back to article BT chief blames regulations for UK lagging in next-gen network rollout

The latest CEO of UK telecoms giant BT says that Scandinavian nations are far more developed than Britain when it comes to telco infrastructure, and the government needs to overhaul regulations to fix this. Allison Kirkby, who took over as chief of the former state-owned monopoly in February, told the Deloitte and Enders media …

  1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

    Out in the sticks

    When I first looked into BT's broadband offering for Dorset I was surprised to find that they had 97% coverage. (OK, I made that up, it was ninety something percent, this was about twenty years ago.)

    Turns out that was population coverage, i.e. Bournemouth and Poole, no luck if you lived in a village somewhere.

    Now Project Gigabit is handing out contracts to our local independent provider to cover the bits of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire that BT can't be arsed to cover.

    Twunts.

    1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

      Re: Out in the sticks

      Where I live (edge of a small town), all the streets around us were fibred up several years ago using a combination of existing underground conduits, above ground poles and new poles, but not our postcode. I have contacted Openreach several times but no response. Their website says to contact your ISP, all the ISPs say to contact Openreach. Openreach's own data says that for our area their build is finished. So no fibre for us.

  2. Munehaus

    The colour of money

    Maybe the problem is they've been rolling out fiber when everyone is asking for fibre?

    1. KarMann Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The colour of money

      No wonder there's been a Fybogel shortage of late.

      It's the brown one. -->

    2. KarMann Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The colour of money

      Maybe that explains the Fybogel shortage of late.

      Mine's the brown one. -->

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: The colour of money

        I assume your post must have taken a while to appear (as my last one did) and you assumed it had been lost in the er, post.

        Blame the GPO British Telecom? Or more likely, the reg's database and/or staff are under heavy load :(

        1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

          Re: The colour of money

          I've had trouble logging in for the last two days.

  3. ChrisElvidge Bronze badge

    Telegraph poles

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/article/2024/jun/04/internet-provider-brsk-has-blocked-our-homes-view

    "It will come as a surprise to many that telegraph poles do not need planning permission, and councils and residents are, indeed, powerless to stop them."

    But digging the road up requires permission from the council. Which method will suppliers favour?

    1. Steve Button Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Telegraph poles

      I call this fake news. I checked The Telegraph for a more appropriate source and could find no mention of it.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Telegraph poles

      But digging the road up requires permission from the council.

      And "road rent" while it's being dug up IIRC?

    3. Mike Pellatt

      Re: Telegraph poles

      Roadworks permits are not planning permission.

      Two entirely different things, with entirely different purposes. All they have in common is that they are issued by councils. In 2-tier areas, not even the same council - Roadworks permits from the County Council in its role as Highways Authority, planning permission from the district/borough council (except in National Parks where it's the NPA, deemed permission by the County Council for its own applications, and Minerals and Waste applications, also determined by the County Council)

      Roadworks permits are for safety and traffic management purposes.

      Planning permission is for, well, land use planning purposes.

    4. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Telegraph poles

      The same also applies to the cabinets that the Cable outfits & BT use. The worst offenders are Virgin Media who just plonk them anywhere. In the villages around my area there are many nice grassy areas with flowerbeds that just have a cabinet plonked in front of it of directly in front of a bench on the area.

      Utter morons.

  4. xyz Silver badge

    Meanwhile....

    My local village here in Catalunya (pop <5000) has been invaded by 3 blokes, a big roll of fibre cable and a bobcat sized machine with a big disc on its back and are currently carving their way down the streets and laying fibre. No idea why really as we're up to our asses in fibre anyway.

    We're also getting brand new sewers and a water treatment plant thanks to the EU.

    It's all go out here in the sticks.

    1. ICL1900-G3

      Re: Meanwhile....

      Ah, the EU... maybe one day we could join. One can but dream m

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile....

        Watch yourself. With subversive talk like that you'll attract the attention of the Trollin' Trumpettes of the Brexit Police that patrol these forums.

    2. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile....

      You obviously have better sticks.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile....

      My parents have a holiday home in France. It's a solitary house on the forested side of a mountain, it's a fifteen minute walk through dense forests to the nearest neighbour. It's isolated.

      Last year France Télécom Orange dug a two kilometre trench to get Le Fibre to the house and now their holiday home has faster broadband than their regular home.

      It can be done, but it requires ambition and dedication, and money. The French don't take half measures and have decided to connect the whole country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile....

        My French tax bill showed it, believe me! (and we still didn't have fibre, it had been pushed out yearly from 2021 to 2026 despite being able to see the fibre "exchange" from our house. I could have installed fibre quicker than SFR were doing it, although the delay was partly because they had to spend 6 months redoing all the fibre from the previous year because it didn't work reliably).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile....

        France has far fewer NIMBYs as well, which helps.

        We also live in a country full of "it's good enough for me" types of people...I have seen a dramatic shift in this attitude since people starting working from home during the pandemic...the cheapskates on sub £5 broadband suddenly found out why broadband is important.

        The broadband offering in your area can affect your house value as well, so can having structured cabling. I was told by an estate agent that in a 4 bed house, if you add two CAT6 runs to each room, you can expect it to add about £5k to the value of your house...at least...fancy light fittings and power sockets aren't worth shit...

        When I gutted my house, I ran CAT6 everywhere while the walls were open...it cost me far less than the value added to the property.

        Meanwhile, crappy broadband in your street can cost you £10k or more on the value of your house...my mother in law had a very nice flat in a South London suburb, but her street was the only street in the town that had no fibre broadband. As a result, despite being in the nicer part of town, the properties on that street were worth considerably less than the surrounding streets. Twenty grand less it turned out when she sold it...she had people pulling out left right and centre because of the shitty broadband...it became the deciding factor for a lot of folks bidding on the place...the sad thing is, a couple of years before she sold, Hyperoptic were rolling out to the area and nobody on her street (other than her, on my advice) showed any interest, so they skipped it.

        If the broadband on your street is shit, it's highly likely that you live on a street full of cheapskates that have consistently refused upgrades to the street because "they don't need it"..."my £5 a month TalkTalk DSL is fine for me".

        1. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Meanwhile....

          Maybe, just maybe that dirt cheap broadband package is good enough for them. Not everyone needs high speed connections and bandwidth.

          Where I live we are the wrong side of a railway crossing so fibre (Virgin Media) never bothered. As soon as BT are about to roll out FTTP Virgin dig everywhere up and put cable in. Now we have BT doing much the same. It is madness.

          For what I need FTTC running at around 70Mbs has been more than adequate even during Covid with 2 students doing stuff.

          Fibre may make some things happen quicker but it is not going to have a massive impact on my work.

          1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

            Re: Meanwhile....

            Speed isn't the only benefit from fibre.

            Some years ago BT did an experiment and ripped all the copper out of a couple of villages they had gone all-fibre with. As well as speed (especially once you are no longer in stone throw distance of the nearest FTTC box), there is reliability. Some may never have experienced cable problems with their phone line - I have, both with home and with work (having all the lines to a site done with aluminium cable is a really fun thing, which combination of lines will fail this week ...)

            Arguably it was government intervention in the first place that landed us where we are now. Had Maggie made a different decision in 1990 we'd all be on fibre and copper phone lines would be something you read about in history books. How Thatcher killed the UK's superfast broadband before it even existed is a good read. Had the government gone down the route of "you can build it, but everyone (i.e. other ISPs) can use it" like we've eventually ended up with, we'd have been there. It's just taken an extra 3 decades instead.

            The last mile never made sense for competition - we don't have multiple sets of electricity cables, or multiple sets of water pipes, or multiple sets of drain pipes, or multiple sets of roads, these are all systems where there is no sensible route other than one set run by a regulated monopoly and allowing others to use the system.

    4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile....

      "currently carving their way down the streets and laying fibre..."

      basically what they did in Chetenham ... Cityfibre carve the street up for fiber whilst ignoring everyone's telephone lines ... snap, break, sizzle.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "about 80% of homes in Sweden have a fiber connection"

    Gosh, might it have anything to do with the fact that Swedish government actually gives a fuck about its citizens ?

    As in, allocating funds where they are useful, and not just filling the pockets of some MP's nephew ?

    Just wondering.

    And besides, what is a private company in charge of comms complaining about the state of something it is in charge of ?

    You don't like the state of things ? Put your money where your - oh, silly me. BT does not exist to serve customers, it exists to serve its investors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BT does not exist to serve customers, it exists to serve its investors.

      I think you meant executives, not investors.

      1. Spamfast
        Unhappy

        Re: BT does not exist to serve customers, it exists to serve its investors.

        I think you meant executives, not investors.

        Too right.

        We used to bitch about the workforce being abused in order to satisfy the greed of the shareholders.

        These days the execs seem to be soley concerned with their own remuneration and screw the shareholders. The workforce isn't even noticed.

        I suspect the main reason for this is that those in charge of the shares are the execs of the pension funds and other investment firms who are quite often - oh yes - also execs of the firms whose stocks they hold.

        The conflict of interest here seems to be accepted by government lawmakers. I wonder w - oh wait, just checking the non-exec director lists. I see.

      2. TimMaher Silver badge
        Coat

        Todays Independent.

        “ Former BT boss secures £3.7m final pay despite profit drop

        BT has revealed it handed former boss Philip Jansen a £3.7m final pay package despite the telecoms giant revealing lower profits and extending its cost-cutting efforts. Mr Jansen was replaced by Allison Kirkby as chief executive of BT at the end of January after five years leading the company. The firm’s latest annual report revealed that the former boss’s total pay deal jumped by 25.8 per cent to £3.72m for the financial year to 31 March.

        The pay package came despite Mr Jansen receiving lower fixed pay – down to £1.11m from £1.32m a year earlier – after leaving the company 10 months into the financial year. This included a £917,000 salary, as well as his pension allowance and benefits, which included £79,000 on the cost of a car and personal driver.”

        Just sayin’.

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    It's fine, if you keep me in the Dark Ages for much longer I will just seek alternatives.

    I lived off 4G (including VPN, gaming, media, etc.) for 5 years.

    I'm in a rural place now but in my previous (very urban) place, I was told that I could only ever get 3Mbps down and 1Mbps up. So I didn't even bother to activate the line.

    And if you keep screwing me over, I'll go with Starlink (yuk!) or any competitor that comes along (e.g. Bezos).

    I would literally give them 3-4 times as much money each month, rather than BT, purely because they offer the product I want. And then where will your demand / infrastructure be?

    I should not be sitting on 30Mbps down as I currently am, even in a relatively rural area. It just shouldn't be happening. Without doing anything but changing a box at the end, I should be getting up to 1Gbps like everyone else.

    The only reason I'm not is because you don't want to give it to me - nothing to do with planning, etc. at all. All you need to do is swap one box for a different type of box in an already-existing cabinet.

    1. short

      Honestly, just get starlink if you've got somewhere to put the not-dish. I moved from 4g to it a couple of years ago and it's been solid. Openreach can just keep blithering about their great plans, and it'll be nice if it ever happens, but, in the meantime, I'm calm in a way that I'd never be if I was fretting about openreach.

      (Checks Openreach rollout page. Ah yes, I can have superfast fiber broadband, and they'll refund me if they can't meet their guaranteed speed of zero bps. That's pushing the definition of superfast somewhat.)

      Available now Superfast Fibre Broadband

      0-1 Mbps download speed

      0 - 1 Mbps upload speed

      Fsck'em. Elon, take my money.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        I won't give Elon a penny for as long as I can reasonably avoid doing so.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What if he has a bot that roams the Internet, identifying and collecting comments that show people who dislike him cutting off their nose to spite their face? I imagine seeing each comment is worth far more to him than the profit from a starlink subscription.

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            (shrug) I really couldn't care less what he thinks, or whether he even thinks at all.

            When he's such a twit (oops, wrong vowel), I have zero interest in giving him a penny of my money, and would far rather wait for a rival.

            He's really THAT toxic to me that I'd rather go without, or go with literally any other competitor.

            Same as other companies - there's no way I'd give Apple a penny of my money? Would they notice or care? Of course not. Is that why I made that decision? No.

            I won't support idiots, atrocious design or profiteering.

            Feel free to give him your own money, I won't be as butthurt about it as you seem to be that I choose not to touch a certain company or their products on principle.

            Same in my professional life when I'm choosing suppliers and managing a budget. I'd far rather go with someone I feel I can do business with than always going with the cheapest, the brand-name or the richest company. In fact, most of the time I do the exact opposite and would rather have a supplier for whom I represent a greater portion of their turnover, who does a decent job with the right kit for my requirements, and who isn't a twet when I have to deal with them. Damn, there go those vowels again.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The joke was that he's petty enough to do that.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure, the regumalations made you waste everyone's time with GFAST and to deploy a fibre network that is not capable of symmetric speeds without yet another costly upgrade .

  8. Tron Silver badge

    The economics are awful.

    And BT is a private company.

    Quote (with spelling corrected): That boils down to deployment of fibre infrastructure in areas which together encompass a total of 12.5 million premises. The number of homes with a fibre connection actually stood at just over 4 million at the time.

    So only one third of the people who can have fibre want it, and BT accounts will only be a slice of that. And that was the easy 50% of the roll out - the urban density. Beyond that the cost rises exponentially.

    El Reg readers may want the fastest net connection yet devised to post their comments on here, but the majority need 'NetFlix capable' and have no great desire to pay a penny for more.

    What exactly are all those Scandinavians doing with their fibre?

    1. Like a badger

      Re: The economics are awful.

      In addition to awful economics, there's the problem that BT is a company whose plans are regulated more actively than other companies due to its historic incumbency, and government policy is hell bent on pushing competition and consumer switching as the panacea for all evils. There's no way BT could have delivered 80% national fibre coverage without government support - both policy support and financial support. Instead, government have preferred the illusion of a competitive market and massive duplication and over-build.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT have woken up .... a new govt is coming which means ... more money available !!!

    If things go as expected, there will be a new govt which mean BT can *once again* promise so much *if* they get some more money to allow them to work faster etc.

    BT have plundered the public purse so many times on a promise of *more* fibre, greater coverage in rural areas etc etc.

    Each time BT have taken the money and delivered *not a lot* !!!

    What is needed is a *will* to deliver on the promises ... BUT BT don't want to spend their *own* money doing it !!!

    If you envy the nordic countries ability to deliver fibre everywhere .... just do what they did ... simples !!!

    I will not be holding my breath on this one !!!

    I have eventually got fibre [500 Meg Down / 75 Meg Up] 20 years too late ... asymmetric of course ...

    Speedtests say I can get, at best, 520Meg down *but* iPlayer still drops video quality to almost unwatchable !!!???

    Someone somewhere is telling a 'Porky' !!!

    :)

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: BT have woken up .... a new govt is coming which means ... more money available !!!

      Last month, my bill with BT was £145. Granted, that includes mobile and BT sports, and the FTTC product has been solid, but the cost has ended up being pretty eye-watering. The lowest 150/150 from the new local fibre provider* is £19 per month, and they've offered to provide it for £1 a month until the BT contract runs out in November. I'm really looking forward to not being with BT. It's been a bit like being in an abusive relationship. The last time I renewed, they gave me a discount here and there without telling me they were removing the BT Sports HD pack, and then they put the prices up anyway.

      * A company called Grain delivers fibre under the street in our area. Another company called Brsk serves other areas nearby.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: BT have woken up .... a new govt is coming which means ... more money available !!!

        Back in the early noughties, the day that Bulldog came to my area, I waved my BT connection goodbye and switched. Then, when I moved, I went back to my old provider (because Bulldog went through this period of upheaval and being gobbled up) on a BT connection. But I completely switched when a highly recommended ISP started offering porting of my line to them in a similar fashion to Bulldog, with some additional services that I wanted. I've been BT-less in some form or fashion since... 2005 or thereabouts, and it's never been better. Granted, BT's decision at the time to demand an extra couple of quid per quarter for using SO instead of DD to pay had something to do with me being fed up with BT's antics and switching.

        Then of course the whole "thou shalt filter your customers' traffic to protect them from nasty things" mandate from the government to large ISPs made me even more grateful that my current supplier has always maintained that it's a silly thing and give you raw internet with warts and all. Up A&A! :-)

  10. Jason Hindle

    Government....

    The real issue here is that Sweden, France, and Spain all have governments that are guilty of governing. I don't think we can accuse the current lot in Westminister of that.

    1. Like a badger

      Re: Government....

      There's also the fact that those countries have much higher taxes than the UK. People in the UK whine incessantly that government should be more effective, do more, deliver more services.

      But they don't seem very keen on actually accepting tax rates to achieve that, and our likely next government is as committed as the present one to the idea that we can have public services like Denmark and tax bills like Chad.

      1. Spamfast

        Re: Government....

        While I agree with LABadger's post, I'm always very dubious about net taxation being higher in Scan-lands.

        The headline income tax rates are definitely higher of course.

        But the tax burden in the UK is very opaque. As well as income tax with varying rates depending upon earnings, our employers and we pay obsurely calculated national insurance on our wages and then we pay council tax on the properties in which we live. For most of us, almost all our disposable income is also subject to 20% additional tax at the point of purchase. (Of course, the richer one is, the easier it is to avoid both national insurance and VAT by fiddling with dividends and company-owned assets for which the VAT can be reclaimed, but that's a different issue.)

        Nordic countries also have sales/purchase taxes and non-income-tax state payments of course but they're usually a lot more up-front about it.

        I wonder what the total tax burden as a percentage of income is for average people in the UK vs, say, Sweden? And when I say average, I don't mean the mean income, I mean for the bottom 60% of folks, in terms of income. I don't know but I suspect that they are probably paying less in total in Malmö than Manchester.

        1. Like a badger

          Re: Government....

          "LABadger" I like it! Makes me sound blingy, gangsta hiphop, the sort of guy who wears a chunky gold chain, posts social media images playing with guns, and has can of spray paint poking out the back pocket of his slack-belted trousers. Before he gets shot, of course. I'm not so keen on that last bit.

          Anyway, to clarify the numbers I looked at weren't headline tax rates, they were the total national tax burden as a % of GDP.

          https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/en/data-insights/tax-to-gdp-ratios

          There's tables, charts and narrative for other years, and other sources for the data, but the essence is always the same, that in the mentioned countries government chooses how much more of the nation's wealth is spent. In terms of the rate for the lower six deciles, the data is available, but I can't be bothered do the work to find comparatives that are credible for both UK and SE - noting also that taxes per income bracket aren't just about income taxes, but about sales, wealth and property taxes, possibly about some services eg energy and water where the state in practice sets prices, and about benefits.

          The state spending much more of national income is not necessarily a bad thing, but to be viable long term requires a national compact that accepts that government will spend that proportion of the nation's wealth, and to be sustainable requires ALL tax rates to be higher. I had the joy of a Labour canvasser last night, he happily claimed government spending needed to go up, but couldn't or wouldn't see that (a) the UK government needs to better match income to spending, and (b) that an assault on the global rich and a few windfall taxes isn't going to produce the £150bn a year that would be needed. Had the schmuck on the doorstep for fifty minutes, which I thought was an achievement; He got off lightly compared to the most recent Conservative canvassers who now fear to tread here. Looking forward to a visit from the Green Party and hopefully the Libdems.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Government....

          One problem is defining "taxes". France, for example, has introduced the concept of "social charges" (rather analogous to national insurance) which are now levied on almost everything, but aren't officially regarded as taxes in France. 25 years ago you could sell some shares and pay 18% tax if you exceeded a certain threshold. Now your gains are taxed as salary, so maybe 20-30%, plus 17.5% social charges, and 10% "employee contribution" social charge if they came from a stock option. That's almost 60% to the government, yet they can still claim "no tax rises". Merci M. Macron.

  11. Steven Raith

    Saw a story the other day...

    ...of one oldiwonk - one - complaining repeatedly about a pole going up, complained to their local MP, and that caused the *whole street* to be taken off of Openreaches rollout plan.

    So that's maybe twenty or thirty families now stuck on whatever tincan-on-a-string solution they have, due to one old NIMBY moaning that they didn't like the pole.

    https://www.burnhamandhighbridgeweeklynews.co.uk/news/24370924.burnham-on-sea-service-poles-taken-complaints/

    “In this case, new poles were the only feasible way of delivering ultrafast Full Fibre, but following objections [from, as far as anyone is aware, one person and their local mp - SR] we have removed this street from our build plan.”

    That's why we can't have nice things, and why we can't have consistent high speed internet infrastructure in this bloody country.

    Steven R (who has a telegraph pole outside his bedroom window, which means nice fast internet)

  12. Big_Boomer

    "BT blames anything other than their own incompetence for their failures"

    Nothing new here. BT have been blaming everything and anything on their inability to effectively manage major projects since about 6 months BEFORE privatisation. If it was anywhere else I'd say to nationalise the OpenReach part of BT, but there is no point as the UKs inherently corrupt, nepotistic, graft ridden governing systems will just put more incompetents in charge of it. With any luck the free market companies will outcompete BT and render them obsolete, but that won't happen any time soon, especially when successive governments keep pouring taxpayers money into BT.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fibre Broadband was scuppered decades ago...

    https://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/how-the-uk-lost-the-broadband-race-in-1990-1224784

    By the Torys.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fibre Broadband was scuppered decades ago...

      Perhaps one of the Tories better decision, more likely.

      I recall the BT of state ownership and national monopoly, and it was truly shite. Anybody who believes that that organisation would have had the expertise and resources to efficiently deliver a globally innovative national FTTP programme is missing something. Look at the article - they were building factories, making their own fibre, their own switches! This was the era of the dinosaur state monopoly "We've run out of milk, Maureen. Send a memo to Smithers instructing him to go and buy a cow! Oh, and tell HR to hire a milkmaid".

      As much as anything else, what did people need FTTP for back then? Back in 1990-2000 there were no big content streaming services, grumble was grainy low res content (ahem), and the internet was largely static pages full of garish Geocities and AOL rubbish. Even now the copper network seems to be holding up well even now judging by Openreach's difficulty in getting customers to take up FTTP (circa two thirds of customers don't upgrade when FTTP becomes available), and most customers seem happy with 35-70 Mbps. You may have or want an FTTP connection, I already have one, but that reflects the readership of this site. However, the masses? They don't care, and an FTTC connection works more than well enough for most.

      OK, so the network could have been supposedly future proofed in advance - except that now when people are starting to take up FTTP broadband, the old BT-as-dinosaur scheme would mean we have a network fitted with quarter century old end of life electro-optics, end of life custom made switches, architecture designed around tiny data volumes, and all the kit having no spares available, and a national network built on single country standards.

      So sorry, sir, the story of "Maggie Thatcher, broadband snatcher" doesn't stack up. Now, that doesn't mean that we haven't since been let down by lack of government vision to achieve 100% modernisation of telecoms - the Labour party had thirteen years to sort things out between 1997 and 2010, when the need for digital infrastructure was becoming a lot clearer and wilfully flunked it. The Tories since 2010 have likewise flunked it.

      1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

        Re: Fibre Broadband was scuppered decades ago...

        I suspect that the equipment they wanted wasn't actually available from the commercial suppliers - things are very different today.

        But whether it was needed is immaterial - going fibre would have reduced costs overall as the maintenance of the copper network suck up a lot of cash on an ongoing basis. Perhaps a "big bang" wan't the right approach, but certainly an "anything new or expanded must be fibre" would have resulted in us getting to somewhere like we are today, but about 1/2 century ago - and probably to "no copper left" by some years ago.

        Hindsight is a wonderful thing, had the government allowed it to go ahead, but enforced a split like we have now (BT can provide services but no plant, OpenRetch can provide plant (i.e. lines) but no services because all and sundry can rent the lines from them) then that would almost certainly have worked.

  14. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    "regulatory support"

    ...means, subsidies and a controlled market place, that excludes other businesses.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: "regulatory support"

      And taxes, lots of taxes.

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