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Broadband reality in Wales
Wednesday 28 May 2008 15:59:05 by Andrew Ferguson

While Wales is not the only part of the UK where getting broadband can be a problem for some, it is one where public bodies are starting to take action that may help people and businesses. Carmarthen and Ceredigion Council has a survey that is ongoing to try and plot the problem areas in West Wales where broadband and mobile telephony are not available, or are intermittent or slow.

The survey started just over a month ago and has had 135 registrations so far. Around half of the registrations are from those that cannot get broadband due to line length issues or DACS line sharing devices (Digital Access Carrier System). From those getting broadband the majority appear to be saying that their speeds are under 2Mbps (Mega bits per second). Some more detail can be found in the local press.

Openreach has a policy of removing DACS units to allow people to have a DSL service and this has improved over the years, but they can still say that it is uneconomic to do so. Even when Openreach agrees to remove a DACS it can for some people take months for it to be accomplished. One word of caution, some broadband providers if they see a DACS message on ordering broadband will automatically reject the order before referring the order for checking by BT Wholesale or Openreach, so if you have a DACS and the order is rejected within 24 hours you are advised to try another broadband provider.

DACS are still allowed in the telephone network because Ofcom only requires telephone providers to support a functional Internet access speed of 28 Kilo bits per second which can be achieved by a dial-up modem on a DACS line.

It would be nice to see other public bodies running similar surveys as once it is known precisely where the problems are, that solutions can be found. For example with DACS, if two or three properties in the same street are affected the economics change, but Openreach will not have linked the requests for broadband that may be spread over a couple of years.

Comments

Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"DACS are still allowed in the telephone network because Ofcom only requires telephone providers to support a functional Internet access speed of 28 Kilo bits per second which can be achieved by a dial-up modem on a DACS line."
Ofcom again spineless and behind the times... Who would had thought it???
To the Welsh readers that have trouble i hope the survey and the council put enough pressure on the likes on ofcom and BT to get you some type of half decent service.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
"Ofcom again spineless and behind the times... Who would had thought it???"
In this case I'd say they are being reasonable.

In the real world you can't suddenly turn around to a company that has been operating within the rules for a couple of decades and say that the rules have changed and it has to invest billions of pounds.

You can negotiate a path toward an upgrade but if you want to enforce that path you have to help with the funding.
Posted by russpcs over 8 years ago
I know of a DACS case in England (Carlisle) where there has ben an ADSL order in place since March 2007 and the person involved is still no nearer getting broadband. Next reveiw 3 June 2008!
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
AndrueC or ofcom could give them a timescale to comply with new regulation as yes its unreasonable to expect compliance overnight but within say 2-3 years is reasonable. If funding assistance was offered then BT should then be shared owner not full owner of any rollout cannot have it both ways or maybe they will?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^^ Indeed not rocket science, then again Ofcom have bowed to BT for years
Posted by stevehurcombe over 8 years ago
BT are about to make the situation worse in Herefordshire. My parents currently have a 256KB service - the slower rate works better on their long line (more signal per bit). 512KB didn't work.
However BT are revising the rates and removing the lower rate.

Bye-Bye broadband (256KB is still miles better than dialup).
Posted by stevehurcombe over 8 years ago
...continued.

Their only hope then will be mobile based GPRS (and 3G if anyone ever rolls it out over there).

They tried to buy a satellite system but despite plenty of calls no-one ever called them back - so although that's a technical solution there are no providers delivering any kit.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
On the 256Kbps becoming 512, I presume referring to removal of Home 250, in which case a Max product would be better. At worst this will run at 160Kbps
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
on the zen feedback I have read home 250 for certian lines is better than max. The 160kbit would be a 128kbit profile?
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
stevehurcombe yeah broadband has lost its way somewhat recently, it would have been better to introduce some kind of min standard eg. 256kbit or 512kbit and then work on cheaper use of traffic so things like iplayer dont cause isps so many problems, 24mbit speeds should have been lower priority to that but marketing always wins out in the end.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
if might run at more than 256k with Max anyway, hard to say with no stats. Put it on a 3dB profile etc.

There is no Universal Service Obligation for broadband anywhere in the EU, it is probably the EU that determine this in any case rather than OFCOM. For a broadband USO the questions are 1) what is the minimum speed 2) who pays for it 3) who wins the tender to provide it.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/uso/statement/
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^ Typical ofcom dribble...
1.1 Universal Service ensures that basic fixed line services ARE AVAILABLE at an affordable price to ALL citizen and customers across the UK.
1.12 ...This requirement is particularly valuable to customers in remote rural areas whom the market might otherwise not serve. Where installation of a new line costs £3,400 or less, BT sets a standard charge. Where installation will cost over £3,400, BT REQUIRES THE CUSTOMER TO PAY the excess costs.......
What a contradiction!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Everyone gets a universal service except where BT have to spend more money then they would like which ofcom then think the customer should pay the extra...... Universal, available, affordable.... Its almost like a monty python sketch.
Posted by MCM999 over 8 years ago
Contradiction? Personally I think 1.2 is not only crystal clear but also reasonably fair. If someone chooses to live halfway up a mountain I think it reasonable that they contribute to the cost of installing a phone line. Compare the provision of a drinking water supply where the full cost of laying the pipe is charged to the end user.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Carpetburn has said he does not want to subsidise anyone else...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Contradiction? Personally I think 1.2 is not only crystal clear but also reasonably fair. If someone chooses to live halfway up a mountain I think it reasonable that they contribute to the cost of installing a phone line."
I would agree and wouldnt argue, but 1.1 says AFFORDABLE price TO ALL, thus its a contradiction
Posted by hanham97 over 8 years ago
Some choose to live up a mountain but many can't afford to move away,being the original resident.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Where someone lives is irrelevant, either it is AFFORDABLE TO ALL or it isnt. The way that link reads is... If i live on the top of Mount Everest and it costs BT lets say £10,000 to hook me up they will foot the bill for the first £3,400... leaving me with a bill of £6,600 for my FIXED RATE and probably slow service... Hardly AFFORDABLE huh???
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