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2Meg broadband to become universal
Tuesday 06 January 2009 12:30:55 by John Hunt

Lord Carter, Communications minister, is expected to introduce a universal service obligation (USO) for broadband, with a requirement to provide services at up to 2Mbps, in his 'Digital Britain' review to be released later this month. The report is also expected to relieve BT of its current USO for providing telephone services to everyone in the country with a plan to share the new obligations amongst mobile phone and other broadband suppliers such as Virgin Media.

This somewhat follows plans in other countries such as France where communication providers are subject to an industry fee that helps to fund service to those in hard to reach areas. Last year Telia-Sonera in Finland was allowed to rip out its copper network in some of the most sparsely populated areas of the country in favour of using mobile coverage.

If the UK takes a similar approach, it could encourage investment in next generation services such as fibre to the home (FTTH) as BT would not be obliged to provide services to those hard to reach areas. Whether this would be good for the country or not is debatable. It could encourage a growth of the digital divide, where those in more urban areas are able to access the Internet at 100Mbps or above, and watch high-definition television using the fibre network whilst the "have nots" are stuck on an ageing 2Meg broadband that has been available for approaching 9 years.

Comments

Posted by t0m5k1 over 8 years ago
id say the first step they need to make is to sort out the connections classed as long lines as some of these have absolutley no chance of attaining 2mbps
Posted by fenlandbroadband over 8 years ago
I realise full details aren't known yet, but who is going to be made to supply this 2Mbps broadband? It sounds like it is being spread across the industry so it doesn't just fall on BT's shoulders, but does that mean that as long as at the address you live at you can get the service via one method or another, then you've effectively got access to "Up to 2Mbps Broadband"?
Posted by fenlandbroadband over 8 years ago
And isn't the "up to" a bit worrying? Doesn't it leave consumers open to the problem that they'll face of being offered an "up to 2Mbps" service, but they'll possibly only get 512Mbps or less? Much like Mobile Broadband which claims high speeds, but my use of them has been very hit and miss - GPRS usually seems faster!
Posted by the_inspector007 over 8 years ago
I would LOVE to have 2Meg connection! I currently get just under 900kbps and I live less that 2 miles outside a major city in a housing development less than 6 years old. What I do find amazing is that cable was not installed on the estate when it was built! No doubt there was some planning restriction in place that prevented that from happening. Ahh well, c'est la vie.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Is it 2M at any cost to the customer?
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
We need the backhaul to be fixed as well (pricing more than technical I suspect).

That 2Mb for all is good as long as it comes with a guarantee of 95% availability and no usage cap. IOW everyone has access to a 2Mb capable connection whenever they need it for as long as they need it without paying extra or getting rude letters from their ISP.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Devil is in the detail on this one for sure. I'm not convinced by comments that unlimited usage should be a part of any USO though :)

Devil in detail because long lines are on 'up to' services but can't get to 2Mbps. That along with deregulation, it's all a bit odd.
Posted by hannibalhorn over 8 years ago
I also live in a modern estate in Basingstoke (a big town!) and I can only get 500 kbps. I used to get 1MB which was poor in itself and it has now suddenly halved. I have been told that it was to be expected being so far from the exchange and I was lucky to be getting 1MB and in time may lose it all together as its a miracle Im getting it at all.
Posted by hannibalhorn over 8 years ago
In relation to cable being put in the developers told me that virgin were approached about putting in cable so they wouldnt have to dig up any roads but they wanted to charge the developers a ridiculous sum for the privilidge of having cable in the area! Now if they decide to put it in they will have to dig everything up. Nothing to do with planning regulations just poor market practice from Virgin who lose market share everytime a new house is built in a non-cable area.
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
The term "Up to" is very concerning here. Also if this is indeed spread across industries then no doubt this USO would class Satellite to be a suitable means of broadband access, that just not good enough. So nothing changes at all! I think this may have a bigger impact on "mobile" broadband, we may see 3G/HSPA being sold as a fixed service maybe with external directional antennas.
Posted by 2doorsbob over 8 years ago
while i'd agree a 2meg service to some people might sound great but do the people that think up these ideas really know what thay on about, i have family that live on the very edge of the wadsley bridge exchange on rivelin valley road with a 256k service. bt would have to lay striaght tho copper at the cost of tens of thousands of pounds for about 12 houses ..its not going to happen
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
People that cant get 2Mb now aint gonna get it under this new USO.... UPTO 2Mb or in English for the simple people, anything under 2Mb is still going to be seen as fine.

Still atleast it seems a step at wrestling the monopoly over broadband out of BTs hands, so a start, could had been better and more strict though.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Heh. This is a major win for BT, Carpetburn. They've been arguing that they should not have to have a phone USO for a long time now.

Moreover, it sounds like they'll only have to take on part of a broadband USO, being able to dump off remote regions.
Posted by meldrew over 8 years ago
Just remember how grateful you all were when the 36k modem was on the market (at £99) and you could put your 28.8k unit back in the cupboard!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
I don't. I went from 4800 to 56k
Posted by samperry209 over 8 years ago
im on sky and get 2mb on a good day and on a bad day i have to tweak my Nm manually to reach 2mb... please please can we not have Fibre optic... because this is getting lame! even romania have faster broadband then us
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
"industry fee that helps to fund service to those in hard to reach areas" is the good part - if BT doesn't care, I am sure more dynamic ISPs will, without them being 'crowded out' by BT...

You have to remember that too many people are wanting a business service for the price of a low usage one, or much less... I blame the OTT salesmen for selling it that way, causing many companies to not risk spending money in a losing market...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
And yes, I would expect 'free with skyTV' BB to be carp... you should be using the tools on THIS website to find a good one with a short contract, or even www.samknows.com ...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Moreover, it sounds like they'll only have to take on part of a broadband USO, being able to dump off remote regions."

Yep in that regard you are kinda right Dawn, as i said nothing really has changed, technically from the exact words theres no new guideline about assured speed introduced.

Some poor sap in a tiny village is still going to be stuck with 256 or 512k and when they complain just told "Sir/Madam it is UP TO 2Mb, not a guaranteed 2Mb).

Basically this news isnt worth reading and as is typical pretty toothless.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
be interesting to see what he actually says when he says it, rather than speculation :-)

ISTR the USO is in the EU's control anyway.
Posted by terrieb over 8 years ago
NOT spots unite!
I live in Bucks and we have lots of not spots, trying to get together with other notspots to form a campaign - contact me please. can I give my email here?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
email? sure, how many thousands of spam replies do you want???? FFS use your head and join a proper forum like
http://bbs.adslguide.org.uk/ or
http://www.forum.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=25


Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
terrieb - Are you pushing for wired or wireless?
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
If they do FTTC for remote areas then wait for the complaints about people there getting 20M when people in a town only get 5M!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"If they do FTTC for remote areas then wait for the complaints about people there getting 20M when people in a town only get 5M!"

LOL like thats ever going to happen, giving the less profitable regions the faster speeds first is just wishful thinking.

Infact any type of fibre is still wishful thinking as BT are still begging the government for help and the government in typical fashion are erm'ing and ahh'ing if they should help and with how much money... Mention fibre to me in oh around 3 years when actual thought and real announcements happen
Posted by tpferret over 8 years ago
I live in the sticks, about seven miles from my exchange and get between 160 and 350k from bt who say they only do an 8 meg connection. Does this mean they will have to do a 2meg connection at a lower price for me?
I cant imagine many isp's rushing to suply b/b to many out of the way places and suspect they will all say we cant do it try, someone else. So we end up with no one providing for out of towners and no b/b in the sticks.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
BT say my line will only support 512 kbps as I am at the far end of a long cable. Yes, I do know this BUT with Pipex Homecall [before Tiscali trashed it] I was getting 1.5 MB, and now with Talktalk I get 1.6 MB on the same equipment. If they can do it, why can't BT? It cost them several customers in this area. I have always said we will never get fibre out here, because BT or whoever will never be able to recoup the cost. We are the forgotten ones, with 2 buses a day [none Sundays] and not a hope in hell of ever getting 2MB, let alone 50 or 100 MB.
Posted by veryslowlyslowly over 8 years ago
Looking at the connection speed problem and a possible solution.
If Bt supplies a fast Bband connection then charge for that.
For those at the slow end of the speed scale with the possibility of limited download options, stipulate a lower monthly charge depending on small speed bands slots.
This would satisfy most users, and, wave a carrot at Bt to increase profitability by providing a choice of service. instead of them being able to hide the flaw of copper cable connection within the small print of "up to". At present the slow connection user is being taken to the cleaners!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
dragon - They use different physical equipment, and BT tend strongly to reliability over speed. If you mean LLU...if you mean the actual results are quicker than BT's "projected", then yea - the "projected" is often low.

FTTC would be of great benefit to you. No, you wouldn't see 20Mbit, you'd likely see 4-5.
Posted by piscator over 8 years ago
In rural Wiltshire I get 512kb and would love 2mb. One resident gets 276kb while another a few hundred meters away gets 1.2mb. My internal cable is not the problem but may be in other houses. "Distance" is an OpenReach problem here as the cabling has no structure, no cabinets, all overhead and some connections double up and down the area before reaching the local exchanges. And then there are reliability problems.
There are so many complaints, which BT ignore unless you use their ISP services that in desperation the Parish Council has set up a work party to try to get BT attention.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^^ How do you propose BT increase your connection speed?

Seriously i dont think much of BT but its hardly their fault you live a million miles from civilization. If BT spent seriously stupid amounts of money shoving a massive large modern exchange in every quack pot village it would cost them millions and never be made back. The options for those in poor areas is simple... Pay for work to be done to improve things, or move house, dont expect BT or any company to spend millions to make a few hundred happy
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
There is a modern exchange in virtually every village. What some people want/need is one in a nearby field.
Posted by piscator over 8 years ago
Carpetburn misses the point. Inconsistency is the issue. I have 2 house lines one has 512mb and the other per BT cannot support ADSL. Village houses next to each other are told one can have dsl and the other not. We all pay the same rate & many villagers provide substantial revenue to BT so why should we get inferior service? Water, electricity etc is the same city or rural access to comms should be the same.
Posted by piscator over 8 years ago
Sorry meant 512kb
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
piscator - sounds like the working line is borderline. Problem is the copper network was built many, many years ago.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
another good reason to get it checked by a LLU ISP - what do you prefer, slow & stupid reliability, or speed???
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
And if there is no LLU?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
you need to check http://www.samknows.com first...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
It would help if a location was given!
Posted by 2doorsbob over 8 years ago
What conserns me is are more isp's going to say no to people in rural areas if 2mb can't be supplied ..what a true state our networks in when bt cant afford to go forward ..i was speaking to a bt engineer and they use i different gauge of copper rather than the usuall 0.5mm on long rural lines going to these small exchanges
Posted by 2doorsbob over 8 years ago
surely blowing a fibre to these exchanges is going to be cheaper than having to repair rotting ali or copper truck lines
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Carpetburn misses the point. Inconsistency is the issue. I have 2 house lines one has 512mb and the other per BT cannot support ADSL."
Nooo I get the point exactly its the same the world over for any broadband sevice that uses copper telephone wires... In simple terms, Long cable run, old cables and line noise equals low speed, its not an issue only the UK or BT suffer with... Somerset is bang on with the reply he made to you.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"What conserns me is are more isp's going to say no to people in rural areas if 2mb can't be supplied "

I doubt it as this is pointless government bile as usual, its basically meaningless... It states quote"with a requirement to provide services at up to 2Mbps" The key words being UP TO, They could have said "with a requirement to provide services at up to 2000000Mbps" wouldnt make a blind bit of difference. If you get between 0 and 2Mb the requirement has been forfilled.
Posted by piscator over 8 years ago
Last comment on rural. BT rural cable gets no investment, eg no cabinets & little underground. LE connections are made by engineers hunting around the poles & holes to find a spare connection. So some connections go back & forwards to reach LE. Some lines from same house are much "further" away with consequential line loss etc. In 30 yrs in T/C I worked in 20 countries. Most realise sustainability & tele working need rural investment. Not BT. Fibre & new exchanges would help but it is less expensive to structure copper tails. If BBand USO is added we may get there.
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