back to article BT wants to poke fingers in EVERY broadband cash pie

Broadband minister Ed Vaizey confirmed to MPs yesterday that BT was bidding for all eight cabling projects currently in procurement. Labour politico Chi Onwurah asked Vaizey if the national telco would bag all the contracts with local authorities and devolved administrations. She asked: "What assessment has [Vaizey] made of …


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  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    so what?

    I really don't care who does it, so long as it gets done, preferably yesterday! And if BT have the experience and equipment, then lets go for it!

  2. Sir Adam-All


    Are Ofcom taking the piss ?

    Universal Service Obligation

    Provision of a connection capable of functional internet access

    "Users should be able to expect connection speeds of at least 28.8 kbit/s"

    28.8 ?????

    What year are we actally in ?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: USO

      Fair comment but to BT's credit it far exceeds that on probably 99% of lines. I wonder if the PO would were they still in charge. At least as a private company BT has an incentive to upgrade the features it offers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: USO

        That would explain why my 10k+ exchange is still on vanilla ADSL then.

        BT expect the tax payer to fund expansion then in those areas charges should reflect the lesser financial commitment by BT group

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: USO

        Hahahahahahaha are you serious? What incentive?

        As a private company it has every reason to put off upgrades and new features as long as possible. Private companies are in it to maximise profits while minimising expenditure. If it were still public property it could have been told years ago to pump the profits into new infrastructure and R&D

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: USO

          If it were still public the profits would be milked by the government of the day to pay down the deficit. No public utility got to keep any profits they made - they were used to reduce tax bills or fund investment elsewhere. The poor state of the country's telecoms infrastructure at the end of the 70's was because there had been barely any investment for a decade. Privatisation was intended to solve this problem - and it did to an extent. The privatised utilities reinvest more of their income than they did under public ownership - it's arguable whether it's enough but it's certainly more.

  3. wispa_limited

    BDUK is demonstrably a failure

    It has not, and can not deliver fast ubiquitous broadband for the UK. That is why this document

    Was sent to the House of Lords/Commons, MPs etc and is currently being read in Brussels.

    It is possible to deliver fast (100Mbps+) broadband universally - but not this way - and not by doling out cash to BT.

  4. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    As long as the bidding is above board I don't see a problem. BT are the biggest telco in the country and obviously have experience and economies of scale on their side. It's hardly surprising that they are bidding on all the contracts. Despite what some may think BT don't hate rural populations. The only reason they are reluctant to upgrade them is RoI. If someone throws more money into the pot it sweetens the deal.

    But yeah, BDUK is a bit of a joke. Elsewhere the EU and BT got together and are rapidly rolling out higher speeds in Cornwall.

    1. Da Weezil

      BT Group are only interested in areas where Virgin are, or where someone else picks up the tab. Many decent sized exchanges still have only 8 megs - because there is no competition incentive for BT Group to upgrade and while they are trialling ever faster speed for some others are left in the digital dust while still paying over the odds for an increasingly out of date service on equipment that has given ROI many times over.

      1. Elmer Phud

        not quite

        BT are interested in the same places as the rest of them .

        This is no different from a few years back when Broadband was being offered by world+dog+tiscali.

        In exchanges where there are several different operators it's an idea to check what they are all offering as regards speed - if there is only BT offering BB from an exchange it's 'cos the others can't be arsed.

        Then along came the poorly implemented LLU where existing cabling and cabs not belonging to BT were never considered (why Virgin etc were not forced to share I have no idea)

        But who, now, looks after the external side?

        If the Virgin box just up the road (with ducts that go right past my house) had been LLU then I wouldn't have had to settle for FTC with the last 10m as O/H.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: not quite

          The whole not forcing Virgin to share thing has never made sense to me. If Virgin was forced to open it's network it would allow the money being spent on installing competing fibre to be installed elsewhere.

          Mind you I've just upgraded my 2mb ADSL to 30mb Cable so I'm just glad I can get something, although having to use Virgin it's almost not worth it after all the problems we've had trying to sign up!

          My girlfriend was none to happy to get called Mr AC on the phone every time she phoned up, even the paperwork the installer had (who incidentally had no idea about networking and didn't know what "modem" aka bridge mode was) was completely wrong.

        2. leexgx

          Re: not quite

          (to late for this)

          Virgin does not have an large install base for ofcom to demand that they open up there network to other providers (think its the main reason they are not expanding)

          Personally it help virgin get more installs allowing other networks to use them, but there Network nodes Lack any sort of QOS so when an Node gets over loaded every one is buggered when trying to use the net for packet loss sensitive stuff (like, games, web browsing, Streaming) all the p2p'ers or other sort of stuff are maxing the node out, where i live ADSL is not an option (less then 1mb if i am lucky)

          Virgin need to upgrade the links when network nodes go past 60% at peak time's (you could just call that 100% as past 60-70% load it just starts to drop packets makes the internet no good)

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: not quite

            >Virgin does not have an large install base for ofcom to demand that they open up there network to other providers

            Indeed - and who do we blame for that? One could understand not having market dominance nationally since their network - at best - only covers half the country. But apparently they don't even have market dominance in the areas that they do cover. No wonder last quarter was the first time in their history they've made money. If I was a VM share holder I'd be jumping up and down at meetings asking what the hell they are playing at. They should have been able to squeeze BT out to the margins if played properly.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: not quite

              The price consumers are willing to pay is too low to justify a more widespread rollout. The business case is evaporating in front of the eyes of BT, Virgin, all of them.

              If the average cost of a 'high-speed' install is £1000, it'll take years to recoup that at £20 a month. You'd be better off just sicking the money in the bank - and therein lies the problem. These companies aren't sitting on a cash pile, they have to borrow. The bank manager only has so many £1000s to lend out to make a return on. If BT will take 7 years to repay him, he'll lend it to someone who'll make a quicker return.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge

        >BT Group are only interested in areas where Virgin are, or where someone else picks up the tab

        Fundamentally not true. I have FTTC at home in Brackley and there's no VM presence and no third party money.

        BT just go where they can make a profit. Same as any large corporation. It sucks if you live in area where telcos can't make a profit but what're ya gonna do? Nationalisation just ruins it for everyone - poor service at greater cost. Smaller companies have been touted as the answer but as current events are showing they don't fare very well.

        Hopefully the new owners can make a better go of it but that should be a salutary warning to everyone in the final third.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "BT are the biggest telco in the country and obviously have experience and economies of scale on their side. "

    Bigger is not better, especially in the case of cowboys using strongarm tactics.

    All BT will do with most of this work is subcontract it straight out again anyway.

    "The only reason they are reluctant to upgrade them is RoI."

    And a long term incompetent 'regulator' doesn't help either.

    Cables in the ground to get a bitstream from customer premises to and from a point of national backbone connectivity are a natural monopoly, and should be organised and delivered as such. Value added stuff on top of that can then be left to "the markets".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does a USO work in a deregulated/privatised market?

  7. Cliff

    Of course they are bidding - they have an obligation to shareholders to do so.

    They may well have the best bid too (including long-term support etc - hard to argue that they're short-term flash-in-the-pan).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: How does a USO work in a deregulated/privatised market?

    Communications Act 2003 s 66(1)

    That's how.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    which, as one might expect, naturally flows down from the Brussels Sprouts.....

    Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive)

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Except that the 'Brussels Sprouts'(*) have so far done more for the UK than the HM govt. Together with - gosh - BT they are well on the way to completing a roll-out of highspeed services in Cornwall. Contrary to what you are suggesting they also have a stronger and more wide reaching commitment to faster broadband in the EU. It's pretty much the EU pushing the UK here - or at least the UK govt. desperately scrabbling to try and avoid looking like they are being chivvied along.

      (*)Name calling always adds maturity to a discussion, doesn't it?

  10. All names Taken

    Yes but where is the hand of the Treasury in all this?

    Usually it runs along lines of: yes, you can choose any providers you wish provided you pay for it yourself and we will need to see evidence that you have an ability to pay. On the other hand, if you want to use public money (that is the funding set aside by government for the procurement of services to meet government set targets) then you will have to take a free vote and make sure you vote for the providers we have already tied in to the public funds that the Treasury will make available.

    The inner gamblings of Yes Minister or even Yes Prime Minister have been replaced some decades ago by something along lines of: do what you want, decide what you wish but if you want money from the Treasury you also take the providers tied to that money.

    Seemplz Tseetch?

  11. Crisp

    Broadband minister Ed Vaizey?

    I didn't know we had a Minister of Broadband. What does he do exactly?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Broadband minister Ed Vaizey?

      >What does he do exactly?

      ..about as much as ADSL on an 8km line.

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