back to article Must try harder: Cumbria tells BT and Fujitsu to resubmit fibre plans

Residents in Cumbria have long complained about their broadband coverage being one of the weakest in the UK, and now the county's push for a faster fibre network faces delay after its council rejected bids from BT and Fujitsu. Both telcos have been granted more time to come back to the council with better offers. The authority …


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  1. AndrueC Silver badge

    So they want next generation broadband...on the cheap.

    Obviously I wouldn't expect them to hand over a blank cheque but people and businesses need to understand that you get what you pay for. In the case of rural broadband that's especially true. It ain't cheap to dig up roads and install cabling.

    1. Tel Starr


      They want it at a fair price, and without BT\Fujitsu sticking their snouts too far into the trough as is standard practise.

    2. vagabondo


      > It ain't cheap to dig up roads and install cabling.

      In rural areas (e.g. Highlands) they (BT) tend not to dig up the roads, but lay cables in a weatherproof sheath on the surface along the verges.

    3. Kubla Cant

      @AndrueC "So they want next generation broadband...on the cheap."

      The article actually seems to say that the suppliers have been asked to re-submit because they haven't tendered for what was specified, not because they were too expensive.

      1. chris 102

        Could it be that the wrong solution was asked for?

        Who are the experts here, d'you think?

  2. squilookle

    At least, AFAICT, they aren't rejecting the bids because they don't like the design of the cabinets... that would be ridiculous.

    1. chris 102

      As happened on many sites when ICL (now Fujitsu!) stared to ship purple Unix boxes.........

  3. The First Dave

    WRT the sub-head - do I have to remind you that Cumbria is not (yet) part of Scotland, so the reference to Flower of Scotland is a few miles off...

    1. Alister

      @The First Dave

      According to the article it's "Cumbria Country Council" (sic) so maybe they are now a free state in their own right?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fairly obvious but

    why is govt spending more per capita on this in Cumbria than per capita in e.g. Cambridge? democratic justification for that is what?

    council not explaining to people and businesses that rural broadband is expensive and they should just pay for it, or move, is beyond unfair, it's irresponsible. As for the nonsense idea that broadband access is a "right", that's just laughable.

    1. Ragarath
      Thumb Down

      Re: fairly obvious but

      Ahh another townie that thinks broadband only belongs to them that live in concrete jungles.

      Why you son't live in a rural area, it costs us more to get the food to you, no food for you sir, try not covering everything in concrete and you might survive.

      Silly arguments are silly.

      1. Dave's Jubblies

        Re: fairly obvious but

        Ahh... another country bumpkin who thinks that they have the right to the same benefits of living in a city that the townies enjoy...

        Of course you can have broadband, it's not a city exclusive technology, just don't moan when it's later, slower and more expensive than that served to those in the city.

        It's a damn sight cheaper and easier to provide the population dense cities with broadband at a high speed than the population sparse, difficult terrained villages in rural locations.

        It's not high level economics....

        1. FartingHippo

          Re: fairly obvious but

          Perhaps when Cumbria get a taste of the millions and millions and millions that fund the national ballet, the opera, the musuems, the tube network, the overland rail network, et-fucking-cetera, then you might have a point.

          Otherwise you're just another metropolitan pillock.

          1. Dave's Jubblies

            Re: fairly obvious but

            Actually, I live in a VERY rural area, and have to make do with 3 meg BB, but I don't blame the townies for it.

            If we want to get into subsidies per capita, and the return on that investment, then I suspect that rural folk would fare VERY badly against townies and city folk.

            Oooh look, I managed to say that without flinging insults...

          2. MrZoolook

            Re: fairly obvious but

            Your talking LONDON. Not every city has these investments and I thank you not to tar us all with the same brush!

        2. albaleo

          Re: fairly obvious but

          @Dave Jubblies

          And of course you can have piped water, it's not an exclusive rural resource. Just don't moan when it costs you two quid a liter.

      2. MrZoolook

        Re: fairly obvious but

        Last I looked, food was a requirement for existence... broadband is a luxury still. But what do I know? I'm only living in a concrete jungle and am obviously biased!!!!

  5. Dave Perry

    Would wireless broadband not be cheaper? Using the right sorts/targeting of radio transmission and receiving beacons / antenna / hardware?

    1. Alister

      Only if you think sticking loads of extra radio masts on every hill (and providing cable links to them) would work out cheaper...

      1. Danny 14

        It is already being done

        Look at solway communications, they already provide wireless broadband. Get enough people signed on and they will add another mast to cover you. They do mesh approaches too for hamlets.

        that being said it is more expensive (probably about 20-30 a month) but is better than nothing.

      2. chris 102

        Just bolt transponders onto the windmills and you're there.......

    2. xerocred

      There is no successful example of fixed wireless broadband anywhere

      Cos they all went bust.

      The exchanges need fibre to backhaul the base stations and if you do that you might as well put a dslam in and give everyone 2M each (not shared over some crappy radio link).

      It is absolute fantasy to do broadband over radio and compete with a wire...

    3. SImon Hobson

      Wireless has significant limitations - not least of which is the shared medium and limited spectrum.

      There are in fact some users with wireless thanks to the previous incentive scheme ... except that the money's run out and C&W are pulling the plug on them.

      We used to have another option via radio until a couple of years ago. The government indirectly caused that scheme to get pulled when they (as I recall) changed the Rates system so that every tower, duct, pole etc would have to pay rates based on what it could theoretically earn rather than what it actually earns.

      And to the first poster :

      >> So they want next generation broadband...on the cheap

      No, they just want a decent broadband for (nearly) everyone.

      I can't help think that both companies had this idea that they'd take the money and then just pipe up those area where it's profitable to do so. Just reading between the lines of "didn't meet all the requirements of the tender".

    4. kieren

      It was already tried. Lookup project access. Millions were thrown at Thus who used it to build out their own network and then made a half arsed attept to connect remote properties.

      WAN grade wireless networks are very expensive to setup and maintain. Maybe 4G will give some hope for the future but mobile operators have yet to rollout 3G in these remote areas never mind 4G!

    5. Terry Barnes


      There's not enough spectrum available to deliver it to 90% of the population as the tender specifies, unless you put up telephone poles every 50 metres or so and use microwave to carefully control what goes where. That would cost more than FTTC or FTTP.

  6. Trev 2

    Cumbria is fairly rural, but 80% of the coverage would mostly still be in the towns and Carlisle as most of the really rural houses are owned as holiday homes, so we can ignore those (yes I come from Cumbria).

    The trouble is the towns seem to be very late in getting anything half decent Internet wise. It wasn't that long back that Keswick got ADSL well after most of the rest of the country and Kendal which is pretty big still doesn't have ADSL2.

    Re. wireless - there was a company in Kendal offering it years ago, but the Lake District (in the middle of Cumbria) kindof gets in the way, along with making it hard enough to get a blinking mobile signal.

    Oh and no, we're not in Scotland yet....or in Wales.

  7. Alan Brown Silver badge

    How to do it.

    Setup a shell company, secure EU funding and announce rollouts in various areas.

    Stand back and watch as BT falls over itself to deploy FTTC in those areas in order to deny competitors getting a foothold.

    Of course this does mean that BT delays rollouts in other areas, but they don't count as they're not "no-spots"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to do it.

      What competitors? Apart from a few local co-ops, no-one seems willing to deploy new fibre broadband in the UK - probably because the long payback period and continuing price erosion mean that you'd have to be something of a blind optimist to invest money in doing it. You'd be very lucky to get the bank manager to give you a loan to do it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple. Get them both to install it. 50:50.

    You need competition after all.

    1. Terry Barnes


      Two lots of project overhead, two sets of staff, two lots of boxes on the pavement, roads dug up twice. I'm not sure that would work brilliantly.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wireless isn't dead - my colleague in Wales had his put in 3 months ago on some new scheme (wimax I believe), he gets better results on speed test sites than I do on Virgin Media 30 Meg cable...

    1. Terry Barnes

      Yes, but

      The problem is doing it in a way that works with a high density of connections. It's trivial to provide a 10 Mbps wireless connection to a property. It's almost impossible (without vast expense) to provide it to every house in a street, or every house in every street in a town.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    How about sponsored Wifi Mesh equipped sheep?

    Forget the cloud use the flock!

    Surprised nobody has thought of it before.

    Obviously you'd have to implant the sheep dogs with site survey tools but I think it has legs.

    1. MrZoolook

      Re: BaaBaaMesh

      Isn't a cloud just a sheep without legs?

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