back to article Attention metal thieves: Buy BT, get 75 MILLION miles of copper

British Telecom is, as a telecoms company, worth minus £30bn. Yes, that's a negative number there. And yet it is literally sitting on top of billions in assets. It all starts with this point made in relation to cable theft: BT’s network relies on more than 75 million miles of copper cable People are stealing the cable, as we …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But, but, but ...

    assuming they buy the company using borrowed money (like all the best asset strippers do) - is it called a "leverage buyout"? dunno - how much interest are they going to accrue while they drip feed the stuff onto the open market. I mean, they can't dump it all at once either wise the price is going to fall big time.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incidental Costs

    You forgeot to include the cost of buyings suffient MPs to overturn the various 999 and public service committments. (They may be cheaper when purchased wholesale).

  3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Re: initiative

    El Reg» Really, why is anyone bothering to go and nick a few miles of the stuff when you could buy the company and take it all?

    Personally, I blame the banks. If they would only start lending again then we could engage in such enterprises and get people off the phones and onto the streets.

    I'd do it myself but I'm down to my last billion.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Holmes

      I blame red tape.

      It's the paperwork that holds them up: you don't become a criminal because of the healthy outdoor lifestyle, it's that you cannot bother with following procedure and getting paper in order. Usually, starting with failing to collect GCSEs, however simple these are.

  4. Ed 13 Silver badge

    75 million miles

    I rather suspect this is the total length of all the conductors they use, so one mile of ten pair cable will contain 20 miles of wire.

    Assuming that it's all 24AWG (817.7 feet to the pound) cable, then it worth about £1bn.

    1. SuperTim

      exactly.

      This smacks of Journo's forgetting to reverse the PR peoples' automatic mutiplying up of their wiring milages. Of course 1 mile of 10pair will have 20 miles. That is the maths the PR people do to make out how fantastic their network is, and also coincidentally the numbers they will supply to the insurance companies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. 75 million miles

      It really could be 75 million miles; my broadband performs like the wire to the next village goes via India.

    3. nyelvmark
      Happy

      @Ed 13

      Spoilsport.

  5. Some Beggar
    Happy

    Optional

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Economics-Dummies-Peter-Antonioni/dp/0470057955/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1316695020&sr=8-2

    Hope this helps.

  6. Sargs

    BT got there first

    Back in about 1987, BT came round to my high school to show all us cool kids in the GCSE Control Technology class how to splice fibre optics with a fusion welder. One of the things we learned was that when BT replaced all the old copper trunk lines with fibre optics, the scrap value of the cable bundles they were ripping out more than paid for the whole process.

    We also learned never to look into the microscope of the fusion welder whilst it is welding. Some people just never listen DO THEY, HEADMISTRESS?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      So for 24 years they've been sitting on a proposition that improves the network *and* costs less than nothing. How much are these guys paid again?

      1. TheFirstChoice
        Facepalm

        I'm sure all the trunks *have* been replaced

        As bad as BT is as a company, I'm pretty sure they will have replaced all the *trunk* connections with fibre by now. They did offer to lay fibre to the consumer throughout the country (well, except Kingston) back in the late 80s, but were refused permission by the government as that would give BT too much power (over telephony, and other services such as TV) that could be delivered over the fibre... since of course once they'd invested the multiple billions of pounds into replacing the copper cables, they wanted to be able to recoup that investment by selling services using them.

        Remarkably good thinking by BT, in hindsight remarkably poor thinking by the government, but back then BT really did want to try to take over the world.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I used to get 38K (money, not broadband speed), which isn't bad outside of London. Though before you all get your high horses out of the stable, I was a programmer/web dev and nothing to do with broadband as such (I worked in a telephone exchange so I could poke my network connection with a stick - didn't make it any faster though)

        I'm sure there's some joke in there about bits and PCs too, but obviously I'm a slow poke.

    2. umacf24

      Off topic....

      Control Technology was CSE. Totally my favourite subject, but looked down on because I was supposed to be doing O levels.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Control Technology

        certainly was *NOT* a CSE when I took it.

        One of the best subjects I ever took and, as it turns out, the most useful.

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      I heard this at around the same time

      while I was working for an AT&T and Phillips joint venture that was selling fibre-optic kit to BT.

    4. RegGuy

      'freak accident'

      That's not the blind headmistress who was blinded in a 'freak engineering accident' by any chance, is it?

  7. AndrueC Silver badge
    Stop

    It probably doesn't help that the copper has to be shared with other companies. That must mark its value down a lot.

  8. Gordan
    Thumb Up

    Wow...

    I am truly awed. In the truly Monty Python-esque style, this article is so close to the truth that it is toying with blurring the line between terrifying and funny. Bravo!

  9. aBloke FromEarth
    Pirate

    And what would happen to the copper price

    if 10 megatonnes of the stuff suddenly turned up on the market? You didn't think this through, did you?

    C+. At least you showed your workings.

    1. Tim Worstal

      True

      It's about 50% of global annual consumption. Could be fed in over a few years but not all in one dump I agree.

      But it's all much too fun to really, really, analyse, isn't it?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Happy

        Plan B.

        Do it, but short sell the living shit out of copper futures first.

        With a bit of luck the initial short sale will put the price on a downward trend and the subsequent dump will end up making it worth peanuts. Then you not only get to cover your position and turn a tidy profit, but could well end up cornering the market in copper.......

        ......then you get to sell the actual stuff at whatever price you feel like, holding the world to ransom for ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!!111!!!!

        <Googly laughter>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!!111!!!!

          Think small, why don't you? You can barely bail out Greece with that; the first tranche of the USoA bank bailouts started at 700-odd mrd, I recall. Now, a hundred long count billions is starting to look more like it, but it's still a bit on the low side for the whole world, I'd say.

          I ought to invent me a Q-bomb, I really should.

  10. Tom 15

    Somehow...

    Somehow I don't think the government would let them... but then perhaps the government should buy BT outright, strip the copper cable, lay fibre as its replacement and use the copper cost to cover the fibre cost.

    1. Velv
      Devil

      You really didn't think that one through, did you.

      If you get the government to lay the new fibre it will cost 10 times as much as necessary, and come in ten years late. Just the point the copper price hits rock bottom.

      But who could we find that can afford BT and can run a profitable business. Richard Branson - but then he already has an infrastructure company

      1. TheFirstChoice
        FAIL

        Timing of the sale

        Not to mention that the boneheaded chancellor will announce the date when he (or she) will dump the copper on the market, allowing the price to get artificially deflated in the meantime.

    2. marksalter
      WTF?

      Ofcom taxman...

      I do believe that BT are not recovering this valuable asset because Ofcom want to slap a penalty tax on any profit realised.

  11. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Oh Please,

    Somebody do this!

  12. Refugee from Windows
    Thumb Down

    Just copper coated steel

    Alas my magpie friends. Much of what is in the air is actually just copper coated steel, and worth a lot less than just pure copper. Even then the copper content may not be as useful, although it may contribute a little in terms of the skin effect (even with the blazing data rates they don't have) but has more of a use as to reduce the corrosion.

    1. Chris Miller

      And also a lot of the 'final mile' stuff is cheap and nasty alumin(i)um, which causes so many problems with ADSL.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      My overhead feed used to have 2 twisted pairs of solid copper (~26AWG), plus 3 stranded steel gold (WTF!) plated wires that seemed to be for strength, all with PVC insulation.

      Living very close to the exchange I got fairly good rates on that, but not as good as what it replaced; 1 pair stranded copper (~18AWG) with rubber insulation, wrapped in cotton then twisted and within a continuous lead sheath. They don't make wires like they used to!

    3. Eponymous Cowherd

      Dropwire

      The dropwire (the bit from the pole to the house) used to be coper plated steel as the conductors had to provide strength as well as act as electrical conductors. The problem with these was that any nicks in the copper plating and the steel would rust.

      Current dropwire consists of 4 wire (0.5mm copper) with a steel catenary for support.

      I don't know if there is much aluminium cable left, but it certainly was a right pain in the ass. It was used during the '70 when copper was scarce and expensive as aluminium is a fair conductor and is much cheaper than copper. Unfortunately it was prone to age hardening and became brittle. The upshot was that a technician fiddling with one circuit in a cabinet is almost certain to bush against others. If these used aluminium wire they would often snap. Another problem was in joints between ally and copper cable. Electrolytic action would corrode the ally wire until the joint fell apart.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Ally...

        Oh there's plenty of it left, believe me. A large part of my home town has it.

        Luckily we've now got FTTC, so the crappy Ally only has to carry the signal a couple of hundred meters, which it seems far better at than carrying the signal 3km from the exchange.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    "OK, OK, yes, this isn't quite right. There's labour involved in digging up all that copper"

    But if you have to dig it up anyway to lay fibre then it becomes a feasible proposition.

    I'll get me donkey jacket and shovel.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would you buy the company when you buy its liabilities too?

    E.g. the pension fund black hole (£3B to £10B, depending on who and when you ask).

    Not to mention whatever they invested (and will now never get back from) the NHS National Project for IT, or whatever the just-abandoned national rollout was caused,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pension Black Hole

      Just hold on a little while until they get rid off TUPE inconvenience (to "help business") and then you can buy them and offload all the pension crap.

    2. John Hughes
      Mushroom

      Liabilities? What liabilities?

      When you've sold off all the copper (at a ridiculously low price, because so much of it has depressed the market) you go bust because the telephones don't work any more.

      Bancrupt BT - no pension liability.

      (Of course you sold the copper to a friend of yours who's going to dribble it back out when the price goes up).

      Everyone in Britain starves to death in the resulting economic crash so you get other benefits.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risky.

    Best advice my old man gave me before they took him away was never get yourself caught up in a plan involving coppers.

  16. T.a.f.T.
    WTF?

    Landed

    BT ownes a lot of prime land in the centre of many towns ideal for office, retail or housing space too. They currently use their empty concrete piles to house a couple of servers, park a few vans and rent out bags of roof space to mobile telecom people! Surly that must make them worth something?

    1. Chris Miller
      Unhappy

      They're currently applying for planning permission to turn Martlesham into a housing estate. I assume they don't plan to do much research in the future.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Chris Miller / Martlesham

        Yeah, but they're looking into it, so it may take a few years. (Cruel comment of mine since I worked there for a bit)

    2. DapaBlue

      Maybe at one time... Didn't BT sell off and lease back a good proportion of their property? Regardsless, it's not if there's a shortage of vacant commercial units at the moment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        BT leases its buildings

        Basically yes, and of course the miniturisation of tech means they don't need as much space.

        But of course they still need wire of some sort to connect people to the www. And won't someone think of the children - they still need access to YouTube.

  17. Scott 2
    Thumb Up

    Dragon's Den

    I shall immediately take this idea to the Den.

    'I just need a small investment of a few billions... I'll let you have 20% share.'

    Short pause.

    'I'm in.'

    'Me too!'

    Yes please!'

    Win!

  18. Thomas 4

    How does the defence plead...

    "to the petty theft of Britains entire telephone network?"

    "Not guilty, yer honnor, the vulture made me do it."

  19. PhilipN Silver badge
    Devil

    OK here we go ...

    Do a British Rail. Buy the lot then sell off the phone services to Virgin et al so they can take care of the lazy fuckers who would rather pick up the phone than get off their fat asses then lease to the phone operators the right to use your copper. Net acquisition cost : zero.

    Then slowly strip out the copper (so as not to disturb the market price)(and incidentally reduce The sheer number of conduits). Now we are in profit.

    Then bump up the leasing charges to the phone companies to allow them to use your cable as you replace the copper. EVER SO SLOWLY.

    Now we are in serious money and the only problem is how to spend it all.

    In the meantime the phone service is crap but Hey! I've got a business to run!

    Cheers

  20. Gideon 1
    FAIL

    Maths fail

    The figure of 132kg per mile is the whole cable. Cable is mostly insulation, so the copper weight is a lot less than that. A lot of the cable is older stuff laid in the 1970s and is hair thin.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privitisation

    They obviously didn't take this into account when the company was privitised... or perhaps copper was really cheap back then...

  22. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Future

    "Fibre makes more sense now, as does going entirely mobile and ditching a landline network."

    Er, no, going wireless is of limited capacity because the radio spectrum is limited. Yes, you can get closer with time, but there is a *fundamental limit* to usable channel capacity.

    Going fibre is a much, much better idea as long as the oinks realise its not copper and stop digging it up. Of course you don't have power along a fibre (of any real amount) but for most of us having to power our home modem end would be no issue if it gave us gigabit speeds with negligible contention.

    p.s. +1 for those who point out a lot of the cable is not solid copper.

    1. trashbat

      Channel capacity

      Channel capacity's not a problem. Just divvy the country into little bits and put up big walls/cages made out of all the spare metal you have lying around.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Irony?

        those microcells/picocells/nanocells/etc, how do they connect to their operator's backbone network?

        I believe a great many of them use DSL at the moment. And are likely to carry on doing so.

        Where's the bandwidth advantage in that?

        Wireless has a place, but volume rollout of big bandwidth means fibre. There is no realistic alternative.

        1. Rob Dobs
          Happy

          Fibre and Microwave actually

          Well in the US anyways...not so sure about UK.

          Both carry plenty of bandwidth to break into hundreds of multiple slow "smart"phone connections.

          Microwave has the benefit of low cost not having to dig up street, or pay for leased conduit under ground.

          The neatest idea though is the picocells that vampire tap right into the powered coax cable, and get their signal and power from your cable connection, in places where the cable hangs on above ground tele lines you can just drop one on every few hundred feet or so and cover the whole town!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Irony

    Of first digging up copper ore only to stick it back underground again.

    1. hplasm
      Happy

      The coppery-

      Of the exact same thing happening with gold- but with far less usefulness...

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Sir

      You could say the same thing about potatoes.

  24. Danny 14 Silver badge

    copper?

    We should be so lucky. Bastards have aluminium round here, thats the whole reason we have shitty adsl. Would love copper.

  25. b166er

    RE: The Irony

    It's not Irony, it's Coppery!

  26. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    More than one former board member of AT&T has opined that they lived in terror of this very threat in the 1980s - that some idiot would realize they owned the richest domestic lode of high-grade copper ore and would initiate a takeover bid that would result in the country's comms infrastructure coming to a grisly and premature end.

  27. Nigel R Silver badge
    Angel

    what is the pulp worth

    of all the paper BT wastes when it still insists on delivering dead tree phone directories to me?

    1. Oldfogey
      Happy

      So don't have the dead trees

      Ring BT directory department, nad tell them you don't want any more directories. Then do the same to Yellow Pages.

      I did this a few years ago and have had neither since, though I have seen them sitting on everybody's doorstep. And that is why I did not want them, as it sends a signal to the burglars.

      1. miknik
        Trollface

        It sends a signal to burglars??

        I thought they just listed phone numbers, I had no idea it was a self contained wireless comms device. Is it FCC approved? Does it involve RFID chips? No wonder BT have no money giving away such kit for nothing, guess they must be on a back hander from the burglars?

        1. Trygve Henriksen
          Coat

          Yes, a signal to burglars.

          The directories are delivered to all homes in the same area at the same day(or close to it).

          It's therefore safe to assume that if your neighbours haven't removed theirs from the doorstep by the next day or two that they're probably not home.

          Same reason why people cancel the newspaper for the duration, have the mail held at the post office, and ask the neighbour to toss some garbage in their bin, too.

          Mine's the one with the set of lockpicks in the pocket...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pension deficit

    About the value of the pension deficit then.....

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And what about the disaster of...

    ....Aluminium cabling!

    The spawn of satan itself....

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought BT was selling it's cable...

    ... There's always plenty of BT vans turning up in an evening at the local scrap yard. Oh and plumbers vans from the gas company too.

  31. Steven Jones

    Fanciful calculations

    It might be wise if Tim Worstall spent checking the assumptions here. Number one, it to take the weight of the copper, and not the whole cable.

    This is 24 AWG cable with a core diameter of 0.51mm. That's 0.0255 x 0.0255 x PI x 100 = 0.204 cubic centimetres per metre length. Now double that for one pair and it's 0.408 cubic centimetres per metre length. Now add a (generous) 10% for the overhead of twisting (local network cable is lightly twisted). That yields 0.449 cubic centimetres per metre length of one pair. Multiply that by the density of copper (8.94gm per cubic centimetre) and that's 0.449 x 8.94 = 4gm of copper per metre of twisted pair. There are 1,609 metres in a mile, so that's 6.4Kg of copper per pair per mile. A 10 pair cable would therefore have 64Kg or copper per mile, not 132Kg per mile. That immediately slashes Mr. Worstall's valuation by over half as about half that weight will be sheathing.

    Then we have the big question - is BT's figure of 75 million miles an estimate of the total length of cables, total length of pairs, or total length of wire? If we take the total number of BT lines in the UK it's of the order of 25 million. If that 75 million miles is 10 pair cables, that implies an average of 30 pair-miles per line. Even allowing for some spare pairs, this is clearly ridiculous. If the figure of 75 miles is pairs, then the total "pair length" per line is around 3 miles, probably not an unreasonable estimate - broad band spends indicate average line lengths are in the region of 2-2.5 miles leaving about 15-20% "spare" lines. If I do the same for total wire length, then the result (1.5 miles per line) is rather too low to be credible.

    So, I would suggest that BT are quoting an estimate for pair lengths knocking 90% of Mr. Worstall's fanciful estimate.

    So on that basis, we have 75 million miles of pairs x 6.4Kg = 480,000 tonnes of copper in BT's network. That's still £2.4bn of copper, a tidy sum, but nothing like the 20 x estimate that the author of this piece has calculated.

    There's also another thing - if the value of the copper alone in BT's network was really £50bn, and we adopted a modest 7% ROCE, then Ofcom should be allowing a line rental income on that basis alone of £3.5bn per year, or about £12 per month on just the copper before including the capital value of the ducts, poles, maintenance, rates etc. As that's approaching half the wholesale monthly costs of a line, that's clearly nonsense.

    So I would suggest, Time Worstall has overestimated the value of the copper in BT's network by about 95%.

    1. Steven Jones

      Minor correction...

      I meant £12 is about double the wholesale line rental cost of course

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        another correction :-)

        Didn't you mean he'd over-estimated by about 2000% rather than 95%

        1. Steven Jones

          You are right

          I did - silly me. The real value is 5% of Tim's estimate so I should have said that 95% of his valuation is nonsense.

          Nb. world annual production of copper is about 15 million tonnes per year..

  32. Christian Berger

    Makes sense

    It's just like those pay for hotspots which bring in less money than the billing costs.

  33. Buzzby
    Big Brother

    mega pairs

    Lots of pairs in them thar cables. Around towns/cities there may be 2000 pair cables, I've seen them, ruddy big mothers an all. There are of course smaller ones and older ones. I have seen some national telephone company cables over 40 years ago, 15 pair, paper insulation and covered in lead, the de-facto standard till the 60's, usually.

    Big brother is listening, it's built into the phone net!!!

    1. David_H
      Devil

      But BT say no!

      The lead is cracked or punctured by too many diggers in our High Street. Consequently the paper insulation is wet and rubbish, and yes sync rates do go down following heavy rain! There are 3 good pairs in the middle of the cable that are good. We know who has them, and if you complain enough, one of them may be moved to you (and of course someone else suffers). We have been tracking this activity for nearly 4 years - BT think that people in villages don't talk to each other! When we complain to BT management their answer is always that there is no paper insulated wire left in the network, and we are not due for an upgrade... ever!

      There is a deep valley between us and the exchange 3Km away, again with the lead coated, paper insulated wires. After much petitioning of the local engineer we got him to nick through the lead insulation at the bottom of the valley. The water trickled out for at least 3 days. Unfortunately there was negligable speed increase as a result.

  34. Alan Brown Silver badge

    power on fibre lines

    How about a few high power IR lasers to blind the copper thieves when they look down the end of the cable they just cut?

    Some countries take cable thefts sufficiently seriously enough to hand out sentences of up to 15 years for endangering transport or communications systems, along with compulsary shutdown and asset seizure of any scrappy caught handling the stuff.

    Unsurprisingly such countries have seen significant drops in cable thefts.

  35. Bill Stewart

    But who would you sell the copper to?

    The problem with this Clever Plan is that the big customers for copper wire are companies like BT, so buying BT in order to steal all its copper and sell it back to BT just doesn't quite work... Sure, you can also sell it to electrical contractors, but the telcos are a big part of the business.

  36. Mike Thomas
    Unhappy

    The real issue

    Copper theft sounds like a couple of scallywags clipping a couple of cables - almost in a Robin Hood way.

    The truth is different. Ask the telecom engineers who have to don bulletproof suits and climb towers because scum wait to take pot shots at them as they climb the towers? Ask the security teams that were swamped by armed gangs of over 100 people every night in South Manchester last month and threatened and attacked so the thugs could send an unwilling 'volunteer' to the top of a live electricity pylon in pitch black to cut fibre optic cables every night?

    UK is becoming more like regions of Africa where the telecom companies have stopped providing services to some areas as there is no law and order to protect and no respect for property or the Country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wow - Mad Max Territory

      Hey Mike, do you have any links this?

      You would think that regular ambushes by 100 strong armed gangs would be pretty newsworthy, so I am somewhat ashamed I missed this first time round.

      I did a quick search on the BBC but I couldnt find it. If you can point me in the right direction it would be appreciated.

      1. Jedit
        FAIL

        Try reading the post first

        He said "last month", not "in perpetuity". So, try searching for "Manchester riots" and see exactly how many stories you find about gangs of 100 people roaming the streets stealing everything that wasn't nailed down after first stealing the nails.

  37. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    When I worked at BT laying cables...

    Years ago, we were using aluminium (aluminum, if you prefer).

    It was a bugger down the manhole, visibility limited when trying to splice a hundred or so wires from the cable with those little blue wax-filled crimps, standing for most of the day while up to your ankles in water. Colour coding goes only so far!

    Stuff was so bloody fragile, it was too easy to break one. That's why there were spares in the cable. But, aluminium is one of Earths most plentiful metals (if not THE most plentiful). I suppose that's why BT switched (It was the "Post Office" in those days, around 1974)

  38. Joel 1
    Holmes

    Digging for sand

    Peter Cochrane (ex CTO of BT) suggested funding the Fibre rollout across the country by mining the copper. As it would be part of a rollout, you wouldn't be dumping the copper on the market in one go. His argument was that it made far more sense to replace copper with sand, and I think worked out that it was cost effective at prices for copper north of £1k per tonne.

    Interesting article from the Reg archives where he touches on it:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/22/peter_cochrane_profile/

  39. Bluenose
    Happy

    Cheap digging options

    Offer Dave C and the boys to pay 50% of the dole money and then get the lazy layabouts out to dig it up. Govt saves half a years dole, you get the cable out the ground cheap and of course a nice little VAT carousel on the selling and buying, quids in. Could put in brand new fibre network and still give the directors big payouts.

  40. sheep++;

    You know what older people say...

    There's not enough coppers around.

    And "in my day", you could just post a letter. Non of this new-fangled telephone thing.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "when you could buy the company and take it all?"

    BT is regulated you would be unable to mine the copper.

  42. Smithy
    Happy

    And before BT?

    Its all too easy to knock BT but without them eventually investing billions in the telecommunication network, we'd really be THE laughing stock of the world - these thieving gits aren't helping and should be send to jail. This would indeed send out a strong message of the consequences in the case of the the rioters. Once 21CN network upgrade is completed by 2013, our economy would then be buoyed by news of world-class national coverage of at least 40Mb/s through FTTC.

  43. Robin Szemeti
    WTF?

    FTTC? 40mbs? .. and then what?

    Pardon me for not getting it, but why to people keep saying how the economy will be helped/boosted by "super fast broadband" ... for example the local town (failed) bid for a Enterprise Zone that would have inlcuded "super fast broadband" to businesses in the area.

    Why? so they can porn-surf in HD while businesses in zones without the benefit have to watch in 640x480? Just how much broadband do you need for a company making widgets? "well, the widget machines ran at 400 widgets and hour, providing the young lads could climb in and re-grease them without getting squished" ... "but, now we have moved to an enterprise zone, with the superfast broadband for Mr Fletcher up in t'office, we run em at 450 widgets an hour" ??

    Just how much more business could I expect to do with a doubling of broadband speed? I suppose the page-load times on my gmail account would reduce, giving me an extra 8 seconds of useful time to re-deploy? ...

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foolishness galores

    The article is based on the dubious assumption that current "market" prices truly reflect the value of assets under real world conditions. That's clearly not the case and the article just provides some evidence why that happens. In our time of speculative hoarding, market prices are based on not much more than perceptions of traders. That perception may as well be based on questionable quick and dirty back on the envelope calculations or plain prejudice than on serious research and full understanding of the mechanism. In other words, market prices are made by a bunch of fools. Their collective wisdom may prove to be right sometimes and sometimes wrong. The result is market volatility. And we have plenty of that.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What 21CN upgrade?

    " Once 21CN network upgrade is completed by 2013"

    That's not happening. Ever.

    Once upon a time, not that many years ago, the 21CN upgrade was about more than just a different way to deliver and charge for wholesale broadband, it was about a modernised reliable easy to maintain (and presumably cheap to run) voice network too.

    It's not had a great deal of publicity, but the 21CN voice rollout has been abandoned, with a near negligible (< 1%?) number of customers migrated.

    News started to leak out during 2009, and BT admitted it officially a few months later.

    So the 21CN upgrade as officially announced in masses of publicity over many months has quietly died a death. Something to do with parrots springs to mind. You know the one.

    http://www.info4security.com/story.asp?storyCode=4122865&sectioncode=9

    https://www.btwholesale.com/pages/downloads/21_Century_Network_Community/Monthly_summary_Industry_Engagement_May10.doc

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