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Point Topic warns that the £530m funding is not nearly enough
Thursday 04 November 2010 14:49:29 by Andrew Ferguson

The Westminster e-forum was addressed by Tim Johnson of Point Topic who highlighted the disparity in planned spending by the UK on broadband infrastructure and that of France. Also going on to suggest that the Con/Lib coalition Government's £40 billion infrastructure investment programme could have its priorities switched about to provide some more funding for broadband infrastructure improvements.

"Broadband helps more people, provides more benefits per pound and is greener than even the most modern railway, George Osborne needs to shave another billion or so out of other investment programmes to give us a truly modern economy."

Point Topic Chief Analyst Tim Johnson

France is looking to spend some £570 million of public money per year up to 2025 to meet their broadband targets, which eclipses the UK spending. The issue of the benefits of broadband is key. Too often broadband is seen as being anti-social, and to the remit of teenagers locked in their room suffering from RSI due to playing console games 24/7. The reality is that reliable and fast broadband has the potential to reduce the number of car journeys made, both through home working and areas like online shopping. With the rising cost of both public and private transport, those living outside the major cities will the be most aware of how much it costs to do the weekly shop.

What has been interesting is that there has been a lot less in terms of complaints about how the extra £300m for the UK broadband fund was raised from the TV licence, rather than the previous Governments idea of a levy on telephone lines. Perhaps there is scope to raise more money this way, both by increasing the time period to slice money from the TV licence, and even increasing it. A 3% rise in the TV licence would raise something like £100 million in the first year, which if sustained until 2020 on top of the existing proprosals would allow the UK to possibly have broadband coverage and speeds that really were the best in Europe.

Comments

Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
Its iplayer and video which is demanding the bandwidth and causing folk to drop off at peak times and video means those on dial up can't access modern applications and websites - so it is appropriate that some money could come from the bbc. If this money is spent on the notspots it will indirectly help the urban areas as it passes. All will soon have next gen access. It must not be spent on propping up the copper cabal. Bring on the fibre. many still have to turn off graphics on websites for them to load.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Sounds good, I hope they listen. It will be worth cutting back something else and provide better funding for fibre access as long as a single penny is not spent on copper.

Let the arguments begin :P
Posted by mobilebb over 6 years ago
People often forget that a 3% rise for low income or unemployed people can be significantly damaging, especially during these hard times.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Hence why I said money from other areas or... Quangos...
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Whilst I'm happy to take money away from the BBC and their licence I'm not sure we can rely on it solely to fund anything, the way I see it in the future is even less people will be paying the licence fee if real broadband provided TV comes in (Google TV etc) because its my understanding that you only need a licence to watch TV programmes that are being aired live, so anything that has previously been shown you do not require a license for. So if our viewing habits change and we watch want we want when we want (as opposed to mainly watching live) we don't even need a license at all?
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
The problem which I don't think has been considred is cost of fibre and copper broadband... Assuming OFCOM allows BT to ditch copper and fibre everyone up, people will see their broadband connection cost go for 15-20 quid a month to £40... not everyone is going to want to pay that. Unless, BT retains copper, but then their costs become stupid due to having to run two full networks side-by-side...
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
That is a bit part of the problem theman I agree, people don't want to pay a lot for broadband it has been coming down all of the time and people won't want it to go back up, especially as things stand at the moment. Some people just don't want these faster speeds, just a decent reliable connection.

I'm not saying I wouldn't take 40Mb down/10up I would but my 5Mb on ADSL does me fine.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Usual cd nonsense.

Dialup problems are due to the core network and service provider servers.

Please explain the detail of notspots helping urban areas.

FTTC will bring fibre closer to all sooner.
Posted by KarlAustin over 6 years ago
A 3% rise in TV license is 8.4p per week - hardly a massive stretch I would have thought. If the extra 8.4p is such a problem then I'd suggest you could actually solve more of your problems by not having a TV at all and save the £145.50 it currently it.
Posted by cjbell68 over 6 years ago
I saw Cyberdoyle's post and wondered how long it would take until a Somerset post appeared - not long.

Dial-up problems are based on a low-bandwidth technology coupled with richer web-content (even for browsing). I remember dial-up was painful for browsing years ago, must be even worse now.
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
GMAN99 I understand what you are saying and I too really at the moment would not need more than the 8mbit (2-6mbit in reality) connection that I currently have, the thing is though if we are not careful we will end up back where we were in 2000-02 when most major cities had ADSL/Cable but outside of that it was dial up, as content gets more demanding we will need faster connections to keep up surely?.

If France can afford that much why can we not?.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Oh yeah I'm not saying we don't/won't need faster connections, one of the problems is the broadband market in the UK has shot itself in the foot by nailing the prices right down meaning its a cut throat industry with not much left to invest in new tech.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
GMAN99, well said! I personally would pay £30-40 for FTTC, £50-60 for FTTP maybe more! Shame no-one else thinks that way.
Posted by soapysoutar over 6 years ago
I remember when I first got internet access in 1996ish, it cost £15 per month just to have access to an ISP, with your dial up call charges extra. For 1 hours access, the cost of the phone call was aroung 60p. So to have 1 hours access a day cost £30+ per month (including ISP charge).

My point is, internet costs to users these days are small compared to what they used to be, so I agree with Legolash2o, I'd happily pay more to get a better/faster service.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
thanks soapy, but i was well shocked when BT priced their FTTP at £21.50 a month, it's worth at least £50pm and i would happily pay that.

They should of done a special price for 3 months.

ADSL Upto 24Mbps: Free (TalkTalk) or £20pm.
FTTC: Upto 40Mbps, guarenteed 15Mbps, £35pm.
FTTP: Upto 100Mbps, guarenteed 25Mbps? £50pm

Well worth the prices if you ask me.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
If there is demand for faster broadband then im sure they would upgrade for the price.

Villagers getting 0.5Mbps for £30pm (non-LLU) would prob pay £35pm for FTTC or even 100Mbps...
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
I think that is the real problem though; until the demand is there nothing will change unless the government intervene, sadly this means for small towns and villages years of sub-standard service.

What would be the cost to FTTC 95% of the country?, I think someone on here said £2.8bn, which if France are spending £570m (€?) a year is not a lot relativily.

This £530m is a token gesture and quite frankly laughable.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
it was something like £5.6bn for the whole country which BT have put £2.5bn of there own money towards which they didnt have to do in the first place.. Government would only have to spend £3-4bn for FTTC everywhere.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
£5.1bn sorry, that report though was made before they realised they could blow fibre, which was when BT said that it would be cheaper than they thought...
Posted by soapysoutar over 6 years ago
Unfortunately, by the time demand comes it will be too late.

Most people are only interested in the price of their internet, so the market, with its short sighted glasses on, supply what the punter wants, i.e. cheap internet.

There will come a time when the average user realises that he cannot watch iPlayer, or get the new media services because his connection is crap, but as no investment has been made in the networks because of the low cost models, he will then complain and ask why the networks have not been upgraded, without realising that he has been part of the problem all along.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
haha yeah, but come on... £21.50 for 110Mbps, What the hell?

BT Infinity Option 2 is £24.99, so why is FTTP cheaper?
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
which part of the USO says BT have to keep the copper in place? i.e. a link/quote

Thanks.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
See:

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/telecoms/article3671594.ece

BT’s key concern is that it is not forced to continue maintaining its old copper network when new fibre infrastructure has been built, hence doubling its operating costs.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
lol that was in 2008, looks like BT lost that battle then...
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Forgot to say thank you for that link..

Thanks :)
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
Exactly soapysoutar, by using short term solutions now though we will pay in the long run. Also I think it is inevitable that in the future we will need something better than what is in place in many parts of the country now, so its just wasted money if spent on things like BET and satellite.

This really should have been thought of years ago though (when we had some money) and all this dithering is a bit silly.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Sp - This was thought about years ago. BT wanted to put FTTP everywhere but the then conservative government would not let them as it would affect the cable TV companies.

Who now provide broadband and phone...
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Don't forget Ofcom wouldn't let them either, until a couple of years back :P
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
So the cd theory about BT trying to protect the copper is 'untrue'.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Ok some facts. BT were not allowed to installed fibre until ofcom let them, i think that was in 2008, within year they planned to spend £2.5bn to upgrade to fibre.

BT tried getting rid of copper, i bet BT would be glad to get rid of copper if regulations let them.

So after reading the factual statements i will accept that it is untrue.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
July 2008 BT said it would spend £1.5bn, so less than a year Ofcom let them, they decided to do it.

Nice to have all the facts, still think the government should pay for it but i know that won't happen and please lets not argue about it.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Surprising what facts you can find in 3 minutes...
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
I just wish Ofcom let BT scrap copper so they don't have to maintain 2 networks, how much do you reckon it costs to run 2 networks? lol
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Someone tell cd its Ofcom that have the keys to her "copper cabal". BT would love to drop the USO they must have so many unprofitable exchanges they'd love to get rid of.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
gman99 if they remove exchanges wont that mean people can't get a phone service?

i assume everything would be re-routed to another exchange?
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
If they FTTP everywhere in london, technically they would only need 1 exchange :P
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Ofcom should also stop Sky, TalkTalk from building their own network so they dont have to pay BT. A lot of the regulations are very unfair towards BT.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
It would lego, that's my understanding of the USO anyway that BT have to provide phone service infrastructure to all (or a huge %) of households regardless of cost to them.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
but surely BT wont remove exchanges without given them some sort of connection, copper/fibre?
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
or 'it would' is the answer to the re-routed question :P
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Fibre services talk of handover nodes, rather than exchanges, i.e. a full exchange that is a few floors in size could be the size of a single garage and serve 3 or 4 exchanges.

Its not so much remove USO, but remove requirement that power be available to keep phone working during power cuts. I think battery options would be too big/ugly in the home at this time.

Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
but would it be a good idea to remove their requirement to keep phone working during power cuts?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Oh I can't see them actually closing exchanges even if they could not without some alternative. I can't see them just cutting people off no matter what people think of BT ;)

As for removing the power requirements during a power cut. It might be a good idea to on the path to do away with copper, not sure its so good in an emergency situation when the power is off tho!
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
BT will not cut people off. Existing exchanges will close as FTTC and FTTP rolls out meaning that the fibre can be connected to an exchange up to 40km away. A socket for a normal phone will still be provided.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Sounds good, they just have to make sure the exchange they move the connections to has enough backhaul.

I think BT should be allowed to close an exchange and connect them to FTTP from a 'handover node' instead. Should save them a fortune to invest elsewhere.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
or FTTC
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
Somerset, fair enough but what did the last Labour government do for broadband in the UK?, dont want to get all political about it but neither conservatives or labour have done anything apart from spout stupid words like "superfast". While we are spending £2.5bn on an aircraft carrier that it looks like we wont even use!!.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Lego - BT will be doing that.
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