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Point Topic predict low take-up of next-generation broadband
Tuesday 17 May 2011 16:12:16 by John Hunt

Point Topic are painting a bleak picture for the UK's superfast broadband rollout as it faces delays and low take up of faster services. The company have revised their forecast for the number of superfast broadband lines that they expect to be in use by the end of 2015 down to 6.7m from 8.8m, a drop of almost a quarter. The company are blaming a delay in deployments of new networks as the reason behind this.

Point Topic run a Broadband Infrastructure Index, which is a measure of broadband coverage and prospects, and the company say that this has gone backwards in the last 6 months, falling from 55% to 53%. A fall in the rate of deployments is the key reason behind this. BT's exchange enablements of next-generation services only reached 182 exchanges by the end of 2010 rather than the 343 that were expected. Other companies have also dragged this down such as Fibrecity who have ceased roll out in Bournemouth and Dundee whilst the company has been restructured financially. Point Topic do believe that BT will be able to catchup to their schedule however, but this will give the company less time to drive demand for the products.

"Alternative networks are finding the going quite hard at the moment. They're in danger of being sidelined by BT and the big ISPs. But these initiatives could play a vital part in creating demand for superfast broadband to the great benefit of local communities."

Tim Johnson, (Chief Analyst) Point Topic

With locally generated interest, communities can try and develop their own next-generation broadband solutions, and such systems are likely to bring more people onboard as they tend to get local people talking about what you can do with the new services, as well as in some cases actually digging trenches for new cables. Even if such things don't come to fruition, the interest is likely to drive demand for when companies such as BT do deploy.


Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Problem is the majority of people have no idea how to make the most of their connection.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
I agree with Tim, community and alternative networks have had no support so far from government or councils, and are being sidelined. They could play a major role in stimulating investment and uptake. Unlike cabinets, which just give a bit faster connection for a few. It is an example of how the telcos are conning us all into thinking a cabinet is NGA and BET will do for the rurals.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@otester:What is that supposed to mean?

If as you would like to claim our connections are inadequate then the fact that broadband uptake in the UK is so high actually suggests that people are making very good use of their connection. They must be in order to have found value in a poor connection.

If you're trying to imply that everyone should be maxing out their connection 24/7 then I'd like to ask why? Do you also expect us to max out our electricity? Gas? Water? Spend every second of every hour on the telephone?
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
I think it's the people who are downloading everything they can get their hands on (especially those who are using it to avoid paying for content) who have no idea how to use their connection.

Those are the people who need to be forced to attend a training programme and required to pass a test before they are allowed back on the internet. Curb their anti-social and inconsiderate behaviour before they ruin it for everyone else.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
I think the very disapointing but not unexpected fact in this report is how badly BT are falling behind on the rollout schedule. So last year they only achieved about 59% of the planned rollout.

To many that comes as no suprise. Strangly though they appear not to have amended their published rollout dates which are become very serious fiction.
Posted by orly2 over 6 years ago
Currently FTTC in particular still is a bit niche.

For those already on >20Mbit there is little to push you to go ahead and switch. There are also a smaller pool of ISPs currently offering services.

For those out on the edges of towns it's a far more interesting product.

As time passes and more people are connected it'll accelerate take up figures as it becomes "the standard"
Posted by jchamier over 6 years ago
For those on 12 to 16mbps there is little today to warrant extra speed, you just hit usage caps quicker. Its not as if the picture quality on iPlayer or YouTube will increase; they're both designed to hit the middle ground.

Many people here have Virgin 10mbps and find it more than sufficient, and VM sell 30/50 and 100mbps services.

What's the next killer internet application?
Posted by zyborg47 over 6 years ago
As have been said above, if you already get 10megabits or more then why do you really need Fibre? fibre at the moment can be pretty limited, certainly when they start putting traffic management and limits on it. i can get about 4megabits and to be honest I am happy with that as my service is unlimited and unmanaged, if I could go for fibre i doubt I would bother.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
At least BT have started Bob, when does the Fuji venture actually start rolling out?
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
So why did BT abandon the rollout of ADSL2+ in favour of giving large cities FTTC... seems to me they would of been more sensible to do WBC first before FTTC. (of course I am biased not living in London/Manchester).
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Have they officially abandoned it? I hope not as I'm not likely to see FTTC anytime soon
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Concentration camp?

Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
these guys LOL, VM counts as next gen and is not low takeup ;). But on their point of poor rollut from BT I udnerstand it.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
adsl2+ isnt abandoned but its no longer high profile as BT eventually realised it was no good boasting about rolling out someting already obselete. According to ofcom data the majority of people get little benefit from adsl2+ in terms of speed.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
IIRC people on line lengths of less than approximately 3.5km see higher speeds, obviously with the speed improvement increasing as the line length decreases.

The last I read, BT Wholesale was planning to reach 80% of the population this year, which I think is broadly similar reach to the biggest LLU operators, although there may be some minor differences in exchanges.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago

Do you think this is related to FTTC rollout? As redundant kit made available from FTTC upgrades, this can now be installed in ADSL1 exchanges. Best to make use of available kit and engineers who aren't part of the FTTC program.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Not sure that adding FTTC/P capability to an exchange frees up any existing kit? I thought the choice was down to individual ISPs and their customers whether to take the faster services, which may cost more, so the ADSL kit is still required.
Posted by meldrew over 6 years ago
I got really excited about having ADSL2+ at end of March. Result? An increase in speed so slight I did not at first notice it. Fortunately it is fast enough for SWMBO to shop merrily and received photos from our children! I am 1.5kms from the exchange and BT say I am lucky to even get 2Mbs although I do get 4Mbs!
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@meldrew:1.5km should be better than that. I'm 1.5 km from my exchange by road but at 34db attenuation modems always suggest a 2.5km line. I sync at 14Mb/s.

Our office lines all get around 3Mb/s and our office is nearly four kilometres from the exchange.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Competition is the only way to improve broadband performance, state monopoly or corporate duopoly will only go as far as it's pushed.
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
Well they have not officially abandonded it afaik but for example where I live, Wiltshire, I saw a county council document dated 11/2009 where many smaller exchanges had an RFS date set and only for it to disappear later on, I dont belive it is coincidence that they started deploying FTTC at roughly the same time as the ADSL2 rollout slowed down (and in some cases was cancelled!).

All this does surely is expands the 'digitial divide', why are ofcom not investigating?.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Investigating what though, they are BT's own plans/schedules, just like the FTTC ones, why would Ofcom be involved
Posted by Oddball over 6 years ago
Hmmm. Join BT and their horrible customer service, caps and throttles. Go with another FTTC ISP I have no experience of costing twice as much (again with caps and throttles) or stay with Be on 12mbit uncapped with superior support. Decisions. Decisions.
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
GMAN fair enough perhaps not ofcom but surely if the government want 'superfast broadband' even in rural areas they should push BT into making choices which favour this?, rather than giving people who already have faster connections (generally speaking) in urban areas even faster ones still.

I dont see any evidence to suggest figures of 80% and 90% coverage which are being banded around by 2015-2017 are in any way realistic given that nothing appears to be happening.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
How do you push them though spetz, they won't go in on their own into places that aren't viable. They've already said the government will have to stand up some cash to go into these areas, so far the government have said there is some surplus that can be used from the digital switchover but to get that my understanding is those rural areas have to put a case together and put out a tender for which any provider can bid for.
Posted by creakycopperline over 6 years ago
gmann get your tongue out of bt's arses,
it's gonna take them 6 years to do only 2 thirds of the country and they wonder why there's slow take up?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Why do you have to be so personal creaky? I'm making a normal comment and you have to repeatedly jibe, you almost sound like another previously banned member.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
And yes its very easy to bash away at them, it might take 6yrs but who else is actively rolling out faster broadband across the UK? No-one.

And its slow take up as (despite the myth) many don't want/need very fast speeds, look at the take up of 50Mb/100Mb Virgin products.
Posted by DavidABC44 over 6 years ago
Perhaps they should complete rural and Scottish rollouts as a prioity first.
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
I'm not sure how they could be pushed, surely that is the governments concern?, especially as they are the ones making over optimistic claims about coverage. As for BT (openreach) they have far more infrastructure in place so surely the costs involved compared to what other cp's face are much lower?, surely in which case BT should provide a much higher coverage than other CP's..

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