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Government Pushes Back 2Meg USC to 2015 – Let’s forget 2Meg and Go Straight to FTTP

I read in Jeremy Hunt’s speech at the Broadband Delivery UK industry day today that due to the lack of funds the government has moved the target date for implementation of its 2Meg Universal Service Commitment out to the “end of this parliament” or in other words 2015 (see my post in March on the feasibility of doing it by 2012).

It is about time everyone realised this is a waste of effort.  Lets forget about 2Meg and go straight for Fibre To The Premises (FTTP).  FTTP for the Final third by 2015 is a sensible objective.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

7 replies on “Government Pushes Back 2Meg USC to 2015 – Let’s forget 2Meg and Go Straight to FTTP”

While I agree with FTTP for denser urban areas, for rural areas FTTK makes a degree of sense *and* would be easier/quicker to implement.

My plan would be to use FTTK in rural areas NOW, then switch to urban areas and do FTTP (forget FTTK its a pointless step at this stage and only being done to combat DOCSIS3) then move back out to the rural areas and roll FTTP where it makes sense and move the FTTK closer to the premises where FTTP doesn’t stack

A properly designed backhaul network *should* be able to handle this.

I say roll out fibre to the rural areas straight away, then the telcos will shape themselves and do the urban. public intervention should be in the legislation to open up the digital village pumps and the communities and private investment will take care of the rest.

2Mbps, as I discovered the other night, isn’t enough to do even the simplest of tasks eg monitor a breaking news story without switching on the TV or radio (we don’t have reception for the majority of radio stations in the house – joy of rural again.) Uploading anything relevant to the story proved impossible.

If 2Mbps isn’t enough today in mid 2010, it sure as hell won’t be by 2015. We’ve used close on 50GB this month so far in bandwidth over a crap connection in this house, and I can’t do even the half of what I want to e.g. make Skype calls, video conference etc.

Fibre to the Kerb? We don’t even have a pavement here in our village so which kerb are you going to go to, James?!! If you are going to dig to my ‘kerb’, you might as well go the extra 3ft and come in the window frame, which is FTTH. Many rural villages are the same – no pavements.

FTTC doesn’t scale downwards well and as all the figures prove, is more expensive than its urban counterpart. If you are going to do rural villages etc, you might as well spend the money now on FTTH as replacing it in x years time will mean finding yet more money from coffers that will inevitably be half empty because we are not giving our economy the boost it will get from FTTH (hard proof is plentiful on FTTH effect on GDP and GNP).

I just don’t understand why this country has its head stuck so far up its culo about the cost of rural FTTH and the need for a sensible USO when everywhere that has deployed rural FTTH can show numerous/untold/infinite benefits. And let’s see what happens in Finland now 1Mbps has become a legal right NOW. How long before that bar is raised there and we start to see the benefits they recoup? Probably long before 2015 and the UK are going to look complete muppets for pandering to the telcos.

I say, do one area – say 50k people in a deeply rural area, prove the costs, and then let’s make a decision about how possible it is.

FTTC = FTTK same thing Kerb or Cabinet sat on Kerb or FTTV if you like – fibre to the verge, or W for Wall or H for hedge. Silly word games TBH. We knew what James meant.

If you can’t follow a news story on 2M you need either your computer or your head looking at. GPRS would do it !

I like the idea of a 50k people trial, got a business case to put to someone to show them what you think it will return ?

I agree with lins, at peak times with four members of my family online at the same time it is hard to load pages… and not many families can afford a 2 meg line for each member. Or GPRS data charges on top of the broadband connection charges.
Lins was saying she couldn’t upload contributions to a breaking story, did you not read that bit?
Yes there is a business case for a 50k project. NDA still operational on that though.
I am glad the gov aren’t pushing for 2meg usc and are going for NGA, it is a relief to know we aren’t gonna be lumbered with BET for another generation, and it shows they are starting to realise what NGA actually is and means. The USC of 2megs can only be delivered with fibre to rural areas anyway. I think they have grasped that now and aren’t saying ‘USC is now achieved, satellites now cover all of the uk’ which is what labour lot would have done.

Worth remembering that even some of the fastest consumer home connections in urban areas can’t actually upload at 2Mbps either. The 2Mbps USC promise only covers download speeds; issues such as latency, uploads and affordability get no reasonable consideration despite their critical importance.

The UK average upload speed for everybody is currently around 0.5Mbps (500Kbps), even BT’s base 40Mbps FTTC service for consumers starts with 2Mbps uploads. Virgin Media has similar problems. The issue of upload speed is seriously overlooked.

Agreed, 2 Meg is not enough, but what about the cost? According to the Analysys Mason report for the Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG), and the presentation given by Ed Vaizey at the BDUK day, it is estimated that it would cost £29 billion over 10 years to deploy optical Fibre throughout the UK.

Aerial deployment of optical Fibre via telegraph poles is possible on much reduced timescales if allowed by local councils, but telegraph poles alone do not cover the UK. Bandwidth with GPON is typically 100 Mb/s and the ROI depends highly on take rate for the service (i.e., not everyone will drop Virgin, SKY or their POTS line and replace it with a Fibre optic service) and the markup on each service that the average customer subscribes to. The more services they subscribe to, the higher the revenue, the shorter the ROI. If we assume only current products at current rates, as well as a reasonable ramp in take rate, the ROI is on the order of >10 years.

There is an alternative, an innovative low cost last mile solution that delivers the objectives of Broadband Delivery UK for circa £2 billion instead of £29 billion. And it can be adapted for use in rural areas. It is called DSL Rings and it can deliver up to 400 Mb/s to the home in rural and non-rural areas, over the existing copper wire infrastructure. It would enable the government to meet its goals to deliver ultra- high bandwidth without going further into debt and increasing taxes.

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