back to article British sheep falling behind Continental sheep in broadbaaaand race

Hello. I'm British, and I'm a sheep. And right now, that's no place to be. We're a vital part of the economy - Britain has 20 million sheep, and we give you more lamb than anyone else in Europe. You, the two-legged taxpayer, already recognise how vital we are. Every sheep farmer receives £20,000 per farm per year. But …


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  1. wowfood

    It's not just rural

    I feel your pain, but I live in a town, one of the towns that was host to the olympics in fact. And yet our internet too barely exceeded 3mbit until last month. And even with that boost we're still only on 8. So it isn't just sheep. Think of the people of Weymouth, who were promised FTTC before the olympics,and never got it. And were then promised FTTC after the olympic cleanup, but never got it.

    1. RICHTO

      Re: It's not just rural

      Weymouth is 21CN enabled - so you can get ADSL2 - up to ~ 20 Mbits.

    2. NightFox

      Re: It's not just rural

      I agree with wowford. Your article paints a picture of this issue just affecting isolated hamlets and farmsteads in the middle of bleak empty wildernesses, whereas my own experience suggests that this type of broadband speed is disappointingly common in many rural towns across the UK. If you class 'rural' as anywhere more than 20 miles from the nearest city or major town, then I think you can say that these sort of broadband speeds are in fact the norm for rural Britain.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Sheep already HAVE twitter

    Just look at most of the comments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter

      Yes I agree, you're absolutely right!

      1. Harvey Trowell

        Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter

        AND they've got their own subdomain, at double-ewe double-ewe double-ewe dot twitter dot com.

        Mine's the sheepskin one with the flaying knife in the pocket.

        1. Pete 2 Silver badge

          Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter

          > AND they've got their own subdomain

          Maybe their bovine counterparts will ask for their own suffix: ?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter

            Maybe their bovine counterparts will ask for their own suffix:

            Two of them did that years ago: :-)

            Way mooooore intelligent than sheep!

            The one lined with sheepskin thanks.

    2. RICHTO

      Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter

      Is this a euphemism for Apple product owners?

      Our armed forces will be the first to object to your suggestion that sheep are only good for sweaters and mutton!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter

        And the Welsh!

    3. philbo

      Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter


      True, but they need more RAM

  3. JDX Gold badge

    3Mbit isn't enough for Twitter?

  4. GettinSadda

    It's not just sheep

    This attitude that only sheep live in rural Briton shows a huge amount of ignorance. The countryside may be pretty to you, but it is home to a significant section of the population and they don't all just commute into town for work (although quite a few do because living in larger towns and cities is getting increasingly unaffordable). There are jobs out here in those places you come and gawk at on bank-holiday weekends (some of those jobs are simply to cater for the weekend gawkers!)

    Those in rural areas do also need broadband - it is often cheaper to do grocery shopping online than in local shops or travelling half-an-hour each way to a supermarket, and many larger items are just not available in local shops. Rural areas often have worse TV and radio coverage but are constantly reminded that these services are available online. Those of us that pay taxes (and yes, that is most of us) often need to "file-by-internet". Even the schools strongly encourage homework to be "handed in" over the internet and are starting to give it out that way too. If the weather is bad and you need to know if the school is open today - guess where you have to check?

    1. RICHTO

      Re: It's not just sheep

      Over 90% of the UK population live in urban areas, so I would say less than 10% for most people isnt really a 'significant section of the population'.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: It's not just sheep

        Correct that 90% live in cities or urban areas. Which means that at the most, 10% of the population produces the food for 90% of the population. Methinks some thanks is in order.

        That said. 10% of the population is still a hell of a lot of people (6.2 Million in fact) , and most certainly a significant section of the population, and an extremely important section of the population at that.

        1. FartingHippo

          Re: It's not just sheep

          10% of the population is about the same as live in Scotland. I'd say that's pretty significant.

          Ironically 90% of the UK's sheep also live in Scotland. [this fact has been made up]

          1. RICHTO

            Re: It's not just sheep

            No one outside of Scotland thinks that Scotland is at all significant. If they want to vote for independance, it will be a millstone of subsidising thousands on disability benefits and paying for the health care of the most unhealthy nation in Europe removed from the rest of the country...

            <10% is a blip. Not significant to most people.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not just sheep@James Hughes 1

          But it's not 10% producing the food for the 90%

          Agriculture, fisheries, and forestry account for less one percent of the workforce (circa 255k out of 26m). Even if you included those involved in food production (whose jobs will be predominantly factory based in urban areas) you're still below 2%.

          I wouldn't argue with the approximatiuon that says that 10% of the population are rural dwellers, but probably the majority of rural residents are there because they choose to do so, rather than to live in the district that they work (certainly the case round where I live). The exceptions to this are those areas too remote for most people to commute from (eg a lot of mid-Wales).

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. RICHTO

          Re: It's not just sheep

          Its the least important 10% of the population - and they should be sent off in the "B" ship of the Golgafrincham Ark Fleet ASAP.

          The rest of us, rid of this useless section of the population, can then reduce the food mountains of the rest of the EU - that we already pay to subsidise anyway...

    2. E_Nigma

      Re: It's not just sheep

      Surely all of the mentioned activities, apart from watching TV, are more than doable over connections of quite moderate speed (and even TV should be possible at least in SD at just a few mbps)?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Should have posted this on Friday when people are looking forward to the baaaa(r)

    1. RICHTO

      Or on Thursday if you work in the City.....

      1. Elmer Phud

        Can you speak up , please.

        I'm a bit mutton

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Elmer Phud

          But then we couldn't pull the wool over your eyes.

  6. Chris Hawkins

    Call for Shaun!

    Sounds like this is a job for Shaun and the flock!

    When Aaaaaaardman initially started production, they got German regional broadcaster WDR to support a bid to the EU MEDIA Plus Program! Look at the success!

    Ovines are not stewepid! They know very well how to "pull the wool"!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahh the sweet sweet country

    Yes very picturesque - in places. Come to rural Wales.. gaze lovingly at the new gas power plant (replaced to old oil one demolished in spite by a Generating co when we stood up to them about burning one of the most polluting fuels available.) That Power plant may well be producing the power for YOUR home or office

    Enjoy the panoramic views of the 2 LNG terminals that supply a large part of the gas in the UK, the cross country pipeline required saw roads torn up though areas without mains gas - Just to pipe gas to you - but we acquired some nice pot holes so thats OK.

    Sniff the fragrant air from the 2 oil refineries that provide fuels for the cars buses and trucks even in urban areas.

    But please.. do try to dodge the stream of trucks from the 2 Ferry terminals... that pound along our roads non stop carrying goods to/from Eire on what is (IIRRC) part of one of the EUs pan European routes.

    When you have done all of that.. laugh heartily at the pathetic performance of our Olde Worlde BT wholesale upto 8 meg service which STILL carries a premium pricing OVER that of the faster 21cn services on equipment that is kept running by using scavenged parts from upgraded exchanges. Yes only in Britain could we see people paying higher costs for a second rate service that has seen zero real investment for 10 years. Try that in Cardiff or any major city and there would be outrage - much the same outrage as we see here when anyone suggests that non urban areas deserve decent comms links as well.

    Like others outside of the major urban settlements - this area delivers a HUGE contribution to the national pot, without areas like ours - Cities would not function - no lights no heat no cars and in some cases no goods... Time we had a fair crack of the whip. The biggest joke of all is that as Taxpayers we will subsidise any FTTx developments here - having been subject a "surcharge" (sorry I meant Leverage pricing) over WBC pricing already for many years- By straight pricing differential or by lower bandwidth allowance caps - or (often) both, and now we will be subsidising our own upgrade with *Govt Funding" only To be charged Full retail on a service that the provider had us help to pay to bring here in the first place, because not waiting to spoil a long record of abusing their SMP... .. They wont invest here - but still want to sell here! Not forgetting that without broadband half the phone lines would not exist - remind me WHY exactly does the UK force us to have a voice service that many of us neither want nor use?

    Yeah rural is fun.. house prices pushed beyond reach by second homers from the city, low wages...lousy public transport and comms, no real range of shopping unless you travel up-to 100 miles... health and other Government establishments moved a couple of counties away.... I guess lousy and expensive broadband fits with the rest of it. certainly isn't the idyllic fallacy of exchanges housed in shed on village greens is it?

    "Cue the down-votes from those demanding ever faster city speeds.!"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh the sweet sweet country

      Right, so....

      You moaned about the old oil fired plant, and then you say the owners demolished it "out of spite"? WTF did you want them to do, keep it open and burn the Welsh unemployed as a form of sustainable fuel? And when they build you a nice, super efficient gas plant to keep your lights on, then the sarcasm about the view suggests you're still not ****ing happy. As a rule, CCGT's are far less conspicuous than renewables or old style thermal plant. So make your mind up, and either be pleased that you've got electricity, or do with out and shiver in the dark (whilst fondly rememberng how you used to be able to post on the Reg).

      Then we get to the harsh life that rural dwellers live. Ignoring those utilities (water, electricity) that are delivered at regulated prices (and so heavily subsidised by us urban dwellers), you start carping on about your huge contribution to the nation. If you want a fair crack of the whip, then we can start by you handing back the £2.5 bn extra that the Barnett formula doles out, over and above the indirect subsidies like locating DVLA in the UK's only Area of Outstanding Workplace Sickness. You've got some decent trunk roads and motorways in South Wales, and one of the main reasons you have those (as opposed to cart tracks) is the port traffic - about which you moan. Rubbish public transport and low choice of shops is (along with not many people) what defines a rural area. If you don't like it, then effing well move - London's got some fairly good public transport, so long as you don't mind Bakerloo nose. I think that part of Wales is rather pleasant, and personally if I couold get a job there I'd be quite pleased (other than for the shockingly poor Welsh education system, but that's in the hands of your assembly).

      I'd accept that BT are slow to roll our rural broadband. But if you want the sort of 60 Mb/s service that I am having installed at the end of this week (not that I'm trying to lord it, oh no*), then you have the choice of moving somewhere where more customers can share the costs of infrastructure, or you are going to have to wait a long time (and pay VAST amounts of money, to judge by EE's newly announced LTE pricing). There is no bottomless pit of cash to pay for universal fixed broadband. I'd accept that OFCOM could do a lot better, and that BT are doing the least possible, but with the best will in the world the rural few are still at the back of the queue for broadband. The 90% of us can enjoy fast broadband, and envy you clean air, space, low crime and attractive views, and that's the choices most of us have to make.

      * Alright then, yes I am mentioning my forthcoming 60 Mb/s connection to goad you. It'll be soooo much faster than the old 10 Mb/s. In fact, I think that it'll be fatter than the pipe that links all of Wales to the interweb.

  8. TheOtherHobbes

    I see

    the early results of that cloning research are in.


    [steeples fingers]

  9. rh587

    Not just rural areas

    Working for an online publisher, we are bemused by the non-availability of anything better than 4Mbps in most of Stoke on Trent. A couple of exchanges are slated for FTTC in the dim and distant future, but many areas including new business parks still aren't. Same goes for Rugeley - presumably the Amazon Depot has it's own arrangement.

    It's made all the more galling when you find exchanges such as Worplesdon and Brookwood - small villages in rural Surrey - or indeed Alsager - a little collection of houses north of Stoke have inexplicably had FTTC for ages. If the government are serious about encouraging business anywhere other than London, then they could do with leaning on BT to give the rural South-East a rest and deal with a few towns and cities north of the M4. The irony is we can get faster 3G speeds than we can get wired!

  10. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Ewe've got to be kidding. This situation is baaaaad! The flocking government are failing to help us, while trying to pull the wool over our eyes! They tell us that the paltry internet speeds we're getting aren't down to slow broadband, but insufficient RAMs on our computers. That we're just complaining about the grass being greener on the other side, and that we don't vote anyway, so we're just lambs to the electoral slaughter.

    Well it's time to fight back! A sheep's gotta do what a sheep's gotta ewe! When it comes to food, you're counting on us - we're the (mint) sauce of so many things you rely on. Yet your shear(ing) apathy leaves us cold and alone, with the wolf at the door, and not a flocking thing we can do about it. If you think we're going to let you get away with this, ewe must be baaaaking mad.

    [Nurse! I'm out of bed again!]

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think fast broadband should be more of a priority in cities than any kind of broadband in rural areas. If you live in a rural area you accept that you have fewer amenities and that includes access to fast broadband. It's a waste of money that could be better spent on connecting businesses in cities with superfast fibre.

    All I hear in the news regarding broadband is about improving it in rural areas. How about making London, Birmingham, Manchester etc. more like Seoul?

    Rural areas should get improved infrastructure, but it shouldn't be a high priority. It should come later when it's cheaper and not have a lot of money poured into it.

    1. Thorne

      "Rural areas should get improved infrastructure, but it shouldn't be a high priority. It should come later when it's cheaper and not have a lot of money poured into it."

      When does digging a hole and laying fiber get cheaper? When they invent robots to do it?

      At some point they need to dig up the copper and lay fiber and it's not getting any cheaper.

      1. Martin Budden

        "At some point they need to dig up the copper and lay fiber and it's not getting any cheaper."

        The way the price of copper has moved over the last decade and assuming the trend will continue, waiting longer to dig up the copper will give a better scrap price on the copper, so yes the rollout will get cheaper the longer they wait.

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