New Roadworks bill to kill cable based broadband roll-out?
NewMediaZero.com are reporting that the new Traffic Management Bill which has an approximate enactment date of April 2004 may impose extra costs on companies looking to lay new cables or even upgrade existing cable ducting in areas.
The precise meaning of the bill is not totally clear but it would appear that utilities that need to dig up a road may be required to not just resurface the area dug up, but the whole road, and where laying ducting to lay ducting that other companies can then have access to. Additionally work will need to be co-ordinated to ensure that the minimal amount of disruption is caused.
In terms of traffic management reducing the amount of roadworks is a worthy aim, but for companies like Telewest and NTL, the extra costs may just mean they never resume a roll-out of their cable services. This could be viewed as vastly increasing the value of the ducting and copper cabling that BT currently has in place, but even BT will be affected to some extent. If the future as many envisage is fibre moving closer and closer to the home, many areas may hit the problem of not enough suitable existing ducting, thus increasing the roll-out costs in some areas. Conversely BT may also put off the removal of telegraph poles and moving to underground wiring in some areas, which would normally increase the quality as decades of repair jobs can be bypassed with new cable.
The area of most immediate concern to prospective ADSL users, will be those people who have long suffered the BT TPON telephone solution, for areas to be upgraded to ADSL, new copper cabling has to be used, which invariably will not fit into the fibre ducting.
Perhaps the broadband service least affected will be the wireless providers, but then only if they are able to site their masts in an area that does not need extensive cabling for its backhaul.