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United Kingdom Network The Internet

Government To Build 4G Into UK Rural Broadband Plans 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-make-it-better dept.
judgecorp writes "The British Government is discussing a role for 4G in the project to extend rural broadband coverage beyond the reach of fiber. There is £250 million of public money to fill in the gaps left by the £530 Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) program — BDUK's efforts to extend fiber have been criticized because despite promises of a competitive process, all the BDUK money has gone to BT. At a meeting with mobile operators today, the Department of Culture Media and Sport hopes to set up a more competitive 4G fill-in effort."
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Government To Build 4G Into UK Rural Broadband Plans

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  • Data Caps (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zone-MR (631588) * <slashdot@z[ ]-mr.net ['one' in gap]> on Monday October 07, 2013 @07:58AM (#45057631) Homepage

    For 4G to be seen as a viable alternative to fixed broadband, we'd need to see not just availability but also usage caps that are conducive to more than just single-user mobile usage.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The user will soon learn that limited hertz spread over many users hurts every aspect of the modern online experience.
      Beams, targeting, timing gets you great bits per hertz... @ how many users per cell? 4, 20? whats that usable Mbps down to? 35? 5?
      Unless the location is remote with a limited users, its better to go with nation building optical.
      Roll out optical and let any isp, telco get equal access to users. Where you cant to optical, do really good fixed wireless then sat.
      • The user will soon learn that limited hertz spread over many users hurts every aspect of the modern online experience. Beams, targeting, timing gets you great bits per hertz... @ how many users per cell? 4, 20? whats that usable Mbps down to? 35? 5? Unless the location is remote with a limited users, its better to go with nation building optical. Roll out optical and let any isp, telco get equal access to users. Where you cant to optical, do really good fixed wireless then sat.

        Your idea appears to be as close as they are getting to a Laissez-Faire solution in the UK.

      • by Albanach (527650)

        Unless the location is remote with a limited users, its better to go with nation building optical.

        Maybe you missed the bit that this is all about filling in the coverage gaps in an attempt to ensure the UK has as close to 100% broadband coverage as is possible.

        Of course optical is better. If you live half way up a mountainside, 20 miles from the nearest village and perhaps 80 miles from the nearest town with a population over 10,000 you're going to be waiting a while. 4G is comparatively quick to deploy and

        • Re:Data Caps (Score:4, Informative)

          by Xest (935314) on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:47AM (#45058767)

          "Of course optical is better. If you live half way up a mountainside, 20 miles from the nearest village and perhaps 80 miles from the nearest town with a population over 10,000 you're going to be waiting a while. 4G is comparatively quick to deploy and a heck of a lot cheaper."

          That's what they'd have you believe the final 10% of the population consists of, but in fact it consists largely of people like me. People who live in a village that's within a 20minute drive of the 3rd and 4th largest cities in the UK. A village that has had a fibre enabled exchange for over a year, for whom the majority of the village has fibre, yet I can't have it. I'm perfectly close to the exchange, so why?

          Because of address lottery. Turns out that they've done two cabinets in the village including one that does up to house number 30 on our street out of 80 houses + a few more on side streets. But unfortunately those of us in house numbers 31+ and in the side streets are on our own cabinet, one that BT deems "not economically viable". Our cabinet is only 100 yards from the one that's enabled.

          I'd wager the percentage of the population that live up far away hills and require an extraordinary rollout is actually less than 0.5%, most of that last 10% will be people like me for whom doing a rollout would be trivial and effortless with the only barrier being that BT want to turn a profit on the work in 10 - 15 years, rather than say, 15 years, or 20 years as would be the case on our lower populated exchange.

          It really has fuck all to do with being in the arse end of nowhere a lot of the time and everything to do with whether you were a winner or loser in BT's lottery of whatever random cabinet you might be tied to. Something you unfortunately have zero control over.

          For the millions of us in this situation (yes, millions) 4G wouldn't be a cheaper option and 4G is more shit and less futureproof anyway.

          Don't fall into the trap of believing the last 10% live in the middle of nowhere, up a hill or on an island, they don't, most of us just need the government to tell BT to suck it up and accept a pay back on their investment over a longer period instead, especially if they want to keep receiving tax payers money and not be broken up to deal with their monopoly.

          • by Albanach (527650)

            Are you complaining about not having fiber? While you certainly have my sympathies, we're talking about helping others who are still using dialup.

            If you want some comparison to your village, I live in a US city with a population of around 100,000 and am fortunate to have two choices for broadband. It's more expensive than I'd pay in the UK, and there's little chance of this city seeing fiber in the next decade.

            • by Xest (935314)

              I'm not sure that the distinction matters, the fact is that the government has suggested we're all going to get current fibre level speed (i.e. 20mbps+) by 2017 so whether you're on dialup or ADSL below that is really irrelevant, the end goal is the same.

              My point is simply that the amount of places that are so isolated that it'd be extraordinarily expensive to run fibre is really a negligible amount, an absolutely tiny fraction of the last 10% which the final £250million is earmarked for.

              It's co

      • by Froggie (1154)

        The promise that they will struggle to cover is 2Mbps to 100% of the population (since the 95% of the population promise is largely a 'sort out urban areas' thing and can be done by wiring and/or better modems). Bandwidth may not be their issue.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Not just that but I've always found latency to be an absolute ballache on all wireless technology.

      Maybe 4G fixes that, I don't know, I've never used it, but up until now my experience with wireless tech has been annoying for things like gaming and video conferencing.

      The government needs to get past this idea that they can just fob off the difficult ones with wireless. Proper fibre is required, it seems more future proof anyway.

      • by Froggie (1154)

        Skype/Facetime over wifi? Having a mobile phone conversation?

        Agreed latency can suck. Does it *have* to suck? Seems like that's an implementation issue.

    • by Froggie (1154)

      You don't have to go far into the countryside for availability to be a major problem, particularly if there are trees or hills in the landscape (true of just about anywhere apart from the fens.

      And this smacks of a solution to the broadband promise along the lines of 'well, we promised fast internet to 95% of the population, and see, you have it! We didn't say it wouldn't cost 200 quid a month?'

    • Here in the UK and Ireland, where we have a somewhat competitive market for mobile data, it is still possible to get unlimited data. My provider (three) does this.

    • The only usage cap should be the maximum that the line could consume in a month - an effectively flat rate.

  • by Psychotria (953670) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:04AM (#45057671)

    They spent 530 pounds for the broadband delivery program. Didn't somebody tell them that that's only enough money to have (maybe) a 10 minute meeting?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    in £530?

  • When your country is smaller than the state of Wyoming, most people would wonder what's the hold-up?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is no hold-up.
      It was a great success: BT has received all the money.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Because the numbers dont add up for wide scale use? You just cant keep packing people into wireless 24/7 as an everyday networking solution with useful pings, speeds.
      Its fine for a few users with caps and limits on the way to work, on the way home or in a park, car, train.
      You average cell tower can give every user a tiny slice of timed networking that loads a page, video clip 'fast'.
      The hold up is the reality of basic physics. If it worked every wealthy nation would line their cities/suburbia with line
    • most people would wonder what's the hold-up?

      As one of those who is suffering at the end of a 4Mbit piece of wet string that passes for a BT broadband connection I have to agree with you.
      I wouldn't mind if I really was in a rural area, but this is Cambridge! Well I am rural if you could 30 minutes cycle/12 minutes drive to the city centre to be rural! This is supposed to be one of the high tech hubs of Britain and yet the exchanges haven't been upgraded in a decade and there are no plans to upgrade our local ones either. (The irony is that the latest

  • Throwing usage caps is a non-starter for people wanting to use the service, never mind the lack of incentive to have any accurate measurement.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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