back to article Grotesque soundbyte alert: UK government opens wallet to help rural areas get 'gigafit'

To quote the Mancunian philosopher Stephen Patrick Morrissey: "Stop me if you've heard this one before." The UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has promised a fresh tranche of funding for rural full-fibre internet in a new initiative called Project Gigabit. The cash, part of the £5bn initially …

  1. Nifty Silver badge

    NI bung

    "Tough luck if you're in Northern Ireland"

    Didn't NI get a £1BN 'bung' to keep the unionists onside?

    ...the £1bn is specific to the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland and is in addition to funding pledged as a result of the Stormont House Agreement and Fresh Start Agreement. An estimated £420m remains to be spent (as at Aug 2019)...

    Well if they don't want to spend any of it on broadband infrastructure, it's their call.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: NI bung

      They spent it all on the renewable heat initiative

      (Icon represents how you make money from this scam)

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: NI bung

        They'd already stopped the renewable heat initiative when they took the bribe.

  2. dave 81

    They installed fibre in my road over 14 months ago.

    Yet, not a single provider or even BT is offering FTTP. I have emails, and called them all many time and none are offering anything but FTTC at best. Considering StarLink at this stage to just get some bandwidth. (Wouldn't go with the ̶N̶T̶L̶ Virgin ever ever again. )

    1. Nifty Silver badge

      Re: They installed fibre in my road over 14 months ago.

      Virgin Media has been alright for me if I put aside the periodic attempts to price gouge that have to be resisted with a face-off.

      Flaky until I put their router into modem only mode and plugged in an Asus, very good (100 Mbps) since. If you have their cable connected to your house, you are one of the privileged already.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    Nooks and crannies?

    ""Project Gigabit is our national mission to plug in and power up every corner of the UK and get us gigafit* for the future."

    Evidently N.Ireland, Wales and Scotland are not in the corners.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Evidently N.Ireland, Wales and Scotland are not in the corners.

      There's no need to feel hard done by. Neither is my part of (central-ish) London. :-/

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Evidently N.Ireland, Wales and Scotland are not in the corners.

        I'm on the edge of london (within sight and sound of the M25) with BT (Zen) quoting £52k for fibre on demand and 300/100 absolute maximum

        FTTP stops 200 metres from me.

        Helllooooooo Starlink!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Nooks and crannies?

      No, they're the colonies. They'll be the last ones to leave the Empire.

      1. Malcolm Weir

        Re: Nooks and crannies?

        No, they're the colonies. They'll be the last next ones to leave the Empire.


      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Nooks and crannies?

        Oh heck, don't go there. You'll get the weird ones from the north of the UK claiming they're colonised by the English, despite having more say over UK laws than anybody in England, having say over English and Welsh laws that the English and Welsh don't get to influence in Scotland, despite getting lots of subsidies in the form of raw cash from England, despite having a corrupt malicious Government of their own, despite having serious over-representation in recent British Prime Ministers and despite over twice as many Scots living in England as there are British non-Scots in Scotland.

        All of which distracts from the actual Government announcement mentioning the comparable initiatives in Scotland and Wales, including discussions between the Government and the corrupt regional assembly in Scotland.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Nooks and crannies?

          With upgraded network infrastructure, Boris' daily propagandabriefing from the new Downing Street briefing room can be compulsorily live streamed to every dwelling and mobile device in the UK, bypassing the media organisations.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Nooks and crannies?

            It's the same briefings that always happened, but now you can watch them yourself instead of only hearing the media's skewed interpretation of them.

            You're welcome to not watch them too. It's lovely to have a choice.

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Nooks and crannies?

          Mostly true, but have you seen the calibre of recent english MPs? Despite al of that, if anything, the Scots have been raising the average.

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    The Rocket Boost

    What Boris had in mind was Stephenson's Rocket

    1. Malcolm Weir

      Re: The Rocket Boost

      Aha! The Cumbrian connection! All is becoming clear!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Cumbrian connection!

        Do you think that "someday we'll find it"?

        1. Rob Daglish

          Re: The Cumbrian connection!

          1836-1840? That was around the last time we had new trains here. The latest batch that have been bought won't fit on our lines for $reasons.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: The Cumbrian connection!

            "The latest batch that have been bought won't fit on our lines for $reasons."

            Wouldn't be the first time.

            Deployment of trains to replace slam-door units in Surrey was delayed by over a decade because it was "discovered" AFTER DELIVERY that the existing power infrastructure couldn't provide enough ergs to drive the new units' traction motor starting current across 90% of the SE rail network

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    "...funding for rural full-fibre internet in a new initiative called Project Gigabit."

    "The cash, part of the £5bn initially promised last year,"

    So, it's a new initiative, with money that was already allocated?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Money-go-round?

      This is how the government gets value for money. They announce it multiple times. That means thy're getting multiple value for it. Even better value if they don't actually spend it.

      1. Spamfast

        Re: Money-go-round?

        Even better value if they don't actually spend it.

        Oh don't worry. They'll spend it. It's not like it's their money they're spaffing - look at Test & Trace.

        As per normal, they'll give it all to BT who will use some of it to upgrade the profitable bits of their network and the rest to give to upper management as productivity bonuses.

  6. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Alternatively ...

    they might re-lay the few hundred metres of copper between my FTTC cabinet and my premises so the notionally adequate "36Mb" connection I'm paying for can give me more than 3 to 6Mb. The problem is simple - lots of ancient "dry crimp" joints that are full of crud and poorly assigned cores in the trunk leading to massive crosstalk. There's no way I'd ever need 1Gb WAN connectivity (nor would I want the loss of resilience to power failure that's inevitable with FTTP), but it would be nice to have the service I'm contracted to get and pay for.

    1. Solviva

      Re: Alternatively ...

      How less resilient to power failure is FTTP compared with...?

      VDSL/FTTC you need power to the modem (& maybe separate router). FTTP you need power the 'modem'/ONT (& probably separate router). The FTTC cabs have battery backups, FTTP fibres end up in an exchange somewhere with battery & backup generators.

      I'd say FTTP is more resilient to power failure. Unless you're talking purely about voice comms....

    2. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      Re: Alternatively ...

      We are on FTTC and idea where cabinet is as there is no big green block on pavement nearby (there is a new Virgin one but its only 18 mo old)

      At <1mile from exchange our 30Mb service averages, *reliably* 52Mb.

      Its a street of 1890's terraces. Contention with SKY et al gives them under 20Mb (I've checked independent sources)

      *Reliable* 50Mb is good enough I find.

      Where is the will to rip up a 140yr old street with electric cables from 1948 (I have seen them myself-bloody good condition after unwrapping), gas from 1890s, water from same and AIO sewers...

      Worse is my final 50m is from a pole...

      Repeat for most of urban UK

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively ...

        Reliability would be nice.

        a consistent feature of the FTTC around here (which stucks out line canine gonads if you're using smokeping) is constant microdropouts

        I guess that's a kind of "reliability" all by itself.

    3. Caver_Dave Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively ...

      We still have paper insulated wires to our village circa 1940's. All encased in a lead pipe that goes down a steep (1:8) hill into a deep valley and then up the other side to the village with the exchange. With the help of a friendly and knowledgeable OpenReach engineer the pipe sprang a leak at the bottom of the hill and water ran out for over a week! OpenReach upgraded the village with the exchange to FTTC with government money, but didn't have enough to replace our (256Kbps for some people) wires!

      The four local villages (including mine) had topped the last 2 County Council broadband requirements surveys (not including the upgraded one above as that wasn't even in the top 20.) I got enough people to sign up in the four villages to get a FTTP company in and we all have 1Gbps capable links.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively ...

        "We still have paper insulated wires to our village circa 1940's. All encased in a lead pipe"

        BT have repeatedly given cast iron undertakings to the ICO that this stuff no longer exists in their network (nor does aluminium)

        If a bunch of caravan-dwelling nomads were found to have taken posession of said non-existent cable then theoretically they couldn't be prosuecuted for it, as it's an item BT have repeatedly told the government was gotten rid of years ago.....

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively ...

        "OpenReach upgraded the village with the exchange to FTTC with government money,"

        There's a reason for that: It's all they had to do in order to prevent WISPs getting EU money for broadband rollouts. As soon as they announced FTTC plans, any EU broadband grants for WISPs went up in smoke.

        BT bankrupted a number of WISPs in this fashion. In the case of Cranleigh/Ewhurst in Surrey they delayed boradband rollout in the area by at least 5 years and ensured that even now (12 years later) a lot of people who would have had WISP broadband can't get a working DSL signal

        You were lucky you can get a competing FTTP company in. A lot of areas (especially in "less rural" locations) are finding they're stuck with a choice of Openreach rotten cables or Virgin stupid contention ratios

  7. Malcolm Weir

    Stunning News!

    I found this snippet from the gummint's announcement interesting:

    Their available speeds will rocket to more than 1,000 megabits or one gigabit per second.

    So what do we think the plan is? Obviously, we'll be getting more than gigabit, so does that mean they'll be rolling out NBase-T on-premises equipment? Or does each fiber terminate in a box with 2 or more bonded 1000-BaseT interfaces? And as the wording is explicit ("available speeds"), that suggests the more-than-gigabit is net of any additional protocol, voice signals, etc.

    Exciting times! Is this the newly non-European UK pulling ahead and quietly promising 2.5G, 5G or even 10G to rural premises?

    The alternative, that the DCMS and the not-always-Right Honourable Oliver Dowden may actually be overdosing on their hyperbole and, when they say "more than" they actually mean "almost", is just not credible!!

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Stunning News!

      It means the carrier fibre won't be limited in the way FTTC was. When we upgraded a client site to fibre last year, we had a choice of a wide selection of speeds, however, once signed up we received an SFP module for the specific speed combination requested. So if we decide to upgrade, I expect they will simply send out a new SFP module and increase the monthly invoice.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Stunning News!

      it's a bit like the case of the traffic lights in Stourbridge (Birmingham) whose pelican crossing lights barely scraped inside EU regulations for delays after pushing the button and time allowed to cross the road (and only after being altered because they wreen't legal befoirehand)

      Councillors were quoted in the local papers as "It complies with the reguilations! You can't fdo better than that!"

      This was a road with a VERY high level of pedestrian fatalities because the layout encouraged drivers to hit 70mph in a 30mph zone, and anyone crossing against the lights was in mortal danger because drivers travelling that speed had less than a second to avoid them as they came around a blind bend

      The problem is that "complies with regulations" was a 90 second delay after pushing the cross button on a dead quiet road.... You can imagine how many pedestrians will actually wait that long - plug DY81YD into and scroll about to see the carnage

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    The Space Race, UK Style

    Operation Moonshot

    Rocket Boost

  9. Stuart Halliday

    I wonder when domestic customers will realise that "36Mbps" you supposing paid for is shared between you and 50 other customers..

    That's more like 720Kbps if they all try to use it at the same time.

    Wake up and ask about the 'contention' ratio?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Wake up and ask about the 'contention' ratio?"

      You won't get an answer other than "This is commercially sensitive information and we won't release it"

  10. xyz Silver badge

    Funnily enough...

    Some blokes just installed fibre cable through the main gas pipe to somewhere in the middle of my patch of forest in the middle of nowhere in Catalunya. A truck with a generator, a digger, a big reel of cable and a couple of blokes was all it took. Seemed simple enough. Now, getting electricity.. That's hard.

  11. gerryg

    Devolved administrations n'all

    Y'know leaving it to them to define their priorities. They get a settlement each year and don't like acknowledging Westminster exists. Can't have it both ways.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Devolved administrations n'all

      Actually it is very important that Westminster exists and keeps behaving the way it is currently.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confidently expecting York to appear on the list soon - then they'll have 3 sets of FTTP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... and pavements that look even more like a lockdown home baker's chuckouts!

  13. gerdesj Silver badge

    "Noticeably absent from either of these procurement rounds are homes and businesses in "

    Devon and Somerset too. Both get pretty rural quite quickly.

  14. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    Openreach... including in rural and hard-to-reach areas

    Today's announcement was welcomed by industry, with Openreach CEO Clive Selly commenting: "We're already building Full Fibre broadband to 20 million homes and businesses under our own steam – including in rural and hard-to-reach areas – and we welcome this as a vital next step to connect the toughest parts of the UK.

    Do you think they picked one home and business from a rural area and a hard-to-reach area, so Clive can say that with a straight face?

  15. My-Handle Silver badge

    Middle of NI over here, and still 2Mbps. I'm loving the continued announcements of money being spent on the broadband network in rural areas, but I've seen squat for 5 years.

    I've long since accepted that I'm going to have to take matters into my own hands. Most feasible options are 4g internet or Starlink.

  16. low_resolution_foxxes Bronze badge

    Best rural option is to check to see where the local 4G/5G masts are. It can often tell you instantly whether the mast is a dud

  17. spudmasterflex

    I am luck enough to have a Gigabit leased line at home, but last week I received my Starlink Beta kit in the UK, the future looks very promising for this tech, I can consistently get 250/300Mbps down and 60up with 25-30ms latency. There is downtime as to be expected but for user who lives in the middle of nowhere this will be a game changer.

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