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East Sussex village angry at superfast broadband delays
Thursday 23 January 2014 15:15:07 by Andrew Ferguson

Residents of Brightling have expressed their anger at delays with the superfast broadband roll-out from the East Sussex BDUK project, in particular concerns that their parish is not likely to get any improvements until 2015.

"The reality is that they are now saying that they are going to deliver high-speed broadband to 96 percent of the county by sometime in 2016 – three years late and, crucially, not covering everyone.

There was also a key promise that the more remote areas would be at the top of the list for the upgrade.

The reality is that the roll-out sequence is entirely determined by BT.

All we have been told is that Brightling will be in the last batch of exchanges to be upgraded, with work only starting in 2015 and then taking up to nine months to complete.

Most of the smaller exchanges such as Brightling, are right at the end of the queue, making a nonsense of this promise."

Brightling Parish Council chairman Andrew Wedmore in Rye and Battle Observer

The promise that is three years late appears to be one by the East Sussex County Council leader made in December 2011, but the actual contract for the project was only signed in May 2013, which by government procurement track records is pretty darned fast.

If we were based in Brightling we would be a lot more worried about the eventual target in 2017 being just 99%, as with the size of East Sussex the 307 properties (52 postcodes) on the Brightling exchange are spread over 23 square miles (by our estimate) and could very well be missed out and the project still hit its target coverage. The distances involved make FTTC very unlikely and this means that BT is likely to rely on how cheaply the bulk of the roll-out can be done using FTTC, so that FTTP can be afforded for as many properties as possible in similar situations to Brightling.

The speed data for Brightling from data provided by BT Wholesale to Ofcom, suggests a median speed of 4.2 Mbps which hides the slow speeds due to distance for postcodes like TN33 9QA which are slower than 1 Mbps.

The residents may be annoyed at the delays, but at least they are in a county which is pushing for coverage levels well ahead of the actual Government targets and thus might actually be covered. Of course there are no certainties, a change of Government or at County Council level could see a project changing radically.

Comments

Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
I think its great that the village are making a fuss about this. It may not result in any changes, but it does embarrass both the council and BT. Its likely, as it is is here in Staffordshire, that a chunk of the BDUK money spent will be in areas with perfectly adequate BB that BT have declined to upgrade as part of their commercial roll out but will with BDUK monet, whilst leaving others with zip.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@philcoates Why embarrass? The Government aim is 90% with superfast and the most rural 10% only just starting to get projects underway?

Which minister has promised superfast to everyone with the slowest getting it first?
Posted by mdar5 over 3 years ago

Well I reckon they can sod off and stop complaining.

My village of around 400 served by two cabinets is not getting ANYTHING. It is not going to be improved under the BDUK program - end of story.

If they don't like waiting til 2016 they can come here and possibly end up waiting till around 2020 if additional funding can be made available.
Posted by jumpmum over 3 years ago
I notice that you have no speed data on your map for the exchange at all! Samknows give 330 residences and there appears to be no centre of population so quite likely all EO, the most they can hope for quickly is a Cab outside the exchange but this won't reach many of them with any SFBB service. I suspect they may be in the 1%
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
We checked the postcodes that are on the exchange (i.e. not something you can do with the map but a tool I have) and yes its very small as highlighted. In terms of cabinets need local knowledge to find them, or hours of dedication on StreetView
Posted by jumpmum over 3 years ago
Looked through the village, and couldn't find a sign of a cab, couldn't find any other places big enough to look at! I think they are all EO. Not even sure there are enough houses in the village to justify a cab. IF they are very lucky they may get FTTP, but I think they are in the 4% unserved
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
The level of discontent from the other side of the digital divide is growing steadily. We have had places in Cornwall, North Yorkshire, Suffolk and now Sussex complaining about the worst served areas being left till last or possibly left out again
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@gerarda and the surprise is? A national target of 90% means 1 in 10 are left out.
Posted by ccxo over 3 years ago
@ Andrew pcp 1 is around the Netherfield village area.

Here is pcp 2

http://goo.gl/maps/DKxVb

Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
@andrew. Surely the point is that in the 90% there are many with perfectly adequate BB who are now being 'supercharged'. The 10% with the least provision continue to wait or are at the bottom of the priority pile. The first sentence in the BDUK overview is to improve BB in rural communities . how can that be achieved if they are the last in the queue?
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
the national target was a minimum for everyone by 2012. Those without that are generally the last in the queue whilst money is being thrown at areas which BT would eventually have been forced by commercial pressures to improve
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
There has never been a national target of a minimum for everyone by 2012.

One bunch of (financially profligate) politicians proposed a USO and a target of 2012 by adding a 50p tax onto every phone line. This was soon watered down, pre-election, to a USC saying only what people ought to have.

Immediately post-election, the 50p tax was rescinded, and the 2012 date was put back 3 years due to a lack of funds. This is only now embodied in BDUK contracts, a good proportion of which have 2016 end-dates...
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
... And there's a high likelihood that some of them will get renegotiated into 2017 or 2018 end dates instead.

There are plenty of good reasons why the USC part of the contract is in the last phase. Some technical, which appeal to BT, some financial, which appeal to gov.

Truth be told, it was obvious that a phase 2 of BDUK funds was always likely to cause the USC phase to be postponed.
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
mdar sugguest have a look at the community funding it themselves - see openreach FAQ's on how to start that process
Posted by mdar5 over 3 years ago
@fastman
The local area is what you might call upmarket and they ain't stupid.

So the concept that the local community coughs up £60K to buy some assets (the cabinet etc) which they then hand over free of charge to BT who then charge those who bought those assets for the privilege of using them is not going to run.

If BT were offering free broadband or some similar deal to those communities who put forward the capital money to upgrade the equipment then it might have legs as the saying goes.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat before BT persuaded BDUK to rule out wireless a number of councils intended to do the slowest areas first - it makes much more sense for the public sector as they gain from digital by default savings, teachers overtime and all the other costs of having areas that dont have access
Posted by Gadget over 3 years ago
@gerada
would be great to see the links to public statemements by councils to the effect that was the case.
Even so there's nothing to stop them asking BT to do that - although I suspect the best you'd get is "at the same time" due to parent/child issues
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat - and there was a target for 2mb broadband for all by 2012 - it may not have been an obligation but it was a s much a target as the present we will get it to "nearly everyone" by 2017
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@gerarda You are referring to the previous Governments position, which was a USC for 2012 and superfast for 2017.

A small matter of a general election, swiftly saw that policy change. It is all in our news archive.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
@mdar5: It sounds like they are a very small community in a very rural area. Someone, somewhere has to hand over a correspondingly large amount of money.

No-one is required to provide any particular level of internet service to anyone. If the members of that community turn down the offers made to them then tough. That's their choice.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
Edit: Well actually I believe that the 28kbps requirement may still be in place for BT but that's rather pointless.

Bottom line is: It's a service that people choose to pay for. If you and the provider can't agree on terms then hard luck.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
Andrew - that does not alter the fact that in 2009 those in not/slow spots were given an expectation of a service by 2012 which is now 2017 with a sleight of hand which effectively drops the "universal" -and is itself two years later than the present government promised
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@gadget - try googling. Start with Suffolk and Sussex
Posted by Gadget over 3 years ago
@gerada
http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/06/suffolk-uk-reveals-first-areas-to-benefit-from-40m-broadband-upgrade.html shows what has been agreed by the council regardless of any past aspiration/political stance
Posted by jumpmum over 3 years ago
CCXO

Can 2 looks very new, and very close to the exchange, so may have been provided ready for FTTC, if there is one in Netherfield as well that gives a high probability that the majority will get something SFBB but may only be a small majority.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
And a 2 Mbps USC would help who? A good chunk of those on this exchange can get 2 Mbps.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
Basically this community is wanting to queue jump at the expense of others. I can't imagine that happening within the BDUK programme, so the only question is whether they want to pay for a privately funded solution. A case of put up or ....

As for wireless being excluded, IIRC that was highlighted as a misunderstanding at the PAC, despite the nonsense spouted by our esteemed MPs. Let's not repeat it here. Whether it can deliver the required performance cost effectively may be a different matter though. :)
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Gerarda

Odd to call an election a sleight of hand!
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
'....... And there's a high likelihood that some of them will get renegotiated into 2017 or 2018 end dates instead...'

Interested in this as I have been warned off questioning our BDUK plan in case the 'economics' are messed up by having to think again. I wonder what effect the inevitable delays in implementation will have on the economics locally.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
MrSaffron is right in that the change of government caused the plans for 2012 to be changed radically into what we have today - SFBB first, USC second.

However, even the plans of the previous Labour government were, at the stage, still only proposals, alongside the proposal of that tax levy. None of it was ever set in stone - the was no nitty-gritty on who to set the USC on, or whether to include mobile, etc. None of it made it out of Whitehall into the real world.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
Isn't the current 'belief' that the EU was the party to put the kibosh on Wireless within NGA, while they have now been persuaded to give an exemption so that Wireless can be used as an interim measure, so long as there is also an 'expectation' of a future upgrade involving fixed-line fibre.

I'm sure BT lobbied for some position, but exactly what, we don't know. BT of course have some 4G spectrum, and we don't know what they intend to do with it yet.
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
It's very simple, to get faster roll-out one needs to accept less coverage as more funds are used up in up front engineering resources.
Also, who on earth believes word for word what any politician says? One takes it with the proverbial grain of salt!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
And who in rural areas cannot get satellite broadband?
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
When government told taxpayers they were consumers, it was inevitable that those who pay most decided they should get most. It's what they teach in the temple of John Lewis.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@PC

The simple answer there is that government has changed policy, but the old policy is embodied in the existing contracts.

The reasons behind putting a USC into the last work phase still exist, so I'm sure that where councils involve BT in the new extended BDUK work, amendment to the USC phase will be proposed and discussed. Whether it actually happens is down to each council, but economic logic suggests that it should, while public sentiment suggests it shouldn't.

The trouble for a council not taking the 'best value' route is that they'll have to come up with more money later.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
Wireless first, fixed line second, is a policy that wouldn't work for reasons hard to fit in 600 chars.

Basically, capacity limitations means that wireless-first is likely to suffer congestion so it would fail to deliver NGA speeds. Unless you price it high to keep people off it. Neither works well for a BDUK project.

The solution to build extra wireless kit is a waste of money, because the excess kit won't be needed once the fixed-line portion is built.

Best solution is to build fixed-line first, then add the right amount of wireless kit.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
In general, telecoms (and now datacoms) is a statistical game: you provide just enough equipment for what you need.

If you under-provision, you cause congestion and unhappiness. If you over-provision, you go bust.

Google Erlang.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
Maybe they would like to nominate another area of East Sussex to swap with for deployment sooner.
Posted by cloutthr over 3 years ago
Hi - I am served by this exchange and am in fact in the last property. We are lucky to get muck more than 1Mbps - it does vary but is never more than 1.6Mbps. As has been pointed out there are only two cabinets and one of these is faily close to the exchange. The other is at Darwell Hole - but seems to be hidden by undergrowth.

I don't the Brightling subscribers want to displace other exchanges - we just feel that the process of inplementing FTTC could be speeded up.
Posted by MCM999 over 3 years ago
@mdar5 "The local area is what you might call upmarket and they ain't stupid." and so rather than do anything to help themselves instead expect everything to be provided for them on a plate and paid for by the tax payer.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@cloththr If you can give us links to where the cabinets are on google maps we can produce a FTTC cabinet speed estimate picture for postcodes on that exchange.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@andrew - satellite - those who cant afford it, those who need reasonable latency , and generally not very many before the capacity is utilised
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat I dont think there has ever been a proper analysis of the cost of wireless v fttc but let alone a recent one, but wireless costs seem to be coming down eg 1.4gbs airfiber for £2K, and you can get an awful lot of kit for the price of a cab.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@new londoner - to say it was not ruled out is just fudging - the condition that it had to be capable of being changed to fibre ruled it out. Like telling a train company they can lay tracks but they have to be capable of being converted for buses to use
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
mdar each one is bespoke and dependant on what needs to be done -- that one included 2 extensive rearrangement and 4km of fibre - all i am suggesting is investigate and see



Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
I'm not sure your point is made by picking a pt-pt example. Remember that an FTTC cab is little more than a few £thousand (approx £6k IIRC). The bulk of the cost becomes the civils for the backhaul, same as a wireless mast.

The trouble with wireless is the shared medium. When you need it to scale (and this is key), you need a lot of sites. This is to get the combination of coverage and capacity.

Put wireless in too early, and you attract too many customers, most who will swap to fixed wire later. You end up needing to over-dimension.

Scaling is important.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@new londoner the sleight of hand was one that announced an intention of 99% "superfast" coverage by 2017 and actually meant the 2015 target had been put back 2 years, and was no longer universal
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@gerarda and since when was Universal superfast coverage a target.

The 2017 target is also 95%.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda - Wireless example:
Here's an NSN document on capacity & cost of a 4G LTE network to support subscribers:
http://nsn.com/system/files/document/Mobile_broadband_A4_26041.pdf

I chose LTE, as it has decent spectrum efficiency, so decent total capacity.

Figure 6 suggests 450 sites, 3 cells per site, per million subscribers, where each subscriber gets a 5GB allowance per month. That'd use 2x70MHz, which is nearly the combined spectrum for Vodafone, O2 and EE.

We could alter the assumptions they have for calls and busy hour, but lets run with their numbers.

Scaling is important, so...
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Want 50GB per month? That's 10x number of sites. 250GB per month (my current allowance)? That's 50x.

I make that 5,000 sites for each operator, with at least 15,000 transmitters, for the 220,000 NGA-white subscribers in Suffolk (lets hope they share). Each needing fibre backhaul.

In the Openreach access network, they average 300 subscribers per cabinet. 220,000 subscribers would be 733 sites that need fibre backhaul.

Scale. Important.
Posted by jumpmum over 3 years ago
Cloutthr

Can you do a speed test from this site please. That will give some indication of the distance from the Cab to tell you what you will get when FTTC finally arrives.
Posted by rscott over 3 years ago
Surely the first step with the BDUK projects should have been to require BT roll out 21CN DSL to all exchanges - then a relatively large number of users would get immediate benefits. As things are now, there are some semi-rural exchanges which have no scheduled 21CN update date, no fibre services now and are also not included in the county's BDUK plans.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
Any examples and why is BDUK missing them out?
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@rscott
Why?
The remit for BDUK is
- Superfast to 90%, and
- minimum 2Mbps to the rest

Putting ADSL2+ into the exchanges achieves neither of these aims.

Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire explicitly state that trying to put anything higher than 2Mbps to anywhere, as a separate aim, hinders the provision of superfast, and they'd rather spend the money increasing the coverage of superfast, both now and with future funding allocations.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@andrew I never said it was - I think maybe you have not spotted the government's sleight of hand
Posted by ccxo over 3 years ago
@jumpmum The street view image is back from 2008, the cabinet it just a newer shell.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat. Because of the geographical spread you need far more than 733 cabinets to put everyone within reach of 24mb speeds. BT aren't even attempting to "pass" 10% to 15% of Suffolk and god knows how many more wont get anything like 24mb, and without those speeds 50-250GB usage is way over the top. Also I suspect the 220,000 premises would be reduced by an increase in BTs commercial rollout if it saw an NGA rival. In terms of wireless I agree that mobile infrastructure will not do it –it would have to be fixed wireless/
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
I think that it is safe to assume that all the cabinets in rural West Sussex will be upgraded to fibre by 2016 or soon after. Unfortunately that doesn't mean that everyone will benefit. West Chiltington serves 2,000 properties about 95% are close enough to cabinets to get 5Mbps or above. We have no exchange only lines. That means about 5% are unserved - about 100 properties.
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
chtiling - i think thats a "Brave" rather than factual assumption as cabs ill still be "value for money for the local authority" so a small cab very rural could end up being excluded as not good value for money as could be very expensive and be outside the cost cap
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
It may well be brave and the time scale may slip but we have to consider BT's true intentions and the potential rewards it will gain by upgrading all cabinets. When all cabinets are upgraded in a region BT will no longer need local exchanges they will be able to move all their exchange equipment to regional centers. They have Fibre Voice Access available now for FTTP maybe that works with FTTC, but even if it doesn't they are probably working on something.
Posted by rscott over 3 years ago
My exchange - EAWIX - appears to have about half the lines direct (those in Wix) and the rest via the 1 cabinet in Bradfield.
Going 21CN would at least allow those users in Wix the option of speeds above 8Mb and probably give benefits to the rest.
Several other rural exchanges nearby have a similar ratio of exchange only lines and also seem to have been missed by BDUK plans. It appears the only parts of north east Essex to benefit from BDUK are the towns and none of the villages.

Posted by rscott over 3 years ago
Maybe rolling out 21CN universally shouldn't be part of BDUK, but should instead have been a separate requirement placed on BT.
Posted by cloutthr over 3 years ago
Hi jumpmum

Speedtest results http://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest/results.html?id=139063268962398275202

Hi andrew

Will do a bit more research on cabinet location later today and post link to map
Posted by Plankton1066 over 3 years ago
East Sussex BDUK FAQs "
It is not possible for individuals or groups to influence the rollout schedule by putting forward their cases for faster broadband". It is outrageous this should be challenge. Meanwhile BT should collect revenues for a DSLAM at their exchange paid for 20 times over. How else can they pay £897m for the champions league.? These people should be glad to receive what ever BT deems to be in it's best interest for the £26m of public money given them. You wouldn't get this type of Nonsense in North Korea I can tell you.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Rscott
Quote "Maybe rolling out 21CN universally shouldn't be part of BDUK, but should instead have been a separate requirement placed on BT."

Why? Who would pay? As a country we seem to want really cheap broadband and the latest tech advances. Anyone running a business will appreciate you need profits to fund new investment, so such an obligation would have to be reflected in price rises.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@chilting
You're probably right.

If we believe that 10% of subscribers are on EO lines, and that 10% of cabinet lines are too long to get NGA speeds, then the only way to achieve close to the 90% target is to convert every cabinet, to add cabinets to EO lines, or to use FTTP in place of either.

To reach 95%, they're going to have to do two of them.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
The 733 cabs won't mean you've got NGA speeds to everyone - true. But do those, and you've reached around 85-90% of the NGA-white areas they represent.

The remaining 10-15% can be covered by 1/10th of the wireless sites (amongst other solutions), still representing a vast reduction in number of sites.

FWA/Wimax doesn't save you compared to 4G LTE, especially with a self-install rollout for the masses: It has similar spectral efficiency.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Don't think 733 cabinets is a reasonable estimate?

North Yorkshire: larger, more rural, and more NGA-White premises than Suffolk. It has a higher target percentage for NGA speeds at 90%, and said it was targeting 700 cabinets in the original BDUK project.

Allowances? You'll be surprised how much your usage expands, once given free rein.
Posted by rscott over 3 years ago
@new_Londoner - 21CN is actually cheaper for ISPs than the legacy system, so presumably is actually cheaper for BT to provide.

BT won't rush to upgrade these exchanges where subscribers have no choice ( no alternative providers in the exchange and no VM out here) when they're able to charge more.

What's so bad about wanting vaguely modern technology to be available to all anyway? It's not exactly the latest tech.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@rscott
Nothing wrong with wanting "vaguely modern tech" to be available to all. If that were the only consideration, I'd agree fully.

But when there is a parallel rollout of considerably more modern tech going on too, I'd much rather get the latter - especially if it brings fibre closer to my premises.

And if spending on the former actually stops some of the latter, I'm more tempted to grudgingly be patient, and wait for the latter.

One marshmallow now? Or two if I wait ten minutes? (famous child-psychology experiment)
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat FTTC is only covering 2/3 of the roll out area and no-one is saying how much of that will be superfast. A local wireless Alnet served 14 villages with a 1-2mb service off 8 sub 5 mb bonded adsl lines, so I am pretty sure a 1gb backhaul would now give an equivalent to FTTC even allowing for the extra usage.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwwombat and remember the whole discussion originated because BT have no final mile technology that can be used in rural areas - so wireless may not be perfect but it should have been the front runner
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
If we assume that all BT cabinets will be upgraded within the next 3-4 years that will still leave about 5-10% of properties that are too far from their cabinet to get "decent broadband". These properties are likely to be in a ring at the furthest points from the exchange. It will be difficult to get fixed wireless coverage for such a scattered group. The best solution would be to offer these customers 4G coverage. The mobile phone networks should be extended to cover these areas and customers within these areas should be offered reasonably priced contracts for their home broadband.
Posted by rscott over 3 years ago
@wwwwombat -but if the FTTC rollout plans (both commercial and BDUK) are completely ignoring many rural areas, your experiment becomes one marshmallow now, or none for at least 3 years and maybe 2 after that, but no guarantees.

Posted by rscott over 3 years ago
@chilting . published BDUK plans for Essex confirm that only 85% of properties will have superfast access in 3 years time. Those figures are skewed with the urban areas having far better service than rural.
Several of the rural exchanges have around 1/3 of the lines being direct to exchange, so these won't have FTTC. These exchanges are mainly not even 21CN either.
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
That doesn't mean that there cabinets won't be converted. It means that they are to far from the cabinet to benefit from the fibre at a "decent speed".
The small exchanges that have lots of exchange only lines will probably be replaced with a cabinet [or cabinets] with the exchange equipment at a 21CN exchange. Why do you think that BT haven't even bothered to convert these exchanges to 21CN
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda: "FTTC is only covering 2/3 of the roll out area"
Can't figure out what you mean by 2/3.
Which FTTC? Commercial? BDUK? Both?
Which rollout?National? Suffolk? Essex?
Area? Landmass? Population? Premises?

"I am pretty sure a 1gb backhaul would now give an equivalent to FTTC "
I won't ask where you intend getting a 1gb backhaul from, but I will ask what radio setup you intend to use to get that out to people. How many sites, sectors & what spectrum do you intend? Getting that radio capacity isn't a case of snapping fingers.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
Actually, the discussion started with your premise that we should start with the worst-served areas, and start with wireless. My problem remains that doing this will accidentally include many subscribers who aren't in the worst-served areas, but who will take wireless subscription until their real fixed-line is ready. This creates an under-dimensioned lousy system for all, creating bad PR for the project.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda: "because BT have no final mile technology that can be used in rural areas"

You keep saying this, but it doesn't make it any more true than the first time.

That they haven't deployed anything other than FTTC yet, doesn't mean there is nothing else in the armoury. Just because you see coverage of vanilla FTTC doesn't mean that range improvements won't be added. Vectoring is probable, bonding is possible. New cabinets deeper in the network certainly possible, smaller cabs too. Other options presented last month too.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
...
FTTP is always an option in some places. Something like FTTdp is plausible, even if G.Fast isn't likely in the timescales. WiMAX is just as possible for BT as it is for a local supplier. And of course, they have 4G spectrum too.

Everything that extends the range of NGA also extends the range of a 2Mbps service; expect that whatever the county's target is for SF speeds, approx 3-5% more will be getting service from the NGA technology at sub-NGA speeds that are above 2Mbps

They could even resort to the dreaded BET if need be.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@rscott
That's something of a straw man. The marshmallow argument is about deciding whether to fund 21CN vs NGA. Where there's a choice, NGA should win any day.

Your other point is perfectly valid though. In a BDUK-funded project, there will indeed be 10% left without marshmallow in 2016, dropping to 5% in 2017 and less in 2018. But I wonder what proportion of these would have been close enough to the exchange to have gained from ADSL2+?
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat Commercial coverage in suffolk was supposed to be 58% (its less now as they cant get SFBB to all the 58%) but lets work on that. The rollout covers bring it up even on the absurd premises passed definition to 85%. So 27% of the 42% covered = 2/3.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat. Are you suggesting that people in not/slow spots would be worried that they were given a technology that with congestion might slow it down below 24mb for a year or two? You don't live in one. In any case there is no reason why access to a public funded could not be restricted by post code.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
The targets for reducing the last 10% to less than are just targets and posturing. No one is giving the plan or technology that will do that. None of the options given is BT prepared to use today (unless there is a competing ALtnet of course)
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@RScott
The issue in Essex is purely due to limited ambition by the county council - remember it decided what funds to bid for from the BDUK pot.

@Gerarda
Suggesting 85% = 2/3 is your best post yet, priceless! In the real world it does in fact still equate to 85%, funny that.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Gerarda
Looking at the final 10%, the evidence from Cornwall, Surrey, other counties suggests there are in fact options already being deployed. Why do you think otherwise?
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda "So 27% of the 42% covered = 2/3."

For Suffolk:
There is no such thing as "42% covered", not on the NGA side that the FTTC solution is for.

The NGA rollout will target 27% to have SFBB speeds. There will be a further 5% who benefit from this NGA rollout, but who won't achieve SFBB speeds.

The other 10% aren't touched in any way by the NGA rollout for BDUK. That makes it hard to include these in a rant about "FTTC only reaching 2/3 of the rollout area". At least one where facts are involved.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda: "The targets for reducing the last 10% to less than are just targets and posturing."

Except, notably, in all the counties that have already set plans for beyond 90%. Some of these placed higher targets in phase 1 (eg Surrey, West Sussex, Lancashire), while some have acquired extra funding, and set the higher targets since (eg North Yorkshire).

The 10% thing seems very much to be a funding limitation. It is only a limit to the technology & planning in your head, and the only one posturing seems to be you.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda: "None of the options given is BT prepared to use today "

Of course, those options are only needed where, and when, they're needed. You don't see them in use today, because time hasn't yet ticked on to those phases of the plans in your local area.

Where projects give details, they tend to follow FTTC first, EO second, FTTP third, USC last. The biggest project I've seen has 11 phases, and almost all projects are still in planning or early FTTC phases.

Why would you expect to see other deployments yet?
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
The mobile networks have impressive targets for 4G and the technology will certainly help them in this regard. It would seem to me that it would be better to offer home broadband customers that are beyond the reach of "decent" fixed line broadband a reasonably priced contract on 4G. It may be the most cost effective way to give them a good service. Even now o2 are offering 4G in broadband non spots on my local West Chiltington exchange.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Chilting
So why not use 4G if it's available?

Granted mobile tech is not ideal for concentrations of static, heavy users, so might not be great to stream TV etc if there is much local take up. Also most operators tend to have usage caps given they have relatively limited spectrum.
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
@New_Londoner
Yes, exactly my point. I think that in a rural area, where contention is likely to be less, there is a good case for making provision in some way for customers who cannot get decent coverage from the BT network. This would probably involve fitting exterior aerials, routers and maybe even subsidizing their usage.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@chilting
There's a good case for using 4G for the final few percent, but it can't be much more than this due to the limited spectrum. Total capacity will be an issue.

Fixed Wireless can give more total capacity, but only where proper fixed aerials go in place - less-suited to a self-install option.

Suffolk's broadband plan allows for a county-wide overlay network as infill, but agrees it will only work for a limited percentage.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda: "Commercial coverage in suffolk was supposed to be 58%..."

I've been trying to find out what the commercial coverage of Suffolk was supposed to be.

At the start of 2012, the Suffolk plans predicted NGA intervention would be 66% (ie commercial coverage only 33%), or 226,000 premises. BDUK funds were allocated on this basis.

At the end of 2012, the contract signing said intervention was now 39%, or 135,000 premises. Counties with this size intervention got considerably less money from BDUK.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
...
In 2012, BT reckoned Suffolk's commercial coverage during 2013 would amount to 185,000 properties (54%)

In Aug/Sep 2013, BT posts suggested the commercial coverage would be 200,000 premises (58%) but then added 4,000 more (60%). I've seen nothing further to suggest how much this number may have dropped.

All that suggests that Suffolk managed to snag an extra £3m or so from BDUK, based on an overly-low estimate of the commercial coverage of the county.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
...
Oh, and a tweet suggesting that the BB4S target for "access to superfast broadband" is 100,000 premises.

Would that mean they're now aiming at 89% (304k/340k) coverage of SFBB rather than 85%? The BB4S website is at pains to distinguish between fibre-based access and superfast speeds, so it is certainly possible.
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
@WWWombat
Yes, agreed it has to be just the final few percent. The thing is that its not exactly difficult to work out who the final few percent are. Simply work out the locations to far from a BT cabinet. Why not start planning now as an extension to BDUK for the final few percent.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
^^^^
Isn't that already happening? Extending BDUK to the final 10% or whatever it is in each county?
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat @new_londoner Context? The article is on slow spots not being prioritised in a BDUK rollout and you dispute by including the commercial rollout and or excluding the slowspots! I stand by my only 2/3 of the rollout areas getting SFBB statement. Suffolk's explanation for not doing the worst area first follows and shows the extent of hope rather than planning to get to the target
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
Deploying infill technologies last increases the likelihood of securing the most future proof and cost effective technology possible. Currently, the only infill products available are copper based technology or satellite. These have no upgrade path and are very expensive per premise. Following various trials, as well as the purchase of radio spectrum by BT, it may be possible to deploy a form of fixed wireless broadband to offer premises beyond the reach of fibre a significant uplift. Allowing BT sufficient time to test and productise this solution increases the chances of its deployment
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Gerarda
No upgrade path for copper? Vectoring, profile 30a, G.Fast seem like a pretty good start!
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
No use for infill according to the ex BT techies running the BB4S project.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
What about FTTP - the only future proof solution that we would be stupid not to deploy?
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
is that a copper upgrade ? I thought it was a copper replacement?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Urm GEA-FTTP does not force people to remove their copper

And if it was FTTP via another provider it would have nothing to do with the copper telephone line.

Also on infill - are you aware that the common person can simply buy a 4G router and outdoor antenna, no need for a fancy roll-out, just need to be close enough, but the better aerial and some height can improve dramatically compared to a mobile in the lounge.
Posted by chilting over 3 years ago
@Andrew
Why not simply tie in 4G to the BDUK project for the final few percent who are never going to get decent broadband via FTTC. It would be simple for the local authority to supply and fit the hardware. Even my rural West Chiltington exchange has 4G coverage in some broadband not spots on o2.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
When you word your complaint that "FTTC only reaches 2/3" your intention is to make it seem that FTTC is incapable of reaching the other 1/3, and a poor choice.

But when there has only ever been an intention to reach 60%, you make it appear you are sowing FUD rather than fact.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
My understanding of the word infill is that it does indeed mean wireless of some form - FWB, 4G, Whitespace TV and satellite the most likely.

But spectrum is limited, so it is still better to reduce the number that depend on infill, and all the listed ideas extend the range of services offered over copper, or replaces them.

A combination of all of these is mentioned by Openreach's chief engineer.

Deutsche Telekom is going for a hybrid solution that uses 4G wireless alongside vectored FTTC.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
Spectrum does not need to be purchased for FWB; there are ranges that are free to use, or so lightly-regulated that anyone can choose to use whenever they wish at a very nominal sum.

That means that BT is as free to establish WiMAX services as you or I, if it felt like it.

But I think they are more likely to use the TV Whitespace spectrum. Weren't they running trials with that in Cambridge?
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Hmmm.

https://www.btplc.com/Thegroup/UKPublicAffairs/ResponsestoPolicyConsultations/121002RuralCommunitiesFINAL.pdf

This old paper mentions trialling TVWS and LTE as possible infill solutions for rural areas.

I saw something else that suggested TVWS as being suitable for the final 2% (500k premises), but only for speeds around 6Mbps.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
The BDUK requirement is 2mb for all. The longer term commitment is 24mb for all by 2020. So a 2mb solution now has to be upgradeable. All the ideas suggested by new_londoner generally only improve the speed close to the cabinet or exchange. We have already seen that enabling a cabinet can actually reduce the speed of those on long exchange lines (presumably as the usage from those nearer the cabinet multiplies)
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@andrew based on 3G coverage 4G coverage is likely to miss the same areas as ADSL. I use a 3G service with antenna for my home line which is a bit faster than the ADSL in my office but is very erratic, too expensive to be a universal panacea, and no choice of provider given that only 3 reaches here.
Posted by rscott over 3 years ago
@New_Londoner - not entirely true. Essex had always stated a target of 90% with the expectation that they would achieve nearer 95% . Once the contract with BT had been signed and they'd actually checked the areas in question, they came up with a target of 85% , dropping as low as 64% fibre coverage in some districts - http://www.superfastessex.org/Portals/30/Documents/NGACurrent-Predictive-Coverage.pdf .
The longest lines I know of on my exchange have an attenuation of <50dB so would probably benefit from ADSL2+ .
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
@gerarda
There isn't a commitment for 2020. At least not one with actual funding, plans and contracts.

The EU has a target of availability of 30Mbps to all by 2020, alongside 50% actually having 100. Some counties mention those as future goals for when funds become available.

In fact they also aim to ensure that the SFBB rollout in BDUK-1 is congruent with those aims.

They also state that the 2Mbps solution is not upgradeable. That it is a sink of funds they'd rather avoid.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Having solutions that only work closer to a cabinet proves to be a limitation only while you believe the cabinet to be fixed to today's location - at the PCP.

Swisscom are placing whole new underground locations deeper in the network with FTTS, while DT are considering FTTdp when their network has no DPs.

BT are known to be trialling FTTdp as a deeper solution, and have presented options for additional DSLAMs deeper than the PCP - we've even seen some deployed at SCPs.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
And 4G has an advantage that 3G never did - that spectrum is available at lower frequencies than even the original GSM sets.

That spectrum is much more suited to longer distances, so area can be covered by fewer cells - exactly what you want as an infill solution for sparse rural coverage.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
All these things are just pie in the sky. The big fear of all those on the wrong side of the divide is that the government will repeat what it did with ADSL and choose to believe BTs coverage figures and call it "job done" with 100,000s still left out
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
A valid fear, if you ask me.

But you seem to be reacting to it as an irrational fear. Denouncing all possibilities, even ones being rolled out or trialled, as pie in the sky just continues that.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
I am not denouncing any that are being rolled out that will actually benefit anyone more than 1Km from a cabinet. You cant count FOD after todays near doubling of the price. The only one I have seen mention of that looks like it might work more than 1Km from a cabinet is DSL rings and that is not on BTs list of options
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Yeah. FOD is good in principle because it offers an upgrade path for anyone... Which TBH is only what rural folk are asking for. But it isn't broadband for the masses; the doubling in price has got to be embarrassing for someone -especially as the BT C-suite will be explaining their quarterly results to analysts this week.

DSL Rings looks interesting as an idea, but it causes too much disruption to voice circuits for it to ever get past BT's most conservative faultline - emergency calls 24/7.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
DSLRings - marketing words and not much else.

4G with a decent antenna at a home is likely to be a solution.

The issues are NOTHING to do with technical, lots of options, just people and Government want to ensure value for money.
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