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UK Delays National Broadband For Three Years 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the mailing-out-all-those-free-aol-cds-didn't-do-the-trick dept.
DMandPenfold writes "The British government has said that it will not be able to complete the rollout of broadband across the UK until 2015, blaming a lack of funds. 'Under the previous Labour government's original plans, everyone in the UK would have had access to 2 megabits per second broadband by 2012.' On Thursday, UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt organized a meeting for major broadband providers 'to identify the current barriers to providing basic level broadband in rural areas as well as suggesting ways to make more use of publicly-owned networks, such as those connecting schools and hospitals.' BT, the country's biggest telco, estimates that the necessary government funding for the project will be as much as £2 billion."
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UK Delays National Broadband For Three Years

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why the delay? It should be scrapped altogether.

    I have nothing against people in rural areas wanting the same services
    as everyone else but why should I have to fund it? If they want to get
    money for this they should increase the council tax to rural areas to
    pay for it. They chose to live there so they should pay for the privilege.

    The BT 21CN is just wrong and doomed to failure. Its over budget, delayed
    and will never work right. By the time its completed they'll be needing
    to upgrade to keep up with things li

    • Re:This is stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @11:43AM (#32942934)

      I have nothing against my neighbors wanting a "free," quality, public education for their children, but why should I have to fund it?

      (Never mind that my children have already gone through the public school system and are off to college now.)

      I thought we understood that governments build infrastructure on the premise that we all benefit in one way or another. Roads, airports, shipping ports, military, etc. Otherwise I could extend your argument to include all those other things and more. I may never drive on the Trans-Alaska highway, fly out of Portland, Maine international airport, but I do believe that by making things better for the people who do use them, we've all receive a benefit. Likewise for me, for the things I use.

      And that free public education my children received? If I'd had to pay "the going rate" every year they were in school, I could never have afforded it, so now I'm paying for it in installments through my town or county property tax (or your council tax), and my neighbors will be doing the same, and if not here, where ever I live, or they live. If you look at the big picture it all evens out, more or less.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You'd *think* people would understand the point you're making about public infrastructure. At least here in the US, you'd be thinking WRONG:

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704913304575370950363737746.html

        Note how every single pigfucker who complains about the gravel road voted against paying the taxes needed to keep it paved. See also California.

      • I have nothing against my neighbors wanting a "free," quality, public education for their children, but why should I have to fund it?

        Because 90+% of the infrastructure you use daily was funded by other people too.

      • I have nothing against my neighbors wanting a "free," quality, public education for their children, but why should I have to fund it?

        Because you don't want to live in a society where your neighbours are uneducated?

        • by Smauler (915644)

          GP was playing devil's advocate with that analogy, and went on to make that a little more clear. The point being made, which I agree with, was that a lot of public infrastructure spending affects us indirectly, so just complaining about one thing that does not affect yourself directly is a little shortsighted. That's not to say I agree with all big infrastructure projects - some are horrendously misguided and offer crap value for money. 2Mb broadband in all homes may be one of these... if we were talkin

          • What they really mean when they say "at least 2Mb" is getting the DSLAMs (fed by fiber then some form of DSL to the cutomers) close enough to the customers that they can get 2Mb. Most people will likely get more than that.

            I do wonder why it's so bloody expensive though and especially I wonder if BT are putting stuff that isn't really part of the universal broaband project in those figures.

          • Thank you captain obvious. I understood the point that he was making. Now take a deep breath and bearing that in mind reread my post. Do you now suspect that perhaps I was making the point that universal education has a direct benefit to him that is more apparent than the indirect benefits he was talking about?

      • by mjwx (966435)

        I thought we understood that governments build infrastructure

        I'm going to stop you here, because you've made a very good point.

        It's the governments job to build infrastructure like roads, rail links, power-lines and even phone lines. Now Whilst I believe the government (state) should maintain ownership of the infrastructure they do not always need to run it.

        When the Australian FTTN project (National Broadband Network) is finished, the government will own the lines but the job of providing ISP service

      • by Aceticon (140883)

        The purpose of free education in a Western nation is create/maintain a highly qualified pool of manpower so that the kind of jobs that pay enough to maintain a Western style of living remain in the country.

        Jobs requiring no education or specialization are easilly moved to cheaper countries - no country can maintain a high-income style of living while having a large percentage of unskilled manpower.

        It makes sense for countries to invest in education for the purelly selfish reason that a highly educated pool

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think it should be scrapped. Remote locations are the ones that gain the most from having better communication links. Home delivery of groceries means a lot more when your nearest shop is miles away.

      21CN isn't actually about the speed of the network, but rather about the management and organisation of devices within it. To achieve this management and organisation is having to upgrade a lot of the equipment. As a side effect the network will become a lot faster, but also upgrades should become easier

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        A mess compared to say the USA? the only subsization is the cherry picking and crosubsidisation that competitors are alowed
    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      ask people in hull how that worked out - this is the local monopoly system that has caused so many problems for the USA and even Hull has had problems there was a scandel that was hushed up - thoiugh if your not on the inside you wouldnt know that.
  • Farce (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "BT, the country's biggest telco, estimates that the necessary government funding for the project will be as much as £2 billion."

    This is a farce. What the new Government did was ask the TELCOs what the problems were with deploying rural broadband. That's like asking De Beers how to reduce diamond prices.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well if you don't believe them, maybe ask Ars Technica. They say the per home of installation of broadband (via fiber) is between 850 and 1300 Euros. Not exactly cheap. IMHO this broadband plan would make more sense:

      - Take a page out of the FDR years which mandated telephone companies must wire all homes with telephone lines
      - Update the law so it says telephone companies must provide DSL (or FiOS or equivalent service) to all homes by 1/1/2012
      - Use the already-existing Universal Service Fund (USF) to co

      • Well if you don't believe them, maybe ask Ars Technica. They say the per home of installation of broadband (via fiber) is between 850 and 1300 Euros. Not exactly cheap. IMHO this broadband plan would make more sense

        Wow, that's cheap. My phone bill would pay that off in 1 year to 18 months, after that BT can take the money and invest it elsewhere or make a profit. To say that my current telephone twisted pair cables have been in pace since the 1940's, 18 month payback for fibre doesn't seem a costly thing to do for BT.

        Virgin Broadband, the only cable supplier in the UK, want £3,500 to lay 50m of cable to my home. Their green box is at the bottom of my street, but they never laid any cable to my home. Everyone els

        • >>>My phone bill would pay that off in 1 year to 18 months

          That's assuming you buy the Broadband service. If you choose not to, then the fiber just laws idle and the BT company will have lost a huge chunk of cash. ----- Also what kind of frakked-up phone service do you have? Mine is only $15/month and would take over five years time to cover that ~$1000 installation cost. You must be getting ripped-off.

          • I spend roughly £60/month for my landline. Broadband is £25 with BT Broadband for a 2.5Mb/s ADSL connection, £15 line rental (everyone has to pay this to BT unless you have cable), the rest is in call charges. I could lower my call charges, I know I'm on the wrong contract.

            • by Smauler (915644)

              I'm spending £15 a month on my mobile phone (300 minutes), and £15 a month on my mobile broadband (15Gb limit per month). I don't have a land line. I don't usually go much over the phone minutes, if at all, and have only been over the broadband limit once. The broadband is variable, but is generally ok. It usually runs at about 1.5Mb/s, rarely below that, and I've actually had it at 4Mb/s, which is as good as landline broadband here. The latency I've not tested recently, but was pretty crap

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mjwalshe (1680392)
        err how do you get the fibre to the CAB for that price pray? and DSL doesnt work at long ranges and the BB target is a lot more thatm 1MBS
      • by igb (28052)
        BT already have a de jure universal service obligation for voice (and, 14K4, or it might be 28K8, modem), so copper pairs are universal. BT already have a je facto USO for DSL. The problem is that there are a handful of not-spots outside the reach of any meaningful DSL, and the 2Mbps proposal is quite challenging as there are a lot of places that will only get ~0.5Mbps even with ADSL 2+. There are some regulatory and technical complexities with fibre to the cabinet, and for low-density rural areas it
      • They say the per home of installation of broadband (via fiber) is between 850 and 1300 Euros.
        True but if they are going for a gauranteed minimum speed of 2megabit they don't need to run fiber to every home, they only need to get it to a cabinet close enough to the homes that DSL over the existing phone lines can cary the rest.

  • BT (Score:5, Informative)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @11:15AM (#32942804) Journal

    BT can pay for it themselves. Roll out the universal service obligation for broadband. BT's already got special treatment thanks to its representative in government, Ofcom. It's time it also enjoyed obligations.

    I don't want the bloody government paying for this. I don't want the government doing anything else with the Internet in this country, in fact. From the IWF to Cameron telling Facebook to take down troll comments praising some guy with obvious mental health problems who went on a killing spree, this government is more New Labour and less Liberal than the last.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by mjwalshe (1680392)
      Actualy Ofcom is Rupert Murdocs representative in government - that was what the then Chair of the house telcoms group said to me at a conference when ofcom was set up.

      And if its universal service fine go for it Just lets have all the other telco's and sky pay there share - why as a BT share holder should I pay for little Jack to have a fast conection to steal shit with.

      As a long suffering BT shareholder I am sick of new entrants getting away with blatent cross subsidization that these foreign tax d
      • BT just announced they're putting their phone charges up by 10%: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10676934 [bbc.co.uk]. Not one red cent of which will go towards infrastructure. So you'll be happy then.
        • Come to think of it, if your shares are making you unhappy, throw in a tenner and I'll take them off your hands.
        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          so BT is a not the GPO any more even the socialist Worker's have given up on renationalising BT.

          And The last time that the tories where in goventment they where offered a full fibre roll out but turned it down as they wouldn't let BT make a resonable ROI.

          Ill be happy when all compentitors have access to sky's product at the same wholsale deal that BT has to give access to its network.
        • by dotwaffle (610149)

          Call connection charges are going up to 10.9p, and the daytime rate is going up to quite a large amount too. Pretty much cements the idea that for personal calls you should use a mobile phone, and for business you should use VoIP.

          That is, until the mobile networks realise what is happening and get greedy, lowering the data caps on all the price plans to something silly like 1GB. Oh wait, already happened!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Makes me sick. BT should pay for it, they already have a monopoly, so you can't avoid paying them money. Why can they not pay for this themselves? They have stiffled innovation for years. They promised 21CN for the whole country and I don't believe they ever had any intention of delivering it.

    • A monopoly? Interesting. I, along with a large proportion of the UK population, have Internet access via Virgin Media cable and telephone via SIP and a mobile - no money going to BT at all. Some people get ADSL without BT, but an increasing number of exchanges are covered by local loop unbundling, and they can.
      • by itsdapead (734413)

        A monopoly? Interesting.

        Virgin only cable where it is profitable - out of those areas its BT or the highway.

        Even with "Local Loop Unbundling" you still have to have a BT line.

        • by Smauler (915644)

          As I said in a previous post - I use mobile broadband, and have no land line, and it is acceptable. The 15Gb a month I get is more than many landline "fair use" policies. I pay total £30 a month for my phone and broadband.

          • by itsdapead (734413)

            As I said in a previous post - I use mobile broadband, and have no land line, and it is acceptable. The 15Gb a month I get is more than many landline "fair use" policies. I pay total £30 a month for my phone and broadband.

            This is still only a "works for me" solution. The problem behind TFA is getting internet to everybody that wants it (for various reasons - such as encouraging business in rural areas and being able to rely on internet delivery of government services).

            Unfortunately, the sort of rural area that can't get ADSL is often the sort of area that has lousy mobile (particularly 3G service). Sounds like you are lucky.

      • by gilgongo (57446)

        A monopoly? Interesting. I, along with a large proportion of the UK population, have Internet access via Virgin Media cable and telephone via SIP and a mobile - no money going to BT at all. Some people get ADSL without BT, but an increasing number of exchanges are covered by local loop unbundling, and they can.

        No money going to BT Retail maybe, (which has a share of about 30% of the domestic broadband market and about 50% of domestic fixed lines, I believe - some general Googling will reveal this). BT Wholesale, on the other hand, basically has a government-regulated monopoly on backbone and infrastructure provision in the UK though. Virgin Media's cables go to BT's LLU exchanges, and their packets pass over BT's maintained ATM. And they pay them for that.

        • Virgin Media's cables go to BT's LLU exchanges, and their packets pass over BT's maintained ATM. And they pay them for that.

          That is true *only* where Virgin have not extended their cable network - I for example have nothing installed that has anything to do with BT, all the equipment and all the lines coming into my house are owned and operated by Virgin Media 100%.

          Virgin are also not stopped by either Ofcom or the UK Government from expanding their network across the UK - they simply do not want to. For example, 5 years ago I was living across the country from where I am now, and Telewest (the company that became Virgin Media)

          • by h4rm0ny (722443)

            Communications infrastructure, like the roads, should be a public service. If that doesn't happen, we're going to end up in a right mess.
    • 21CN is the core network you muppet - its not for the D side
  • 2 Megabit by 2015 !!! I thought my 8Mb broadband was slow.

    There was talk about funding coming from the TV license fee, why hasn't this happened, I would consider broadband to be more important than the digital tv switch over. Especially as most of the remote areas have trouble picking up terrestrial TV anyway.

    • I would consider broadband to be more important than the digital tv switch over.

      The broadband program costs the government money. The digital TV switch brings the government money, by selling now-free frequencies from previous analog TV. Now what is more important to the government, to pay money, or to get money?

      • I don't recall the UK government selling-off television frequencies?
        You're probably thinking of the US (sold off channels 52-82).

        • Um, they're doing it soon. http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/ [digitaluk.co.uk]
          • Your link says nothing about Selling-off channels. My understanding is that the UK DTV will occupy the same space analog TV occupied. (In the same way channels 2 to 51 remained the same in the US.)

          • Yeah I was right. Channels 21-30 and 41-62 will still be occupied by DTV. Only channels 31-40 will be freed-up, andno plan is set on what to do with them. Some have proposed keeping that space for another DTV multiplex

    • There was talk about funding coming from the TV license fee...

      Damn, I'd almost forgotten about that. Here in Australia we don't have such a fee, but I guess there's a few other things we don't have too...
    • I would consider that a misappropriation of funds. Like taxing car drivers to provide free rides to train people. The TV owners shouldn't have to fund other persons' free internet.

      • Car drivers pollute more per person than train people. More than fair to tax them for it.

        TV owners are a different case, and I don't agree with using their taxes, certainly.

        • >>>Car drivers pollute more per person than train people. More than fair to tax them for it.

          Not true. The average pollution put out by U.S. trains (which are powered mostly by coal-electricity) is equivalent to a 25 MPG car carrying one passenger. So if you either carpool, or get a high MPG car like a hybrid, then you are cleaner than the train.

          You'd also probably be surprised to know that an electric car, like the EV1, is no cleaner than a Prius. (source: ACEEE.org)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WarwickRyan (780794)

      That 'talk' was sponsored by Mr Murdoch, who would just love to see the BBC's funding cut.

    • I thought my 8Mb broadband was slow.

      Really? My provider offers up to 50Mb/s, but I'm currently on the 10Mb/s plan because I've never found it slow. I'm curious about what you're doing that makes 8Mb/s slow. I'd be more interested in paying for a 10Mb/s symmetric connection (or even for 5Mb/s upstream) than for more downstream.

      • >>>I'm curious about what you're doing that makes 8Mb/s slow

        The grandparent poster has Spoiled brat syndrome. No matter how much you give 'em, they still are not satisfied. My link's only 0.7 Mbit/s and I think it works just fine even when watching hulu.com or syfy.com. And for bittorrent it downloads faster than I can watch the videos.

      • I completely agree - 10Mbps is more than enough for download (although we have home plans with 200Mbps), but 512Kbps (64KBps) are not nearly enough for what I'd like to do, like set up a streaming server for when I'm away.

        There was a company that was said to start offering a symmetric 50Mbps connection, but I haven't heard about them for almost a year.

  • ...this means that there are people in the EU who are being denied their Basic Human Right to free 100MB Internet service! Could it be that there has been some exaggeration going on? Have we been misled?

    • by dangitman (862676)

      ...this means that there are people in the EU who are being denied their Basic Human Right to free 100MB Internet service!

      I'm fairly certain that anybody in the EU has the ability to download 100 megabytes of data if they were so inclined.

  • Reports say they're pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, so the timing sounds about right.

  • Until it gets down to the issue of who pays for it. I'm reminded of an ancient Roman orator, who was asked which wine he liked to drink best. His answer?

    "The wine, for which, someone else has paid for."

    Kinda sorta sums up the broadband debate everywhere. Everybody wants it; nobody wants to pay for it. And it would certainly be best if someone else paid for it.

    • by Teun (17872)
      And that's sums up a good reason to pay the initial investment from the public coffers, that way everyone is equally burdened.

      So many years after the introduction of internet to the general population it should be evident it's part of a necessary infrastructure, comparable to running water, roads and power.

    • Except for wine will never be necessary and broadband is increasingly necessary and will be a requirement eventually. But hey why sort it out now when we can do it at the last second for the higher cost of rushing it through.
  • I've never really understood why people in rural areas feel it should be a legal requirement for their internet to be as fast as it is in cities. If you want to escape the riff-raff and live all on your own in the country, you should be prepared to deal with whatever that might bring you.
    • Because we, as a society, want some people to live in rural areas so that, you know, they make food and other stuff we urbanites need to survive.

      Or do you propose to ship all farming jobs off to China and Africa, too?

    • by zogger (617870) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @02:29PM (#32943970) Homepage Journal

      You want all the neat stuff you need to actually live in a heavy urban area delivered to you from the rural areas, plus have it cheap. Swell, this is now possible because as a nation we invested in a set of "commons", we now have decent roads everywhere, rail service, and seized property where electric transmission lines, natural gas lines and water lines exist..all to bring stuff to you in the cities, our royal "blues" bloods now by voting demographics, cheaply. So, if the rural people just want a little better internet, all of a sudden this "commons" idea gets bad? OK, maybe it is! How about you voluntarily give up all your cheap trucked in stuff and piped in stuff and go out and start contracting for your food and water and electricity, and pay transit fees and tolls, boundary line by boundary line, to each owner, to all the rural landowners to get that stuff? What do you think your urban existence would really cost then?

      I'm all for it really, dump the commons, privatize everything including the roads, no more eminent domain seizure and use for the transmission towers and water pipelines, toll roads everywhere, all of that, let it simmer for a few months, just to see what is really valuable today or not. Let's rock! Bring it on, we'll see who cracks first.

      Here, just to show you we rural people have some compassion for our now starving urban area "neighbors" under the "chuck you farley, we got ours now you pay up what we demand if you want anything better like normal 21st century stuff" private everything model of society and economics... you might need this http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/butcher.html [churchofeuthanasia.org] You need to print out a hard copy now while you can..my guess is your electricity would go to, oh..a few hundred bucks a kilowatt hour at a minimum once all our transit fees are paid to us. Maybe more..or maybe we just wouldn't care and say "no, tough luck, we don't need anything you have, including your scam fiat currency crap. We could do that, too. We got the food, water and energy, you got...consumers. That's it..you just consume what we provide, and provide cheap.

      Have fun! Let's do it, the grand experiment, get this sorted out what is really worth what, once and for all. Then no more debates, we'll all know what is necessary and what isn't, who gets paid too much and who gets paid too little, and what is more important, and whether or not a "commons" is a good idea. Let's let a real free market and no more public commons *anything* sort this all out. I'm totally ready and would really like to see it. Making my bucket of popcorn right now!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thaig (415462)

        Cities exist because they are more economic than everyone being scattered about. If you try to reverse that in every way, then you are undoing the whole point of the concentration. Enjoy where you are, it's not all that great living in urtban areas.

    • >2Mbps
      >as fast as it is in the cities

      Man, your cities suck. I can't even get a 2Mbps plan in my city, the basic is 5Mbps.

      • Well good for you. My house gets a maximum of 1mbps. And I live in the suburbs, not any rural area (I'm a 20 minute drive from a big city centre). The UK sucks.
    • You talk as if everybody living in the country used to live in the city, and made a conscious choice to leave.

      Me? I was brought up in rural areas. I never made a conscious choice to stay here (in fact, I'd quite like to move), but this is where my family is and, more importantly, where my job is.

      I'm not asking for any favours from private companies, but when it comes to government investment, the government is meant to represent the whole country and I don't think I should be left out because of what part

  • We'll be hearing this from the Tory-Lib Dem government for the next 4-5 years, I suspect. There will be many many things that we should be doing, but because Labour mismanaged the public purse, the digital divide in the UK will have to stay.

    It's really quite boring that politicians spend so much of their first time blaming the previous incumbents for current problems, instead of being a bit more proactive and concentrating on solutions instead of laying blame...

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