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Survey suggests people may not be happy with a 2Meg service
Wednesday 11 November 2009 14:57:10 by Andrew Ferguson

At the various events that have gone on since the Digital Britain report was created, the consensus from industry and politicians seems to be that 2Mbps is adequate for current broadband needs and will still be so in 2012. A survey that is covered on propertytalk Live! might make a few people sit up and take notice, more so as it comes from people looking at changing properties, and not a broadband specific site where you would expect to see a 'more speed is what we want' type answer.

It seems three quarters of people would not buy a property if the best speed it could achieve was 1Mbps and people would be happy to compromise on a property to get the broadband speed they desire. In terms of the speeds people said they would require, 61.7% required more than 4Mbps, 20.8% 4Mbps exactly, 10.8 requiring 2Mbps and a paltry 6.6% settling for 1Mbps.

So while 2Mbps is going to be functional in 2012, as in you would be able to pay your bills online and interact with government departments, it seems clear that many people are finding things to do with broadband that benefit from higher speeds and may well be making conscious decisions to move to areas where these speeds are available. A distinct danger is that as a good chunk of the country gets higher speeds and often lower prices, the smaller villages or people living on the edge of large towns will be left behind, reliant on a Universal Service Commitment that might be as much use in four years time as the current USC of 28Kbps is now.

The glib answer for people who need faster broadband is they should move, but there are many now unable to afford the costs of moving, or need to live in a certain area due to work commitments. Of course many other services do not have total coverage across the UK. The difference with broadband is that it is moving forward so fast that unless schemes designed to improve coverage or speed actually happen quickly, they will be out of date once they go live.


Posted by rickw over 7 years ago
I agree 2Meg is not enough. Those of us near City Airport with only around 1Meg would say that London of all places should have a good service of at least 8Meg.
Posted by g-bhxu over 7 years ago
One question.

Would the 2 Meg USC be the minimum that an ISP that uses traffic shaping be allowed cut your connection speed to?
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
2Mb/s was fine a couple of years ago. Right now (2009) 4Mb/s should be the minimum. Both figures are for constant availability - ie;whenever you need it that's the minimum you will get.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
So who's going to fund that then?
Posted by Foggy_UK over 7 years ago
Broadband is one thing "Moore's Law" doesn't seem to apply too. Much is the pitty.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
The government can print billions for the banks. They can print a few more for rural fibre to the home, then the telcos will to the cities, and all will have next gen then. The ROI for ubiquitous next gen broadband is for the people, the economy and the country. So the telcos will never do any of it until forced. Gov only has to do the rurals to shame the telcos into doing the rest.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
And if openretch think BET is the answer for rurals and stand there with hands outstretched then it will be a scandal if Gov falls for it and all rural people can hope for is a miserable 2meg shared with 400 others for the cost of two phone lines. There is no way each rural could have a 2 meg usc that is theirs alone.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
nobody is prepared to pay the price for a 2M uncontended residential service.

I take it you believe it is better to leave people disconnected or with <1M rather than see a different religion to your fibre worship gain a few members ?

A working copper connection in the hand is worth two fibre strands blowing in the hedgerow with no backhaul behind it.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Foggy_UK - Nope. Bandwidth expands far more slowly than processing speed. Said this before :)

Cyberdoyle - It's an answer for very long lines. The alternative, which evidently you're supporting, is no broadband for them.

(And please, follow the advice and cut off your access with anything connected with BT, like your connection...)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
BET is dedicated bandwidth back to the exchange where how it is to be contended is down to the communications providers (i.e. BT Wholesale and LLU ops).

Thus contention can be as high or low as they like, just like if a fairy was to convert the local loop to fibre, you would still have congestion at the fibre that already exists in the telephone exchange.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
Funding and investment issues remain a problem, but living in a rural village (Hilton, Derbys) I feel BET is not the answer, and 2mb is not enough now, let alone by 2012. Pragmatically despite wanting at least FTTC I can't see improvements coming any time soon.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
ps - looking at what I posted I was thinking about two things at once there!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
cjbell68 - Are you on a very long line?

BET's a soloution for "100%" (99.9) coverage, not the default soloution for current not/slow spots...
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
Yes a long line, I can manage 2mbps on Max - used to be 3 but it's reduced over time.

There is a campaign on about this. I know our exchange won't be first to get investment in, say FTTC - I guess I hope people in our village will see the limitations and niche position for BET, and that its better for us to pursue some kind of NGA if possible.

In the end it comes down to how much demand we have, and how much people would be prepared to pay for services - we can't expect something for nothing.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
the problem with the proposed USO is it is too time lagged. A 2mbit USO today would be reasonable, but it will not be in 2012. We should have had a 2mbit USO a couple of years back and in 2012 I would expect something in the region of 10-20mbit been a minimal reasonable standard.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
in regards to herdwick and others who think services should either be extremely oversold or 1:1, it is very possible to give someone good performance without it been a uncontended service, just contend it at a reasonable level.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Great, who are you proposing pays the tens of billions required for a 10-20Mbit USO? Remember the term "Universal" in there!

And how is a USO meaningful if the service is contended to crap?

cjbell68 - Well, even so, if it's a reasonably sized village FTTC is the soloution you should be looking at.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
It's EMETWLL, 3855 residential premises (Samknows). I think you may be right, FTTC might be a realistic target. I have a suspicion we have a lot of green cabinets though - doubt that helps us with the economics!

Its early days in terms of the campaign so there is no clear view on what we could likely get, and I think more importantly we don't know likely costs yet, nor if there'll be enough households willing to pay for what they want.
Posted by lazzie2 over 7 years ago
Huh, some people moan at getting 2 meg, honestly i would be so happy to have 2 meg, i only have 104kbps, i am currently paying BT for total broadband option 3, up to 8mbs, i wish, as my contract expires soon take it for granted BT i WILL be moving elswhere...
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
It's all relative lazzie2. I think it would be much better for everyone to get services above 2mb, but I admit for now I am better off than you - but it doesn't necessarily mean that if you had 2mb you would continue to find it sufficient, the goalpost would move.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
cjbell68 - It's been suggested that some consolidation of cabinets might happen in some areas.

lazzie2 - Checked your home wiring? Sounds like you're only barely recieving a signal and there's no guarantee that another ISP will be able to connect you up...
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
Consolidation of cabinets would help contain costs I guess, haven't thought much about it, but I guess in part it depends on the most economic cabinets to consolidate, based on where the pairs are routed.
Posted by michaels_perry over 7 years ago
These respondents won't like living in a rural area then? Despite recent attempts to improve our service the best we are getting within 4.5 km of the exchange is 2.7 Mbps! And that's only when it hasn't rained for several days, it's not been windy and the sun has been shining all day for several days! ADSL2+ is not the answer, FTTC or FTTH is the only practical answer. String the fibre on existing telegraph poles to avoid digging and it's cheap and easy, and quick, to install.
Posted by mikeg3pga over 7 years ago
Correct by Perry. It's also like living in another world in rural North Devon. Midway between Barnstaple and Bideford we are lucky to get up to 2megs. It's like watching paint dry. Come on BT start looking after your faithful customers in rural areas. We all pay the same for a much lesser service.
Posted by PatT over 7 years ago
Living in 'rural' Lancashire our line is 6.7km from the exchange. I get 56kbps and the farms down the lane are on dial-up. A fibre-optic cable was laid across the fields about 8 years ago but there are 'no plans' to connect our rural area in the near future. Many ISP's promise us up to 8mbps - depending on the distance from the exchange. None can deliver. We would be ecstatic to have 1mbps!
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
dawn_falcon a 10mbit uso probably could be covered easily by 3 things.
(a) divert funds been used on areas already capable of 10mbit.
(b) increase base retail prices, I wonder what sort of impact on turnover would be made if every single adsl user in the country paid an extra £3 a month.
(c) government subsidies.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
So basically £100/month connections and massive taxpayer cash. Right.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
Re. taxpayer cash, true, it's not really the time for a massive programme of investment.

However the investment for next gen services appears fairly small compared to the deficit they've built spending on other stuff...
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago

Spain, Finland - 2011, 1MBps

Mm hum.
Posted by doogal2000 over 7 years ago
Here in Deepest Dorset I was experiencing very slow connection problems, sometimes less thsn dial up, Being a slightly geriatric user on BT internet, I thought of paying £90+ for a IT spedialist to call to fit my home hub which has lain in a box for 2 years but he first told me to bin my wireless conection on my router if not needed and fit an ethernet connection. My BT desktop help fixed any connection problems and I now enjoy 3-6+MB conection sometimes up 9+ on an 8MB line.(over 1 mile from the local exchange)
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