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Call for action over broadband coverage issues in Norfolk
Thursday 20 March 2008 14:05:21 by Andrew Ferguson

An article over on the Eastern Daily Press covers an issue that in reality will affect all counties in the UK to some extent. The issue is about those who cannot get broadband in some reasonably affordable form and why take-up for areas of a county may be a lot lower than the average.

"There are a lot of people and small businesses out there who are not able to access the benefits of broadband,

This is partly due to the rural nature of the district of course, but it appears there are ways of addressing at least some of the issues and getting the rate up higher than it is at the moment.

In this day and age people should not be discriminated against in this way, it is a very important principle."

Comments from North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb

One of the first steps needs to be the identification of areas where people believe they cannot get broadband. It is almost four years since the 60dB attenuation limit for the Home 500 service was removed, but it is entirely feasible that people who tried to get broadband some years ago will have missed this news and could now very easily get a working broadband connection. The launch of rate adaptive services from BT Wholesale in the form of the Max product in 2006 can also mean a few people who could not get a service to work previously may get something that is at least better than dial-up. Couple this with extra help from either local experts or the broadband providers themselves in the form of extra information on areas like testing the line from the test socket which is part of the master socket and it is entirely possible that even more people can be given a working broadband connection.

The physics of ADSL and ADSL2+ services mean that there will be some lines that are just too long for it work, and the example of Drymere in Norfolk shows that Openreach can make a difference. The use of thicker copper wire helps to reduce the attenuation making it more likely that a long line will support ADSL. In areas that have aluminium cabling, replacing this with copper cables can also make a big difference. Alas Openreach will only normally do this work on a commercial basis, but if a development agency such as the East of England Development Agency or the council was to underwrite some of the cost, progress could be made.

Very often the impression is given that broadband not-spots are a rural issue, but this is not always the case. The area around the southern periphery of the London City Airport suffers from ADSL coverage issues. Similarly one would assume what is often viewed as affluent Surrey would have no problems, but residents of Ewhurst and Ewhurst Green would disagree with the lucky few getting slow speed ADSL services whilst others get nothing.


Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
If openreach foot the full bill for this work they really should be replacing ali and using the thicker copper cable in every location that has the poor cabling. I have no problem with this as long as its the councils footing the bill.
Posted by rickw over 9 years ago
Andrew you mean the South Western corner of City Airport, where a recent estate of over 700 dwellings has severe problems. This is certainly the postcode you display.
The residents were forced to cough up a significant amount of money to Virgin to get any sort of service since BT basically did not want to know.
You would think that with such a large number of customers, rather than the rural case, BT would do something about it!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
I deliberately didn't post the full postcode, but I do recall some in the SE corner, if the western is an issue then my new wording will cover them - 'southern periphery'.
Posted by dougmccoy over 9 years ago
Living in rural Norfolk I feel well qualified to voice my dissatisfaction with broadband coverage. BT may not be prepared to incur the full costs of upgrading their existing infrastructure without a financial incentive. However,due to the lack of government direction or finance BT simply don't have any incentive to commit themselves to doing anything any time soon.

The simple laws of supply and demand mean that without a substantial subsidy of some sort BT are highly unlikely to change this status quo.
Posted by wispy over 9 years ago
@ dougmccoy

i know of a similar situation as i have relatives near Cromer, ADSL problems are a lot more widespread than we are led to believe in some places! Whereabouts are you from doug?
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
how near to cromer? cromer is a small town and has its own exchange right near the town centre, my parents living there have excellent attenuation.
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