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UK government to help push faster broadband

UK government to help push faster broadband

Faster broadband speeds could be coming if the UK government decides to help build a fibre network.

The majority of Brits may have a broadband connection but it seems, if you go by our forum posts, that many of their connections are not quite up to speed. Well the UK government has apparently taken notice of your complaints and hopes to step in to help usher in higher connectivity speeds.

"Today we face a new challenge. Other countries are starting to invest in new, fibre-based infrastructure, delivering considerably higher bandwidth than is available in the UK today," said Stephen Timms, Minister for Competitiveness. "I have decided to chair a high level summit later this year to consider the circumstances that might trigger public sector intervention and the form that intervention might take."

All of this came about from an event that was organised by the Broadband Stakeholder Group.

Richard Allan, Director of Government Affairs at Cisco and a member of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, believes that 40 percent of UK citizens should have a fibre connection by 2012. He says that 24 megabits/sec is the top out under good connections on copper-based system.

The move to fibre based systems won't come cheap though as it's estimated that it will cost between £10 and £15 billion to build a fibre network. This is the part where government help is needed. Planning laws and lowered civil engineering costs would help lower the overall cost of the upgrade.

Normally, fibre lines are run through ducts in municipal sewage systems because of the fragility of the lines but this might be an unavailable route in some parts of the UK. Deeper sewers that aren't municipally owned could pose problems in many areas but another solution is available. Micro ducts are used in such areas where fibre is blown through them in long runs.

The government should announce any plans to step in either late this year or early next.

Do you think that you'll see faster broadband speeds if the government steps in and lends a hand? Discuss your thoughts over in the forums or in the comment section below.

40 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
wharrad 19th September 2007, 17:34 Quote
Please don't forget the upload - that's all I ask...
Cabe6403 19th September 2007, 17:34 Quote
Well thats a good sign. I apparantly have a 8Mbit connection but most speed test I do top out at around 2Mbit and the service seems to be getting worse these days with more and more outages. The other day my connection dropped to 100Kbit for about an hour. :(

I'm on NTL (now owned by Virgin).

I can only hope I'm in that 40% by 2012
Bogie 19th September 2007, 17:38 Quote
Im with AOL UK and they suck. My supposed 8meg connection runs at about 4 meg on a good day. What with them capping me because i leave my router on aswell they give me 56kps or 0.5 meg in the evenings. No one go AOL UK. EVER!
Duste 19th September 2007, 17:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wharrad
Please don't forget the upload - that's all I ask...

+1

Uploads should be at least half your max download.
xrob 19th September 2007, 17:44 Quote
hmm i was under the impression that BT werent doing FTTH, so how by 2012 they plan on doing this i am unsure, the BT 21CN scheme i thought was just to better the current infrastruture with more fibre to high level POPs/Exhcanges or something and enabling all the exchanges with ADSL2 for this 24mbit crap. I can say for sure though what ever the goverment does, it will not speed things up in terms of time scale and connection speeds because they will just take it as discounts for themselves. i do hope for FTTH but living in a small town in norfolk i cant see it happening :(.
Omnituens 19th September 2007, 17:45 Quote
Quote:
but it seems, if you go by our forum posts, that many of their connections are quite up to speed.

"are NOT quite up to speed"?

personally, I prefer a SLOWER, STABLE connection, to a FAST, UNSTABLE connection. currently i have a SLOW, UNSTABLE connection.

F**K YOU BEE TEE WITH YOUR OWN HOMOHUB.
Cabe6403 19th September 2007, 17:47 Quote
^^ I saw that but forgot to point it out. Kudos
bloodcar 19th September 2007, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnituens
"are NOT quite up to speed"?

It's fixed now guys, along with a couple of other typos. Sorry about that, was in a big hurry when I was typing that one out but thanks for pointing it out.
p3n 19th September 2007, 18:06 Quote
Im all for better connections but with the increased bandwidth (upload in particular) the ISP has to be careful you dont startup your own game servers etc. Which might lead to alot of problems when gaming with ports being firewalled etc (my swedish pals cant host WC3 on their fat pipes)
mctigger 19th September 2007, 18:14 Quote
mmm the government getting involved could be disastrous but i would like to have a fibre connection, if it ever happens, but i doubt it, cos i can get a top speed of 700k on my connection
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogie
Im with AOL UK and they suck. My supposed 8meg connection runs at about 4 meg on a good day. What with them capping me because i leave my router on aswell they give me 56kps or 0.5 meg in the evenings. No one go AOL UK. EVER!

im with aol, oh god why did i go that route, Mainly cos i don't pay for it but hey ho, anyways, they don't cap me, they just have a tendency to cut me off time to time, when im d/l large files, idiots
Delphium 19th September 2007, 18:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wharrad
Please don't forget the upload - that's all I ask...

QFT!!
Upload speeds atm are at a stupidly costly premium, door to door fiber is the way forward!!
With the sweeds already doing so, and france implimenting it, fiber would open doors to all sorts of tech, HD tv, digital phones, as well as internet.

I wish the goverment best of luck trying to get the BT puzzle together in order to roll out such.
IanW 19th September 2007, 18:36 Quote
'Twas rumoured that many moons ago, when phone company vans were yellow, BT bosses went to No10 and offered to provide FTTH at no cost to government, but Maggie said NO!
Darkedge 19th September 2007, 18:40 Quote
anyone who went with AOL - you believed their marketing rubbish and took the worst, limited internet package outside of a mobile phone contract? Fools.

AOL should die as a company NOW, and I hope they do.
Veles 19th September 2007, 18:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duste
+1

Uploads should be at least half your max download.

Agreed, upload speeds are very poor and there's no reason for it, maybe when broadband was first used there wasn't much the average user uploaded, but with the advent of stuff like YouTube and widespread P2P use, the average user is more likely to want a high upload speed.
kosch 19th September 2007, 18:44 Quote
Lets upgrade bring back Ceefax!
ellism 19th September 2007, 18:49 Quote
There is no chance in BT doing this off of their own back with all the money they have put into ADSL in the last few years.
mikeuk2004 19th September 2007, 19:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkedge
anyone who went with AOL - you believed their marketing rubbish and took the worst, limited internet package outside of a mobile phone contract? Fools.

AOL should die as a company NOW, and I hope they do.


Not correct at all my friend. I hated AOL before I signed up. Im with them because they were the only provider available for my flat which is in a newly built area. I had no choice other than no internet acess at all. I can now use other providers now but im stuck in a contract.
cyrilthefish 19th September 2007, 19:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duste
+1

Uploads should be at least half your max download.
They started off that way, just haven't increased much at all with the download speeds :(

256k upload was great on 512k connections, but 512k or less upload is rather pathetic on 4mb+ connections.

It's even worse for me though, due to virgin media's horrible traffic shaping i spend most evenings with a crippled 192k upload :'(
capnPedro 19th September 2007, 20:35 Quote
I'm with NTL/Virgin, but even my parents (who rarely use the internet) are starting to get pissed off at them. 2mB download is slower than I would like, and being limited to 10kB/sec makes my torrent ratios hate me.
Kipman725 19th September 2007, 20:57 Quote
I want upload = download tiscali block torrents aswell which is crap (although it pushed me to better ways of getting files). Torrents are actualy best for legal files not ilegal files as it's easy to find out who is uploading to you.
proxess 19th September 2007, 23:06 Quote
OMG you are still to taste the power of NetMadeira cache/throttling system. Its the suckiest thing ever. What simply happens is when someone visits a site for the first time, it cache's the site on their "proxy" (the throttling system). It also stops you from visiting "dodgy" sites, like thepiratebay.org which they tried to filter (they gave up after loads of complaints). So in the end NetMadeira filters and throttles EVERYTHING we do, and heck, we have throttles 4mbit connections which they claim to be 8mbit. If your not up to speed then what are we?!
HourBeforeDawn 19th September 2007, 23:38 Quote
sheesh must be nice, I wish we could get such a push here in the states :(
iwog 20th September 2007, 01:20 Quote
lol, you realise the only reason they're pushing this is because its an easy way to move up in the developed nation tables. There's no chance of the government improving something that really matters like, life expectancy, adult literacy/numeracy or average wage. So the labour government does what its best at and pads the statistics with false data. Come on and look at the bigger picture, this is being put in place for future look how good we are campaigns.
automagsrock 20th September 2007, 01:33 Quote
Must be nice. Here in Montana 1.5-3Mbps is a damn good connection. I wish we could get the speeds you guys across the pong can get :(
completemadness 20th September 2007, 02:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by automagsrock
Must be nice. Here in Montana 1.5-3Mbps is a damn good connection. I wish we could get the speeds you guys across the pong can get :(
i get 2mbps max, and im in the UK

im glad the government are finally going to do somthing to help us, hopefully these stuipd bandwith caps can be dealt with too, no point having a 100mbit connection if your only allowed 40gb/month
Joeymac 20th September 2007, 06:17 Quote
What BT have planned with it's ''21st Century Network'' is frankly crap... All you will get, until about 2015-2020, is a doubling/tripling of the speed you have now. Upload will probably only get a doubling. So for me that will be about 10Mbit down and 1Mbit up. That's by 2015!! Which is when they plan major upgrade after the '21CN'.
Considering what other countries have now, that's pitiful. We will be an international joke. For business, and our standing in the tech world, it's not at all acceptable.
If the government don't do something about this it's going to take such a long time to get a good percentage of fibre. The rest of the world will be on two way Gbit connections and we will all still be on 10Mbit. Hell in France (France!!) 60Mbps isn't uncommon as they have VDSL... BT's '21CN' only upgrades us to 24.. Only BT could package that as an advance.

As for AOL, I'm on them, they are crap. They didn't used to be though. Until the beginning of the year and the maxdsl 'upgrade' they had no evening caps, no limits and I got a perfect service of 2Mbit. I could download 24/7 and it would always be a flat-line for both up and down. Since Maxdsl I've been meaning to switch ISPs but I haven't found one which doesn't have some kind of fair use limits or complicated bandwidth usage time scheme. They all have the same arbitrary limits and bullshit but package it up differently. The first ISP which lets me use my line limits 24/7 and doesn't pester me with 'fair use', port blocking and traffic shaping gets my cash. I've downloaded and uploaded about 400GB in the last month and while AOL cripples my connection in the evenings, I can't see that I would get a better deal somewhere else.
The government first of all needs to step in and stop all the limiting, then things like iplayer and other torrent services will work for everyone that wants them. I can't see why ofcom should allow the ISP's to get away with selling services they intentionally don't supply.
Andy Mc 20th September 2007, 09:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duste
Quote:
Originally Posted by wharrad
Please don't forget the upload - that's all I ask...

+1

Uploads should be at least half your max download.

Nope uploads should EQUAL your downloads, we should have none of this asynchronous rubbish.
Andy Mc 20th September 2007, 09:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellism
There is no chance in BT doing this off of their own back with all the money they have put into ADSL in the last few years.

Not the rumor I head from a BT Wholesale account manager in my last job. He said BT were definitely going to do FTTC (fiber to the cabinet) and about 3 months later it was in the news that this was being seriously considered by BT as it would allow for VHDSL to be a possibility in the UK.
naokaji 20th September 2007, 10:25 Quote
Quote:
He says that 24 megabits/sec is the top out under good connections on copper-based system.

i would be glad if i could get even close to that much allready...


*starts looking for a job in sweden* honestly.. the crap quality of certain isp's really sucks donkeyballs and the upload speeds are like in the 56k stoneage...
skpstr 20th September 2007, 10:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by xrob
hmm i was under the impression that BT werent doing FTTH, so how by 2012 they plan on doing this i am unsure, the BT 21CN scheme i thought was just to better the current infrastruture with more fibre to high level POPs/Exhcanges or something and enabling all the exchanges with ADSL2 for this 24mbit crap. I can say for sure though what ever the goverment does, it will not speed things up in terms of time scale and connection speeds because they will just take it as discounts for themselves. i do hope for FTTH but living in a small town in norfolk i cant see it happening :(.

From what I have read no fibre to the house is stiil the case. The general gist, that I get, (and as Andy Mc said) is that they will be putting fibre to the local cabinets. This, obviously, reduces the the copper length thus garnering greater speed.
Impossible 20th September 2007, 19:45 Quote
Bt's 21cn scheme's first step is to remove the ATM based hardware that we all use for our ADSL and other BT based communications, Alcatel have been choosen for the hardware supplier.

Afaik, there are no plans to do FTTH just to the "green" distribution boxes in streets. As much as I dislike BT, you cant really knock them from there government owned days with the better state of network that was built..... check out germany if you think your DSL speed is bad.

Hows FTTH any different (in terms of who foots the bill) to what basicly the cable companies had to install when they were starting up, its cost them an arm and a leg so how do you think they will react over this news?

Prehaps it comes to the old chestnut that BT can no refuse any UK resident the chance to own a telephone line?
danskmacabre 21st September 2007, 08:34 Quote
Currently have 5mb download and about 512k upload.
As it turns out I don't really upload stuff much anyway, but yeah, a faster upload would be nice.

Therre's more than just having faster potential lines anyway, the ISPs need to beef up their systems as well.
They're already complaining about joost, and the BBC iplayer etc and say they intend to throttle this type of traffic.
evanbraakensiek 21st September 2007, 13:54 Quote
I trust the government as far as I can throw them in regards to anything computing. Ever since they scrapped the HCI scheme for basically being too successful, showed me how much they really care about an IT literate population. The only time they will ever willingly push anything is if they can benefit from it.
Grings 21st September 2007, 20:27 Quote
I'm pretty lucky with mine, i get 850k downloads and 384 upload, and the company i'm with (plusnet) has better 'traffic shaping' than most, they only limit P2P traffic from 4pm to 12am, so FTP downloads/Gaming etc are unaffected.
They (plusnet) have recently changed their packages for the worse though, with an 8am to 12am 'peak' time, and introduced peak time download limits, needless to say i opted to stay with my current package, though i have been considering moving to another provider, any idea who has the best unrestricted packages at the moment? (primarily for gaming, i dont use any P2P/torrents/usenet nowadays)
fwalm 22nd September 2007, 09:39 Quote
Well unlucky for all you little English children. Since BT said donkeys ago and also when I was working for them was told by them that the might Norn Iron would get it first. Unlikely to happen but all being well it will. Plus we are the first ever country in the UK to supposedly have full broadband access. Bullshit im paying £25 a month just to get a 1/3rdmb so I have it bad you got it good compared to me. Also BT is the only people that an give me broadband no one else can. Today is the day they get murdered on the phone. My connection has crippled to the point msn is taking 10 minutes to sign in and I can't even load bit-tech at home it's that ****ing bad.
Poisonous 22nd September 2007, 12:32 Quote
The government wants to "help" you get faster internet so they can monitor what you do online more closely.. ;)
nitrous9200 4th October 2007, 21:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by automagsrock
Must be nice. Here in Montana 1.5-3Mbps is a damn good connection. I wish we could get the speeds you guys across the pong can get :(

Here in New York Verizon FiOS (which is fiber to the premises by the way) offers up to 50 Mbps, though for almost $100 a month. In Asia the internet connections are usually a lot faster than here in america.
completemadness 5th October 2007, 01:17 Quote
I like my new 3gbit (ish) university network connection

One day we will all have them in our homes .... one day
wuyanxu 5th October 2007, 10:59 Quote
faster doesn't always mean low ping, due to crappy exchanges (such as Tiscali).

so they ought to sort out the ping issue, i want less than 30ping!!! i get 80 in Crysis :(
completemadness 8th October 2007, 01:58 Quote
The connection im on is about 31ms to crysis and source servers, havnet tried alot more then that, Usually get 40-60 at home (BT Broadband) depending on the time of day

Aslong as its not over 80 you should be fine really (p.s. crysis is a bit laggy anyway, prolly due to the beta code)
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