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The Digital Britain report is finally out
Tuesday 16 June 2009 15:43:22 by Andrew Ferguson

So what is the future for the Digital Economy in Britain? The final report has been published and makes for a 245 page report, split into nine chapters, the report in PDF format can be downloaded from (it is available as a single 3MB PDF file, or a Word document summary, or a single PDF file per chapter).

The key points to arise from the report are the following:

  1. The UK is to have a Universal Service Commitment of 2Mbps (2 Mega bits per second) by 2012, this is to be funded in a number of ways, £200m surplus from the Digital Switch Over Help Scheme, commercial gain through tender contract, contributions from private partners, money from other public sector organisations, consumers themselves by resolving wiring issues in their homes. Additionally the wider coverage obligations placed on mobile broadband providers will help to meet this obligation.
  2. The report does not set an minimum speed for upstream or latency, though does suggest that money spent on meeting the USO should be spent in such a way that does not preclude expansion to Next Generation speeds in the future.
  3. A 50p per month on fixed copper lines (basically telephone lines, i.e. residential phone lines, business analogue lines, ISDN2 lines and cable telephone lines. This £6 a year will go into the Next Generation Fund, the purpose of which is to fund the roll-out of Next Generation services in the third of the country where at this time commercial operators are saying solutions like fibre are not feasible. A sum of £150m to £170m is expected to be raised per year from the fund, with the aim of connecting most of the final third by 2017.
  4. The 50p levy is not part of providing the basic 2Mbps USO.
  5. In the area of illegal file sharing the report outlines a proposal to legislate and give Ofcom the a duty in reducing the amount of file sharing over the Internet in the UK. This will comprise of notifying account holders when it appears their account has been used to infringe copyright, and an obligation to keep records so that serious repeat infringers can be identified and thus allow targeted court action against the most damaging breaches of copyright.
  6. A code of practice to underline these obligations will be produced, which should set out the processes for rights holders to inform Ofcom.
  7. Ofcom will also be provided with additional powers, so that if this warning system does not have a significant impact on illegal file sharing then Ofcom can place additional conditions on broadband providers. For example blocking of sites, port blocking, bandwidth capping, data volume caps, traffic shaping. This measures are only expected to be used if the overall level of illegal file-sharing does not diminish after a 6 month initial period.
  8. The report outlines that it plans for the first stages of the warning system will be deemed successful if infringement is reduced by 70% in the first year.
  9. Fair use gets a mention, since at present even if you own a copy of an album on CD, ripping it onto your MP3 player is a violation of copyright law. Nothing concrete appears, other than to mention that this area is heavily constrained by the EU copyright framework.

So there we have the main points relating to broadband, the levy is not likely to be popular and people acceptance will largely be down to whether they feel broadband is a utility and everyone should have a bite at the cherry. In terms of Next Generation services, eight years of £150 amounts to about £1.2 billion, which considering BT has talked of £5bn to do Fibre To The Cabinet to the whole country does not look to be a large enough pot of money.

The Universal Service Obligation looks set to be a slow process, we can expect the creation of a Network Design and Procurement Group in the Autumn, which suggests 2010 at least before people start to see action on the USO. Procurement is almost a dirty word as many people will associate it with long drawn out Government projects that deliver late and are over budget. Hopefully in this case, a lean mean machine can be created also access to information on the USO needs to be straightfoward so that consumers can easily find out which service is available in their area and what speeds it can offer.

Martha Lane Fox appears to have gained a figurehead role, as Champion for Digital Inclusion, forming part of the reports aim to drive forward Digital Inclusion and convince people that going online is worthwhile. The appointment seems somewhat odd, a more well known respected UK figure might have been more appropriate.

Overall its hard to say the report has been a waste of time, since the USO is better than most other countries, but at the same time the overall ambition is clearly still led by the commercial operators, with the Governments role being one of filling in the holes around the edges. Whether the new role for Ofcom will succeed is hard to know, and there is no guarantee that reducing the amount of unlawful file sharing will lead to an increase in sales, and if some surveys are to be believed it may for some content lead to a reduction in sales.

So the message now is clear, if you want ultra fast broadband, i.e. something over 8Meg then you need to move into the cities, otherwise you may be waiting until 2017 or later. Of course by then other countries will have completed their own Next Generation roll-outs, leaving the UK where it is now in relative terms in the worldwide digital economy. There is still the risk that countries that missed the first generation broadband wave could leapfrog the UK as we take our step by step approach to faster broadband.


Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Errr tax levy on all fixed lines to fund USO? Think we know who will end up paying that tax, and I for one I'm not at all happy about it regardless of how much it is.
Posted by systemx over 8 years ago
Levy to be 50p per month on phone bills (plus VAT no doubt)
Posted by Pigmaster over 8 years ago
What made me laugh was that I was actually watching the speech live on Sky News when Gordon Brown started to talk about Universal Service Obligation and then proceeded to talk about how every person in the UK should have access to the best and fastest broadband.

So how can 2mb be classed as the best and fastest I'll never know.
Posted by xmal over 8 years ago
Yet ANOTHER tax.
Posted by meditator over 8 years ago
I'm a francophile and the other day I was following, on another website dedicated to ex-pats in France, an article on broadband Internet connections there. So, I logged into one of the several french ISPs' websites mentioned, to have a look at the packages on offer. Typical of what I found was "up to 20M bps" for about £25 per month (subject of course to location).

Gordon Brown reckons the plans just revealed will make Britain 'world-class'. What tosh! We're already way behind other countries and aiming for 2M bps is simply laughable.

Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
It would appear as though the 50p/month levy isn't actually for USO but for rolling out 'next generation' FTTC/P services in areas which aren't considered viable. The public purse and the DTV switch over fund will pay for the USO, then we will pay for Farmer Giles to get 40Mbit instead of 2.

I say we not meaning me, Gordon can shove the tax where the sun doesn't shine and I'm off.
Posted by Capn over 8 years ago
According to Lord Carter the 2Mbps USO is not what they mean by world class broadband. I have nothing against paying extra for world class 50-100mbps connections but paying extra for what most people already have is ridiculous.

The most infuriating issue is that we had millions signing on to unemployment when they could of been recieving training in constructing this next gen network.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Great, you're going to stop posting them Dixi since the issues are no longer of interest to you.

And Capn, I think you drastically overestimate the number of people needed to roll out the network. It's not that many.
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
50p to ensure universal 2Mbps is just ridiculous, an utter waste of money. I'd happily pay 20 times that amount if it meant someone would finally start rolling out fibre to the home, and faster than 2012!
Posted by Capn over 8 years ago
Dawn_Falcon the point I was making that we could of had people trained already to roll out this massive network, so it we can catch up with the world in a matter of months rather than years. Like everything these days it takes ages for anything to get done.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
No Falcon I couldn't let your BT-ism go unanswered even if I were no longer in the UK. Please get your forum account fixed by the way so we can all talk more freely, news comments have such a hit and run feel.

bosie it's not 50p for the USO it's 50p for 'next generation' services where not economically viable.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
It's not BT-ism, it's realism, Trollnoromus.

And if you want me to use the forums, persuade the site owners to have a working forum system. Not that your blatent, now admitted trolling is worth anything but simply point out you're a troll.
Posted by systemx over 8 years ago
On page 54 of the report, it says that around 2.75m homes cannot get 2mb, and of these 1.9m have "problematic home wireing" So 1.9m could be sorted with very little effort at all.
Obviously 2mb is far too slow, but it is a step in the right direction.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Falcon I suggest you either sober up or simply calm down you appear extremely touchy today. Hate to break it to you but saying I have an alternate point of view doesn't constitute trolling, and the forum system works just fine for the rest of us.

In other news I wonder how this fits into the EU rules on state aid. Be interesting to see how that pans out.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
No, I'd suggest you go away. You have admitted you're 100% troll with no stake in this discussion, and are simply throwing peanuts. You have nothing to offer the discussion.

(And no, the forums do not and never worked, I am hardly the only person who gets logged out on every page)

Also, screw worrying about point 1, point 2 is actually worrying and important.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Falcon do shut up - if you have a problem with me go get yourself a new forum account and complain on the forum's TTTS section or email the staff. If you can't handle that I responded to your dig with a light hearted comment go find a sense of humour before you come back.

Your 'realism' is very much at odds with the opinions of a number of industry experts who consider BT to be too slow and their regulation certainly not overly restrictive.

Thanks for agreeing my point is important, and of course I have stake given I'm in the UK at this time.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
So let's drop that and carry on with discussion.

It feels like this is a very simple 'bribe' strategy. I would far prefer more innovative approaches to the problem than simply making up the difference to companies, which I am quite sure would violate EU state aid provisions. There are other ways to stimulate and none of them are mentioned, I'm bitterly disappointed.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Updating item as of 18:00 have had more time to digest report
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Your anti-BT crusade is precisely the attitude which has held BT back from interesting properly in infrastructure, there is far more interest im stopping BT from operating in a free market than actually building the UK's network infrastructure.

And once more, if you want me to post on the forums, get the staff to fix then. Or stop whining about them.

And it's not a dig, it's the plain truth. Troll.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
And you are of course focused on a relatively unimportant point whereas the second point, that there might well be new overarching control structures for the internet in the UK and massive filtering? No, of course that's /not important/. Sigh.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
No, worse than that. Ofcom's going to be in charge (yay cluster-fuffle!), if ISP's don't reduce piracy by 70% by the media industry's metrics (and can anyone seriously think that they will, regardless of reality?) Ofcom will mandate technical measures they will be forced to take.

So basically a new arms war where ISP's pay the cost for the "media industry"'s outdated business models. I work in games. We, by and large, come up with ways of making profits anyway. Shame other media industries...
Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
So who gets my 50p a month tax. Will I now be claiming part ownership of infrastructure. Does Carter's hit 'n' run report come complete with an illustrated guide, advising how best to assume the position?
Posted by volatileacid over 8 years ago
Great, £6 a year extra per phone bill. With two lines in my house, I'll pay £12. I'm already on ADSL2+ - where's the benefit for me? Did they say how long they'll charge us this tax for? How many years!? Meddling government - just can't help but try and legislate and/or define parameters for every single aspect of life - and here's another. Who would have thought, we'd all be taxed! Great.
Posted by Aqualung over 8 years ago
By the time they pay for all the extra equipment for dpi and mirroring which will require upgrading constantly there will be nothing left for upgrading the doubt they will find a way of charging us the vat on the 50p too....

Just how much a year is OFCOM's budget we could perhaps do without them !!!
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Email the team if you have problems with me otherwise kindly can it.

BT don't operate in a free market, they purchased incumbency and due to legislation dissuading others from network construction have infrastructure monopoly over 50% of the UK's households and duopoly over the rest. Even having regulation lifted they are moving exceedingly slowly and doing nothing impressive (NGA).

The tax is typical Labour policy. The idea of Ofcom doing a piracy police position is quite disconcerting given their total failure to police telecomms.
Posted by Capn over 8 years ago

It's out
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
I am interested to note that just from the executive summary according to Lord Carter I can download a DVD in 3 minutes on my 50Mbit. News to me given it maxes around the 6MB/s mark and 3 mins is a little over 1.1GB. I can send 200 mp3s in 5 minutes too. On a 1.75Mbit upstream.

Point 5 of the executive summary and already total nonsense.
Posted by systemx over 8 years ago
I would not worry too much, most Govn reports addressing anything at all technical do not bear close examination. Switching off FM by 2015 is also pie in the sky given that at least 50% of radio listening has to be via digital at least two years before the switch off of FM
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
No, you "can it", you're the one leaving the UK not me, and you're the one calling on me to do something, when the team is allready well aware of the issue and have not fixed it. You're simply, as usual, trolling.

BT don't operate in a free market because the UK government don't allow them to do so, plain and simple. They are not allowed to move swiftly, having highly uncompetitive reastraints put on their new products, making you complaints null and void.
Posted by kendal01 over 8 years ago
i'm wondering why i should pay 50p extra tax to fund those that choose to live in the sticks. i'd suggest that they pay for the privilege themselves.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
No Dawn I suggested you email them to complain about me if you think I'm not entitled to speak just because I'm emmigrating.

kendal - that is indeed a question a lot of people will have. Given that denser populated areas already pay higher rates of things like line rental and in some cases broadband rates to subsidise less densely populated areas some people will be far from happy on principle.
Posted by ruralidiot over 8 years ago
This report is nonsense and it fails on 3 points. 1.The levy on fixed lines is a tax. Leave BT to supply a high speed network. 2. Switching to DAB,I live 10 miles from a transmitter yet cannot get a signal. I listen to Internet radio, better quality and more choice on my WiFi radio. 3.In North America they too are going digital with HD radio, FM stations now with CD-quality sound, AM stations now with FM-quality sound. DAB radio is transmitted on Band 3, Band 2 FM and AM needs fewer transmitters and has better coverage so why have we gone down an inferior path?
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
It's better than I had hoped. I can accept the 50p tax if they can really hit 90% coverage. I'd be happier if BT announced FTTH on the back of this though. Commit to a minimum of 90% FTTC by 2017 with FTTH in viable areas.

The copyright crap is..well..crap. Unenforceable and missing the point by a mile.

So..a cautious 'okay' from me but I'd be happier if it was clear that this was describing the minimum. Unfortunately I think it'll be taken as a roadmap which is not so good.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
The idea of the UK being a world leader does seem a little far fetched given that a number of our rivals have or are building FTTH right now, and others have plans to.

I do wonder about the apparent FTTP allergy in the UK and worry that in 2017 we'll still not show up on the world FTTP statistics due to having less than 1% penetration. At the moment this seems somewhat likely :(
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
The idea of the UK being a world leader does seem a little far fetched given that a number of our rivals have or are building FTTH right now, and others have plans to.

I do wonder about the apparent FTTP allergy in the UK and worry that in 2017 we'll still not show up on the world FTTP statistics due to having less than 1% penetration. At the moment this seems somewhat likely :(
Posted by chrisjh over 8 years ago
Jesus, why all the moaning about 50p a month? Is 1.7p per day really that much to be worth moaning about?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Quite, chris, and ignoring the real issue which is about control and the media companies, whch very much has the potential to screw up the internet in the UK for decades to come.

AndrueC - It's not that it'll work, it's the damage they'll do trying.

And lolz at the single-technology monofocus.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
Hmmm. Just noticed that my post is a bit poorly phrase. What I should have written is 'Better than i'd expected' rather than 'Better than i'd hoped'.

I guess I'm saying that it could certainly have been worse and actually I'm not minded to complain much about it.
Posted by markybaby76 over 8 years ago
Why should I pay the 50p. I am on a seriously long line and the lack of investment over the years voice quality is bad also. If the 50p is to go toward the future next generation connections, surely only those who are going to clearly bennefit with short lines should pay
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
After a quick scan of the report I can't find out how people with none or poor broadband will be given a solution,

Please tell me.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Government pays for 2Mbit or more, then through the 50p/month levy the Government bribes operators to deploy higher speed services.
Posted by TGVrecord over 8 years ago
I am very cross about the proposal to switch off FM and AM radio by 2015. That is only 6 years away and if TV is anything to go by the swuitch off will be staged so many people will lose access to radio.

This seems to be a way to support the retail businesses by forcing people to buy DAB radios. I currently listen to the radio on my mobile phone which has an intergrated FM tuner. I doubt if DAB would be as resiliant as FM on the move.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Somerset - And the actual answer is that it'll be done by commercial interests, with specific additional government funding for the "last third" of connections from the fixed-line tax pool.

Again, annoyed they've casually dismissed WiMAX
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
So any cars more than 5? years old will need a new radio.
Posted by blaven over 8 years ago
50p/month seems a tiny amount to help push forward the next generation agenda. It is unrealistic to want a continuation of our current low broadband prices and hope the operators will upgrade us all to fibre for free. I for one would pay a lot more for the opportunity to have a "superfast" link, and I'd like to think that the whole country deserves that same link, not just the cities.

This report seems to be a realistic step forward. Nice one.
Posted by EnglishRob over 8 years ago
Somerset, even some cars less than 5 years old don't have DAB.

Question I have is who will own this next generation network? Will it be owned and run by the government (or maybe a new independent non-profit body) or will it be BT?
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
And what exactly will Mrs Fox do?
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
ER - I mean that all new cars from now will have to be fitted with DAB radios ready for 2015.
Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
It hasn't gone un-noticed by all of us that there's a snoopers charter in the report. Thin end of the wedge. For now it's for copyright, but I'll eat my hat if it isn't so loosely worded that it can be applied to anything the govt. wishes - You can bet your life if it'd of been in place this year that sites discussing the expenses fiasco in too much detail would mysteriously have been filtered.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Trying to restrict things like that are futile, Karl. However, there are definite implications for censorship of foreign websites and so on. As I said, there are some nasty threats to the internet as it stands in there.

EnglishRob - There is no single network. There will be incentives for existing providers to provide coverage in areas otherwise uneconomic.
Posted by PocketRadio over 8 years ago
HD Radio is a farce in the US:
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
On the DAB issue, the situation with car stereo's was something I raised, and as many cars have manufactuer build in units upgrading may be hard or impossible.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
I'd still like to know why BT still say I can't have more than 512 Kbps because "I am too far from the Exchange". Fibre is obviously a no-no then!
I got 1.4 MB with Pipex Homecall before Tiscali wrecked it, and now 1.78 MB with Talktalk.
BT refused to answer my question, just repeated that my line can only sustain 512 Kbps. Why can't they give me 1.78 MB on the same line?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
To Dragon:

Because BT Total has a tendency to only offer people a fixed speed half meg service on longer lines. As you've shown other providers (and that includes ones using BT Wholesale) do not have the sales limit.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Dragon - Actually, FTTC will be of most benefit, proportionally, to people like you: The cabinet is going to be considerably closer than the exchange...
Posted by TGVrecord over 8 years ago
Just seen Lord Carter on Newsnight. Didn't seem to explain the report in detail and he's off back to industry at round the same time Labour leave power!

I suspect this will be like most reports, done just to give the impression the Government is being proactive on issues whilst in reality procastinating.
Posted by johnstarbuck over 8 years ago
What does this report mean for me? - I have just joined BT broadband and get an amazing 40 kbs (yes you read it read it right, kilo bits per second) at best I have had 400 kbs.. Do I now have to pay another 50p a month and expect no improvement for it or does this report guarantee that by 2012 I will attain the dizzying heights of 2 Mbps?
Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
So basically if the level of piracy in the UK doesn't reduce ofcom are gonna hold the whole country to ransom by mass throttling til it "does"?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Yep. I wish it was ridiculous, but it's there in black and white as a power they could order.

johnstarbuck - Have you tried plugging the modem into your BT master socket?
Posted by kamelion over 8 years ago
What's next? me subsidising other people who choose to live in the country so that they can get natural gas piped to their house too? Before everyone jumps in and says its only £6 a year they need to remember how this government works. They will start off with an estimate of £6 per line, this due to corruption, red tape and general incompetence will rise to a figure 4 times the original estimate and then will end up being scrapped.

If you choose to live so far from civilisation you should have to pay the price of bringing it closer, not me.
Posted by amforbes over 8 years ago
How is this USO going to help me get 2mb, my line is already too long to get anything other than 512K acording to BT themselfs. The Government dragged britan kicking and screaming into the broadband age and expecting it to be enough.

The Government should be the ones to fund the upgrate of the lines/exchanges. Oh and the part about ofcom policeing piracy is a joke, the sims 3 went straight into the number one sellers list despite it being leaked early.

By 2012 I might be on 2mbs but the rest of the world will be on speeds closer to 50 mbps.
Posted by ian72 over 8 years ago
amforbes - your line may not be relevant. The 2mbs might be delivered via mobile or satelite (neither of which are great options at the moment).
Posted by jtthedevil over 8 years ago
I really must laugh at some of the comments here. People complaining about having to pay extra so that someone else may possibly just get a useable service.
Haven't heard too many of the same people complain it wasn't fair that I was paying the same, if not more than them, for my 'up to' 8Mb service, which syncs at around 412kbs.
Yes you're right, how dare we expect to get the same service for the same money.
How dare we expect everyone to pay for the next generation services, WHICH WILL BE FOR THE BENEFIT OF EVERYONE.
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
@ jtthedevil.
So then it is your isp's responsibilty to get you upto speed, since they are harvesting you for profit. :)
Posted by ian72 over 8 years ago
@jt - the problem is that a long line probably costs more to provide at 400Kbps than a short line at 20Mbps. So, you end up paying the same amount but actually it's still possible that those on fast lines are subsidising your connection. Fairness doesn't really come into it, it's the economics of the tech that is in question.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
@jt Would you care to explain how 30% of the country which are considered to not be viable for next generation services getting it from the pockets of the other 70% benefits everyone? The 60% who will get it anyway don't benefit and certainly the 10% who won't get it at all.

How dare I expect to get, in London, the same home for the same price as elsewhere?

It's not about a USO @ 2Mbit again the tax is for next generation.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
So I will happily laugh at those who appear to think everyone else owes them something. This will include Lord Cretin who appears to have very much gotten into the tax and spend redistribution of the wealth attitude.
Posted by evilbond over 8 years ago
Posted by kendal01 about 16 hours ago
i'm wondering why i should pay 50p extra tax to fund those that choose to live in the sticks. i'd suggest that they pay for the privilege themselves.

Totally agree.

Posted by evilbond over 8 years ago
@jtthedevil "People complaining about having to pay extra so that someone else may possibly just get a useable service."

Thats EXACTLY why im complaining, why should i pay for somone elses service that doesnt concern me one bit?

50p may not be alot thats 50p ontop of other things that are already forced upon us. It all adds up and i'm sick of it. They won't be happy till they bleed us dry.
Posted by jtthedevil over 8 years ago
Well that got a response.
@Ian. On current tech the lines already exist, so there's no additional cost. Lines up a pole are cheaper to replace with fibre, than digging up the streets of a city, therefore it should be cheaper to fibre the rural areas. The point i'm getting at is the 50p is to improve everyones network. When i'm stuck on a mere 40MB, Dixie will be complaining of contention on his 100MB.
Posted by jtthedevil over 8 years ago
@Dixie Perhaps someone in that 30% who can't get the interweb may be interested in what you have to say, you just never know.
Why bring house prices into it? Totally irrelevant.
If you really wanted to compare, lets look at utilites, which is what the government class internet access as.
Most of the power stations and infastructure are in the countryside. Are you saying you should pay more for that in the cities, because you're on a longer line? Or pay the same, but only be able to switch on one light at a time?!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Dixinormous - Well, taking your selfish view it dosn't. Taking the view of the country as a whole (which, y'know, is the government's JOB) it's very much in their interests to have universal reasonable-speed broadband access.

amforbes - It's fairly likely that other retail ISP's will be able to give you a quicker speed, BT retail is extremely conservative on line speeds.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
I think that universal access to adequate broadband is worth more to a country (and a more worthy goal) than high-speed broadband for a few.

Of course some countries are doing both but I don't think that's neccessary. My only concern is that telecoms companies might treat this as a roadmap and we get adequate broadband for all. As I wrote earlier I'd like to see this prompting BT et al to up their game and go for FTTH where they are currently looking at FTTC.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
There just isn't the business case for FTTH in homes there, Andrue, except on new-build sites. Given BT will be sharing their network, they will get a fraction of the return which other operators expect, and the MST means they can't recoup their costs within timeframes other operations would use as well.

More, as I've said before, better FTTC now and active optical FTTH later than passive PFFH now.
Posted by TGVrecord over 8 years ago
What does PFFH stand for?
Posted by ruralidiot over 8 years ago
BT line rental is already subject to VAT so will this £6 become £6.90 and then £7.05 when the VAT goes back up to 17.5%. Like petrol we will be taxed on a tax.
Posted by Essex over 8 years ago
Utter political crap from Carter it was as to expected from this guy. None of his reports resolved a problem. Because he fails to understand the problem. He is advised by defunct out of touch advisors.
We waste Billions on an Olympics that no one wants except the Goverment its cronies and BBC.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
"BT line rental is already subject to VAT so will this £6 become £6.90" - you made that up, admit it. It's a levy, not part of the line rental.

Let's spell it out : Line rental + VAT + levy = total to pay. Got it yet ?
Posted by ruralidiot over 8 years ago
You say levy I say tax, do you believe a word that this government says? Is there any example of VAT not being applied to a total bill?
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Posted by jtthedevil about 10 hours ago
@Dixie Perhaps someone in that 30% who can't get the interweb may be interested in what you have to say, you just never know.
Given that this tax is nothing to do with broadband availability that's not really the point though, and I'm quite sure the number who can't get broadband isn't 30%.

The business case is certainly there for FTTH at least in some areas if some would look into it, just needs a nudge.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
TGV PFFH doesn't mean anything I guess he's referring to Passive Optical Networks and it's not the point anyway.

Given that BT are deploying FTTH over passive networks to greenfield including their 'gold standard' deployment Ebbsfleet I've no idea why DF thinks they will do FTTC now and active later in brownfield. Active would give fibre unbundling capability, Openreach want to milk the Bitstream.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
If you're interested in why Openreach don't fancy unbundled fibre, it's as simple as this:

Check Openreach prices for a fibre they artificially throttle to 10/2 or 100/2 (what an upstream) against that, Openreach want to control the product to avoid denting leased line revenues for Wholesale and themselves.

So lets ignore the alledged 'justification' for FTTC, especially from someone who regards LLU operators as parasites eh?
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
@JT again: 'The point i'm getting at is the 50p is to improve everyones network. When i'm stuck on a mere 40MB, Dixie will be complaining of contention on his 100MB.'
No it's not to improve everyone's network, this money will be EXPRESSLY for projects in that 30%, absolutely none is going to the remaining 10% or the previous 60%. I could feasibly be the one stuck on 40Mbit while you complain about contention on your 100Mbit!

Re: Power stations urban areas have massively higher demand per square km which more than compensates for any longer pylon runs.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
It's not regard, they /are/ parasites. And Openreach is hardly the only major owner of fibre backbone, as much as you might want to present them as such.

And yes, except you've utterly missed the point that the current /affordable/ last mile optic technology is passive, so once more waiting for affordable active fibre technology is both the sensible and affordable option, not the BT consipiracy theory you're pushing.
Posted by utis over 8 years ago
I think long term strategic investems should be done. In current jobless market, many diggers and cable layers would be available.. LTE, which will solve USC anyway, is around the corner, therefore there should not money be wasted on what will happen anyway.

Well pointed out, there must be latency and symetricity specifications.
Posted by utis over 8 years ago
BT is de facto monopoly. In practice I know very few people who understand value for money in broadband. They just buy BT because BT sells phone line. Very very few of normal people know that i.e. BeThere gives much better speed, BETTER UPLOAD(which is important for sharing documents/emails/videos, videoconferencing, etc) and other options than BT. Therefore I think there is real market for competition, just that competition and innovation has to be encouraged. There are less known fiber operators as well which could move into forming regional backbones and making competition.
Posted by utis over 8 years ago
Government should subsidise investmens based on innovation(FTTH, IPv6, etc), not on continuous upgrades which will be needed as once in place 2mbit will mean only digital divide, and then 10, 40.. never ending thing. Just get once done for all - FTTH.

Recently I got 8 quotes for 10mbit fiber business line, guess what - BT's was the most expensive - double that of the least expensive(yet better quality in my experience).
Posted by utis over 8 years ago
I think Openreach should be split into lets say 6 regions and FTTH'ation should be auctioned with terms that 40% availability within 3years, 70% within 5years 100% within 8years provided. And line rental prices should be different for internet, depending on location - like we pay on any other goods which are more expensive if they travel longer distances, unless goods operator has benefit to have unified pricing..
Posted by utis over 8 years ago
Yah, we got many good ideas, some could write all down in a constructive manner as some sort of petion, we would sign then and make a get together near Westminster to shout out loud what real world class digital thing means. At the end of the day, UK is the most crowded country in Europe, therefore rolling FTTH should be most efficient!
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
ok I have only just read this article and spitted out my coffee, is #7 saying ofcom can effectively order isps to blackout chunks of the internet just to try and reduce filesharing?
I am considering downloading some copyrighted material just to p*** off the media industry.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
jtthedevil welcome to the nation of greed thatchers country, everyone wants everything for nothing. My issue with the 50p is I think its been used wrongly, I have no issue with paying more so that everyone gets a better service, and I fully agree with you in reference to the 412kbit synch on 8meg service, fact is there should have remained a cheaper lower speed service but the isps know only then a minority would pay for the higher speed without local loop upgrades.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
@Dawn - It's not about core fibre at all and you know that. Tail circuits BTO have the biggest reach and BTW are their biggest customer for fibre which carries clout.

Regarding passive/active optics you are simply wrong, go Google Amsterdam Citynet. They describe the cost increment as being minimal and have actually done it, not just theorised as you are. It's not conspiracy it's simple fact.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
"Is there any example of VAT not being applied to a total bill?" - many, there are zero rated things, items that fall outside the scope of VAT, charges incurred outside the UK like mobile roaming call charges etc etc.

Legislation might make the levy liable to VAT, but that is not known yet so would be speculation at this stage.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
"Active Fibre" - ? Are you referring to one or more dedicated fibres per property ("point to point" as some call it) as opposed to xPON with passive splitters putting 32 or N premises on a single fibre.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@Somerset:"So any cars more than 5? years old will need a new radio". My Honda Jazz is three years old in October. It doesn't have DAB.

Luckily it does have an aux socket for an MP3 player with my entire music collection on it :)
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@utis:Yes, Be Unlimited is a better service than most BT-based ones. OTOH it is also not available in every exchange.

This brings us back-ultimately-to the 50p tax.

Do you want a great service for a few with pitiful service for an equal number?


A pretty good service for all with a small number getting an excellent service.

I prefer the latter option. I don't want total equality but I certainly don't want a few people to be left out completely.
Posted by ferretuk over 8 years ago
"This brings us back-ultimately-to the 50p tax.

The tax is on fixed lines *whether used for broadband or not* - Why should an 90 year old pensioner who has no interest in broadband be expected to pay for the NGF?

A general levy like this shows the folly of privatising the phone network - Clearly commercial reality precludes universal access. Perhaps we'll end up with a nationalised Openreach for the infrastructure (a la Railtrack/National Rail)?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Dixi - It is, as ever, your pet conspiracy theory, and precisely why I lable you a troll. No outside evidence is allowed to taint the one true way you present.

And the additional cost to the /company/ in Amsterdam was minimal, thanks to the government funding involved.
Posted by mullgenealogy over 8 years ago
So why cannot the money raised from the sale of the analogue tv frequencies be used to pay for the upgraded broadband service. After all the government is already getting the cost of conversion to digital paid for by us all. Guess their thinking is that if the pubic will pay for digital conversion they will pay for broadband upgrade. Just a thought.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
No Falcon it's a matter of fact. Openreach are required to consult on products with their customers, their biggest customer is Wholesale. It's not conspiracy it's a weakness in how things run.

I am almost tempted to label you a troll as you clearly have no idea what you're talking about or are just being ignorant. I suggest you go talk to someone who does actually know what they are talking about, someone who works with these things on a regular basis. Try Boggits perhaps, he's involved heavily in the S Yorks FTTC product and actually has a clue.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Can I also point out that you are also talking nonsense regarding active fibre in Amsterdam. The total costs were marginally increased by P2P fibre, you made your comment up.

Also, Citynet is a 70 - 30 split between private and public and the public sector only provided 20% of funding.

Even with active fibre it's also only costing 700 euros / home passed.

Get a clue.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Here I'll even help you.

Read this:
And this:
And this:
And this:

I could go on but enough said. Marginal materials cost increase, marginal civils cost increase, but it makes fibre unbundling viable.
Posted by johnstarbuck over 8 years ago
Dawn_Falcon - yes of course my modem is plugged into my master socket, BT even put a new line in. It seems that part of my TV licence fee is to be used to pay for others to have a new PC and top speeds; my levvy will NOT be used to improve my service, but will be used to provide me with a better service by 2017 (if ever!); meanwhile I will have to fork out to bring my line up to 2MB/s because I must be one of the 1.9M who will have to use "self-help". So why am I being asked to pay even more via the levvy? - I should be getting a rebate in compensation for my crap service.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
johnstarbuck - You'd be surprised at how often the answer is "master what?". And I'm all for people getting a 10% or so discount for capped lines. (Want in later on? Well, yea, new contract..)

Dixi - No, the cost to the company was marginally higher. Can I suggest you have a *native reader of the language* look at the origional documents? Also, note the infrastructure used, which is not easily replicable in UK cities.

You're tilting at windmills...
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Does Amsterdam have some mysterious infrastructure which isn't easily replicable in UK cities?

If the duct space is there the costs are minimal. Again you use the word 'company' like the city paid for it all which they did not.

Can I suggest you actually look at the original documents, I have and they put the cost increment at a few percent. I am not a native Dutch speaker but I have a basic grasp - required given I plan on moving there.

You're grasping at straws and still yet to definitively explain, or offer any links backing your point of view.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Two seperate native speakers have translated it for me as the cost to the company only being a few percent higher. I'm going with them over a troll.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
i think the report is successful, the real issue is ofcom been allowed to censor the net and throttle everyone, they threw in a 50p tax as distraction knowing everyone is greedy and thats took up 99% of the discussion.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
The 'company' will be referring to GNA CV, the company actually doing the deployment. This is the company part owned by Amsterdam and part by Reggefiber / KPN.

All too easy to throw the troll accusation but I'm *still* yet to see one citation from you. My thoughts actually came from two telecomms analysts who have attended and spoken at conferences around the world.

The majority of non-incumbent laid fibre in Europe is PtP. The majority of incumbent PON simply for difficulty of unbundling. That's it. Nothing personal against BT, FT, DT, Telefonica, etc do it too...
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
We can discuss this infrastructure that's alledgedly not easily replicable in UK cities too. I would guess Amsterdam to be considered something of a model for deployment given that it's been discussed all over Europe, and Manchester on Monday.

I'll take the words of James Enck and Dirk van der Woude over yours also I'm afraid. How troll-like of me.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Funny, I'm not arguing with anything those analyists have *actually* put in print, on quick review. It also dosn't contract anything I said.

(And no, I don't do the research for people who make themselves obnoxious and boast about how it dosn't matter to them.)
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Didn't think you would back it up, thanks.

The correct answer was that the main issue in the UK is business rates on lit fibre, and without this the primary reason for BT or anyone else to run with PON over PtP is purely to avoid ease of unbundling. As I said it's been done all over Europe by incumbents so hardly surprising BT do likewise.

I am amused that one light hearted post got your goat up so heavily though but that's another discussion.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
No, the correct answer is your fantasy conspiracy theory (and no, your post was a simply admission you're a troll, and you can't let them ever forget when they admit) has little to do with anything.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
No the constant accusation is just rather pathetic, especially given your failure to back up your assertion it's a 'fantasy conspiracy'. It's evidently quite a widespread one.

I could go on but that will do.

If you have nothing more to contribute to this conversation than to call me a conspiracy theorist (because you say so) and a troll (because you can't take a joke) then we have to wonder who the troll is.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
20-30%, not 2-3%, is the overhead generally involved in currently rolling out an optical network - only the network itself, mind you - and there are additional overheads elsewhere in the system.

And you're linking URL's which are saying there are good reasons other than technical not to roll out active networks, which is my entire point - the advantages of active networks need to be pushed, rushing into a PON network is limiting for the future.

So why are you pushing for BT to deploy a PON network, again? (Dodge in 3,2,1...)
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
BT should indeed deploy active networks, straight off the bat. Sadly they took the decision to deploy FTTC, then they'll almost certainly deploy PON when it comes to it. I never pushed PON, I questioned your assertion that FTTC is in lieu of PON and BT will jump PON as a result.

The main additional cost is fibre. In most instances civils costs are almost identical. I'd welcome a case where this increment were 20-30%.

Glad you agree with the URLs that there are good reasons other than technical to use PON. Such as difficulty of unbundling, specifically mentioned in each one.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Yep a re-read suggests that I never pushed for BT to deploy PON, I merely questioned your assertion that BT will deploy it in the future and FTTC is the interim. It's likely that FTTC is the cheaper option right now and BT will follow the example of many other incumbents in Europe when they (eventually) fibre brownfield in choosing PON.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
No, it's your assumption that I asserted that. I'm actually asserting that better FTTC now and an active network in the near future than PON now.

And no, there are not "good reasons" other than technical, they're bullshit. Active networks are easier to unbundle as you'd know if you'd read your own links.

And yea, sadly they chose not to bankrupt themselves. *rolls his eyes*
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
Reading all the above comments make me wonder. If a person is a real troll you ignore them. I think you two like arguing. And there is plenty to argue about, the poor old copper can only serve a very small area. Lucky for some they live in that area. But 90% of the land mass is out of reach of decent broadband and nothing can change that. We need to get fibre out of the exchanges and into those areas. End of.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
But only to parts of the 90% (?) where there are people.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Cyber? Some people ignore trolls. Some toast them.

And no, there's no "end of". If we rush into a cheap PON network then we limit future expansion. Getting FTTC will deal with the vast, vast majority of the notspots which actually relate to line lenght (again, bad wiring, bad routers and poor setups are the most common cause of poor speeds IME).

Then, later, we can get an active optical network when it's reasonable commercially affordable.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
The fibre is already in the rural areas, that is how it gets to the towns, what we need are more break out points, less tax on lit fibre, and old copper replacing with new fibre runs. The ducts are there, they have room in them, fibre is cheap. It isn't that difficult if two menopausal women can do it from scratch then I am sure BT can.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Dawn - my entire argument throughout has been that active networks are easier to unbundle and that's why incumbents are reluctant to build them.

Good to see that in between calling me a troll and telling me I'm wrong because you say so you weren't even reading what I was writing. Pretty troll-like behaviour, I'll be the bigger man and ignore though.

Cyber - The lit fibre business rates was something I was hoping the DB report would address, sadly not :(
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
cyberdoyle - which old copper? Copper from exchanges to cabinets? Fibre may be cheap, what about the kit on each end?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
kit at each end is cheaper than the time spent trying to figure out routers, faceplates, faulty wiring etc. fibre is plug and play and just works. doing another Ftth install today, cost of end user kit is around £150. are lighting it.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Would this be Wennet?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Ah, a dodge. And epeen size measurement now? Right.


Cyberdoyle: TCO.
Posted by pipesmoker over 8 years ago
Copper connections, you are lucky, some of us still have aluminium BT lines up to the cabinet.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Cyber - yes active is cheaper in some ways as you don't need a PON ONT. It's also more scalable initially, with an OLT port feeds 32 or 64 homes - costs the same if 64 people or 1 person is on the port.

You might find interesting as a comparison. Cost increment is in some cases not very high and potential value dramatically different.
Posted by devsen over 8 years ago
All that will happen is that it will promote the mobile phone and mobile broadband market as people get fed up taxes and BTs sluggish response to actually introducing a faster network. By 2012 I would imagine landline based broadband might vene become obsolete!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Very doubtful given the lack of interest in WiMAX by the government (and the limits on its deployment due to this) and the shared-bandwidth nature of 3G broadband.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
ironically BT cant afford for landline broadband to be obsolete, I would guess a fair chunk of line rentals are only so adsl can be provided (such as myself). wireless cannot touch wired performance at least on fibre wired. This country is going the opposite ways of others. We going over the top on digitial divide (others dont care), we about to legislate net censorship (others declared this illegal), we are strangling consumer upstream (is shooting up abroad), we are avoiding FTTH to the point we havent even got close to any sort of rollout plan (every other developed country has one).
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
When will we see a FTTC rollout plan?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Um, no, FTTH is something being rolled out piecemeal by a few companies in other "developed" countries, when it's being done at all.
Posted by Fixer109 over 8 years ago
May I make a small suggestion?

Collect all the monies collected "mistakenly" by MP's since labour took power and use this money (which has already been written off by the treasury) to give ALL of Britan a decent network - Just a thought :)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Yea, you might even get a single street wired up.


Yes, we are talking that small scale.
Posted by michaels_perry over 8 years ago
Amusing discussion.
Digital Britain report misses the point completely. Politicians can't see technology so fudge everything. And they don't listen to those who do know about the technology and how it can be provided cheapl;y to almost all users. Digital radio and TV is not better than analogue and FTTC can be provided cheaply in rural areas using existing telegraph poles.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
"FTTC can be provided cheaply in rural areas using existing telegraph poles"

You've solved the flexability and weight problems? Great. How?
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
'can be provided cheaply' How much per household?
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
How many cabinets are served via overhead cables all the way from the exchange?

Surely cheaper to feed through existing duct?
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