back to article Tiny Brit island stranded after £10m undersea fibre plea sunk

Days after walking away from the ITU treaty on global communications, which asked nations to connect up their islands, the UK confirmed it will not readily stump up the cash to do just that. The island in question is St Helena, a British territory smack bang in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Its inhabitants need £10m …

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  1. LarsG
    Meh

    It's probably a business decision, with a population of 4200, paying average broadband prices, it would take 39 years to cover just the installation costs.

    Still it is a drop in the Ocean so to speak when you consider how much money is wasted and the amount of expenses our MP's claim.

    1. MrXavia
      FAIL

      so only about £2400 per person...

      I'd happily pay that now to fibre up my village!

      I'd pay double that to get fibre to my door!

      1. My Alter Ego
        FAIL

        You can

        That's pretty much what BT will charge to install a leased line.

      2. JeffyPooh
        Pint

        "...£2400 per person..."

        Don't forget to multiply *your* cost by the number of persons in your house.

        E.g. you, your wife and your 2.2 kids it quickly becomes £10,080.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "...£2400 per person..."

          "Don't forget to multiply *your* cost by the number of persons in your house.

          E.g. you, your wife and your 2.2 kids it quickly becomes £10,080."

          ...but when you break down those £10,080 over the cable's minimum lifetime of 20 years you end up with £504 per year for a 4-person household or £ 126 per capita per year. Now just think of how much unlimited Internet access would impact the life of people living on an isolated island in the middle of the South Atlantic, which most inhabitants can't even afford to leave.

    2. Ragarath

      I was coming on to say pretty much the same thing, 10m is a drop in the ocean to our government. And, tbh to get them some decent connectivity I would gladly add an extra quid or so to my tax bill for it.

      Perhaps they should start a kickstarter project for it, though I am unsure as to what they can offer for return of the investment. I am sure they could find enough sympathetic people in the world. Maybe even enough that do not want a return but can spare a few quid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      "Still it is a drop in the Ocean so to speak when you consider how much money is wasted and the amount of expenses our MP's claim."

      Or in the twelve billion quid that pea-brain Cameron gives away as "foreign aid" each year.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Ledswinger

        Dipshit. Food, medicine and shelter for foreigners trumps broadband.

        1. NumptyScrub

          Re: @Ledswinger

          quote: "Dipshit. Food, medicine and shelter for foreigners trumps broadband."

          Food, medicine and shelter for foreigners is often also (mis)appropriated by the incumbent dictatorship, by force. It only trumps broadband if you can guarantee it is going to end up with the right people.

          I'd also question whether that apparent 20 billion (is it really that much on foreign aid?) would be better spent in the country, in food, medicine and shelter for locals. Or just saved up and used on reducing our national debt, perhaps?

          Greedy, yes, but even charities agree you should only give what you can afford to (or at least the ones I contribute to do). I'm not convinced that 20bn a year is affordable for the UK, in the current economic climate...

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: @Ledswinger

            I was quite surprised to learn a couple of years ago that most of the companies that take away computer equipment end up recycling them. The recycling involved stripping the asset labels, replacing the HDD's and whacking in a fresh image, at which point the computers end up in african schools.

            The countries receive this "aid", and the company gets paid from the aid budget.

            Knowing this, I would be quite interested to know how much "aid" actually is delivered in terms of cash to the end government, and how much is gift vouchers for selected British businesses. I suspect that there is much more of the latter than the former.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Unhappy

          Re: @Ledswinger@AC 13:18

          You think that the UK spends £12 bn a year on food, medicine and shelter? Are you a cretin?

          Over the years UK "aid" money has kept despots in power, paid for useless infrastructure projects, and even been boondoggled as "defence assistance" to buy British made weapons. The tiny fraction that might go on genuine assistance to individuals is a pitiful 8.3% (less anything expropriated locally), and even that includes paying for things in places like Zimbabwe, thus encouraging kelptocrats like Mugabe. So that's 92% spent on other shit, like "budgetary support", money frittered through "multilateral agencies" (ie paying for the IMF to bailout Greece). Some might filter through to NGO's, but I don't see why my government should wish to hand out my money to charities, rather than leaving the decison to me. And there's no compelling evidence that foreign aid begets lasting improvements in anything.

          A good example of this is the UK spending around a (combined) billion quid a year on projects in India, for example to improve Indian education. Great - a country that actively competes to export UK jobs is being subsidised by my government. Meanwhile, the Indian government demonstrate that they have rather different priorities - like building aircraft carriers, a nuclear deterrent, and a space programme. Then there's the criminal waste with which the UK government spend the money - such as £500m a year of the budget spent on consultants. Indeed, the fuckwits of government are spending my money on shit like arts projects in Russia, aid to Argentina, and even on aid to relatively wealthy countries like Iceland. Through our contribution to EU aid programmes we fund Turkey to the tune of about £100m a year - despite the fact that it is growing at a singificant rate compared to the recessionary squalor of the southern EU, or even the UK.

          So I'm all in favour of NGO's to which people like you and David Cameron can contribute as much as you like. But the UK gets no benefit of any worth from its aid programme, and delivers relatively little for the amount it spends. If Westminster and DFID can't spend the money wisely and effectively then they shouldn't spend it at all.

          1. Rampant Spaniel

            Ledswinger for Supreme Ruler

            You get my vote.

    4. Keep Refrigerated
      Coffee/keyboard

      39 Years?

      Doesn't stop them from committing to dodgy PFI deals so...

      Either give up the territory if you're not prepared to maintain it, or dig into your pockets!

      1. PyLETS

        @Keep Refrigerated

        Either give up the territory if you're not prepared to maintain it, or dig into your pockets!

        Being able and willing to do some good and helpful things for a population which wants to remain a British Overseas Territory doesn't mean UK mainland and Ulster taxpayers are obliged to do everything for them or tell them to become independent when they don't want to.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who says...

      ... they'd be paying average broadband prices?

      They could hoik them in on special introductory offers, then after a few months hike up the prices to outrageous levels. And degrade the service at the same time.

      Works in the rest of the UK.

  2. David 45

    Different option

    Can't they use satellite?

    1. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: Different option

      A different sat to the one they are already using?

      Did you read the "10Mb of sat shared between the populaton" part?

    2. LarsG
      Meh

      Could they afford it?

      The average wage on St Helens is £400 per week

      The average wage on St Helena is wait for it..... £70 per week (figures courtesy of BBC)

      How on earth would they be able to afford it without subsidy?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £10m ???

    10 million pounds for a few hundred miles of fibre optic cabling and a splicing job at sea?

    where did this figure spring up from? They could kit the place out with a data centre that could

    handle a couple of 10Gig lines, provide 100mbit to each home (with public IPv4 address and also IPv6 native) , traffic shape, provide 'local cloud' storage of 1Tb for each inhabitant etc for less than that total.

    so..whats the deal here - I dont think the government should be stumping up sums of money to get all the inhabitants online. yes to getting the island hooked up - but then its up to some private enterprise to give the people actual connectivity - you know - like we do on the mainland...20 or so quid a month.

    1. dogged

      Re: £10m ???

      so..whats the deal here

      Government purchasing systems and "preferred suppliers".

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: £10m ???

      > 10 million pounds for a few hundred miles of fibre optic cabling and a splicing job at sea?

      You do realise that armoured undersea fibreoptic cables can cost $50K per km to lay?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: £10m ???

        >armoured undersea fibreoptic cables can cost $50K per km to lay?

        Perhaps they should be talk to the Department of Transport - the widening of 5km of dual carriageway from 2 to 3 lanes on the existing formation (no new land to be purchased) is currently estimated to be in the range £70m~£110m, so there is probably £10m in the petty cash draw...

    3. elaar

      Re: £10m ???

      When BT/Colt charge £2k for a simple B-End fibre shift within the same Datacentre, then £10m starts to sound cheap!

  4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Happy

    Ideal tourist destination

    They should advertise it as a real get-away-from-it all destination. A 5* hotel with no chance of internet or cellphone connectivity? Sounds like heaven to me.

    1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Ideal tourist destination

      The only requirement would be that you stood in tragic poses with one hand inside your jacket and that you would hatch wild plots for the domination of Europe.

  5. Stuart Elliott
    Facepalm

    Re: Ideal tourist destination

    Sounds like someone with a Napoleon complex.

  6. fawlty
    Mushroom

    Fancy clarifying what...

    "our military aspirations" means?

    What "military aspirations" do 'we' have in the Southern Atlantic?

    1. Phil W

      Re: Fancy clarifying what...

      I take it you missed the part of the article where it said the island is en route to the Falklands from Britain?

      If you don't get the relevance of that then clearly you are unfamiliar with the UK's international relations both past and present.

      1. Michael C.
        Facepalm

        Re: Fancy clarifying what...

        I think he read very well that part of the article, sir, it is perhaps you that is missing the point.

        1. Phil W

          Re: Fancy clarifying what...

          It's certainly possible that I'm missing the point, so do feel free to please enlighten me?

          A government owned and operated air field much nearer to the Falklands than any civilian or military air field we currently have seems like a useful military asset (even more so on account of our current aircraft carrier situation), especially given the current political climate with Argentina over the issue of the Falklands.

          You could argue that defense of our citizens isn't really a military "aspiration" since it's what we're supposed to be doing already, but that is an argument of semantics surely?

          1. The First Dave
            Happy

            Re: Fancy clarifying what...

            You certainly could argue that an Air Field on St H would be useful, but as long as we have a runway on Ascension Island (sea levels would have to rise many metres before that becomes a problem) then St H really doesn't provide any advantage for the journey down to the Falklands.

            For the record, been to Ascension twice, amazing place. All of the 'locals' on Ascension are from St H, and all the ones I met were very nice people. Unfortunately I can't afford the whole £10m myself, but if someone starts up a fund then I would certainly donate.

      2. fawlty

        Re: Fancy clarifying what...

        Perhaps 'Commercial' aspirations would be closer / in clarification?

        Also I think it unfair to suggest that the govt 'aspire' to military action in Southern Atlantic.

        HTH.

  7. AGR

    An interesting idea...

    Would be to see how much of that ring-fenced never-to-be-cut-but-always-increased foreign aid money is going to help non-Brits in developing countries get connected...

  8. Spiracle

    That .sh domain should be good for something

    briti.sh?

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: That .sh domain should be good for something

      Wow, is that an anagram of Rib.Shit

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That .sh domain should be good for something

      Men.sh

      Would love for her to go and live there.

      (And then let's not build the runway either. Oh, and then let's mine the harbour as well)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    article totally misses the point

    This article is pretty biased and totally misses the point in any regard.

    1. The FCO simply stated that it did not sign the treaty and consequently would not implement resolution PLEN/1 which "invites" all ITU member states to assist landlocked developing countries and small island developing states to gain access to international fibre networks. "Assistance" does not necessarily mean financial support here and even if the treaty was signed this resolution would have been non-binding as it just "invites" ITU member states to assist.

    2. Aids to the overseas territories do not fall in the responsibility of the FCO but in the Department for International Development's (DfID) which has since been stating that it will consider funding the cable landing if a full economic assessment indicates sufficient economic and social benefits for the island and costs for the project appear appropriate. This assessment has not been completed yet and so there is not final decision.

    3. Recent meetings between the St Helena Government and the cable company indicate that there appears to be a feasible way to fund the cable landing.

    So the plea has not sunk at all.

    3. Estimated costs amount to $10-15m, not £10m. This figure has been provided directly by one of the competing cable suppliers. Since another supplier, TE Subcom, won the contract costs are likely to be on the lower end of that range now. Also the costs won't need to be fully funded by HMG as the St Helena Government and the island's telecom company will contribute to the costs.

    4. While the article focusses on the costs for taxpayers it totally neglects the rationale behind the proposal which in fact is the potential relief the cable could bring to UK taxpayers as it will enable significant socioeconomic development and help render the island self-sufficient. Broadband internet would leverage efforts to establish a tourism sector on the island (something HMG is spending £250m on), diversify the tourism-focussed development plans by enabling an internet-based service sector and it could mitigate many other issues owed to St Helena's remote location. Just think of all the travel costs of sending patients for treatments abroad which can be reduced by telemedicine and how education could be improved by eLearning once students gain unlimited Internet access.

    5. The airport's strategic relevance with regards to the Falklands is very limited. With a 1550m runway you can neither operate freighters nor tankers out of St Helena, at least not if they carry any load, and fighters can't make more than 6000km without aerial refueling either. Also the runway cannot be extended as there are steep cliffs at both ends. So there is no relevant military interest behind the airport.

    As to some commentators' proposal of a satellite link: There is no coverage of any High Throughput Satellite in the middle of the South Atlantic and capacity on global beams is very expensive. The campaign's website mentions what a 150 MBit/s link through the new o3b satellite constellation would cost: £ 1.4m per year.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: article totally misses the point

      Thanks for adding that extra information, it was really useful and I am glad the government is still considering paying for the link.

    2. deshepherd

      Re: article totally misses the point

      5. The airport's strategic relevance with regards to the Falklands is very limited.

      Also when considering the airport note that as a quid pro quo the Goverment funding for the airport is being done on the basis that when it opens they remove the funding that currently supports the mail ship that with 6 weekly visits is currently the only regular connection between St Helena and the outside world.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: article totally misses the point

      The author also misses the point that if there was any possible military significance, then the runway would have been built years ago (think ascension island).

      The runway has been on the government to-do list for years and years and years - each spending review it's been pushed off the list by other things, to the point where I reckon ministers finally got embarrassed by the number of times it had been turned down and finally said yes.

    4. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: article totally misses the point

      "So the plea has not sunk at all."

      Thanks for the feedback, it's much appreciated. Regarding the sinking, that's in reference to any hopes that the ITU treaty could have led to the UK government being obliged to provide the link to the undersea stub. And even if the UK signed the treaty it couldn't be forced to fit the cabling anyway.

      As for the funding, although the St Helena campaigners say DfID is still assessing the situation, FCO minister Henry Bellingham said in March that: "The provision of telecommunications within the Overseas Territories is an area of devolved responsibility. On St Helena, it is the responsibility of the St Helena Government."

      Yes, we pump cash into the island. Exactly who will pick up the tab for the cable is unclear at the moment.

      If it helps, I'll add a link to this effect to the article.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: article totally misses the point

        ITU resolutions are non-binding by definition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-binding_resolution#United_Nations) and the wording of PLEN/1 ("...invites member states to assist...") is pretty clear here, too.

        Assuming that the resolution could have created an obligation for ITU member states to connect all island states on the planet is not standing to reason IMHO.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: article totally misses the point

          "ITU resolutions are non-binding by definition"

          Is there now some confusion here over ITU *resolutions* and ITU *regulations* (which were binding) http://www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Pages/default.aspx ?

          C.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: article totally misses the point

            Obviously yes. Everthing up to and including page 15 of the final acts (http://www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Documents/final-acts-wcit-12.pdf) are regulations while all the following stuff are resolutions including the objective *resolution* PLEN/1 on p 16.

            1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Re: Re: article totally misses the point

              Sure. So we're back to saying the ITU treaty couldn't have helped if it was signed or not.

              C.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: article totally misses the point

            So the fact that HMG has not signed a treaty that would have been non-binding in any case and which notably does not base a claim for financial aids while the DfID stil considers providing financial support can be summarized by: "Tiny Brit island stranded after £10m undersea fibre plea sunk - Even if UK signed ITU treaty, St Helena wouldn't get the dosh" ?

            I really don't want to be pedantic but this is just odd.

            1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Re: Re: article totally misses the point

              "I really don't want to be pedantic but this is just odd."

              OK: apologies if it's not clear (that'll be my fault) but the movethecable.org people *contacted* the FCO to ask the dept to consider following the ITU resolution on connecting up islands. The FCO fired back the response we published: the office won't help, it wouldn't have to help and in terms of cash, it definitely isn't helping. If that's not a plea sunk, then I'm at a loss.

              As for the DfID route, we've added a bootnote to say that all is not necessarily lost - there may be funding forthcoming; in fact, anyone with a spare 10m quid could chip in. But the FCO route - which the cable campaigners turned to for help - is closed. Sunk. Snubbed.

              Sorry to put it in such terms when we can see people really do want the link put in and are fighting the good fight.

              C.

    5. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: article totally misses the point

      Excellent post, thank you for the additional information. I was thinking, with the impending increase in tourism, maybe the government could just guarantee the cost and have the island recoup it via a 'tourist tax'. Hawai'i and South Africa have similar taxes which are put back into local development (at least in theory).

      Hotel internet is a money maker, hotel pay between $3 and $15 per room per month (at least these are the prices I have seen from a local cable co for the internet add ons), some hotels include it for free and some (next door) charge $12-$14 a day. There is money there. St Helena is also going to attract a certain demographic, probably not the all you can barf crowd from I beefed her. If the government can just provide a loan and recoup it from tourists then everybody can win, right?

    6. 96percentchimp

      That's just El Reg in 2013

      Don't worry about the focus on UK taxpayers, of late the Reg has become editorially dominated on anti-tax free market tub-thumpers of a Tea Partyish bent. Whether it reflects the site's owners' preferences or just a canny editorial policy to troll for traffic, it's definitely dented a previously strong news operation.

    7. Frank Bough

      Re: article totally misses the point

      Both Hercules and C17s can operate out of a 1500m runway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: article totally misses the point

        Sure they could take off but not with fuel for 6000+ km and especially not with additional cargo to carry all that way.

    8. mhenriday
      Meh

      Re: article totally misses the point

      «Estimated costs amount to $10-15m, not £10m.» Given that the current (4 January 2013) conversion rate between GBP and USD is 1.62 : 1, the distinction between «$10-15m» and «£10m» (why this use of «m», rather than «M» to mean «millions» (10^6) ?!!) hardly seems significant....

      Henri

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Would it not be cheaper to install more satellite dishes to the island. Say 1 satellite shared between every 20 properties? Not going to be very fast but i worked in an office for years which had 20 staff and a 2Mb internet connection and we managed ok

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      I'll attempt an explanation but there a very good chance I could be wrong :)

      Basically I think it comes down to their location and economies of scale. When satellites are designed and built a choice is made whether to focus the beams in a narrow or wide area. Over a densely populated area the beams will be narrow, so satellites over the USA (or Europe) will likely have many narrow beams, whereas birds covering areas like the south atlantic will have a wide beam, covers a large area and theres normally very little usage. Voice calls from ships, the odd bit of bgan activity from vary sized boats, maybe some wave bouys calling home, the odd scientific experiment, but basically not the amount of activity you would get over a well populated area. So when you get an island (which is densely populated compared to the open ocean) in the middle of open ocean, using satellite for internet needs, as those needs accelerate it becomes far too expensive to keep paying high monthly charges to use the satellite and more sense to stump up a large initial fee to tap into a cable. Even more so when somebody is willing to help by diverting a planned cable closer.

      I believe it was mentioned either above or in the article that there simply isn't any cheap satellite coverage for that area like there would be over Europe or America and what coverage there is for the area is spread thinly and therefore prohibitively expensive for 'modern usage patterns'.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      More Dishes?

      No help. One dish or 450 Dishes is same total speed, The limit is the Satellite, about 45k km above the Earth. Actually one larger dish, say 3.7m is far better efficiency and capacity than 100 small dishes. The Satellite bandwidth is shared. As you have more dishes sharing the efficiency drops.

      Even in Europe, Ka-Sat which has TWENTY times the highest previous capacity satellite in Europe only has about the same capacity as a small rural exchange and less than one UPC or Virgin Media or BT Open Reach fibre fed street cabinet.

      Apart from the useless latency, satellite capacity is rubbish. One Terrestrial Fixed Wireless Access mast (not to be confused with Mobile) can have as much capacity as an entire satellite (the bird, not the dishes, which MUST share out the capacity).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "which won't be helped at all by fitting a high-speed internet connection even if it is a good deal cheaper"

    Wait 'til they set up a military base. Even if it's minimally staffed in preparation for supporting aircraft heading toward the Falklands, they'll find a reason why that extra £10million is really, really necessary.

  12. Frank Bough

    I'm for it

    It seems to me that future economic viability for St Helena depends in no small part on decent comms infrastructure, as it does everywhere else. Who knows, some enterprising soul might use it to build a business that can allow us to reduce their subsidy in the future.

  13. chappers

    Argentina reignites Falklands row

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20896050

    might need that link and airport sooner, rather than later......

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Argentina reignites Falklands row

      Argentina "re-ignites" the Falklands issue whenever its government runs into political trouble at home. Since their economy has tanked rather badly in recent years, that means they rattle sabres every few months. However, the local population aren't taken in by this (unlike the UK press) so I doubt we'll be needing a runway on St Helena any time soon.

      Besides which, we hardly have any armed forces anymore, so what exactly would we be hoping to land there? I suppose if the balloon goes up we could drop MoD paper-pushers and BAe lobbyists on the enemy. We seem to have an infinite supply of those. Might fall foul of an international treaty or two, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Argentina reignites Falklands row

        Has everyone forgotten that there are plans to extract oil from the sea-floor surrounding the Falklands and this makes them an economic target?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Ohhhhh, ouch! El Reg is busted by the Island

    Enjoy the press statement from the campaigners:

    http://www.movethiscable.org/news.php#20130103

    :-)

  15. M7S
    Black Helicopters

    I know which department would pay

    £10M for the chance to put a tap on lots of comms between Africa and South America?

    Give those nice people in the doughnut shaped building a call.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know which department would pay

      They don't have any budget that isn't accounted for by Theresa May ordering illegal wiretaps (as specified by the Labour government but in use currently).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know which department would pay

      Nice idea but this wouldn't be a so-called festoon landing where the main cable is laid to the shore but just a "trunk & branch" layout which means an underwater branching unit with an optical add/drop multiplexer (OADM) would divert one out of 160 wavelength carriers to the island by an unrepeatered branch and this wavelength carrier would only carry communications between St Helena and Fortaleza, Brazil, while the remaining 159 wavenlengths pass the island.

  16. Ivan Headache

    I wonder which is the cheaper option?

    One of my clients recently returned from a holiday on St Helena (retracing family history).

    Building an airport there is not an easy option as the island is a lot like Madeira in topography.

    Also, there is not really a harbour that can be used to unload all the stuff that would be needed to do the onstruction. The mail boat anchors off-shore and the visitors have to be transdferred to small boats to get ashore - as does all the produce and goods arriving at the island.

    She tells me that many of the islanders she spoke with were not actually in favour of the airport as they think it will destroy their unique way of life.

    Moving the cable and setting up a data centre on the island could be a cheaper (and potentially more profitable) option.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just persuade Google...

    ...that it'd be an ideal location to serve both Africa and South America and you'll find that £10 mill is mere pocket change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just persuade Google...

      Good idea, but impossible without at least one separate cable as redundancy.

    2. Bob H
      Devil

      Re: Just persuade Google...

      Someone call Kim Dotcom, sounds like pocket change for that bad boy...

  18. Captain Scarlet
    Childcatcher

    "it prefers to lobby quietly"

    Except for they spammed their front pages with links to it

  19. Ross K
    Joke

    Somebody please...

    ...send these people a hardcopy of the internet so they can do some serious surfing, à la Dilbert's PHB.

    http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/1999-06-06/

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Somebody please...

      Thanks for the Dilbert, Ross K, it did make me smile and Ponder for more than just a few moments on the Wonder of a Wander into Wonders.

  20. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    10,000,000 for an island is a steal, and fabulous bargain too for a heavenly node

    See Sir Richard .... for a Virgin ConneXXXXion. He's surely the Bright White Knight most able to Effect Cosmic Change with a Supply of Rabid Interest in Flash Cash and Loose Change Provision Markets :-)

    :-) I shall now luxuriate in such as are those true facts and ponder on wonders now to become ..... generated autonomously with beautifully obscured controls providing IntelAIgent Security and Virtual Protection in SMARTR Sectors of Driver Energy and Core Power Control with AIdDistribution.

  21. JaitcH
    Meh

    Call it St. Helena, Africa and Cameron will find the money ...

    as his record of gifting African countries might do St. Helena some good.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy solution

    Offer Kim Dotcom residency with a no-extradite clause if he foots the bill for the glass.

  23. jpgreenwood

    Try teaching IT on a shonky old satellite connection...

    I live in St Helena, and I teach IT here. It definitely takes a bit of creative planning in order to do things that I wouldn't have to think twice about in the UK, but it's the enormous cost of home broadband, particularly when viewed in light of local salaries, that costs the kids here. We aren't wildly over-resourced in terms of books, etc, so high speed, cheap internet access would be a big deal for our kids who right now aren't able to access the huge amount of educational goodness online.

    I can see why Christian from the campaign is annoyed about the reporting here - there was never any real hope that UK gov't would stump up the funding, and the distinction between this potential avenue of funding being sunk and the campaign being sunk isn't immediately clear.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cant afford it?

    If we cant afford to look after these places maybe we should let them go? The Foreign office likes to pretend it still rules the world but it doesnt.

    1. Ross K
      FAIL

      Re: Cant afford it?

      If we cant afford to look after these places maybe we should let them go?

      If you must go around colonising other countries, you can't really moan at having to support them.

      Shiiiiit, even when you get divorced you pay maintenance don't you?

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Cant afford it?

      They're too small to be independent, and if *we* can't afford to look after them, who else is going to want to be lumbered with them?

      1. Ross K
        Thumb Up

        Re: Cant afford it?

        If (or should I say when) the 6 billion barrels of oil in the Falklands comes online I predict a mass exodus.

        When did uk.gov say that new airport was going to be ready again?

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