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Pressure to make Openreach national telco for business
Monday 08 February 2016 10:35:41 by Andrew Ferguson

The politics surrounding the Ofcom decision continue to dominate broadband headlines and the latest body to wade in is the Engineering Employers Federation which in a survey of 128 businesses in December found that half of those on business parks had speeds under 10 Mbps.

Openreach has the finger of blame pointed at it for multiple reasons, but the largest appear to be that dedicated capacity (i.e. no congestion) services are too expensive compared to the GEA services and that the various xDSL services are too unreliable sometimes costing manufacturers and business £1000's in lost revenue. Following up very closely is that the roll-out of these inherently unreliable services has often avoided business parks and concentrated on residential areas, which is a mixture of commercial decision and the way the BDUK process has been implemented by local authorities.

"Ministers have utterly failed to foster a competitive broadband market or oversee the rollout of future-proof broadband for businesses."

Chi Onwurah MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy

There is an irony to the Shadow Ministers comments as the Digital Britain report and the groundwork for what the BDUK became actually started under their auspices in 2009. On the issue of not targeting business parks, the real debate needs to be about what sort of connectivity does a business need? A sandwich shop with a free Wi-Fi for its six seats will happy run on the residential grade services, but a manufacturer whose production line would grind to a halt with no Internet connection really should not be looking at services that are often just residential grade but with VAT added on top and a slightly more polite helpline.

Some of the BDUK projects actually had EU money that should have been ring fenced for business use, and that may explain why some areas are seeing native FTTP appearing for business parks. This is not everywhere and for those areas where targets are under 90% it is thought that the lower targets are because more focus has gone into business provision.

What is galling is that as with the recent new homes debate everyone calls Openreach and the BT Group to the table, but rarely do we see alternatives like WarwickNet, CityFibre, Virgin Media and others being asked to join in to show what they can actually do.


Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
So basically what the EEF are saying is that businesses have to pay too much money. Do they ever say anything any different?
Posted by generallee94 about 1 year ago
Forgive me if Ive missed something but native FTTP still runs over the same network as other xDSL services like FTTC...

So the reliabilty would therefore be the same minus the higher speed guarentee's I suppose... Ive always found xDSL to be pretty reliable and the backhaul amd connectioms to the ISP and beyond are the failing point.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
FTTP is more reliable.

No interference on FTTP, no rate adaption, no powered components in the field.
Posted by jumpmum about 1 year ago
You get what you pay for. Uncontended business quality symmetrical services with business SLAs at a high price, or Residential contended asymmetrical service with no SLAs at a cheap as chips price.
If data access is critical for your business you should be prepared to pay for the business ethernet services as it will save you money in the long term.
Posted by MCM999 about 1 year ago
@jumpmum I couldn't have put it better. Everyone, both domestic and business, especially small to medium size business, appear to want a diamond class service whilst paying glass baubles.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 year ago
So shall we get rid of , especially the business Infinity packages, because they are really residential, not fit for business purposes?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
The SME products have a place, but when you hear of businesses about to go to the wall, because their data server is hosted on the end of an unreliable ADSL2+ line and remote offices cannot reliably access it, you have to wonder what some business consultants are selling.

i.e. just because its possible does not make it a decent solution.

In a similar way to a video edit suite will have different connection needs to a corner shop with an eBay sideline.
Posted by Gadget about 1 year ago
@JNeuhoff - business packages are not just about the physical delivery, but different terms and conditions, SLA and SLG, repair performance, IP addressing options and in some cases even traffic prioritisation.
Posted by DrMikeHuntHurtz about 1 year ago
BT was allowed to abuse BDUK and as a result the areas meant to be covered... aren't.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
The Connection Voucher scheme was designed to help businesses to get superfast broadband and it seemed to be successful in the areas that it covered. Maybe it could be run again countrywide or just targeted on business parks?
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Posted by DrMikeHuntHurtz about 23 hours ago
BT was allowed to abuse BDUK and as a result the areas meant to be covered... aren't.

Really ?
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
the vouchers were not meant to be used to enabled fibre cabs or buld fibre cabs on business parks - problem is prem count too low and cost per prem to high so most not even covered by BDUK as more coverage for the same money elsewhere in a bduk area
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
The voucher scheme could be adapted to allow the mix of public money from the vouchers with private money to be used to provide superfast broadband to business parks from a wide range of providers.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Chilting the problem is then you break the state aid rules -- as you need state aid clearance to build infrastructure which enabling cabinets is. problem also is some of those business parks now have no choice of providers so are captive
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
My own exchange certainly had business parks covered. The local authority acquired ERDF funding that would've taken care of them.

It's unfortunate if local authorities alongside the template contract produced for them didn't do more to try and ensure business parks were covered.

BDUK was, as noted many times, heavily devoted to premises passed count. The PCPs covering business parks were the smallest by this measure on the exchange.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Maybe the answer would be that BT or an alternative supplier provided a fibre node close to the business park and businesses used their connection voucher to pay or part pay for an FTTP connection to the node.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
ERDF funding makes a considerable difference to a scheme.

From my understanding, the funding announcements at the start aren't set in stone. The project has to confirm enough SME have been passed for a cabinet to qualify for ERDF subsidy - but then, I think, it covers a great percentage of the funding. That frees BDUK money for non-SME cabs.

ERDF funding also expired earlier, so projects needed to make BT focus on these SME cabs earlier, otherwise they'd lose that chunk of funding.

Use it or lose it...
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Posted by chilting 1 day ago

chrtligh -- the plain anser to that is most Business parks have fibre nodes to them already which is the irony !!! which the voucher would have enabled to fund an EAD or an EFM service but you can't build an FTTRN as that would be infrastructure (and need state aid) nor couild you run an single FTTP as that cab was not enabled
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
so any warwicknet park is captive to warwicknet for ever !!!! as they are a SLU (Sub loop unbundler)
Posted by shamus72 about 1 year ago
BT should have had the openreach business taken away from it years ago, BT dont care about customers, ive had 5 engineers from openreach to find that i was on an old cable up to the cabinet. My brother got his phone connected in his new flat and they never came by to say it had all been connected. Utter joke.You have to wait in all day in case they need access , if you dont you get fined.
Posted by shamus72 about 1 year ago
Phone and Broadband that is.
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