot, Openreach couldn't get the install right (never showed up to two installation appointments, then cancelled it claiming they could only install fttp despite that not being enabled on my exchange). Gigaclear said "yeah, we'll do it tomorrow" and did.

    2. Frenchie Lad

      Re: One can only hope...

      The only sensible way forward is to provide LTE/4G/5G facilities. Must be cheaper than digging.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: One can only hope...

        > The only sensible way forward is to provide LTE/4G/5G facilities. Must be cheaper than digging.

        The most likely first 5G use-case is to provide domestic broadband services using highly directional base-station antennas and massive-MIMO technology.

  2. Lee D Silver badge

    I still can't work out why this is privatised.

    And I can't fathom why you wouldn't just make a concept of a "service path", as such. That would consist of - a vehicular access road, electrical power supply, fibre-optic data feeds, gas lines, sewage and other drainage, "service path utilities" (i.e. for the direct use of street lights, traffic lights, etc. separate from everything else), spare ducting reserved for future use, service hatches/manholes and anything else that every road is going to need eventually.

    I get why the old London roads don't have that to start with, but why - 60-80 years ago when we started to build proper roads and had to re-do lots of things and cable lots of new services into the roads, it wasn't just designed on a modular basis.

    Then every road grows in proportion to the industries/households that it serves, redundancy and spare-routing in the road network results in the same on the data and power networks, you know that you can just put some new "quantum cable" through every road in the future should you need to, and every new housing estate built gets all services even if it decides not to utilise them.

    Build it in as you go, until it's standard hardware through all the major routes and towns, and then you can literally just get used to expecting it to be there for everyone. And every time you re-lay a road, you can retro-fit, until eventually everywhere will be connected (very few vehicle roads are more than 50-years-old in terms of the tarmac on them, I should imagine, even if the road has been there since the Roman ages).

    Basic communications, transport and utilities infrastructure should be part of the same process, department, procurement, maintenance, etc. That it isn't, I find very disappointing. And you just know that even if we got to "start again" (e.g. on Mars) we'd make the same mistakes rather than just make everything part of the same modular, standardised system.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      All new builds which require an access road constructed that is over 10m long should definitely, by law, have to have easy to access segregated ducting with several empty channels under the pavements (or raised cycleways). And standardised formwork to hold the segregated ducting in a pattern wouldn't go amiss either.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Mother-in-Law lives on a new estate greenfield estate where the tarmac has been dug up so many times in the less-than-a-year since it's been down it's in worse condition than the much older main roads to and from the estates.

        TBH I don't even see why modern roads need ironwork in the carriage way.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And every time you re-lay a road, you can retro-fit, until eventually everywhere will be connected (very few vehicle roads are more than 50-years-old in terms of the tarmac on them, I should imagine, even if the road has been there since the Roman ages).

      I can certainly see the attraction of this approach, but you're vastly underestimating the cost of digging up the entire road and it's subsurface and re-routing and re-laying the utilities, compared with just grinding off the top couple of cm of tarmac and resurfacing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The other problem with a utility service duct would be that it can only carry electricity and telecoms, so it would be disproportionately expensive.

        Whilst physically it would be possible, you'd have to be f***ing mad to put a gas pipe in a buried service duct of that nature, and putting either or both water and sewerage would add very unpleasant and messy consequences to a pipe failure.

        You also create new problems, or having to guarantee AT ALL TIMES and ALL PLACES that the ducting is safe for pedestrians and vehicles to walk across (nothing like as easy as it might seem), the need to have rainwater drainage, ventilation to prevent poisonous gas build up, and vermin control to stop it becoming a rat superhighway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > and putting either or both water and sewerage would add very unpleasant and messy consequences to a pipe failure.

          Add to that that water and sewage prefer to follow gravity whereas the rest of the utilities need not and so maybe cheaper / more effective to serve a different way.

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Compared to how much it then costs to go back and dig it up again to put in the electricity. And the gas. And then the phone. And then the traffic light. And then the new electricity because of all the new houses now. And then the fibre. And then the leased line to run the 4G mast. And then the sewage for the new housing estate in town.

        All of which often use OTHER means rather than dig up the road, precisely because DECIDING to close off the road is the hard part but when it's already closed it's much easier to do everything. Imagine how many private lease and wayleave and ducting arrangements are made on other land because they can't use the road that runs right past it.

        And then, quite literally, you can put out a schedule of "We're digging up the A41 next week, anyone who wants to modify their parts of that service path should book the work in now" and save having to tear the road up several times or (worse) leave it unmaintained because it's too expensive to get access, so the water main bursts because nobody's looked at it in 20 years.

        I'm not saying it's zero-cost. But it's significantly lower ongoing cost once done. And precisely because it's not zero-cost, we should have homogenised and saved over the long run decades ago and every year we put off doing so costs more than if we'd just started doing it.

        P.S. I'd also charge for access to each module. You wanna shut down that road to service your gas line? No problem. The council responsible for it (and not petty measuring devices and surveys to determine boundaries every time, but literally "module 23") charge the gas company for the hours it's out of use and the number of cars / users inconvenienced - thus heavy-traffic roads cost a ton more to service, and you won't want to leave your roadworks up overnight unless it's absolutely necessary. Wonder what you could use that money for?

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Facepalm

          I remember many years ago, our road was finally resurfaced - a proper job, not just a "skim and topup".

          It seemed to take ages.

          A week or so after they'd finished, it was dug up to install some new gas or water main...

          1. Chloe Cresswell

            They built a bypass in my town to skip around the market place. The last section was ready, it was due to be opened.. and Anglian Water dug it up and patched it back down.

            The council told them in no uncertian terms they could replace the entire top surface now, as they weren't going to open a brand new road with a patch across the middle...

            1. d3vy Silver badge

              "The council told them in no uncertian terms they could replace the entire top surface now, as they weren't going to open a brand new road with a patch across the middle..."

              I call BS.. the council would have to approve the work by Anglia water before they could dig.. closed road or not there's a noticing period before an excavation can start.

              1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                I call BS.. the council would have to approve the work by Anglia water before they could dig.. closed road or not there's a noticing period before an excavation can start.

                Well no and yes.

                Utilities have a statutory right to dig the road up - the authority responsible for the road CANNOT stop them.

                If it is unscheduled repair work, then no notice is required - I assume there's some sort of notification requirement, but there's none of this "apply for a permit and wait six weeks".

                Only in the case of scheduled works - ie improvements etc - does the utility have to apply for a permit. At a previous job we've had customers with delayed installs while the provider gets a permit to close a lane so they could put the required fibre ducting through the underground ducts.

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          "P.S. I'd also charge for access to each module. You wanna shut down that road to service your gas line? No problem. The council responsible for it (and not petty measuring devices and surveys to determine boundaries every time, but literally "module 23") charge the gas company for the hours it's out of use and the number of cars / users inconvenienced"

          This is pretty much what happens now.

          1. tfewster Silver badge
            Facepalm

            @d3vy

            >>charge the gas company for the hours it's out of use and the number of cars / users inconvenienced"

            >This is pretty much what happens now.

            But why not require the utility companies to make the road usable when they're not actively working on it? i.e. metal plates over a trench? They'd lose maybe 1 hour per day in doing that, and pass the cost on to "customers", but still cheaper than the waste of fuel & time from traffic delays.

            1. d3vy Silver badge

              Re: @d3vy

              "But why not require the utility companies to make the road usable when they're not actively working on it? i.e. metal plates over a trench? They'd lose maybe 1 hour per day in doing that, and pass the cost on to "customers", but still cheaper than the waste of fuel & time from traffic delays."

              I believe that for some longer jobs this is an option - we tend to do quick jobs where the surface is reinstated same day or at most 48 hours later.

              One thing that jumps out as being an issue though is that if we have dug a trench until its re-filled the side walls will be at risk of collapse - deeper than 2m would require reinforcement but generally we dont go that deep so your proposal would be to slap a big piece of metal over a hole with potentially unstable sides with an exposed gas line under it. Im not sure we could get that one past H&S !

              That said, I work in IT - my knowledge of what goes on on site is not encyclopedic so I could be wrong about this.

        3. d3vy Silver badge

          Oh...

          "And then, quite literally, you can put out a schedule of "We're digging up the A41 next week, anyone who wants to modify their parts of that service path should book the work in now"

          We do that too.. there's a defined process for notifying other providers that we are opening a trench/running new duct so that they can share and reduce the need for future trenches in the same area.

    3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      ...a vehicular access road, electrical power supply, fibre-optic data feeds, gas lines, sewage and other drainage, "service path utilities" (i.e. for the direct use of street lights, traffic lights, etc. separate from everything else), spare ducting reserved for future use, service hatches/manholes and anything else that every road is going to need eventually....

      Perhaps becise all those services have different requiremnts for their holes? For instance, sewerage is always going to have to flow downhill, while gas wants a direct route from supply to house - and electricity wants a different direct line to its substation....

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      I still can't work out why this is privatised.

      Presumably you're under the age of 50 and therefore have no memories of the telephone network prior to BT's privatisation. Lots of clever people, lots of great technology but no money to actually upgrade the network. The government privatised the telephone network because it couldn't be bothered (or couldn't afford if you want to be nice) to invest the money needed to fix it.

      But even if you are young I have to wonder what it is about successive UK governments that has lead you to thinking they could do a better job than BT.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But even if you are young I have to wonder what it is about successive UK governments that has lead you to thinking they could do a better job than BT.

        That nice man Jeremy said he could do a better job.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "That nice man Jeremy said he could do a better job."

          Every party not in government says they can do a better job. LibDem voters were horrified when their party got into government and discovered they couldn't.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            I've always wanted to vote for LibDems because their policies generally sound so sensible. Unfortunately good sense has mostly(*) made me forget the idea. The public rarely vote for sensible policies and anyone proposing sensible policies is probably naive.

            (*)I did vote for them at the last election. It was a protest vote. I live in South Northants so it probably meant less than a gnat's fart in a hurricane but I did it anyway. If they try to get elected on a 'role back Brexit' I might do it again. I bet Andrea is shaking in her boots at that :-/

        2. Rob Foster 1

          nice man Jeremy

          So... Try asking someone old enough (who isn't called Jeremy) how efficient the nationalised industries were in the 1970s before they were privatised. And when they've finished laughing they might tell you.

          1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

            Re: nice man Jeremy

            So... Try asking someone old enough (who isn't called Jeremy) how efficient the nationalised industries were in the 1970s before they were privatised. And when they've finished laughing they might tell you.

            It's easy to have a pop at the nationalised industries of the 70s, but their private cousins were just as bad: Ford Dagenham for example.

    5. DavCrav Silver badge

      "And every time you re-lay a road, you can retro-fit, until eventually everywhere will be connected (very few vehicle roads are more than 50-years-old in terms of the tarmac on them, I should imagine, even if the road has been there since the Roman ages)."

      Sounds nice, but I was at a lecture by a civil engineer who was designing equipment to find all the stuff under the roads. First, some roads, particularly in London, are 'full', in the sense that with sewers, electricity, water mains, gas pipes, phone lines, cable TV, and more, there is no longer any room for digging underneath. Second, there are more or less no maps of this stuff. The recent pipes and cables have been mapped, but in most places in the UK, if you stand on a road and say 'where is the water main here?', the water company won't be able to tell you.

      Retrofitting would mean that the water, electricity, sewerage, etc., would be cut off for over a week to somebody, probably much longer. I doubt you'd be impressed if someone said 'we are relaying your road. Move out for a week as you won't have any water or drainage'.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Retrofitting, maybe not possible, but certainly a manhole at the point where a new road spurs off an existing road, with all underground services except sewerage are available. I say sewerage is a separate case because it needs to go deeper, usually runs in the middle of the road, receiving grey water from the left and right drains, and runs down. Everything else is gradient agnostic. Separate manhole for the sewers; I mean, how often is that upgraded? Cleaning access, yes. But it doesn't need to run in a duct, does it?!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I say sewerage is a separate case because it needs to go deeper, usually runs in the middle of the road, receiving grey water from the left and right drains, and runs down.

          For new build there are already guidelines on the distance from the kerb for all services, which is specifically intended to stop things being laid above each other except where the side connection cross. For the normal frequency of repairing infrastructure, there is no financial case for putting it in a common duct. If it were cheaper for new build, Barratt Homes would have done this years ago.

          So to summarise: Common utility service ducts are more expensive to create, are not requested or even wanted by the utilities, don't perform well in the instance of water, gas or electric network failure, expose the services to vermin damage and possibly vandalism. And would require a jointed load bearing reinforced concrete pavement capable of taking the weight of a maximum load truck up to 44 tonnes plus the dynamic load of vehicle movement. That would get f***ed in about three years of vehicle traffic due to movement and freeze thaw on the millions of joints leading to noisey joints that then disintegrate.

          It sounds such a simple idea for easy maintenance, the reality is that it introduces more maintenance needs than it saves, whilst costing more. The simple answer is to do what Openreach already do - if a duct makes sense, they use their own tiddly ones to make future maintenance easier.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Even then the telephone ducts collapse or get blocked from time to time so the road needs digging up to lay a new duct.

            1. Chris G Silver badge

              The telephone ducts and others also get significant amounts of organic detritus in them which can lead to methane gas build up, presenting a danger of explosion. Bigger ducts could present a bigger risk.

              I worked in the City in the late '60s, I remember a couple of hundred metres of Moorgate pavement being lifted in a fraction of a second when one of the 'up poles down 'oles' guys made a spark on opening up the ducting.

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        "but in most places in the UK, if you stand on a road and say 'where is the water main here?', the water company won't be able to tell you."

        I assure you this is incorrect.

        Maybe a few areas but by no means 'most' I've spent the last few years building systems to extract these maps from utility companies, it's data that they have and will make available to you if you really need it.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        I believe they use utility tunnels in Germany and Switzerland and it runs like clockwork so it can be done.

      4. Dan 55 Silver badge

        if you stand on a road and say 'where is the water main here?', the water company won't be able to tell you.

        Of course they can tell you, when all else fails they fall back to dowsing rods...

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I still can't work out why this is privatised."

      Because over 3 decades ago it became all too obvious that successive governments hadn't been and still weren't prepared to make the required levels of ongoing investment in the old GPO network. The only way to get adequate investment into the network and to recover money from such previous as had been made was to privatise it.

    7. tip pc Bronze badge

      @Lee D

      what happens when after a few decades and extensions to the original roads sprawl out the spare capacity is used up with bundled cables where some are still in use?

      for roads you can just add more without necessarily adding extra capacity to the original. Water, sewers, gas, electric etc will likely need larger feeder pipes to ensure capacity at the eventual end, With telecoms, the connections typically need to get back to an exchange, adding more customers usually ends up adding more cables back to an aggregation node or the exchange eating up that capacity that was added at the start, which is pretty much the situation we have right now.

      Nice idea, already implemented and ultimately needs ripping out and starting again to make fit for current or future purpose.

      Rip out the copper, replace on mass with fibre, make OR do it if you want, but get rid of copper, don't run both.

      i used to manage sites that once had central boilers feeding campus buildings, when the boilers where decommissioned the boiler houses where turned into frame rooms and the buried pipes / ducts running to each building where reused for multicore cabling for phones, then we ran fibre through them turning the boiler houses to comms and server rooms, Didn't take long for the pipes / ducts to get full, also many where found to have been damaged / collapsed / flooded / vermin homes / lined with that totally acceptable in the 50's asbestos etc over the years etc.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    What's "fast"...

    and what's "super fast" and what's "broadband" and what's "dial-up"?

    OK, I know what dial-up is. But the other terms are so vague, they might as well be marketing spin-fluff.

    I've had 100Mbs for the last year, 70 for about two years before that, 30 for about six years and 10 for... must be going on five years before that!

    Now, if I was getting "fast broadband" in 2004... all meaningless. Government not keeping pace with technology, providers not keeping pace with demand. Investment is happening, but slow. Virgin seems to have stopped expanding since they monopolised all the competing cable providers by buying them out soon after their infrastructure was buried. Yet my bill seems to keep creeping up all the time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's "fast"...

      Can confirm virgin expanded their network in Manchester about 3 month ago in two separate locations, so they are doing it.

    2. Commswonk Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: What's "fast"...

      But the other terms are so vague, they might as well be marketing spin-fluff.

      You swine; you broke the code and have just gone and told everyone.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's "fast"...

      Virgin seems to have stopped expanding since they monopolised all the competing cable providers by buying them out soon after their infrastructure was buried. Yet my bill seems to keep creeping up all the time.

      Well, Project Lightning continues at the snail's pace you'd expect of both VM, and anything that includes the word "lightning". But the bill increases will continue, and are primarily down to the fact that Liberty Global over-paid for Virgin Media and for the most part have made losses (at group level) ever since, and now face rising interest rates. Last year for example, LG lost $2 billion. That's all going on our bills over the next few years, along with the recovery of VM's share of LG's $18 billion of "goodwill". Things will get worse when LG find a daft-enough mug (like Vodafone) to either buy VM, or roll both companies into one.

      I'm hoping that Openreach stop pissing around and roll out G.fast nationally. I don't need gigabit speeds, so FTTP is an extravagance, but as soon as I can get a reliable 120+ Mbps over Openreach, I will abandon Vermin Media's shite customer service and pricey offering.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: What's "fast"...

        "I don't need gigabit speeds, so FTTP is an extravagance"

        It sounds like you'll be paying for it all the same even if you don't get it. Did you imagine those who've been whining for it were going to pay for it themselves?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What's "fast"...

          Did you imagine those who've been whining for it were going to pay for it themselves?

          Obviously not. But I must say that even allowing my own and other's carping at the low ambition of this, I'm still a lot happier at throwing a billion quid at rural broadband than I am with the £80bn white elephant of HS2, or government mandating the spending of leccy bill payer's money on the £40bn folly at Hinkley Point, or £20bn of shitty smart meters. Or the ever rising tens of billions spent on "foreign aid", because apparently we've got nothing to spend it on at home.

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Bill increase of £20

    per day knowing BT.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bill increase of £20

      >per day knowing BT.

      £20 per min rounded up.

    2. TWB

      Re: Bill increase of £20

      I blame the article - it would have been nice to have stated if this is:-

      - a one off payment

      - per month

      - per year

      etc - too much of the media do this i.e. stating figures out of context - a fail in IMHO.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Bill increase of £20

        There are ~ 30m houses in this country. £20 * 30m = £600m.

        So a twice-off payment?

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Bill increase of £20

          @disgustedoftunbridgewells

          But only small percentage of them need upgrading!!!!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Bill increase of £20

        "I blame the article - it would have been nice to have stated if this is:-" etc.

        They'll tell you when they decide which it is. It'll probably start at the bottom of your list and work upwards.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Posturing

    If they reckon it'll cost £1.1bn, then it won't be done by the end of 2020. No way on earth they will be able to plan and deliver that volume of low value distributed works.

    There's around 720 working days to the end of 2020. So an average spend of £1.5m each and every working day. Assuming two thirds of that is assorted types of labour, that's a million quid a day of labour, taking a blended cost of £35k a year, so £170 a day, then they need to deploy an ADDITIONAL 6,000 employees each and every day, scattered across the country and mainly in the areas that are most difficult to get to anyway. Given that the construction sector is struggling with skills and labour costs, and the energy industry are hoovering up blue collar staff to deliver the shitbag smart meter programme, I really can't see how Openreach or others will be able to offer 10 Mbps universally by the start of 2021.

    And even then, why fucking bother? 10 Mbps is so slow that it is farcical.

    1. My-Handle

      Re: Posturing

      Because 10 Mbps is five or six times faster than my current connection? And I'm not the only one who lives in a rural area.

      Additionally, as another commenter remarked, laying the fibre is the tricky bit. If the fibre's there, it's not so much of a jump from 10 Mbps to 50 Mbps.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've run the numbers.

    Cost for the USO per household: £1,400,000,000 / 24,480,000 households = £57.19 per household.

    Adding the cost to household BB bills over, say two years, this would be £2.38 per month for everyone. Over three years, £1.58 per month. Over five years, 95p per month. Over 10 years, 48p per month.

    This seems very reasonable. You could perhaps make it a bit progressive by not including those on the very cheapest broadband lines, or maybe people living in the most deprived postcode areas.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >or maybe people living in the most deprived postcode areas.

      Oddly they've all already got Virgin media or FTTP in the high rises.

    2. maffski

      You could perhaps make it a bit progressive

      Why not make it really progressive by saying people who want to live in the middle of nowhere and have fast broadband can pay for supplying fast broadband to the middle of nowhere?

      If you want electricity or gas you have to pay the cost of the install, are you really suggesting that broadband is more important to modern life than having an electricity supply?

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: You could perhaps make it a bit progressive

        We're 'in the middle of nowhere' getting 26Mb. We don't qualify for any of the cheap deals as only BT have equipment in the exchange.

        I just see it as a cost associated with living somewhere nice. Same way I view the £15k I spend on a new sewage treatment plan or the extra cost of needing 2 cars. We knew before we moved here (back then it was only ISDN), you just make adjustments.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: You could perhaps make it a bit progressive

        Yes, yes, as soon as you bloody townies start paying more for your water, and those of you not near gas terminals pay more for your gas.. And as for electricity, how far from the power station are you?

      3. Mike Scott 1

        Re: You could perhaps make it a bit progressive

        You need to define 'middle of nowhere'. i'm 300m from a fibre enabled exchange but because of some ludicrousness connected by EO to another exchange 4km away. I should be expected to stump up to upgrade a line that shouldn't go that way?

        Folks in the 'middle of nowhere' pay the same taxes - local and national - as everyone else, but receive considerably fewer public services. Should that always be the way?

      4. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: You could perhaps make it a bit progressive

        But it would be cheaper for BT to rip out the 6 miles of copper and put in fibre for me (or it should be) I've been here 10 years and am on my 4th pair and second pole. I get half a dozen call outs to fix one thing or another.

        And the really annoying part is it seems they've laid the fibre - they've just been waiting for the government to pay for it.

    3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      "This seems very reasonable."

      Er, no it's not reasonable that people subsidise rural broadband. Not unless the countryside starts sending me fresh air, lower crimes rates and less congested roads in return.

      1. Natalie Gritpants

        It does already, just come and collect your free fresh air (any time you want as rush hour is when the cows go to milking).

      2. Oddlegs

        "Er, no it's not reasonable that people subsidise rural broadband. Not unless the countryside starts sending me fresh air, lower crimes rates and less congested roads in return."

        I think you'll find the countryside is already sending you your fresh air given that's where most of the trees are

      3. Phil Endecott Silver badge

        > it's not reasonable that people subsidise rural broadband

        It’s not only rural areas; I’m in the middle of a major city and only get 9 Mbit/s because I’m almost 2 miles from thr exchange and it’s “not economic” to upgrade the cabinet to FTTC.

    4. Mike Scott 1

      They will want their payback in some unreasonably short time frame, rather than it being regraded as national infrastructure with a payback of 10+ years. Short term-ism rules.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Cost for the USO per household: £1,400,000,000 / 24,480,000 households = £57.19 per household."

      It'll end up looking nothing like that as I'm sure we all know too well. And then, if you want to distribute the cost over 10 years' worth of bills you need to add in interest.

  7. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Facepalm

    And best of all...

    ...it has a 100GB download allowance!

    1. Tromos
      Joke

      Re: And best of all...

      "...it has a 100GB download allowance!"

      Not too shabby.

      Provided that's the daily allowance.

  8. Chozo

    <grumble> only time my router shifts data at 10Mbps involves gravity and an open window

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

    We put man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

    Yet Ofcom is such a waste of 'Space'. I've not made a single call on my telephone line since before 2011, yet I'm charged £60 a quarter for its use to piggyback my Broadband and still will be charged separately for this in 2019. Yes, BT is getting cheaper regards line rental, but it's still a massive obsolete charge.

    No maintenance has been carried out on those cables on the house for probably 50 years. I have still have two pair speaker wire, type cable.

    When are we truly going to have 'just' a Broadband service with one charge Ofcom, where I don't have to take BT's phone service to get Broadband?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

      But think of those poor BT employees.

      *sad violin music*

      You don't want to deprive them of their racket do you, you heartless bastard?

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

      Someone will pipe up "A&A ISP", who have a wires-only broadband.

      It's true, they do.

      But do note that this is just a BT line, with a slightly reduced rental on it because you can't make calls (but it's still connected and has a little voice at the end of the line), which is then much more expensive than even the cheapest BT+ADSL line, and has a ridiculous default data usage cap...

      1. Crypto Monad

        Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

        As it happens: broadband without phone service, officially known as SOGEA, has just gone live today in a large number of areas.

        But you can expect the pricing to be just pennies less than phone line plus broadband. And for now you'll struggle to find a reseller who sells it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

          But you can expect the pricing to be just pennies less than phone line plus broadband.

          As a retail proposition, it is usually more expensive to take a Virgin Media broadband deal without the phone line than with, to the tune of about four quid a month. Since the marginal cost is nothing, if they can extract any revenue that's extra profit.

          My guess is that regardless of the wholesale costs, the same commercial logic will apply to ISPs using Openreach. BT might struggle to do that due to their ownership of OR, but for everybody else I think they'll follow the VM model.

    3. Domquark

      Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

      I totally agree!

      The specific service is called "Naked Broadband", but BT don't want to get rid of such a cash cow (from a purely business point of view, why would they?).

      Virgin are just as bad. They do (if you dig deep enough through their advertising crap) offer naked broadband, but it's only about £1 cheaper than having the service with the phone line, so expensive that you might as well take the phone line as well.

      1. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

        "The specific service is called "Naked Broadband" "

        That's pretty well what's on offer here in NL. Packages start with an Internet connection and then you can add voice (around EUR 2.50 per line per month) or TV (say EUR 15).

        Example:

        https://thuis.t-mobile.nl/pakketsamenstellen (higher speeds than the 100 Mbps shown there are available, normally without a data cap)

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

      "When are we truly going to have 'just' a Broadband service with one charge Ofcom, where I don't have to take BT's phone service to get Broadband?"

      It would probably cost you about £60 per quarter more if you did.

    5. 's water music Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

      umm, pretty sure that was the septics...

    6. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

      I've got I to the habit of phoning BT once a year and arguing until they discount my bill by the same amount as the line rental and call plan... Normally I can get one or the other knocked off.

      The line rental doesn't bother me too much I mean, the lines there... But they bundle a £15 call plan so I can make evening and weekend calls for free... Even though I don't have a phone plugged in to the line.

    7. Loud Speaker

      Re: We put a man into space/landed on the moon? between 1961 and 1969.

      Please can we put BT into space between now and the year 2069.

      Hell, why not make it permanent.

  10. Domquark

    For Everyone?

    Does that include businesses?

    I have a customer in central London (Sloane Square) that can only get 6MBps. Another in Feltham who only gets between 500 and 800KBps.

    So much for superfast.

    The only solution given by BT is EFM/Leased Line at huge expense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For Everyone?

      Given the revenues from the lease line biz for BT/Virgin, I doubt it.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: For Everyone?

      Tell them to buy a 4G stick / wifi router (e.g. Draytek Vigor LTE models).

      I guarantee you that you'll get more than 6MBps around there. Even if you only use that as an "first, fast, unreliable" services and keep the 6Mbps as the "second, slow, more reliable" fallback.

      1. Anonymous Noel Coward

        Re: For Everyone?

        As someone who has been stuck at half a megabit for a year, someone told me to use 4G.

        But I don't feel like coughing up £20/month for a 20GB download limit.

        I have a friend who lives in the ass end of the middle of nowhere in Finland who gets unlimited 4G ffs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For Everyone?

          I have a friend who lives in the ass end of the middle of nowhere in Finland who gets unlimited 4G ffs.

          Somebody had to pay for that. Either it came out of taxes, or the 4G costs will be higher. My guess is that it is taxes.

      2. Domquark

        Re: For Everyone?

        Tried that - didn't work. Alas, with 20 users trying to get Google Docs and Mail syncing, the 4G dongle fell flat on it's aerial!

        Had to limit access to only a couple of specific users, which worked just about OK until Win 10 tried to do the 1709 update and maxed out their download allowance!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If line rental is ever done away with by ofcom you can guarantee they will add more than the line rental charge to your broadband bill, as they have lost the possibility of an income stream from you picking up the phone and dialing an 0870 or whatever the expensive one is these days

  12. Cssmonaut
    Mushroom

    Can't wait..

    I get 4.5Mbps on fibre. Yep, on fibre. Plain old ADSL gets me 4Mbps.

    Can't wait for 10Mbps, and thank you all very much for paying for it :D

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait..

      I mean that's clearly not fibre is it? Its vDSL to a cabinet which then has fibre. The ADSL is fibre too in that case, its ADSL2+ to an exchange which then has fibre.

      I blame the ASA for allowing both Virgin and BT to claim that HFC and FTTC are "fibre"; if they are fibre, so was my 56k dialup.

  13. jms222

    Upstream ?

    Would love a constant 4Mbps upstream to Virgin Media but it's just so asymmetric with them. Next time they think about moving me from around £30 to over £40 per month calling it "package upgrade for free" I'll take another very serious look at Andrews & Arnold. I also want IPv6. Even BT have that out of the starting gates.

    I was impressed at how good mobile data was a few weeks ago on a liveaboard boat in the Maldives.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Upstream ?

      Would love a constant 4Mbps upstream to Virgin Media but it's just so asymmetric with them.

      It will remain asymmetric unless they implement DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex, and I suspect we won't see that until the mid 2020s at the earliest.

      But if you only want 4 Mbps, what's the problem - even the low speed VM packages offer 5 Mbps?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    > [...] I suspect we won't see that until the mid 2020s at the earliest.

    That's an awfully optimistic view considering the UK's track record of implementing technological advancements.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      considering the UK's track record of implementing technological advancements.

      Yeah, canals, trains, factories, VTOL and supersonic aircraft. We're shit at everything like that.

      1. Anonymous Noel Coward

        And as of late?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And as of late?

          How recent do you want? Computers, cash machines, MRI machines, DNA sequencing? Recent strengths do seem to be in medicine rather than technology, it's true.

    2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      I read that as impairing technological advancements...

  15. whatsyourShtoile
    Thumb Down

    this is like giving everyone access to single ply toilet paper

    we want double ply damn it

  16. Tubz

    So will we get a 2 year reprive from BT, VM, Sky and the others putting up bills, while not improving t he network for existing customers, especialy pointing the finger at VM, don't think so !

  17. FrancisKing
    FAIL

    I'm one of the 95% too

    "She added that 95 per cent of the UK already has access to superfast broadband"

    In our area we have both Virgin Media fibre and BT fibre. Alas, Virgin Media is only on the neighbouring road, and BT has enabled the exchange but not run the fibre. Virgin Media don't want to add our road to their network, and BT don't want to run fibre through a Virgin Media area.

    I guess I'm part of the 95% too.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK will have a legal right to 10Mbps speeds by 2020

    Is that a legal right of up to 10Mbps or actual minimum speed?

    I had a 13Mbps BT connection. On a good day, the speed was around 7Mbps and on bad days, around 3Mbps and dropping out...

    I paid BT £39 for that but, after 5 years of them not putting Infinity in, moved to Virgin Media Vivid350 and now get 275Mbps down and ~40Mbps up for £44.

    VM are trialling this for business nearby and it's crazy fast. BT (and others) should do the same. 10Mbps is too slow for a service commitment. It needs to be 100Mbps at minimum. I don't see why we are even continuing on copper work - and should go to FTTP.

  19. jms222

    Just noticed the VM Voom business product. It's only slightly more than the £27 I am on for the rest of the year and _less_ than the forty something they put me up to without asking. Something to consider should I want to host something at home (keeping in mind the officially dynamic IP address).

  20. Templeton-Torch

    4G is exactly what we had to do moving into the rural environment.... BUT... it involves an Omni antenna on the roof from 1 manufacturer (limited to 5m of antenna cable), a 4G twin-sim router from another manufacturer, and sometimes multiple interventions per day. The 4G providers are not geared up someone running a home-office (let alone a business!) over mobile connections - the profiles are still geared for mobile users.

    Add to this the fact that we have school-age children in the village - homework now heavily based around the internet and uploading to the school virtual learning platform - farmers who now have to send umpteen (technical measure) reports and form to various elements of government and industry to be able to operate.

    Many of the changes that we've seen to the farming industry, to education, to average life indeed, have been on the basis of cost/effiency savings for the central body. DEFRA "save" money by moving to the god awful online system for animal movements.... and what's the effect on the farmer? "if you want decent broadband - live in a city!" charming!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USO could cost up to £1.1bn

    so, in the real world, around 5 - 10 bn. I suggest we outsource it to crapita, to keep it under 20 bn, even THEY can manage that!

  22. Walter Bishop Silver badge

    Average Internet Speeds By Country

    South Korea: 26.7 mbps, Czech Republic: 15.9 mbps, United Kingdom 13.9 mbps .. link

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Average Internet Speeds By Country

      Without looking things up, I suspect there's one or two good reasons for those differences.

      AIUI, in South Korea they have a lot more people living in large blocks and not so many in spread out manner like we do. The cost of putting fibre into a tower block and serving (say) 50 households is barely more than the cost of putting it into one detached house. So that means there's a real advantage. And someone earlier mentioned that all the high rises already have Virmin Media - same principle, it's relatively cheap for Virmin to cable up a large block compared to a nicely spread out load of detached or semis.

      And then some countries have the advantage of not having started with a well entrenched infrastructure. Several comments have already suggested variations on "rip out the copper, use the duct space for fibre" which realistically isn't going to happen on a widescale basis here. But where there's less existing infrastructure - meaning that whatever you do will involve installing more - then there's inhibition to putting in newer tech. SO if there's no existing infrastructure and you've got to dig all the roads up anyway, then might as well put fibre in; but if you've already a full network of copper, then makes sense to the beancounters to sweat that existing asset.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile in other countries....

    Someone I know has just upgraded from 1Gb (symmetric) to 10Gb.

    Actual "fibre to the home" !

  24. jonfr

    Spain Internet speeds and Iceland internet speeds

    In Iceland (country) internet speeds today are minimum of 50Mbps. You can get in Reykjavík speed to up 1Gbps both direction. Rural areas in Iceland get at minimum of 50Mbps with fibre connection. Areas currently out of fibre connection can get speed of 100Mbps with 4G internet (but speed can change due to weather or many users using the same transmitter). Slowest internet speed I know if is at 1,2Mbps with a ADSL connection. Its just slow due to bad copper phone line, that area is going to get 50Mbps fibre connection in 2018 and 2019.

    In Spain (limited knowledge, I might not be fully correct) speeds are at minimum 50Mbps with fibre and at maximum 300Mbps (some other providers might offer higher speeds). ADSL speeds in Spain seem to be limited to 20Mbps (at least with Movistar).

    I do wonder if the people making the decisions on speeds for internet connection in the UK have internet at home. Because 10Mbps today is not really useful for anything on the internet today. By the time the year 2020 comes around 10Mbps speed is going to too slow for anything useful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spain Internet speeds and Iceland internet speeds

      >In Iceland (country) internet.....

      Ah yes Iceland, about that money you still owe us from 2008, we could do with it back for our own internet upgrades.

      1. jonfr

        Re: Spain Internet speeds and Iceland internet speeds

        It was paid from Landsbankinn (old) bankrupt state.

        https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/13/britain-has-been-fully-reimbursed-for-icesave-bank-collapse-iceland-says

        It didn't help your internet speeds.

  25. dave 93
    Thumb Down

    Who needs fiber?

    150Mb on 4G network is common, up to 250Mb is possible...

    1. jonfr

      Re: Who needs fiber?

      You can get today 4G speeds of 1Gbps (down) but you have to be close to the transmitter to get those speeds.

  26. Jason Hindle

    If you’re going to mandate 10, you might as well mandate 40

    I don’t imagine there’s a massive difference in cost between FTTC and bog standard ADSL. Also, don’t forget that BT now own a massive mobile network, so wireless 4G/5G solutions (combined with microwave radio, if sufficient line of site available, or satellite if not) might be more cost effective for the most difficult locations.

    Is any obligation going to be placed on major land owners, in terms of allowing equipment on (or under) their land?

  27. Corwin_X

    God and Godess - a billion pound government tech scheme.Most of them don't understand how a 3-pin plug works. [Holds head in hand and weeps].

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