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Universal broadband delayed until 2015
Thursday 15 July 2010 15:08:38 by John Hunt

The UK Culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has at today's broadband summit announced a delay to the roll out of a universal 2meg broadband across the country. The government had previously stated they wanted to ensure virtually all homes could connect to the Internet at a speed of 2Mbps by 2012 but this has been delayed to 2015. Whilst the universal service obligation (USO) wouldn't have made it to every home, dropping this back by three years is a blow to the UK's broadband roll out.

The reason for the delay is blamed on the previous government having left insufficient resources to meet the target. Labour put forward plans to implement a 50p tax on all phone lines to help fund investment in to next-generation broadband for rural areas, which when deployed, would have no doubt helped boost some communities well past the 2meg barrier. Labours plans for directly investing in 2meg by 2012 would have used the excess funding from the digital switchover (DSO) to fund this. The new government are now saying that this isn't enough to cover all areas. It's not clear where they instead expect to find a new source of funding, particularly with industry asking for more public money to deploy next-generation services.

Hunt also reiterated today his ambition that the UK should have "the best broadband network in Europe" by the end of parliament in 2015, but gave more information in that he defines this in terms of the number of people connected and the speed of their access. Whilst many will be connected to fibre-to-the-cabinet deployments by this date, there may still be great swathes of people on slower services and only just receiving 2meg broadband, widening the broadband divide.

Comments

Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
I'd mock, but the challenge is gone :-/
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
'he defines this in terms of the number of people connected and the speed of their access'

What are the numbers?
Posted by 12eason over 6 years ago
I am very surprised by this news.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
So in summary:-

Previous government had a plan to address this (not that popular but taxes rarely are)

Current government scraps plan and bumps date by 3yrs.

They might be saying they want USO but to me it sounds like they've no interest at all and want to let the private sector run with it, which of course they will where there is a profit but won't where there isn't
Posted by Aaron_01 over 6 years ago
That's just terrible, they may as well aim for a 5 or 10mbps connection to those broadband-starved areas if it's happening in 2015, because the rest of the country will be on some very fast broadband rates by then.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
It was only ever a USC, not a USO. It would never have happened anyway, because you can't get 2 meg to rural areas through copper no matter how much new copper you lay to remove DACS and bond together. Far better to do the job properly, start at the hardest places and deliver with fibre, which is what it sounds like they have planned. The pilots will prove it works at a far lower cost than the bt solution of BET. I think BDUK are shaping up nicely. Don't lose faith people...
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
notspots exist now which is about 7 years after a lot of rural exchanges got broadband. As a solution hasn't emerged out of the woodwork in 7 years I doubt that another 5 years will help - there's nothing available today that wasn't in 2003.

At least the certainty allows people to plan and move, as a hope of 2012 has gone.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
This will hopefully be a good opportunity for next geeration wireless services to be considered. This is a technology that is being used in South Korea and Australia and is going well.

I've no idea where you get the idea CD that they'll be doing huge fibre runs, I've not read that. They said they would use the most appropriate technology depending on a number of factors, cost being a major one, nothing about favouring fibre at all.

Corrections and links to this information welcome.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Fixed wireless broadband has generally failed in the UK. For whatever reason.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
As a quick reminder there is a plan to free up some wireless spectrum from analogue TV switch off for use in delivery of broadband services to underserved areas.

They are not going to use public funds to, at huge expense, supply PtP fibre to homes. They'll use whatever gets the job done to an acceptable and cost effective standard. It'd be a brave company that tables a massively expensive PtP fibre bid to them.

As another reminder BDUK exist to take bids from private companies on projects and fund them, not to deliver services themselves.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
It seems strange to me (given that these are politicians we are talking about!) that they did not keep the 2012 deadline and then at that stage claim it had all been sorted as satellite was available! :-)
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
there's plenty of 3.x and 5.x spectrum available and licensed but not providing a service to notspots 7 years on. Why is that I wonder ?
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
I can only speak for my (little) outfit in that the main issue (aka cost and practicality) is generally the initial backhaul from the notspot area to somewhere where traffic can be aggregated and then sent off to London.
Posted by uniquename over 6 years ago
@wirelessspacman - That lot got voted out :).
Posted by 12eason over 6 years ago
The good thing about wireless is that, once installed, it gradually kills off the people it serves so it reduces its own long-term maintenance and upgrade costs.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
on that basis, with 60 million odd mobiles out there, the problem should be well and truly solved by the next election!
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
wirelesspacman, I agree, the initial backhaul cost are horrendous, and that is another reason we need digital village pumps. BDUK can lobby for reduction or removal of the windows tax on lit fibre, and reasonable access to other utility infrastructure when appropriate. By creating a level playing field communities and investors will be able to do the final third. And do it properly. I am just breathing a sigh of relief that BET is out of the equation.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
Also this BDUK group has some good people and advisers and are more tech savvy from the sound of it than the digitalbritain team. They daren't say satellite was the solution and the job was done. Bet the last government would have done... at least this lot sound as if they know what they are doing.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
2Mb is slow by todays standards, in 2015 2Mb will be completely unusable. I hate this government, they don't have a clue... what a joke!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
LOL I and others here said it would never happen by 2012 and heres the proof at last LOL
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
If the government was anything else other than a government you'd get rid of it, why thd hippocracy?
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
@cyberdoyle: "just breathing a sigh of relief that BET is out of the equation."

Clearly, I have missed something (nothing new there!). Do you have a link to that bit?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
"initial backhaul cost are horrendous, and that is another reason we need digital village pumps." The pumps still need a backhaul?
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
CD...

BDUK currently has four primary goals:

Effectively use the funds provided to meet the Universal Service Commitment

*Meet*. Delivering PtP fibre to 200 homes at a cost of 3/4 million against a wireless solution of 10-50Mbps at 1/10th that is a no brainer.

I think you're a tad optimistic in your definition of 'effective' if you're under the impression they'll be throwing fibre all over the place.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
As another reminder CD there is the requirement that any networks built in part by government funding are open access. The current hero of the hour, Vtesse fibre networks have a choice of ISP of Vtesse or Vtesse.

They would need to build an entire wholesale process and platform to deliver to any scale. Their model is fine for pure municipal deployments but for a hybrid like these projects it's not really feasible.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Lets just hope the VOA get muzzled and don't kill community wifi with their inclusion in business rates...
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
Ok.. why do the goverment not follow suit like the Aussies are doing with one major change... So BT recons it will cost 52 billion to fiber the entire country... no idea if this is a true figure, but it does not matter really... If the government goes ahead and does this, then rents the line to whatever service provider wants to provide you with service.
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
Just like BT is currently doing with DSL services. This will not only give the entire country fiber to the home, it will also enable a lot of businesses to provide a lot more services to a lot more people, as well as creating another revenue stream back to the government. Virgin media for example will be able to supply me with service out in the stix...

I may be oversimplifying this, but why not...
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
The Australian model is a public - private partnership with government selling within 5 years of project completion.

It's not 100% FTTP, 90% with 10% wireless.

Australia's economy is healthy, we've a massive budget deficit. Sadly a lot of things in the queue for infrastructure investment ahead of FTTP :(
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
I completely agree, however, why not start the process in the rural areas which will not get this type of service by any other means. Fine if it takes up to 2015 to complete the entire country, or make it even 2020, at least something will start happening, and the moment people in the country start bragging about their 100meg lines, industry will take over... public - private partnerships is a good thing, just keep BT out of it...
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
Look what happened when the people asked TDS Telecom to stick fiber in the ground... They refused saying that no-one wants it. The city then decided to do it, at which point TDS sued them for something rediculous, halting the process. They then dragged it through the courts long enough to finish their own install of fiber to the home...
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
There's little indication this happens to be honest. Municipal deployments in the US and Netherlands have not lead to widespread fibre deployments by private companies.

KPN in Netherlands actually rolled back their FTTP programme in favour of FTTC due to a lack of perceived returns. Ditto Verizon FiOS - they have stopped deploying to new areas to drive takeup in existing areas.

Central government using taxes to provide better services in rural areas than urban ones will just PO taxpayers in urban areas and quite rightly.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I've no problem with a tax if it is to the benefit of all where ever you may live, but if its just to cover the final third I'm sure people would be miffed at paying for that, whether its a better or worse service that urban areas.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
I still think they should do FTTC everywhere (more future proof) and got rid of the VOA Fibre Tax. £2billion over 5 years is not much at all!!!

Won't wireless broadband be affected in bad weather?
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
Legolash2o - Yes it will, but how much depends on the distance. The frequencies in use tend to be a lot more resilient than standard 802.11b/g/n to weather, but they are still effected nagatively.
Posted by Gamerwillz over 6 years ago
2Mb in 2015? It will be too slow. The government should be aiming for 10Mb as a minimum, and they should pledge to fibre all over the country.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
the simple fact is not enough people want the speeds FTTP offers to justify the costs, especially with the huge budget deficits and uncertain economy

if everyone wanted/needed fastest possible everyone in a virgin area would have gone to them and be on the 50meg product
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
i don't know what market share is, but many people in cabled areas still use openreach network via bt /llu etc. and are happy enough with what they get from adsl..

i don't know if its true but there was a comment on the article about virgins 400meg fibre to the press announcement, someone said that subscribers to their 50meg product is only something like 50-75k
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
it would be lovely to have fttp for everyone but it's just not realistic, it eould take too long to recoup the costs and no one on their own has enough money to do it private or government.
Fttc may be a bit of a stop gap, but it's a lot quicker and cheaper than fttp, and in theory using vdsl as it does now can go to higher speeds. and maybe in future new tech will come out that will go even faster requiring just an upgrade of the equipment in the cabs
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Well they would if they could get Virgin but yeah your right, I can't remember the exact figure but I believe the take up of 50Mb Virgin BB is low.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
the BET discussion is here http://media140.com/?p=252 if you missed it. with warts an all. We have had a lucky escape, cos the last lot would have let BT do this, with public money, and that would have been us stuffed for the next few generations on copper crap...
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I don't get it, since when is BET no longer an option?
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
Cd . Where does it day BET is not an option, all you have given is a link to an article you wrote. you say it is shared, but that's from the exchange, same as ADSL and fttc and fttp. contended connection.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
Cd . Where does it day BET is not an option, all you have given is a link to an article you wrote. you say it is shared, but that's from the exchange, same as ADSL and fttc and fttp. contended connection.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
I aggree bet is not worth it of lots of new copper is required but in some cases it may be the most economical option.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
cd - you say:

BET is the current proposal by BT Openreach to widen this copper pipe. However, one of the key problems is that this very pipe is shared. It is shared, not only with your direct neighbours, but with all the other people in your vicinity (i.e. everyone who is on the same BT exchange). So, whenever they want to use it, you get less. Simples!

You have no evidence that BT FTTP in rural areas would mean unhappy shareholders.

You have been told before that this is nonsense. Internet access is shared everywhere, what has BET got to do with it?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Blogging, everyone's an expert.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
http://media140.com/?page_id=155

'Her opinions are her very much her own, but she has now spent years researching extensively on this subject.'

Every connection apart from leased circuits is shared at the exchange. You appear to have not done too much extensive research when it didn't say what you wanted it to.

The alternative is that you are being intentionally misleading to suit the agenda.

Your opinions aren't a reference to future government / telco policy, sorry.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
I just read that article Chris.

It's complete and utter nonsense.

You should be ashamed for writing that nonsense given the high regard you appear to be held in going by the shining introduction you were given.

I agree that BET is a waste of space, but there are *glaring* inaccuracies and misrepresentations in that post.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Chris - years of research and only just discovered that fibre is all over the UK connecting businesses together and interconnecting every exchange? Fibre is everwhere and has been for at least 20 years.

And you think you can just 'tap into' a fibre running along a road to give you instant internet access?
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
The village pump scheme is about someone providing a 1G connection to each town and village for free.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I didn't even bother to read http://media140.com/?p=252 earlier, now I'm wishing I hadn't. Just terrible, and your really in IT??? To what degree you own a computer. "Yet, for roughly the same amount of investment it will entail for new copper to be laid, I believe it would be far more sensible to lay fibre" is that even english?
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
With sources of information like http://5tth.blogspot.com/2010/07/iwade-up-odds-and-went-with-bt-wot-f-up.html it's not surprising they're misinformed.

Pages of whining about how everyone should have fibre mixed in with anti-big telco propaganda too. BT getting money to deliver FTTC, which offers a wide choice of ISPs is bad, while a smaller company getting money to offer a choice of their own service and their own service is somehow infinitely superior.

Really who cares who supplies the services so long as they are provided?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Really who cares who supplies the services so long as they are provided?"

I care who supplies services, i imagine everyone else with sense does also as whoever supplies are part of the equation that dictates price. Just like other utilities.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Not really the point and out of context with the rest of the post but never mind.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Its clear some won't touch anything that is connected to BT but others obviously will. The reality is if you want a FTTC service for the foreseeable future it will have to be from BT or from another ISP via resale until the poles/ducts are open, which if it ever happens will take forever no doubt. Even then I reckon it will only be the big players like Sky that will be able to afford to lay their own cables.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
Why would sky want to run their own cables or fibres. No point if openreach already have Fttc there. That would be like having mote than one mains electric and water Going to same estate.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I was meaning more FTTP than FTTC
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Can you really see any ISP digging up the roads for FTTP? Or even 2 ISPs digging up the same roads?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
As above I'm talking about pole/duct sharing should it ever come in, can I see people jumping on that? Yeah.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Would any ISP want to do this in an FTTC area?

That leaves the final third where it gets more expensive. An estate with underground cable not in duct will be unlucky.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Sure why wouldn't they, they could offer 100Mb to the home and beyond which BT won't be doing for a long time, not widespread anyway. A bit like LLU all over again, they could cherry pick rich areas and put their own kit and cabling in.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
Putting their own fibre in to serve a small amount of properties where they may not even take the service is a lot more risky than just having llu kit in an exchange where potentially there are thousands of customers.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Agreed... I'm just saying that's all, otherwise why is their such a fuss about opening up the ducts/poles.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
My point exactly, the only people I hear keep saying about duct and pole sharing is the government, and what do they know, it's easy to say things but until we get results it's just talk. I havn't heard of any cp's wanting, I may be wrong, anyone got a link to a article where a co says they want it.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
Pole and duct sharing may help in some cases, but I don't think its going to magically get fast broadband to the final third.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
why am I not surprised, the tories are too pro capitalist and think the private sector will magically solve all the problems by itself.
by 2015 2mbit will be the new dialup.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Who cares about the final third unless your part of it? :)

No Capt I think it was the gov that where going on about it, there might have been the odd mention from these companies doing little fibre to the village experiments as well.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"....by 2015 2mbit will be the new dialup."

LOL if i had 2Mb id feel like i was back in the ages of 24baud compared to what i get LOL
Posted by terrybyatt over 6 years ago
Jeremy Hunt says "The UK should have the best broadband network in Europe by the end of parliament in 2015".
I wonder how many moons there are in the sky on the planet where he lives!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ I wonder how many suns there are and how many are in an Eclipse leaving him in the dark ;)
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
Has anyone actually worked out quite how we get from here to a universal 2Mbps service?

50% of the country has a broadband cable network. No worries there.

The other half just has a phone network and access to stopgap DSL based solutions which have now become semi-permanent it seems.

When will we build a broadband network in the other half of the country that only has a phone network, and who is going to be doing that? We know it isn't going to be with private money, so what progress have the Government made with regard to splitting Openreach away from BT or is it just soundbites..
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I see Mr Hunt is now looking at fees for people who use BBC "catch up" services like iPlayer and watch stuff on their iPhones.. oh dear....
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