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Ed Vaizey declares UK broadband market is in rude health
Wednesday 06 March 2013 10:37:08 by Andrew Ferguson

Two weeks after the Government failed to send a representative to the FTTH Conference at ExCeL it dispatched Ed Vaizey to Cable Congress to deliver a speech.

"Firms like Virgin Media and BT lead the way when it comes to investing in our broadband infrastructure, and I must applaud the work they are doing and the capital they have committed. Virgin Media’s investment in doubling customers’ speeds is future proofing the network and opening up new opportunities for our online companies, and is only one part of its multi-billion pound programme.
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Our goal is to provide certainty, to ensure the money invested in rollout is used to take superfast broadband further and not wasted on delays and disputes. It is important that the regulatory framework governing the telecoms sector is fit for purpose and competitive. While this of course sits with Ofcom, we are committed to ensuring the market fosters competition, supports multiple, innovative providers, and results in greater consumer choice.
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On this latter aspect, the UK’s broadband market is already in rude health. Ofcom’s European scorecard, which was published today shows that the UK currently benefits from low prices and a high degree of competition in the broadband market, and that the UK has the best deals available for consumers across a selection of pricing bundles in the major European economies."

Extracts from speech by Ed Vaizey MP

There is little doubt that the competition in the retail sector of UK broadband means that people can buy broadband from as little as £2.50 per month and is ahead of most of Europe. The problem this has created is that millions seem reluctant to embrace the faster services that allow people to do more with their connection and at the same time means that only providers able to cross subsidise can compete.

The message is clear as far as we are concerned, the UK has done exceedingly well in getting first generation broadband to where it is now, but other economies across Europe and the world are leap frogging this stage and could very easily become the locations to do business in a digital economy. What the politicians need to look at is how to attract the investment that means Russia is rolling out FTTB (Fibre to the Building/Basement) networks at breakneck pace and not subsidising existing companies. We have some firms succeeding in this area, but there are others that are simply lots of good PR but very little in terms of actual connections to the consumer and SME market.

So lets have no back slapping and celebrations, we still stand a chance of meeting the 2015 goals, but the crown may be short lived particularly as there is no clear direction from any of the political parties for post 2015.

Comments

Posted by farrina about 1 year ago
Forgive my ignorance - I have heard of FTTC & FTTP but could you clarify what is FTTB ?

Cheers

Alan
Posted by camieabz about 1 year ago
"So lets have no back slapping and celebrations, we still stand a chance of meeting the 2015 goals, but the crown may be short lived particularly as there is no clear direction from any of the political parties for post 2015."

Indeed. Sadly, most politicians plan from one election to the next, which is understandable in some ways, but reprehensible, given that we entrust them with key strategic decision making.

Does a lack of a 'Phase 2' plan suggest that 'Phase 1' will not be realised on the predicted time-scale?
Posted by camieabz about 1 year ago
Building / Basement
Posted by 21again about 1 year ago
> "The problem this has created is that millions seem reluctant to embrace the faster services that allow people to do more with their connection and at the same time means that only providers able to cross subsidise can compete."

So who is responsible for that problem?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@farrina Sorry, have expanded it now.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@21again

Well Ofcom has done its job of promoting retail competition, but has failed to deliver a true infrastructure competition outside of the Virgin Media footprint.
Posted by zyborg47 about 1 year ago
Just a shame that most of the infrastructure is owned by BT and that we still have to give that company money directly or indirectly.
Posted by broadband66 about 1 year ago
Do most of us really need FTTB/P? If we could be guarateed 20mbps down and 1.5 up then that would probably suffice.

Are companies looking elsewhere to relocate due to slow connections?
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
So what would be needed for a competitive infrastructure to be installed in a) non VM towns and b) rural areas after BDUK has completed its activities? Is it relevant that gas, electricity, water and drains are over single infrastructures.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@broadband66

The massive advantage of FTTB/P is that it removes the uncertainty of line lengths and has a lot more scaleability that the existing cable networks.

With FTTC we are seeing people dissappointed over latency already.
Posted by 21again about 1 year ago
> "but has failed to deliver a true infrastructure "

I wonder if they were aware of having to do that as well or were even instructed (in writing) to do that by the Government or whoever?
They can't order the likes of BT or others to create those infrastructures can they?
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
How many lies can a government minister tell in one statement? Considering my own area - Wales....

"Firms like Virgin Media a& BT lead the way when it comes to investing in our broadband infrastructure". No they don't!They don't care about investing in the infrastructure at all.Is Virgin actually in Wales at all?BT's rollout only included Cardiff and Swansea I think,the rest of Wales shows a big red "No Plans".Oh hang on,they're now rolling out in Wales after being given half of the money by what is effectively charity and the government.
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
"the UK currently benefits from low prices and a high degree of competition"

Where is the competition here? It's either BT Wholesale or....erm...I'm struggling now. Sky I think are in a few exchanges too. That counts as a high degree of competition does it?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Virgin Media is in Wales, Neath, Swansea, Barry, Cardiff and Newport.
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
I think the signal would be very weak by the time it got up to here from Cardiff. It's like the distance between London and Manchester, but of course if it's in one concentrated are then that qualifies it as meaning the UK as a whole, according to this minister. Perhaps it would have been more truthful to say that BT and Virgin have invested in a selected part of the country.
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
area*
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
Regulation/taxes are to blame.
Posted by AspieMum about 1 year ago
Virgin media put leaflets through my door saying you are in an enabled area. Contact them & you find you're not. Contact their cablemystreet, or whatever its called, and it turns out they never will as it is too expensive. So much for Virgin media.
Posted by AspieMum about 1 year ago
FTTC broadband is supposed to be coming to my cabinet this year but as yet no date has been given. FTTP isn't happening here at our technically rural exchange just outside a city- from where the exchange actually is you could walk to the city boundaries.
Posted by AspieMum about 1 year ago
broadband66, if we could get actual, reliable 20MBS broadband we'd be happy. Our 2 broadband problems are: unreliablity (lost connections) & we can't even get 2MBs (which means if 1 person does a download or watches a video clip no one else can access the internet & streaming iPlayer doesn't work due to buffering- except on the XBox but only if everything else is off so it has the internet to itself).
Posted by chrysalis about 1 year ago
also dont forget FTTP would do away with DLM which on FTTC can be quite intrusive, eg. DLM is now on average resyncing my line twice a week which is completely ridicolous because I believe my line without DLM would stay up for months..
Posted by chrysalis about 1 year ago
What I dont like about that statement is the government appear to be in league with private corporations, its almost like a PR statement for BT and VM. Of course also a misleading statement, their expenditures dont beat lage FTTP rollouts been done elsewhere, especially VMs investment which is tiny.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
@AspieMum

Who's your current provider?
Posted by scilly1922billy about 1 year ago
Dear Mr Vaizey are you listening. Here in the Staffordshire Moorlands i am serviced by a download speed of 0.5 mbps, its a joke. You go round back slapping as if superfast speed is coming for everyone. I manage to run two business from home on this pathetic service, you have no idea.
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