back to article BT opens wallet to send fibre to the home

BT will spend some £1.5bn on fibre optic cables to bring decent broadband to British homes and offices, provided Ofcom acts to protect its juicy margins. Regulator Ofcom made noises earlier this month suggesting it would move to protect BT if the telco did invest in a fibre network. A couple of weeks on, and hey presto, BT is …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Required.

    No matter how much I want FttH Im gonna stay away till they send Phorm to the dustbin!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    It does seem a bit odd ...

    That BT can't protect their investment in fibre. Why should another teleco be allowed to sit back and let BT put all the infrastructure in place (i.e. the really hard expensive part) and then just piggy back on it.

    I know that BT are evil but I don't see telecos demanding access to Virgin's cable infrastructure for nothing.

  3. Richard
    Coat

    I'm sure the toothless watchdog will side with customers

    ... just like they bravely faced up to BT over LLU deadlines.

  4. Gordon Pryra

    Regulator Ofcom made noises earlier this month suggesting it would move to protect BT

    "Whatever BT does, jsut so long as the numbered Swiss account is kept full"

    See? I've fixed that article

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Going, going...

    All those companies who invested in LLU can now watch their investments turn to dust.

    Paris - because even she saw this coming.

  6. J Alam
    Paris Hilton

    Finally..

    the ability to get as far away from virgin media as possible!!!

    Paris, because she enjoys the media circus

  7. Gil

    Re: It does seem a bit odd ...

    @ Anonymous Coward:

    I think the difference is that BT's network was originally built by the state, but Virgin's network was financed entirely using private capital.

  8. Paul

    Missing end of sentance?

    "BT insisted that it would not be cherrypicking urban areas, but that the 100Mb network."

    Anything more to add, or are BT's spokesweasles unable to finish a sentance?

    @AC, I don't think anyone is demanding free acess to BT's new network, or ever has, only fair access to BT wholesale's products on the same terms as BT retail. Sadly the splitup of BT was bodged, leacing the UKs largest telco with effective control of the incombent (taxpayer funded) infrastructure. The split between BT wholesale and retail should have been much more absolute.

  9. Tim Schomer
    Unhappy

    OK, so

    if they say they're going to do the countryside as well as the cities, how many years behind are they going to be? In my village people we only got the 'upto 2Mb' service (realisticly barely above 1Mb and in some cases 256kb) after the cities had started to get 8Mb.

    I'm guessing we'll get it sometime around when the oil runs out....

  10. GettinSadda
    Unhappy

    100Mbps

    Great!

    So, it will now only take about half an hour to hit your monthly "fair usage" limit on your "unlimited" account.

    What a wonderful brave new world we live in where ISPs are eager to compete to get you the fastest connection possible, but with ever decreasing limits on how much data you can actually transfer.

    Come back dial-up, all is forgiven!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Gosh!

    I could use-up my monthly download limit in seconds rather than hours, just think of the time it'll save me!

    BTW BT, while it may be nice to have new shiny high-tech toys, please could you spend some of that money getting my Bloody phone line to work reliably!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @It does seem a bit odd ...

    I can't say for definite, but I think it's something to do with BT being started or getting lots of grants with public money or something. Like I say I'm not sure, but I think that's the reason why BT aren't allowed to invest then keep it to themselves.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what is the point?

    I mean, sure i could download a linux distro quicker, but there is only so much linux one man may ever need - and if I cant get a movie or a cd anymore due to the agreements being entered into with the recording industry then ill stick to my 24 down line.

    pointless move by BT.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: It does seem a bit odd

    "That BT can't protect their investment in fibre. Why should another teleco be allowed to sit back and let BT put all the infrastructure in place (i.e. the really hard expensive part) and then just piggy back on it."

    ...because aside from the new pull of fibre, all the rest of the infrastructure (ducts, cabs, copper to the house, systems, staff, vans etc) are all there broadly based on business grown when BT was a government owned monopoly. The same would be true for Virgin if their background was the same...

  15. The Other Steve

    Why?

    Since my existing connection is already fast enough to support high quality video on demand, why do I need a faster one ? Seriously, can anyone think of a service that exceeds the data transfer requirements of streaming video, that I milght actually want ?

  16. Mike
    Unhappy

    @ What is the point?

    Suits me. You can keep your 24 down line as you already have a reasonable connection.

    They can come add the new tech in my neck-o-the-woods instead where the communication is still done using binder twine and two plastic cups. Maybe we can get a share of the 8Mbps+ action that the rest of the country is able to access but we cannot.

    With luck, it'll tie in with the cheap offers that the rest of the country seems to get - am fed up of looking at Broadband options from BT, Orange, Sky etc that says get Broadband TV and talk for £18 a month, only to be told on applying that you aren't in the right part of the country and you can only have the broadband AND it'll cost you £5 extra a month for the privilege

  17. FlatSpot
    Stop

    @Tim Schomer - Get BT to test your line

    Its very easy to blame BT straight out the blocks. However I also live in the countryside and get a solid 7Mb link.

    Look up where your nearest exchange is; http://www.samknows.com/broadband/search.php

    Even if its a few miles away then make sure your own internal wiring is decent and remove the bell wire (google it)

    See if your line speed improves (wait a couple of days)

    If you still have a slow line and hear noise on your line when you lift the phone receiver, remove any extension sockets and if you still hear noise AND have tested its not your equipment making it, report it to BT as a noisy line.

    See BT website, they will do some automatic checks and normally say nothing wrong, but then you can escalate the fault. ie. you state you will pay them if its your faulty equipment.

    They will come out and check the wiring to your house, including the telegraph poles back to the exchange, sometimes the wiring gets damaged by tree branches.

    BT were amazingly helpful when I reported the problem, they came out and traced the fault back to the cabinet. Climbing each pole to check the wire.

    They even spoke about digging up the road but fortunately they found a spare unused pair in the cabinet and basically rewired me back to the exchange on new wires.

    Noise gone and after a few days the line went up to 6mb and now holds at 7040kbps (live 3 miles from the exchange by car) I assume its shorter though for the wire!

    Ensure that you check your internal wiring is decent first though, double check this, otherwise BT will charge you £100+ per hour if its your dodgy phone extension wiring causing the problem.

    Also raising the fault on a nice sunny day helps to inspire the engineers to spend more time on fixing it!

    Good Luck

  18. Duncan
    Flame

    tiscali tv

    At these speeds does it mean my tiscali TV will actually work?

    Just had a spare axe to throw into the mix

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Access for Nothing

    "I don't see telecos demanding access to Virgin's cable infrastructure for nothing."

    I don't see any telcos currently GETTING access to BT's copper cables for nothing either. Yes, they have the right to use them, but they have to PAY when they do.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Village People?

    "In my village people we only got the 'upto 2Mb' service (realisticly barely above 1Mb and in some cases 256kb) after the cities had started to get 8Mb."

    Does that only apply to those at the YMCA?

    //Try the steak, I'm here all week. etc, etc.

  21. Chris
    Boffin

    Monopoly money

    Telecoms are a natural monopoly, like gas, electricity and water. The investment required is so huge that it makes sense only to do it once - you don't need 2 different power lines coming into your house, 2 different sewerage systems etc.

    Therefore these things have to be regulated to stop them abusing their monopoly positions to charge high prices for substandard service. (In theory - in practice all government regulators are hugely inefficient and end up going native).

    The model that has been struck upon for regulation of most of these industries is to split the retail end of the business off from the ownership of the infrastructure, then to lightly regulate the retail end (competition should do that for you) and heavily regulate the infrastructure, monopoly business. This is done (in a simpified way) by having a fixed return on investment allowable (say 15%).

    However, this means we end up with creative responses such as this - play up the size of the investment to ensure you have a larger cost base on which you can charge your monopoly rent, then cut the size of the investment later to what is actually needed.

    This is just the first salvo in a long negotiation between OFCOM and BT regarding what regulated cost base it is allowed. We should probably be examining how much it has cost other countries before judging anything that is said here with a forked tongue...

  22. Adam Foxton
    Flame

    err

    The whole "faster internet" thing came about thanks to people downloading ridiculous amounts of porn, illegal music, copied games and pirated movies. Things like legal internet TV and Steam came about later.

    So are they going to actively support these groundbreaking services, or just the later incremental ones?

    Also, is all of this fibre traffic going to go through Phorm's servers?

    Flame because if there's one thing Phorm's servers ever needed, it's that.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Upload speed?

    what's the upload on one of these 100Mbps lines? Is it symmetric (as can be achieved using fibre)? If so, we may just be getting into a sweet-ass new world of... errr.. faster Youtube uploads.

    Also, will this be another scam with a 1,000,000 to one contention ratio, or the wonderous 24/7/365 availability, uncapped, unlimited, unFUP-ed 1:1 contention ratioed, almost-orgasmically-good revolution that it really should be for the cost?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ what is the point?

    Yeah pointless, idiot.

    Did you know that BBC1 on freeview broadcasts video at a bitrate of 15Mbps ?

    Can you imagine video chats with people when the connection uses mpeg2 (or mpeg4, or h264) at that kind of bitrate ?

    The only reason for download limits is that a high number of concurrent requests slow the servers down. There is a bottle neck in both the incoming and outgoing connection to the end user. Eliminate those bottlenecks and the whole system can run faster. Better ping times for online FPSs and higher quality audio and video are just the start.

    If you are still thinking of the internet in terms of download capacity, then you are missing the boat. Why download then use a service, if you can just use that service ? Why "steal" copies of movies when it's quicker to watch it there and then ? (for a reasonable fee of course).

    This is what the internet is destined to be - ubiquitous access to widely distributed resources, and you think it's pointless ?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair Usage

    Actually the top BT product has no limits, none at all, I'm at just under 100Gig for the past 8 days. Since April I'm 740 gig down and 325 up.

    Also @Tim Schomer So, only 2Mb, and how good is cable in your area?, I'm betting there isn't any. In fact I suspect what you say is an outright lie as I was pretty sure the 8Mb product line is now pretty much everywhere and it's more likely it's your ISP that's only doing the 2Mb.

  26. gautam

    Charges?

    They will charge £99.99 for first 3 minutes and thereafter £149.99 evey 5 minutes etc etc ......... with FUP of 30 minutes per month.

    All to protect their investments with a wink & nod from OFCOM muppets!

    Current LLU operators can then go to hell and pick crumbs.

    Its a massive stitchup.

  27. Antoine Dubuc
    Paris Hilton

    Throthlin@Lightspeed

    lol

  28. TimM

    Re: what is the point?

    Future of the web is the point.

    Faster streaming videos

    TV on the net

    HD movies on demand

    All your apps online, with no delay when editing docs, photos, videos, whatever due to painfully slow connections (though this does mean moving away from the current asymmetric nature of broadband). Key to the likes of Google to offer an online desktop OS for example. YouTube et al also where you could directly stream your videos and have them edited online (shared editing even), rather than using a powerful PC and very expensive video editing software.

    Online/offline backups without having to wait for days.

    Play your media anywhere in the world, fast.

    Plenty of uses for home working where fast connections are a must to make it more like actually being at the office where you normally have 100mb+ networks and need to transfer a lot of files about, work easily on a lot of source code without having to use portable drives or remote desktop into a PC/server sat in the office running 24/7.

    And plenty of stuff to support the bloat that goes with Web 2.0.

    i.e. it's not just about big single downloads such as "linux distros" and pirate music/movies, it's about speeding up the net to allow us to do so much more.

    Not that I hold out much hope for Fibre Britain. It'll be limited to a few places in big cities close to exchanges (and don't for a minute think that fibre solves connection hassles we have with copper over long distances).

    And then what of cable companies? Despite what Virgin currently claim in their misleading adverts, their cable is *NOT* true fibre. It's only partially fibre. Much of it, including the stretch to the home, is coax. Very badly maintained and designed for analogue cable TV in the early 90s, not broadband, hence why their ability to provide a decent signal is so crap!. Hell, their coax stuff is broadcast based much like old coax Ethernet, sharing your data with your neighbours and all the traffic collisions that go with it (not to mention signal leak due to unterminated connections).

  29. Nick

    I'll believe it...

    ... when I see it.

    And as pointed out elsewhere, whats the FUP going to be? 1GB, 3GB 5GB per day? Stream a couple of movies and thats your allowance trashed in an hour or so. I still believe the TISP's (Toilet ISP's) will be the better solution in the end - no worries about capacity, collapsed ducts or other challenges that the traditional telco will come up against.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Stop whining!

    Loads of free-loaders whining about "oh I can't download the entire DVD set of Lost anymore, so what's the point!". Shut up, you lot that drive the cost of my DVD's and CDs up! Alright it's more likely pure greed by the media companies, but it's been a bad morning!

    Anyway, it's bloody obvious why they want this in.

    BT want it in, so the the media companies will beating a path to their door to sell movie/TV on demand, although VM are shite ( I just left them! ), they are trying to seriously push the video on demand stuff. If you pay VM or BT for your videos, the nasty MPAA will not come after you and more than likely, if you don't take too much, the downloads from us will not count against your monthly allowance, only the nasty rubbish, illegal torrent sites.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Noooooooooo...

    we just had our pavement resurfaced after 25 years of waiting.....

  32. Tom Chiverton

    Universal Service

    How about they can do what they like, but in return have to provide 2mbps+ to anyone who wants it at RAND cost - much like the way the telephone lines work.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Built by the state: and then the state got the money back

    "I think the difference is that BT's network was originally built by the state, but Virgin's network was financed entirely using private capital"

    Balony. The assets of BT were sold for a very healthy profit by the state so now legitimiately belong to their shareholders. Seems to me it's fair that if BT invest shareholders money in upgrading the netowrk the shareholders get a fair return on the investment. That does not mean no access to other operators, just that the other operators pay a fair tariff to use the network. A scheme of something like 2% over base return on the assets assuming they are written down over 10 years seems fair. Otherwise why should the shareholders not just put the money in a money market account - which ifanyone has noticed are returning rather good rates at the moment with no risk and none of that faff of managing a major infrastructure project.

  34. pctechxp

    but when will the country be fully fibred

    We need to know and there needs to be a deadline otherwise bollocks telecom will drag its feet.

    Took them a week to replace a faulty line card when I upgraded to ADSL max

  35. David Nash
    Thumb Down

    @Fair Usage - 8Mb everywhere?

    In my village, just outside a medium sized town (2-3 miles from the exchange), I typically get <1Mb from Pipex. I just went to their website to do an "availability check" and got the following message:

    "Congratulations!

    Your line can receive up to...

    500Kb broadband"

    Congratulations indeed! Think again AC, before accusing people of an "outright lie". Why lie about what broadband speed you get?

    A mile away (other side of the A1 duel carriageway) they get cable. If this initiative improves the postcode lottery for broadband speeds they I'm all for it, provided "protecting BT's investment" doesn't mean we pay through the nose for it.

  36. Peter Methven

    Make BT Infrastructure Not for Profit.

    Of course if anyone had had any sens BT wholesale should have been set up as a NOT-FOR-Profit company in its own right responsible for the infrastructure. Then LLU might have had a chance of working. At the moment BT have no incentive to improve the infrastructure... it would just reduce profits, with little chance of return on investment. At the end of the day BT are a commercial company, not a state owned monopoly and have to act as such.

  37. Misha Gale

    re: what's the point

    Aside from all the obvious advantages on the customer side of having a decent fibre-based infrastructure, there are also significant advantages to content providers and ISPs. If we have lot more cheap high-bandwidth links between the various ISPs and data-centres in this country, problems like the bandwidth demands of apps like iPlayer can go away. And if bandwidth becomes cheap, acceptable usage policies, throttling, traffic-shaping and so on also become less of a problem.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backhaul?

    It's backhaul isn't it?

    You'll still get the 8meg link to the cabinet (the "up to 8meg") only there'll be half a chance of actually getting 8meg provided your connecting to someone else plugged into a fibre connected cabinet.

    The 100mb malarky would involve fibre to the home and you'll have to be very freshly built city centre to get that, if anyone's building city centre flats 5 years from now that is.

    >if they say they're going to do the countryside as well as the cities

    Living out in the middle of nowhere will always result in crappier services because of the cost of supplying those services. Either you pay more or live with everyone else.

    Many villages don't have gas for instance.

    I'm sick of these moronic country bumpkins whining about their broadband speed, police, hospital access and the cost of driving. Presumably they want the rest of us - living stacked 20 floors deep without gardens or parking - to pick up the tab for their indulgent high land-use lifestyles?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Has the cost of Fibre come down?

    How on earth do BT think they can roll out a fiber network across the country for only £1.5Bn? Are they going to drape it across the existing telephone poles? 100Mbps? Funny!

    The various cable companies that ended up becoming Virgin Media spent nearly 4 times that over the last 5-10 years and can still *only* provide "up-to" 20 Mb downstream! Don't get me started about cable upstream speeds...

    More reliable, lower contended, fast upstreaming services is what is required. They also need to find a way to provide this at 500-5000 metres from the exchange, or anywhere where theres a tree or hedge in the way.

    And don't spam my web browsing with adverts!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Is calling someone a liar not a little strong?

    "In fact I suspect what you say is an outright lie as I was pretty sure the 8Mb product line is now pretty much everywhere and it's more likely it's your ISP that's only doing the 2Mb."

    The 8Mb product maybe available everywhere, but that doesn't mean you're going to get anywhere near that speed though, even in built up areas. I live on a new estate (actually it's a whole new village) and I'm on $ky's 16Mb LLU product but the max I can get is 2.8Mb because of how far away our local exchange is.

    When the development is finished there are going to be homes for 20,000 people and 3 business parks where I am, but neither BT or VM thought to lay decent lines into the place before it was built, meaning that we are stuck using standard copper to the nearest town that is about 4 miles away.

  41. Steve

    Seriously - What is the point?

    Forget the physical issues surrounding ADSL - but I can't even saturate my current 8Mbps circuit let along a fibre connection.

    There is an issue at the moment with connectivity, but it's not really the last mile. It's the pricing structure used on the backhaul connections. ISPs are already starting to restrict, with caps, throttling or even temporary disconnects. The BT pipe needs to be cheaper or ideally stop charging on volume transfered over the pipe.

    I'd personally welcome fibre, but if you've already got a 50Gb limit or so then why on earth are people spouting downloading/streaming HD movies and Video on Demand....? 2 HD movies a month is pretty much all you'll get on a 50Gb cap - which'll cost around £15.99 a month from Orange/Tiscali/AOL/O2. Rather go to the cinema thanks.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    It would be nice if the author gave a link to Ofcom's complaints box.

    In what way is OFCOM protecting Virgin Media's investment (not that I like them, but I want a level playing feild).

    By protecting BT's returns, they are by virtue of that fact being anti-competitive.

    BT Wholesale needs to be removed from BT Retail all togeather. BT Wholesale should be back into public hands if we are going to invest in UK wide highspeed internet connections for private and public use.

    I do not yet understand how OFCOM feels we benefit from the current way telecomes are split compaired to the gas (transco) model?

    If the Government did somthing take them 'back-in-house' you could have them (top level) managed or over seen by the eductional body (jannet), as they seem to do a good job.

    This new idea by ofcom is just like a ppp, where public pay & pay.

    * I throw my toys out of pram *

    But what I had hoped from this article was sombody to throw my toys at!!!

    (image, because BT are Pirates and ofcom's there Parrett)

    -ano

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not 1000Mbps broadband????

    Broadband in the UK plain sux! BT are hopeless!! We are so far behind the likes of Sweden, Finland, France and Japan etc. Why not leapfrog and go for 1000Mbps broadband???? Seeing as you only get one chance to put the fibre down.

  44. Keith SLoan
    Thumb Down

    What price BT.

    When have BT not ever charged way over the top for things? Can't say I am very exited as its bound to cost too much. 30 years in a large IT firm taught me that BT where not very competent bunch.

  45. Steven Raith
    Go

    Mmm. Fiber. Mmm.

    Does this mean that I could VNC my home machine and not have to wait a full minute for it to draw the desktop thanks to the A part of ADSL?

    Yummy.

    Steven R

  46. Andy Livingstone

    Promises, promises.

    Apparently the scheme will result in 10 million households having BT fast cable. That's of around 25 million households in the UK.

    Somehow it is difficult to see how rural areas have a hope in hell.

    Blimey, we can't even get gas here.

    Anyone know how to get BT Correspondence Centre to correspond, or to get BT Help number to help?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @100Mbps

    > Come back dial-up, all is forgiven!

    Errr... I was "lucky" enough to use dialup last week...

    I'm afraid to say that if it ever was forgiven, it's not now.

  48. Chris

    Surely the big question is...

    Will 802.11n finally be approved by then? It's all very well having a 100Mb/s line, but if your router only goes at 54Mb/s... (yes, I know these are theoretical maximums, but still!)

  49. Dave_H
    Dead Vulture

    Life in the country

    Well actually in a village.

    There is one good (2.7Mb/s) line to our Close, the rest being (1.3Mb/s). Ring and complain to BT about the speed and you get the fast line - until the next person complains. Oh, and half that speed if it has been raining and the cable under the High Street is wet. Fibre to the cabinet won't help us as it's the last few hundred metres that's the problem!

    BT think that we don't speak to each other and know what they are doing! Their attitude is "think yourself lucky that you are getting that speed" and "if you want faster move to a town"!

    If the government spent as much money on fibre infrastructure (to benefit everyone) as they have on the cross London rail link (to benefit a few thousand people) then we would all have fibre to house!

    Then half of us could work from home and the government might meet their CO2 targets with the lack of cars on the road.

    Dead duck - because that's more use than any good ideas or connected thinking when the government or one of its monopolies are concerned!

  50. pctechxp

    faster uploads and P2P dipsticks

    Yeah I'd dearly love fibre to my house and to enjoy an Ethernet QoS (100 Mbps) like I do to my desktop at work but why are people calling for quick uploads, oh yeah, so they can serve crap american TV shows and suck up the habdwidth, great.

    BT need to get rid of ADSL, install more cabinets and run Ethernet to the home, no more need for routers or a landline that people dont use.

  51. oliver Stieber

    14MB is enough for me.

    I get 14mb on adsl2 where I am and I've only ever had one download at that speed most come down at 300k tops (though I can download lots of those at the same time!). 100Mb isn't going to be much good if the rest of the internet runs a 5.

  52. Arnold Lieberman

    @ what is the point?

    @Alan

    "Did you know that BBC1 on freeview broadcasts video at a bitrate of 15Mbps ?"

    Er, no. BBC HD might broadcast at that bitrate but BB1 definitely not.

    A 1 hr program is roughly 2Gb, sometimes much less depending on what else is going in in the mux at the time.

    2GB / hr = 33MB / min = 555kB / s = 4.4Mb/s.

    On BBC HD, 1hr is about 8GB. Using the same process, that equates to 17.6Mb/s.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Bet I am not on the rollout list of faster broadband

    When I move into the village where I live 3 years ago. The reason that we could not have broadband was the fact that the sub exchange was connected to the main exchange by fibre.

    Has to wait 2 years for them to drag copper from another exchange (Which has been knicked twice since). for a massive 560KBs

    How many years this time is it going to take them to put the fibre back?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @J Alam

    And here i thought you were going to say she wasn't virgin media....

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Alan

    "Did you know that BBC1 on freeview broadcasts video at a bitrate of 15Mbps ?"

    The last thing this country needs is to waste astronomical sums of money on more infrastructure to watch TV. No one but a small subset of the population will use it and we already have analogue, digital, freesat, cable and sky.

  56. steven forsythe

    Competition

    Someone should provide competition to BT, google should do to this market what it did to the US mobile mkt when it applied fo a spectrum licence. Google could afford £3 billion (with a steady return on capital) then we would have a true open market.

  57. Dave

    Urban Preference?

    Surely the best use of fibre is out in the rural areas where we're all languishing on lossy and long copper pairs (or aluminium, for the really unlucky) that struggle to get more than a couple of megabits/s? A decent fibre run from our local (i.e. 3km away) exchange to the village would suddenly put the entire village within 400m of the copper endpoint, most of it within 200m.

  58. Rob
    Paris Hilton

    what's the point?!?

    I can't believe I'm seeing people on the register of all places saying what's the point to more bandwidth, games already struggle with 64 people in one server, not to mention a decent VR world. there's a whole bunch of cool things we could do with a shed load more bandwith.

    Paris, as she also wants a bigger pipe

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Pointless With Highly Likely Ridiculous Cap

    Come on BT, may aswell put us all out of our misery now to save the stress and anger over the false advertising later......

    100mb so whats that gonna be per month, hmmmmm

    500gb?

    actually thats abit out of touch with current times because my currently 6mb connection has a limit of 300gb pm, although i am with a fairly decent ISP, unlike BT

    and if i want more gb's i just pay another tenner, which hasnt happened yet btw :D

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as another anon cwd hinted

    OK , lets think about a cabinet, say 3Km from exchange, say 200 pairs...... [ie 200 'customers' I'm old enough to still think of them as 'subscribers'] if they move the voice service to fibre too [comparatively cheap], I make that £ 7700 worth of copper they can pull out of the ground.per cabinet.

    [recovering copper from PE cable on that scale really should be efficient, so I haven't factored it in here. though based on 10 million homes, dumping about 100,000 tonnes of copper on the world market might well have an effect on the current price, not my subject...anyone?]

    so thats about £400M they have probably actualy written off as a 'cost' [of disposal in compliance to WEEE regs]

    good news for me [theoretically] I'm twice that far from the exchange. so it'll be cheaper for them to 'do' my local cabinet than those in the 'burbs'.

    confident I'm not! I've worked for them [repeatedly, for my sins] I've found from experience the final by product of eating alpabetti spaghetti is far more cohearent than anything they plan.to do

    for the puposes of this post, this AC will sign off as 'dirt'

  61. Stephen Booth

    Prediction

    My bet is that BT will use this new infrastructure to add a IP based TV service to compete directly with Virgin media/sky

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two Points

    >I don't see any telcos currently GETTING access to BT's copper cables for nothing either. Yes, they have the right to use them, but they have to PAY when they do.

    The telcos pay Openreach just under £15 per year per line, if a fault occurs and it isnt fixed on time then Openreach pays the telco £16. So a fault on a line can potentially give the telco the line free for a year and even a small profit.

    Secondly, those bitching about BT have probably never had to live with what is now known as Virgin. I suspect anyone sacked for imcompetance from BT end up working for VM !

    This announcement seems like (mostly) good news, Im pretty sure the coverage will gradually extend in the same way it did with the ADSL roll out.

    Except that it will remove the need for what I currently do so I will probably be out of a job :(

    Oh well, more time at home playing CS2, watching downloaded pron on my faster/fatter pipe etc. :)

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    this isnt even news!

    hey! this isnt even news! this is just BT waflling on about 21CN like they've done for the past decade. fibre to the street cab? yep. we all know about those plans already

    lets face it, they have one agenda...in 2 parts.

    1) stop other companies muscling in to their act - easy way to do that is LET them be in the exchange...but then put all the real stuff in street cabs!

    2) show how 'innovative' they are and therefore screw the customers out of more cash!

  64. Frank Bough
    Stop

    @Alan

    "Did you know that BBC1 on freeview broadcasts video at a bitrate of 15Mbps ?"

    Errrr... no it doesn't. Pretty much maxes out at 6, and more like a 4.5Mbps average. The obvious way to deliver broadcast TV is via satellite direct to the home - massive bandwidth, minimal infrastructure. Using cable of any type - even fibre - is absurdly expensive by comparison. Spare us from TV over IP - it's an absolutely terrible idea, a satellite dish connected to a PVR is so much more efficient it's scary.

  65. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    @people asking why does everyone want good upload speeds?

    Here's a few quick, moderately rambling answers:

    Working from home, for one - from my own experience, I can do a large swathe of my work from home now - outwith the fact that the works DSL connection has a measly 288kb/sec upload speed - it's horrifically painful to use.

    Video calling - currently feasible, but it's not exactly fantastic quality, and often laggy and generally not as coherent and usable as the dog and bone. Yet. Current webcams can easily outresolve [in terms of lens and sensor capabilty] the sort of bandwidth most DSL lines offer if given the right software, so are being wasted for that function.

    Gaming - as more and more people start getting into online virtual killing/racing/god-simming with current consoles featuring it as a standard part of most games, having a crappy upload limit means that if a couple of people on your ADSL line are playing playing BF2, and you go to use VOIP/Video-nattering, one of the two parties is going to suffer.

    And god forbid you might want to host your own website/FTP space - or accessing, say, Slingbox content when not home.

    Like, say, at work, during a particularly dull meeting. Give 4G networks a chance to standard expected mobile data access speeds up and you could stream SDTV at broadcast quality to your iPhone 4G/Nokia N9x/etc with stereo sound. Lovely.

    Loads of good reasons to whack fibre in I reckon. I could go on, but if I sit here thinking up more reasons I'll never be up in time and will be forced to sully myself with the aforementioned remote access system at work. I shudder at the very thought, and not in a good way.

    Steven R

  66. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    @The other Steve

    > Since my existing connection is already fast enough to support high quality video

    > on demand, why do I need a faster one ? Seriously, can anyone think of a service

    > that exceeds the data transfer requirements of streaming video, that I milght

    > actually want ?

    You are assuming only one person in each household.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Nationalise it?

    Maybe BT should be nationalised again? They certainly seem to be identified as "preferred service provider" and by doing so seem to limit evolutionary advances in communications technologies. Cable research must go back at least 20 years and here in the UK it is offered mostly to "prime site" locations.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    FIBRE!

    I use Virgin aka NTL and i get fibre to the cabinet i believe, they will soon give me 50mb and they have plenty of wiggle room left i understand to expand that. Of course they could go fibre to the home quite easily with a bit of spend, although they are a bit debt ridden and that will provide further performance upgrades. For my money Virgin / NTL have been where its at for years and a definite market leader. Customer services have even improved although they really couldn't get any worse and in the grand scheme of things they still are terrible, if better than sky who really seem to hate their customers.

    Just a shame ill be kicking them into touch if PHORM doesn't get the bullet to the head it so rightly deserves.

    I would like more upload speed though, thats why i buy the top end package, the occasional bit of working from home in my industry means i do a lot of VPN and large file transfers / uploads of silly size folders of files that either don't zip well or cant be zipped due to the stupidity of my colleagues Luddite tendencies. Its not even that endearing ludditeness either, just the lazy jobs worth type.

    Paris because i am envious (of the french interweb connections)

  69. Andy Worth

    Hmm

    Well I live in a village, my ADSL speed reaches at most around 2.5Mb/s, and I'll probably see a fibre network sometime around 2040.

  70. John Lodge
    Flame

    Why shouldn't BT protect it's investment?

    I cannot believe the sheer volume of moaning and groaning going on here. Here we have BT offering to invest billions in a new network infrastructure, of course they are going to want to protect it and rightly so, why should likes of Tiscali (what a shower they are are) get dibsies on the cheap? BT is a PLC owned by shareholders who will not thank them if they give investment away, they need to maximise their profits to allow for future investment. OK, they are big, cumbersome and sometimes unreasonable but they have some excellent R&D, good engineers (when you can extract them from the caff) and a pretty reasonable network which probvides all you whinging winnies with a fair telecoms service.

    I don't suppose many here remember when BT was a monopoly and just how restrictive it was - 1200bps modems the size of a suit case - having a fight to connect a Racal 4800 to a private circuit, no discounts or offers, stroweger switch gear, screw terminals, answer phones bt BT only - God it was awful then - you lot go count your blessings and stop your moaning...

    BTW I don't work for BT and never have - just used them for the last 40 years - they are like a rather smelly favourite Aunty, comfortable but strangly unpleasant at the same time

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Real fibre or co-axial fibre?

    Virgin Media are allowed to run national advertising campaigns trumpeting their fibre broadband when, hang on a minute, it's actually co-axial (copper) cable connected to your home! (Okay, I know this cable connects to a green cabinet in the street and that connects back by fibre but how is this so different from BT (apart from the fact there are less telephone exchanges than green cabinets)?

    Maybe BT will go quiet for a bit and then suddenly announce "We've done it - everyone has fibre now - bye!"

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely the best use of fibre is out in the rural areas

    Yes, where you have to lay more fibre for fewer people. That makes economic sense.

    There's a downside to living in the countryside, if it's too great, go live in a town.

    There are two types* in the countryside:-

    1) Rich people, they can pay for this stuff, only get 2Mb through a line, get another line, lay your own lines etc.

    2) Poor people, if you live in a town we can pay for your services more easily because of the economies of scale and shorter distances involved.

    *The middling people count as poor people once they move to the countryside.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Fibre connection

    When the first fibre, sorry, *cable* networks were laid, the Government gave the cable companies carte blanche to trespass on private property and cause criminal damage as they saw fit, to make sure that every home in the country had access to cable services.

    So sorry, what I meant was that the cable companies were given the legal right to go onto anybody's land to install cable to a box on the front of the house and the homeowner was not allowed to stop them (you might not want cable, but the next people to live there might).

    Then one by one the cable companies discovered they could not supply the services promised for the prices charged until they all basically disappeared into Richard "Can Do No Wrong, Will Save Any Industry He Gets Into"[1] Branson's Virgin Media group. Which I seem to recall wasn't doing quite as well as hoped (even though the Government did as much as they could to protect him) so he bailed out of it.

    And BT want to get into this arena? Guess I won't be switching from copper to cable any time soon...

    [1]Virgin Atlantic undercut British Airways as VA had no aircraft maintenance staff of their own to pay, they "outsourced" the maintenance to... British Airways. And then the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] paid less than he had agreed because (he claimed) the British Airways Engineers weren't doing the job properly. And then he admits to *suggesting* price fixing and fuel over-surcharging (yes, HE suggested it, he did not agree to go along with something Lord King Rat and the British Airways management dreamed up!) but gets away with it since he exposed it... BA got fined, Branson got a pat on the back and a Knighthood...

  74. hey_may
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Fibre connection

    "Guess I won't be switching from copper to cable any time soon..."

    What are you talking about??!!??

    Paris - even she knows copper and cable are the same thing.

  75. Mike

    @JonB

    Expand your viewpoint outside the chastity belt of the M25...

    The countryside isn't all rolling fields and thatched cottages with 100 acres as a back garden and the neighbours being 2 day's ride away, and I object to your bipolar summary of rural dwellers: we aren't all Teds or Ralphs (a la 'The Fast Show').

    I live in a rural area, but in a town with a population of about 13,000. There are several other towns in the area with populations between 10,000-25,000.

    My job in the area is with a rather large national software company, who happen to have satellite offices in both urban and rural areas. I have no desire nor intention of upping sticks and moving to the 'big city', leaving behind family, friends, having to sell and buy a home, find a new job, etc etc. in order to get a service on par with the rest of the nation: and after all, I pay the same for my phone line, broadband, tv licence, etc so why should I get an inferior service just because of where I live?

    If they can't provide the same service to everyone, then customers in the areas with less service should get a lower price. Otherwise we're subsidising the townies to get the better service - then again, I suppose we should be used to that by now.

  76. Carl Thomas
    Paris Hilton

    @Mike

    It's surprising any of us pay for our broadband as your rural town is apparently subsiding us townies, and presumably the rest of your rural area as well.

    Get the bug out of your arse over the M25 'chastity belt' cities get this stuff first because it makes the most economic sense, not out of the kindness of BT's heart. Urban areas are more densely populated, tend to have bigger exchanges, and get these services first simply because that's for BT where the *profit* is.

    BT seem to think that urban areas subsidise market towns and the like. Pity you have the bug in your backside that you subsidise everything and everyone in the rest of the country.

    Without the 'townie' rollout you aren't getting this at all, without the 'townie' rollout you wouldn't have gotten DSL when you did. Get over it just as I get over paying far more for housing and most goods than you along with having smaller living space and being in a more compact area.

    Paris, because she's heavily subsidised.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Renationalise BT Wholesale

    and run it for the public good.

    ...at least that might be a good idea if this government wasn't so crap running everything

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