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UK Government pays £363m for rural broadband

UK Government pays £363m for rural broadband

The government wants at least a 2Mbit/sec connection available to every home in the UK.

The Government has announced the allocation of £363 million of its £530m broadband warchest, with funds handed out to local councils for the improvement of broadband coverage.

Unsurprisingly, rural areas such as Cumbira, Devon and Somerset - where much of the population is widely distributed - top the list for funding, with urban areas such as London left out due to existing high quality networks provided by the private sector. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already received their funding.

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt said 'I urge all those suffering the frustration of slow internet connections to make it clear to your local elected representatives that you expect them to do what is needed to access this investment and to deliver broadband to your community.'

The funding is part of the government's scheme to ensure that by 2015, 90 per cent of UK home and businesses are able to access super fast (24Mb/sec and upward) broadband, with every household able to access a broadband connection of at least 2Mb/sec.

While the investment is sure to see connection speed increase, we can't help but feel that local councils are perhaps not the best equipped to decide on the future of Britain's broadband networks. The decision to allocate funds in this way could result in numerous competing standards and methods to deliver connections, rather than a unified nationwide investment.

There's a full list of the broadband funding for English councils to look through (PDF alert).

Live in the countryside and looking forward to faster broadband? Or dreading the infrastructure upheaval? Either way, let us know in the forum.

29 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
thelaw 17th August 2011, 12:59 Quote
I am sure that the council will spend the money wisely.

on broadband upgrades in there area's rich constitutes as well as the areas they personally live in, upgrade the town halls coverage and then spend the rest(95% of the allocated amount) on corporate parties and pay rises(75% increase at minimum) for doing such a wonderful job upgrading the broadband in the area and nope i am not a cynic;)
Er-El 17th August 2011, 13:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thelaw
I am sure that the council will spend the money wisely.

on broadband upgrades in there area's rich constitutes as well as the areas they personally live in, upgrade the town halls coverage and then spend the rest(95% of the allocated amount) on corporate parties and pay rises(75% increase at minimum) for doing such a wonderful job upgrading the broadband in the area and nope i am not a cynic;)
Pretty much.
sb1991 17th August 2011, 13:38 Quote
Since when was 24Mb/s 'Super Fast'? All it means is 'as fast as we can stretch our inadequate infrastructure without having to bother installing new fibre'. Also, the grants are pretty minor when you consider that BT's profits for 2010 were £1029 million...
Stotherd-001 17th August 2011, 13:42 Quote
I live beside an exchange in Belfast. Best I can get is 20Meg. It's more than enough for me, but if I can only get 20Meg beside an exchange, how is anyone expected to get more than 24Meg? My parents live 10 miles outside of Belfast, at the end of the line from their exchange. Best they can get is 1.5 Meg from an LLU provider. 24 Meg for them will likely never happen. This is still a fairly populated area.

My main concern is upload speeds. We don't have it at my exchange, which serves most of south east Belfast, but Infinity is pretty much the only option for any form of decent upload speed, and signing up with BT isn't something I would want to do. There needs to be better high end choices.
fdbh96 17th August 2011, 14:25 Quote
We just got an upgrade and we live ~7 miles away from the nearest exchange to asdl 2 and it us so much faster (1.8mbps dl :D)
Jamie 17th August 2011, 14:29 Quote
Yay, I finally might get a connection faster than 1mbps!
John_T 17th August 2011, 14:33 Quote
We don't need FTTH, but if they're serious about increasing the nation's speed then realistically that will mean FTTC for most areas, with maybe wireless relays for the really remote places.

Whichever way you look at it, £363m will barely touch the sides - it'll take billions. (Looks at the foreign aid budget increasing to £12b per year...).

Also agree that it should be organised nationally. Not so much that I expect there'll be competing standards, (that could be regulated against) but simply for the duplication of effort. Each county will have to organise its own team to deal with this, with its own head, specialists, admin staff etc - what a complete waste of limited resources. A national body could easily liaise with local councils and their specific priorities without having to have 50 duplicates of everything and everyone.

Also, I know it's been done voluntarily in some areas, but how about a little national legislation for the rights to piggyback existing infrastructure? There are enough well placed sewers in most areas to avoid the need to dig up endless new trenches in the roads - and power line poles and pylons could carry a lot of the rest. A small fee could be set nationally to pay the owners for the privilege of using their infrastructure (on a 'per mile' basis for example) - and it would still be a lot cheaper than having to dig everywhere. And it would be a lot faster and a lot less disruptive to roll out as well.

That's the kind of thing that only a national body could realistically organise with any degree of efficiency and success.

It's great in theory giving all the local groups power over everything, but in some situations things simply work better when done nationally.
b1candy 17th August 2011, 15:50 Quote
Actually, this money is coming from the underspend in the Digital Switchover.

Personally, I would have preferred this money to fund F1 on the BBC. As people have said, £363m will barely touch the sides for rural broadband, and knowing the government, they'll aim for 2Mbps nationwide as a target.
specofdust 17th August 2011, 16:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by b1candy
Actually, this money is coming from the underspend in the Digital Switchover.

Personally, I would have preferred this money to fund F1 on the BBC. As people have said, £363m will barely touch the sides for rural broadband, and knowing the government, they'll aim for 2Mbps nationwide as a target.

2Mbps would mean a lot to some people I know back home. I know folk on 256kbps and 512kbps connections who would rather like to be able to download faster than 100KB/s. Things like youtube and iplayer will not function on my parent's ADSL, and even many music streaming services run poorly because their phone line is so far from the exchange (about 7 miles) that the thing just doesn't perform very solidly.
alialias 17th August 2011, 16:11 Quote
Is it just me that thinks that 2015 is a long long time away? Surely our mobile technologies will be starting to surpass these speeds easily by then? I've heard some ridiculous speeds thrown about for 4G for example. Maybe the government should accept that our broadband is terrible and try and ensure that when 4G happens, it happens for real; rural coverage and the capacity to cope with thousands of users in city centres.
thelaw 17th August 2011, 16:19 Quote
My government issued router has just dropped through the door

http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg117/clan_hunter/USRobotics56KModem5686E.jpg
kuhva 17th August 2011, 16:27 Quote
If anyone is interested in looking at a case Study of a community and a local company getting their **** together to get broad look up w3z, in rural Derbyshire (http://www.w3z.co.uk/). Basically my town was told it would never have broadband as it was to out the way. But a local campaign group and radio company managed to sort out a wireless wired (had no hardlines outside of the house... just an aerial and that went into a special filter and then your standard router) service that was fast (at the time) and stable (uncontested lines, 30-50ms latency). Speed didn't age well but it was always stable. Looking at though they changed their model so I can't comment on it now. as I have moved away.
shaffaaf27 17th August 2011, 16:33 Quote
I live in london and all I get is 4.5Mbs. Virgin cable is a no go on my street and bt can only offer 4.5 due to my distance from the exchange. There is not fttc either, was meant to be here in march, has been pushed to december.

in london its pretty damn bad, I feel sorry for the rural areas.
ccxo 17th August 2011, 17:46 Quote
If you could get to say a 98% coverage of 2 Meg across the coutry that would be a massive achievemnt for a base speed compared to many other countrys which dont get close to that.

There is always going to be a large gulf between in speed both download and upload between urban and rural areas.

What this money is for, is to fund prodjects to 'white areas' that suffer with very low speed, the money will like the first BDUK funds to go out. Will go into open tender for 2 rounds, one of the first areas was.

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/broadband/whosinvolved/suppliers.asp

In that link you will see the suppliers that are bidding and have made it through to the second round, the contract will start in April next year, so the BDUK funds will take a while to get through but expect to see a similar list of companies for all of the tenders made by the councils.
Scarlet0pimp 17th August 2011, 17:48 Quote
My Cousin lives in Cheadle Heath a pretty well populated area of Stockport and he cant even get 2mb and fttc is not even planned for his area, so this might be good for him.

Me well i'm on 30mb Virgin and live maybe 1 mile from him in Edgeley we also have fttc coming soon.
theevilelephant 17th August 2011, 18:49 Quote
Here in merry Aberystwyth I can get ~6meg when all of the students go home or about 50kb when they get back. Lucky me! If I didn't have access to the University's network I would be most displeased.
NickCPC 17th August 2011, 21:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by b1candy
Actually, this money is coming from the underspend in the Digital Switchover.

Personally, I would have preferred this money to fund F1 on the BBC. As people have said, £363m will barely touch the sides for rural broadband, and knowing the government, they'll aim for 2Mbps nationwide as a target.
Clearly a reply from someone living in an urban area with a decent connection and completely unable to empathise with anyone outside their own 4 walls. >:(

Comments like that REALLY wind me up, and let me explain why. If you go on samknows, I'm on the EANAY exchange and struggle to get even 90KB/s, (so, as suggested, iPlayer streaming is impossible and even 360p Youtube videos won't run uninterrupted without extensive buffering before playing), and my prospects of getting even a semi-decent connection at my house in the next few years are bleak at best.

But, of course, because there's almost no-one on my exchange in comparison to most, that means my neighbours and I and many other people in my situation should be forgotten about and left even further behind in the broadband race. Therefore the logical consequence is the little money which has become available to potentially improve the situation may as well be scrapped as well and spent on a bit of entertainment which will end up being extensively covered by many other media outlets anyway and which people can pay a few quid a month for if they are that desperate to watch it live.

I can't improve my broadband for love nor money, unless I could buy BT and force them to lay cable to my exchange. Get some perspective before suggesting utterly ridiculous things and frankly kicking sand in the face of fellow bit-tech members.
Shayper09 18th August 2011, 03:18 Quote
Dammit! I need better innernets in Norwich :(
kol 18th August 2011, 04:01 Quote
my area is to be the first in my region to get fibre optic installed, itll begin (hopefully) March 2012. i live a mile from my exchange and i rarely see over 280Kbs. Its really bad where i am, imo anyway.
dancingbear84 18th August 2011, 08:31 Quote
I Live in the middle of nowhere and consider my self very lucky to get 4.5mb our exchange only covers around 400 people. The in laws who live literally next for get 1mb
javaman 18th August 2011, 10:32 Quote
For rural areas it makes more sense for companies such as O2, Vodafone, Orange/t-mobile and 3 to invest in LTE or something. It also means that visitors to that area also benifit and In my head Mobile broadband coverage would hit more people for less effort and isn't 4G and even 3.9G faster than most broadband anyway?

I've started loosing faith in piped broadband since BT seem pretty reliable at wrecking things. They upgraded my area for infinity and now I get half the speeds I use to! As for all the wi-fi hotspots, they have either disappeared or became gimped to the point theyre too slow to use or not safe to.
sb1991 18th August 2011, 11:08 Quote
Power companies really need to get into broadband infrastructure. Not that they're a model of treating their customers fairly or anything, but it would be much easier for a company like E.On to stick some fibre optic cables up than anyone else excluding BT, who have little incentive to improve things given that their network is normally the only option.
specofdust 18th August 2011, 11:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingbear84
I Live in the middle of nowhere and consider my self very lucky to get 4.5mb our exchange only covers around 400 people. The in laws who live literally next for get 1mb

You are, I got that in central Aberdeen last year (12 now, wootles).

I can't imagine that this money is going to be spent in areas where anyone actually gets even 1mb just yet though, because there are still a great great many people who's connections are slower than 1 mbit/s.
AstralWanderer 18th August 2011, 12:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCPC
Quote:
Originally Posted by b1candy
...Personally, I would have preferred this money to fund F1 on the BBC. As people have said, £363m will barely touch the sides for rural broadband, and knowing the government, they'll aim for 2Mbps nationwide as a target.
...Comments like that REALLY wind me up, and let me explain why. If you go on samknows, I'm on the EANAY exchange and struggle to get even 90KB/s, (so, as suggested, iPlayer streaming is impossible and even 360p Youtube videos won't run uninterrupted without extensive buffering before playing), and my prospects of getting even a semi-decent connection at my house in the next few years are bleak at best.
I'd agree here - if you want F1, you can still get it (in 90%+ of cases) through a Sky subscription, even if you do feel the need to hold your nose while signing up. If you have a poor Internet connection, there's far less in the way of options (satellite Internet tends to be limited by greater latency and reliance on a phone line for upstream traffic) and it affects your entire online experience.

I'm fairly lucky, getting 14Mb/s down (translating to 1.3-1.4MB/s) and 1.9Mb/s upstream. However I do also remember the days of dialup (5KB/s max download and limited to 1-3 hour sessions depending on the ISP, unless paying for the call yourself) and how much difference even a 256KB/s (30KB/s) ADSL connection made to that. If everyone's online access could be raised to 2Mb/s, then I'd consider ditching overpriced TV events a price well worth paying for it. However £363m is likely to be a first installment rather than the full cost.
Roskoken 15th September 2011, 12:56 Quote
Are BT the same as those crooks Sky?

They advertise up to 20 meg, but realisticly all you will get is 3 or 4 meg.

And they never seem to offer a ten meg line, so your forced into paying for a 20 meg line you can never get use out of. And why is the government footing the bill for this?, surely it should be the providers paying for infrastructure not the people. Because if the public pay for it, surely then this would lead to extremely good discounts on subscription charges to offset the cost of public spending?

****ing con men.
AstralWanderer 15th September 2011, 14:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roskoken
They advertise up to 20 meg, but realisticly all you will get is 3 or 4 meg...
ADSL and ADSL2 line speeds are critically dependent on your phone line and its length between you and the exchange. If you're getting 3-4Mb/s then you'll likely see the same with most other ISPs also.

The good news is that you may be able to improve line speeds by modifying internal phone wiring - see Kitz: Improve your adsl broadband connection speed for more details.
jelderkin 16th September 2011, 14:42 Quote
363 million does not sound like much at all when you think of how much it costs to upgrade broadband services almost seems like a waste even starting a project like this with what I would call a serious lack of funds
ccxo 17th September 2011, 01:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jelderkin
363 million does not sound like much at all when you think of how much it costs to upgrade broadband services almost seems like a waste even starting a project like this with what I would call a serious lack of funds

When you have a previous administration that blew and borrowed everything they could, combined with a global recessions, be glad there is funding about.

This money is for white area's, which is needed to help them, the rest will be reached by the market eventually.
SolidShot 18th September 2011, 17:03 Quote
i live in a village outside winchester, and my speedtest.net results show that my download speed is 33kps!!!

Long live talk talk and shitttttty cables.
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