back to article SURPRISE! BT bags more gov broadband cash - this time in Bucks & Herts

BT continues to be the only telco winning any government cash to deploy its fibre network to the British countryside, after it confirmed today that it had won an £18m contract in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Meanwhile, the narrative about this particular win followed previous deals signed by BT in the past few months, …

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  1. jai

    but...

    everyone I know in Herts and Bucks (I grew up there, so lots of family and friends) already have internet access via cable or satellite and are likely on higher than 2mb deals. Seems like an awful lot of money for just the handful of houses that aren't already online?

    1. Richard Jones 1
      Happy

      Re: but...

      Perhaps you know them because they have communications already?

      This project is aimed at those who still have rather less good facilities. I do not know Bucks very well, but Hertfordshire is not a small county and many people do not live in towns.

      Getting mobile service throughout the county would also be nice. Perhaps Google's balloons will help with that?

      1. Cucumber C Face
        Holmes

        Re: but...

        Hmm... we're firmly in London's upmarket commuter belt here but with some Conservative marginals in Herts. And then of course Bucks is being skewered by HS2 - if you're having half a million squid knocked off the value of your property this might make you feel a tiny bit better.

        BT were ever the wh*re to the incumbent government.

        1. jfmb

          Re: but...

          Wrong way round, it's the Government wh***** for its BT pimp.

          The new capitalism, or corporatism, you don't need to win customers with product, you just get the Gov to tax them and transfer the money to you! Railways, for example, are just a mechanism for transferring money from Government to corporations, travel is a side issue. I wonder want incentives the politicians have for these arrangements? Better not speculate!

    2. smudge

      Re: but...

      everyone I know in Herts and Bucks ... already have internet access via cable or satellite

      Well, of course you don't know me, cos I'm still using 40-year-old copper.

      2 Megs here on the edge of St Albans. The last BT/Openreach engineer I spoke to said "That's pretty good for round here."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: but...

      Erm, Milton Keynes? that's in Bucks and struggled to get decent broadband due to:

      1. BT putting in aluminium phone lines for cheapness (they only have to carry voice right?).

      2. Cable being installed while the town was built, but not fibre, coax.

      So living in MK and wanting to get decent TV you are lumbered with struggling to get Freeview through a loft aerial as you aren't allowed to install a satellite dish or external aerial.

      The local cable TV is analogue.

      Things may have changed in the 11 years since I stopped working there, but it really is a dreadful place for a "new town".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: but...

        Yes, that was a problem. Fixed now. It's closer to 8Mb/s across the city, with 25Mb/s in some areas (fibre to the cabinet) and nearer 100Mb/s if you were on the fibre to the home trial.

      2. Terry Barnes

        Milton Keynes

        "1. BT putting in aluminium phone lines for cheapness (they only have to carry voice right?)."

        I don't think BT ever put in aluminium. The GPO did in the 70's when the government of the day cut their capital budget. Copper was undergoing a price surge, the telephone network was growing rapidly - the only sensible approach (given what was known then) to meet demand was to buy cheaper aluminium cable.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    Ah, yes...

    This will be the same BT that rings me every now and then to offer 70Mb/s data 'it's fibre to the cabinet, sir' when they know damn well that from the cabinet to me is only 3Mb/s on a good day...

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Ah, yes...

      when they know damn well that from the cabinet to me is only 3Mb/s on a good day

      Bloody hell you must be at the end of a long D-side. That kind of speed puts you at going on 4km from your PCP. The UK average is 500m I think - if I remember correctly the average total line length is only 3km.

      Are you rural or urban?

      Edit: Search for 'BT confirmed that the typical'

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Ah, yes...

        I'm urban - Hemel Hempstead - though some way from the cabinet.

        3Mb/s is on a good day. When it rains, the line is so bad I can't even get a dialup modem through the noise (which miraculously disappears whenever I ring to complain about it!).

        Fortunately the Virgin cable terminates at the end of my garden, all of ten meters from the modem.

      2. MrT

        Twas just under 1.6Mb/s...

        ... for me here in ruralville, Co Durham, but it didn't stop the calls to sell Vision. I played along once, to see how far it would get. Eventually they sent a letter to say sorry but my line couldn't support the service because it wasn't stable enough. Then they rang up a few weeks later to try again.

        I eventually got the engineers to come out and fiddle-dee-dee it up to 3Mb/s by asking what I needed to do to join FON (not that I ever have).

        I then later found out our exchange had been upgraded to Infinity, but not through BT calling - I spotted a house for sale about 4 miles away but on the same exchange that had Infinity available. I now get around 60Mb/s down and 20Mb/s up top speed.

        Still, it's not all rosy - they're just about to wipe the storage on the Vision+ box in some mega-update, so I'll have to go out and buy the Zohan and roughly a million Octonauts episodes...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Re: Twas just under 1.6Mb/s...

          "so I'll have to go out and buy the Zohan and roughly a million Octonauts episodes"

          You're a fan as well?

          1. MrT

            Re: Twas just under 1.6Mb/s...

            ;-) I know a few - and they'll be miffed once the disk is wiped. iPlayer to the rescue!

  3. ElNumbre
    Joke

    Monopoly Money...

    The competition better get moving quickly or BT will end up with some kind of monopoly on the national infrastructure.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @jai

    In North Bucks at my previous house I could get a magnificent 0.8Mb/s as could my neighbours. I'm sure they'll welcome this upgrade to at least 2megs!

  5. h3

    I am going to move to BT before next year (Premiership Rugby Union rights have been bought by BT from them.)

    I just want to pay for whatever guarantees I won't get carrier grade nat. (ipv6 / static ip bonus).

  6. Tompkinson
    FAIL

    Don't hold your breath

    BT have taken 2 1/2 years to not finish the installation of fibre to our exchange after we were one of the Race to Infinity winners. We are told it's a technical and manpower problem, but we know otherwise - it's the money cos it's costing plenty more than they expected. I fear that even Herts and Bucks might get fibre before I do. So don't listen to BT's promises, they can't keep them, they tell porkies and they certainly don't have enough competition.

  7. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    The problem with actually installing fibre is ...

    ... you cannot ask the government for even more money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The problem with actually installing fibre is ...

      Course you can still ask for more money.

      The spooks have recently been asking their parliamentary puppets for more laws (and more money) to enable them to do more stuff. Except it subsequently emerges that the spooks have been doing the 'new' stuff for years, and therefore cannot need the money to build the stuff involved. They might need the figleaf which the legislation might have provided, but that's another story.

      BT.

      They wouldn't be involved in any dodgy business would they. Ever.

  8. David 164

    What I don't get is why websites are still calling this super fast, when it a pathetic 2mb they are promising deliver.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      100 meg here, which can be good. But at other times it will struggle to play a Youtube video thanks to contention and Virgin Media's throttling.

  9. Chris Miller

    Here in leafy Bucks, FTTC is widely (but by no means universally) available in reasonably newish housing estates in larger towns - friends report line speeds of ~70mbps. Most villages are still on copper, but I get usable 16Mbps out of ADSL, which is plenty for me. Some BT engineers of my acquaintance have signed up for a trail of FTTH - they've been promised 300Mbps, whether the backhaul will support many such users is another question.

  10. Paul 181

    cgnat

    There is an opt out page for cgnat which leaves you with a regular ipv4 address

    cgnat isn't supposed to affect infinity anyway but some people have been affected

    bt vision is ok , but you need to use the bt homehub for the multicast channels , I wanted to use my own router but can't figure out the multicast setup

    So if you are thinking of hosting servers be aware the homehub is crap

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cgnat

    There is an opt out page for cgnat which leaves you with a regular ipv4 address

    cgnat isn't supposed to affect infinity anyway but some people have been affected

    bt vision is ok , but you need to use the bt homehub for the multicast channels , I wanted to use my own router but can't figure out the multicast setup

    So if you are thinking of hosting servers be aware the homehub is crap

  12. feanor

    Here we go again....

    So once again BT will pocket the cash, cherry pick the easy wins, say screw the rest, leave a large chunk of the population left with proportionately even less service, continue to charge us through the nose for the crap that we get, continue their monopolistic behaviour and continue to make vast profits. All the while the government, ofcom, the monopolies commission etc look benignly on like the bunch of well bribed officials that they are.

    Given that these "contracts" are paid for by the tax payer, and I'm a tax payer, I'd like to know what my money gets me? Absolutely f^&k all is what. A piece of tatty aluminium providing what is at best a two decades old service.

    Well done everyone. Privatisation of national infrastructure, what a fantastic idea.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here we go again....

      Privatisation isn't the problem, would you really want to go back to a BT only world?

      The problem is how small regional cable companies were all gobbled up and became another big slow behemoth.

      BT obviously hate competition from Virgin and so they provide fibre in areas that already has Virgin cable. Instead of providing it where Virgin isn't available.

      1. feanor
        WTF?

        Re: Here we go again....

        would you really want to go back to a BT only world?

        WAKE UP!! That's where most of the country lives! If not the majority of the population, certainly the majority of the geography. Just because you've been spoiled, don't think your experience is universal, or even average.

        The problem is exactly privatisation. As a public body BT had a responsibility to provide universal access. If you wanted service you got it, however inefficiently.

        As a private company BT's only responsibility is to its profits, which pretty much guarantee's its current behaviour.

        1. Terry Barnes

          Re: WAKE UP!!

          Virgin's network passes something like 30% of the population, that's some way from being a monopoly. BT have less than half of the fixed line market, according to Ofcom. The other thing that everyone seems to forget is the existence of mobile operators. You can buy a phone and broadband from four competing networks in the UK.

          If those operators charge more for their broadband despite having lower capital costs, the problem isn't with BT.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: Here we go again....

        BT obviously hate competition from Virgin and so they provide fibre in areas that already has Virgin cable

        I suggest you look further than large metro areas. Virgin have done pretty much fuck all in the Midlands since they took over Telewest and i'd hazard a guess that's pretty much country wide.

        There are towns with 10's of thousands of residents without Virgin, yet BT are sticking fibre in villages and Hamlets.

        Trust me, I'm happy to slag BT off, but they are doing a darn site more than VM

  13. Gergmchairy
    WTF?

    Norfolk have released list of the first areas to benefit from the scheme - Norwich, Great Yarmouth & Gorleston... all areas which are already served by Virgin.. how does this help us in the sticks on occasional 2Mb ???

    1. msage
      WTF?

      Norfolk...

      Just to reply to that I was rural (Freethorpe) and we got 16Mbps, moved to a new estate in Norwich (Queen's Hills) 1,000 new houses and guess what... no VM and BT ADSL a whopping 1.5Mbps if we are lucky. The BBfN project should have this sorted out, although BT are picking and choosing the easy cabinets at the moment! 2 out of 3 cabinets are getting FTTC, the final one is too complex so won't be getting it....

  14. gbru2606
    Big Brother

    I didn't get this until...

    I didn't get the whole subsidizing mega wealthy companies to provide services that people are willing to pay for, until last week's revelations that is.

    Now it's becoming a little clearer, and also why the money is going to BT, soon to be renamed BB I believe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I didn't get this until...

      They aren't willing to pay for it, that's part of the problem. At current pricing it takes nearly a decade for an FTTH or FTTC installation to be paid off and for any profit to be made - and even priced that low only 15% of households it passes actually buy it.

      Almost every business would decide with those numbers that there's better money to be made elsewhere.

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