back to article UK to rely on mobile operators for universal broadband

The government will turn to mobile operators to deliver the commitment made by Lord Carter today that every home in the UK should be able to get 2Mbit/s broadband by 2012. The interim Digital Britain report, published today, is short on specifics of how a new Universal Service Commitment (USC) will function, and defers …


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  1. Fred Smith


    What a load of limp-wristed, weak-willed rubbish.

    Either have a holistic gvmt digital policy, with fibre to every home/cabinet, full IPTV, abolition of the TV license; the full shebang.

    Or do nothing, cut taxes, and let the market provide.

    But don't come up with some witches brew of more regulation, more levies, fewer rights for users, and a vague technical guarantee to something which we already have.

    I don't think the UK mobile broadband network will be able to cope anyway.

    What rot.

  2. Simon Williams

    Yokels don't need no smeggin' broadband

    So what he's saying is 'We'll provide 2Mbps to the whole country, except where it's tricky to do it or it'll cost a bit.' That's why, three miles from the main A38 with a fibre channel running at god knows what speed down its side, I have to consider myself lucky to get 0.6Mbps... and still have to pay the same as people in Exeter and Plymouth for 4Mbps or 8Mbps. And with no mobile signal in my house (I have to stand out in the road to get even a couple of bars), I'm not holding my breath for a mobile broadband solution.

    There are words for this kind of double-standard and they have to do with what the male cattle do in the fields round here.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yeah, right!

    "It is clear that nobody going to be digging up roads to lay fibre in the Highlands however, and that the USC will be "delivered by a mixture of fixed and mobile, wired and wireless means".

    I live in the Highlands and get a pitiful 1.5Meg on the end of the wet piece of string that BT call a phone line. Since I also have no mobile signal at home, how is that supposed to work?

    Government = FAIL.

  4. Tony Hoyle

    Complete fudge

    All that needs to happen is the mobile operators rollout more 3G and they've 'achieved' 2MB/sec to most of the country. Which was doing to happen anyway.

    Of course it'll be charged by the megabyte and only work on odd days preferably when it's not raining... but the politicians will get their headlines.

    Meanwhile the last mile is rotting and falling apart, and those out in the sticks will be as badly off as before.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    what a load of horse shit!

    I don't get to see a 3G signal *anywhere* I normally go during my daily home/work life. Coverage is abysmal outside densely populated areas, most of which have plenty of wired or wireless broadband available already.

    How is the government expecting this massive coverage improvement to take place?

  6. Colin Wilson
    Paris Hilton

    And the hardware to use it ?

    In essence, it sounds like they're making an empty promise, in that the mobile networks will already be capable of providing internet connectivity anywhere by then, but they're making it out to be a "big thing" that they're doing themselves. Political spin at its' corrupt best.

    It's alright promising such a thing, but you need a couple more things for it to be truly available - a computer or other device, and to pay for the connection - at whatever cost the networks decide to come up with.

    It's not much different from saying every house can have a Maserati - you might not have a licence or be able to afford it but *technically* you might be able to buy one, so that's ok.

    We need a "polital spin" icon :-}

    Paris - because everyone on broadband would be able to watch her best movies...

  7. John

    useless Consultants

    Yet again more tripe from uselass consultants who dont really understand the breadth of technology and the market place it is in.....

  8. Robin


    I can't believe nobody has said 'Carter USC' or 'Carter GSM'.

    That is all.

  9. Darren B

    Can't see it getting to 100% of the population

    Looking at how crap 3G signal is in my house to my phone, I am not convinced.

    If 3 are left in charge then it will Broadband black out.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    re: What a load of limp-wristed, weak-willed rubbish.

    Fibre optic vs mobile broadband....surely it would be much cheaper to go mobile.....look at some of the third world countries who have successfully implemented mobile broadband on the cheap!

    I MUST agree with Gordon on this one

  11. Doug Southworth

    I'm curious

    Is this going to be blanket coverage, like WiFi? Or is it going to be a point to multipoint setup (ie, each house has a directional antenna pointing to the closest tower)? If it is more like the WiFi route, doesn't that cause problems for someone wanting to filter the internet access in their home?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    t-mobile has a hard time sustaining 5k in the middle of a big city.

    looks like universal broadband is going to be 10 times slower than dial up.

  13. Jeff
    Thumb Up

    Broadband for everyone!

    except those people in hard to reach areas... i.e. those who don't already have it.

    We expect a level of nonsense from the government, and fails to disappoint yet again!

  14. Tom Wood

    @Simon, AC, Pete: Bleedin obvious

    "I live in a remote place and it's difficult to get [broadband] to"

    Well, duh.

    If you're going to live out in the sticks, don't expect the same conveniences as you'd get in a city (e.g. super-fast broadband and a Tesco Express on every street corner).

    And those of us in the city won't expect fresh air, pretty scenery and amazing peace and quiet.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    2Mbs? For 2012?

    Wake up dood!

    It's the 21st C doncha know!

  16. Stewart Atkins

    2Mbit in the highlands

    Until a couple of years ago i used to live in the highlands and got a solid 2MBit connection right from the start (when it became available in my area in about 2004).

    Admittedly I had the local telephone exchange *literally* in my back garden, but still :P

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Stewart Atkins

    >Admittedly I had the local telephone exchange *literally* in my back garden, but still :P

    And you still couldn't get a land line?

    It's the BT "installation" charge that bugs me, renting yet another flat for once again only about 6 months they want me to pay the frigging fee again, surely it's in their own interests to get the place connected? Well now mobile broadband is here they can get stuffed.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Wiggle room

    It's not practical to put fibre up every glen, but should be ok put it to most cabinets, thus making the speed bit at least something you can discuss.

    Anyway, the speed and the end to end quality need to seperated. Even the example provided of video conferencing at 2mb is not true, as this would be two streams of as little as 150 -200 kbps (x2) with with loss and delay characteristics of <1% - the latter is the issue not the bandwidth. Bulk file transfers may need to be overnight, but that will need doing anyway as we need to collectively manage to a peak hour capacity.

    If i had a spare £15bn I would donate it to FTTC, but we need to manage the end to end service as each application just needs what it needs and no more.

    Mobile Data at 2Mb - if it was 2Mb the quality, as in loss and delay characteristics would not be good enough, we will need to be smarter with local wifi and actually pull fibre through where it is needed to support those communities of 200-300 homes.

    Wiggle room is needed to define the service but it is a do-able project - where the speed climbs over time, but the underlying quality is defined in the network planning rules.

  19. simon

    @Tom Wood

    I don't think everyone who lives "out in the sticks" *does* expect the same conveniences as those in a "city" (where does that leave the rest of us who live in small or medium sized towns???) - but having been "in the sticks" during the original BB rollout programme, what does wrankle is when UKGov make stupid statements and raises expectations.

    What this really means is that the 'digital divide' will actually grow wider between those in densely populated urban environs (with sooper-fast fibre) and those "in the sticks" with (possibly) 2Mbps wireless - still, at least they'll have the view to look at, eh?

  20. Mage Silver badge

    Mobile 3G/HSDPA

    2Mbps a minimum?

    It can hardly manage that as an average sector throughput. With loading (24 users 3.6Mbps, 48 users 7.2Mbps) or poor signal the speed drops to under 50kbps and latency rises from 100ms to 2000ms

    It's called "Mobile" because that's what it does. Nothing less than 20MHz per channel LTE with N=6 (with urban sized cells) can get close to 2Mbps in terms comparable to Cable or DSL. A rural peak 250Mbps sector capacity has about 10Mbps to 20Mbps average sector speed, thus might do 500kbps to 1Mbps loaded speeds. At half the cell edge to mast distance you have 1/4 or less signal and less than 1/4 of rural users are inside that 1/4 area. Every time the distance doubles the speed is less than a 1/4 of the peak, assuming no-one else on line.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tom Wood

    I would hardly class 8 miles from Inverness as "out in the sticks". We do have towns and cities up here you know...

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Don't make me laugh

    The Western Isles and Stornoway in particular has more connectivity via Fibre than you realise (if only a certain Telco would support them) yet you have to stand on top of the bloody monument in Stornoway to get a decent mobile signal. In fact in many UK towns and cities you have pot luck whether you'll get signal long enough to make a call let alone deliver a broadband connection.

    I wonder what the real involvement is with Mobile companies and those making these suggestions.I think El Reg should be digging into some of the relationships within certain circles and tell us the truth of whose doing what with whom and what's in it for them.

  23. Chris Collins
    Thumb Down

    BT pulling out?

    This is the first stage of what I feel of BT pulling out of low populated areas, what might happen is mobile companies start services so the governments 2 meg USO is met, then BT can pull out so they pull out and BT then have less unprofiteable areas and can compete with LLU/cable better. This USO also removes BT's obligation to provide everyone with voice services so will change BT's behaviour I expect. I agree that its a big copout for BT as well, but BT have the government in their pocket this is clear now.

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