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Culture secretary calls for quicker cable broadband rollout

Culture secretary calls for quicker cable broadband rollout

The government aims to connect 90 per cent of UK homes to broadband by 2015.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned that the rollout of fibre optic broadband isn't happening quickly enough in the UK.

According to The Guardian Hunt told the Royal Television Society convention in Cambridge that the UK was in danger of falling behind the rest of Europe, not only in terms of speed, but also the percentage of homes with broadband connections.

Hunt reportedly said time was running out to meet the government's stated aim of connecting 90 per cent of UK homes to broadband by 2015.

The culture secretary claims that disputes between BT and rival companies, such as Fujitsu, over the price of renting its telegraph poles and underground ducts to lay fibre network cables, were taking too long to settle.

'We need to ensure we do not make the same mistake in broadband that we made in railways,' said Hunt, 'building our high-speed network 45 years after the French and 62 years after the Japanese'

This week he also announced that some local councils would receive funding towards building their own fibre optic networks, with Suffolk getting £11.68m and Rutland being awarded £710,000. Both will now tender their contracts, with the winning bidders committed to matching the funding. Mr Hunt added that he is 'a strong believer that competition is the biggest driver of investment both at the retail and infrastructure level.' However, he added that he doesn't 'believe the market is working as well as it should.'

Mobile data networks were not immune from criticism either. Recent statistics show that over half of UK Internet users access the Web via mobile devices, and Mr Hunt reportedly pleaded with mobile networks to put aside their differences to speed up the 4G radio spectrum auction. This is needed to increase the capacity on already strained networks due to the huge increases in smartphone usage.

Do you think the UK will be able to keep pace with the rest of Europe, or will it fall behind in the broadband stakes? Let us know in the forum.

44 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
billysielu 15th September 2011, 14:41 Quote
UK has already fallen behind. We've got some catching up to do!
Woodspoon 15th September 2011, 14:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by billysielu
UK has already fallen behind. We've got some catching up to do!

Agreed
This is all a bit late and a bit predictable, businesses blaming each other for creating the hold ups and MP's bitching about it.
derpooch 15th September 2011, 14:50 Quote
I'm getting my 30MB fibre installed on Saturday, so I will finally have a decent connection, can't wait for my Steam collection to finally be downloaded! I think that the UK seriously needs to step up the game with broadband, we're falling behind, as with seemingly everything... Since it was mentioned, I can't wait for the 4G roll-out, hopefully more widespread than 3G (and I really hope that LTE phones can finally have some battery life when we get them!)
Centy-face 15th September 2011, 14:52 Quote
'We need to ensure we do not make the same mistake in broadband that we made in railways,' said Hunt, 'building our high-speed network 45 years after the French and 62 years after the Japanese'

In terms of internet technology we are already the equivalent of 60 years behind Japan, South Korea and parts of Scandinavia. We can't hope to keep up but I guess we can be ambitious and hope that we can at least be moving forward.
damien c 15th September 2011, 14:54 Quote
I'm happy at the moment on my 100mb connection.

But considering all the restriction's placed on the connection's at the moment by all the ISP's what is the point really in having anything more than 100mb.
kenco_uk 15th September 2011, 15:02 Quote
Blimey, Rutland to get fibre optic BB?
leexgx 15th September 2011, 15:12 Quote
mobile network providers need to setup more network masks (o2 seem to be the only network doing that, they setup tall pole network towers with the 3-8 antenna's in them, I drive past loads every day most are o2)

fttc needs rolling out in bigger citys not just places with less the 3000 houses (forget cable they never expand any more they never go onto new housing estates where its needed, like Boston Boston boulevard warrington lucky if you get 1mbps broadband with bt and there is no plans for fttc yet )
javaman 15th September 2011, 15:42 Quote
Broadband is slow to upgrade due to the hassle of digging up and replacing lines. Its also costly due to the amount of time and man hours sunk into digging, planning and actually carrying out the upgrade. The lines need upgraded but it would be far better focusing on mobile broadband, keeping cost per MB down for the end user while improving coverage and speed to hit their targets. Surely it would be cheaper and easier to improve coverage that way and upgrade to fibre over a longer period of time. If the government took control of cell sites and leased them it could recover costs to upgrade the fiber network too.
The other side is it would help if BT didn't focus on areas already covered by virgin's high speed network (excluding inner cities ofc). A bit of co-ordination would go a long way.
damien c 15th September 2011, 15:44 Quote
Well I can assure you now cable do go in to new houses aslong as the site owner allow's them to.

If you are in Warrington Cheshire the Ambulance Station near Howley there is new houses being built there and they are getting cable, same as the new houses being built in where Greenal's Brewery was they are also getting cable.

Fibre to the curb is not needed the coax cable that is used by some cable provider's can do 2gb on it before they need to think about using Fibre to the house.
BlodadTand 15th September 2011, 15:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
Blimey, Rutland to get fibre optic BB?

Hope it reaches me on the border.
Psy-UK 15th September 2011, 16:03 Quote
Faster broadband is great and everything but not when ISPs cap the hell out of you for downloading relatively little.
leexgx 15th September 2011, 16:07 Quote
fiber to the cab (not curb) your thinking of fttp (goes to the house)

also its not some its all Vm cable is coax only never fiber (vm is fttc with coax never fiber the shops are still lying that the fiber comes to the house , bt's fttc but with phone cable so max is around 40-100mb avg been 30mbps in most cases not many will ever see fttp on bt)

just wish bt would role out fttc to bad areas first with poor 0.5-2mb or lower speeds
Astatine 15th September 2011, 16:08 Quote
@javaman

Having only BT or Virgin in each area would only be any good if Virgin wasn't a monopoly.

With Virgin, there's no wholesale service, no resellers with alternative deals and setups. You get their service or nothing. And their service comes with built-in censorship and the worst customer support in the world. (SIX WEEKS to fix my connection last time it broke, and they only found the fault after I cancelled my contract and moved to DSL!)

Virgin needs to be forced to provide wholesale access. Ideally, broken into two companies, like Openreach vs. BT Broadband. That's something that an MP concerned with this country's broadband competitiveness could usefully legislate!
l3v1ck 15th September 2011, 16:11 Quote
3G is a joke. You can hardly get it anywhere.
damien c 15th September 2011, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astatine
@javaman

Having only BT or Virgin in each area would only be any good if Virgin wasn't a monopoly.

With Virgin, there's no wholesale service, no resellers with alternative deals and setups. You get their service or nothing. And their service comes with built-in censorship and the worst customer support in the world. (SIX WEEKS to fix my connection last time it broke, and they only found the fault after I cancelled my contract and moved to DSL!)

Virgin needs to be forced to provide wholesale access. Ideally, broken into two companies, like Openreach vs. BT Broadband. That's something that an MP concerned with this country's broadband competitiveness could usefully legislate!

You do realise why BT was forced to allow other companies on to it's network don't you?

If you don't I will inform you, it's because there network was created with goverment money compare to Nynex when it 1st started was not goverment money.

You can also get a reseller of Virgin broadband but on business so you find someone who will charge you less than they pay Virgin for the connection.

Have you ever heard of a company called Fujitsu they are about to trial Fibre to the home but I can't say where and let me tell you now, it's at a faster speed than anyone is currently offering to houses in the UK!!!
Tsung 15th September 2011, 17:22 Quote
It appears BT are only interested in updating exchanges where there is already high speed broadband or virgin cable service. This is the real problem, they neglect/ignore areas that have lesser broadband in favour of trying to compete with Virgin.

Maybe the government should make both companies expand into area's that are not already serviced by high speed broadband. Then the rest of the country should/would catch up.
kol 15th September 2011, 18:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
3G is a joke. You can hardly get it anywhere.

+1.

You would think being a 1st world country we'd all have it standard by now, a friend of mine hassled the council and BT about his 800kbs download speed, they installed a fibre optic line to his house. He was (Like me) pissed off at due to the slow upgrade speed BT and the council are at rolling out fibre optic lines.

My town is to be the first in my county to get Fibre Optic installed, not until March 2012. Knowing BT theyll find some **** excuse to delay it somehow-_-.
Ayrto 15th September 2011, 18:58 Quote
My local exchange is FTTC infinity enabled and the new distinctive cabinets have sprung up around the area, alas, there isn't one at the end of my street . I did phone BT on an unrelated matter and they intimated availability was based on registered interest in any given area and that the old cabinet would remain at least until 2012, though why they can't give an approx time scale is beyond me.
Phil Rhodes 15th September 2011, 18:59 Quote
I have FTTC.

Youtube still plays video in five second bursts.

Gah.
rogerrabbits 15th September 2011, 19:01 Quote
There's not enough competition imo. BT own the infrastructure and don't want anyone else getting in. And Virgin have the fibre optic network. Neither of them care about providing a good service or good speed, because they are the only choice for most people.


p.s. And yeah I pay for 20 mbit cable with Virgin and youtube is basically un-usable for me.
Nexxo 15th September 2011, 19:09 Quote
What are you playing?!? I have 10Mbps on Virgin and I can play back up to 720p resolution quite well. And it's YouTube. It's not exactly as if you need HD theatre quality playback.

OK. The government wants more broadband. We are also in the midst of an economic recession. What better way to boost the economy then to put some government investment into this area. It will benefit business infrastructure, and we are in the middle of expanding the national grid anyway, so why not lay some fibreoptic down alongside those electrical cables while you're at it?
rogerrabbits 15th September 2011, 19:14 Quote
Even crappy 320xWhatever pauses for me and often just fails to load. It's totally worthless. And you don't NEED anything but if we didn't strive to have better stuff we would still pissing about in lycos on our 33.6.

The damage was all done years ago by giving BT total domination of the UK. We have been struggling to recover ever since.
t.y.wan 15th September 2011, 19:50 Quote
Personally, I think the government is just talking out of their a*s, they cannot and will not be able to do "this" in such little amount of time.
First, efficiency, second, BT is a douch, third, COST, at this time, how dare they BS...
Black Tiger 15th September 2011, 20:57 Quote
roblems with youtube, im on a 8 meg connection and always play videos in 1080 or the highest setting where possible and never have any problems, you lot must have some crazy throttling going on
ccxo 15th September 2011, 21:03 Quote
As for the roll out of a broadband network- its going to be slow going, as there are only a handful of providers out there that can deliver.

The biggest and most suited is BT, with their FTTC/FTTP rollout which looks to be the best choice for the market for the next 10 years, is going forward at a strong pace but limited man power and working with electricity companys has slown the pace down.
Come 2015 things should look pretty good for alot of the country, we are still in 2011 another 4 years to go yet till the end of the targeted deadline. Coverage will increase in areas where BT can win the tender for public funds, competing against other companies.

Virgin, expansion is very small for them as there last major expansion, debts are still with them, a clear lack of drive to infill areas shows that Virgin are more interested in upping the speed in their network and charging customers more. Wholesale access to VM network would increase the rollout of faster services across the country as BT etc could then compete with Virgin and not need to build their network there to compete.

Fijitsu, aim of a rural fibre to the home network, will not take off as they need the entire BDUK pot of money for them to make it worth their investment. There looking for a large goverment handout with little work on the ground.

FTTH is the future, though with the current economic situation we are in, things are going to take time, if say most of the BDUK funds went to BT then come 2015, the goverment could achieve its aim prehaps, though they will need to revise it.

The biggest question that needs to be asked with the target goal is what are the measured requirements to achieve it.

Most of the BDUK funds are going to white area's where there will be no market intervention, this leaves the rest of areas either in black or grey, black already being served by a fibre service and grey due to recieve it in the future, though dates wont be given until the company is ready.
rogerrabbits 15th September 2011, 21:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by t.y.wan
, BT is a douch,

They really are. I was so happy when cable finally came around to my area and I could finally give BT the middle finger! Virgin aren't perfect though, but not too bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Tiger
roblems with youtube, im on a 8 meg connection and always play videos in 1080 or the highest setting where possible and never have any problems, you lot must have some crazy throttling going on

I don't think it's youtube because it's fast as can be for me when I'm in work (on Be Internet). I read that Virgin just have a special rule for youtube. I can download a game demo and it comes down at the full 20mbits (about 2.4MB/s!). But on youtube, most of the time if I want to watch a music video or a game review or something on there, I have to just open it and then pause it and go and do something else while it buffers.

Basically Virgin are just gits :P
bradders2125 15th September 2011, 21:48 Quote
Surely Its more important to get everyone to a usable speed instead of a few places getting a speed most people won't need.

Also, whats the point having decent speed broadband if you get a terrible ping. I was on a 6-8Mb Virgin service through the phone line. If i was lucky I could play COD online on my PC, without an atrocious ping during off peak hours. A mate of mine gets 2-3Mb with BT, if hes lucky, yet always had a ping around the 50ms mark

I have moved and now get 13-15Mb from Sky, no problems with a high ping, seemingly no throttling either.

Another friend of mine was locked into a virgin contract when he moved and due to lack of fibre network on our road, the cable goes past the end, had to have a new contract through the phone line or pay an excessive amount to leave. He lives a couple of doors away from me and gets around 7Mb.

If everyone could have 8Mb low latency broadband it would be a better solution than giving a few places super-fast broadband for Facebook, e-mails and IM. There are people who will benefit from a super-fast service, but probably more who want a fast usable service.

Brads
keir 15th September 2011, 23:18 Quote
why all the hate
I'm on 30Mbit hd youtube flys and downloads are pretty much always 3.8Mbps ping on TF2 is between 5 and 20
Call for help if you need it.
rogerrabbits 16th September 2011, 01:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by keir
why all the hate
I'm on 30Mbit hd youtube flys and downloads are pretty much always 3.8Mbps ping on TF2 is between 5 and 20
Call for help if you need it.

Call who? India? :/
ccxo 16th September 2011, 02:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
Call who? India? :/

Welcome to cheap broadband, TT is the latest isp to shut its call centre and move to India, prehaps a higher standard price and you would get UK support first line and a better service instead of being capped by restive fup and overcrowded areas.
Roskoken 16th September 2011, 02:55 Quote
Every new house built should come with a 24TB server as standard and its broadband speed should be reflected in its price.
leexgx 16th September 2011, 06:29 Quote
guess i never submitted my post

my ping has always been low (25-50ms in COD4) MW2 depends on the pc and the connection

high ping or packet loss your UBR mite be overloaded, annoyingly VM never seem to upgrade the bandwidth to fix it and VM network seem to lack QOS for packet latency Priority something that BT seems to have, as i seen on overloaded BT exchange Ping is fine but speed sucks, example 6mb ADSL Locked but only getting 1-2mb speeds but ping is ok

or your power levels are to high or low (should be around 0 but norm around -4 for most)

or you got the super hub or the hub that not very good under some loads (disable Firewall, IP flood norm helps)
Blackshark 16th September 2011, 07:50 Quote
I moved (from the UK) to the the north of Sweden, where my wifes parents who live 30 mins outside of town in a tiny village of 15 homes have 100Mb fibre broadband. In town we have the choice of 24, 50, 100, 200 or 1GBps. The price of this is lower than the UK even though prices for most things here are more expensive (yes I couldnt believe it either!) Oh and of course, being fibre, the up rates are similar to the down rates. Mobile broadband, we have 40Mb up here now and down south I think it is 70 or 80 Mbit now.

The UK has fallen so far behind. If ever there was a need for the UK government to step up and do its job, impose requirements on private industries, it is now. But they wont, too many hands in the pockets, too many brown paper envelopes being slipped under the desks.

Roskoken - Housing in the UK is already incredibly overpriced. I am not sure what most people would do with a 24TB server in their home, especially as cloud computing will make storage at home a thing of the past... of course so long as the UK can get decent internet connections to peoples home... OK OK you are right, everyone in the UK needs a 24TB server and a jobsworth to pop round every day and fill it up for them! (as the broadband cant cope)
SexyHyde 16th September 2011, 09:38 Quote
The thing that gets me is why didn't BT have the foresight to lay fibre down 10+ years ago whenever it was repairing or replacing lines? as it would have had loads of fibre down for not much cost now. While the whole world put broadband into place BT moved a load of jobs to India, continuing poor and overpriced service and not looking to the future and preparing for it. Some people would have expected a company like BT might have led the way in broadband.
Phil Rhodes 16th September 2011, 11:19 Quote
Quote:
What are you playing?!? I have 10Mbps on Virgin and I can play back up to 720p resolution quite well.

The way YouTube fail usually works is that you load up a video page, it plays five seconds and stops. Then you refresh the page two or three times and eventually it works fine. The actual data rate of the content seems to have no bearing on what works and what doesn't; this happens with 320x240 postage-stamp video as often as with 1920x1080. It's not an absolute bandwidth issue; if I had to guess, it's a quirk of the way YT does loadsharing where their servers are physically located, and how they're connected to the wider internet.

Actually, correction: it's quite a lot less common on 1920x1080 material, which often means movie trailers or other commercial content. I wonder if someone's paying for better service. Net neutrality my fragrant backside.

The problem with all this is that... well... it's nobody's problem. YouTube will blame your ISP, your ISP will blame YouTube. It may actually be a hard problem to fix, because it presumably depends on exactly what links everyone has to everyone else, the overall coordination of which is the responsibility of Mister Nobody. With my dedicated cynicism hat on, I could say that this is exactly how everyone likes it. Neither the ISP nor YouTube is really interested in providing a working service; they don't get paid any more. They don't need it to work.All they need is to be able to avoid responsibility for it not working, which in today's grief-filled world, apparently means the same thing.

In this case I'd say the problem is YouTube's, because I don't see this issue on Vimeo or other video-sharing sites. But jeez. My ISP won't even look into it until I've run a number of extremely time-consuming speed tests, despite the fact that it is already well proven that the speed of my link to the exchange is the last thing that's possibly cauing the problem. Obviously, this is just another responsibility-deflection technique... gah. I fear for the world!
rogerrabbits 16th September 2011, 17:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccxo
Welcome to cheap broadband, TT is the latest isp to shut its call centre and move to India, prehaps a higher standard price and you would get UK support first line and a better service instead of being capped by restive fup and overcrowded areas.

You think it's our fault for not paying enough?!
SexyHyde 16th September 2011, 20:54 Quote
Either way, laying fibre is going to cost and ultimately who is going to pay the bill.
ccxo 17th September 2011, 02:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SexyHyde
The thing that gets me is why didn't BT have the foresight to lay fibre down 10+ years ago whenever it was repairing or replacing lines? as it would have had loads of fibre down for not much cost now. While the whole world put broadband into place BT moved a load of jobs to India, continuing poor and overpriced service and not looking to the future and preparing for it. Some people would have expected a company like BT might have led the way in broadband.

OFCOM wouldnt let BT lay down fibre, otherwise it would already have been put down, would have killed of the compeition.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
You think it's our fault for not paying enough?!

Its part of the reason, of the situation we are in at current its complex and more needs to be done to fix it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SexyHyde
Either way, laying fibre is going to cost and ultimately who is going to pay the bill.

The tax payer, as it always has, though the current idea is for the goverment to combine public funding with private to stimualte a rollout. Though to catch up to say Sweeden the goverment would need to provide the funds for a entire fibre roll out to the country.
Anfield 17th September 2011, 19:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SexyHyde
Either way, laying fibre is going to cost and ultimately who is going to pay the bill.

And the Isps where clever enough to wait until the problem is so big they can go cry to the Government for money...
Sucks for the Consumers, but if you look at it from the pov of the Isps Bank Accounts waiting until 5 past 12 was the best option.
SexyHyde 17th September 2011, 22:26 Quote
iirc the isp's dont own or maintain the network "(BT) Openreach" do and they have done since 2006 so they have had five years to put fibre down on all repair/maintain jobs. it should have made the case that fibre was needed and presented the case by pointing to every other developed country that seem to be light-years ahead, and prevention would stifle future uk business growth and therefore the future uk economy. a way to get around the anti competition would be to get the regulator of the time to oversee a buy-in of services.

the average joe is going to pay for it. either through higher tax or from higher bills from the companies that privately invest.
damien c 20th September 2011, 12:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
Quote:
Originally Posted by t.y.wan
, BT is a douch,

They really are. I was so happy when cable finally came around to my area and I could finally give BT the middle finger! Virgin aren't perfect though, but not too bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Tiger
roblems with youtube, im on a 8 meg connection and always play videos in 1080 or the highest setting where possible and never have any problems, you lot must have some crazy throttling going on

I don't think it's youtube because it's fast as can be for me when I'm in work (on Be Internet). I read that Virgin just have a special rule for youtube. I can download a game demo and it comes down at the full 20mbits (about 2.4MB/s!). But on youtube, most of the time if I want to watch a music video or a game review or something on there, I have to just open it and then pause it and go and do something else while it buffers.

Basically Virgin are just gits :P

Well it's funny because I am on Virgin and now have the 100mb and Youtube run's fine for me now, and did do on the 50mb and below even on my Virgin Mobile.

I did have issues with Youtube but have found that it was only on video's that did not have allot of views on them, but anything that had a shed load of views ran fine as they gave them video's more bandwidth.

I did hear somewhere but cannot remember where that Youtube was caught slowing the speed of video's down, while they were converting them all to HTML 5 which I believe is still going on.
scimitar55 20th September 2011, 13:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by damien c
You do realise why BT was forced to allow other companies on to it's network don't you?

If you don't I will inform you, it's because there network was created with goverment money compare to Nynex when it 1st started was not goverment money.

You can also get a reseller of Virgin broadband but on business so you find someone who will charge you less than they pay Virgin for the connection.

Have you ever heard of a company called Fujitsu they are about to trial Fibre to the home but I can't say where and let me tell you now, it's at a faster speed than anyone is currently offering to houses in the UK!!!


Also bear in mind that the government was happy to sell that network and I think you will find that Nynex got government grants to assist it! As for Fujitsu, they are just making a power play as they are loosing all their business to Huawei and have yet to deliver anything in the UK.
scimitar55 20th September 2011, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccxo
OFCOM wouldnt let BT lay down fibre, otherwise it would already have been put down, would have killed of the compeition

.

I think you will find that BT owned a number of the cable franchises from the 1980s and even today owns several of the networks, which it rents to Virgin.
ccxo 20th September 2011, 19:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by scimitar55
I think you will find that BT owned a number of the cable franchises from the 1980s and even today owns several of the networks, which it rents to Virgin.

In the 1980's BT sold of 20 cable franchises, retaining Westminter and Milton Keynes are the only two that appear in news today. Vm abandoning the westminster network and still renting in MK.
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