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Conservatives 100meg broadband plans may miss rural Tories
Monday 15 March 2010 12:23:28 by John Hunt

Last week, the Conservatives set in stone their previously announced plans to deliver 100meg broadband to most of the country, with a wish to be the first in Europe to achieve this. The Conservative Technology Manifesto sets out their intention to use private sector investment to build the network, which will be aided by easements on planning rules from the government. Where the market does not deliver, funding from the television license fee which is dedicated to digital switchover will be released to help fund this from 2012 through loans or matched funding.

Details from broadband analysts Point-Topic shows that Conservative held seats look to be the most in need of public sector funding to deliver super-fast broadband, or as they dub it, 'superband'. They estimate how much subsidy would be required in different areas of the country, and they have produced the following map to details this.

Point-Topic UK 2010 Constituencies Subsidy map

Of course, those in most need of funding are rural areas which make up a large part of the Tory voters, and plans to let the market try its way before re-evaluating in 2012 may alienate some of these. The market is likely to serve urban centres without the need for additional funding but rural areas cost a lot more to reach. The Conservatives are, however, confident that their plan is the way forward, expecting it to create around 600,000 jobs and adding £18 billion to the UK's GDP.

Comments

Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Does it say who would own/control this "superband" network? I like the idea of using the TV license but i dont like the idea of one company such as BT, Virgin etc etc getting the funding money and getting dictatorship of the network and how much others have to pay them to use it.

It appears you have to register with Point Topic before you can read the news item concerned. It and the Conservatives probably dont answer my question anyway.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
However it is initially owned, it would ultimately end up in the hands of a few very large companies such as BT and Virgin. At that point (if not before to be honest) Ofcom would get involved, declare the provider(s) as having "SMP" and then regulate the price that could be charged - as they do with LLU.
Posted by neils58 over 7 years ago
It does make sense to put fiber in every home, Even economic sense ... They could move all TV over it by multicasting out the TV channels and auction off the freed spectrum, which is worth billions, and would let us improve mobile broadband performance - the way things are going with smartphone uptake we are going to be massively over contended by 2017. Networks are struggling as it is since the iphone came out.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
The issue about who owns the superband, is a question for the politicians and those working for BDUK to answer. If only provider applies for all the contracts, then it would be one provider.

i.e. a lot is down to how the bidding process is laid out. A number of providers are playing with potential solutions, i.e. so they are ready to bid and understand their costs.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Ultimately I think broadband will have to go the way of other utilities, so the supply network is served by one or a few big companies and you buy your broadband from other companies. A bit like Gas/Electric now.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
^

Sounds expensive.

I like the idea of getting TV off the spectrum and to IPTV or like how cable is.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
the article doesnt match the map, there is many urban areas that are green on the map which makes sense given that various urban areas are been skipped by BT (I expect due to high cost of deployment).
Posted by Raspyyeti over 7 years ago
Whatever MPs that a in the parliament after the election should instead focus the steps below.
1) Make BT roll out Fiber to the Cabinet all exchanges & cabinets in the UK.
2) Make ISP's offer fiber to the home to all costumers with current no/low speed spots getting subsidy's to help with cost.
3) Move ISP's to a model of charging homes by the GB's used per month as the way to pay for broadband then use the VAT income from the monthly bills to pay for subsidy found.
4) Give ISP's planning rights & rights to use phone/cable ducts, sower, water & gas networks to roll out fiber.
Posted by terrybyatt over 7 years ago
I live in the country (not a rich farmer indecently) and this is for me just another good reason to vote Conservative.
After all, we have lost our post offices, bus services and a decent mail service, so it's about time we had some good news!
Posted by terrybyatt over 7 years ago
* "incidentally" not "indecently". However, perhaps I was right the first time! lol
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Raspyyeti -

How does BT fund roll out to all cabinets?
How do ISPs fund FTTP?
So low users still get high speeds?
Fibre inside gas pipes?
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
Raspyyeti seems to live in the 1970s or is under some illusion that the Government actually runs anything. What powers do they have to do any of 1,2 or 3 ? None. Probably not 4 either, as its not a planning matter.
Posted by FatJack over 7 years ago
What part of the USA were the majority of you people educated, using words such as "Fiber" and "License"! Terrible!
I object to Paying another TAX to fund people who choose to live in rural areas to enable them to have broadband, an ever increasing number of people who live in rural areas now are second home owners or people who sold up their vastly expensive houses in the metropolises to seek a life in the country, if they want broadband in their newly acquired country piles then they should pay! not expect other mere poor people to pay!!!
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
@FatJack - I'm not quite sure if your comment is heartfelt or meant to be inflamatory; in any case:

I live in Hilton which will be classed a rural village and we get poor broadband. I'm not in the demographic you've mentioned (maybe created is a better word?).

I think the government should invest in broadband because market forces are not driving the roll-out fast enough. If they do this then you'll pay for it somehow or another even if you don't see it as a specifically identifiable tax.
Posted by Locky over 7 years ago
abandon the people in the sticks it is not viable
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 7 years ago
1) BT are in the process of doing this now, it just takes time and billions of £
2) They can already, you can get a leased line from loads of companies which uses fibre.
3) All companies already re-invest a huge amount of their profits into networks, also, it is unlikely that all will start charging per Gb until everyone is on a level playing field, rememeber, there is a high cost involved with making the connection, maintaining it and paying staff.
4) Talks are already in progress to open up ducts to make this easier, it just takes time becuase of bureaucracy
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 7 years ago
@cjbell68

The reason it takes time to get rural areas upgraded is becuase there isnt profit to be made.

Business 101: If it dont make money, why bother?

If it costs £20mil to upgrade an exchange to ADSL2+, then how many broadband packages does everyone in the village need to take to make BT get its money back?

They will all get upgraded, just accept you will be at the back of the line becuase there is no money to be made.

Also, think about the people on Uist and Harris and outer hebrides who cannot even get broadband yet.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
@TaRkADaHl

No profit to be made:
Exactly - the market will deliver slowly if at all to some areas. Naturally BT want to upgrade and gain marketshare - why upgrade monopoly exchanges. I would do the same if I were BT.

Business 101:
Of course exactly as I stated.

They will all get upgraded:
Eventually - and yes we will be at the back of the line (we're there already, although not at the very back as evidenced by your comments on Uist and Harris).

My views are unchanged; I think broadband provision for all is important enough for the government to address and not rely on the market.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
Missed a bit - should have said "broadband provision, and investment in next generation access for all"
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Ultimately I think broadband will have to go the way of other utilities, so the supply network is served by one or a few big companies and you buy your broadband from other companies. A bit like Gas/Electric now."

I see that happening also the question remains though why should a public tax be it TV or the 50p thing be giving to a singular company. If its tax funded then the government should own and and BT, Virgin etc pay them to use it. Country is in enough debt without giving money away to BT and others.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
TaRkADaHl - Where do you get £20m/exchange from? How many racks of equipment?

CB - the 50p is not going to one company is it?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"CB - the 50p is not going to one company is it?"

Doesnt matter why should public money be given to BT, Virgin or whoever? Other businesses do not get free handouts for them to generate more profit from a new product, neither should comms companies.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Why cant the government collect our 50ps or TV license, or whatever, build a FTTH network and then rent it to BT, Virgin etc etc? Much like BT rent exchange space to an LLU company or Virgin will soon (probably) have to rent their ducts to other companies. I dont see why my taxes should be handed freely to BT or whoever to build a new product and make massive profit from it. Especially when it could be used to not only give us all decent broadband but also aid in paying off some of the debt hole the country is in. Surely thats more sensible?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Collect the millions in tax, build the network, rent it to BT, Virgin (WHOEVER) thus eventually recouping the money maybe making a profit and maybe even a few years on start to help the countrys debt situation from it.

As it is though collecting our cash, giving it freely to BT or whoever to invest doesnt help the countrys debt, and at the same time creates another tax for something atleast part of the population doesnt and never will want.

The only people it helps is BT or whoever gets the money, we could use it to not only invest back in the country but also all have our precious fibre.
Posted by themanstan over 7 years ago
There is some method to CB madness here, a nationalised fibre network to rented back to the ISPs, etc... would remove much of the profit requirements. A nationlised Fibre Co. could look long on recouping its investments. There is however the issue of technology cycles getting shorter (i.e. new technology emerging faster). So the rental charge must be sufficient to both operate the Co. and invest in new tech.
Posted by themanstan over 7 years ago
The other alternative is to spin out the infrastructure (everyones) and everyone co-invest in it. So all ISPs, etc... own a portion in this seperate company. All have equal access and can rent from the company the infrastructure required. This would allow investment to occur in areas that don't have the relevant infrastructure and get rid of this duplication of infrastructure in urban areas.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Who would run a national network? It would be outsourced by the government.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Who would run a national network? It would be outsourced by the government."

As long as its to an impartial company and not one in competition with other internet proviers (IE dont give it to BT, Virgin etc) i wouldnt care. Make the ISPA or set up a similar organisation to take charge.

If we want true fairness and competition i dont see how collecting peoples taxes and then just giving the money away to comms companies does that, one company is likely to end up with more money than another and so much more which destroys the whole idea of fairness and choice.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
@themanstan
I also like your other idea, remove control from the lot of them and make them pay if they want to provide.

Either way IMO any idea that makes investment into broadband tech is a better idea than either labour or the conservatives have come up with.

Things as they stand in the UK only sees BT, Virgin and similar invest when they want to, to even allow that let alone consider giving them public money is a disgrace.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
So all Openreach, VM, C&W assets in the ground go to this company? Existing copper, ducts, fibre, poles etc. which are not just used for broadband but for private circuits, ISDN lines, TV etc.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"So all Openreach, VM, C&W assets in the ground go to this company? Existing copper, ducts, fibre, poles etc. which are not just used for broadband but for private circuits, ISDN lines, TV etc. "

No they can keep what they have paid for but if they want to use any of the new network funded by tax payers they can pay the government rent to use it. They have a choice then.... Continue to expand at their own expense or pay rent to use a public tax funded network. I imagine it would be cheaper for them to rent, but it would be up to them, either way it would still mean more genuine choice.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Would also be more fair, BT, Virgin etc all paying the same to use the same tax payers network... That or again they can fund their own on their own without tax payers help.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
So why not nationalise gas and electricty as well?

Would this public funded network pay to use existing ducts and fibre?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Im not saying nationalise anything, if BT or Virgin want to spend their own money making their own fibre networks let them, just not at the tax payers expense.

As to duct payments, that remains to be seen if BT are happy to pay Virgin for their ducts if they are then obviously yes the government would have to pay to use the BT ducts but seeing as the comms companys would have to pay rent for the fibre in the duct that wouldnt matter. Ofcom set pricing if they have the sense set duct rental prices cheaper than fibre rent.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
BT etc then have a choice, pay for their own fibre networks or rent. More choice for providers/comms companys, and it would cost them less renting than having to pay fibre the whole country themself, more choice for us consumers, fairer (equal) pricing to all providers also.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Government owned, via public tax, rented for same price to all comms companies..... Monopolies broken, fibre investment done, eventually money made back on taxes spent. Seems way more sensible and fair to me.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
"Government owned"... ..."Monopolies broken" Hmmm...! :-)

I do understand your sentiment here, but to be honest, UK governments can't run the proverbial in a proverbial, so what chance of them running a fibre network? It would probably end up cheaper to fibre the rest of Blighty six times over than rent anything from a Government owned network.

My own feeling is that the effort should be put into reducing the barriers to entry (eg planning issues, business rates etc) and then let local initiatives sort things out.
Posted by themanstan over 7 years ago
CB is just playing the extreme point here, the main issue is that infrastructure investment is being wasted! Co-investment is the key to success, it works in France (a nudge from ARCEP helped, France's OFCOM equiv). Operators have agreed to share local loop fibre! Once fibre is in other operators have access. SO no need for BT is doing at the moment, rolling out FTTC in areas that already have VM access or vice versa. Although, without a shove from OFCOM it's not going to happen. Duct sharing becomes moot as the infrastructure is open access at fair rates.
Posted by Raspyyeti over 7 years ago
TaRkADaHl BT should not trusted to be self-motivated to give all home FTTC as it is out to make money for it's share holders not give the best broadband for all users.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Raspyyeti BT should not trusted to be self-motivated to give all home FTTP as it is out to make money for it's share holders not give the best broadband for all users.
Posted by Raspyyeti over 7 years ago
The gas network was used to roll out fibre to homes in the Netherlands fibre trials as fibre uses only light trapped in glass it is safe.
Also Dundee & Bournemouth councils & H20 used the sower network to roll-out fibre at a lower cost
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Raspyyeti - VM should not trusted to be self-motivated to give all home FTTP as it is out to make money for it's share holders not give the best broadband for all users.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"I do understand your sentiment here, but to be honest, UK governments can't run the proverbial in a proverbial, so what chance of them running a fibre network?......"

I agree which is also why i earlier on said once its in place set up an independant regulator. It could easily be done even if government got current organisations like Ofcom, ISPA etc involved to start with. Taking tax payers money and just giving it to BT or Virgin (whoever) isnt the way to go..... Look at the banks and how those (bleeps) still give them self nice big bonuses thanks to our cash.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Any money has to be given to someone to install fibre, equipment, ducts, links, manage, support etc. Will these companies give themselves big bonuses?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Any money has to be given to someone to install fibre, equipment, ducts, links, manage, support etc. Will these companies give themselves big bonuses?"

Not from the tax payer if you only give them enough to do the initial install.

When it comes to digging and laying cable etc alot of the time contractors are used anyway. So BT, Virgin etc wouldnt see much if any of the cash from a government install.

Unlike the current ideas where the government directly give the money to BT etc and they spend it as they deem.
Posted by 2doorsbob over 7 years ago
one way or the other it will be the public that pays long run..i cant see why we need to make a network more complicated if virgin cover a certain area then theres no reason to roll out out any other service ..why not make isps pay a tax on the property they provide a service to ..make vigin unbundle its services at fair wholesale prices and use the taxes ips would pay to roll out areas not covered with fibre .. we have enough paying public for every isp to have a nice slice of cake ..
Posted by 2doorsbob over 7 years ago
virgin currently have around 68% of network being used ..in my view they could have a slice of rental for another 20% via unbundling ..whats better having a connection sat in someones house doing nothing out taking a few quid for someone else to provide a service
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