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Ofcom publishes 2013 Communications Market Report
Thursday 01 August 2013 13:09:19 by Andrew Ferguson

The latest Ofcom Communications Market Report has a nice cosy byline with the idea that as tablets and mobile phones become more capable families are moving back toward the living room and being more social. There is another reason for this and it may simply be that families cannot afford the new TV for the kids after spending a fortune on their new mobile gadgets, or the more cynical may suggest that it is because they need to be close to the Wi-Fi router, rather than hidden away out of sight in the loft attic room.

The 436 page report is not difficult reading, there is just a lot of it and if the need to read the detail is repeated in the other market sectors it is possible that some may draw misleading conclusions from the report. In terms of a Digital Britain the headline is that only 27% premises are not able to access to a NGA broadband connection. What is NGA you may ask, Next Generation Access, which means latest generation DOCSIS 3.0 services from Virgin Media, FTTC (or FTTP) from Openreach or KC and then the long tail of other fibre providers.

  • No superfast services available - 27%
  • Both cable and fibre - 32%
  • Fibre only - 25%
  • Cable only - 16%

(Fibre in this case refers to the mixture of FTTC and FTTP products)

Ofcom Communications Report on Proportion of premises in postcodes served by NGA networks, by technology

There has been criticism of Openreach with its commercial roll-out of FTTC services in the past, with people complaining it is only overlapping with Virgin Media, but if the data Ofcom has presented is correct, it suggests while there is a significant overlap, there are millions of people where a FTTC service is the only option beyond the usual ADSL2+ based services in terms of fixed line broadband. The 25% of premises piece of the pie equates to around 6.5 million premises.

There is a danger in these figures though, and that is how the coverage is being measured (the Ofcom report does cover this issue, but we are sure politicians will ignore it). By using postcode granularity (UK has some 1.7 million of postcodes) you are overlooking the properties in a postcode that cannot get service, which is common to both Virgin Media and the Openreach cabinet based FTTC services. Additionally Ofcom has not delved into the speeds people can get to give any indication of how may actually qualify as superfast, we have our own estimates derived from old line length between premises and the cabinets information and what is known about VDSL2 performance over distance.

An interesting area is the growth of data consumption, and as far as we can tell there is no new data for fixed line broadband, but there is information on the small buy likely to grow rapidly 4G market. The report quotes EE’s chief executive officer Olaf Swantee as saying that EE 4G users consume some 1.4GB of data, which is a mere fraction of the 23GB per month for a fixed line service, and a different dataset that suggests on 4G that only 29% user more than 1 GB per month. So for those pushing 4G as a fixed line replacement there is still some way to go to show 4G can handle people sitting down to watch a whole box set of a TV series, let alone actually afford the usage costs.


Posted by dandodex over 4 years ago
So here is the answer to EO lines in London:
(page 17)

Operator --- NGA current --- NGA future
BT --- 79% --- 83%
VM --- 58% --- 58%
Total --- 88% --- 91%

BT will leave on ADSL 17% of lines in London, I presume this is mostly EO, so if you don't have VM you are stuffed. No FTTP, FTTC or FTTPoD.
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
17% is a bit of an overstatement for EO lines. BT has no upgrade plans for 13 London exchanges totalling approaching 100K lines (say 2.5-3% of premises) to which need to be added the PCPs which BT considers to be "commercially not viable". I suspect EO lines are probably closer to 10%. I've no idea as to how many of these might have cable access, nevertheless this represents a lot of premises in London without NGA access for which neither the Government or the mayor seem to be willing to tackle.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
The extra cabinets announced just a week ago may alter figures slightly, and assume these are not in the statistics as they tend to compiled a good few weeks/months before document is ready for publication.

Maybe beg Mayor Of London for a voucher.
Posted by dandodex over 4 years ago
I could ask for a voucher with for my Ltd company, but what use would it be? No VM and an EO line means no FTTPoD, so who do I give the voucher to?
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
> who do I give the voucher to?
You could try approaching BT and asking what they would charge for a network rearrangement to connect your EO line to an FTTC enabled PCP.
Posted by jumpmum over 4 years ago
dandodex:- You could get together with 10 others in a close area, and hawk £30000 of vouchers around BT, Hyperoptic etc to see who would like to provide you with FTTP. I bet you will get some takers!. As the vouchers are only for set-up if others piggy-back on your initative it costs you nothing.
Posted by dandodex over 4 years ago
Unfortunately my neighbours are not companies and (initially at least) the vouchers will only be available to businesses :-(

MCM999's idea seems like the best one so far. I wonder how much work BT would do for £3k.
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
BT have quoted me £25K + VAT for a network rearrangement that involves installing a new PCP together with its fibre twin. This is for a development of 75 dwellings, all with EO lines. Hyperoptic have quote significantly less with much of their cost being to install an Ethernet serving all the premises.
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
MCM99 i assume that would be for or a new pcp and DSLAM to service your community (as it s a long way from exchange) and prob bring all premses in excess of 50 M/bps based on ditance from cab to furthest premises (assume less that 400 metres) wich a large choice of servcie providers to boot
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
What's your point? Very different solutions, depends what you want. I wouldn't want my neighbours to dictate my choice of service provider, however we're all different.

If you're suggesting the Ethernet solution will be better (faster), you might want to investigate how contended the backhaul is - not from your location but from Hyperoptic. A fast local connection is an illusion if the backhaul is heavily contended.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
You could use the voucher for an Ethernet connection, its not limited to broadband.
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
@New_Londoner. My point? To provide some constructive detail such as costs for two possible solutions. The Ethernet is for the Hyperoptic service which is fibre to the development and then gigabit to the dwelling. I personally prefer a BT based solution as this would allow users to go with whichever ISP they prefer plus the Ethernet ducting would be somewhat unsightly. However at £19K to £30K I can't see either proposal going forward in the near future. We have adequate funds but it would nevertheless make a fair sized hole in our provisions.
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
MCM999 have you have a wrrietn estimate from openreach -- suggest you ask fro that to happen that will help confirm what the actual number would be
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