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Isle of Wight cabinet sets conditions but backs BT as preferred bidder
Wednesday 11 September 2013 11:02:39 by Andrew Ferguson

While BT would seem to have got it easy in the BDUK process, the addition of conditions to BT accepting the contract for the Isle of Wight show that it is not always a foregone conclusion. At a meeting last night which saw the cabinet recommend to the full council that BT be picked as the preferred bidder, there was crucial conditions placed on the bid, now it remains to be seen whether BT will accept these conditions.

The conditions include the requirement to co-operate on road works, which while admirable may prove difficult if a cabinet or FTTP roll-out hits a snag, our interpretation of this condition means that BT will need to check every bit of ducting and possible cabinet positioning ahead of the roll-out and tie this into the PFI roads contract, which may delay things in some areas, or increase costs with the extra survey work.

More interesting is the speed requirements, namely that 99% will have access to NGA type infrastructure by September 2015 and of those in the scope of the project 87% should be able to get speeds of 24 Mbps or faster and across the whole island (ie. including commercial footprint this rises to 97%. For the remaining 3% a connection of 2 Mbps or faster should be supplied. The wording is much stronger than what is released into the public domain by councils usually, but with so little detail from them these conditions may not be more common.

BT is under no obligation to accept these conditions, and we suspect there may be some shuffling around of potential project costs if BT does accept the contract. The local cable company WightFibre has now effectively being sidelined, unless it can rapidly come up with a firm business case and present this to the council, it appears ample notice has been given by the council and surely it cannot have escaped any broadband operators notice that these projects were coming from 2009 onwards.

Comments

Posted by splodgit over 3 years ago
At last. I was beginning to think that the prevarication would last for ever. The roads scheme runs over seven years and is already running a bit late (as with most schemes on the Isle of Wight), so if BT get moving quickly there shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
I looked up details of one of the fixed wireless providers on the island, a company called Click4Internet, to see how it compared to the mainstream FTTC services.

The best consumer product seems to be a 30/10 offering with various usage caps and no unlimited option. A lowish monthly limit of 80GB costs £98 per month inc VAT. There is a business product which is more competitive on speed with FTTC, running at 50/20. However the lowest usage cap costs £958.80 per month!
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
Are these the highest prices being charged for terrestrial broadband in the UK? No wonder local providers are not keen to see decent competition if they can charge these sorts of prices!

The small prints says that if you exceed your monthly usage allowance on the consumer service, the service will be “interrupted” until you buy more capacity. Both business and consumer contracts have a minimum 2 year term, rolling 12 month renewal. Didn’t Ofcom rule against rolling renewals?
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
The Wiber (Wireless Fibre) network is 'open access' and any ISP that uses it is able to configure and price their own products and services. This leads to diversity of consumer products and prices to choose from. There is an ISPs that offers 'unlimited superfast broadband' delivered accross the Wiber network for £17.50 per month subject to an additional £13.90 per month for a phone/voice line - so a total spend of £31.40 per month for superfast broadband and phone. That's pretty competitive by anyone's standards and it also includes free installation and free router.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
How many ISPs in total? Are they all fully independent of High Point, or are any linked? Any well known brands?

The pricing you've shown above looks reasonable, the other one is pretty amazing though, I've not seen any higher prices in the UK.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
It is true that Click4Internet may appear to offer prices that are higher than you might expect to see for urban style 'bog standard' domestic 'broadband' connectivity. That is click4internet's choice and it should be noted that click4internet does not sell basic 'broadband' services - it sells a significantly different product called Megaband™ which in addition to a different connectivity service delivery model, also gives significantly upgraded customer service and response compared to mainstream 'broadband' providers. Consumers have a choice and many have chosen to opt for Megaband™
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
It should be noted that click4internet's products and prices have been developed in response to the specific demands, requests and service level requirements of its market of predominantly very rural businesses and homes.
For example Megaband™ users have access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to experienced engineers, based locally to customers and 95% of support calls (any time of day/night) are answered within 8 rings directly by a local (human) engineer - not by a computerised queueing system
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
There is a cost to offering this level of service and it's a cost that click4internet customers choose to pay in return for the increased service they receive. Many of them have specifically moved to Megaband™ to get this improved level of service having been unsatisfied with the customer service style on offer from mainstream 'broadband' providers. It's a case of you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get.
The ability of Wiber® technology to support different service delivery models like this sets it apart from traditional terrestrial cabinet/copper/$DSL systems.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Any ISP can deliver across the Wiber® network. Our technology can support industry standard PPPoE and PPPoA authentication as well as customised authentication protocols.
The ISP whose 'superfast broadband' prices we stated in our previous post is entirely independent to HPI / Wiber, and operates in competition with/to click4internet.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Irrespective of what one thinks of any of the products and prices offered by ISPs across the Wiber® network, the fact remains that there are no 'mainstream FTTC' services available in the rural areas where Wiber® network users are typically located. The burning issue is that it is not in the public interest nor is it allowed within EU State Aid Regulations, for public subsidy to be applied into areas where services already exist - especially if they exist at very competitive rates as demonstrated above.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
If BT want to invest in FTTC in these areas and create an 'FTTC' market then that's fantastic - but the have chosen not to do so without public subsidy - therefore no FTTC market exists to compare other products with because there was no commercial interest in creating an FTTC market in those areas - because FTTC has been proven to be an unviable and ineffective technology for rural areas - that's why BT won't invest their own money into it and will only roll it out with public subsidy.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Wiber
Quote "FTTC has been proven to be an unviable and ineffective technology for rural areas"

Hmm, not sure this is supported by the available evidence. Most counties across the UK have or are getting FTTC, so I think you will struggle to back that statement up in any meaningful way.

As for Click4Internet, £2400 for 2 years of broadband is expensive, no matter how good the service is, and IIRC Ofcom ruled against auto renewal of contracts.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
It does seem as if all the 'activity' on the blog has awoken some slumberers in the council. The latest blog, http://onthewight.com/2013/09/11/bt-to-be-held-to-account-on-rural-broadband-contract/#comment-228859 tells of some sensible 'new' contract conditions which I feel BT might baulk at. Interesting times, as they say, and I hope the council do not allow 'weasel words' to win the day.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Click4internet's Megaband pricing, service and product specification is popular and achieves steady growth and has achieved 99% subscriber renewal and retention since 2008 - that's renewal by users' own choice not by any automatic contractual renewal clause. Of course you are entitled to your opinion regarding click4internet's pricing however your views would not appear to be shared by the very satisfied customers who have chosen those products - they could have chosen 'broadband' and they opted for 'Megaband'.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
The reason that counties will be getting FTTC is that BT was the only company on the procurement list! BT were the only eligible bidder and BT only offered FTTC solutions - not surprising then that counties will get FTTC when it is the only solution offered by the only company eligible to bid!
FTTC has not been chosen for technical merits and not because it is a cost/effective way to serve rural areas, that's why BT won't invest their own money into deploying it unless it's publicly subsidised.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
If any 'consumers' or councillors from the IoW are following, a warning:

Be aware that BT do appear to 'deceive' with their performance figures:

A fruitless effort to get BDUK to nudge my County Council into releasing 2011/12 speed data for my exchange resulted my being directed to the BT wholesale line checker.

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Now - that's interesting. Over a year ago I used this very site to check a friend's house (in a group of 3) who were only able for dial-up. The checker said "3-4.5mb". I raised this issue with 'the late'; Ian Livingston who in true fashion responded very quickly, and a succession of cascading managers 'looked at it' and the checker dropped the speed to
WBC ADSL 2+ Up to 1 -- 1 to 3.5 Available
ADSL Max Up to 1 -- 0.75 to 2.5 Available

It is on an ADSL2+ exchange

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Now, I happen to know these properties are about 5km from their cabinet which is about 4km from the exchange. They all had only dial-up until they all went satellite in despair. I cannot imagine which algorithm BT are using to produce an absolute minimum of 750kb at 9km +, but I suspect even the man in the street with a piece of paper and a pencil would come up with something different (and as for "3MB"..........) In fact a visiting BT engineer, called out a few years back to install b/band on the 'promise' of the "3mb" said "Lumme love - you will not even be able to smell broadband here".

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
There are two significant concerns here:

1) BT are 'Over-egging' their performance which has severe implications for 'value for money' from the BT scheme
2) It is not impossible that the BT fudge factor will take the 'average' of ADSL2+ and decide the properties are over 2mb. Ring any bells, anyone? I fear for the 'economics' of fibre over that distance to produce a real 2mb+.

So, all you Isle of Wight'ians and other delirious BT contracted county folk. Watch it!
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Wiber
Did your company bid when the BDUK framework was being tendered? If you did and lost, then bad luck but that's how tenders work. If you didn't then I don't really see why you think you can complain about it now, you missed your opportunity to participate when you had the chance.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
New_Londoner - have you been paying attention? Can you name all the companies that met the BDUK requirements for tendering and were approved by BDUK? I recall we started with ?9? and fell pretty rapidly to 1.
Posted by Gadget over 3 years ago
@mikejp
re you comment to New_Londoner....I think you should draw the distinction between those excluded for not meeting the procurement conditions and those who chose to walk always because they did not feel they could make a viable business out of it. In that case the number at the end of you comment should be at least 2.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Quite, Gadget (although many have suspicions about number 2....) but the post was re Wiber who, like the multitude of capable,innovative and go-ahead potential providers in the UK, were barred at the FIRST gate.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Mikejp
What barred them? Perhaps best for Wiber to confirm whether it participated or not.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Quote from Ian Grant's blog:
"Procurement rules set up BDUK on the advice of consultants like Pinsent Mason and KMPG excluded operators with less than £20m/y turnover. This made all the UK’s wireless broadband operators and many mid-sized fixed network operators officially invisible. The effect has been to distort the market in favour of large fixed wire network operators, even though ministers, officials and even suppliers have said constantly that a “mixed economy” ie combination of wired and wireless technologies, is needed to fulfil the government’s ambition."

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
I cannot speak for the multitude of small providers but that is a big turnover. In fact it reduced the number of 'eligible' tenderers to 9 (I think). It is all in the BDUK documentation.

I suspect Wiber would not have qualified to take part, but I'm sure they will comment for you.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Indeed that is correct. We would have been delighted to participate as would outher competitors in our region but we were all excluded from being able to bid because we did not turn over in excess of £22 million per annum.
To put that into context, there are less than 70,000 premises in total on the Isle of Wight - the region covered by the IWC / BDUK tender. If you take a turnover of say £20 Million per annum and divide that by 70,000 premises that works out at just under £300 per premises per annum

Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
As the vast majority of premises on the Island are domestic it shows that to be eligible for tendering a 'regional' provider would have to have a trully massive and 'monopolistic' style share of the available market to achieve the required turnover to be eligible - pretty much every single premisis would have to already be a customer and even then it would be hard to reach the turnover cut-off.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
I don't blame new_londoner for blindly assuming that there must have been a fair and reasonable process and structure behind all this - after all most of us are proud of the values and structure of the country and society we live in and we believe that institutionalised support of monopolies to the exclusion of viable competition should not, does not and cannot happen in the UK. It's fair enough therefore to assume that companies like us that are complaining had a chance and blew it and that's our fault. If that was the case we would have no cause for complaint - you'lre right.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Sadly and shockingly though the truth is that BDUK rules were specifically designed to make all viable regional competition 'invisible' to the process. This is because there are a number of successfull, efficient and effective companies around the UK that have solved rural connectivity issues very well at a fraction of the cost of 'shuring up' a dilapidated, maintenance intensive and inappropriate overhead copper phone line system.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
For some reason the 'powers that be' decided that they must make sure that efficient and effective regional solutions must not be able to be considered for tender eligibility - otherwise assumably no local authority would have been able to justify giving massive sums to BT when better could be achieved for far less using more appropriate proven technologies - technologies that BT COULD CHOOSE TO OFFER TO KEEP COSTS DOWN but have chosen not to offer to the public.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Why should BT look at more efficient and less expensive technologies and offer them to local authorities when they have known for years that they would be the only company eligible to tender accross the country at the end of this 'sham' of a procurement process? Why offer lower cost and more effective alternatives to copper wire to local authority tender projects?
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
If BT did offer more efficient and effective alternatives then they would have to compete with any other company that also offered such alternatives and being a massive and cumbersome corporation BT would find it hard if not impossible to compete with efficient and lean regional providers who have been successfully developing and deploying lower cost and more effective solutions for years.


Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
But BT did not have to worry about how they might have to develop efficient and effective ways of connecting rural areas because they knew from the outset that the BDUK framework would exclude all such other providers from tendering - so BT could sit back on their haunches and present tenders for hiddeously expensive and shockingly ineffective copper phone line solutions - ensuring that their position as a monopolistic owner of the countries traditional primary means of connectivity - the phone line - would be protected.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
The BDUK projects will effectively stamp out future regional and local interest in competing in the markets because no company will be prepared to invest into local communications markets when they have just been distorted by public subsidy to just one system/company - and when this means that it is very likely that it could and will happen again in the future.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
For example, when in 2008 we identified thousands of rural premises in our region that BT had chosen to completely negelct and as a result could only offer 'dial up' speeds or (miss-named) 'broadband' of less then 1 Mb/s to, we saw demand that existed in the market due to our competitors' choice to make insufficient investment into the region and to use inappropriate and inefficient/ineffective technology.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
We identified that by using a more efficient and appropriate technology, we could make a viable business case for commercial investment - and we invested hundreds of thousands of pounds deploying effective, efficient and popular superfast coverage.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
If we had had any idea at the time that public money could legitimatley be given to a competitor to overbuild us in the future then we would not have been able to create the business case for investment into our local market and would not have been able to make the required investment. This would have left the large number of premises we serve with no alternative but to continue paying for 'up to' speeds via BT and getting 'a fraction of' those speeds -leaving them trully 'digitally divided' from more urban areas.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
By supporting BT to the absolute exclusion of all others, BDUK projects have effectively rendered all local communication markets as 'NO GO ZONES' for commercial investment in future. This is a disaster for rual premises who will now be stuck with only a choice of services via the vulnerable copper phone lines that have plagued them with poor performance and bad value for money for years.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
Wightfibre Limited is run by 4 current members. and 1 company secretary. 1 shareholders own the total shares within the company. It is not part of a group.

The latest Annual Accounts submitted to Companies House for the year up to 30/09/2012 reported 'cash at bank' of £108,453, 'liabilities' worth £662,113, 'net worth' of £-4,461,126 and 'assets' worth £373,206.
http://companycheck.co.uk/company/05470659/WIGHTFIBRE-LIMITED
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Interesting info about WightFibre.

Not sure what relevance it has to this thread?

Just in case anyone thought that there was some fiduciary connection between WightFibre and Wiber? That's not the case - they are independent and unrelated companies with distinct and unconnected directors and shareholders.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
WightFibre referred to in the article.

Should £6.2M be invested in tiny companies? Click4internet Limited has a 'net worth' of £-17,757. Or does Wiber (technology, not a company) not need public money?
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Wiber technology/networks are owned/operated by High Point Infrastructure Ltd. (HPI). The Wiber network is 'open access' at wholesale level to any ISP that wishes to deliver across it. HPI was not eligible to tender for BDUK projects because it turns over less than £22M therefore no public subsidy was sought or applicable.
HPI has commercially/privately funded 100% of Wiber infrastructure to date and it is the coverage already in place from existing infrastructure that HPI requires to be acknowledged and removed from the proposed 'intervention area' on the Isle of Wight.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
HPI seeks no funding from BDUK. HPI simply asks that the existing superfast coverage that is has invested into is not overbuilt using public subsidy to a competitor - e.g. BT as this would contravene EU state aid regulations and principles.
If BT wish to 'overbuild' our coverage with their own money then that's fair competition, if public money is handed to them then that's unfair competition and market distortion.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Click4internet (C4I) would not be eligible for any public funding and does not seek any as it does not own or operate network infrastructure itself. C4I is an ISP that buys wholesale access to HPI's Wiber network and then packages that into products which it retails to consumers on the Isle of Wight and in neighbouring counties.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
The matter of whether millions of public money should be INVESTED into private companies is somewhat incongruous because the £6.2 Million being referred to is in no way INVESTED in BT as that would imply the tax payer got some form of equity, return or 'discount' for using the infrastructure it had paid for. That's not the case of course - the public money is being GIVEN TO BT not invested into BT.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Should public money be GIVEN TO any company - large or small - in return for NO EQUITY, NO RETURN, and NO DISCOUNT when public organisations (Schools, Hospitals, Local Authority, Emergency Services Etc..) use the infrastructure the tax payer has funded? NO CERTAINLY NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
If any company - large or small - is unable to fund its own operations and has to (or chooses to) seek public subsidy in order to maintain market share then it must accept that is has failed and be prepared to trade INVESTMENT for EQUITY or 'discounts' to investors. This happened with the UK bank that the tax payer bailed out - UK PLC got equity and a path to a return because it INVESTED
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
To HAND OUT public money to one operator in a multi-operator market so that it can overbuild its competitors without incurring the natural costs of that, gives that company an unfair and unreasonable advantage and also leads to a grave waste of public money deploying services where they already exist commercially.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
There is a very strong case to apply a GRANT - a subsidy with no path to direct return or reward - to an appropriate company or companies to provide services into areas that require them PROVIDED THAT no similar services already exist or are planned to exist in the near future. In that regard the subsidy intervention area should accurately reflect areas where IN REALITY none exist so that public money can be targeted into those areas that GENUINELY ARE WITHOUT.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
I have not heard any objection from any person or organisation to the princliple of a subsidy/grant being applied to areas that have no services and where no commercial operator provides services or plans to provide services in the near future.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
It's fair to say that a lively debate exists about how any such 'grant' subsidy should be structured in terms of which organisations should be eligible to tender - and I think it's widely accepted that any public tender process that specifically and intentionally excludes all local/regional providers, leading to only 1 national company tendering and offering local authorities a 'choice' of only 1 visibly 'high cost' solution - cannot possible give value for money to the public purse - but that's just plain common sense.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
C4I and HPI have the same registered address and directors. How many other ISPs use HPI?
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
HPI and C4I are not eligible for and do not seek any BDUK funding.
HPI has submitted full and comprehensive details of its operations and commercial relationships to Isle of Wight Council (IWC) officers within the Open Market Review (OMR) process.
It is not appropriate to disclose commercially sensitive and confidential information on a public forum.
The number of ISPs that use the Wiber network is not relevant to this matter - any / every ISP is welcome to deliver across the Wiber network if they wish to.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Suffice to say there are a range of products and services available across the Wiber network provided by local/regional ISPs - ranging from 'cheaper than BT' unlimited superfast broadband products, to 'niche' Megaband products that offer higher levels of service delivery and support. Consumers have a diverse range of choice compared to other network infrastructure systems.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Wiber
Looking at the council paper, both Highpoint and WightFibre failed to meet a deadline to provide information to the council. Whilst it s voluntary to respond, I assume they would discount incomplete input.

Also, based on a previous comment from Somerset, at least one of the companies would have failed a due diligence check - I assume they do these to ensure the input is credible. Note I have NOT checked the information posted by Somerset, so obviously this comment only applies if that information is correct.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
@Wiber - why is a list of ISPs confidential? Surely they advertise which network they use.

'In order to properly complete the process of identifying the intervention area and satisfy state aid requirements, both companies were asked to provide detailed business plans to support their arguments. The council has not received anything from either company in this regard. This information would be required by the NCC also to assist it in determining
whether the contract can be exempted from the state aid regulations.'
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
The costs for Click4Internet are interesting. 30/10, 20G/month is £58/month. A business 20/10, 100G is £478.80/month. How does that compare with FTTC prices?
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
@somerset - please see the considerable information about this earlier in this thread. C4I did not submit OMR data as it is not a network operator. C4I is a niche provider that uses the Wiber network to serve the needs and demands of its 'niche' market - achieving 99% subscriber retention within its pricing and service model. Whatever one's opnion of the prices they suit their niche market very well indeed.
'traditional' domestic unlimited superfast broadband is available via other providers on the Wiber network for less than BT and wholesale accesss to Wiber is cheaper than BT Open Reach.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Take care not to compare ASDA with M&S or Waitrose - different prices, different products, different level of service, different customer profile. The same is true for 'broadband' and 'Megeband' they are different products, different prices and different level of service.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
All OMR responses from HPI were comprehensive and complete and submitted within the deadlines. The IWC officers' document that states differently is inaccurate, misleading and disingenuous. That's one of the things that the independant councillors found so alarming about all this - how the officers' report could differ so substantially from the evidence, fact and reality. That was a key reason why IWC demanded further investigation. No elected officials were allowed to see any OMR details - they only got the officers' report which was misleading and did not represent reality.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Anyone seeing the vast amount of detail that HPI submitted would find it hard to believe that officers could state that "The council has not received anything from either company in this regard."
HPI submitted coverage details for every single post code in the region demonstrating just over 85% EXISTING coverage. Actual (NOT JUST PREDICTED) speed test results were collated and submitted from accross the network.
In addition to all the real/actual data provided we also submitted modeled coverage maps to give pictoral representation of coverage. A huge amount was provided ON TIME!
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
When one compares the level of REAL info and the level of detail we provided - and we're not asking for public money - with the scant facs and voluminous 'predictions', 'theoretical models', and 'promises' that were all BT had to provide to get over £6M of public money - there's no comparison.
Don't forget that BT have not disclosed to IWC what the length of any phone line will be so nobody has any idea what public money is actually buying into!
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Due dilligence is a process that occurs when something is bought or sold or invested into. There is no sale or purchase or investment into HPI. There was no due dilligence within the OMR process - in fact the process could not have been less diligent.
There certainly has not been appropriate due dilligence into BT and the performance capabilities, exact specification and details of exactly what over £6M of public money will be spent on.
Why not demand due dilligence and precise and detailed information from the company that's actually benefitting here - BT? That would be a good start.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
@somerset - "surely they (ISPs on the Wiber netowkr) advertise which network they use"

Do talk talk, plus net, sky or any other mainstream broadband provider advertise that they use someone else's (BT) infrastructure to deliver services?

I've not seen or heard any adverts stating "buy BT phone line broadband from Plus Net".

Please find me an example where an ISP advertises that it uses someone else's infrastructure?

Let's keep it real here.........
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
But it is well known how broadband from a particular ISP like Plusnet is delivered as in 'An active Plusnet or other BT compatible landline'. Surely ISPs using the HPI network state how they deliver their service, so who are they?
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
One of the things that surprised me most when I first got involved in this industry years ago is how little most people know about the physicalities of how their utilities work and the infrastructure that delivers them.
In recent years some people have a greater understanding, but we still find the vast majority have no idea about the physicalities of infrastructure - and frankly don't really care - as long as it works.
Every week we speak to people who think that their 'Sky Broadband' comes via their Sky satellite dish for example - when it really comes down their (BTOR) phone line.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Every month we speak to people that are keen to tell us how they moved away from BT and went to Talk Talk, because tBT internet was slow. Talk Talk told them that their internet would be faster as they had a better system - so they moved to Talk Talk. To their surprise it was no better. Then Sky called them and told them they had better internet so they moved to Sky - still no better.
When we tell them this has all happened because all these providers use exactly the same 'system' (BT) - people are genuinely surprised.
So is it 'well known' how internet is delivered? NOT IN OUR EXPERIENCE
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
Do ISPs disclose that they use a 3rd party BT system? NOT IN OUR EXPERIENCE.
Do customers know or care how services are physically structured and delivered? NOT IN OUR EXPERIENCE.
One of the reasons that BTOR offers white lable access to its network is so that ISPs can present a service as their own if they wish.
To keep things simple and similar to how the market already operates, Wiber technology has taken the same approach and allows ISPs white label access to Wiber networks.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
If an ISP team arrives to fit a Radio Transceiver to a home or office, most people don't ask and don't care which network operator's mast it is pointing at, what that operator is called, or what the relationship is between the network mast operator and the ISP they have contracted with.
if customers have an interest and ask the installation engineers from the ISP for more info then i'm sure that the ISP would be happy to answer their questions.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Somerset ("2 days ago")
"Should £6.2M be invested in tiny companies? Click4internet Limited has a 'net worth' of £-17,757. Or does Wiber (technology, not a company) not need public money?"

I had over the months gained the impression that you understood the BDUK framework and process from your posts on TBB and Ian Grant's blog. I now have to assume you do not.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Wiber has tried to make it clear to you (and new_Londoner) that there is no question of public funds being requested for either C4I/HPI or WightFibre. I cannot therefore understand the direction of your posts, nor do the 'assets/liquidity/trading position' of any of the 3 companies have anything to do with the OMR - I hope that is now clear to you both?

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
new_Londoner ("1 day ago") - I too have read that the issue is a disagreement between the companies and the IoWC's position on the timing of submission of their data to the OMR. Without access to emails/letters/other records etc I cannot comment, but I trust you will understand that if one or more parties consider they DID meet the requirements and have been 'ignored', that they would have grievance? Many watching the process/progress of the BDUK scheme are suspicious of an apparent 'slew' towards BT and if the information you and I have 'seen' is incorrect................

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Lastly, a few minutes on 'Goggle' shows me that C4I/HPI and Wightfibre are totally separate companies. They may, indeed, use mutual assets to distribute whichever form of broadband they choose, but there is no other relationship I can find, and 'wiber' has explained that to you. (I understand that HPI is the parent company for C4I and provides the backbone, but I may be wrong, and so yes, they probably will have the same address/directors - surprise?)

Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
HPI is not the parent company of C4I. HPI has no subsidiary.
C4I has no parent company and is not a subsidiary of any other company.
Neither HPI or C4I have any fiduciary/shareholder/director relationship with WightFibre.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
HPI is a company that has invested into developing and deploying a network of masts operating its Wiber technology system. The network is open to any ISP to 'white label'.

C4I is a company that has invested into creating a product called Megaband and marketing that product to customers. C4I is an ISP that uses Wiber as well as other technologies/systems/network operators to deliver services to its customers.

HPI and C4I have the same registered address and have the same shareholders and directors. The companies operate independently from a financial perspective.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
As C4I has expanded its customer base beyond the reach of the Wiber network it has and will continue to deliver services across other operators' networks - whether wireless or any other technology that can deliver appropriate performance for its product specifications and customer demands.
C4I is free to do this and will continue to do this.
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
HPI has opened its network to any ISP that wishes to 'white label' access. HPI receives a healthy stream of new connections from a variety of sources.
C4I is just one of the sources of new connections on the Wiber network.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
A more general thought is are companies with a negative net worth serving an area financially stable enough to prevent a BDUK supplier being allowed in.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
A reasonable thought, but not a consideration for the EU broadband policy which BDUK are bound by nor for the OMR. The EU state that state aid must NOT be used to suppress competition nor inflict 'damage' on existing local companies.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
I quote
"The main policy objectives of the EU State aid rules and the Guidelines are (1) to preserve competition and to help creating more competitive and sustainable markets in the electronic communication sector; (2) to avoid unacceptable distortions of competition, alteration of private incentives to invest and crowding out of commercial initiatives,
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
(3) to increase consumer welfare by a wide and rapid deployment of broadband networks; (4) to incentivize public authorities to reduce the 'digital divide' where commercial operators have no incentive to invest; (5) to help to achieve the ambitious goals of the EU2020 Strategy and the Digital Agenda."

NB 1 and 2
Posted by Wiber over 3 years ago
HPI - Wiber has no 3rd party debt. HPI's Shareholders invested/loaned money into it so that 100% of the Wiber network infrastructure and systems is bought and paid for. The company owes the shareholders the principle loan amount back at some point in the future so this shows in the accounts and causes the 'net worth' to be negative. Shareholders' loans cannot be 'called in' though so this does not represent any threat to company stability.

Having bought and paid for the entire network without any cost associated with that funding - HPI enjoys an extremely healthy and robust trading position.
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