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1Gbps Fiber Optic Network For Rural Britain 81

cylonlover writes "Economies of scale mean that densely populated cities have generally been the ones to benefit from the roll out of superfast broadband networks, while those in rural areas have missed out. Following Google's recent announcement that it will build and test 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in selected cities with between 50,000 and 500,000 residents in the US, starting with Kansas City, Kansas, Fujitsu has unveiled plans to create a similar superfast FTTH broadband network for five million homes and businesses in rural Britain to bridge the digital divide between city and country."
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1Gbps Fiber Optic Network For Rural Britain

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  • Cost? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lunaritian ( 2018246 ) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:24AM (#35826474)
    Here in Finland you have to pay €15,000 just to have a wired connection in some areas.
    • Re:Cost? (Score:4, Funny)

      by hcpxvi ( 773888 ) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:31AM (#35826518)
      Darn. I could have got First Post if I wasn't in a rural area of Britain.
    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      Here in the UK the (former) monopoly telco is legally obliged to provide a telephone line anywhere in the country, and IIRC they're not allowed to charge you extra just because you live in the middle of nowhere.

      This obligation goes back years - they have no obligation to ensure you can get ADSL over that line. And if you run up something like Firebug, you'll soon discover that pretty much nobody today is developing websites with a view to ensuring they're useable over dialup.

      I daresay you might get away wi

      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        From the article:

        However, the plan is dependent on BT Openreach meeting the conditions imposed by the independent communications regulator Ofcom that it provide access to its underground ducts and telegraph poles "on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms."

        So it's not just end-users the former monopoly is obliged to provide service for.

      • by isorox ( 205688 )

        I daresay you might get away with dialup if you use NoScript, block images, flash etc. But I wonder how many useable websites will be left if you do that? []

      • And this is why Geocities web devs were the best. They almost always provided a lo-fi and hi-fi version of their content. They look out for their customers.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        they have no obligation to ensure you can get ADSL over that line

        I wish they would do something about that. There must be a lot of people whose lines either get pathetic speeds or can't use ADSL at all, even though they live in a city. My line is like that but there won't be any fix until BT decides to roll out FTTC in my area. All the focus is on rural areas but there are plenty of black spots in urban areas too.

        • by jimicus ( 737525 )

          If you're in an urban area and the problem is the line itself rather than the route it has to take to get to the exchange, order a second line then have the first disconnected ;)

  • Like the rollout to rural areas of the NBN in Australia, smart and powerful people are rolling out fast FTTH broadband so IT people can live the dream, move to the farm and give up on the city rat race. You don't need to live in the inner city to write code.

    At least until the apocalypse.

    • I'd never thought about it that way. I thought it was all about the tech community giving a little fiber to those that give us fibre.
    • When you think about it, it does make sense.

      Rural towns can suddenly become attractive to businesses looking to expand their IT Infrastructure.
      Land prices are cheaper for data centres, Rent/Property is cheaper for employees and there is a decent quality of life.

      A National/Multi-National can put their IT Centre out of a city without the massive expense of backhaul.

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday April 15, 2011 @07:19AM (#35826950) Homepage Journal

      Which went like this:

      I'd buy a dilapidated old gamekeeper's hut high up on the moor. Every morning, fortified by a heart-stopping fry-up I'd pull on my Wellies, don my tweed coat and cap, and grab my blackthorn walking stick for brisk walk down the moors to the village pub, we're I'd hear the news. Hour after hour, pint after pint I'd join in the general complaining about the state of the government, the weather, and the livestock. I'd then make my tipsy way back to my hut, falling exhausted into bed for nine hours or so of dreamless sleep, then wake up and do it again. This would go on until one day I drunkenly wandered into the fatal mire on the way home. Then, as I was sucked down to be preserved as a curiosity for future generations of archaeologists, I'd pull out my emergency hip flask of gin. I'd pour a stiff shot into the chrome flask cap, then toast a life of dogged utility crowned by one brief, glorious interlude of useless, low-tech pleasure.

      Now I know I'll never get down to the pub, because I'll be checking Slashdot "before I go out". Soon I'd be ordering liquor off the Internet, because "it was more convenient". I might as well spend my declining years back here in the States in a high rise apartment block.

      • by Alioth ( 221270 )

        On a point of pedantry, you are actually more buoyant in any kind of sinking mud/quicksand than in water (because liquefacted mud and quicksand is much denser than water) and it is extremely hard to sink underneath. So even if you were completely stuck and no one rescued you, you wouldn't really get preserved because quite a lot of you would still be sticking out into the open air.

        Also if you know how to free yourself from sinking mud, it's usually not all that hard.

  • The catch... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nick Fel ( 1320709 ) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:26AM (#35826486) that they want £500m from the government to build it, which is almost all of the money set aside to provide rural broadband. That may well be worth it (I know people in rural areas who would probably think so), but I'm not sure if it's a good idea for Fuijitsu to have no competition.
    • Also depends on BT offering a decent price for access to existing underground cable routes. BT doing the right thing? Hmmmm...

      • by Shimbo ( 100005 )

        Also depends on BT offering a decent price for access to existing underground cable routes.

        If they drag their feet too hard, Ofcom will slap them down. At least, that's how it's meant to work.

        • Generally it does work. As far as I can tell, Ofcom have been kicking some of the ISPs into shape over their operation, marketing and business practices. Ofcom is one of the few government regulators I actually have some respect for. I think they were the cause of Local Loop Unbundling in the first place, which opened up a whole lot more competition for BT and Virgin, and made them get their act together - well, they've improved a little.
      • Fujitsu’s proposal is described (FTFA) as a wholly independent network to BT’s, though whether it’s route-independent as well as fibre-independent is unclear.

    • by Mouldy ( 1322581 )
      IIRC, the gov's target was 2Mbps broadband to every household. It's pretty good going if Google can give 1Gbps in the same budget.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The fibre would be open for other companies to use, similar to how BT's lines and cable ducts are open now. I would still prefer a 100% publicly owned network but if it is a choice between that and getting this kind of speed then I'll take the speed.

      Even though it is for rural areas hopefully it will spur BT and Virgin to get their fingers out. Virgin in particular need a major backbone upgrade, their service has been degrading badly over the last year. My speeds today are half what they were a year ago.

      • This.

        Fujitsu’s proposal is to build a second, wholly independent fibre infrastructure that will compete with BT’s. This can only be a good thing. (Assuming the holy grail of public infrastructure is unicorny [] for the time being in the UK.)

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      "but I'm not sure if it's a good idea for Fuijitsu to have no competition."

      It certainly can't be any worse than BT having no competition which has been the case in the vast majority of the UK for decades now, but I agree it's not ideal.

      This said, I'm just about to move to a rural region of South Yorkshire, on first glance I'd be stuck with a crappy 2mbps ADSL Max line at best, just the other day though BT announced FTTC to be installed on the new exchange I'll be on, and apparently the Digital Region projec

    • I have an uncle who lives in a rural area in Nebraska. The house use to be the center a medium size farm under his father. He has sold most of it away as has most of his neighbors. He now lives with no neighbors within a quarter of a mile in all directions. The house is very old and his family have all moved away so most likely the house will be demolished after his death or sooner if he and his wife find it too difficult to maintain. I do not think the government should spend thousand of dollars to fi
      • I'd expect that this will end up like the USPS where the rural voters will whine about having to live with the consequences of their choices and city folks will end up having to subsidize their lifestyle via higher costs to allow for a consistent pricing scheme across the country. That's part of why we have to pay that universal access fee whenever we pay a phone bill.

        Just because there are consequences of choosing to live in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean that the people choosing to do so will be expec

  • FTTH! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ThePromenader ( 878501 ) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:27AM (#35826488) Homepage Journal

    Ftth! Ftth! Ftth! Ftth! FTTH!

    Damn hairball.

    • Get off my keyboard, you silly cat! Go barf that hairball outside. ***looks at monitor*** Holy crap, my cat has her own slashdot account and her UID is lower than mine?
  • by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:34AM (#35826536)
    Don't they mean UPTO 1Gbps!
    Unlimited usage*

    *we will read every bit of data and stop anything we don't like.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:55AM (#35826626)

    Soon, as rural Britain discovers the entertainment value provided by LOLcats, Farmville, and Rebecca Black, they suddenly won't be bored anymore. Not being bored, they will no longer desire to work the lands. Crops will wilt, no longer be transported to cities and production will fall 90%, and Britain will be cast into the greatest famine since 1315.

    Desperate for food, and with their rural counterparts still clapping their hands and laughing feverishly, city-dwelling Britain citizens will start flowing out of the cities in search of food. They will swarm around farms in hope of finding some left-over crops. Soon the survivors will build homes on these farms, and cultivate crops of their own. With cities left desolated and deserted, the new urban areas will be the previously rural areas. And soon enough, Fujitsu will unveil new plans to provide high-speed broadband to the now-isolated rural-urban areas. It's all part of their plan.

  • I live in Cheltenham, UK (a city of approximately 100,000) and my 5 year old flat block has over 150 units in it; but due to anti-competitive ISP consolidation (and very bad business decisions), companies haven't invested in modern internet infrastructure. I've seen my local exchange. It is a barely manageable mess of copper cables and dangling punch down blocks which isn't due an to upgrade to support ADSL2 for more than a year.

    The fastest internet connection I can purchase is a mere 2.2mbps downstream/100

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      Yeah... I'm not sure where the article submitter lives or got their information, but cities are often just as bad as rural areas for broadband and wireless. Its the suburbs that get it first, since they have lots of nice, evenly spaced houses with telephone poles everywhere and a simple hookup. Rewiring a high-rise or brownstone isn't exactly simple.

  • Utter pie in the sky, sadly. £2bn isn't anywhere near enough to bring fibre across the countryside of England, let alone Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well.

    I'm lucky. I have a 7Mbps ADSL line despite living in the middle of nowhere, simply because I had ISDN installed in the late 90s. BT had to run ne cabling along the poles outside just for me (at their expensive); as a result everyone else around here has a 2 or 3 meg line at best. Elsewhere in southern England, for example in a village
    • by Retron ( 577778 )
      Bah, typos - that's what you get for typing away excitedly and not checking more thoroughly! It'll be interesting to see what becomes of this whole plan, anyway.
    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      "ADSL2 may go some way to bringing faster broadband, but that's years behind schedule and I doubt it'll get here until 2020 at the earliest (by which time my 7Mbps line will look quite pathetic). "

      If it's any consolation my new exchange at the housing I'm moving to had no ADSL2 rollout date, just as my current address has had ADSL2 rollout completed despite being more rural, I was rather dismayed by this when just this week BT announced the new exchange I'll be on is going straight to FTTH.

      If you have no AD

      • by nOw2 ( 1531357 )

        I do feel your pain though, ADSL2 is long overdue at our current exchange, we can only get 2mbps at the best of times on ADSL Max, and it's been that way for a while.

        ADSL2 probably won't change that - it's likely due to oversubscription at the exchange. What's your speed like at 3am?

        I have a beautiful ADSL Max connection and can get 7.1MBit/s - the theoretical maximum - but only in the early morning, or at any time when the students leave (I'm in a university town). Around 7pm it drops to 1MBits/s or less. It's been this way for the year and half that I've lived here. BT won't do anything because it's usual over the ADSL Max minimum guaranteed speed, which is just 600KB

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          It's not oversubscription, it's just poor quality lines, whilst the distance by cable is only 2km the line noise is pretty bad and BT wont replace the lines unless they break completely, ADSL2 would boost things a little to maybe 6mbps or so.

  • ISPs need to differentiate their products so they can get more money from those willing to pay. (like a separate line boarding a plane for business). Unlike water and gold, bandwidth is basically an unlimited resource up to a few GBs-1.
    A 10GB fiber is cheap, and a fast router is cheap, but your access is throttled down so they can pretend it is a limited resource, and charge you.

    Actually, an optical backbone cable has 768 fiber carrying maybe 128 colors of light at 10GBs-1 each color, so 1 cable would give

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      IANAtelecoms engineer, but I have a sneaking suspicion the cost isn't the fibre or the routers. The cost is paying somebody to work out what route the fibre will take, organise all the permissions you need to start digging (Needs to go over private land? Got to approach the landowner. Needs to cross a road? Got to approach the council) - some of these permissions cost money - then you've got to pay someone to actually go out there, dig a trench, lay fibre and bury it - making good any roads you dug up a

      • You are right in some regards, but the only real cost is in the contracts to lay and maintain the cable.. its cheap with fiber as it doesnt decay as easily as copper.. 99% of the run will happen on gov't easments that already cary electric and existing copper telecom, in many of these municipalities, i am willing to bet the municipal gov't will actually pay a subsidy.. Its in their best interests to have the infrastructure laid, its attractive to industry to be able to connect.
      • Due to the harsh Winter in the UK most of the roads are in dire need of repair: Cripes! []

        Perhaps the government can provide an incentive to share the cost of digging up the roads and resurfacing. The Highways Department will have to spend the money anyway so it may as well schedule this with the Telcos who will roll out the fibre at the same rate as the roads are renewed.

      • by mpe ( 36238 )
        The cost is paying somebody to work out what route the fibre will take, organise all the permissions you need to start digging (Needs to go over private land? Got to approach the landowner. Needs to cross a road? Got to approach the council) - some of these permissions cost money

        In the case of BT they don't actually need such permissions, since they were already granted long before BT PLC even existed. (The only exception being the city of Hull.)
  • I believe this is just an excuse to provide all the necessary bandwidth for surveilance cameras.
    After all rural camera coverage is so much worse.

  • starting with Kansas City, Kansas,

    Dorothy: "And Toto too?"

    Fujitsu: "Yes, and Toto, too."

  • I just saw an excellent program on The History Channel which aptly compared the crumbling infrastructure of the United States with that of Ancient Rome and ultimately concluded that Rome's downfall was due to lack of maintenance, care, and upgrade. It would appear that the United States might meet the same fate as Ancient Rome if we do not upgrade our infrastructure. Cox, Time Warner, Comcast, Qwest, and Verizon all brag about broadband speeds to 40+mbps over aging copper. The only exception is Verizon w

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