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BT accepts green go light from Ofcom
Tuesday 03 March 2009 10:12:43 by Andrew Ferguson

In about a year's time we should start to see the deployment of fibre to the cabinet by the BT Group, with access available at a wholesale level to ensure retail competition. Ofcom has published a statement entitled "Delivering super-fast broadband in the UK".

The approach Ofcom is adopting is not a totally 'hands off' position; they are simply outlining the framework they will use to regulate the product, the key points being:

  • allow wholesale pricing flexibility to enable returns appropriate to the considerable risks of building new networks, but constrained by the market in the interests of customers;
  • ensure that any regulatory pricing allows investors the opportunity to earn a rate of return that genuinely reflects the cost of deployment and the associated level of risk;
  • minimise unnecessary inefficiencies in network design and build as a result of regulatory policies, while continuing to protect the consumer interest;
  • support the use of new, more flexible wholesale services by BT to offer super-fast services to other service providers and consumers at competitive prices; and
  • safeguard the opportunity for further competition based on physical infrastructure, by facilitating fair opportunities for companies to synchronise their investments with BT’s deployments, should reasonable demand arise, and encouraging network design that takes future potential competition into account.

For those keen to know potential prices and product specs it is too early to know for sure, though we have seen indication of possible product speeds from BT, and there are wholesale prices for the fibre to the home services at Ebbsfleet.

"Today's announcement gives us the green light to push ahead with our 1.5 billion pounds superfast broadband investment plans to reach at least 40 percent of UK households by 2012.

Today's announcement from Ofcom has set expectations for the whole UK industry as the market evolves into a fibre-based world."

Statement from BT Group Chief Executive Ian Livingston

One key point is that this latest statement from Ofcom concerns Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), not Fibre to the Home (FTTH). The majority of the £1.5bn spend on fibre will be mainly on the cabinet based service, the regulatory requirements for the FTTH service have previously been covered by Ofcom. The current recession means new build housing is down in volume, so it is likely less greenfield sites will be developed to benefit from Fibre to the Home. The deployment of the cabinet based solutions in an area will not affect existing services such as LLU or WLR/CPS deals since the intention for now is that the copper network between exchange and homes/businesses will be left in place.

So where does this leave everyone in the UK? Well a lucky 40% to maybe 60% of households by 2012 will have the choice of one or more of Virgin Media 50Mbps or a BT 40Mbps service. Ofcom accepts that purely commercial approaches will not fully cover the UK, at least not in the short or medium terms, but suggests at present it is unclear how far they will go and thus is difficult to regulate.

If the wholesale product provided via FTTC and other changes such as better access to duct space prove attractive to providers like TalkTalk and Sky then we may see them pushing for more expansion or even engaging in their own sub loop unbundling, that might see speeds of 25Mbps and faster reaching coverage levels approaching that of LLU now. One example of sub-loop unbundling is the Digital Region project underway in Yorkshire.

For those of us who are still to see LLU, then we are largely left with the Community Broadband Network and the fledgling USO for broadband.

Comments

Posted by Jay1987 over 8 years ago
I think fibre to cabinet will only roll out in major citys, ie London,Ashford,Manchester etc etc. I dont believe you will see this roll out in rural areas with only 4000 residents

BT will mainly upgrade the exchanges of where the money will be made, I believe.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Is it just me that finds it amusing and somewhat tragic that Ofcom / BT are calling 40Mbit 'super-fast' while other countries are merrily laying down regulatory frameworks and deploying 100Mbit+ and in some cases 1000Mbit?
Posted by chimpy1968 over 8 years ago
Depressing really. Looks like this is just going to make the UK digital divide even greater. When they say 40% of households presumably this leaves an huge amount of people outside of major cities reduced to a pathetic 2MB by 2012 (goodness, the future is looking bright).

The government seems quite happy to sink vast amounts of money into our esteemed financial industry but doesn't seem to want to get involved in providing a fast broadband service for everyone.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
The UK digital divide is no greater and considerably smaller than pretty much anywhere else, it's the 'top end' we suffer far more badly on just FYI.

Relative to our peer group our service of low density areas is exceptional, our service of high density areas extremely dubious. The subsidy of rural broadband from urban areas is actually very high and I'd rather my taxes didn't join my broadband bill in paying for your service.
Posted by chimpy1968 over 8 years ago
You've just bemoaned the lack of very fast broadband in your previous post and then say it's fine for us poor rural folk to have a terrible connection. I pay an awful lot for my broadband connection, live only 4km as the crow flies from my exchange (not up the top of a mountain) and yet can only get 1MBit.




Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
@ Dixinormous, not just you. I'm appalled that we don't actually exceed in anything in this area. People clearly want the UK to highly advanced, so why do OFCOM take their time in this, yet rush the not so good things through?
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
Also I thought it would be super cheap to lay cable in rural areas?
No need for planning permission, checking for sewers and other mysterious cables to slice into?
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Gzero - http://www.broadbanduk.org/content/view/311/73/and http://www.broadbanduk.org/content/view/306/73/are the numbers these guys are looking at.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
chimpy1968 you say exactly what is wrong with this country, we bemoan the lack of very fast broadband and whinge about our services then claim that we pay an 'awful lot' for our connections while we actually pay less a month than a couple of cinema tickets with popcorn and drinks.
Posted by chimpy1968 over 8 years ago
Dixinormous - so what would you regard as a fair monthly price for a broadband connection? £100, £200 ? Don't get me wrong, I don't expect a fast broadband connection to be free, I'd just like the option.
I guess it all boils down to how much importance you attach to fast broadband and if you feel it benefits the country as a whole.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Hi chimpy.

I would pay 50-80GBP maybe 100GBP for the right service - the right service will service as both entertainment, a business tool, be good for telephony and all communications needs.

People here pay 45GBP a month just for television.
Posted by chimpy1968 over 8 years ago
Dixinormous - yup I wouldn't mind paying that for a universal service. Can you put me in touch with an ISP who'll provide that in my area :)

I'm probably a heavier user of the internet than most people, but I'm sure that ISPs could factor that in and provide a sliding scale. At the moment, my scale (and lots of other people, some of whom can't even get broadband at all) stops sliding after 1.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
You highlight a huge issue in the UK chimpy, ISPs tend to appeal to the lowest common denominator rather than offering a quality product at the right price. I guess we need to blame the rest of the population for that one! :)

It's not up to ISPs, it's up to BT / Virgin Media. The Ofcom strategy has left very little infrastructure competition in return for tons of retail competition which means nothing at times like these.
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 8 years ago
I for one do not understand why OFCOM is obsessed with infrastructure competition. Electricity, gas, water and rail services etc compete at retail level not infrastructure level. Too much completion in a given area can be a bad thing with too many companies chasing too few customers which then in turn forces the companies to cut prices and continually cut corners / reduce the quality of service to meet the given pricing level. This leaves very little if no money left to invest in future network upgrades.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
As a country I think we have a very good average and accessibility. After all can't 99% of the population can get at least 512kb? And what do we pay - between £5 and £20.

Okay so we don't have any mass market 100Mb services but do we need them? I'll ask my normal question yet again:What legal activity do you wish to perform that is reliant on a fibre roll-out?
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
..granted those of you stuck on sub 2Mb services are suffering a bit but what the hell does anyone actually need 100Mb for?
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 8 years ago
100Mb would allow dad to work from home with the same response time as sat in the office while child1 could catch up on their favourite TV show using iplayer, kid2 plays an online game, Kid3 watches an HD movie from blockbuster online while mum holds a video call with grandma in Spain etc etc. All sounds a bit antisocial though. A few decades ago why would anyone want a computer in the home?
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Ofcom are not obsessed with infrastructure competition donkey they only care about retail competition.
AndrueC so you're saying that anyone on higher level services than us is wasting their time, right? All those people throwing money at FTTP are clearly deluded I guess.
BT in a very few years after their FTTC solution will be pulling up roads again doing it *PROPERLY* when FTTC is proven not to be enough. Won't be long.
Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
Gah, another service that'll go to the cities first - yet it's just as viable on small town/village exchanges, because the street cabs tend to service roughly the same amount of people in most areas (okay, some will be higher density), some of us out in the towns/villages are quite willing to pay more for faster services just the same as those in the cities are. Give me 40Mbit/s with a decent upstream and without boatloads of contention and I'll happily give you £50/month.
Posted by Discus over 8 years ago
Posted by Dixinormous about 2 hours ago
Hi chimpy.

I would pay 50-80GBP maybe 100GBP for the right service - the right service will service as both entertainment, a business tool, be good for telephony and all communications needs.


Just to give a bit of insight on other countries. Our 1MB WiMax connection in Spain costs €45pm (about £40 at today's rate) just for internet access, albeit (allegedly) unlimited. So my £15pm 2MB connection in the UK seems to be exceptional value for money and the same amount of money in the UK should give fantastic speeds :)
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 8 years ago
It depends what you define as infrastructure completion, is LLU infrastructure competition?
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
No, it uses BT's copper and exchanges.

KarlAustin - Not the case according to the people who do the sums, check the links I provided earlier from the BSG.
Posted by Jay1987 over 8 years ago
I think at the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you was to pick a ISP where your paying 50 - 80 pound a month you would expect to be provided with a good service. If your looking at paying 15-20 pounds a month youve just got to take it that yes the company may have a large user base and may disconnect and provide rubbish support however, i decided to pay that price.

Its just like comparing M&S to Netto's and aldi which one would you rather pay for.

I know in my case i would rather pay the extra for the better service where i know im just not a number
Posted by njalondon over 8 years ago
I find ir troubling that OFCOM hasn't done more to encourage infrastructure competition in the way France has. In some places notably Paris they have a choice of up to 4 providers each owth their own fibre.

I suspect BT will find a way to make this resale business barely profitable on the resale. Fingers crossed competition from companies such as H2O will keep them honest.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Sadly Ofcom have no interest in infrastructure competition, they are quite happy to say that there are over 200 ISPs available, ignoring that say 198 of them are reselling BT Wholesale and you can count those offering higher speeds than BT on one hand.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
njalondon - It's simply not economic to build new networks on more than a regional basis. Sure, Paris has 4 networks. Most of the rest of France, though...

Dixinormous - I like your magic fibre which supports FTTC but not FTTH. Can I have a catalogue number?
Posted by njalondon over 8 years ago
You can't argue economocs to me unless you can show me hard numbers, untilthen you're just parroting what the companies would like you to think. The reality is the fibre BT is installing is done so on a regional basis as well, no different to France, if Free can sell you everything for €29.99 and make a profit, then we in the /UK are doing something wrong.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
njalondon, if your going to demand numbers from people with counter arguements then you should post some yourself.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@donkey_hellfire:By my rough calculations that little lot only amounts to about 17Mb. No need for 100Mb there. The biggest single chunk would be the HD video and with the latest CODECs that would be unlikely to top 14Mb.

If the kid is prepared to book the film in advance and let it stream to a local player first then it becomes a non-issue.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
..what the UK network /needs/ right now is investment in the bottom end and in the backhaul. Get everyone up to an /effective/ 2Mb 24/7 (ie;still contended but at a rate that almost guarantees 2Mb for everyone whenever they need it).
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
..oops. Missed the bit about the video call. So - add another 1Mb/s. Call it 2Mb/s if we assume the telco is going to give us the same definition we expect from a TV.

Still doesn't need 100Mb. VDSL will let most homes do that quite comfortably.
Posted by chimpy1968 over 8 years ago
AndrueC - 17Mb, that's a fat pipe dream for me :) With regards to 100MB, surely aiming high is no bad thing, just because you can't see a benefit with current applications? After all, when we were all on dial up, today's modern web apps would have have been totally impractical. No-one is going to write a very high bandwidth app when there isn't the bandwidth to support it. Build it and they will come.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Why would anyone write a high bandwidth application? What might it do?
Posted by kev445 over 8 years ago
It all sounds very good, especially when you read the BT document, the assured rate. But the reality strikes, if BT set the price per Megabit for the ISP too high, it will then be the ISP who is the bottleneck…

It would be nice if you could have a guaranteed bandwidth from the ISP for VOIP, Gaming and Video, then the rest is best effort. This could help keep prices moderately low, helping to increase uptake.
Posted by chimpy1968 over 8 years ago
If I knew that, I'd be patenting the idea right now.
I'm sure there were people saying the same thing when we were all on dial up. "What a web site that allows people to view videos that other people upload?" :)

If you use the argument that you can't see an immediate benefit from something we may as well cancel all R&D.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
@Dawn - a single fibre to an aggregation point then split between 32 cabinets is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard for GPON.

I would be interested in seeing the cost savings on countries that have done an FTTC - FTTP upgrade though I can't think of any that actually have...
Posted by kev445 over 8 years ago
@ njalondon. Wasn’t this done with the cable networks, they outlaid lots of money to install the cable network, sold their services with little margin? The outcome was that they were in trouble years later, as they couldn’t repay their debts fast enough.

Fibre to every home is not going to happen until the government steps in.

Look at it another way, think of the amount of time it would take to install fibre at each house, drilling holes, running / blowing fibre, possible having to dig small trenches up drives / gardens, filling them in afterwards.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
kev445 - it's happening elsewhere without Government involvement, what makes us so different?
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
..continued - though of course *not* to every home, though for some the opinion appears to be that as it's not viable for all homes none should get it.

Go tell NTT or Verizon though that FTTP without government assistance can't work.
Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
@Dixinormous - I've seen the numbers. Most "small" exchanges fall in the range of about 4-5k lines, which with GPON is about the same as the cost of doing it in London and with FTTC is marginally more - and the same as doing it in an area of 0.5m population.
Posted by kev445 over 8 years ago
Dixinormous: I’m not sure about NTT, but I thought Verizon have the ducting right up to the premises already in place? Also when you take fibre from Verizon, don’t they rip out all the copper, leaving you with just fibre?

I couldn’t imagine BT being able to just rip out the existing copper infrastructure, due to their obligations set out by OfCom. BT would have to lay the fibre alongside the existing copper, which could mean they would need to increase the ducting size on some routes to the customer premises.

Also can fibre be fed by overhead lines?
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
"I couldn’t imagine BT being able to just rip out the existing copper infrastructure, due to their obligations set out by OfCom..."

Long term, I doubt Openreach are going to want to run two parallel networks, they will likely look to retire the older copper one, remove unused cable and sell it as scrap.

"Also can fibre be fed by overhead lines?"

Yes, Openreach has released details of an overhead fibre cable that uses the same mounting brackes & clamps as standard copper overhead dropwire.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
kev, Verizon don't have ducting up to premises and while they do rip out the copper there's no requirement for them to do so.

Fibre can and is fed by overhead lines in a number of places.

Karl - some of those exchanges will be getting FTTC too I'm sure, no argument here!
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
I should clarify, Verizon won't always have it, just as BT won't always have it, both can attach it to existing copper delivery system however or send down existing ducting though, fibre is very thin.

Point is fibre deployment is no more expensive for BT than for Verizon. Check http://www.dslprime.com
Posted by kev445 over 8 years ago
Dixinormous: As soon as BT remove the copper, they will be obliged to give the same level of access as they do with the current copper setup. I can’t imagine BT doing this for years; I expect LLU providers wouldn’t be too keen either.

However removing the copper, will mean it makes ample space for the fibre.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Dixinormous - The fiber TO exchanges? Oh come on, that's not even in the same level of "omg gotta redo" as out to every cabinet.

And Verizon have allready spent more on their FTTH rollout than BT is going to spend on their FTTC one, and Verizon have reached a tiny fraction of the people BT will.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
With a fibre only connection how will you ring the electricity people when the lights go out and the mobile battery is flat? Will there be a battery backup?
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@Somerset:No. I think the argument is that most people have mobile phones so it doesn't matter :)

..I'm not entirely convinced by that argument, mind. Not an issue for FTTC but or FTTH..dunno.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Dawn - Of course they've spent a lot more, surprisingly FTTH is more expensive than FTTC. As far as 'tiny fraction' goes quite wrong, 12.7 million homes passed by FiOS so far, will be 18 million homes by end of 2010 - BT will pass approximately 10 million with FTTC.
Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
If the copper goes and it's fibre only then there will be provisions. E999 has to be provided for, even in power outage situations and saying that mobiles will do, won't cut it.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
@Somerset - yes battery backup is the solution Verizon are using.
@Dawn btw what are you talking about, yes have to redo to each cabinet, where else does the fibre to the exchanges go? BTW 12.7 million homes is 40% of Verizon's footprint. Comparing Verizon's investment to BT's is laughable.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
You are talking about a company that is spending $18 billion passing 18 million homes with FTTH next to one spending less than $2.5 billion.
Posted by rian over 8 years ago
Will FTTC increases our speed greatly? I guess the speed issues were largely caused by the segment between cabinet and the property.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
You need to read again on coverage figures for potential vs actual, Dixi. And again, where's the magic fibre which won't support FTTH but will do FTTC? Again, catalogue order number plz.

rian - Well, as you can see they're looking at up to 40MBps services...
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Dawn I said nothing about fibre that wouldn't do both but that reworking would need be done, as expected going from a strand to the aggregation node per 32 cabinets to a strand per 32 homes, and I don't need to re-read those figures those are the figures of homes passed by the fibre network and serviceable unless you suggest Verizon are lying?
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Just to repeat, as I know you are quite a fan of BT at times ;)
-
12.7 million homes passed by FiOS so far, will be 18 million homes by end of 2010 - BT will pass approximately 10 million with FTTC.
-

Sorry, BT's is 'up to' FiOS is what they have done so far and what they will.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
Sorry guys no sympathy from me, I presume most of you living in rural areas are doing so out of choice, the facts are simple.
Rural broadband in the UK is vastly superior to other countries who mostly have dialup only in rural areas.
Urban broadband in the UK is inferior however to other countries.
It is clear the obsession with keeping things equal is holding back progression, and its whats been making ipstream so uncompetitive.
Finally noone has said yet this will be cities only, I am one who thinks it wont be cities only, and may well be mostly rural.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
to rian, it depends which cabinets get he FTTC.
eg. on my line I have a 3.6km run to the street cab then a 0.3km from there to my premises, so clearly FTTC would completely transform my line, so speed from about 5-6mbit up to about 30mbit or so probably. However if rolled out on cabinets which already have short loops then the gains are alot less significant. There is a lot of people out there with long lines evident by the avg synch speed of 4mbit, but how much of this is due to long exchange to cabinet run I have no idea.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
AndrueC regarding your comment about 17mbit been ample, 2 problems.
(a) typical adsl performance is 4mbit, probably upto about 5mbit on adsl2+, the maount of lines on the current setup that can do 17mbit is a low signle digit %. typical speeds will shoot up on FTTC if done right.
(b) you thinking short term, killer apps come after availability and there is already killer apps used overseas that justify a better local loop.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
What are these killer apps?
Posted by kev445 over 8 years ago
Somerset: I would say video on demand would have the highest uptake, which would cover both SD and HD. It could also open up the possibility of third party companies offering their own set top boxes, although how reliable this would be over the internet, I’m not sure.

It will also mean you have a more robust internet connection; even FTTC would help achieve this. Not having such a long copper run can help alleviate AM interference, the chance of dodgy connections etc…
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 8 years ago
@AndrueC - As Blu-ray is supposed to be the last physical movie / music disk format before downloads / streaming become the norm any HD offering from the net should be of similar quality. This mean true HD of 1080P @ 24fps plus a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio lossless sound track. Blu-ray supports MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) or SMPTE VC-1 video codecs. When watching a movie encoded using the MPEG-4 AVC codec I have seen the bitrate meter top out at 38mbps. Even using the said modern codecs Blu-ray has a maximum bitrate of 54mbps.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
donkey_hellfire: "As Blu-ray is supposed to be the last physical movie / music disk format before downloads / streaming become the norm..."

First i've heard of it, care to post a source?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
I think the Blu-ray is the end, is something suggested rather than a definite strategy. Has the DVD/Blu-Ray format vanished in South Korea and Japan?

The vast amount of online HD video is poor quality, i.e. has the resolution but not the codec/bit rate to be good. Apple HD trailers are some of the better examples, 250MB for a 2 minute trailer.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Indeed, over 32Mbit/s required to stream the trailer in real time. With this kind of quality in mind it soon makes sense how 100Mbit will be consumed.
IPTV is probably how things will go longer term, and 2D TV is likely something with its' time limited. Imagine the bandwidth required when we go into 3D?
Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
chrysalis - It's actually population density holding back broadband speeds, even in cities. No one seems to want to build buildings with a LAN in them and a WAN off to the rest of the world - it's perfectly feasible right now, connect these blocks to build yourself a fast MAN, then connect up in a couple of points to the rest of the world - The problem is no one wants to put the money or foresight in to it.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
And the cost of the connection to 'the rest of the world'?

But isn't this what companies are doing for eg. student blocks?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
"passed by", Dixi. Not "connected". The "connected" figure is ~2.2 million.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Dawn, the BT networks will be a similar deal, people won't jump from 8Mbit to 40 for free, they'll have to pay. Then there's the issue of LLU.

I'm unsure what your point is here, you appear to be suggesting that 1.5bn spent on FTTC for 10 million passed homes is somehow better than 12bn spent on FTTP to 18 million. I think the people enjoying 20/20, 50/20 with capacity for loads more and dozens of HD channels might disagree.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
While you're at it check out http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/products/nga/downloads/FTTC%20Pilot%20Proposal%20Resp%20Summ%20Rep%2022-10-08%20Iss%201-0.pdf it's not a mass migration to FTTC people/SPs will be paying for it. Really no idea why you're trying to put down FiOS to make BT's pretty paltry investment look better.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@Donkey (and others):Broadcasters are always going to reduce the bandwidth they use. Even with fibre everywhere they still have to pay for bandwidth and the more people they can fit into their own pipes the better.

TV stations at the moment are transmitting perfectly acceptable 1080i HD at between 12Mb/s and 16Mb/s. I have a satellite tuner card in one of my PCs and I can see the data rates. 20Mb/s is more than enough to keep any punter happy.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
...and besides. I've been a member of DigitalSpy for many years and it's clear that most people wouldn't know a good TV picture if you showed it to them. In fact a lot of people can't even tell the difference between SD and HD. The idea that people will complain about the difference between 'broadcast quality' HD and DVD is laughable.

It's the same same as with music. Look how many people put up with MP3 and think that 256k is an acceptable sample rate.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
...in fact look how many people already consider iPlayer and ITV Catchup to be perfectly adequate for watching TV. Consider the way ITV currently shoe-horns its channels onto the Sky platform.

Broadcasters don't care about quality and nor do most of the people watching. Those who do care will be the ones pay extra to rent or buy the DVD. The other 95% of viewers couldn't care less.

Sad, but true.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
I don't know why you're putting down BT's investment, Dixi. I'm sorry you hate them and you have to hold up Verizon as a shining beacon of light, but as somebody who'll benefit from BT FTTC rather than Verizon FIOS? I'll support BT, tyvm.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Ah no hatred just wondering how you can compare FiOS and BT's FTTC programme is all.
Neither benefits me so I've no like nor dislike, beyond that I think FTTC is already obsolete and will be laughable by 2012, that's why I put it down.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
I note no answer to my pointing out that BT passing 'up to' 10 million homes with FTTC doesn't mean anything for how many will be actually connected as it's not automatic loop move.
Thanks for mentioning you 'support BT' though. Enjoy your 40Mbit by 2012, I'll be on triple that or more before end of year. Toodles.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Actually, I have access to an uncontended 100MBit connection for downloads. *sniffs* yea, smells like envy.
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 8 years ago
Your right a lot of people don't seem bothered about quality or even know there is higher quality available. However surely it is up to the AV kit manufacturers and retailers to educate people. I have spent ten of thousands of pounds on my home cinema kit and predictably I am quite fussy about quality. iPlayer is fine on a laptop screen but the deficiencies are quite noticeable when fed to a 50” TV. I only use the Iplayer as a last resort if I am unable to watch live or forget to record the programme on the Sky HD box. I even try to watch ITV on freeview as its not full D1 on $ky.
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 8 years ago
My point though is if streaming or download HD are to be promoted as a replacement for physical media (as most commentators predict) then it should match the quality currently available and for that quite a lot of bandwidth will be needed. Then there is the new 2K4K and 8K4K HD standards on the horizon. I wonder if the BBC's open source Dirac video codec with its fractal based compression can help in this area.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Zero envy here, so do I but don't download enough to use it, nice try again though.
For all BT's bleating here's France's take: http://www.telecommagazine.com/article.asp?HH_ID=AR_3990
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Yea, Dixi, and about 3.25 million houses in France are passed by FTTH, with at best 5 million by the same time BT will be covering over 10.

Also, their ADSL coverage is far less widespread than the UK's.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@donkey:I'm not convinced. Both Sky and DTT seem to have proved that quantity over quality is what the market wants. A 'DVD' rental service is different but it remains to be seen where it goes.

Sub 20Mb/s HD is considerably better than SD DVD but I've only just got myself a PS3 and haven't yet seen a BluRay disc. It'll be interesting to compare it to what I've recorded off Freesat.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Wow BT will be passing over 10 million homes with FTTH?

You I guess know more about their plans than they do, they claim *up to* 10 million homes passed with largely FTTC and a very limited FTTH deployment in greenfield areas.

Can I trot out the usual excuse that people give when asked why the UK is so much poorer off compared with Japan / S Korea? France has 40% the population density of UK.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Oh I apologise you would appear to be very wrong about France's ADSL coverage as well as confusing FTTC and FTTH - by 2007 France's DSL coverage was 98% of the population, and they are actually targetting 10 million covered by FTTH by 2012. France Telecom are 1 of 4 operators there deploying FTTH.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
I really have no idea why you appear to have to put other countries down, especially when you try and do it to the most competitive FTTH market in Europe. BT's deployment is a joke, they won't even be starting it commercially until 2010, and by the time it's done it'll already be precariously out of date offering less than cable does *right now* and to *less* people.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
If there's something to celebrate about that I'd love to see it. Hate to break it to you but we're supposed to be a 1st world G8 nation while our telco is trotting out nearly 10 year old technology and our regulator is having to kiss their backside to do it.

You're aware that FTTC has been deployed since 2001, right? I really have no idea how you can defend this, it's a shambles from an impoverished and poorly run telco.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
France's DSL coverage?
http://www.yoocasa.com/blog/high-dsl-internet-coverage-in-france/

That ain't 98%. More, BT is well ahead of the pack in deploying reach-extension technology for DSL.

Just because they deployed FTTC on a very limited basis some years ago dosn't mean that BT's fibre network won't overtake (since all the French fibre operators have been badly hit by the depression) their rollout in size in 2-3 years.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
I really have no ideas why you're not aware of the actual situation, where the UK's broadband has evolved slightly differently from other countries, giving more people connections at reasonable speeds rather than a few massive speeds and masses of people on slow connections.

I'm really not sure that's a bad thing, as you do. Oh, and your VM comment is downright moronic. Actual VM network speeds, especially given their load-reduced limits are generally dramatically under the headline speeds. (Remember, right now their 50MBit service is stepping on their other services for speed!)
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
No it's not 98% of surface area, it's 98% of population, unless you think unpopulated lakes and mountains should be counted.
BT reach extension? Erm what?
France limited FTTC? I was talking about Far Eastern deployments actually, and France have plenty enough FTTH competition to make FTTC not required in major areas.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Regarding VM speeds, they don't step on other services, they share bandwidth with the 20Mbit service only, the 2 and 10 are on different networks. Besides, you for a second think everyone on BT's FTTC will get maximum speed all the time, especially when BT will have more freedom on wholesale prices?

The UK services have evolved differently, they persued speed in metro areas and coverage elsewhere, we forgot about the speed.

Incidentally I don't call 'ADSL Max' a reach extension tech, find me someone on ADSL2 Annex J. Oh wait BT are only now starting on wholesale ADSL2+...
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Incidentally I meant Annex L. Anyway I'll leave you to misread graphs and compare FTTC and FTTH.

Have you considered a career in BT PR? Being able to talk higher of an FTTC product that won't start rollout until 2010 against other telcos with multi-million home passed fibre to the premise is a skill! Being able to praise a company for deploying obsolete technology is also pretty good! You may stumble when you are actually more positive on these things than BT themselves are though...
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Given VM have explicitly stated 50MBit is stepping on other services, you're simply deliberately misreprisenting them at this point.

In many cases, the homes "passed" by rollouts in other countries must pay immense fees for the service, making it unviable for them to actually take up - something you deliberately ignore.

I'll leave you to ignore the facts about broadband in the UK. Your focus on headline speeds above useability, reliability and coverage is at this point quite clear.
Posted by Braiswick over 8 years ago
Our current BT bill is £159 of which £20 is calls. We already pay the planned increase price.

And moving servers is not an option, I've had my BT email eddress since 1992/3 that means thousands know me - to move is not an option.
Posted by terrieb over 8 years ago
I am currently paying £51.75 per month for wireless broadband because I live 4 miles from nearest town. We cannot get broadband but BT will still not admit we are a NOT SPOT. this 98% is rubbish, because we are inlcuded in that 98% and we cannot get broadband. I was told that the reason BT didn't acknowledge we were NOT SPOTS is because they are not able to identify all the notspots left hand not telling the right hand. The toruble is I believe it!
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Citations for all of your comments please Mr Falcon. I can't find any such quote from VM, I cannot see these extortionate FTTH prices in France, Japan, Korea, the US, or the Netherlands for that matter, and I have no idea what you are talking about with regards to usability, reliability and coverage. FTTH is more usable and reliable than DSL.

Having disproved every 'fact' you've given so far I'll just settle for that you either have no idea what you're talking about or are being deliberately ignorant and we'll agree to disagree.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
"...stuck on sub 2Mb services are suffering a bit but what does anyone actually need 100Mb for?"

"As a country I think we have a very good average and accessibility. After all can't 99% of the population can get at least 512kb?

Okay so we don't have any mass market 100Mb services but do we need them? I'll ask my question yet again:What legal activity do you wish to perform that is reliant on a fibre roll-out?"

100 years ago, opponents of the motor car used the same arguments. Why would anyone wish to travel faster than a hourse, or faster than a coach.


Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
ALL of the anti-bandwidth lobby treat any form of broadband connection as having a one-to-one relationship with a *single* end user, or that any given activity is engaged in by a single end user.

An example was given earlier of a wired home wherebay dad is working by home, kid 1 watching TV, mum on a video call. Your response was it needs 17mb to provide an "adequate" connection.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
I want to say "I assume you dont have a long history in the IT/telecomms field". I suspect you do, but perhaps have forgotten a few things.

Why do we have to put up with adequate? Back in the late 90's "video conferencing" was the in topic. Sure, we could do it on 64Kb.. if you liked a 128x128@5fps frame. Every consultant knew that you needed 384KB (3 ISDN lines) to provide *acceptable* quality. 2mb was needed for "broadcast" quality. And many senior *business* managers still derided 2mb. But bonded 2mb leased lines were hideously expensive.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
Even cash-rich companies baulked at the cost of putting in multiple 2mb lines linking UK sites (and I refer to one of the richest UK companys at the time).

10 years later, bandwidth is a commodity. Since 1993 we have been subject to the consequences of a lack of investment in broadband: the use of lowest-cost technology, and the reluctance to embrace the technology, notably from one company. 15 years later, and one company is again reluctant to take a long-term view.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
And still, there are people who decry the need to push the market.

Going back to my original point, its not a one-to-one relationship between a user and a dsl line. That relationship died with dial-up, when only one person could use the modem. Its not even a one-to-one relationship between a user and a given service.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
Its a many-to-one relationship. Kids have their own PCs, not 1 PC between the family. Not 1 for mum & dad and 1 for the kids, but many. And media centres. And mobiles. And this will creep. And those services need bandwidth. And there will be higher bandwidth services, history shows us that. I dont like the quality of youtube videos, but even they were impossible in dial-up/ISDN days. I want to watch TV on any computer in my house, from "any" station in the world... because one day this will be possible (yes, I am aware of why regionalistion exists, and global rights issues etc.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
Doesnt mean it wont happen if someone can show how it can be made to pay...) And whilst I'm watching station 1, my partner wants to watch station 2, kid #1 wants to record/time-shift channel 3 whilst she makes a full screen broadcast quality call to her mate next door (!) and has a PiP of <insert latest male boy band video> so they can drool in unison. Meanwhile, kid#2 is watching ceebeebies. Oh, and yeah, we will be watching in HD where possible.

At the moment, some of this is "do-able" if I have multiple receivers. But IP should make this a reality and do away with the clutter.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
At the moment, more than one person in a household wants to watch iPlayer, well, it all goes a bit pete tong. And stutters. And forget making that video call, as we dont have the upstream bandwidth.

No, I DONT want to have to remember to BOOK a vidoe in advance so it is downloading. I want convenience. Neither do I want excessive compression
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
its bad enough on 28/32" screens when macro blocks are visible on highly compressed channels. On 42" HD display tis plain ugly. Sure, there will be compression, but it should not be used to mitigate bandwidth.
its bad enough on 28/32" screens when macro blocks are visible on highly compressed channels. On 42" HD display tis plain ugly. Sure, there will be compression, but it should not be used to mitigate bandwidth.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
I had a disgareement with Richard Tang about IPTV two years ago, because we dont have the required bandwidth nor coverage to make it a reality. (You have 3 years left, R, I feel my bet is safe) We still dont. All the "naysayers" seem to forget , that the rest of the world doesnt stand still. 2mb might have been enough to provide 1 channel of "broadcast quality" video in real-time. But there are more than 1 user per household. And TV itself now needs far far more than 2MB.... HD can consume 25mbit.
Posted by alewis over 8 years ago
Its all immaterial. YOu could have FTTH, with 100mbit or even gigabit bandwidth. Your ISP will cap your connection anyway.. at say 40GB/month. (thats, ohhh, 0.001% bandwdith of a 100mbit connection. fair use my left buttock)

The other comment I wanted to make was... both "pro-cappers" and "anti-bandwidth" camps have a trait in common. They decry why anyone should need "large" or "excessive" amounts of bandwidth/speed.. but they never, ever, never provide a hard figure.... I wonder why.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Dixinormous you are wasting your time... While you are quoting real life figures in terms of homes or people, for what is covered in each country.
Dawn falcon has a fixation on percentages, I think its something to do with being a BT fan and not having the logic to realise the UK equals tiny country. Either way funniest thing is that BT are going to have the nerve to spend billions and then deem 20Mb to be fast fibre braodband.... Something only idiots will lap up.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
In regards to comments made by a few about TV pictures. Things like Freeview currently operate at reduced power and have limited bandwidth due to analogue still being switched on... (Thats why some freeview channels are only onair a few hours a day and why certain channels which share a Full MUX look blocky) Once analogue is turned off alot of those issues will vanish as there will be more broadcast bandwidth available, within a couple of years after that (say around 2015) the freeview system whatever it ends up being called by then will probably be pure HD anyway.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Skys issue is similar, HD content can still look poor as it currently shares with standard def channels, as well as in some cases analogue to digital radio. Sky are likely to take a different approach and change the codec and bitrate things transmit on to improve quality and probably over time fad out standard def channels, replacing them all eventually with HD rather than just movies or sport.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
The future does indeed need fibre for not only the Net but also TV... Future on demand television is likely to mean you have a TV or a media centre connected to the net in a similar manner to your PC and ondemand content is downloaded from that rather than over so called air waves.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
So supposedly I'm a BT fan. Right. Then you go off on a riff about digital TV, which is far more vulnrable to interference and will lead to poorer viewing quality to many. Reduced power, right.

Sky can't just up and change codec's without replacing millions of STB's. Get real.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"So supposedly I'm a BT fan. Right. Then you go off on a riff about digital TV, which is far more vulnrable to interference and will lead to poorer viewing quality to many. Reduced power, right."

Tv transmitters for Digital Tv (Freeview) currently operate at reduced bandwidth because analogue is still switched on, this is part of the reason some areas cant get all channels until the switchover. Maybe you should go read some sites about freeview.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Sky can't just up and change codec's without replacing millions of STB's. Get real."

Again its already done some stations use mpeg4 while other broadcasts are still mpeg2 based... Sky boxes are HD compatible via over air updates. I spose being clueless you thought HD channels used the same bitrate and codecs.... Updates are done over the air to boxes, a code is software not hardware you simpleton.
Sky even currently has 3D TV demos that can be watched with full effect on a 3D capable monitor.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
The type of QAM (im not even gonna bother trying to explain that to you) dictates how much bandwidth is available and how many channels can fit in/on that QAM and what codecs the material can be transmitted in, a QAM64 for example will hold/transmit more than a QAM16. Good to know you are, clueless as normal. Freeview HD when it arrives will require new hardware as most boxes are only mpeg2/MHEG5 capable, thats not the case with skys hardware DOH!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Using mpeg4 you can maintain quality using a lower bitrate (or in other words fit more content in the same amount of bandwidth space).... Oh who am i kidding im trying to explain the 21st century to a dinosaur
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Increasing the bit rate won't fix the interference issues which digital TV suffers, Carpet.

Also, I know MPEG4 is in use. I was refering to taking steps beyond that - MPEG4 is a deacade old even when formalised as a standard, and there's been just a few advances since, but Sky's older STB's can't handle them.

And yes, you can compress the channels. That makes them *more* vulnrable to interference. It's the bane of digital TV!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Increasing the bit rate won't fix the interference issues which digital TV suffers, Carpet."

Bitrate and bandwidth are 2 different things i said TV transmitters for digital currently operate at a reduced bandwidth, this has nothing to do with bitrate, bitrate is what makes up the picture and sound. Transmitter strength in some areas is only at around 50-60% due to the transmitter still needing to transmit analogue, when that is switched off people in areas that can not get digital or only a few digital channels are likely to then get all or atleast most of them.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"And yes, you can compress the channels. That makes them *more* vulnrable to interference. It's the bane of digital TV!"

That depends on the type of compression that is used what QAM they are broadcasted with and a whole load more, an mpeg4 stream is no more vulnerable to interference to what an mpeg2 stream is, what makes a difference is the transmitters strength. You are correct if you are saying a digital signal needs to be stronger for it to be more reliable over a distance than analogue does, again though that should be solved in most cases when analogue is switched off.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Digital reception issues are also in many cases easier to fix than analogue, of course not always the case but with digital you tend to either get it or you dont, where as with analogue you may get it but the picture may be fuzzy/dotty and or sound crackly, this then gets into convo about how the signal is broadcasted and how a analogue signal basically (not strictly im keeping it simple) bounces to you and digital does not.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Also with regards to codecs the other thing that comes into play is the container format they use, seperate containers for video and audio are thought to be less reliable in TV transmitting terms than a container that can carry both the audio and video stream... One thing what you are trying to say i suspect you are correct about and that is, analogue will always be easier to receive, that doesnt mean digital is worse, just more fussy ;) so to speak
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