back to article UK ministers' Broadband '2.0' report confuses superfast with 10Mbps

A report by MP Grant Shapps into the state of broadband in Blighty has been criticised for doing more harm than good, as the research appears to conflate superfast broadband (24 Mbps) with 10Mbps broadband – the Universal Service Obligation goal. The Register has seen a copy of the report, due to be published this week, which …

  1. wolfetone

    I can't wait for Grant's report on the use of Wikipedia in Government.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      I think Michael Green is doing that one.

      1. wolfetone

        "I think Michael Green is doing that one."

        Ah, splendid. I can't wait to see what he comes up with after his best selling "Everything I know about teaching". I couldn't put it down, so riviting.

      2. SkippyBing Silver badge

        I think Michael Green is doing that one.

        [Citation Needed]

  2. Dave Bell

    Another report by ignorant people.

    These people have been hopelessly confused by the advertising use of "fibre", a label defined in a way that would have included my first 300 baud dial-up modem, because the signal was only on copper for a few hundred yards.

    They also ignore measures such as bandwidth per person.

    1. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Another report by ignorant people.

      "Last year Shapps' body published a report "

      Doesn't say what the rest of him was doing though ...

    2. grizzly

      Re: Another report by ignorant people.

      "They also ignore measures such as bandwidth per person."

      Not to mention upload speed.

      1. LaeMing
        Big Brother

        Re: Not to mention upload speed.

        You are not meant to 'upload' your own content to the internet. You are meant to mindlessly consume approved content.

        Consume. Consume. CONSUME!

    3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Another report by ignorant people.

      He slammed the report for failing to understand the basic difference between [...] availability and actual take-up

      Well, it's government. Seems more likely that they're "pivoting" to a different question, in order to endorse a pre-ordained conclusion which was not supported by the data.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Super fast just doesn't cut it these days. You need at least super-duper fast.

    1. DaveMcM
      Go

      I'm still holding out for Ludicrous Speed...

    2. 40k slimez

      Don't you mean "mind bogglingly fast I mean so fast you won't actually believe how fast it is!"

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Ah, but does your broadband go up to 11 on the dial?

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Ah, but does your broadband go up to 11 on the dial?

          Insanely fast broadband unboxing. You won't believe what happened next

  4. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Gummint clueless about IT

    Who'd a thunk it

  5. Elmer Phud

    Wii lthe real Grant Shapps please stand up, please stand up

    Not one known for anything other than desperate clean-up operations and a half-hearted whine at Tesco for moving from his patch --this preening fool was given a simple job and once again displays his complete and utter lack of knowledge about anything

  6. David Roberts

    Don't have access to the Internet

    Does this include those who don't want access?

    Can't be arsed to chase up the figures but a better measure might be households/dewllings with no possibility of Internet connection (fixed or mobile).

  7. Disgruntled of TW
    Thumb Up

    Super Fast Broadband != "fibre"

    @Dave Bull - yup. 1 ft of copper is enough to make 5Km of fibre irrelevant to the SERVICE a customer receives. Those metaphorical 12 inches of copper contribute the majority of the problems to reliability, which increases maintenance cost. All of this ignored by the ASA who allow all the ISPs selling DSL to use "fibre" to describe it in advertising. STOP IT.

    1. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: Super Fast Broadband != "fibre"

      "1 ft of copper is enough to make 5Km of fibre irrelevant to the SERVICE a customer receives."

      In rural areas it makes more sense to not have FTTP because the only ways to bring fibre to the premises is via overhead cable, often crossing from one side of the road to the other. To get FTTP underground is disproportionately expensive. In these circumstances copper is far more resilient and maintainable than fibre for the segment from the cabinet to the premises.

      Fibre cracks fairly quickly when subject to the cable moving around in the slipstream of passing trucks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        it makes more sense to not have FTTP

        Part of the cost issue is with the way OpenReach install in rural areas - they still use the "close road, dig up road" model.

        Much easier to go across the fields - have a look at b4rn.org.uk. BT said it would cost between £10k and £20 per property to connect. These guys have done it for about £500. Sure, they did it themselves and don't have to pay crazy way-leave charges, but even so...

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

          Openreach don't have to pay crazy wayleave charges either, there's no reason that a landowner couldn't grant a wayleave free of charge. The difference is that when a bunch of folks in the village ask for permission it's personal, and the landowner might say "OK guys, for you I won't make a charge", but when "official" BT shows up it's "wahay, time to screw them for all I can".

        2. nwand

          Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

          Gigaclear are busy installing FTTP in rural areas, and reckon their costs are less than £1000 per house they pass, - their trick is to get the householder to install the last bit into the premises themselvers, or pay extra for their subcontractors to do it. And in reply to Lotaresco, they don't have any fibre flapping around in the air, they perform "micro-trenching" which just means digging a little trench not-very-deep. As well as providing a better (and synchronous upto 1000mbps) FTTP service, avoids the biggest maintenance cost of FTTC, - copy between the cabinet and premises, flapping around in trees, wind, etc...

          1. ramjam

            Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

            With Gigaclear a domestic user does have the option of self-install - although there are still steep activation costs. Rural business users typically have top pay £1000 for activation and installation (can be much more), extra monthly charge for bridge mode so that they can use their own firewall, no IPv6 availability, and a monthly charge that is getting close to leased line (but with contention, and inferior SLA). But since Gigaclear is usually the only option rural businesses don't have much in the way of choice...

          2. Lotaresco Silver badge

            Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

            "And in reply to Lotaresco, they don't have any fibre flapping around in the air, they perform "micro-trenching" which just means digging a little trench not-very-deep."

            If only you understood more than the limited amount that you do. You can't trench across a road without disrupting traffic, this costs money and takes time. It's more usual to do this using a mole so that there's no need to break the road surface. This isn't as cheap as cable providers like. It makes sense to provide cable via trenches in urban areas where adoption rates will be high enough to pay for the work.

            However, if you bother to look in rural areas you will see that the cable duct runs down one side of the road (only) meaning that you need to reach premises on the other side of the road somehow. The solution used by *all* providers in rural areas is to run a cable up the nearest pole and then from there to the premises. If you bother to look you'll see that the cable flaps about. A lot.

            This is what most rural roads look like. Notice how the poles are on the opposite side of the road to the housing.

            Rural Telecoms

            Also if you don't bury fibre sufficiently deep under a road, it will break because those trucks pound the road. One way to do traffic monitoring is to bury a fibre optic under the road and monitor the deflection.

            Heck but I've only been designing networks for a few decades. What would I know, eh?

            1. nwand

              Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

              "If only you understood more than the limited amount that you do."

              Why resort to rudeness so readily?

              "The solution used by *all* providers in rural areas is to run a cable up the nearest pole and then from there to the premises."

              Excuse me, but far as I know Gigaglear have never run a fibre cable up a pole, certainly not in my part of rural Gloucestershire. But yes, to cross the road, they do close it, and put a "micro-trench" across it.

              I use their service, know of hundreds of others who use them, and have been watching their installs round here and nearby with some interest. Have yet to see a cable up a pole, - they specifically announce that this is what they want to avoid. For the reasons you correctly state.

          3. 080

            Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

            I am currently waiting to see how reliable overhead FTTP is. Here in France the whole village (one of only three in the department) is being connected to fibre. That is every house farm and shed. Fibre is being slung along the tops of existing poles on metal tees outside the village, trees have been cut in half, just the half nearest the new fibre, and hedges trimmed with a set of giant circular saws, pretty it is not. Will it ever work?, well hopefully it will be better than the current 1.07Mbps/0.43Mbps on a 5km line

            1. Lotaresco Silver badge

              Re: it makes more sense to not have FTTP

              "I am currently waiting to see how reliable overhead FTTP is."

              It depends on many factors. How stingy the supplier is factors heavily. If they use armoured cable then it may survive but the costs tend to make that uneconomic. The details of the site are also important. Trees grow back after being cut and eventually the branches waving in the wind damage the cable. We have outages of power and telecoms because of that. As mentioned before passing trucks cause cable to whip around, particularly if the cable is hung over the road rather than along it.

              If the hedges/trees are kept neatly trimmed and the cables aren't over a road that's heavily used by trucks and if the cable has a steel support cable as well as the plastic sheath then there shouldn't be a significant problem.

              On private lines you could monitor the line quality and improve resilience by using a multicore cable and putting an OTDR switch at each end so that in the event of a break or degradation the switch uses another pair in the bundle. Sadly no service provider is going to go to those lengths for a SOHO user.

              The sort of cable we use for this sort of work is £2,000 per km and service provider flinch at those costs.

      2. Blitheringeejit
        Boffin

        Re: Super Fast Broadband != "fibre"

        Agreed - but the annoyance for many is that Openreach seem unwilling to add new cabinets in locations which are currently at the end of long copper runs, even though they are not geographically isolated. FTTC is fine if your final copper hop is a foot, or indeed a kilometre or so - the places which really suffer are those with copper runs of 3Km+ to their "local" cabinet or exchange, for reasons dating back more than half a century. And many of these are not isolcated rural areas - I work on one site which gets a flaky 2Mb down sync while being less than 1Km from a city boundary, and I've read many similar reports from folks located inside the M25.

        OfCom could usefully force Openreach to install a new, fibred-up cabinet at any location which is, say, >2Km from an existing cabinet/exchange, and which could replace copper connections to >25 properties within 1Km of the location. (Not sure of exact numbers, but you get the general idea.) That would improve life for a great many people, without costing anywhere near as much as FTTP.

        1. rh587 Silver badge

          Re: Super Fast Broadband != "fibre"

          Agreed - but the annoyance for many is that Openreach seem unwilling to add new cabinets in locations which are currently at the end of long copper runs, even though they are not geographically isolated. FTTC is fine if your final copper hop is a foot, or indeed a kilometre or so - the places which really suffer are those with copper runs of 3Km+ to their "local" cabinet or exchange, for reasons dating back more than half a century. And many of these are not isolcated rural areas

          Exactly this. Case in point - my parents. On the edge of a village with FTTC/Infinity. But for reasons that history does not recall, the line on their lane goes 3 miles over to the next village instead of half a mile into their village. Whichever fool up the comments said that fibre is less reliable than wire should see how reliable 3 miles of poled wire is in the face of cattle trucks, tractor-mounted hedge cutters, falling branches, etc. It might be marginally more resilient than fibre to wind-flexing (though there are plenty of fibre products designed for pole-mounting to address exactly that), but there are ample ways for pole-mount cables of any material to get snagged and outright snapped. They have - on average - at least a week a year without phone/ADSL service because the line is out.

          OpenReach seem to have very little interest in re-architecting that stretch of network to put their lane on the local cabinet which would give them better speeds, and cost OpenReach less in maintenance given that you'd cut out some miles of rural-poled wire.

        2. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: Super Fast Broadband != "fibre"

          Had a client "upgrade" a 2.8Km line to FTTC. New line lenght: 48 metres shorter. Cab was at the end of the (short) road the exchange was on. Went from 8/.448 to a blinding 7/.190...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Super Fast Broadband != "fibre"

      I don't think ISPs are allowed to call straight ADSL fibre broadband, just VDSL or better - anything with fibre in the last mile.

      1. Blitheringeejit
        Boffin

        Re: Super Fast Broadband != "fibre"

        But they *are* alllowed to called it fibre if the cabinet is fibred - even if the cabinet is so far from the premises that the fibre element brings no benefit. I have certainly been told by Openreach engineers that ADSL2+ sync with an exchange 4Km away can be faster than VDSL sync with a cabinet 1.5Km away, so you might get a faster connection by sticking with your ADSL2+ account than "upgrading" to fibre.

        Chloe Cresswell and rh587 above are exactly right - the devil is in the geographical detail. And most of this (eg locations of the cabinet serving your line, copper cable lengths etc) is not made public by OR.

  8. Alastair Dodd 1

    Marppet

    Grant Shapps again showing he is an incompetent marppet (marketing muppet) who shouldn't be trusted with anything more complicated than a colouring book.

    1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
      Meh

      Re: Marppet

      I don't think he's allowed sharp things like crayons.

  9. Lotaresco Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Available but not realistic

    In the rural community where I live central and local government have been bragging for months that they have brought "fibre to the area under a rural broadband initiative". This seems to be all the interest that politicians have, it's available. Uptake has been minimal, mostly for the simple reason that no one can afford it and the service offered is no better (practically) than the existing DSL. We get about 18Mbps DSL (give or take depending which way the wind is blowing). The fibre offered is "up to 30Mbps" but it's capped, traffic shaped and costs twice as much as the BT DSL. You can go up to 80Mbps (advertised as 100Mbps in typical marketing fraud, but it is stated that the rate will not exceed 80Mbps). That rate is only available to businesses and costs £200 a month. Although not capped, there is the usual "fair use" restriction with no mention of what is "fair use".

    Also customers are not permitted to use their own kit for connection to the network, hence my business which sits behind a firewall would be forced to connect to the internet using the crappy built in service provider router firewall rather than our own enterprise model. Given how much traffic we see being dropped on the WAN interface, I'd be very worried about switching to something that we can't configure.

    There's a gulf between "available" and "worth paying for".

    The better way ahead for us seems to be to buy 4G access which is available in the area and which costs less than the cheapest available FTTC/P offering available to us. The 4G is faster, cheaper and although capped, it offers double the data volume offered by the "rural broadband initiative".

    1. Blotto Silver badge

      Re: Available but not realistic

      @Lotaresco

      any links to those 100mbs fibre products that can only be used upto 80 mbops?

      never seen anything advertised like that other than Virgin Media advertising 100mbos and beyond.

      Also while they state you have to use their rubbish router, its often not impossible (other than on Virgin) to use your own.

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: Available but not realistic

        "any links to those 100mbs fibre products that can only be used upto 80 mbops?"

        No, because to get such a link you have to enter the details of your premises into the supplier's coverage and speed web application. You can try it for yourself if you like, at the site of the rural broadband initiatives suppler, Callflow UK. There you will find that they advertise 100Mbps then state "Up to 80Mbps Download & 20Mbps Upload ".

        Seriously, why would I bothered to lie to you about this as you seem to be implying?

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Available but not realistic

          There you will find that they advertise 100Mbps then state "Up to 80Mbps Download & 20Mbps Upload

          In an earlier posting you referred to this as fraudulent; not if you're a marketeer it isn't. 80 + 20 = 100 so suddenly it's "hey everyone we can call this 100 Mb/s".

          Cynical? Moi?

          1. Lotaresco Silver badge

            Re: Available but not realistic

            "not if you're a marketeer it isn't."

            Yes, sadly that is true. I've been in the same room as the lizards when "truth" is being discussed. Once I saw a graph being presented by a technical person to a roomful of lizards. The graph showed that compared to the gold standard reference test method that the company's "new" test system was a random number generator. The results plotted on the graph formed a vaguely elliptical cloud rather than a straight 1:1 line.

            A lizard asked for the slope to be calculated and it came out as 1 with an intercept close to zero. However the probability was laughably small.

            Lizard response "We'll say we have perfect agreement with the reference method and just show the slope, not the actual data point."

            B Ark material, all of them.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Available but not realistic

      There's a gulf between "available" and "worth paying for".

      Which is exactly the point made in the last-but-one paragraph of the article, and something that I and others have mentioned here several times over the years.

      Regarding 4G, I'd be wary of anything based on a shared medium. Do you really want to rely on a decent 4G connection, when the school bus is late and there are a dozen teenagers waiting at the bus stop outside your premises?

      I've just found an interesting bit of kit by TP-Link that might help some people in these circumstances, if they have a friendly "someone" within a few km that can actually get decent speeds and (crucially) line-of-sight. TP-Link's CPE range of outdoor WiFi kit claims reach of up to 15km under ideal conditions, while the WBS range can apparently manage 50km with a suitable antenna. The units are not expensive (the CPE510 I've just bought for a specific project is around £50ea) - install your net connection at your friend's place and bung a device on the roof. Plonk the other one on your own roof, job done. Set your router up with a 4G modem or just old-fashioned ADSL as backup.

      M.

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: Available but not realistic

        "Do you really want to rely on a decent 4G connection, when the school bus is late and there are a dozen teenagers waiting at the bus stop outside your premises?"

        Given that there's no bus stop, no pavement, the area doesn't have more than a handful of teenagers and we're in the centre of a National Park plus there's no 4G at ground level but a strong signal on the roof of our premises because it's a tall building so we can put 4G aerials on the roof and use a DSL/4G router so that in the absence of 4G we can fail over to DSL, no I'm not really concerned. YMMV.

      2. Dave Bell

        Re: Available but not realistic

        "Line of sight" on these links may be a little less critical than you think.

        For an example, a FiberNinja video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/DGOPESpU64A

        Though it's not that long a distance, which would help.

  10. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Is it just me

    Or is the guy unrolling the reel of fibre in the article photo, doing it in the most awkward way?

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me

      He's not unrolling it. ;)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fibre helps you shit.

    Maybe that's why all these clowns are avoiding the roll out.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Due to a phone line issue, I'm not even getting 1Mbps - it's about 756 Kbps.

    And before that, it was physically impossible for my house to get any more than 4 Mbps.

    The kicker? I pay £22.31/month for that. And it's going to go up again in August...

    I can only imagine what it's like to get 10 Mbps.

    1. silks

      How about ISPs charge for the speed/latency as actually delivered/measured, that would give them and OpenBreach an incentive to perform better :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It would give them a reason to refuse to supply service to anyone who doesn't get a decent speed. Beware of perverse incentives.

        The cost of provision would be exactly the same but lower speed customers would offer less revenue and less margin.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I doubt the cost of the Internet is actually that much. 90% of that fee is probably "line rental."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Line rental from Openreach is about £7.50 a month. If you have ADSL the broadband service is either delivered by your ISPs own kit installed in the exchange or a resell of a BT wholesale service.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Actually, by the looks of it, line rental is well over £15 for (all) ISPs.

            https://www.cable.co.uk/guides/how-much-is-line-rental/

            1. Steven Jones

              That's Retail, and not the cost to the ISP. They are just using the line rental markup as part of their revenue stream to keep the apparent price of BB lower whilst also having to deal with reduced fixed line call revenues and ever increasing bandwidth demand.

  13. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    But.. but... fibre reaches most of the country. The adverts say fibre. I'm pretty sure I pay for fibre to come to my router.

    Seriously though. Cost of HS2: £55Bn. Cost of wiring up the whole country to be proper actual FTTP: <£55Bn. Which one is more important?

    1. BongoJoe

      Seriously though. Cost of HS2: £55Bn. Cost of wiring up the whole country to be proper actual FTTP: <£55Bn. Which one is more important?

      Clearly HS2. Because with HS2 a small, but clearly important, number of high earning City types can then commute daily from the Yorkshire Dales to their London office.

      1. FlossyThePig

        Seriously though. Cost of HS2: £55Bn. Cost of wiring up the whole country to be proper actual FTTP: <£55Bn. Which one is more important?

        Let's face it HS2 is HMG's latest vanity project so will be built no matter what the actual cost becomes (>£55Bn).

        I see the vanity project called the Humber Bridge (who really uses it?) is being granted Grade 1 Listed status.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        HS2 Commuters

        You forgot all the Northern MP's that can live in their constiuency and still be in their Westminster Orifice before 10:00. That alone will save the taxpayer millions for those no longer needed London Love Nests.

  14. Goit

    "but in the political and fake news environment that exists in 2017 we feel the report is actually going to damage the UK broadband picture".

    Fake news environment.

    Fake news environment.

    Time to take the pills and turn off the PC.

  15. Captain Hogwash

    Grant Shapps

    Well what did you expect?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/06/tory_tech_savvy/

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, 10 Mbit/s IS ENOUGH for most people.

    What Use Cases beyond streaming Super Duper Hi-Res TV require speeds faster then 10 Mbit/s ?

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: Sorry, 10 Mbit/s IS ENOUGH for most people.

      What Use Cases beyond streaming Super Duper Hi-Res TV require speeds faster then 10 Mbit/s ?

      Its not the Download that counts. It's the fact your 1Mb DL probably offers 1Mb upload, which isn't a lot of use if (for instance) you're trying to back up your photo archive to CrashPlan.

      It's also the fact that this is not about 10Mb vs 30Mb vs 100Mb vs Gigabit. It's a basic matter of architecture. The people that can't get 10Mb ADSL or 30-80Mb FTTC are in that position usually not because their cabinet hasn't been upgraded, but because they are too far (topographically) from the cabinet, either because of sheer rural location, because BT laid their line along some stupid, circuitous U-shaped route, or because BT (c.1950) connected them up to an arbitrary cabinet 5 miles away which was fine when you were just trying to carry a single voice call, but which will never support more than 1Mb ADSL even if you trunked a 100Gb backhaul into the cabinet.

      Gigabit fibre from B4RN or Gigaclear is massive overkill, but the reason people get it is not because they need Gigabit speeds, but because they need more than 1Mb. They'd settle for 10Mb but the copper isn't physically capable of doing it.

      In any case, high-speed domestic connections can confer additional advantages. People can host home-servers and low-priority servers, localising traffic. If I were on an FTTP network I'd likely hook up one of my spare boxes as a software mirror - I'm downloading versions of OpenBSD and VLC anyway, might as well have a private mirror and make that available to the other customers on some of my excess 990Mb/s of bandwidth - for geek cred/fake internet points, reduces transit demand for the network (many mirror directors allow you to specify a mirror is only for a private network, so in this case you'd specify the AS/IP-Range of your provider so you're not generating outbound traffic on their transit links, but anyone on their network would be directed to your server rather than one out on the open internet such as UofKent's Mirror Service).

    2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Sorry, 10 Mbit/s IS ENOUGH for most people.

      What use cases? Keeping windows up to date for a start. But fast upload speeds are also important for backing up data at a reasonable speed. Also, more than two people watching TV at the same time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry, 10 Mbit/s IS ENOUGH for most people.

        So Use Cases for Gbit/s are:

        - Keeping Windows up to date.

        Joke, amaright ? if not, well, my Windows stays up to date perfectly well @10Mbit/s

        - backing up data at a reasonable speed.

        To where ? How many people have massive external sites they pay for, so they can back up large amounts of data to ?

        - more than two people watching TV at the same time.

        Netfliz says 5Mbit/s for HD. So we're covered.

        Meh.

        And I'm pretty sure my granny is not going to be needing fast internetating so she can "hook up one of my spare boxes as a software mirror for geek cred/fake internet points and reduce transit demand for the network."

        So the remaining arguments (AFAICT ) are:

        "We need superfast download speeds so we can get the average upload speeds that come with them"

        and "Cos 10Mbit/s is the new 640KB."

        Meh.

    3. Simon Rockman

      Re: Sorry, 10 Mbit/s IS ENOUGH for most people.

      Yeah and 640k is all you need.

      Infrastructure - both broadband and HS2 - *creates* use cases.

      When I see that we are arguing over 10Mb/s and 24Mb/s I weep inside. The need for these speeds has already passed. We should be building 1Gb/s and planning 10Gb/s.

      Simon

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, 10 Mbit/s IS ENOUGH for most people.

      > "What Use Cases beyond streaming Super Duper Hi-Res TV require speeds faster then 10 Mbit/s ?"

      Well ...

      * In Windows-land, software updates are becoming annoyingly large. The last monthly Windows patch I had was just under 400MB. The last update to Lightroom was over 1GB. Sometimes you don't want to set them off downloading as a background task and wait half an hour.

      * Games. Quite a lot of newer games are 20GB+ (I have some breaching 40GB). Downloading 30GB at 10MB/s is going to take about 7-8 hours. Yes, you could leave it running over night, but sometimes you want to use the thing you just bought (and sometimes the game is not available on physical media, so Steam or equivalent is the only option).

      * Uploading to backup sites or other online services (photo printing). I get 1Mb/s upsteam on my >>10Mb/s downstream connection. I like taking pictures, and have a camera which generates ~10MB JPEGs and ~75MB raw files (and I have about 1.2TB of images). Uploading photos for printing is exhaustingly slow (nearly 2 minutes per image). For those who don't leave the PC on overnight, using cloud backup is a non-starter.

      * Multiple people watching TV on demand. Quite a few people I know don't watch broadcast TV any more - they use iPlayer (or similar).

      * Working from home. I have a work-issued laptop. When working from home, a VPN connection is required, and offline files sync (and other stuff) will trigger whilst connected. A colleague found it utterly unusable on their ~10Mb/s connect (they were trying to use Skype at the same time).

      * Properties of multiple occupancy (incl. some flats with a single inbound connection). You're basically getting an nth (where n = number of users) of the bandwidth (yes, I know that's a gross simplification, but you get the idea).

      * Any of the above in a multi-user situation, especially when combined with on-demand TV services.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

    Reading the comments here...boy, so much misinformation. Overhead copper is more resilient than overhead Fibre, that is so very subjective. A low 1-2Mbps rates, maybe, at 100Mbps+ G.fast signals over copper, not a chance.

    Even Openreach are starting to admit that copper G.fast won't practically work rurally in most existing cabinet rollout situations, i.e. outside small market towns, because the sheer number of powered nodes required/levels of maintenance that would require, as the reliable "up to" working footprint for G.fast is even smaller than FTTC.

    The report hasn't even been released and you're all shooting the messenger. FFS, at least wait to read what it says.

    BT (and Ofcom) don't exactly have a good past record up to this point on pure Fibre rollout.

    Sit on hands, wait for handouts - has pretty much become BT's rollout Policy, of late. Germany on the other hand, seems to have their Ultrafast Broadband digital vision pretty clearly laid out, in comparison.

    1. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

      "Reading the comments here...boy, so much misinformation."

      Yes, most of it coming from Anon. Cowards who snipe at others.

      If you're worried about your network traffic being transmitted over copper, WTAF do you do within your premises? Someone was complaining earlier that 1 ft of copper would make 5km of fibre irrelevant. I wonder how he, it has to be a he, connects his PC to his home network?

      "maybe, at 100Mbps+ G.fast signals over copper, not a chance."

      Oh right, I must be imagining the Gb over copper network on UTP we already have then?

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

        It's different sorts of cable, and that matters a lot.

        There's also some pretty horrible wiring, network and power and telephone, in some buildings. The old BT telephone wiring was done decently, though I know of one house that had the line running through an orchard, not even clear of the trees.

        The old telephone systems were not even made for data, and I remember some very geeky arguments about the difference between Baud and bits-per-second.

        1. Down not across

          Re: Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

          There's also some pretty horrible wiring, network and power and telephone, in some buildings.

          Yes there is. It it can make a massive difference. At one location (almost too far for ADSL) couldn't even reach 1Mbit/s. Just by replacing NTE-5 with a a XTE-2005 (this was years ago and there are probably even better ones now) bumped the speed up to bit over 2Mbit/s. Differnece in SNR was big. Sometimes disconnecting house wiring can also help.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

          Horrible wiring - like the village I live in. We don't have copper - we have aluminium (despite the fact BT keep saying there's no more aluminium on their network...). It's horribly flakey.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

        It's not CAT5/6 UTP Cabling we're talking about here regards 100Mbps+ G.fast though is it, {expletive} - it's BT's overhead legacy copper/aluminium two wire twisted pair, somewhat fcuking different, with cabling bundles run in long lengths in parallel, iffy damp joints/crosstalk a plenty.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

      Deutsche Telekom is rolling out G.Fast. I'm puzzled why you would applaud Germany for doing the same thing you're criticising the UK for?

      It's not a technology designed to increase rural broadband availability, so I don't really see the relevance of your other points.

    3. Steven Jones

      Re: Don't shoot/kill the messenger...

      OR never, ever claimed that G.FAST from cabinets was going to be of much use. It's a quick, cheap add-on aimed at higher speeds for densely populated areas, not rural ones. That point about speed to market is important.

      G.FAST from the tops of poles and local distribution points might be suitable for less densely populated areas, but the economics would probably depend on the use of reverse power as getting mains power is a major expense (G.FAST pods will be powered via the local FTTC cabinet).

      A lot of development effort is going on with reverse power, but it's a tough challenge to get the power demands low enough to be feasible. However, telcos have a lot of interest in it working.

  18. handleoclast
    Coat

    Rebranding

    There's a problem with "Super fast" and "Fibre" because they get misused. There's also a problem with using more accurate terminology like "Crappy Speeds." So they need to rebrand. Something that makes it seem like more than it is without actually contravening "passing off" laws.

    I suggest, "I can't believe it's not fast."

    Yeah, I stole that idea. Can't remember where from, though. :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile in France

    I live in France, and a friend of mine in Lille gets 350 megabits per second. For €33/month. Line rental included.

    I on the other hand, live in the middle of absolute nowhere, and get 7 if I'm lucky. For €10/month.

    Bouygues are now offering their 4G box which gets you about 20 megabits down for €29/month (plus €3/month box rental) over their 4G network (it's a Huawei Wifi router), with no limits official on data (I bet there are some in the Ts & Cs somewhere) but it doesn't include a telephone service - data only.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've thought about switching to mobile data, but mobile in the UK is a complete joke.

    Was talking to a friend of mine who lives in the ass end of the middle on nowhere in Finland, and gets superfast unlimited 4G for a reasonable price.

    The UK? 10GB/month or some stupidly low quota.

    As per usual, the UK lags behind the rest of the world, and I doubt that'll ever change.

  21. Kaltern

    With proper broadband speeds comes the possibility of hosting your own content, or IPTV becoming a viable solution to the dominance of Sky. Both things are going to be vehemently opposed by the people involved, and because they do have quite a lot of clout in the UK business market, it's entirely possible they're making damned sure that fast broadband is only a pipedream.

    I find it utterly amusing to see 4 and 5g speeds overtaking standard broadband in the country. That is a clear indication that something is very wrong.

    Oh, and whoever said 10mb is more than enough - I'm pretty sure you don't speak for me, so please take your narrowminded irrelevance away back to your own idyllic corner of the world.

  22. mrs doyle

    superfarce

    They haven't got a clue. The civil servants advising the government know very little apart from how to cover their backs. The ministers know even less. The whole country is brainwashed into thinking fibre comes down phone lines. The statistics can say anything BT order them to say. A superfarce from start to finish with millions cheated out of a decent connection.

    1. Zmodem

      Re: superfarce

      nobody cares for BT, only 45% of the 86% on home broadband connections have a landline, and the 45% would be split between BT and virgin

      the government take back the ownership of the telecom network, then they can talk the talk, otherwise nobody will ever care about BT and its bullshet

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Government expertise

    I could just be totally wrong, but, it does appear as of the last few years (decades) the government has chosen to take its advice and information from lobbyists and vested interests rather than impartial experts. We've seen the way that expert advice is automatically distrusted. But also, it appears that there is a rather incestuous group of companies that "advise" the government, and get given huge contracts despite their repeated failures. G4S, Crapita, PWC etc etc.

  24. Zmodem

    should tell crappy EE/BT it costs £5->10, tmobile is back to the crappy throttling and capping speeds at 60KB/s, now three has the binge data, the rejects are selling bandwidth off at a premium

    while most times t-mobiles 3G will easily run at 10Mbps 24/7

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen... Eeeee..10 Megabits? We'd been appy wit' dprice of a two cans and a bita string.

    We still dream of 10Megabits. Be like heaven to us.

    But you know in a way we were happy in those days. Time for the family, fighting to see who's turn it was trying to download, and likktle Jimmy unable to download his Tom Clancy update becuase it would take two days and Mum wants to access the office.

    I just want to say nuts.

    There is no chance of anything above 4mbt/s where we live in Northampton. The distances from exchanges are too far... even for fibre and Virgin not interested.

    Not that anyone actually is interested.

    Let alone no business can operate from home unless they move.

    I suppose I should be grateful for 4mb/s

    It just has seemed politicians not getting good advice, and they still think in terms of what they've seen their kids do at home. That's their level of understanding...or misunderstanding.

    Of course you only need 2mb/s if you dont use Netflix, and like all politicians youve divorced and are living by yourself with none sharing your 2mb/s.... it's payback time for all families to have to 'make do' with 2 or 4mb/s and be grateful.

    So just like I said when ADSL came out in the late 90's, and BT not interested, politicians not interested

    Nuts.

    Just in case I'm not clear. Nuts.

    1. FlossyThePig

      At Last The 1948 Show

      To paraphrase Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen...

      Poor old Marty Feldman is getting dizzy spinning in his grave because youngsters think every funny sketch is from Monty Python.

      Special gold stars for those who can sing the Angus Prune tune.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: At Last The 1948 Show

        Special gold stars for those who can sing the Angus Prune tune.

        <nostalgia>ISIRTA</nostalgia>

        Not sure why At Last The 1948 Show got mentioned...

        1. FlossyThePig

          Re: At Last The 1948 Show

          @Commswonk

          Not sure why At Last The 1948 Show got mentioned

          It was on that show that "The Four Yorkshiremen" sketch first appeared, a few years before Monty Python.

          Four members of the Monty Python team played the sketch on stage for the charity show "The Secret Policeman's Ball", hence the confusion.

  26. FionaJC

    Appently we can now have super-fast fibre according to OpenReach so we ordered it with PlusNet and at 2.4Km it didnt work Apparently ADSL2 is faster than fibre which is working now at 0.78Mbps. I dream of 2Mbps

  27. Milton

    Predictable punchline

    I guess every profession has its own subset of stories where, once you'd heard the basic premise, you could fill in the gaps yourself without actually waiting for the end.

    With soldiers it's: "So, this plonker hadn't cleared his weapon properly ..." and you pretty much know that the ending includes a negligent discharge and some poor bastard bleeding all over the floor (if he's lucky). I daresay pathologists have a fund of little horrors commencing something like: "The regular mortuary clerk was on holiday ..."

    For UK politics, it appears we need only begin: "Grant Shapps—" for all listeners to silently join the dots leading to a hilariously incompetent outcome.

    FWIW I think it's time for the word "shap" to enter the dictionary, as in "Shapp, verb.: to clownishly bungle and confuse, usu. because of ignorance and/or ideological myopia. E.g. 'Davis completely shapped Brexit'".

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