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Matt Warman MP to lead debate on broadband variations in the UK
Monday 12 October 2015 10:31:29 by Andrew Ferguson

The MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman serves an area that is currently enjoying 78% superfast broadband coverage and is set to lead a not-spot debate in the House of Commons today with Parliament TV covering the debate from 3:30pm today.

"That this House notes variations in the effectiveness of roll-out of fixed and mobile superfast broadband in different parts of the UK; and calls on the Government to host a not-spot summit to consider ways to tackle this issue."

Full Motion for Debate

If you live or work in one of the following 20 constituencies hopefully your MP will be taking part in the debate and if not perhaps it is time to ensure they learn why broadband is so important to the local economy.

The 20 constituencies with the least superfast coverage as of 11st October 2015
Based on thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast and USC Broadband Coverage, check your area at labs.thinkbroadband.com/local
Area % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 15 Mbps
Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) 21.9% 2.8% 71.8%
Kingston upon Hull East 29.9% 0% 56.9%
Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle 30.5% 0% 53.7%
Orkney and Shetland 33.3% 2.6% 61.8%
Argyll and Bute 35.1% 2% 45.1%
North Herefordshire 37.7% 1.3% 46.7%
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr 38.9% 1% 46.1%
Ross Skye and Lochaber 40.3% 3.8% 55.8%
Kingston upon Hull North 39.2% 0% 45.7%
Haltemprice and Howden 40.2% 1.4% 42.4%
Ceredigion 44.2% 2.9% 49.9%
Montgomeryshire 44.1% 2.5% 49.5%
Beverley and Holderness 45.6% 2.1% 40.5%
Stroud 47.5% 0.5% 27.7%
Tiverton and Honiton 49.1% 1.9% 34.7%
Brecon and Radnorshire 48.9% 1.8% 39.3%
Mid Ulster 53.1% 17.2% 43%
Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross 51.8% 4.2% 40.9%
Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale 52.6% 3.9% 37.4%
Derbyshire Dales 52.7% 2.8% 29.8%

While FTTH/FTTP is seen as the most future proof technology to roll-out and improve broadband it is frightening that four out of the twenty worst constituencies are also at the top of the leader board for FTTH coverage and are not the responsibility of BT but rather the incumbent for the Hull area - KC. Of course this does not abdicate BT from its responsibilities in the other 16 constituencies but simply highlights how the debate needs to encompass multiple operators rather than just be a BT are at fault debate.

Of course we are aware that at no point did the Labour Digital Britain report or the current Government ever state that coverage would be at 90% or 95% of every constituency, but by virtue of being at the bottom of 650 constituencies means that these areas are likely to comprise a large part of the final 5%.

The choice of the three columns rather than our usual figure heavy tables on coverage was to help highlight the actual figures and we need to emphasis that the superfast coverage figures exclude those premises that while in a VDSL2 enabled cabinet area are too far away to benefit.

Comments

Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
As the debate is about not spots is it possible to do a similar table based on non-adsl availability or at least under 2mbps?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
It is, just will make article another 20 lines longer and it features a lot of Northern Ireland where we seeing a lot of activity on 2 Mbps infill, so may well swap around in the next few days.

If debate is JUST about 2 Mbps coverage, then will be short and expect lots of chat about satellite.

Order by 15 Mbps and under is more relevant to something that will suffice for a few years, and the chart covers this.

Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
ok thanks
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
If you check on Sam Knows their new formate it gives a better overview of the post code distribution plus the status of the Exchange Area. Green,Amber,Red.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
It sounds like the commons agenda has rolled around to the item just before the one on broadband, so probably on soon.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Hmmm. Flaky feed.

One MP just asked the old chestnut: Can pressure be put on BT to stop going for the easy-to-reach properties, and to go for the hard-to-reach properties instead?

I guess this gets asked with the belief that there are easy-to-reach properties still left. That there are properties with fast speeds who can be safely ignored with public subsidy.

Is there someone who deserves to be left out? Who would this be?
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
The question for TBB is: can we extract data from your DB that gives us a profile of those who don't yet have access to fibre? Something like X million premises with 1Mbps, Ym with 2Mbps, Zm with 3Mbps, etc.

Perhaps that way we can figure out who this MP believes should be left out.
Posted by 961a about 1 year ago
Nick Herbert MP on the button.."How is the rural divide to be closed?" Also, lack of competition to blame.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
£££ will close the rural divide. How do you get competition in? We have one gas pipe, one electric cable.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@WWWombat we do that with the USC 2 Mbps figures, see little point in doing for 1 Mbps too.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@961a
A lack of competition isn't to blame for the rural divide ... it's a consequence of the real cause: the rural areas are just too expensive to cover. Even one company, let alone multiple.

After all, even in the commercial areas of the UK, there is only 36% where both BT and Virgin coverage overlaps. 40% where one or the other has exclusive access. BDUK has added 11% coverage to the exclusive figure so far.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
interesting found one specific business park where FTTC available for the park in question -- assume service provider not offering it !!!!
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Could it be that there are not many customers that are under 2 meg if they select the best ISP and pay or request an upgrade to ADSL+2 where possible.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
And if everyone picked the right numbers a lot more people would win the lottery. The FTTC connection speeds are the same for all providers, and for ADSL/ADSL2+ we take into account that already, plus ADSL2+ at 6km or more is pretty just ADSL2 and hardly any different to ADSL anyway
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
there are significant number of business / Resident who do no use the wholesale checker to understand what is avaialable at their premuse -- some how could have had fibre months ago / years aggo but remain with a provider that does not offer FTTC / Fibre broadband
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
I'm amused by the notion that lack of competition is the cause of the "digital divide". The "digital divide" is the result of competition. That is prices are driven down by competition in the areas cheapest to serve with no mechanism for cross-subsidy. Theoretically those expensive-to-serve areas could be serviced through higher prices, but the market won't bear it.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Fastman.
It is the responicibity of the ISP,s and the local Councilers to advise their voters that service is available to get them above the 2 meg on state funding projects .
Just updated 3 customers in Surrey that they can get FTTC service on BD/UK after a year the Cab was Open.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@blackmamba Sam Knows think we get ADSL, simply based on the exchange being enabled. and FTTC based on the cabinet being enabled. I would not take anything from an organisation that appears to have a silent "Nothing" at the end of their name as being any sort of guide
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
If anyone who is reading this news article was asked 5 years ago what areas of the country would have slow broadband speeds in the year 2015, I guess most of us would have identified the majority of the areas listed above.
Why then is it only now that our illustrious Government has started to address the problem!
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
I have just done an updated check on Sam Knows. Apparently we can get FTTP too!

All the SEP money spent on us at some indeterminate time in the future would appear to be unnecessary
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
That figure of lines at 6 km would be a good target to work with as you say it is a crossing point no gain these lines must be dropping very quickly as Openreach is covering these options daily.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@chilting Ed Vaizey offered to go round all the not spots next year and tell them why they have been left out for years. Is he brave or does he really not know the level of frustration and anger caused by the superfarce project?
Posted by gah789 about 1 year ago
I live in a constituency that is in the bottom 5 for the % with < 2Mbps, connected to an exchange that can't deliver more than 0.5 Mbps ADSL. We don't have gas, water or sewerage while phone & electricity are erratic - and this is less than 8 miles from the nearest town.

We don't expect or want an urban level of services, but the concern focuses on the huge barrier to businesses and people who work at home due to falling so far behind expectations of business broadband. So what about a leased line - a typical quote is £100-200K installation plus £5-10K (minimum ) per year.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba lines 6km from the exchange or cabinet?

Posted by gah789 about 1 year ago
No one with any experience of satellite is happy with it for long term business use and the mobile phone service isn't even 3G.

It is this kind of experience that underpins the fact that broadband is close to the top of the list of complaints received by MPs & councillors from rural constituents.

No matter what Andrew & other defenders of BDUK say, the widespread sense is that we were given a false bill of goods when the programme was established. That may be bad communication but it is disaster for the reputation of BT and politicians.
Posted by gah789 about 1 year ago
The final insult is the fact that, in practice, anyone subscribing to ADSL has to pay more for an almost non-existent service. There will never be any LLU competition, which is the main vehicle for competition in the market. The result is that everyone, including BT, is unhappy because customers complain continuously about poor speeds that BT can (or wants) to do nothing about.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
To me the obvious way to tackle the problem in remote areas is 4G. These areas need mobile coverage and they need fast broadband - why not solve two problems in one go. Also it make financial sense to install one network instead of two. Contention wouldn't be a problem with just a few users.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@gerarda
Do you know if Summerisle is on his list?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@gah789
What bill of goods were you given when BDUK started?

When the project only had a target of reaching 90% of the country, what did the bill of goods have to say about who was going to be left out?

For me, the basic maths said everything - right back at the start. Phase 1 of BDUK was going to be good news for about 15% of the country, and bad news for about 10%.

BT aren't delivering anything different from what they said they would. That means the damage to the bill of goods comes from either the politicians or the people listening.
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
That final insult ... is courtesy of Ofcom. They regulate BT's price to be high, so as to encourage LLU companies to be able to invest in their kit but still undercut BT.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting
It sounds an ideal compromise, but isn't necessarily.

Getting fixed wireless coverage, to directional antenna at rooftop, is different from getting 4G coverage to low power mobile indoors.

Here, I'm less than 800m from a Three mast in one direction, and less than 600m from one in the other direction, but get no coverage indoors, and barely any outdoors. I still need a femto cell, backed by FTTC.

To get closer, you need more masts, you increase the cost substantially. And you still need backhaul.
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
There's also the problem that 4G is a shared medium; you might not find enough capacity from a mast to be both a mobile solution and a quasi-fixed solution. The fix is to install more masts, with more backhaul.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
Lines that are from the Exchange at 5-6k which have access to ADSL+2 could get over the 2 meg ones at 4 k will if on CN21.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@wwwombat I don't blame BT but the politicians and EU officials who swallowed their PR and then devised a scheme that was inevitably going to fail both in the short term to fix ads not spots and in the long term to produce viable solutions for the last few percent.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@wwwombat I don't blame BT but the politicians and EU officials who swallowed their PR and then devised a scheme that was inevitably going to fail both in the short term to fix ads not spots and in the long term to produce viable solutions for the last few percent.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff
A customer off Cudworth Exchange on 4631 mtrs using ADSl+2 receives 3.71 meg this was achieved after all overhead terminations were checked and sprayed it was running at 1.5 meg just waiting for FTTC. South Yorkshire.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
Was BDUK for not spots?
I don't recall anywhere it being described as a solution for final few % not spots.
There was no BT/Fujitsu PR or viable proposals about solving what you are complaining about.
The politicians decided long ago to ignore the not spots and take the path of least resistance... they didn't need any help from any telco to make that decision.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@WWWombat
Are there other wireless frequencies that could be used to bring broadband and mobile coverage to remote areas. How about using the TV white space frequencies.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@blackmamba And what are you trying to prove?
Posted by gah789 about 1 year ago
Hindsight is a wonderful thing! I run a community wireless network. Setting it up was delayed by more than a year because many in our community believed that BDUK would solve the problem. We explained that it would not, but that was not the message coming from either politicians or BT - there is endless correspondence with MSPs and other about this. Even now many in the community express the views that I articulated and feel that they have been misled or ignored. What matters is the message that was heard not the fine details of carefully qualified official documents.
Posted by PhilCoates about 1 year ago
'Hi Andrews Staff.
Lines that are from the Exchange at 5-6k which have access to ADSL+2 could get over the 2 meg ones at 4 k will if on CN21'

No. My exchange not ADSL+2 enabled. Internal wiring optimised. <0.5 'meg' available. And to be honest, who wants just over 2'meg' these days? One OS update download and its unusable for the rest of the day.
Posted by gah789 about 1 year ago
This is not about what was understood or could be inferred by those with specialist knowledge but the communication of realistic expectations. Like too many initiatives BDUK was oversold. The price of that is paid in current disappointment and suspicion. It is not just a matter of PR and politics. BT staff were - often still are - unwilling to acknowledge the limitations of what could be achieved with the money available, especially in the most rural communities. That has a dreadful effect on their credibility and local attitudes to the company.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@themanstan

Of course BDUK was for not spots- if only to give them the minimum 2mpbs by last May. An aim and missed target which the honourable member for BT never seems to mention
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
The irony is on the 2 Mbps USC is that the solution that will be deployed via voucher scheme has been available for some years i.e. satellite broadband.


Posted by godsell4 about 1 year ago
@EulerID said :
" Theoretically those expensive-to-serve areas could be serviced through higher prices, but the market won't bear it."

Many of the locations which are hardest to reach are Market1 locations, hence are paying more already.

@Andrew do we know how many lines there are on Market1 exchanges? And therefore approximately how much more money BTO is making from those lines?
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
@Gerada

But BDUK foolishly gave a get out option in how the contracts were made, where the 2 Mbps clause could be superceded by a "make the coverage go as far as possible" instead... which all the contracts appear to have...
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
To me the biggest mistake that the Government have made is their failure to make provision for the areas that were never going to benefit from the fibre roll out under BDUK.
There is absolutely no reason why an alternative solution for these areas could not have been run out in parallel to FTTC.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Any one who doubts that alternative solutions are possible only has to look at the news that Skyenet is increasing its Fixed Wireless coverage on the Isle Of Skye. They only offer 5Mbps at the moment but they plan superfast speeds soon. If the Government had got its act together these community schemes could have been giving coverage to a much wider area by now.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@godesll4

I'm talking about for enhanced (NGA) NN infrastructure - the sort of thing that GEA/FTTC, GEA/FTTP & DOCSIS provided (and g.fast in the future). The fact is is could be financed if there was a market A/B structure for areas with and without meaningful NGA competition. It might even attract in competition.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chi.
I think the areas that you are discribing are being covered by the Goverment in the clawback in the BDUK (Surrey)plus the money in the pot by fibre in parallel targeting the 2-15 meg by using the OMR with fibre to the post code. There are a few Cabs not open yet in the commercial section. ( reason ? ).
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@gerarda
Which politicians do you blame?

The ones I have seen, the ones deeply involved in the broadband issue, all seem to have well established knowledge of the pitfalls and limitations; no hood-winking by the market there. They knew what they were fixing, and what they were not ... and the "value for money, maximum coverage of premises" always guaranteed this was not a project for the not-spots.

The problem must have been some other politicians who knew, and understood, far less, and mis-characterised the project.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@themanstan

If this is the case I suspect its another example of politicians falling for BTs spin
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
not really... the dual targets are for the authorities to achieve and not the contracted company... it was always up to individual authorities to decide which target to meet.
Both BT and Fujitsu bid principally on the superfast hard targets. Given that DCMS only ever talk of ambition on basic broadband it very much sounds like a soft target.
So, what will an authority do? Meet the superfast target and miss the 2 Mbps for all or meet the 2 Mbps for all and miss the superfast target?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting
Cheapest way to bring coverage to remote areas is to use the lower frequencies, transmitted a long distance from a few masts.

That makes it affordable, but fails to bring decent capacity, as befits a superfast experience for lots of people. You end up with a solution much like satellite ... and have to scare people away with high prices.

As an example, Three are just rolling out their 800MHz coverage. Check their coverage map for 4G, and then tell it you have an "LG G4"; this will update the maps to show the new 800MHz coverage.
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Zoom the map out, and in some places, you get some tell-tale "spokes" of coverage out from the few upgraded cell sites - showing reliance on long-distance from a few sites, with something blocking coverage. The site is down, but IIRC, the effect is obvious in the area surrounding York.

TVWS is around 700MHz, so would go further, and might help NLOS too. But it is extremely expensive at the moment.

But the truth is ... we don't really want long-range solutions. We want capacity - and that means lots os nearby masts and reasonable fixed-line backhaul.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@WWWombat
Skyenet seem to be offering a good service using microwave links from the nearest BT exchange to the mast site. In areas with few trees could not this solution be scaled up to cover large areas. Presumably the mast would need to be no more than 25 miles from the exchange with good line of sight.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@wwwombat. If the politicians did understand FTTC's limitations and still spun it as a rural solution when its going to fail, even if we get to 95%, nearly half the 12% of the country that is rural they are even more dishonest than I thought.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
What I am trying to prove that the 2 meg situation is not as bad as stated. I agree there are black spots (0-2 meg) but they are starting to be removed by various systems. I have noticed the Red post codes are showing reading above the recorded band (0-4) on various places in Surrey.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting
Yes, you can scale Skyenet to longer backhaul, but still have the same concentrated village-wide coverage at the end.

Much harder to scale the coverage area to a radius of 25 miles: you would need too many backhauls terminating into the same spot, and there isn't enough spectrum that is unlicenced or lightly licenced. There are only 4 high power, band C, channels.
http://www.solwise.co.uk/downloads/files/intheuk5ghz.pdf
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Airwave's dimensioning in West Witton: 4 masts, 10 coverage PtMP antenna to give superfast speeds to 150 premises. The village fits mostly in a 400m x 800m rectangle (0.3km²). There is then a 6km backhaul link from one mast to the BT exchange, which is distributed to the other 3 masts with 6 PtP antenna.

I wonder how much backhaul is needed to service those 150 premises?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@gerarda
Politicians, eh? They know how to get elected, and how to make a noise. The good ones probably have capacity to be expert at one other thing.

For the ones running BDUK projects, a fair few are likely to be knowledgeable in this area, though it might have taken some effort to learn.

But the majority are still only making noise. How many of those are likely to understand the engineering nuances? The rurality nuances? Demographics and statistical nuances?

Does this make it spin? Or lack of knowledge?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@gah789
I agree that there has definitely been a problem with realistic expectations - in BT, in councils, in communities and in individuals.

I can understand the initial reticence - it definitely took time and effort to figure out what the limitations are for each community. Things might be changing, but trust is hard to regain.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Is not the elephant in the room, the level of underspend, Clawback, and the yet to arrive BT Capital.
Put it together and much can be fixed with FTT dp (with or without g.Fast).
Phase 1 of c22,000 cabs (4.1m premises) will not exceed £600-£700m, before BT's capital contribution. This leaves a lot of cash to continue.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew I have completed a 20 page paper on the BT capital numbers and submitted to BDUK and BT for comment. Any summary is a bit toxic so I will get it to you once I know it can be used constuctively.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi VFM.
Could it be that Openreach has planned to bypass the Cab and picke up the long lines at the 30 meg location (post code) and then cable the G\fast on the last section where possible. This would be cost effective on many situations they are doing the same method as in the 1970 with line concentrators 4/24 that is 4E sides 24 D Sides.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
Is not the elephant in the room inside your head?

The underspend will be useful, where it turns out to exist. The contracts already have the right terms to make sure underspend is identified properly, and available for re-use, so no elephant there.

The early clawback, £129m, will fund an extra 1% coverage (ie 96% instead of 95%), say BT. No elephant there either.

The "arrival" of BT capital is a thing that you alone are waiting for. Everyone else understands that BT's capital expenditure is a thing that goes
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
on internally, *is* happening, happens before allowable expenses are reclaimed, and is (very) deliberately not stated to us, mere members of the public.

It might be nice for you to be told the numbers, but that doesn't make it an elephant.

The rest of the numbers are your guesswork, which doesn't automatically qualify as an elephant. But looking forward to seeing your document... which does at least sound elephantine ;)
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
Indeed: In that kind of "extension" mode, you could see FTTRN or FTTdp as precisely like the 1970's concentrators - or even the smaller RCU's in the current SystemX/AXE-10 model.

Interesting to read that, in the digital network, there are some 7,000 remote concentrators and only 800 local exchanges.
http://www.davros.org/phones/btnetwork.html
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Sorry - last comment was for @blackmamba, not @vfm
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