back to article UK digital minister denies legal right to 10Mbps is 'damp squib'

UK digital minister Ed Vaizey has denied government plans for a universal service obligation of 10Mps are a "damp squib" but admitted the government will keep the target "under review". Plans to give everyone in Blighty the legal right to 10Mbps were formalised in the unveiling of the Digital Economy Bill yesterday. They were …

  1. Naselus

    And he's pro-encryption, pro-security

    Oddly, many of the Tories seem to have become pro-encryption since the Panama Papers. Funny, that.

    1. Afernie

      Re: And he's pro-encryption, pro-security

      "Oddly, many of the Tories seem to have become pro-encryption since the Panama Papers. Funny, that."

      Pro-encryption for them. Not for us. Important distinction.

    2. m0rt

      Re: And he's pro-encryption, pro-security

      Never said pro-privacy though...

      Also encryption, supporting using https sites as opposed to http can be said to be 'pro-encryption'.

      Ultimately these words mean nothing. Colour me cynical* but recorded deeds are really required of any polictician's promises.

      *a kind of purply black, tinged with blue.

  2. Richard Simpson

    Upload speed?

    Has anyone seen any indication of a proposed minimum upload speed? I guess that since the thrust of this is presumably to increase our ability to consume paid for content, upload speed isn't going to be a big priority.

    1. Naselus

      Re: Upload speed?

      At a guess, Mr Vaizey is unaware of the difference between upload and download speeds.

      1. Rich 11

        Re: Upload speed?

        I expect he has a butler to upload everything for him.

      2. mike white 1

        Re: Upload speed?

        and also does this refer to synch speed or throughput?

    2. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Upload speed?

      In the arse end of no-where, it will be Sat broadband downstream, and 0.5mbit upload via broadband. It can;t be anything else, without billions of taxpayers money, for very little return.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Upload speed?

        That's what I was thinking. I can't see it being viable to have 10Mb/s universal service obligation to the arse end of nowhere without it costing an arm, a leg and maybe a kidney or two. I bet there's a whole raft of get out clauses which are so badly defined that providers will be able to drag their feet even in cities and new build areas.

  3. MGJ

    But What Does It Mean?

    I'm stuck on 6Mbps ADSL in central Edinburgh; I could switch to Virgin and get more speed, but at the expense of having to change all the bundled services that I get from BT (the only option when I was an early adopter for ADSL in 2001), and disrupting my phone, tv etc, as well as adding to the cost.

    What I'd like would be an option of FTTC or FTTP that wasn't as disruptive, and moved us away from bundled services, so I could pay a little for the bundled services (email, backup hosting) and separately for access, making competition between internet providers a reality.

    1. jde96

      Re: But What Does It Mean?

      Might be worth checking again, our office in West End has just become FTTC enabled in the last month, being activated next week. Our central Glasgow office however...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But What Does It Mean?

      So you're not really stuck then, it's a choice?

      Competition has delivered a situation where you could choose to have better broadband but you prefer the cheaper, less good broadband. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem for the telcos. If Virgin or BT made FTTP available in your street, that would cost more than cheapy ADSL over existing copper. If enough people decide they want cheaper instead of better the investment by the telco has been pointless - worse than pointless, repeated on a national scale it would cause bankruptcy.

    3. jasno

      Re: But What Does It Mean?

      Its the same for me in Leeds. Barely scrape by on at best 5Mbps, no alternate provider hence BT don't care to upgrade. Infinity in cabinets 100 yards up the road from my box, and have been for a couple of years, we have just been abandoned.

  4. Tony S

    For a while, I was connected to Ed Vaisey on LinkedIn. (Not quite sure how that happened.) I did send him some links to various things happening at the time to highlight the need to upgrade infrastructure if we wanted UK business to be competitive. Not sure that it had any impact though.

    "We will keep under review, we do not want to leave people on 10Mbps in 10 years' time when they might need 100Mbps," he said.

    Well, there are those of us that would dearly love to get 10 Mbps at the moment, but there's smeg all chance of that happening any time soon, or even probably in the next 10 years. (For reference; the all powerful BT regularly promote their high speed service to me, but can actually only deliver a rather miserable 1.3 Mbps.)

  5. Buzzword

    Bandwidth has diminishing returns

    Getting 0.5Mbps is a transformative experience, as anyone who got broadband in the early 2000s will remember. Moving up to 2Mbps is very nice: you can watch Youtube in better quality, pages load faster, emails download sooner; but it's not a revolution in the way that the first step was.

    Stepping up to 10Mbps just isn't that important. Yes you can watch Netflix in HD, but in terms of getting things done it doesn't change much. You can't buy stuff from Amazon any faster; you can't fill in your online tax return any faster. The main complaints come from rural businesses, in particular farmers. They complain that e.g. DEFRA's 200-page image-heavy PDF on how to claim farming subsidies takes too long to download. I can think of a solution that doesn't cost billions.

    Getting 99.9% of farmers up to 2Mbps would be money better spent than getting 50% up to 10Mbps or higher.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

      "Getting 99.9% of farmers up to 2Mbps would be money better spent than getting 50% up to 10Mbps or higher."

      Surely the cheaper solution would be to reduce the size of the PDF so it's quicker for Farmer Giles to download? Or someone goes to one of their (regular) farmer meet ups with a laptop where I person downloads it and then distributes it to the people who need it?

      1. mike white 1

        Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

        or print it out and keep the Royal Mail in business ;)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

        "Surely the cheaper solution would be to reduce the size of the PDF so it's quicker for Farmer Giles to download?"

        Odds are that the images in the PDF were imported as-is at original resolution and the PDF has commands to display it at the smaller, cropped size. It seems a lot of people don't know that cropping, re-scaling and re-sizing the image for the target document before you import it is a useful skill to have.

        Scanned receipts to our expenses claims system normally contain multi-MB scans in full colour. One or two send in sub-200KB files in grayscale at 150dpi which are more than adequate.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

      10Mbps is 2Mbps for each person in a 5-person household.

      Everyone focuses on their personal use, when nowadays all the kid's have phones, consoles, tablets, the wife has her own, etc. a guest comes over and wants to jump on the wifi, and they ALL want that 2Mbps YouTube streaming to work at the same time.

      The fact that bundled routers are generally crappy at fair-share of bandwidth is a bigger problem. Honestly, buy a router(*) that does proper QoS and bandwidth slicing - it's amazing the difference it makes to even the crappiest broadband line.

      But people forget that just because you can do a YouTube stream, everyone else in the house is yelling "My remote desktop cut out", "My webpage is taking forever", "I can't watch the football", etc. at the same time.

      *I use a DrayTek Vigor model plugged into a Virgin SuperHub in modem mode. Honestly, you have no idea how much nicer it makes the experience for everyone. QoS and sharing on the wireless channels, pushing capable clients to the 5GHz channels, QoS and sharing on everything in and out of the Internet. My girlfriend can stream what she likes while the ChromeCast is playing movies and my ping in CS doesn't go above 15.

      I didn't even have to configure much. I just set the gaming ports and VoIP to high priority, HTTP / HTTPS to low priority, and everything just flows even with dozens of party guests on the Wifi playing Jackbox Party Pack or similar.

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

        It's worse for virgin business clients. There's no modem mode in the firmware that's accessable by the end users, and they have withdrawn the multiple IP option that allowed you to use your own router behind the business superhub.

        So you're stuck with that they provide, or you double nat. :(

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

        I use my own router behind the SuperHub2 configured for modem only mode, and do plenty of NAT and Port Forwards.

        It's kind of embarrassing to read that 10Mb/s will be seen as some kind of achievement, I guess that's the spoilt effect of using 150Mb/s on Virgin cable. But other countries are rolling our Gb/s+.

        Two children each watching a different film on NowTV boxes, while I have a remote desktop session over a VPN to the office at the same time as a Skype for Business meeting and concurrently downloading a DVD sized .iso file in a few minutes is what those of us not dependent on BT infrastructure have come to expect.

        BT could do it, but they won't because they can get away with not doing it and keeping the infrastructure investment costs off their short term figures.

        1. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

          Want to swap with my Virgin Business cable? A blazing 10/0.768, all for only £70 a month ;)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "BT could do it, but they won't because they can get away with not doing it and keeping the infrastructure investment costs off their short term figures."

          BT seem quite keen on making money, so if they're not doing it it's probably because they wouldn't make any money. It seems unlikely that a FTSE100 company gets to remain a FTSE100 company if it suddenly decides that making money is just too much effort.

        3. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

          There is much talk about other countries rolling out fibre and Gbit/s, but if you look at the actual data (Akami State of the Internet 2015 Q4), even Japan and the much lauded South Korea aren't really that far ahead of the UK in average internet download speeds, considering the beating up of BT and Virgin over lack of real FTTP, and relying on copper from street cabs to home.

          South Korea 29.7 Mbit/s

          Sweden 19.1Mbit/s average

          Japen 17.4 Mbit/s

          Uk 13.9Mbit/s avaerage

        4. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

          "BT could do it, but they won't because they can get away with not doing it and keeping the infrastructure investment costs off their short term figures."

          BT wanted to do FTTP just after priovatisation, but Thatch would not let them. She preferred to favour Cable companies, and bhlocked this.

          Cable companies have largely come and gone and sunk billions into disruptive digging up of the street in a limited number of area's, and flushing these billions of ££ down the toilet. See NTL/Telewest accumulation of smaller comanies like Telecential and others, combining in a bankrupcy and emerging debt free as Virgin Media... eventually sold on to Liberty Global.

          Delivering FTTP infrastructure, or something better than phone copper to homes fundamentally costs a ton of money, so the ROI is pretty low unless you whack Line Rental up to say £50/month to cover the costs of it. Do you see Sky, Talk talk, Vodafone doing any infrastructure work??/ Not really, they are jusy whoring off the back of Openreach.

          That being said, it's a better spend fot the UK than the £20-100bn on HS2/3/4.

    3. DaleWV

      Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

      Getting 99.9% of all residents (not all are farmers who can benefit from DEFRA assistance) up to >=2Mbps should have been the target all along.

      I live in Northumberland and the frustration in the rural communities regarding broadband funding has been its concentration on "High Speed" broadband. All this has meant that those who had ADSL speeds of >2Mbps got access to FTTC but those who didn't have access to broadband still did not get access to broadband.

    4. Naselus

      Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

      Um... has anyone mentioned the increasing rate of data production to you? It's not just a mattr of more people connecting to the net; we have more devices per person connecting across the out-pipe and more data per person being generated, stored, transmitted and used.

      In 2000, when I first got 0.5mbps, I had one device connected to the net, which I mostly used to look at static web pages (porn was mostly just images back then). By 2010, I had 5, which were being used for video, active pages and online games. In my house now, I have something like 12, which are doing everything from OTT TV to streaming movie data to my mobile in-the-field (and, in fact, carrying my phone calls too). By 2020, I expect to have about 30+, which will be doing things like regulating my heating system by actively drawing real-time weather data from the Met office, planning out my calorific intake from my fridge in a cloud DC in Norway, streaming 4K video at a gig for every 5 seconds.... and, of course, relaying literally every action I take on my PC to Microsoft/apple/google/amazon.

      So yeah, you ARE increasing in terms of 'getting things done' - I'm now doing dozens of things simultaneously IN ADDITION to watching Netflix in HD. Many of those things, most people are not aware that they are 'doing', because their PC or phone is doing it for them. But your basic data appetite has probably increased a hundredfold since 2000, even if you personally think it's just a needless quality-of-life improvement.

      1. Commswonk

        Re: Bandwidth has diminishing returns

        But your basic data appetite has probably increased a hundredfold since 2000, even if you personally think it's just a needless quality-of-life improvement.

        Just wait until your kettle starts talking to all its friends, along with every other appliance you have in the house.

        You ain't seen nothin' yet...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10Mb a joke

    10Mbps is a joke. 50Mbps is better, b ut if you want technology to develop. it should be aiming for 100Mbps now, and 1Gbps by 2020.

    With 4K TV available online, most people can't get it, and 8K is just round the corner. How else will a family watch 3 or 4 different 8K streams?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: 10Mb a joke

      so , er , whats your ideal number of pixels for a TV picture?

      To me 8k tv is just a waste of hdd space , bandwidth , tv electronics, etc ,

      pointless is what im saying.

      Theres gotta be a limit to how small the human eye can detect , and im willing to bet that if your 8k tv is smaller than your house , then its probly over that limit

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10Mb a joke

        On my modest 27-in monitor, 4K has a vibrancy that I don't see on HD. I think the bandwidth required is about 20Mbps. For a family of 5 each watching their own streams, then 100Mbps is the minimum required.

    2. Commswonk

      Re: 10Mb a joke

      10Mbps is a joke. 50Mbps is better, but if you want technology to develop it should be aiming for 100Mbps now, and 1Gbps by 2020.

      Exactly what does "if you want technology to develop" actually mean? And will it result in my having to pay more for a faster broadband connection than I need?

  7. Graham 32

    "Not a binary debate, that you are either pro security or pro encryption."

    I had to read that several times to see the conflict. I read "pro security" and thought pro information security and therefore pro privacy, which *is* pro encryption. But he meant "pro government controlling everything". Silly me. I obviously need more education about how to live every moment in fear of terrorists and paedophiles.

  8. FlossyThePig

    Gravy train

    "We will keep under review, we do not want to leave people on 10Mbps in 10 years' time when they might need 100Mbps," he said.

    Does this mean the network will have to be upgraded from FTTC to FTTP and give BT even more dosh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gravy train

      You need an exponential rise in the number of FTTC cabinets in a 2km2 area to achieve an average 100Mbps speed per customer, its just not feasible using FTTC. Thats why its known as a Cul-de-Sac Technology, to upgrade it, you need to reverse out (of the Cul-de-Sac) and mostly start again, to achieve 1Gbps average speeds using real fibre.

      Per 2km2, you need to add a minimum of 8 cabinets to reduce the maximum line length to 500m (as the crow flies), from a maximum line length of 1km (as the crow flies) per 2Km2 area.

      To achieve G.Fast at 330Mbps you probably need a maximum line length of 250m by cable.

      If you plan it so you meet in the middle, you have your 250m distance (as the crow flies), but cable routes are not that structured or straightforward, and often quoted as twice the length. To half this distance still further to 125m, you then need another 16 FTTC cabinets per 2km2.

      That makes a total of 25 FTTC cabinets per 2km2, each cabinet having a maximum line length (as the crow flies) of 125m, which by cable would give you a more realistic 250m distance to meet the G.Fast quoted speeds of 330Mbps.

      The Cabinets on the edges of the theoretical 2km2 area would in theory, feed the adjacent areas, so there is some overlap, but you still need 25 Cabinets (connected to Power too) per 2km2. for near Ultrafast speeds en masse for everyone, by that I mean not 'upto' but actually 330Mbps for everyone. 1Gbps speeds - well you just need to lay real Fibre, and chuck out everything you have so far.

      It would be better to show it as a diagram, I have to say. Basically the whole wonderful Ultrafast 330Mbps G.Fast Technology parade by BT and Ofcom is utter tosh (being polite), its never going to happen, well not in the next decade. It will need some serious miniaturisation/clever self powering to achieve it.

      The point being, if they knew it was going to be this complicated to achieve faster speeds why were the likes of ofcom hoodwinked into going down this route, other than technical incompetence, dare I say - bribery/greasy palms.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gravy train

        Then imagine the maintenance costs regards maintaining 25 FTTC cabinets (more likely still theoretical FTTdP / FTTrN Equipment) per 2km2, keeping firmware between customers equipment and the DSLAM equipment upto date, with potential for rogue firmware routers to cause interference/cross talk, the practicalities of maintaining this can of worms is just crazy and expensive. Fault finding will become a nightmare.

        And that's why Rurally its never going to happen. Notspots will remain Notspots if we carry on with FTTC. Yes, you can target certain areas with FTTC, but en masse Ultrafast is never going to happen.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gravy train

        ", its never going to happen, well not in the next decade. It will need some serious miniaturisation/clever self powering to achieve it."

        Both are solved. The kit is available to buy from Alcatel Lucent and others right now.

        The kit is miniaturised and fits at the top of a pole or in a small, existing pavement box. It's powered by the copper that becomes redundant when the fibre to the pole is installed.

        It doesn't need 'backing out of FTTC', it's a logical extension of FTTC with the new fibre deployed from the FTTC cabinet to the pole.

        I don't know where you get your facts, but there not from anyone who works in an equipment manufacturer, research labs or telco.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gravy train

          ->Both are solved. The kit is available to buy from Alcatel Lucent.

          If it was solved and available to buy, why are BT dragging their feet, regarding their previous commitment to FTTP rollout as part of the Welsh Superfast Cymru Broadband Programme?

          Is that kit directly compatible with Huawei FTTC kit? (Most of BT's FTTC network)

          Assuming a firmware update will solve that (yes, and its something else that needs to be maintained, along with both the Copper power feeds and the Pole fed Fibre).


          OK, so explain what (do) you need to get blanket coverage of 330Mbps (not 'upto' speeds, blanket coverage at 330Mbps using FTTC - not cherry picking), how many FTTC/FTTdp/FTTrN(s) are involved to do that per 2km2?.

          Go on, I'm all ears. Let's get this out in the open.

          I think its about right, you need around 25 FTTC or newer equivalent FTTrN/FTTdP Cabs/Pole Mounts per 2Km2 (with some overlap) to get true G.Fast speeds of 330Mbps, to get blanket coverage (not 'upto' speeds) with a maximum distance of 125m (crow flies), 250m by cable, in real world conditions.

          You (Mr BT representive) sell this as a solution to rural broadband, but its just not going to happen and its a crap foundation to building a robust future network for Britain.

          Subscribers will never get blanket 330Mbps coverage (it maxes out 330Mbps at 250m distance), because apathy will set in, already has to a point with FTTC at 'upto' 80Mbps.

          Why has Apathy set in? because BT/ofcom have made it almost impossible for a consumer/subscriber to work out the reason for a slow connections, often signing up to 80/20 FTTC finding they get 50Mbps at best, 5Mbps at peak times, with contention, traffic shaping, ping latency and if not traffic shaping - traffic shaping by another name - network management kicking in to maintain the network.

          The complexity 'sweating' of FTTC is all designed to gouge the Customer/Subscriber.

          There is no logical extension of FTTC technology after been sweated/maxed to 330Mbps. To jump to 1Gbps speeds and above, without bonding copper lines (which has the same expense of connecting true fibre to the subscriber) - You hit a wall in terms of speed with, hence why its a Cul-de-Sac Technology.

          G.Fast is a dead end technology from the start, if BT want to promote it - fine, but it sounds more and more like BT are looking again at future subsidies to roll out G.Fast.

          We need a network that isn't beholden to BT and paying subsidies to them, each time they perform an incremental upgrade, which is what we have now (and going forward) which could have been avoided from the start by proper investment/proper legislative framework, which didn't involve subsidising BT's legacy copper dead carcass of a network.

          Once over a barrel, always over a barrel.

      3. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Gravy train

        Unless taxpayers want to subsidise digging the cabinet to the home/business, it won;t change.

        NTL/Telewest and a host of smaller cable comapnies burned £bn's of shareholders money doing this ultimately becoming Liberty Globals Virgin Media Uk subsiduary....

        ..with not actually getting very much geographical spread outside of big cities/towns... and they were short-sighted enough to only deliver Co-ax Cab to premesis only a few years back. How stuopid were they.

        Virguin/Sky/Talk-Talk/3G/4G in the sticks, even Oxfordshire sticks, no chance.

  9. Jon Massey

    I'd kill for 10Mbps at some sites

    I work in animal health/agri tech R&D and trying to run our cattle imaging systems when they're on the end of a 1.8D/0.06U ADSL bit-of-wet-string connection is... challenging

  10. kmac499

    Pro-Encryption but not Pro-Anonymity

    I wish they would concentrate more on the distinction between privacy and anonymity.

    There are a load of services I consume that are private and should remain confidential between myself and others e.g. banking, health, email

    But as a general rule there are a greater bunch of services I consume where I prefer to remain anonymous, for no other reason than if retailer 'X', or website 'Y' don't know who I am, they can't pester me with follow up 'marketing'..

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    damp squid :P

  12. ma1010

    @ AC

    Have an upvote!

    But I'd opine that having a bit of a damp squid on one's hands is better than being put on a "pedal stool."

    1. nil0

      Re: @ AC

      It's a mute point.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

    Lets Cap all Senior BT Management, Ofcom numpties, Politicians to a random and patchy 'upto' 10Mbps for a year, better still, make that 2Mbps - see how they cope. Nothing like forcing them to eat their own dog food.

    Interesting how Ed Vaizey, toes the BT line, mentions top speeds of 100Mbps (which is within BT's remit for FTTC (just), not FTTP speeds of 1Gbps and up). In other words read that, as your stuck with FTTC for at least the next generation.

    BT are going to sweat their copper to buggery, before they give in to laying real Fibre to the Premises, with all that entails. Unreliable, expensive to maintain - connections, upto speeds, contention issues, weather dependent services. FTTC is a legacy Cul-de-Sac technology Britain is now stuck with, while other Countries just lay proper fibre. What a Mess.

    FTTC needs an massive exponential increase in FTTC Cabinets, to achieve a mass roll out to achieve average speeds of 100Mbps, its expensive (so expensive it will never be done especially rurally), each FTTC Cab needs a dedicated connection to the Mains/Grid, with the rental that entails.

    We had a choice, and we definitely made the wrong one, regards backing BT/FTTC-copper based technologies, as taxpayers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

      Your post is just a series of self-invented strawmen.

      No-one has suggested that FTTC is a solution for 100% of the country or that it's suitable for the last 5%.

      The government money to contribute to commercially non-viable areas came with, I presume, a mandate to improve broadband to as many people as possible for as little money as possible. FTTC was the way to achieve that because if FTTP was chosen at £2k a property (in reality more as these are the hard to reach properties) far fewer people would have benefited. Exactly how much government money do you want to spend subsidising high speed broadband that most people don't actually want to buy? Given the choice between cheap and slow or more expensive and faster, the great majority of households choose cheap.

      You disapprove of how UK broadband has been delivered by BT and Virgin and the mobile companies, but you have no alternative that offers better value.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

        The BT solution is no better, and isn't value for money in the longer term, some would say its dishonest/obfuscates in what it portrays as technically achievable with FTTC/G.Fast.

        BT offers little hope to the notspots in the UK.

        To cherry pick, to obfuscate actual achievable speeds (with the direct blessing of Regulator Ofcom to accept this obfuscation as been an inherent characteristic of FTTC 'upto' speeds), to play down the technical complexity / the exponential increase in roll-out of Cabs/Pole equipment required to achieve blanket G.Fast 330Mbps coverage using current FTTC technologies. To fail to mention the increased maintenance costs / increased line rentals required from maintaining the legacy dead carcass copper network.

        It also avoids mentioning the complexity of what happens when the G.Fast bottleneck/brick wall is hit - the technical limits of FTTC/ 330Mbps is reached and if and how the demands for 1Gbps+ services will be implemented.

        That transition won't be cheap. Most believe the topology of the network design won't be suitable at that point, for the transition to true optical fibre - FTTP.

        And that's the point, for lines longer than 250m, its already obvious that Legacy Copper / G.Fast doesn't fit the bill in terms of future Ultrafast 1Gbps+ services, going forward, so why not start to get it right now for those longer rural lines, because we know today, FTTP is inevitable for these lines, its going to be a slow process, but its a start.

        Let's stop the lies and deceit (with Ofcoms backing) that somehow G.Fast is going to magically solve the problem of long lines and slow internet. It won't.

        1. Commswonk

          Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

          ...the increased maintenance costs / increased line rentals required from maintaining the legacy dead carcass copper network.

          I know this thread has probably run its course but I still feel that the above warrants a response, because it appears in numerous BB related subjects.

          I suspect that the "copper is dead" brigade never consider the difficulties that would arise from converting to "all fibre" networks. It would mean that even those who did not want a BB serivce (and they do exist) would have to have additional equipment on their premises, and that equipment would have to paid for; it won't just fall from the skies like manna from heaven. Unless battery backed it would fail if the power failed, and if battery backed the batteries would require replacing from time to time; rechargeables do not last indefinitely. It would also require far more installation than a simple Master LJU, with or without internal band - splitting filters incorporated.

          While FTTP even for POTS might be practicable solution for large scale new builds (subject to the caveats above) the idea of the wholesale replacement of the existing copper network just so that the speed freaks can have more bandwidth than perhaps even a majority want or need is beyond bizarre; the costs would be eyewatering and those costs could only be met by charging customers even more than they are now, and from my perspective the current costs are quite enough, thank you all the same.

          I hate cliches with a passion (joke!) but the "let's get rid of copper" enthusiasts are in desperate need of a reality check.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

            The biggest reality check you need is how quick 330Mbps services will be the 'norm' / expected service level by subscribers and how little leeway BT will have with FTTC over copper going foward and the flak they get will be a lot worse than today, when People/Companies can't compete against Countries with a real Fibre Networks.

            Once you have a UltraFast 1Gbps+ connection and have to go back, boy, do the complaints start.

            'The let's get rid of Copper' enthusiasts have fought backward looking People like you for years and years.

            I heard the same with ADSL roll-out, from Regional Development Agencies - 10 years ago. Remember vividly been told 'There is no chance a small little market town will ever get ADSL, its just not needed, no one is interested'.

            This is by people that are supposed to be forward looking business types FFS.

            Look at it now, everything delivered online, by Amazon and others. Order 10pm, get at your door 9am next day. Everyone in my road using either ADSL2+/VDSL2+ 80/20 Broadband (even the technically illiterate ones), wondering how they ever coped without it.

            BT have 'kept their hands in the pockets' resisting change, every single time from:

            28Kbps Dial up PAYG,

            to 56Kbps Dial up PAYG,

            to 56Kbps (Unlimited),

            to 64Kbps ISDN,

            to Bonded 128Kbps Home Highway,

            to 512Kbps ADSL,

            to 2048Kbps ADSL,

            (avoided 'expensive' Syncronous SDSL Networks, saying not required for consumer use)

            to 8192Kbps ADSL,

            to 24Mbps ADSL2+,

            to 40Mbps VDSL (BTInfinity),

            to 80Mbps VDSL2+ (BTInfinity2).

            And so on, always saying the next higher speeds aren't needed, taxpayers need to fund this, if we are to move forward.

            Adding in traffic shaping / network management as these services launched, its the same approach everytime, holding back the tide of change, heavily advertising the older technologies like Home Highway, at the time 512Kbps ADSL was launching. BT have to be dragged kicking and screaming everytime to the next logical step, always looking for handouts, saying its just not competitive to invest (yet reaps most of the 1Bn+ profits once the taxpayer stumps up the cash)

            As said, Copper is not a solution to lines of more than 250m in length, in terms of Ultrafast 1Gbps+ Services, so why are we spending vast amounts on a dead end copper based technology, that can't make the leap to faster network speeds without been ripped out, to start the process again (and all the upheaval that entails), it won't be seemless.

            We were told FTTP 6 years ago was coming by BT to an exchange for areas on the outskirts, everytime the ball has been kicked back into the grass, in the hope the FTTrN / FTTdP is the 'golden solution' to this problem, when its still on the drawing board.

            BT covering the bases, hovering over the dead carcass of their copper network, in case anyone decided to think about laying actual FTTP, in the same way B4RN has been successful.

            Why is BT replacing end of life Copper with Copper.

            Why is BT been sneaky, replacing Copper lines with 0.9mm copper to 'just meet contract specs' , for longer lines, rather than do the right thing as part of the Superfast Broadband Programmes and install Proper Fibre, which was the clearly the point of the programme. (That's just pure public deception)

            Why isn't their a programme, where streets that are due to have their Poles/Circuits replaced, are upgraded to true Fibre. Why is the taxpayer having to subsidise this twice?

            There is only one person deluded (stuck in the past) round here and it ain't me.

            1. Commswonk

              Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

              Thank you for your slightly abusive post; for all the venom I note that you have failed to answer the economic points that I raised, never mind the technical ones.

              What evidence have you that there will be enough people willing to pay for the admittedly much better service that you are advocating? I hope you aren't trying to pretend that it will somehow happen without additional costs falling on the paying customers.

            2. Sunil Sood

              Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.


              You have spouted so many ill informed facts that it totally drowns out any legimate argument you may have.

              For instance:

              1. FTTrN / FTTdP has been deployed by Openreach in some places and more will come.

              2. Virtually all the reputable studies show that the bandwidth needs of the UK population - both sme business or residential - will be well under a 100mb for years to come.

              3. is already capable of a lot more than 330mb and at longer distances than 250m. It will get both faster and have a even longer reach as the technology develops - perhaps a gb or more - and that's without bonding. With bonding, the speeds are even faster.

              4. There are already several tweaks to to make it better and a successor technology on the drawing board ( They have already got 4/5gb over copper in labs.

              If you reflect these rather basic errors/issues perhaps others would take your points more seriously.

              Even where firms offer FTTP or ultra fast speeds now, most users only sign up to the slowest packages.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

                If BT want to invest in that fine, but its not a technology the UK taxpayer should be backing.

                FTTrN / FTTdP are pilot projects, not real deployments in the UK at the moment, and none are self powered using redundant copper cores (as has been suggested, UK Health and Safety sees to that) , the schemes currently rely on the same power supplies as existing larger FTTC cabinets (it may have changed but that was the case initially, and powering the units was a key problem in the pilot project).

                None of the pilots are on the scale of deploying 25 FTTC / FTTrN /FTTdp (cabs/Pole Equipment per 2Km2, to give blanket coverage at 330Mbps speeds.

                You're completely missing the point - per 2Km2 area (thats are very small dot on the map of the UK), you need to install 25 FTTC/FTTrN/FTTdP cabs/Pole Equipment to blanket cover to achieve speeds of 330Mbps for everyone in that 2Km2.

                If the general public knew that, I doubt they would be wanting to back it as taxpayers, because they realise that sort of deployment is never going to happen Rurally. They'd understand the fundamentals, that its a lot of equipment to maintain for such a small area, to achieve a relatively modest outcome regards headline broadband speeds (even if you do later, as you suggested to tweak it up slightly, with modified protocols)

                I don't accept represents the solution for Faster Broadband services going forward, either been cheaper, but more regards its shelf life , with its lack of ability to ramp up to Ultrafast speeeds.

                Everything you have stated is theoretical Lab stuff, that doesn't work the same, when you potentially have Welsh Hills / Scottish Mountains / Wind swept roads - water logged junction boxes, multiple cable connections, parallel cables over a distance (crosstalk), aswell as multiple protocols in adjacent cabling - it just doesn't stack up in the real world to achieve those sort of 5Gbps speeds your proposing, over copper. And that theoretical 5Gbps you talk about is over distance as short a 20m max (which you fail to mention the shorter cable distances, to achieve higher speeds, inherent part of

                I've already stated why apathy will set in, because its impossible for the average subscriber to fathom why they are suffering from a slow internet connection. More needs to be done in this area. Its not helped by Ofcom's acceptance of the inherent 'upto' characteristics of BT's FTTC technology.

                (Odd also to have the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer - Vodafone India Ltd, sticking up for BT FTTC/ plans too, if that's who you are),

                Thanks for taking the time to reply, but can't agree with your sentiment at all regarding so called errors, the fundamentals/essence of what I'm saying is correct. 'Yes men' will say different.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

                  Adam, you always repeat the same things. There are a number of people here trying to help you understand the commercial aspects as well as the technical, but you choose to ignore what they are saying, repeatedly.

                  No-one denies that FTTP would be a technically excellent solution, at least for the households and businesses that want broadband. That's not all of them.

                  The commercials are important though. The 'notspots' exist because they can't be served profitably. The telecoms market in the UK is competitive - there are a number of operators. If they all decide serving a village costs too much that's not conspiracy, it's commercial reality. Businesses that spend money building unprofitable things go bust. The last 10% in any network cost the same as the first 90% so we're not talking trivial amounts here, we're talking about a doubling of network cost.

                  Guess what happens to prices when costs double? Guess what happens to the business that doubles their costs and increases their prices while the others sit tight?

                  So - if rural broadband is a social good, some kind of subsidy is needed.

                  This is where you seem to purposefully misunderstand. For a given amount of money a telco can spend a lot of money per premises installing FTTP or a much less money installing FTTC or G.Fast over the existing copper network. Better 4G is also an option.

                  If the FTTP option is taken, a small number of people get really good broadband and lots get none at all. If FTTC / G.Fast is chosen lots of people get reasonable broadband, some get really good broadband and a small number get none at all.

                  BT stated in a recent meeting with the government that an FTTC cabinet costs, on average, £26K;


                  That £26K gives you an FTTC cabinet capable of serving 200 premises. With FTTP that gets you into 13. Do you see the problem? If spending of £52k was allocated for your rural village, would you rather that 26 homes get awesome broadband, or that 400 get pretty good broadband?

                  If your option was chosen lots of people who currently have tens of Mbps would have no broadband at all because all the money would have been spent given a much smaller number of people really fast broadband.

                  How would that be a good use of government money?

                  You haven't given us any idea of what would have given better broadband to more people with the same amount of money. What's your solution?

                  If your solution is "spend more money" then it's not the telco you have an issue with it's the electorate, the government, and the market. The broadband you want requires both higher prices and higher subsidy. Given that more than half of people able to have better broadband don't actually buy it it would seem that the government would be wasting taxpayer money to spend more than they already are. Better, surely, that the people demanding 1Gbps to their homes stump up the cash and pay for it themselves. 1Gbps Ethernet with Internet connectivity is available from a number of UK telcos already - Virgin, Colt, C&W, BT, KCOM.

                  1. Commswonk

                    Re: Lets Cap all Senior BT Management and Politicians.

                    @ AC... Given that this is the weekend your posting is not going to get either the readership it deserves or the upvotes that it also merits, which is a pity. The case you made is well argued.

                    It has, of course, also dropped out of the Register's "Headlines" which means that it has effectively become yesterday's news, notwithstanding the fact that as a subject it will crop up again and again.

                    Have the one upvote that I can provide. :)

  14. TVU Silver badge

    Another broken Tory hi-tech promise

    "Well, there are those of us that would dearly love to get 10 Mbps at the moment, but there's smeg all chance of that happening any time soon, or even probably in the next 10 years. (For reference; the all powerful BT regularly promote their high speed service to me, but can actually only deliver a rather miserable 1.3 Mbps.)"

    This is all down to Osborne's ideological and economic growth-strangling austerity cuts. The promise given in the previous parliament was the nationwide rollout of a good broadband connection for everyone irrespective of location. Now, it's been significantly watered down to save money so it's a bit of a broadband connection but you have to request and argue for it first - broken promise no. 182.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me?

    That wants to insert 'Royston' into his name? Ed 'Royston' Vaizey sounds about right..

  16. NeilPost Silver badge

    10 Mbit universal right - Nutter

    If he thinks that 10 mbit to everyone, 100% of the UK is acheiveable, without massive taxpayer subsidy, he is utterly bonkers.

    It's the same tired old reason that many rural comminities do not get

    - Mains Gas

    - a school (perhaps anymore)

    - a Tesco's

    - a pub (perhaps anymore)

    - a village shop (perhaps anymore)

    - much of a bus service

    - a doctors

    - a 3G/4G mobile phone service

    - Virgin Media

    - a petrol station

    - have delivery restrictions from many on-line retailers


    ...too little demand to make it (remotely) encomically viable, unless there is massive taxpayer subsidy

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: 10 Mbit universal right - Nutter

      Is it considered a great hardship to live without any of those things?

      I grew up in a village with none of them (except the pub was a ten minute walk away, across some fields, and you can get anything delivered to anywhere in the mainland UK pretty much).

      There's plenty of small villages that also have none of these things, but crucially, everyone living there has access to a car, and once you have a car, you can drive to the nearest town to get food, education, public services etc. Otherwise, it's possible to get most things delivered now.

      This is what rural life is like, and really, it's not that much of a hardship.

      That said, 1MB ADSL would be a nice upgrade for the part of the world I grew up in.

  17. mike white 1

    WOnder if UFO will ever get anywhere

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like