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Why does everyone assume BT has to fix broadband coverage?
Friday 11 October 2013 11:32:26 by Andrew Ferguson

The fate of those in various London Boroughs hangs in the balance with regards to broadband upgrades, large swathes of London have very good broadband but this emphasises the fate of those on the wrong side of the street/dock/park.

The London Assembly Member for Lambeth & Southwark Val Shawcross has blogged on the problems facing residents in the Rotherhithe area of South London, we assume looking on our maps that the issue is the very slow speeds affecting those around Salter Road. While it is great to see a politician supporting businesses and residents we are worried about the constant pattern that whenever there is a broadband coverage issue they run to BT who understandly may sense a potential handout and thus doff their cap.

Rotherhithe is thought to be the area of London with the greatest concentration of exchange only lines, a legacy of the old dock infrastructure in the area, and a policy to serve new builds with direct exchange only lines for a few years. In those parts of the UK with BDUK projects underway, exchange only lines do appear to be benefiting from insertion of cabinets and subsequent FTTC delivery in a reasonable number of cases.

The reality is that this area in London appears to have some Virgin Media network coverage, and thus some lobbying might get them to expand, and even more importantly there is the Gigabit presence of Hyperoptic already in SE16 (Albatross Way) and from the maps of the area there does appear to be a lot of flats that could potentially benefit.

So there is no need for a EU Commission Enquiry, but for UK policy makers to look beyond the default BT and engage with those operators able to provide solutions. One issue facing those who live in flats and rented properties is wayleave restrictions imposed by landlords, but invariably once the reality of people wanting and needing faster broadband are made apparent you can win them over.

Comments

Posted by farnz over 3 years ago
The issue as far as I can see is that what people want is the big choice of retail providers that BT brings with it. If BT install FTTC, you get a choice of providers, including most of the big names (Sky, TalkTalk, BT, EE, PlusNet etc) and a good selection of smaller providers.

If VM or HyperOptic wire you up, you get one choice, and if their offering is not what you want, tough.
Posted by GeorgeLloyd over 3 years ago
Is it not time BT came up with a solution for exchange lines. Where I live in Essex large areas of the town are exchange lines so stand no chance of getting fibre.
Posted by SimonWindsor over 3 years ago
When many areas of this country have NO access to high speed broadband, I have very little sympathy for people who want a choice.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
BT has a solution for EO lines, it is install a fibre cabinet at a sensible distance.
Posted by adslmax over 3 years ago
I prefer VM better than BT. Because of this:
1) Free of charge engineer visit
2) Credit money back if fault from day 1
3) still fastest than BT under ofcom guides
4) No DLM or profile capped
5) can take cable broadband stand alone without line rental
6) discount loyalty
Posted by vicdupreez over 3 years ago
Andrew, no they say this is what they are going to do, but on smaller exchanges they have no intention of doing anything. The comply with all the regulatory stuff so why fix something that (in their eyes) is not broken...
Posted by MCM999 over 3 years ago
@SimonWindsor. Choice? Oh to be so lucky. 75 EO lines here on a single London postcode. No VM (although it runs along the street VM are unwilling to provide), BT want £30K, Hyperoptic £20K+.
@adslmax It's easy for you to comment. You've got VM and a fast ADSL2+ connection with FTTC due anytime now. Many of us have none of those options.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 3 years ago
Looking at the link to your broadband test results I see that it includes some (very fast) Orange broadband data at Lavender Dock Entrance. Is this mobile broadband?
Posted by Shempz over 3 years ago
Completely agree with vicdupreez. I'm one of those on a small telephone exchange, and I can assure you, from the email conversations I've had with the some of the top brass at BT, they have little or no intention of upgrading these exchanges to ADSL2/2+ even, never mind FTTC.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
If it says Orange Mobile which that one does, then it was from an IP block used by Orange Mobile Internet.

So yes a scheme with 4G and external antenna and a little router could boost speeds for many in that area.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
On the EO issue, if I said BT was not upgrading any EO lines that would be incorrect.

That does not mean they are upgrading all EO lines, hence the article, but given the area involved there does seem a good case for not just defaulting to 'it is BT who need to fix it'
Posted by pcoventry76 over 3 years ago
Personally I think anything to help tip the balance on the BT monopoly is a good thing
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
"Why does everyone assume BT has to fix broadband coverage?"

We live in a nation of children, they want everything handed to them, usually by government.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 3 years ago
The problem is we still have an effective monopoly with BT outside of the cabled areas so there is no real competition. To try to overlay a second network against a monopoly player is simply not going to work and this is what we are seeing. If you want HS broadband you have BT and that's it. The few other players are just re selling the BT product

Total separation of the Local Loop would probably help. THis could be by requiring BT to establish a separate company to run the local loop or by it being sold to another non BT company
Posted by Gadget over 3 years ago
Bob, just what difference are you proposing to the current, regulated and speparately reported, situation we have with Openreach and the rest of BT?
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
Bob - so separating the BT (and others?) local loop would help competition as it would be easier for another company to set up and compete?
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
MCM999 is that formal offer or an indicative figures
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
"The problem is we still have an effective monopoly with BT outside of the cabled areas so there is no real competition."

Rubbish, I think you'll find not many others want to invest including Virgin. Hyperoptic are managing just fine in cities where your so called monopoly exists. Other ISP's can lay their own fibre now, most don't want to
Posted by MCM999 over 3 years ago
@fastman Quotes in both cases but with BT's perhaps being the more indicative. BT's being for a network rearrangement and provision of a FTTC cabinet. A major part of Hyperoptic's quote probably being the cost of providing a gigabit network around the development.
Posted by adslmax over 3 years ago
The government could have spend £42.6bn for fibre to the house in the whole of uk and scrap that silly plan of high speed two railway link.
Posted by gsituffers1 over 3 years ago
i agree wit many points BT is still the monopoly provider as if they dont see financial viability then they wont push roll out. vm have scrapped new adsl customers to push more cable roll out and have signed up to a major new build programme -and also to expand and improve current locations and infill missed or passed areas
Posted by Bob_s2 over 3 years ago
If you have a monopoly play in the market it makes it almost impossible for another play to compete. BT has a 100% of the local loop outside of cabled areas. The high cost of entry and the penetration levels make it unviable

The BDUK program could have been used to help get competition into the network instead a 100% of it was given to BT which reinforces thee BT monopoly. Currently BT have managed to succesfully stop the competition from getting access to the BT ducting and local loop
Posted by Bob_s2 over 3 years ago
If you have a monopoly play in the market it makes it almost impossible for another play to compete. BT has a 100% of the local loop outside of cabled areas. The high cost of entry and the penetration levels make it unviable

The BDUK program could have been used to help get competition into the network instead a 100% of it was given to BT which reinforces thee BT monopoly. Currently BT have managed to succesfully stop the competition from getting access to the BT ducting and local loop
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
And I say again... Hyperoptic are doing it. Gigaclear are doing it, so.. not unviable at all
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
MCM999 may be worth white trying to formalise the Openreach - Solution is as your suggest - new pcp and Dslam (1 gig into that DSLAM) and then each person get choice on ISP (Nga Enquries@openreach.co.uk would be good place to start
Posted by vicdupreez over 3 years ago
@ GMAN99. They are doing it is very select areas of London, that I know of... The place in the country where probably the most competition exists. This is by no means "doing it". I have spoken to both a while back, and both told me my area would be unviable for them even if I get EVERYONE to sign up...
Posted by ian72 over 3 years ago
BDUK going to BT in my mind is better than it going to lots of different small companies.
The reason being whilst BT is a monopoly they wholesale the network to lots of others and the deliveries do have differences. If other providers had won they would have had a monopoly on those exchanges - just look at some of the complaints about Kingston Comms who are a monopoly in an area with next to no competition.
Posted by ian72 over 3 years ago
CONT : The only way it works is if there is more than one provider - and BDUK was never going to manage that in any area by definition of the funding. If there is only 1 I would prefer it were BT wholesale.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Question: Do other countries spend so long worrying about this sort of thing, or just get on build stuff?
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@GMAN99 - As far as our area is concerned Gigaclear won't do it, Hyperoptic won't do it so we are left with the BT monopoly, and so of course they wont do it except at an extortionate price
Posted by mpellatt over 3 years ago
The issue with any other provider coming in is that your business plans have to cover the probability that once you've shown that it's commercially viable, then BT will roll in there - at which point your maximum achievable penetration drops and your long-term business plan goes down the pan.

This is the issue with BDUK funding to BT as well, as long as they remain (illegally, in my mind) opaque in their use of taxpayers' monies.
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
@vicdupreez @gerarda, but Bob said it was impossible for other players to complete, obviously that isn't the case. I can't speak for your areas and whether Hyper or Giga will hook you up, if they won't that's on them surely? Other players can compete... will they where you live... that's up to them.
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago
@andrew, brits love to whine and complain, they'd rather have a panto villain to blame everything on.
Posted by Hedjam over 3 years ago
The problem for thousands in the east Rotherhithe peninsula is multifold:

(a) typical ADSL speeds of 2 Mbit/s or less (Point Topic assumes a connection under the Thames)

(b) most lines being EO and BT refusing to deal with this without subsidy, telling people to lobby the GLA

(c) no Fibre-on-Demand without FTTC already


(d) almost no VM (less than TB map suggests)

(e) Hyperoptic only dealing with flats

(f) UK Broadband's Southwark wireless service not reaching

(g) no BDUK London project for residential areas

(h) the EU objecting to subsidies for urban infrastructure
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