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Fibre guru blasts UK broadband

Fibre guru blasts UK broadband

Hartwig Tauber believes that the UK is in danger of slipping behind rival nations if it doesn't invest in new broadband roll-outs.

The director general of the Fibre To The Home Council has lambasted the UK's efforts to become a fibre broadband nation, claiming that we're lagging behind the rest of the world and need to do some serious catching up.

In an interview with IT Pro, FTTH Council director general Hartwig Tauber accused the UK government of not realising "the potential of telecoms, both economically and for society" with its low-target aims of 2Mb/s broadband for all.

Tauber points out that at the time the UK government was pushing the Digital Britain report which included advice to offer all UK citizens access to 2Mb/s broadband Internet connections, other countries - such as Japan - were already aiming for 1Gb/s and higher speeds over fibre optic cabling.

Tauber - who, it must be said, is far from unbiased in his views - believes that the government needs to make "positive investment" in fibre to the home technologies in order to drive broadband adoption and save the nation from a becoming a digital has-been - and if the investment is there, industry competition "in the last mile [between the home and the cabinets]" should take care of the rest.

While selected parts of the UK have a limited roll-out of fibre to the cabinet technologies - such as recent trials in Bournemouth, South Yorkshire, and Kent - most trials max out at around 100Mb/s, while Virgin Media's generally available fibre-optic broadband service offers a maximum 50Mb/s downstream speed and just 1.5Mb/s upstream.

Do you believe that the government needs to do something about the state of the UK broadband market, or are the speeds that are currently available good enough for now? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

57 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
mi1ez 9th June 2010, 10:14 Quote
Quote:
Do you believe that the government needs to do something about the state of the UK broadband market?
Yes
Quote:
or are the speeds that are currently available good enough for now?
No
liratheal 9th June 2010, 10:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi1ez
Quote:
Do you believe that the government needs to do something about the state of the UK broadband market?
Yes
Quote:
or are the speeds that are currently available good enough for now?
No

That.
ev1lm1nd666 9th June 2010, 10:25 Quote
The Government can't get their head around anything that makes sense. Spending £10-15,000,000 on fibre optic broadband now and the economy will be healthier because of the speed at which businesses can operate between it's home offices and overseas and just think of all the web sites that keep going down because thy don't have enough bandwidth. And I think it's about time ISP's rolled out lower speed "unlimited usage" packages, when was the last time anyone actually saw their 20mb connection actually get anywhere near hitting that limit? mine hits 19.2 with BBC iPlayer downloading four episodes of top gear but thats it.
isaac12345 9th June 2010, 10:28 Quote
I'm just wondering why the ISPs, knowing that Japan and other such countries are aiming for 1Gbps, do not enable similar speeds. Are there technical reasons or commercial ones? and why do they not give well explained and valid reasons for it?
crazyceo 9th June 2010, 10:32 Quote
I hit just over 50meg all day through Virgin and it's consistant.

Getting the other utilities to open up their underground systems is the way forward that has been utilised by many countries across Europe and Asia.

I think there was a trial somewhere down south who did exactly this and it's worked very well I believe.

The exchanges already have the upgrades to cope with the increases, it's just the copper wire that kills it for everyone.
NuTech 9th June 2010, 10:32 Quote
Well, Jeremy Hunt (UK's culture secretary) has just outlined plans to revitalise the UK's FTTH effort by opening up major infrastucture such as BT's ducts and poles, gas/water tunnels and sewers to the private sector. Together with Ofcom's fibre unbundling plans, things might start to improve.

The problem is, I can imagine the 'deep cuts' the government is about to announce in regards to our huge deficit, won't help things at all. The money has to come from somewhere.

To make matters even worse, major media conglomerates want nothing to do with this. Right now they're circle-jerking in excitement over charging customers three times for the same thing (internet, phone, tv). With a solid fibre connection in each home, people are going to wise up and realise all three can be provided by IP technology.
Psy-UK 9th June 2010, 10:34 Quote
ISP really need to sort out the incredibly small download usage caps that all seem to impose. Otherwise there's really not much point having that much speed. =\
olimorgan 9th June 2010, 10:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psy-UK
ISP really need to sort out the incredibly small download usage caps that all seem to impose. Otherwise there's really not much point having that much speed. =\

+1

Whats the point in having 100 mbps+ if you can only download a few gig before you get throttled back to 2 mbps. Need real unlimited downloads. Plus having an upload speed to match would be nice.
Zayfod 9th June 2010, 10:41 Quote
This is why the previous government tried to implement an £6 a year "broadband tax" to pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements, one of the very few sensible things they ever tried to do in regards to digital stuff, but there was a massive paddy thrown about it by short sighted MPs so the whole thing got dropped.
eddtox 9th June 2010, 10:52 Quote
I'm still not completely convinced that the government should foot the bill for all the new infrastructure and then just give it away to companies which will charge us through the nose for it. Maybe the time has come to have a National Internet Service, seeing as we have to pay for the fibre anyway. That being said, with the CON's in power that would probably go the same way BT did in Maggie's time.

Call me a communist, but would anyone care to explain to me why utilities should not be nationalised and run as not-for-profit public services? I'm not saying "free internet, gas, water, electricity and transport". I'm saying "the money you pay will only be used to enable the continued provision and improvement of the service".
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I hit just over 50meg all day through Virgin and it's consistant

That's very interesting. I was under the impression that Virgin will throttle its connections after a few minutes of hitting the advertised maximum. I.e 50Mb bursts, but much less for constant use.
isaac12345 9th June 2010, 10:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zayfod
This is why the previous government tried to implement an £6 a year "broadband tax" to pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements, one of the very few sensible things they ever tried to do in regards to digital stuff, but there was a massive paddy thrown about it by short sighted MPs so the whole thing got dropped.

I think another reason was that for the time frame that this policy would run, it wouldnt collect enough money anyway to fund infrastructure improvements.
bigsharn 9th June 2010, 11:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaac12345
I think another reason was that for the time frame that this policy would run, it wouldnt collect enough money anyway to fund infrastructure improvements.

This is the main thing holding the government back, we've got a choice between funding the olympics (not important tbh), better broadband, better trains, or saving it up and paying the nation's debts off...
lacuna 9th June 2010, 11:29 Quote
In improvement in infrastructure may be helpful for businesses but domestic users should make do with what they have for the moment. The ability to play games without lag and download porn faster is of zero importance compared to paying back the national deficit
shanky887614 9th June 2010, 11:30 Quote
you do realise that in japan it is slightly differnet

in japan they HAVE to share there fireoptic lines between any company that wants to
while in the uk its not true

(im not shouting im just trying to get your attention)
neocleous 9th June 2010, 11:31 Quote
I dream of the slow speeds that everyone is complaining about.

I work from home and I have a business line so I am paying a premium for broadband over a regular home user and I get 1 meg, I don't live in the countryside I live in Warrington (a town) and I only get 1 meg I cant even watch You Tube without having to pause and buffer the video for ages and forget streaming any sort of HD.

I can't get cable where I am so I am stuck with BT who say I am too far from the exchange for a faster speed obviously the exchange we have is inadequate for a growing town.

This sort of connection should be illegal in this day and age in one of the most developed countries in the world we have the communication infrastructure of a 3rd world country.

This may seem like a selfish rant about my connection and my slow speeds but I know I am not the only one with a criminally slow connection.
Fizzban 9th June 2010, 11:32 Quote
While I agree that we need more investment in the infrastructure over here. I hardly think this is top of the list of priority's. I'm more concerned with crime and the health service than I am about what broadband speed we get get.
SoulRider 9th June 2010, 11:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
While I agree that we need more investment in the infrastructure over here. I hardly think this is top of the list of priority's. I'm more concerned with crime and the health service than I am about what broadband speed we get get.

Then you miss the fundamental influence of the internet on our daily lives. Crime and Health are among the issues that would be boosted by improved network links, wider paths means more data at once, results and data being shared quicker, the whole country benefits from better broadband, business increase productivity, which means more taxes to the government, which means more to spend on crime and health. There is a massive positive benefit to increasing the coverage and speed of networks, for everyone in the country.
Jamie 9th June 2010, 12:03 Quote
I'd like to be able to get a broadband connection capable of streaming bbc iplayer and youtube videos.
Cyberpower-UK 9th June 2010, 12:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
I'd like to be able to get a broadband connection capable of streaming bbc iplayer and youtube videos.
I can with Virgin 1mbpsM but if I do more than an hour I get throttled to 2.5mbps and it can't cope. Given that I pay my licence and Virgin have iPlayer mirrors dotted around the UK I'd like to see iPlayer traffic excluded from throttling but that needs deep packet inspection which is technically illegal.
gavomatic57 9th June 2010, 12:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psy-UK
ISP really need to sort out the incredibly small download usage caps that all seem to impose. Otherwise there's really not much point having that much speed. =\

Chicken & Egg situation here - without the caps the current infrastructure may grind to a halt. You need the capacity in the network to offer limit-free broadband to everyone. The infrastructure has to come first - roads before cars etc.
Almightyrastus 9th June 2010, 12:55 Quote
It doesn't take a guru of anything to see that the UK telecomms network is pathetic beyond a joke. On my BT broadband line I am supposed to be getting 'up to' 8Mb/s (or is it 20 now, i have no idea). Evenings and weekends see that speed drop to quite often less than 1Mb/s or even 500kb/s. Now I am not a million miles from anywhere, out in the sticks, I am 3 miles away from Nottingham City Centre and about half a mile from the exchange.

The biggest problem is that in general the UK has an attitude of "well it still works, that's good enough for now, no need to fix anything". This just will not work as a policy of mend and make do does not lead to the improvement of anything. Information pipelines should not 'just work', they are the backbone of anything that UK companies do and should be treated as such.

I agree that the economical situation at the moment is not exactly condusive to a prolonged programme of infrastructure redevelopment but it is something that needs to be done and done sooner rather than later before the rest of the world really does leave us behind (and I am not just talking about places like S. Korea, Sweden and Japan here).
steve30x 9th June 2010, 13:39 Quote
I live in Ireland and I have three options for my internet. Theres the lowest of 30MB/s , Middle of 60MB/s and highest of 120MB/s. I dont see the need for 120mB/s. I dont realy think 60mb/s is needed but I opted for the 60MB/s internet anyway.

The 30mb/s internet would have done just fine if they supplied a decent modem but the modem they supply has a router built into it with terribly bad security , but the modem they supply with the 60mb/s and 120mb/s internet is a good cisco Wireless N router also. I have been with this ISP with seven and a half years and I have no download limits and my internet speed has never been capped.

The problem I see is all those companies like the RIAA etc. trying to restrict what we do on the internet so its kind of pointless realy having high speed internet with no download cap.
TWeaK 9th June 2010, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by neocleous
I don't live in the countryside I live in Warrington (a town) and I only get 1 meg

I feel for you mate. I used to live in Ormskirk which is probably more rural and I got a bit more (~1.5mbps). I would've really thought Warrington would be much better than that.

Also, you're not, nor anyone else for that matter, stuck with BT - at least not technically. Almost all the other broadband providers use BT's lines and exchanges, but often at lower prices with certain perks depending on the package. It's only LLU providers (of which there are few) who pretty much bypass BT's systems. Also, LLU providers have lower contention ratios (20:1 instead of 50:1).

Seriously, ditch that business line and get a regular one. Or, you could try my provider: ADSL24. They're a reseller who offers both Be Unlimited and Cable & Wireless LLU where available (really no point going for the Be option, C&W all the way) and regular broadband everywhere else. I'm not sure if they have a direct deal with BT now but they used to resell their regular non-LLU broadband from Entanet (a big business supplier). They also do some business options, if there's anything in there that you actually need.

Failing that, Plus.net are supposed to be good - they keep getting recommended by CPC and have very cheap prices.

@edit: Also ADSL24 have no download limit on their LLU packages, while the regular packages have a 30GB a month peak time limit (Mon-Fri 8am-10pm) and unlimited any other time. I imagine Plus.net are probably similar. There are plenty of uncapped connections if you go for smaller companies. You also tend to get much better customer service.
crazyceo 9th June 2010, 14:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
I'm still not completely convinced that the government should foot the bill for all the new infrastructure and then just give it away to companies which will charge us through the nose for it. Maybe the time has come to have a National Internet Service, seeing as we have to pay for the fibre anyway. That being said, with the CON's in power that would probably go the same way BT did in Maggie's time.

Call me a communist, but would anyone care to explain to me why utilities should not be nationalised and run as not-for-profit public services? I'm not saying "free internet, gas, water, electricity and transport". I'm saying "the money you pay will only be used to enable the continued provision and improvement of the service".
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I hit just over 50meg all day through Virgin and it's consistant

That's very interesting. I was under the impression that Virgin will throttle its connections after a few minutes of hitting the advertised maximum. I.e 50Mb bursts, but much less for constant use.

I haven't experienced that problem at all. Whenever I've asked it's up there to the max but I've never experienced any throttle over larger longer downloads either.
javaman 9th June 2010, 14:30 Quote
At best we get 3Mb/s with BT. Last few nights tho Ive been sitting at 1Mb/s. Its fine for gaming and standard quality on TV catchup, but whats the point in paying for "faster" broadband when no company can actually provide it with 100% guarentee?This "upto" **** doesn't help. I'd rather pay for what I can get not what I can get if a blue moon is in the sky. Its like playing the lottery, I have a chance of getting XX million, more likely im gonna get a tenner.

Did upgrade to get unlimited data and im happy with that. We're not in a free view area so I watch all TV through my PC. Just wish I could get HD quality tho, even higher quality would be nice! Gaming wise I've had no problems. I guess overall 1-3MB/s is fast enough for 90% of the public who do nothing more than sit on facebook, even 3g wouldn't have a chance of an exsistance if it wasn't enough. Its those who want to watch HD that really need it. If cloud computing takes off tho, then Faster speed will definatly be needed by all. Personally I would love to have a powerful home computer than I can do all my work on and use my netbook when Im out to access it sorta like a server client set up. Upload speeds at home would cripple that idea tho rather than download speeds.
Sonofalich 9th June 2010, 15:32 Quote
Well I'm on Virgin 50 megabit, which is £45 a month. But it's the best internet you can buy, as it has no limits.

You can download over an hour and still have 50 megabit internet. Which equates to 6.4 MBPS download and roughly 1.6 MBPS upload. Which to be honest is quite nice, it is expensive but again there are no limits. If I so wished I could download all day everyday and never get limited. That is why you are paying a premium for it.

I still want more though and as soon as Virgin bring out a 100 megabit / 200 megabit, I'll be on that too!
Fizzban 9th June 2010, 15:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulRider
Then you miss the fundamental influence of the internet on our daily lives. Crime and Health are among the issues that would be boosted by improved network links, wider paths means more data at once, results and data being shared quicker, the whole country benefits from better broadband, business increase productivity, which means more taxes to the government, which means more to spend on crime and health. There is a massive positive benefit to increasing the coverage and speed of networks, for everyone in the country.

Fair enough. I didn't look at it like that.

I've got 50meg and I actually get the rated speed too. It's quick. But I understand the coverage for that is a bit hit and miss as this stage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
That's very interesting. I was under the impression that Virgin will throttle its connections after a few minutes of hitting the advertised maximum. I.e 50Mb bursts, but much less for constant use.

On the 50meg line you don't get throttled. But you do on the others. It says on their website what times of day you will get limited if you go over a certain amount. But like I say..not on 50meg.
Lockon Stratos 9th June 2010, 16:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaac12345
I'm just wondering why the ISPs, knowing that Japan and other such countries are aiming for 1Gbps, do not enable similar speeds. Are there technical reasons or commercial ones? and why do they not give well explained and valid reasons for it?

Because the UK is not as technologically advanced as China/Japan/Asia. we are still running with old cables n crap that predate World War 2. China & Asia have both been in development for a long time & its because they still are that they can lay all their latest technologies into the ground & get superfast speeds.

as for the UK - goverment is to blame for not pushing the country forward & making sure we move with the times or at least to a more satisfactory level...Japan/China are hitting or aiming for 1Gb data rates. the UK however are still calling 8mb 'superfast' & its just recently where ISPs are putting fibre optics into the ground that faster speeds can be achieved - but it still depends on how far you are from your nearest BT echange. ISPs advertise 8mb speeds but in reality you only get 4-5mb because your not close enough to the exchange.

long has providers charged consumers a premium for lies & crap service
Teh C 9th June 2010, 16:18 Quote
Its silly how far the UK is behind. Still see those advertisements for BT for 'superfast!' broadband which is basically 10mb (usually equates to around 5mb unless pigs are flying) and a download limit which means you could never really use all the speed.
DarkLord7854 9th June 2010, 16:20 Quote
My biggest gripe with ISPs isn't so much their download offerings, but their uploads. Usually it's something like a 10:1 ratio (down:up) which is just pathetic.
erratum1 9th June 2010, 16:21 Quote
Im on the 2mb/s broadband. Compared to the old dial up its fast but as the internet evolves the speed is just too slow.

When videos stop because they have to buffer its a real pain in the ass. The bbc iplayer and such is great but please bring up the minimum speed in the uk to at least 6mb/s.
flaming_goat 9th June 2010, 16:55 Quote
im still on 300kb/s at best, and that's after we have had our line replaced recently.
neocleous 9th June 2010, 17:07 Quote
Quote:
Also, you're not, nor anyone else for that matter, stuck with BT - at least not technically. Almost all the other broadband providers use BT's lines and exchanges, but often at lower prices with certain perks depending on the package. It's only LLU providers (of which there are few) who pretty much bypass BT's systems. Also, LLU providers have lower contention ratios (20:1 instead of 50:1).

When I said I am stuck with BT I ment their infrastructure. Even though the exchange I am on is LLU unbundled the only services I can get are down my BT line so the speed is exactly the same from one provider to the next.

I have just signed up to Plus net it is getting activated tomorrow. They are owned by BT but a seperate subsidury and they have UK technical support. I am hoping the fact that they are seperate to BT means they wont pass you from one department to the next if you have a problem
Quote:
Seriously, ditch that business line and get a regular one

I can't ditch the the business line its a feature line that I need to conect to a virtual office and it has other features on it, so I am stick with that.
trippingmars 9th June 2010, 17:23 Quote
Still waiting for adsl+2 let alone fibre.
bobwya 9th June 2010, 17:48 Quote
The big problem with the whole setup in this country is the development of ADSL (I believe it originated in the UK - right). It is just a crutch to keep limping along with gaffer tape over the existing telephony infrastructure. Everyone knows the dropoff in signal quality over any length of copper phone line is just crazy stupid. The government really needs to pump some money into rebuilding the whole BT network (not the current half-hearted roll out) on fibre. I see Cambridge isn't on the list for the BT fibre roll-out this year... So how many years will I have to wait?

As for Virgin Media - great if you don't mind being locked into one ISP and you are in a Cable-enabled part of the UK (which I am actually)...
Fordy 9th June 2010, 18:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi1ez
Quote:

Do you believe that the government needs to do something about the state of the UK broadband market?
Yes
Quote:

or are the speeds that are currently available good enough for now?
No

That.

That too.
mrbens 9th June 2010, 18:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwya
The big problem with the whole setup in this country is the development of ADSL (I believe it originated in the UK - right). It is just a crutch to keep limping along with gaffer tape over the existing telephony infrastructure. Everyone knows the dropoff in signal quality over any length of copper phone line is just crazy stupid. The government really needs to pump some money into rebuilding the whole BT network (not the current half-hearted roll out) on fibre. I see Cambridge isn't on the list for the BT fibre roll-out this year... So how many years will I have to wait?

As for Virgin Media - great if you don't mind being locked into one ISP and you are in a Cable-enabled part of the UK (which I am actually)...

Get yourself on VMedia fibre optic internet then. You won't regret it. Awesome connection. Especially on 50Mb ;)
TSR2 9th June 2010, 18:28 Quote
Our internet is fairly good (6/pay for 8 Mbits down, 300Kbits up) despite us living in a rural area, as the exchange is only 1/4 mile away. However, I pity those miles away who are at the other end of our phone line. Obviously something needs to be done, I would support the idea (suggested by eddtox) of nationalising important things that provide the best service when not being run at a profit, unfortunately the next government after the nationalisation would probably mess that up, so I would prefer said Government to simply invest in broadband, to speed the 90% penetration achieveable by private enterprise and make the ordinarily loss-making >90% penetration possible. BT's dominance in the current market should be lessened; perhaps the Government could treat cables similarly to the radio spectrum and provide the cables but then make the ISP's compete to be allowed to run signals down them?
leexgx 9th June 2010, 19:59 Quote
i blame more Ofcom sticking there noises where they should of not this time (be it in the 1990's aprox) BT would of had an fully fiber network but it was anticompetitive so not allowed to do it

at best with BT we are getting FTTC not FTTH (to the Cab not the Home i may have worded that incorrectly) so most will get 10mb-20mb ADSL2 and some rare peeps may get VDSL that allows 40MB (have to be quite close to the cab) the odd house thats in farm lands will most likely still suffer 512KB-2MB speeds

any thing more then 5mb i am OK with for remotely Normal broadband as most stuff will come down fairly fast but not good if lots are in home doing lots of streaming related stuff or Big downloads, any thing above 10mb is fast ok for the most part for big downloads, above 20mb most home users will not need for Very long time, but is best for big files like 1-5gb
leexgx 9th June 2010, 20:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbens
[
Get yourself on VMedia fibre optic internet then. You won't regret it. Awesome connection. Especially on 50Mb ;)

its Not Fibre Optic internet (even the Virgin reps in the Shop call it that, still didn't ofcom Fine them for doing that when every home gets Coxa to the house)

They can offer right now 150mb if they removed the caps off the 50mb modems (they are all ready setup for 3x bond links @ 50mb each just its rate limited to 51mb)
The modem may be able to do 200mb but not sure if the currant modem has 4 bonding support
Do note you Need an N 300 router that has Gigabit WAN and LAN ports (bit lame but the WNR2000 is only 100mb ports that they suppyed but the Dlink DIR-6xx routers i think are 1000 based and n 300)
Sexton 9th June 2010, 20:06 Quote
Average speeds at the moment for British internet is just an embarrasement. For those that live in rural areas, we're buggared. At best I get 1.6mb/s which is just plainly awful. Those in towns and cities need it least yet have the fastest speed - only the British government could have looked at that and thought that was logical.
Anfield 9th June 2010, 20:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbens
Get yourself on VMedia fibre optic internet then. You won't regret it. Awesome connection. Especially on 50Mb ;)

Agree its the best option for download speeds in the uk and the no throttling is nice (hope that wont change), they should seriously improve the upload speeds though.
steve30x 9th June 2010, 20:44 Quote
UPC here in Ireland call their 10mb/s internet Hyperspeed internet. They are Ignorant to the fact that my ISP is the fastest in Ireland. UPC is advertising their internet as the fastest in Ireland.
sharpethunder 9th June 2010, 22:23 Quote
I read that contryside will be recomended Moble broadband when speed increase in that area and come better value for money
neocleous 9th June 2010, 22:42 Quote
Mobile broadband is great in theory, I've got a Three MBB dongle but I get no signal in my house so thats out of the question for me.

All the MBB providers have a tiny download cap because the mobile phone networks can't really cope with the high network traffic.
ccxo 10th June 2010, 02:29 Quote
Labour goverments have put us in this situation, now that there gone the new goverment is looking very promising for a fibre network to replace the existing network.

What is need is a combined investment by BT and the goverment to fund the role out of a next gen network, while it will cost into the billions it will repay its value back into the economy with growth and jobs, investing in new infrastuctre is key.

If ofcom would have just let bt to role out a fibre network and let them charge isp's to use it so they could make a good return we would all be on fast connections by now.

Virgin media, while there cable service is good in what areas its avaliable they could do more to open there network up to other company's and expand to rural areas.

A new national network with multiple resellers would benefit the public and buisness greatly as price and service would be competive and the final third would not be ignored.
gavomatic57 10th June 2010, 09:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccxo
Labour goverments have put us in this situation, now that there gone the new goverment is looking very promising for a fibre network to replace the existing network.

Without wishing to get political on here, it was the Tories that sold British Telecom to a bunch of greedy shareholders who won't fund major improvements because it takes money out of their pockets. If it had stayed public sector, we wouldn't be on our knees begging for fibre, it would have been a manifesto committment.

Now we've got the Activision of the telecoms world sat on their billions and only willing to do "enough" to balance demand and supply. Why push things forward when you can just push out yet another Guitar Hero, keep the shareholders happy and rake the money in. They'll keep pushing 2mb ADSL and there is very little Ofcom or the government can do about it.
Ljs 10th June 2010, 09:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
I'm still not completely convinced that the government should foot the bill for all the new infrastructure and then just give it away to companies which will charge us through the nose for it.

Call me a communist, but would anyone care to explain to me why utilities should not be nationalised and run as not-for-profit public services? I'm not saying "free internet, gas, water, electricity and transport". I'm saying "the money you pay will only be used to enable the continued provision and improvement of the service".

Completely agree.
Phil Rhodes 10th June 2010, 12:50 Quote
Quote:
This is why the previous government tried to implement an £6 a year "broadband tax" to pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements, one of the very few sensible things they ever tried to do in regards to digital stuff, but there was a massive paddy thrown about it by short sighted MPs so the whole thing got dropped.

So let's get this straight.

You want to be taxed, so that the government can put in telecoms hardware, which will then be given away free to commercial operators? Ah, no, I think not.

There are arguments to nationalise almost anything; you can apply the argument that you aren't then paying for someone else's profits to pretty much any business you want. This argument is often strong when it comes to anything where there's a wide need for something and everyone needs more or less the same thing (water, electricity, &c) . Either way, though, we should not end up in the worst of both worlds, which is what a broadband tax would give us.
Gareth Halfacree 10th June 2010, 13:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
You want to be taxed, so that the government can put in telecoms hardware, which will then be given away free to commercial operators? Ah, no, I think not.
Playing devil's advocate for a moment, saying it's 'given away free' is not precisely accurate: even if there's no capital cost, the government can make back its money in increased taxation.

Rural ISP has ten customers paying ten pounds a month. The government takes 10% tax from the company's income, leaving it with £10.

The government invests money in telecoms infrastructure, which it then gives to Rural ISP (and its competitors,) enabling it to grow its customer base.

Rural ISP now has a hundred customers paying ten pounds a month. The government takes 10% tax from the company's income, leaving it with £100 - a ten-fold increase in the tax it receives.

Multiply those figures by a few thousand new customers across a few hundred companies over a few years, and there's your investment back.
Phil Rhodes 10th June 2010, 13:32 Quote
Yes but that's not how it works, is it.

The ISPs know full well that it's a zero-sum game; few people are willing to pay more than (arguably) £20-25 a month for their internet service. The ISP is not going to be able to charge significantly, if anything, more for a faster service. There is no incentive to upgrade.

If that was how it worked, they'd be upgrading themselves.
Gareth Halfacree 10th June 2010, 14:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
The ISPs know full well that it's a zero-sum game; few people are willing to pay more than (arguably) £20-25 a month for their internet service. The ISP is not going to be able to charge significantly, if anything, more for a faster service. There is no incentive to upgrade.
Re-read my example: the ISP in question is charging the exact same in both cases - it's just attracted customers who didn't want to pay £10 a month for 512K but are willing to spend that for 8MB.

The reason they *don't* do it themselves, is that the little players in the boondocks can't afford it - and the big players make enough money off the people who *can* get 8Mb/16Mb/50Mb/whatever that they just don't bother.
javaman 10th June 2010, 16:12 Quote
you all complain it the government that should do something

1) Where is the money gonna come from?
2) Why don't the companies that provide the service upgrade their network? Hell they make big enough profits year on year. Its not as if they are a failing industry needing handouts!! This whole thing happened with AT&T and iphone. Their network couldn't support the traffic, so instead of upgrading the top brass lined their pockets. Its not as if the iphone exclusitivity wasn't a huge cash cow. Same with BT, they serve how many people and instead of upgrading they sat back until the government was ashamed enough to fund it themselves. Bt has tons of companies paying into them to use their lines, a big user base themselves from phone, TV and broadband. maybe instead of blaming the government for not investing, blame the company for not investing themselves and forcing you to pay for it instead from your Taxes.
mrbens 10th June 2010, 17:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
I hit just over 50meg all day through Virgin and it's consistant
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
That's very interesting. I was under the impression that Virgin will throttle its connections after a few minutes of hitting the advertised maximum. I.e 50Mb bursts, but much less for constant use.

I haven't experienced that problem at all. Whenever I've asked it's up there to the max but I've never experienced any throttle over larger longer downloads either.

You don't get throttled at all on the premium 50Mb connection. With the other speeds once you download a certain amount they throttle it to aout 1/4 speed for a few hours.

You can see the exact details here: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html
ccxo 11th June 2010, 07:45 Quote
Well considering how much labour goverments have wasted could have easily paid for a next gen network and labours best offer to improve broadband is a commitment to 2mb nationaly.

Whats needed is the red tape removed and investment between the public sector to schools/hospitals etc and the private sector to fund a role out of fibre, with the goverment providing money to isp's providing they expand there services to rural areas, as towns and cities are covered by a strong market in the whole.
eddtox 11th June 2010, 09:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccxo
Well considering how much labour goverments have wasted could have easily paid for a next gen network and labours best offer to improve broadband is a commitment to 2mb nationaly.

Whats needed is the red tape removed and investment between the public sector to schools/hospitals etc and the private sector to fund a role out of fibre, with the goverment providing money to isp's providing they expand there services to rural areas, as towns and cities are covered by a strong market in the whole.

Aside from political posturing ( I'm sick to my stomach of hearing tories blame everything from the weather to the banks to the volcano on Labour ), wasn't the whole point of privatising BT to reduce the cost (to the government) of installing and maintaining infrastructure?

As you said, providing internet to densely populated areas is profitable, therefore it is a good revenue stream to the government, whereas providing it to less densely populated areas is less profitable, but seeing as the government is having to foot the bill for it anyway, they might as well take over the whole thing.

I simply don't see any benefit to the taxpayer and, by extension, to the government in privatising the profitable part of a business but still having to subsidise the unprofitable part.

In short, what use is BT to us?
Pooeypants 12th June 2010, 14:50 Quote
The biggest issue I can see right now is that download limits are typically too small. I see a lot of 10GB cap packages but if a 30 min iPlayer programme needs ~400MB, how long will that 10GB last?...

I see no point rolling out fibre optic if the download caps continue to remain so small.
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