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Is mobile broadband cheaper to roll-out?
Thursday 19 February 2009 17:23:25 by Andrew Ferguson

In the middle of towns the capital costs of installing a mobile phone mast and keeping the hardware up to the latest standards will be quickly recouped, but for rural villages with perhaps just a few hundred properties in the range of the cell tower things are likely to be very different.

The Finish research firm Omnitel has published a report suggesting that the capital expenditure for mobile broadband will amount to 1000 euro per subscriber. This takes into account the costs of having to upgrade backhaul from the cell towers as peoples use of mobile broadband grows beyond just buying a few music tracks and online shopping and upgrades to hardware to support faster speeds as they become available.

A usage figure of 10GB per month is suggested as a figure that some mobile broadband users may exceed, which suggests that land line based broadband still has a big advantage for those whose usage encompasses tasks that over a month add up to a lot of bandwidth. £10 to £15 on a mobile link tends to buy you 3GB of usage, whereas with ADSL and cable you will generally get 10 to 20GB or a lot more, and in addition you do not have to suffer resampling of images to a lower quality level.

A figure of £29bn has widely being touted as the cost for providing fibre to the home for the UK, and with some some 25 million households this is ~£1100 (1350 euro). What makes mobile broadband more attractive is that it is not starting from scratch, i.e. many billions have been spent to reach the notional 80% coverage so far, and it seems the mobile firms are keen to spend more. The low usage volumes on accounts and excess usage charges that can result in a bill of £100's are perhaps a good reason for this.

The biggest issue in the next generation broadband arena is whether the decision makers will consider just the short term benefits of a technology that can satisfy a USO to meet a political promise, or look towards something that will outlast the working lifes of those making the decisions.

Comments

Posted by ruskin0 over 8 years ago
Looks like fibre is out the window then.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
You never know Ruskin0, perhaps if the right people make their voice heard on behalf of the people of this country then the govt will wake up to the fact that the end game is fibre, not short term pathetic USO of 2 meg. There is no hope for britain in the ICT business if the fibre stays unlit. Cmon baby light the fibre... ...create hundreds of jobs to make thousands more sustainable
Posted by NetGuy over 8 years ago
In the interim 'digital Britain' document there was mention of fibre to the cabinet, and I think that would be workable even in rural areas, with copper from the cabinet so only the final mile (or three?) would limit the speed.

I'm using Three at 7.50 a month for 5GB so I guess the news article was going on PAYG pricing, though mine was in a deal (normally 15 GBP)
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
£370 per house in city areas £1760 per house rural areas ouch.
Posted by michaels_perry over 8 years ago
What do they mean 'a few hundred' in rural villages? What about those of us, a large number in total, who live in hamlets? There are 19 homes in my area, are we not entitled to a decent service as well? Our local exchange serves just 388 homes with telephones in a very dispersed area! FTTC is definitely the right way to go, just hang the fibre cables on the existing overhead copper cables. No new poles needed, no digging needed, just string it up and connect.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
My mobile phone can't be used here as a phone. I can (just) receive Text messages but have to walk halfway across a field to send one. No Freeview here either. The Fibre roll out is not going to happen here ever, for the same reason we won't ever have cable TV. They would never recoup the cost.
Posted by Enrico21 over 8 years ago
Refer General Broadband Chatter - Forum Topic - "Digital Britain - Digital Divide" posted by the Brigadier with supporting comments from Rural Welsh Boyo.
Posted by jumpmum over 8 years ago
michaels_perry With just 19 homes FTTC will never cost in. You have to include the cost of the Cabinet and core electronics. Scale only comes in when you have around 200 homes per cabinet. At around 30 homes the fibre (on overhead only) may cost in better as the core electronics can then be shared over more people, over 30 is too heavy for the poles to carry. Higher fault liability though, so will lose service in high winds and ice conditions for days each time it breaks.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
hamlets and villages should have support from RDAs to provide a service that isn't economic for the big boys. Get the fibre out into the rural areas to help them thrive and prosper in the same way the cities will do if it ever happens. Digital Britain needs the fat pipe.
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