November 18, 2017

Broadband Musings

It is interesting to read the latest news – that BT “overestimated” the cost of rolling out High Speed broadband to rural communities and is seeking to return or ‘reinvest’ the £90m or so which it has kept in its monopolistic coffers. (full story here : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31043548)

It is also curious to note that BT are looking at spending £12.5bn on buying out the UK’s largest mobile operator EE, seeing this as a better investment than in fulfilling its oft-cited obligations for ‘Broadband Britain’ and ‘Superfast North Yorkshire’. I wonder how much of the taxpayers money paid to BT may have been effectively diverted? But i digress.

So we enter 2015 still with no sign of fast broadband coming to our villages. On a personal basis good fast broadband is essential for my work (in IT) and i am mostly home-based, so i recently trialled one of the satellite broadband services (EuropaSat/Tooway) which are on offer nationally.

On the face of it satellite should provide an interim solution until the day when HSB eventually comes along. The bad news however is that it doesn’t (and it is also quite costly). The download / upload speeds are consistent and good per se (around 16Mbps/6Mbps respectively) but the achilles heel is the latency it imposes (that is to say it takes a relatively long time to send a message to/from a web server). Therefore the general web browsing and internet experience remains sluggish and little better than we have become accustomed to in our broadband ‘desert’. To be fair Satellite will provide faster downloads for things like streaming video, iPlayer and YouTube and large email attachments but the ‘capped/limited’ nature of the service means that it is not really practical/economic for that either. As a result i have sent the equipment back and cancelled the trial subscription. I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Back to square one, then. I’m currently looking at taking some short-term office space in Welburn (which was blessed by BT as part of the initial rollout and enjoys High Speed services) for a project which i am currently embarking on. This may end up being the only option. It is galling when the fibre which carries the fast broadband service to Malton runs along the A64 closer to our villages than it is to Welburn.

I’ve made enquiries as to BTs ongoing plans for the area of SW Ryedale however it seems to be something of a moot point since our local scheme hit a brick wall. I wonder if Ryedale DC may be able to apply some renewed pressure? All of the broadband providers in our area are effectively dependent upon BT and as a result we pay £5-10/month more than areas where the exchanges have been ‘unbundled’ which provides an effective choice. Rural areas such as ours get a double whammy with both slow speeds and higher prices for what we do receive.

It is clear that it is to BTs commercial advantage to maintain this status quo for the foreseeable future. Moreover the politicians seem to have either lost interest or are mistakenly thinking Rural High Speed Broadband rollout is a done deal.

Any thoughts and ideas welcome.

 

Andrew

 

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