back to article Milton Keynes: Come for roundabouts, stay for near-gigabit broadband

Lucky Milton Keynes. The UK's modernist fantasy town is finally set to reap the fruits of Vodafone's partnership with wholesaler CityFibre, announced last November. Vodafone today confirmed that gigabit – or near enough – broadband will launch in the town at four speeds, detailing aggressive pricing and discounts for Voda …

  1. Locky Silver badge
    Coat

    An impressive challenge undertaken

    To make Peterborough look attractive

    Previous efforts have only been made by makers of rear view mirrors

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: An impressive challenge undertaken

      Even the Luftwaffe failed on that one.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: An impressive challenge undertaken

      Quite a nice Cathedral. And the new-town bits aren't too bad to live in.

      Having spent 13 years there I tend to say that there are a lot of places that are nicer than Peterborough, but there are a lot that are worse!

      Of course, I moved away 25 years ago. It may have gone downhill...

      1. Jim 59

        Re: An impressive challenge undertaken

        Peterborough: The rowing lake area is also nice, and the river ajoining.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: An impressive challenge undertaken

      We notice you didn't even bother with Milton Keynes…

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: An impressive challenge undertaken

        We notice you didn't even bother with Milton Keynes…

        Because it is not the 1980s anymore and firmly established Milton Keynes is now declining and will one day be as bad as any other place.

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Openreach

    Openreach can claim 300Mbit/s from its cabinets

    Not just claim - if you are lucky enough to have had FTTP installed it delivers. I just ran a test and got 292 down/35 up - but I do pay a bit extra for that!

    Gigabit would be nice of course, and I have heard tell that Openreach have pushed full-fat fibre to 1GBbps, it's just not been rolled out yet. But, to be honest, I really can't think of many homes, or even businesses that need that sort of thing on general release. Yes, a shopping centre offering free WiFi, or large office, but do we need 1Gbps to every home?

    1. SorenUK

      Re: Openreach

      | "but do we need 1Gbps to every home?"

      "640K ought to be enough for anybody"...

      Surely it's better to target the needs of tomorrow than be happy with what was needed yesterday.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Openreach

        | "but do we need 1Gbps to every home?"

        "640K ought to be enough for anybody"...

        I'd be happy for faster pings... it isn't always the amount data but the latency that matters!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Openreach

          "I'd be happy for faster pings... it isn't always the amount data but the latency that matters!"

          But they do usually go hand in hand (unless the bandwidth increase is due to a interleaving encoding method).

          If you can send data faster, the packet leaves the transmitter quicker and is reconstructed at the receiver end faster, lowering latency.

    2. FlossyThePig

      Re: Openreach

      but do we need 1Gbps to every home

      Who can tell. Remember previous predictions (either true or false).

      - The world will only need 4 computers,

      - 640k will be enough!

      1. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Openreach

        "- 640k will be enough!"

        Young people - don't know how good they've got it.

        When I was a young lad 64 kB was the bees knees!

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: Openreach

          We used to shout 1s and 0s to each other over the telephone - when we were baud.

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: Openreach

            @Steve K

            We used to shout 1s and 0s to each other over the telephone - when we were baud.

            Ah, happy days...

          2. Locky Silver badge

            Re: Openreach

            @Steve K

            I'd tell you a UDP joke but I'm not sure you'd get it

            1. Steve K Silver badge

              Re: Openreach

              @Locky

              Steve K: Would you like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Locky: Yes I'd like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Steve K: Would you like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Locky: Yes I'd like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Steve K: Would you like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Locky: Yes I'd like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Steve K: Would you like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Locky: Yes I'd like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Steve K: Would you like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Locky: Yes I'd like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Steve K: Would you like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              Locky: Yes I'd like to hear a joke about SYN flood attacks?

              etc...

              I've also got a BitCoin joke, but everyone else in this thread will have to verify the punchline before you'll get it.

              I'm here all week - is that your chicken, madam?

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Openreach

        >but do we need 1Gbps to every home

        Who can tell. Remember previous predictions (either true or false).

        Whilst this might be true, today we are already seeing the first flowerings of 8K... 8K at 120 fps plus sound requires around 500Mbps after compression...

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Openreach

          @Roland6

          8K at 120 fps plus sound requires around 500Mbps after compression.

          Call me an old Luddite, but I do wonder whether the world will be a substantially better place if we can sit at home watching Loose Women in 8K at 120fps, on our 80" screens, or even some superhero movie with lots of explosions. If you want the big screen experience go to a cinema! If you want incredibly realistic images, step outside your front door!

          And, deep down, (and this is my Puritan streak showing) do we really need to be spending hours in front of an idiot-box, of whatever resolution and size, passively absorbing 'entertainment'? There's a whole exciting world out there, with real things to do in it and real people to meet. [I shall now go back to my computer...]

          1. Is It Me Bronze badge

            Re: Openreach

            Overall the cinema experience keeps getting less enjoyable.

            Some of it is the other people there, it seems that there is more noise from them and more light from people checking phones etc.

            Also the cinemas mostly leave the lights at a much higher level then they used to.

            The home experience keeps getting better and I feel that for those that can afford a decent home set up the only reason to go to the cinema soon will be seeing the films close to release date.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Openreach

            "There's a whole exciting world out there, with real things to do in it and real people to meet."

            Yes there is, and you could then share those experiences with others at 8k 120FPS, which would need a decent connection to upload.

            There are people that these experiences would be appreciated, as there are those that are physically unable to carry out those experiences themselves. Others doing and sharing them is a service to the less capable and when you do something wrong can be damn funny :p

          3. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Openreach

            @Pen-y-gors - Call me an old Luddite, but I do wonder whether the world will be a substantially better place if we can sit at home watching Loose Women in 8K at 120fps.

            Don't disagree, as I see little real need for 4K residential streaming. I was just pointing out that 8K streaming is significantly more bandwidth hungry than 4K, and that some vendors are working to bring to market 8K kit in the next few years, hence streaming (tv/film) services that require more than 100Mbps might be closer than we think. So experience tells me to be wary of saying "640K is enough", and, given the longevity of 100Mbps networking, of suggesting that we should be rushing into deploying 1Gbps and greater services into the residential/consumer market.

            And, deep down, (and this is my Puritan streak showing) do we really need to be spending hours in front of an idiot-box

            Since my son and his friends discovered the Xbox and online multiplayer games, my TV time has dramatically decreased; this might also have someting to do with only having one big screen 'tv' in the house...

    3. Ragarath

      Re: Openreach

      If they rolled out full fibre there would b no limits (bar the physics ones) that would limit the speed. So stop fanny arseing around with different technologies and install fibre. Then as prices come down upgrade the gear that connects you, the switches, routers and transceivers.

      I think you'll find they are delaying this because of bandwidth issues. If they roll this out then it will reveal them in a big way.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Openreach

        Oh yes, no reason not to roll out fibre to all, but I'm not convinced about the 'build it and they will come' model for 'needing' 1Gbps to a domestic setting. Even streaming 4K only needs about 25Mbps, so unless you are the old woman living in a shoe with all her children streaming Netflix at the same time...

        And, based on practical experience, there are so many bottlenecks in the wider interwebs that the headline figure makes damn all difference when using a browser or similar, once beyond a certain point (perhaps 10-15Mbps per user). It's all the chat back and forth that slows things down. Nominal high speed is great for uploading and downloading large files, or doing cloud backup, but makes damn-all difference for most real-life situations.

        And if everyone had 1Gbps and used it, what size would the upstream connection need to handle? And the servers delivering all that content? It's about a lot more than the last mile.

        1. Paul 25

          Re: Openreach

          I still want 1gbps, I just have no idea what I'd use 95% of it for, and I'm the sort of person who has a gig-e switch under his stairs and cat6 in all the walls, so you'd think i'd be the sort of person who'd know what to do with a ridiculously fast internet connection.

          What do people with 1Gig connections actually do with it? As you point out, you can do 4k with about 25mbps. So a family of five could all be watching different 4k streams and you'd still comfortably have 800mbps to spare. Figures I've read suggest that you can do 8k video with less than 100mbps each, so that family of five could all stream video that requires a 50 inch TV to even start to appreciate and you'd still only be using a half.

          I'd be curious to know what sort of speeds you'd need for a hypothetical future VR telipresence system, but I suspect lag would be far more of a problem than bandwidth for that.

          1. irksum

            Re: Openreach

            If I had gigabit fibre with > 900Mbps up _and_ down I'd use it for backing up my NAS device to a cloud service.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Openreach

              >If I had gigabit fibre with > 900Mbps up _and_ down I'd use it for backing up my NAS device to a cloud service.

              You can do that today on sub 100Mbps FTTC, unless you are into film production/editing; remember it is only the initial sync that really saturates the bandwidth and takes the time.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Openreach

          "Even streaming 4K only needs about 25Mbps"

          That because it pretty crap quality compared to UHD bluray, double it and you have some good quality.

          But still doesnt max out 1gbit connection.

          What 1gbit gives you is knowing that its unlikely to be you that's the slow side, you will actually start to do what all these 'cloud' providers have been dreaming of, store your data and run your services with them. You would be able to upload and download your data as if it was local. Run services that you would in your house with them.

          If what has been predicted happens with consoles, you will need a decent connection. Consoles moving to streaming subscription so its all in the 'cloud'.

          The problem with the implementation that VM and BT are doing is, their networks are not PtP, its GPON/EPON so sharing bandwidth so there is a limit. PtP is shared at the node uplink but that can easily be increased when needed. GPON requires a new version or reducing the number of subscribers per fiber, requiring a network redesign.

    4. THMONSTER

      Re: Openreach

      There will be a usage case for it once enough people have it, just as other technological limits have been raised and the potential filled. Who would have thought 10 - 20 years ago that 4k streaming via the net would have been a thing as the sizes of the data were deemed to be colossal yet here we are.

      I know it is a bit of a 'if you build it, they will come' scenario but I think there will be unthought of usage cases where we will think in years to come 'why didn't I think of that?'

    5. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: Openreach

      Client has BT FTTP - got 80/20. Upgraded to to the full 300/30 got.. 80/20. He moved before they actually got their act in gear..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Openreach

        "Client has BT FTTP - got 80/20. Upgraded to to the full 300/30 got.. 80/20. He moved before they actually got their act in gear.."

        I used to have 1200/75 - does that count?

    6. Keith 20

      Re: Openreach

      I have FTTP (new build home, so both Virgin and BT), and opt for 30Mb after trialling the 200Mb service.

      Found there is just no need for so much bandwidth

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: Openreach @Keith 20

        I have FTTP (new build home, so both Virgin and BT), and opt for 30Mb after trialling the 200Mb service.

        Found there is just no need for I don't need so much bandwidth at the moment

        FTFY

    7. Ben 54

      Re: Openreach

      I lived for several years in Singapore, and trust me, when you had 1gbs at home, you miss it when it's gone. Imagine no buffering while all your kids and their friends play online, watch youtube, netflix streaming on guests devices etc with absolute zero slowdowns. Uploading large database snapshors for my company took a few minutes for several gigabytes. My upload speed tested over 600mbps.

  3. Herring`

    On moving recently, I saw the new place had Virgin cables. Despite their reputation for bloody awful service, I couldn't resist the lure of faster broadband. When I measure it, I'm seeing 382Mb/s (now I've sorted it out with my own router). I've tested and I can download a Linux ISO in under a minute.

    But now, and it's an awful thing to think, I wonder if it's actually faster than I need. Has it come to this?

    I could use faster upstream though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But now, and it's an awful thing to think, I wonder if it's actually faster than I need. Has it come to this?

      Yes. VM are pushing their fastest speeds to stay one step ahead of Openreach G.fast (hence the recent speed bump from 300 to 350, because G.fast tops out at 330), and that's mainly a sales and retention thing. They know that customers are less likely to defect to competitors if that means slower contract speeds, regardless of either the actual maximum achieved, or the utilisation. I'm on a 200 Mbps connection, I suspect that in normal use cases our household of four adults rarely tops 30 Mbps even with everybody doing different things on multiple screens concurrently.

      I could use faster upstream though.

      The problem with upstream is that VM are on DOCSIS 3 and that's non duplex, so upstream capacity is only around 10-20% of the downstream. VM are piffling about with the intention to soon/eventually launch gigabit connections using DOCSIS 3.1. The networks are claimed to be largely ready for D3.1, but it needs a new modem (and after the Hub 3 fiasco they might be being rather more cautious), but in theory you'd then have a 100-150 Mbps upstream speed. VM's parent company have been clear they'll only launch D3.1 when the market is willing to pay for it (meaning they intend to charge the earth for gigabit connections).

      At some future date they'll probably implement DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex which could offer gigabit speeds both ways, but as the standard was only agreed last year it'll probably be about 2023-25 before VM have compatible equipment, and again they'd need a new modem.

      1. really_adf

        At some future date they'll probably implement DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex which could offer gigabit speeds both ways ... it'll probably be about 2023-25

        AIUI, the co-ax bits have filters for the return path, presumably built into the (forward path only) amplifiers along the way.

        Assuming so, it looks like these will need to be replaced for DOCSIS 3.1, which I can't see being fast or cheap as there's probably (on average) only a handful of customers for each one.

        Happy to be corrected...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Happy to be corrected...

          I couldn't comment with any authority, but I have the impression from VM forum chatter and investor announcements that the network is pretty much fully 3.1 compatible now. But as the 3.1 modems are twice the price or more of the cheapo Hub 3, they're in no hurry to go ahead.

          Customer trials (screenshotted to the forums) have shown they can get 700 Mbps through a Hub 3, so the only immediate point of a D3.1 launch is bragging rights for gigabit, and my guess is they'll wait until there's much wider availability of Openreach FTTP, and for 500 Mbps+ speeds to be offered over Openreach residential FTTP.

          Or they could do it much more selectively to wreck the Vodafone FTTP launches, and there's a strong logic in that because of the much discussed but little evidenced VM/Vodafone merger. If Liberty Global can make Vodafone's FTTP launch a commercial failure, then essentially Vodafone management have two choices - back out of broadband or agree to merger on LG terms.

    2. The Dogs Meevonks

      You will regret it sooner or later. Dare to use more bandwidth than they think is right on an unlimited service and they throttle you... or they put too many people on the same pipe and throttle you so it can cope with being oversubscribed.

      One of the worst companies I ever dealt with and my 100mbps service was barely hitting 13Mb, kept complaining, taking daily screen shots of speed tests done on multiple sites until they finally admitted it and allowed to leave my contract early.

      Them and Vodafone are worse than talktalk for bullshit and lies.

      1. Herring`

        Oh, it's quite possible that I will regret it. I've already had one run in with their customer "service" (can you believe that they charge extra for called ID?) and did not enjoy it. For now though, all is well.

        I dumped Vodafone a few years ago. I had the obligatory call from their "retention team". The bloke on the other end did sound depressed beyond tablets. What a job?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        One of the worst companies I ever dealt with and my 100mbps service was barely hitting 13Mb, kept complaining, taking daily screen shots of speed tests done on multiple sites until they finally admitted it and allowed to leave my contract early.

        I presume that since you're referring to 100 Mbps that's Vermin Media you're talking of? To give them their due, connection quality seems to have improved greatly over the past year or so, particularly S/N related problems, that I assume is down to better CMTS kit, though it might be my imagination, the Hub 3 latency problems are pretty much all fixed, and as on June this year there's no throttling or traffic management at all on connections of 50 Mbps and faster.

        OTOH, their offshore customer service remains world class awful, and I've just been hit with yet another double-CPI price rise

  4. Paul Hargreaves

    Non-optional https hijacking via Vodafone

    "www.imgur.com uses an invalid security certificate. The certificate is only valid for contentcontrol.vodafone.co.uk. Error code: SSL_ERROR_BAD_CERT_DOMAIN"

    You can call them, you can complain, but even with it disabled in the Vodafone web interface and with support telling you that they don't block unless you ask them, it's still attempting to subvert various websites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non-optional https hijacking via Vodafone

      Strange I'm with Vodafone and have no problem going to imgur.com. The problem is in your browser.

  5. The Dogs Meevonks

    I no longer live in MK, but even if I did... nothing would make me trust Vodafone with anything.

    They're a bunch of lying, deceitful arsehats who will say and do anything to try and get you to sign up to them... without ever intending to carry out a simple task like transferring your number. I know this, because it's what they did to me and repeatedly lied about it.

    In the end, I had to put in multiple complaints and threaten legal action before they terminated my service and I could sign up with Zen. But I did get every single penny I paid back. But thanks to their bullshit I was without a service for 2 weeks.

    So... gigabit speeds = good... Vodafone = lying c*nts

  6. DeeVeeVee

    What a shitty country.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      @DeeVeeVee

      Could be worse... it could be as bad as the USA's broadband setup.

  7. ForthIsNotDead

    Aberdeen?

    Are you sure?

    None of us here (Dyce) have even bloody heard of it. If we get 5MB/S we're really cookin', regardless of the ISP.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    https://www.cityfibre.com/news/vodafone-cityfibre-bring-gigabit-speed-fibre-uk/

    It seems that Vodafone will only have exclusivity on the Cityfibre network for a limited time, "predominantly during the build phase of each city network". So hopefully you'll get a choice of other service providers later on.

  9. Alister Silver badge

    Never mind the roundabouts...

    What about the concrete cows!

  10. paulf Silver badge
    Meh

    The drive for market share

    FTA: "In a research note today, RBC Capital explained that aggressive pricing is Vodafone's way of gaining share rapidly. "Vodafone’s market share in fixed is significantly below mobile across Europe."

    That likely explains why I'm getting, with ever increasing desperation, postal flyers every other month plus marketing MMS messages about twice a month from them. They refuse to take the hint that I'm not interested because I already have a decent ISP that doesn't fuck about with my connection (either speed or content), gives me a fixed IP address, doesn't insist on using their own router etc etc.

  11. Colonel Mad

    Milton Keynes

    There are City Fibre bits & bobs in the pavement on my walk to the Pub, not noticed them on the way back.

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