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BT Fiber Infrastructure Plans 'Fatal' To Competition

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the but-do-you-think-it's-a-good-idea? dept.

The Internet 100

twoheadedboy writes "BT today revealed it is to start selling its Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) for fiber broadband product to other providers later this month, but the announcement was met with one particularly cold response. Geo Networks, which is helping deliver superfast networks in Wales in partnership with the Welsh Assembly, said it was going to withdraw bidding for Government-provided BDUK funds and in all next-generation access sales. 'Inadequacies of the current PIA product are fatal to infrastructure competition,' he added. 'The Government's stated desire for a competitive market in the provision of new optical fiber infrastructure is at risk of complete failure.'"

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main problem is backhaul (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38082880)

BT is willing to charge very little for the fibre to the customer but gouges on the fibre backhaul to the provider network. if the rest of the players had any balls they would walk out too.
without backhaul fibre is pointless. same thing in canada with Bell charging very little per customer for 3rd party ISPs but charging $22,000 per gigE for backhaul. same set of monopolistic thieves keeping the internet at crappy levels in first world countries.

Re:main problem is backhaul (2, Interesting)

jez9999 (618189) | about 2 years ago | (#38082924)

Yeah. It's funny how conservatives the world over always talk the talk about real competition, and yet when push comes to shove they seem the least likely to actually implement it well. They want the free market, which is very rarely the same as the competitive market.

Re:main problem is backhaul (4, Informative)

niftydude (1745144) | about 2 years ago | (#38082962)

BT was initially a government run organisation for many years before it was privatized. So they are basically a government created monopoly which was then sold off -mostly to cronies of the government of the era.

This isn't either the free market or the competitive market at work - it is a monopoly unfairly created by the government (by which I mean the public's tax dollars) screwing everyone else over.

Re:main problem is backhaul (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083008)

"it is a monopoly unfairly created by the government"

Thanks Ron Paul fan #1, but conservatives aren't out to kill the monsters they've spawned.

Re:main problem is backhaul (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about 2 years ago | (#38083106)

Hmm, AC political astroturfers are out - there must be a US presidential election coming soon.

Sorry dude - you are wasting your time. I'm not a US citizen, in fact it is fair to say that I live as far away from New York as is possible while still remaining on the surface of the Earth. So I don't really care about your politics, or rather, which particular politician you are being paid to bag.

Also - this story is about a UK company. So please try to stay relevant to the topic at hand.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 years ago | (#38083288)

I live as far away from New York as is possible while still remaining on the surface of the Earth

What is the weather like in Uzbekistan this time of year?

Re:main problem is backhaul (2)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#38083674)

I live as far away from New York as is possible while still remaining on the surface of the Earth

What is the weather like in Uzbekistan this time of year?

I reckon it's South West Australia.

http://www.antipodemap.com/ [antipodemap.com]

(Do you even know where Uzbekistan is? Opposite the southern middle Pacific. And south of Kazakhstan.)

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084038)

I think you mean Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-bekistan.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084392)

When the world is full of people containing the poison, hate and plain insane paranoia to label people as 'paid astroturfers' at will, is there any surprise we DO NOT want to be exposed to your kind of dangerously unstable mentality?

If you are paranoid enough to label someone as 'paid astroturfer' for that, you are paranoid enough to kill.

hey mister hypocrite (1)

fireylord (1074571) | about 2 years ago | (#38084742)

How about you stick to the story at hand, it's not tax 'dollars' it's Pounds Sterling, and BT had long since paid back the British taxpayer for the outlay prior to it being privatised (in terms more than just money, think security during the cold war for one). Labelling an ac an astroturfer when you clearly have a political axe to grind is just hilarious at best.

P.S. I think the way BT abuse their monopoly is outrageous, but the issue is NOT how that monopoly came about, it's the actions of those that are the controlling minds of BT that are at issue.

Re:hey mister hypocrite (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about 2 years ago | (#38085196)

How about you stick to the story at hand, it's not tax 'dollars' it's Pounds Sterling

Sometimes I forget how pedantic people can get on this site. My bad.

, and BT had long since paid back the British taxpayer for the outlay prior to it being privatised

You may call it paying back - I simply call it return on investment.

Labelling an ac an astroturfer when you clearly have a political axe to grind is just hilarious at best.

Always glad to supply a measure of hilarity in this cold, dark universe, however, ac was the one who used my post about what happened to BT in the eighties as an opportunity to denigrate some random american politician out of the blue. I think his axe is bigger.

P.S. I think the way BT abuse their monopoly is outrageous, but the issue is NOT how that monopoly came about, it's the actions of those that are the controlling minds of BT that are at issue.

Man, why is the most interesting point of your comment in a postscript? This is where we disagree. The point I was trying to make is that the people who are currently the controlling minds at BT were placed in that position purely as a result of how that monopoly came about. It hasn't been very long since BT was privatised, so to my mind, we can't separate the two issues.

Re:main problem is backhaul (3, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | about 2 years ago | (#38083156)

BT is no longer a crown corporation. One could argue that the service it provided when it was public-owned is much better than it is now that it has privatized. Infrastructure and utilities is probably the most suitable application of a public ownership, and it has always been difficult to ensure competition in a market-based model due to the capital investment and economies of scale once the infrastructure is in place. This is prevalent in both telecommunications and energy sectors catering to the end-user.

Of course, this also applies to things like rail transport which require extensive infrastructure - take British Rail for example.

Re:main problem is backhaul (3, Interesting)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#38084128)

I remember my parents talking about what phone service used to be like. I remember them talking of messages like "all the lines to birmingham are in use". I remember phone call prices that made the phone something you used for short calls to get important information across. Long chats on the phone were a rare indulgence.

Nowadays the phone network seems to connect calls extremely reliably and unmetered call packages are common so you can chat as much as you like (provided you keep each individual call less than an hour).

How much of this is down to competition (enabled by regulators forcing BT to share infrastructure) and how much is down to technological improvements I do not know

Re:main problem is backhaul (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about 2 years ago | (#38084188)

As far as voice calls go, it is mostly down to competition from the mobile networks. Does anyone actually use their home landline for voice calls any more?

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

thejynxed (831517) | about 2 years ago | (#38084450)

I do, since I refuse to carry around my own modern equivalent of the prisoner's ball and chain. I keep an emergency phone in my wife's glovebox for trips (with the battery removed), but outside of that...

I'll pass on being tracked everywhere I go and having all of my personal calls monitored and recorded, thanks. That kind of thing can be mostly avoided using a landline (tons of hardware available for sale still to encrypt/scramble/etc landline calls). I also refuse to be at others beck and call. I don't want a text message every 10 seconds, pushed ads, or incoming calls interrupting my activities.

Jarring enough when I'm eating dinner and hear my wife's cell phone (yes, she has one, but she also is not a government contractor and leaves it off and w/out battery...mostly when we are driving) going off during the middle of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

It's still cheaper with my phone company to make local, long distance and international calls with my landline vs any cell phone plan legally available in my state. Added bonus of being able to use that line for more than just voice data, without the price gouging that comes with the average cell plan.

Fun times: Gluing epoxy into the memory card slots on mobile phones (I never get phones that have mini/micro-USB) after I've installed a high capacity card. Lots of luck to nosey police if they attempt to plug their copiers into my devices.

People complain about non-standardized charging interfaces, but let me tell you - those things can mean the difference between the TSA getting everything on your phone, or the TSA getting nothing but a headache, what with so many devices now using the charging interface to also transmit hardline data to and from the phone.

Their recording device works OOTB with Samsung, HTC, Apple, Sony-Ericsson, certain Motorola and Nokia phones. Some models from Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Nokia though don't use standardized connector types (mini/micro USB). What really gets them is those proprietary L-shaped connectors, the ones with the square lumps that can be at either end. Let's just say, that if you want to keep the private data on your phone out of their hands, don't own an iPhone, most Samsungs or Sony-Ericssons.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38106942)

You fucking knob.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 2 years ago | (#38087040)

I use my home line or office line as often as possible. There is a night and day difference in call quality between a hard wired phone and cellular.

Re:main problem is backhaul (2)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | about 2 years ago | (#38084200)

It is technological improvements mostly. Computerised switching means there is little to no human involvement in the average telephone call, which brings the cost right down. Calls are so cheap for BT and their ilk that It would be cheaper to run the entire network unmetered than it is to itemise, send out and collect payment for telephone bills.

Line rental prices are the level they are because they are the price BT levies, and unless you've got your own LLU facilities in the exchange you have to rent subscriber lines from BT. Even if you are LLU, the last mile is still going to be BT-owned anyway. There's no escaping them.

What should have happened with BT's privatisation is infrastructure (as currently vested in Openreach) being owned by and rented from the government at cost price, with telcos providing services over those lines. What happened is both infrastructure and telco services were privatised into one BT behemoth, with the infrastructure then later hastily sorta-kinda split off into Openreach. Who are owned by BT, and who own the entire telephone network - essentially being a private monopoly. We have all the problems of a monopoly with none of the benefits.

Trust the Tories to have dreamed up such a stupid scheme though. A lot of people got very rich from our core telecoms network being sold off at a pisscheap price, and everyone else is still paying the price more than 20 years on.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 2 years ago | (#38084272)

It is technological improvements mostly. Computerised switching means there is little to no human involvement in the average telephone call,

That was true in the GPO days too, Strowger and crossbar switches weren't exactly new technology even then.

What's really helped reduce the cost of long distance communications is fibre, which delivers much higher capacity for a given price than microwave or coax.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084942)

I remember phone call prices that made the phone something you used for short calls to get important information across. Long chats on the phone were a rare indulgence.

This was probably true in a lot of European countries, as phone calls were usually charged on a per-minute basis.

In North America, "local" calls were charged a flat rate while long-distance was (when the monopolies were in place) very expensive. The high-cost of long distance calls was used to 'subsidize' the local monthly fee. IMHO it wasn't a bad trade off.

Urban dwellers also helped subsidize the cost for rural folks, and so telephones became basically a universal service that was available to everyone. (Something similar was done with the electrical utilities.)

Re:main problem is backhaul (3)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#38085124)

Nowadays the phone network seems to connect calls extremely reliably and unmetered call packages are common so you can chat as much as you like (provided you keep each individual call less than an hour).

BT's unmetered packages concern me somewhat. They are free up to an hour, but after an hour the per-minute charges are far higher than you'd pay on a metered package. What is the purpose of the hour limit? Presumably to trap people into accidentally overrunning the hour and inadvertently running up their bill. When tariffs are _designed_ to cause people to accidentally incur unexpected charges, I start questioning the ethics of the company involved...

That's because of the technology at the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38085286)

Not because of the bad service.

Re:main problem is backhaul (4, Funny)

GauteL (29207) | about 2 years ago | (#38083558)

"by which I mean the public's tax dollars"

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Re:main problem is backhaul (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#38083698)

The government should re-nationalise the infrastructure, and then run it on a break even basis...

Physical infrastructure is a natural monopoly because if the massive up front investment required to actually build it, and the massive inefficiencies of building multiple sets, so it makes sense for this to be government controlled.

Re:main problem is backhaul (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38084812)

Hey leave your logic out of this! If the government ran the Internet's infrastructure, there would be no upgra...oh wait...well it would be bloody expensi...aw damn...well you bet they'd spy on...shit.

The point is...shut up commie!

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 2 years ago | (#38084112)

BT was initially a government run organisation for many years before it was privatized. So they are basically a government created monopoly which was then sold off -mostly to cronies of the government of the era.

This isn't either the free market or the competitive market at work - it is a monopoly unfairly created by the government (by which I mean the public's tax dollars) screwing everyone else over.

Yes but shouldn't Conservatives done more to cut the cord between BT and the government? Maybe broken it up? Or something. Rather than just sit on their hands?

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084498)

Welcome to Britain - you should check out our ridiculous employment laws to

BT was initially a government run organisation for many years before it was privatized. So they are basically a government created monopoly which was then sold off -mostly to cronies of the government of the era.

This isn't either the free market or the competitive market at work - it is a monopoly unfairly created by the government (by which I mean the public's tax dollars) screwing everyone else over.

Ridiculous employment laws? (3, Insightful)

fireylord (1074571) | about 2 years ago | (#38084820)

Sigh, you mean laws that mean people can't end up being at the receiving end of an autonomous unchallengable unfair firing? This is something that people in the UK right now are rather glad of since it gives them just a little bit more job security than they would have if employers were able to treat their 'human resource' like so much chattel?

The political axegrinders are out in force today.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38085306)

51% of BT is still owned by the government.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38102812)

It is EXACTLY the sort of "privatization" we so often see from conservatives. A simplistic assumption that if you just sell it off, "the market" will magically fix any problems that arise.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#38082966)

Would you like to be a virtual ISP charging real telco prices for internet connections and enjoying the profits while they last?
Or be a real telco paying local expert prices to clean out "your" crushed ducts in suburbia?
Like to pay for a van in every small city and teams to roll up to fix 1990's tech?
Or have a smart 25 yo with the codes to sitting with a laptop looking after 83 counties overnight?

Re:main problem is backhaul (2, Informative)

dadioflex (854298) | about 2 years ago | (#38083072)

BT inherited the copper monopoly at the time, and legislation opened up their exchanges to competition. But you hit the nail on the head. BT innovate, run the infrastructure and handle all the external servicing. Even if you get your fibre product from someone other than BT, it's a BT engineer that comes out to fix it if something goes wrong.

BT do NOT have a fibre monopoly. Talking about them as if they did is reactionary. Virgin Media, while not available to 100% of the UK and saddled with crazy debt they're slowly paying off, are generally the ones to be beaten by BT, and not the other way around.

Re:main problem is backhaul (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#38083252)

BT have managed to keep the existing system running, innovate and run Fibre with out going bust ...

BT had a government sanctioned competitor (Mercury) that went bust as soon as they had to actually spend money on the infrastructure they should have built, but decided they could just leech off BT ...

Virgin, are saddled with debt because they are the result of a spending spree by various companies who merged all the fibre companies (and others) into the only real competition BT have ...

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | about 2 years ago | (#38092886)

Virgin are saddled with crazy debt because the various companies which Virgin is made up of had to collectively dig up almost every residential road in Britain, plus everywhere else they needed to lay fibre (can't sling fibre on telegraph poles). That's not profligacy, that's the cost of entry to the national-telecommunications-provider market. And that's why we're unlikely to see any more real competition any time soon.

Interestingly, NTL's debt, in 2001, was larger than the GDP of Panama (and a substantial list of other countries). debt [telegraph.co.uk], list of GDPs [wikipedia.org]

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Stalks (802193) | about 2 years ago | (#38083368)

BT most definitely have a fibre monopoly.Virgin don't even offer a fibre connection!

Oh, you mean the fibre back-haul from the cabinets? That is arguably transparent from the user when speeds are governed by the slowest link in the chain. Granted Virgin has the fastest theoretical speed on their standard network but BT have offered REAL fibre connections for years and are now bringing REAL fibre to a consumer level with FTTH.

Virgin's "Fibre optic cable" term is a joke, the ASA were stupid not to of struck it down.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083410)

I have not heard about BT's FTTH. What they have been advertising heavily recently is BT Infinity which is fibre to the cabinets. We have a 30Mbit download speed wit it which is reasonable but it is definitely over copper for the last bit.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083464)

I have not heard about BT's FTTH.

Not surprising, as they only launched it yesterday.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083908)

Virgin don't even offer a fibre connection!

They most certainly do provide Point To Point circuits over fibre. We used Virgin at my last employer to link the office in the West Country to the data centre in London. Pair of fibres terminated in FC connectors at each end.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#38083520)

BT appear to have been failing to properly maintain their copper infrastructure - which competitors can use to offer products that are better than BT's offerings - in order to drive them onto fibre which can't. The only actual advantage of fibre-to-the-curb seems to be that it actually gets maintained. While it may be faster than copper, the monthly limits aren't much higher so good luck making use of it, and unlike unlike with the old copper-to-the-exchange system no providers are in a position where they can offer unlimited or near-unlimited packages.

Re:main problem is backhaul (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#38083742)

Yes this is something that so often gets overlooked, connection speeds get faster and faster but the data caps are getting lower... All this means is that you can hit the cap and get disconnected more quickly.

When they offered 512k connections with no data cap, that worked out to around 150GB/month downloaded (not counting upload) if you ran it flat out... They also offered 2mb connections which could pull 600GB.
Now they offer a 40mb connection with a 200GB limit, which in actual fact makes it more like "640k connection, burstable to 40mb for limited periods".

What we really need, in combination with fibre, is small community ISPs... That way you can get high speed uncontended connections with those living near you, which is great for gaming and torrent like protocols... Then other common data can be cached locally too.

And yes, the price of backhaul is ridiculous, and that just includes the line from the exchange to the isp, so even downloading from servers hosted by the ISP is costly... That's why most ISPs don't bother with caching anymore, internet transit is cheap, bt backhaul is not.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 2 years ago | (#38084288)

When they offered 512k connections with no data cap, that worked out to around 150GB/month downloaded (not counting upload) if you ran it flat out...

Yes, but it was at 50:1 contention, or a rather measly 10 kbps/user average, so not everyone could do that. The average user now uses much more than the 3 GB per month that that would allow.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083828)

BT appear to have been failing to properly maintain their copper infrastructure - which competitors can use to offer products that are better than BT's offerings - in order to drive them onto fibre which can't. The only actual advantage of fibre-to-the-curb seems to be that it actually gets maintained. While it may be faster than copper, the monthly limits aren't much higher so good luck making use of it, and unlike unlike with the old copper-to-the-exchange system no providers are in a position where they can offer unlimited or near-unlimited packages.

BT offer an unlimited package without a FUP unless anything else has changed recently.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#38084290)

Ah, apparently they've changed it from officially limited to unofficially throttling you if you exceed an unadvertised limit.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083918)

BT didn't inherit squat. BT's shareholders bought the infrastructure off the Government.

You can argue that they bought a copper monopoly, you can argue that £4bn raised in 1984, the £4bn raised in 1991 and the £5bn raised in 1994 were too low, but they didn't get anything for free.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 2 years ago | (#38084104)

Yeah. It's funny how conservatives the world over always talk the talk about real competition, and yet when push comes to shove they seem the least likely to actually implement it well. They want the free market, which is very rarely the same as the competitive market.

Conservatives, like Communists, wants something that can never exist so that they always have something about which to bitch when convenient, opportune, or advantageous. They gladly turn a blind eye to other non-free aspects of the market when it is to their benefit. Nobody should be shocked by such hypocrisy from politicians but when ideologues start spouting off about the free market I just stop listening.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

dadioflex (854298) | about 2 years ago | (#38083086)

If the "competition" (ie ticks on the back of an elephant) isn't happy with the situation they should band together and spend the billions building their own fibre network. It's that or the fibre gets nationalized (thereby dooming it to inadequate growth, sloppy supervision and spiralling costs) and every ISP gets equal access, but that will kill innovation dead.

Re:main problem is backhaul (0)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#38083260)

They did and the Result is Virgin Media ... and they have their own fast fibre network, this is why this story is laughable, there are two big fibre companies, there is competition....and still the little leeches complain ...

Re:main problem is backhaul (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#38083762)

Virgin Media is not available everywhere, are not expanding their network, and don't provide their service wholesale so you're stuck with their ISP service which means single dynamic ip, no ipv6 etc.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

mrbill1234 (715607) | about 2 years ago | (#38085348)

I'm on Virgin and have had the same IP address for years. It's not guaranteed to be static - but it is static enough that I don't bother with any dynamic DNS services.

Re:main problem is backhaul (2)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#38084310)

Which BT have responded by rolling out their own fibre-to-the-curb to areas with Virgin Media first, using their existing Government-funded infrastructure to undercut the competition, and leaving other areas to stew low down on the priority list. Gotta love monopolies.

Re:main problem is backhaul (1)

Cato (8296) | about 2 years ago | (#38085776)

Virgin is really no more of a "fibre network" than BT's FTTC (Infinity) - they use Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) like every other cable operator, so the fibre turns into coax between the Virgin building and the customer premises (hence the Hybrid).

Of course Virgin like to lie about this in their marketing and claim they are all fibre...

The spin on this story is a bit silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38082926)

BT, the incumbent monopoly for telecoms, is going to sell its fibre broadband to other internet providers. This is excellent news for UK consumers. BT are probably only complying with OFCOM regulations (BT are not a charity), but it's still a step in the right direction.

If one company (Geo Networks) is hurt by something that will benefit the vast majority of the population of the UK, so be it. We need to stop mindlessly putting the needs of corporations ahead of the needs of individuals.

Re:The spin on this story is a bit silly (5, Informative)

Cato (8296) | about 2 years ago | (#38082984)

It is anticompetitive because Geo and others need to use the PIA fibre from BT to 'backhaul' from a village to a larger town or city. With the backhaul, they can provide local connections, maybe using wireless - without the backhaul, BT actually provides the connections to ISPs for resale, hence there is far less competition.

I like cheese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38082932)

And that is all I have to say on the subject.

Not just a question of competition. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083038)

"Geo Networks, which is helping deliver superfast networks in Wales in partnership with the Welsh Assembly,"...

The Welsh Assembly is aiming for more political power, and it wants its own comms network, that can't be "controlled" from London (ie The English). Just another example of Welsh Nationalism/xenophobia.

Re:Not just a question of competition. (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 2 years ago | (#38084202)

"Geo Networks, which is helping deliver superfast networks in Wales in partnership with the Welsh Assembly,"...

The Welsh Assembly is aiming for more political power, and it wants its own comms network, that can't be "controlled" from London (ie The English). Just another example of Welsh Nationalism/xenophobia.

wow.... way to try to turn it into something it's not.
you do realise the there is a coalition in power in the Welsh Assembly don't you?
Plaid Cymru(nationalist) and Labour(Westminster based Party) so your point is moot and just shows your OWN political leaning.
just because something is positive for the Welsh and originates from the Welsh Assembly doesn't mean it's anti-English or negative
and no i am NOT Welsh, i am Scottish but we get the same crap when our Parliament does it's job in looking after the people here.
if you don't like it.... do what we did, campaign for your own devolved parliament and stop whining about how successfully the devolved parliaments are doing their job for their electorate

Re:Not just a question of competition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38091166)

"you do realise the there is a coalition in power in the Welsh Assembly don't you?"

Don't I know it just.

Welsh Labour and Plaid are two faces of the same coin. Labour in Wales has little allegiance to London, they're after the same electorate as Plaid and can't be seen to have any links to England. Anyhow, Scotland is devolving into pretty much a one-party state, and Wales is employing linguistic apartheid. Small minds think alike...

Assuring real competition (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083044)

Competition can be assured if BT offers PIA services at exactly the same price to other companies as to its internal users. One way to do that transparently is to split of the PIA provider and to have it offer access at equal terms to all (including BT). Another more difficult manner is through rather invasive and expensive regulation.

Fibre, not "fiber" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083132)

What's the spelling? It's a UK story, with the correct spelling in TFA, posted during UK breakfast time, probably of little interest to Americans, so what's up the spelling? Stop burning a hole my eyes.

Re:Fibre, not "fiber" (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#38083242)

What's the spelling? It's a UK story, with the correct spelling in TFA, posted during UK breakfast time,...

Well fibre is on a lot of people's minds at breakfast time.

Re:Fibre, not "fiber" (0)

euroq (1818100) | about 2 years ago | (#38083330)

This is an American news site.

AMERICA, FUCK YEAH! :)

Re:Fibre, not "fiber" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083416)

Pipe down kid, the adults are talking.

Re:Fibre, not "fiber" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084066)

This is an American news site.

That's still no excuse for bad spelling.

Fiber?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083212)

I believe that, if BT are rolling it out, it's likely to be 'fibre' and not 'fiber'.

Competition, yes (4, Insightful)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 2 years ago | (#38083248)

BT fibre is indeed harmful to the competition. The competition being Virgin fibre. The good news is, there will no longer be a monopoly on fibre. The bad news is, those of us who do not have Virgin fibre, and live in broadband notspots, will not see any BT fibre either. Again, this is for the purposes of competition. BT have actually said they will roll out fibre to my exchange by March next year. However, the fine print says that "rolling out fibre" to the exchange means just that; to the exchange. The fibre itself will only run to select cabinets, in my case, only 50% of them. Guess which ones? The ones that already have streets cabled with Virgin fibre, so they can poach Virgin customers. BT already get my £15 per month for the abysmal 0.7mbps they provide, and have no interest in bringing me a better service since I am already paying them.

Re:Competition, yes (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#38083328)

Virgin isn't exactly much better - about 10 years ago their predecessor received a government grant to extend their network, so the town I was living in at the time had all it's roads ripped up while they laid the infrastructure out to cabinets on all street corners.

Did we ever actually get any service? No. That cable has lain unused ever since. The grant stopped short of providing money to hook up the buildings, so it never happened.

Re:Competition, yes (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 2 years ago | (#38084222)

I feel your pain. My road is partially cabled. It stops a few houses down, and Virgin won't complete the street because it isn't profitable for them.

Re:Competition, yes (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083614)

Recently I contacted my ISP to find out why I had 750 kb/s upload and yet 40 kb/s upload since I was looking to upload some stuff to youtube and uploading 3 gig at that speed is like pulling teeth. My ISP informed me that BT uses this cap on all it's 20CN lines and the only way to get a better upload is to wait for BT to upgrade the exchange.

BT is not only holding back the broadband industry, it's restricting the UK's access to taking part in various websites often used to discover new artists and launch careers. I don't think I'm one of them, but it's sad to see the UK is being stunted online due to corruption.

Re:Competition, yes (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#38083630)

How do you find out what cabinets BT is rolling out to? this is something I'm interested in seeing as my exchange is enabled but my cabinet is not.

Re:Competition, yes (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 2 years ago | (#38084198)

It was made public by a local online newszine, after they spoke to our MP. Most likely you won't be able to find out directly from BT, so you have to ask someone who works in the council.

Re:Competition, yes (2)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 2 years ago | (#38084256)

How do you find out what cabinets BT is rolling out to? this is something I'm interested in seeing as my exchange is enabled but my cabinet is not.

try this http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange_search [samknows.com]
enter your postcode and then select your exchange. it will tell you what equipments your exchange has, what LLU ISPs are availabe and when FTTC/fibre will be available bud. great site.

Re:Competition, yes (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#38084414)

Yeah this only gives exchange information though not the cabinet details. The problem isn't the exchange - I already know this has fibre, the problem is whether they've rolled the fibre out to the street cabinets from the exchange, this is the part BT don't advertise, they only talk about how many exchanges they've enabled, even though it may be the case that only 10% of people on an exchange can get fibre because they've only rolled it out to 10% of cabinets attached to that exchange.

Re:Competition, yes (2)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 2 years ago | (#38084584)

try here then bud, sorry i mistook what you meant.
http://www.trefor.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/exchanges.htm [trefor.net]
this gets updated now and then to show the latest stats and there also....
this http://www.trefor.net/tech-pages/availability-checker/ [trefor.net]
hope that helps bud

Re:Competition, yes (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 2 years ago | (#38084622)

in fact bud THAT link is the VERY thing to tell you all you need to know abut your line and what you can get now and what is coming to it...
FTTC for me from December but i'll wait for Bethere tbh and not have to deal with bloody BT

Re:Competition, yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38099624)

I don't know for sure, but aren't their new fibre cabinets rather large (like 5 foot tall). I remember stories of people complaining about the size of the new cabinets a year of so ago, so unless they have improved them recently you can probably tell by looking at the cabinets.

No competition - what about Virgin Media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083296)

It's not like BT are the only company that can provide fibre here in the UK anyway, Virgin Media already offer it. It might be interesting if Virgin were to start offering their backhaul to other companies too (I don't know if they do this or not).

I also received an email from my current ISP (Be Unlimited) yesterday about their plans for offering a fibre service and trials they are planning to do, involving putting their own kit into BT exchanges (much like how they did unbundled ADSL way back when).

In any case, I'm still on 10mbps ADSL, and am happy with the speeds, they are more than adequate for my heavier-than-average usage. Whilst fibre would be a good long-term investment, I don't see a neccessity for the speeds at can offer right now, especially given it is currently usually offerred with a usage cap and/or heavy traffic management of non-HTTP(S) traffic.

Also, I work for local government in London, and our experience with Geo is they are a litigation troll.

Re:No competition - what about Virgin Media? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#38084482)

Virgin media* like to talk fiber in their adverts (why advertising standards allow this I have no idea) but what they really offer (at least to normal end users) is cable TV/cable modem service which I belive is backhauled over fiber.

But afaict the real issue with virgin media is that they are essentially an amalgamation of various failed attempts to compete with BT (telecommunication/internet service) and SKY (pay TV) and while they are keeping the network ticking over and pushing higher speeds over it they are not trying to expand at all. So in many parts of the UK it's BT or nothing.

*Who virgin only have a minority stake in BTW.

Re:No competition - what about Virgin Media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38086872)

I, too, have complained to the ASA about this (and I am a VM customer!) yet they take no notice.

Virgin Media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083376)

Im on Virgin Media and im happy with the 50Mbps service. It has its own fibre network so BT have no say.

Virgin Media is the culmination of a load of old ISP's and cable TV suppliers including NTL, Telewest, & ITV digital to name a few

BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083470)

There is no such thing as "BT". There is "BT Retail", which rents phonelines and is an ISP. Then there is "BT Wholesale", which provides infrastructure to ISPs, including BT Retail, but also many others.

For ADSL, that works quite well: "BT" (retail) talk to BT Wholesale in the same way that other ADSL providers do, allowing competition. The only issue is that small ISPs find it hard to compete with the big ones, because of the big jump in price bands between having a few customers, and having a few more.

BT retail has a shitty broadband service (throttling, IP address allocation issues, and so on), so no pros are interested in their fibre. BT Wholesale's fibre SHOULD be another story, and fibre provided via other ISPs like BeThere SHOULD be fine... except that BeThere don't offer fibre yet, for some reason.

So what's the setup for fibre? How come other ISPs aren't able to pick this up and sell it to customers? Is fibre not required to be provided wholesale? Is it being sold by BT Wholesale in a way that favors BT Retail over other providers? If so, these are issues that Ofcom should be taking VERY seriously.

Re:BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (2)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#38083542)

Some of the reasons why BT Retail are shitty are actually imposed by BT Wholesale. For example, they have fairly expensive per-gigabyte charges, so BT Wholesale-based ISPs generally have low monthly usage limits. BT Wholesale also tends to break important parts of their infrastructure and not actually notice, often resulting in entire exchanges worth of customers dropping offline for several hours.

Re:BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#38083566)

Also, BeThere in particular are a LLU-unbundling based ISP. They don't use BT Wholesale, instead installing their own DSLAMs at exchanges. It's the whole reason they can be so much better than BT, and it's not possible with BT's FTTC product - that puts its equivalent of DSLAMs in the cabinets, which have no room for third-party equipment.

Re:BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (1)

Malc (1751) | about 2 years ago | (#38083588)

According to their blog, Be are trialling fibre service at an exchange in Barking. They're getting there, but too slowly for many people.

Re:BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (1)

Builder (103701) | about 2 years ago | (#38084426)

Yeah, I'm not looking forward to the BE network upgrade next year. Readdressing the network, etc. is going to be a bit of a pain.

Re:BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#38083952)

For ADSL, that works quite well: "BT" (retail) talk to BT Wholesale in the same way that other ADSL providers do, allowing competition

Except that BT wholesale won't offer naked ADSL, so you need to pay £10/month to BT retail for a telephone line to be allowed to use one of BT retail's competitors for ADSL. This makes it very difficult for them to compete with Virgin, who can offer decent Internet-only packages that cost as little as the cheapest package that competing ISPs offer if you include the BT line rental.

Re:BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (2)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#38084356)

There is no such thing as "BT".

Well there is "BT group".....

There is "BT Retail", which rents phonelines and is an ISP. Then there is "BT Wholesale"

Afaict with BT ADSL/phone service there are actually THREE parts of BT group involved. BT retail, BT wholesale and BT openreach.

BT openreach maintain the physical lines.
BT wholesale operate the ADSL/pots/etc equipment that runs on those lines
BT retail sell service to end users.

Big providers (like o2/be*, sky, talktalk/tiscali/etc**) can buy access to the phone lines direct off BT openreach and colocate their own POTS and/or ADSL gear in the BT exchange (a practice known as local loop unbundling). Small providers are bascially forced to buy off BT wholesale (in principle they could buy off one of the LLU providers but only if the LLU provider is willing to sell them service) and pay BT wholesale's (very high) backhaul prices. This is why you will find that most small ISPS have data usage limits and/or horrible congestion.

The question that is being argued about at the moment is what will happen with the introduction of fiber. With most fiber networks you can't just sell access to each customers local loop because each customer no longer has a dedicated local loop. From TFA it appears that BT is planning to sell connections through the fiber network to other broadband providers but heavilly restrict what those connections can be used for.

* o2 and be are owned by the same parent company and sell service using the same LLU infrastructure.
** talktalk and tiscali bought out a LOT of isps as they tried to expand their llu infrastructure

Re:BT Retail, or BT Wholesale? (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about 2 years ago | (#38084424)

you forgot BT Openreach who are in charge of the infrastructure

So what's the setup for fibre? How come other ISPs aren't able to pick this up and sell it to customers? Is fibre not required to be provided wholesale? Is it being sold by BT Wholesale in a way that favors BT Retail over other providers? If so, these are issues that Ofcom should be taking VERY seriously.

Openreach roll it out..... BT retail always get first shot at it and wholesale always delay roll out to others, basically till OFCOM kick their asses which they have been.... as to whether bt wholesale favour bt retail.. yes and that's another thing OFCOM have given them grief for and still do. openreach were given shit about their preferential treatment and QOS given to BT retail. as to why other ISP are not able to sell on.....BT were gauging prices like hell anf got caught thus the recent OFCOM ass kicking and yesterdays announcement of the wholesale price drop and better conditions to other ISP's.

However , whether it's BT Openreach , BT retail, BT wholesale.. they are ALL part of the BT group of companies which are all run by the same board of directors...... to be honest it's like you actually haven't been following this story at all as this is just the latest entry into the catalogue of it and thus my temptations is to sauy to you, Mr AC that there is a smell of freshly laid plastic grass about you.....ALL the questions you have asked have answers readily available to you and in the majority od cases BT was found to be at fault in a big way

As for bethere... i am with them and they just sent out an email as to why their fibre offering will not be this year
http://blog.bethere.co.uk/2011/09/update-on-fibre.html [bethere.co.uk]

BT and Fibre rollout (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 2 years ago | (#38083508)

This has been incredibly annoying for me. Originally it was supposed to be in my region last November, then March, now it's due for March next year. Even considering that, I've no way of knowing if they're going to roll it out to my cabinet.

Also annoying is that most of the LLU companies don't yet offer fibre services. O2/Be have been pretty great, no noticable throttling, no bandwidth limits, best uptime I've experienced from a broadband provider but they don't have any plans at the moment to offer fibre. Still, at least it means I won't be forced to use their awful router which they randomly remote into and reset my DNS settings (O2's DNS servers are shockingly bad).

Re:BT and Fibre rollout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084216)

Be do have plans. http://blog.bethere.co.uk/2011/09/update-on-fibre.html

Re:BT and Fibre rollout (1)

motd2k (1675286) | about 2 years ago | (#38087280)

That update basically says that there's no update though. Since there's no room in the BT cabs for third party DSLAMs, the only remaining choice would be for Be* to provide FTTP. Can only hope, but I don't see it happening inside the next 24-36months. This whole saga is going to cost them thousands upon thousands of customers.

Re:BT and Fibre rollout (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 2 years ago | (#38084240)

You don't have to use O2's router. Any router that lets you change the MAC address to the same one as on the O2 router you were issued with will work.

Re:BT and Fibre rollout (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 2 years ago | (#38084606)

Not true as I found out. There's some quirk in how they provide their service than means some random routers won't work with O2. Hours of headscratching before I find messages posted in loads of places saying the router I'd got didn't work with O2 at all.

Changing the MAC address is only if you don't want to wait for O2 to re-allocate your IP.

BT are shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083642)

BT are shit. Overpriced, poor performance, awful customer service. Fuck them.

Re:BT are shit (1)

Geeky (90998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38096426)

Yeah, but the competition aren't much better.

I was with BT when they were the only option for ADSL, back around 2000/2001. I switched away after I had a problem they wouldn't resolve. It even got to the point where an engineer had visited and confirmed that the problem was at the exchange. Even so, every time I phoned up I had to go through the "have you tried rebooting" rigmarole just to get an update. After two weeks of no service I cancelled.

I switched to Pipex who still had a good reputation at the time. I had a problem with them, their end - my router was connecting but not being given an IP address by the remote server. As part of troubleshooting, support asked me try pinging an address. I told them I didn't have an IP address, and they said it didn't matter I should still be able to ping!! In the end they told me it must be my PC. I had to get mad and insist on an escalation, and within half an hour of doing so it was fixed. I just with there was a way to short circuit first line if you know what you're talking about (yes, I know, there's an XKCD for that...)

So now, as of yesterday, I'm back on BT. Cheaper than Pipex and I'm getting 40MB download and 2MB upload.

I dont care unless they let BT into Hull (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083706)

I couldnt care less about BT untill the day BT will come into Hull. Hull the one place in the UK where there is a true ISP monopoly. We have KC (Kingston Communications) in Hull and they have an agreement with BT so they wont ever come into Hull. All the other ISP's need a BT line, but I live in Hull with a KC line so I am stuck paying £30(broadband) + £10 (line rental) + £30 (landline) + £25 (sky TV), a total £95 a month for a 2.5Mbps service. If I moved 10 miles down the road I could get Broadband, TV, Phone and line rental for £25 a month from sky. What makes it worse is ofcom dont even care about this despite the several thousand strong campaign against this a year ago.

I live in Hull, I dont want to pay £95 a month for services I can get any where else in the UK for £25 a month.

Which is better? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#38084728)

Is a government controlled network better than a government created network that privately owned companies fight over to then resell to the people that payed to have it built? It seems to me that having the money go directly back to the government so it can be invested in more infrastructure would be better than having the government spend money to control the companies fighting over the lines. The U.S. went through all this to break up AT&T. Tax payer dollars built the phone network. It was privatized. It became a monopoly. Now we have to pay government employees to deal with every little problem that pops up when phone companies don't play fair.

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