back to article Manufacturers slam UK.gov: 'High speed broadband' rollout is too slow

Manufacturers have slammed the UK government for its "poor communication" and "lack of clarity" over the high speed Broadband UK (BDUK) programme. In a survey of 134 manufacturers by representative body the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF), 40 per cent rated broadband as "quite poor" or "very poor". Only 30 per cent …

  1. Jim Willsher

    We're on an EO line....I guarantee we'll be in the remaining 5% that doesn't get any faster service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guarantee we'll be in the remaining 5% that doesn't get any faster service.

      We'll be happy when we can ditch the 3 mobile BB modem we have to use as the dial up is still flaky in our village

      Amazing how they forget that rural Farming is a business too

    2. WonkoTheSane

      Depending where you are, you're still in with a chance.

      Some "Broadband Initiatives" (Superfast Cymru is mine) are moving EO lines onto cabinets in the exchange carpark.

      I know this to be the case as it has happened to me, although line length seems to limit me to 55-65Mb/s

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'd be happy with half of that, no, wait, even 10% of it

        I get 1.75 Mbps off a cabinet half a mile away.

        No FTTC available, no plans to provide it to that CAB. Despite every other cabinet off that exchange having FTTC.

        And I'm not rural, I'm ten miles away from Birmingham City Centre.

        1. Dan delaMare-Lyon

          5 miles from the centre of Cambridge in a brand-new development (only just finished) and we are lucky to get 2Mbps - most people (myself excluded) get around 1....and in order to bring FTTC BT Allegedly have to close one of the busiest stretches of road in the country.......not going to happen any time soon.....urgh.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            re: 5 miles from the centre of Cambridge in a brand-new development

            Be interesting to know the key details of the BT Openreach telecomms installation that covers your development (ie. street cabinet to home) to see if BT really are planning ahead for FTTP and are either installing tubes for blown fibre or an actual fibre tail to each home. Informally, you may be able to speak to the BT guys when they open up the man holes or simply investigate the duct entering your house, but for the definitive answer just ask the developer.

            I suspect you (and your neighbours) may have grounds for legal complaint, if relevant parts of your development were planned after the announcement in 2010 of the UK broadband project and commitment to an absolute minimum of 2Mb in new build...

            As for digging up roads, I've noticed that various utilities are increasingly using cable moles.

  2. Rizzla

    What do you expect. BT & a UK Gov Dept running a project!! Disastrous

    The issue is that the UK Gov't set the bar way too low, and BT lacks its own forward vision and will not play nicely with the other ISPs.

    Neither side got the requirements right and BT are milking it for all they can.

    Yet another area where lack of vision, risk aversion, lack of technical understanding, lack of market understanding, lack of trend analysis and inability to make a proper decision to help the country has led to another UK Gov balls up with taxpayers money. Oh and then there's the sole suppliers greed because the contracts no doubt let them grab everything for nothing. No quality control, no quality gates, insufficient oversight.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What do you expect. BT & a UK Gov Dept running a project!! Disastrous

      Meanwhile in Cornwall, BT and the EU have worked together on a roll-out that is delivering a higher proportion of FTTP than anywhere else and they appear to be ahead of schedule.

  3. localzuk

    Agree with that!

    Communication is the worst part of it all I reckon.

    Our area has suddenly been marked as having FTTC. Well, part of it. Well, on the area organisation website anyway (if not ISP sites).

    It went from "Under Investigation" for the entire district, to "active" in one massive update, skipping the "installing" stage. When I asked the organisation in question whether BT Openreach installing cabinets everywhere in the town meant it would be coming soon, their response was "we can't say, maybe, the cabinets can appear and it can be ages until they're active" pretty much.

    There seem to be 6 month gaps between massive updates too, rather than just updating the site when things are actually activated.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Agree with that!

      When BT give out a lot of information some of it ends up being wrong (or at least inaccurate) due to the complexity of the task and the number of variables involved (eg;liaising with councils). BT end up taking stick for the errors. So they reduce the amount of information down to the point where what's left is at least reliable. Then they take stick for not saying enough.

      It's pretty much a no-win for BT. I've been in a similar position with management on a couple of my projects and - like BT - I decided that if I was going to get stick either way I might as well at least save myself some work and not say anything.

      1. localzuk

        Re: Agree with that!

        BT are being paid billions of taxpayers pounds to roll this stuff out. It isn't that much to ask for them to keep an accurate log of what they're doing and when...

        1. Elmer Phud

          Re: Agree with that!

          With the opening up of BT there are now several contractors involved -- it's the usual 'cat herding' situation.

          But that's what the public wanted . . .

  4. Bunbury

    second most important infrastructure investment priority

    But nevertheless cheap as chips. Thus the need for government subsidy in some areas. If all food outlets could only sell chips perhaps you'd only get food outlets in big towns.

  5. tyne
    Flame

    Superfast Cymru

    I run a busines in one of the largest towns in what is to be honest a very rural area of Mid Wales where superfast broadband is being deliverd by Superfast Cymru, a joint BT / Welsh Government project. There was much fanfare when we where told that fibre would be available in July of this year, then September. The rollout started an they've done all the cabinets that feed the residential estates, but have completley missed out the two cabinets that serve the town centre and have now moved onto small outlying villages (most of them less than 100 homes).

    On making enquiries I keep being told that our cabinets are on the rollout plan, but that they cant tell me when the cabinets are to be upgraded, this month, next month, next year, 2017. I dont really care when, but would really like some estimate so that we can make plans for the businesses future development. I dont want to waste money having EFM/LL fitted only to discover a cheaper FTTC product that would suit us just as well is available the next month.

    Is it really a hard concept for BT Openreach and their "delivery partners" to understand that people, especially businesses need to plan for the future. Its my belief that Openreach are deliberatley missing cabinets with high numbers of business users to prop up the sales of EFM / Leased Line products from BT Wholesale.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Superfast Cymru

      I think that North Wales has more to complain about. The stretch of coast from (but not including) St Asaph to Bangor has no FTTC and only since summer has BT said they have plans for those towns. That's of the order of 100,000 people in some fairly large towns that have been ignored. Llandudno and Conwy are only seaside towns in name. In character they are both vibrant towns all year round. Neither goes to sleep or becomes a ghost town out of season.

  6. Ian Bremner

    yeah communication hasn't been there best suit.

    I've been constantly monitoring the ADSL Checker ever since the FTTC box appeared next to the cabinet that the BT Checker says my line is connected to.

    Last December it said available in March.

    In March it changed to September

    In September, the FTTC stats vanished completely and was replaced with "We can't provide a delivery date"

    It was at this point I discovered there were two cabinets marked with the number my line is connected to. So it looks like BT has difficulty communicating with itself let alone us peons.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Almost exactly the same story, the difference being that in September it changed to March 2015. No reason or explanation, but the FTTC cabinet was installed about 9 months ago and since then abandoned. Really annoyed, and obviously no-one at BT can give any information as it's all down to BT Openreach who they're not allowed to talk to.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: yeah communication hasn't been there best suit.

      Agree in my area neither BT nor the local superfast broadband project gave out any information. The first 'indicator' we got as to when we were due to get FTTC was when the cabinet was installed. Having sat there for several months with no change in status, my assumption is that the cabinet became live just prior to a BT fibre optic broadband poster being stuck to it, as a check on BT's line checker reported the new service, a few weeks later the upgraded service became visible to third-parties such as Zen (who use the BT wholesale checker) and last week over three months later Sky are selling the service.

      Interestingly, when the line first went live the maximum speed was quoted as being sub 40 Mbps, I see this morning BT et al are now quoting 72 Mbps.

      So expect the "We can't provide a delivery date" status to suddenly change to "Live" without any great fan fare.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The issue is that these business want business service but at consumer pricing.

    BT sell high speed internet access up to 10Gig but this isn't going to cost you £30 a month.

    Therefore they want you to buy their BTNet product

    1. localzuk

      They want it at affordable prices. An example - until BT had started the upgrade process in this area, a 100Mbit BT leased line was close to £30k per year.

      So, I don't think businesses particularly want consumer pricing, but they do want affordable pricing. £30k is a heck of a price for internet connectivity, even for relatively large businesses.

      The price has dropped down a huge amount now, even for leased lines, but it'll still be well outside the price range of the majority of local businesses. So, until FTTC is full active here, many will be stuck with less than 8Mbps.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The issue is that these business want business service but at consumer pricing.

      Nothing wrong in wanting a business service at a cheaper price, there are many ISP's including BT who offer business DSL broadband services.

      >Therefore they want you to buy their BTNet product

      I think you are overlooking the fact FTTC isn't just for DSL broadband, it is also the basis for BTnet EFM and third-party NGA Ethernet leased line offerings. So if BT Openreach aren't deploying FTTC to cabinets that cover businesses, those businesses can't buy the BTNet products...

      With FTTC you can reasonably expect to get 40~70 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up business DSL service for £25 pcm (Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 package), which is more than sufficient for many small businesses who only need internet access for email, browsing and increasingly access to cloud-based services. The broadly equivalent BTnet service would cost around £480+vat pcm. So the challenge is determining whether the differences are actually beneficial to the business and are worth the price premium being asked.

  8. Gordon 11

    Perhaps if the telcos didn't insist that you had to take their telephone offering in order to get their superfast broadband there would be more interest?

  9. patrick_bateman

    orignal house, 4mb between midnight and 10am, outside that you cant get past 14kbspeeds.

    first house, moved 5 miles down the road. 20MB dsl2.

    2 years later i am sitting at 8.9mb down on FTCC.

    I cant compain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't Complain?

      Why not? just saying...

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