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UK to finally get broadband access 110

Ewan writes "Oftel (the UK telecoms regulator) have today finally announced their plans for the roll out of DSL, including the fact that the entire country must be able to connect to the Internet using DSL by July 2001. While the document is not final yet (it's entering its final consultation period), it is available to be read in full at Oftel's website. " Wow. DSL for everyone.
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UK to finally get broadband access

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  • True, all true. The village I live in got
    Electricity in 1958, Mains sewarage in 1993,
    Gas in 1996, is a whole mine of copper out of
    ISDN range and on last enquiry, BT recommended
    a private Kilostream for my higher bandwidth
    requirements. We shall probably never get cable
    and the chances of ADSL are slim.
  • The trial is in some london areas (see http://www.isntrial.bt.com/) , the sept 30 ukp rumour is just that

  • by Anonymous Coward
    There an assumption that ADSL in the UK will be fixed cost (and low cost). In fact the access method BT propose (option4 in Oftel speak) allows for accounting capabilities that enables them to charge per minute should they so wish (easier than per Mb costs). In reality I expect BT to launch a bewildering array of pricing options for ADSL and 30 UKP per month flat (which seems to be everyones holy grail) rate for 2M/256K will NOT be one of them.

    BT will roll out ADSL and BT will make money from it.

    Also I would not be surprised to see IP filtering from preventing users running servers on the end of their lines. I lived in CA for a while and that's what my cable modem provider did so as to not undercut their leased line business.

    Oftel should have gone for Option1 totally unbundling the local loop and allow licensed carriers (CLEC's) to install there own DSLAMS in exchanges (CO's), but not even the US has gone that far yet.
  • I understand BT is already trialling this stuff in some areas [North London] - I believe they are charging around £30 per month for the service [ you get a 24/7 internet connection].

    There's been a review in one of the recent computer magazines.
  • Exactly my thoughts. I live in central Texas, with no high speed connection in view for years. With cruddy telephone lines, to boot. Can't get a connection higher than 33.6k on my 56k modem, regardless of how I tweak my init strings.

    Although, I admit, I feel fortunate that I don't have to pay for the net by the minute. I'd be even more broke!
  • 256K is almost 50 times more than you can get with the best modems

    Hmm... 56K x 5 = 280K

    Ok, I know 56k isn't possible (at least with FCC regulations, which I also realize probably doesn't apply to you being in the UK) but 256K/5 = 51.2K which is completely possible. Sure 5 times faster is nice, but nowhere near your claims of 50 times.
  • ``there isn't even rumors of any kind of high speed access in my area yet''

    I know exactly what you're going through. I live in a suburb of Chicago (about a 45 minute drive to the heart of the Loop) and our town has no high speed net access. I don't even think that cable modems are available (I haven't checked as I'm looking for non-dialup access to be able to connect a server). If you don't live in certain areas within the Chicago city limits or a very small number of suburbs directly West of the city technology like DSL is not available.

    Ameritech, who I assume owns the local copper, doesn't seem to be interested in providing any improvements to their COs in the area. Everything I receive in the mail or the phone calls I receive from these bozos is for cellular services, paging, voice mail, caller ID, etc. I've started looking at these offers carefully so I can call the numbers where you can get additional information. And the information I request is ``when will high speed network access be available in my town''.

    Seems that Ameritech and SBC are spending all their time trying to merge into Gigundophonecorp rather than providing services to their customers.

  • I might be able to get cable modem in a year or two.... I live in MA! I not in the middle of no where! COME ON! SOMEBODY SELL MY SOME BANDWIDTH HERE! All of the UK will probably have DSL befor I do. I think I am going to have to move to cambridge.
  • LOL, were not sat around in fields munching straw you know, me thinks you have been watching too much TV.

    (Actually sat here with the rumble of traffic, maybe the straw idea sounds good!)

  • No, you would probably get hauled up into court but as long as don't have any equipment for decoding TV signals you would stand a good chance at winning. Since the whole EM law thing is based on your ablity to decode signals. Note I said decode, not detect or pickup. So owning an arial is also ok as long as you can't decode the signal.

    Police radar also comes under the same law, that is why police radar scaners are legal much to the annoyance of the police. Since they only detect the radar and not decode it. I know a few people who got done for having them and got off on this technicality.
  • Wales is a principality, but it is a subsidiary of England.
    We conquered it in the 1100's, they revolted in the 1400's
    we still won, so it's a part of England. The eldest son of the
    reigning monarch traditionally becomes the Prince of Wales,
    this one has taken the trouble to learn Welsh too.
  • You've totally got to be kidding.

    In the *real* Silicon Valley, we have the options of wireless, cable, and/or DSL.

    I pay $16/mo. for my phone and $10/mo. for DSL. (Yeah, they forgot to charge me the other $39).

    I can surf/call locally all I want, etc.

    I routinely get speeds approaching T1. Do you folks in England still get charged for a dial tone?

    Come on, lack of competition is allowing BT to royally (no pun intended) screw you guys.

    I hope you own stock in the company. Otherwise, you're extremely delusional.

    As for DTV (Blech!), we've got it here, too. It's broadcasted, no satellite necessary. However, paying $7000 for a widescreen TV that can't do anything until you spend $$$'s more on a decoder just doesn't appeal to me.

    The BBC has bad shows just like any other network. However, some of your shows are wonderful. (I miss "Chef!" Why did you wankers cancel it?)

    Regardless of both our previous statements, I'm glad that you folks are getting high speed access. Now, you can fill your hard drives with porn and MP3's, too! :^P

  • I wonder, has anyone tried to get xDSL to work over a line concentrator like pair gain or even better a remote integrated mux?
    In Oz there are thousands of these things in the local loop network, not a chance of deploying xDSL to everybody, only to the lucky few on a direct connect to the exchange.
    Oh well, at least some of us have cable.

  • Hello Mr. BT - I'd like to dictate to you what equipment you place in your exchange.

    Hello Mr. Customer - go swivel.
  • Sorry but that's bull. In the UK mainland virtually all phonelines are given a clear 64k path through te BT network - if they weren't 56k connections wouldn't work - in fact we'd still be sitting around at 28.8k or lower. The only time a home highway user actually uses more switch capacity is when they make 2 calls at once - and then it's just the same as having 2 phone lines which many people now have.
  • Can you get V.90 56k at 40k+? I can only get 33.6 on a good day tops.

    Check with BT that they haven't put a DACs on your line. A DACs is a device BT use to allow two customers to share one line. The big drawback is that it will do a 'nice' job of cutting your linespeed down to 33.6 max.

    A couple of months ago I bought a 56k modem to replace my 28.8. For the first few weeks I was getting connection speeds of approx 50k, then one day it dropped to 33.6 max. After trying different modems and ISPs, I finally found out that BT had installed a second line for a neighbour by DACsing my line. BT were very reluctant to remove the DACs, but after many phone calls, I finally persuaded them to deDACs my line. Now I'm back to 50k for most connections.

    If you do suspect that there's a DACs on your line, then send me an email & I can give you a name of someone within BT who might be prepared to help.
  • You got mains sewerage??? Bloody luxury! (We lived in a cardboard box in the middle of the road etc...) From the whiff that has pervaded my orchard for the last few days I think our new next door neighbours have discovered exactly why it is a BAD idea to put bleech into a septic tank...

    Getting back to the point, have you thought about business rate ISDN? This has an 8km range, and doesn't cost much more, BUT you have to have a pretty good terminal adaptor- not one of those 30 quid jobs, one that does office telephone extensions and the like- and if the power goes, pooff go your telephones, too. The other option is, as I said, satellite such as DirectPC which gives you minimum 256kbits but the upload is over a normal 'phone line, and obviously isn't an option if dishes are banned in your area.

    Can you get V.90 56k at 40k+? I can only get 33.6 on a good day tops.

    I've told BT that unless I get ISDN at home highway rates by September, I am switching all my Internet calls to Cable and Wireless. This should cut my revenue for BT from 60 quid a month to under a tenner! I won't save any money; C+W calls cost a little bit more than BTPremierLine actually but since you don't have pay the PremierLine fee it works out about the same. C+W's UKCall [cwcom.co.uk] service allows you to route your calls via C+W from a normal BT 'phone line. I'll give it a try and see if it's any good.


  • when i first got a cable modem (from optimum online --the only good part of Cablevision)
    i routinly got 8 mbps --however now that the entire block is on the cable modem I get about 6-4 mbps.

    Still damn fast --plus they promise to add more bandwith. (yeah right --this is cable vision -the last major cable compnay (AFAIK) to upgrade to a fiber optic cable network)

  • Thought this article [unmetered.org.uk] might interest you.

    Check out the links it has to follow-up news and other comments on BT's appalling monopolistic practices.

    -- R.
  • The significant point is that the local loop will no longer be monopolised by BT. This allows competitors to offer a better deal, and they will. Just look at the lengths screaming.net has gone to to offer unmetered access.

    The Oftel document rejects option 4 in favour of option 2 doesn't it?

  • Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought that "broadband" refered specifically to cable... or at least to the method that cable modems use to multiplex video and data (and possibly voice soon?) over the same line using different frequencies. I've never seen broadband applied to DSL.
  • [about the TV licence in Britain]

    It also means that we get two advert free TV channels, who can think about content rather than trying to boost audience ratings for the advertisers. Well, that's the theory anyhow :-)

    It pays for two national TV channels (BBC1 and BBC2), several TV channels available on digital and cable (BBC Choice, News 24, Knowledge, Parliament, and maybe others), five national radio stations, and local radio stations for every region. Oh, and it funds BBC Online and the BBC's Internet news service (often linked to from Slashdot) as well. All of these are free of charge and without advertising, at least for people in the UK.

  • Charged for a dial tone? Eh? I pay GBP25 per *quarter* for my phone, nothing for my ISP, and then 1-4p a minute for most usage. I do most of my surfing/email at work, so this works out way cheaper for me.

    Yes, BT up until now have made profits that sicken us users. Which is why many of us aren't BT customers any more. It's hurting them enough that they're finally doing something about it.

    I'm not delusional about this. I'm doing it, and watching the other changes happen. Yes, Silicon Valley is ahead of us - that's no surprise. But we're catching up, and the rest of the US is behind too.

    Our Digital TV is broadcast (not necessarily satellite) too - read what I said. And due to the idTVs being supplimented by OnDigital, prices will start at UKP299 - see the retail info. pages of the ONDigital site. A good quality, wide-screen, Digital-ready TV will cost about GBP500 on average before Xmas.

    "Chef!" was cancelled coz it got crap. It didn't start out that good, I'm afraid to say. Lenny Henry is one of my favourite standup/actors, and he wasn't good in the role as a nasty guy coz he just isn't nasty. He doesn't have it in him and it showed. In his new role as a headmaster in "Hope and Glory", though, he really shines. This isn't a comedy - but it is bloody good.

    I didn't say the BBC didn't make dross. It does. But generally it makes the best stuff available ;O)

  • Enough wild speculation already! :-p

    BT trials for ADSL are currently underway in the south of England (Anglia? I forget, so it might be in Sussex, or Essex...) and BT's ADSL service will be rolled out in September for a £30 per month flat fee.

  • Actually, the telcos over here have a hard time making profit from local calls. They most of it off of long distance.
  • ADSL works the same way... The data is sent on different frequencies that the data... With my ADSL, I simply have a filter that goes before my phone that filters out the data frequencies. Though, I don't know if it would technically still be "broadband".
  • I'm standing by our original story
    [NTK 1999-06-11] [ntk.net] that BT will begin rolling out ADSL for 50UKP from September. There have been rumblings that BT are considering backing out of this plan following Oftel's unexpectedly militant "free the local loop" stance, but I reckon that's just sour grapes.

    They may be BT, but they know which way the wind's blowing. If you act like a monopoly a moment longer than you *have* a monopoly, you're in trouble.

    More info we've gleaned: it starts third week in September, roll-out begins in Westminster, finishes in Northern Ireland by Sept. 2000. They haven't got enough engineers, and I bet they've underestimated the demand.

  • I assumed 256k meant 256kbytes per second, whereas 56k refers to bits. I don't know what is right.
  • None of the BT numbers know anything about ADSL.

    This is designed by the ADSL team. There has been
    a closed pilot running for several months in
    London, and they didn't want any speculation,
    although this has gone screwy with FT and BBC
    interest (and expect computer mags to be full of
    speculation this month).

    He assured me that his team are in constant
    contact with the ADSL product team, and NO
    DECISION HAS BEEN MADE. They only reached their
    pilot target of 900 users 3 weeks ago... and
    3 weeks isn't enough to test anything of this

    A decision will be made at the end of the summer.

    Yes, this guy sounded clued.

    *shrug* I ain't holding my breath... I'll
    probably move to .us before .uk gets adsl

  • You may want to read:
    http://www.bt.com/World/news/newsroom/document/n r9949.htm

    Its a Press release dated 5th July confirming BT has ordered ADSL equipment to cover 6 million households (approx 25% of the population) to be installed by Spring 2000... so I would safely assume a decision has been made.. even if the teletubbies don't know about it yet..

    As for the BT ADSL trial in London, that is due to finish in August...

    Now the 2 remaining and important things are BT's exact rollout plans which they have said are coming "soon" and the price...
      • 7 Frampton Cottages

      • Alderton
        Near Tewkesbury
        Glos. GL20 8NX
        Fax 08700 553642
        Email evilandi@cimmerii.demon.co.uk
        Website http://www.custodian.com/alderton
        Wednesday 7th July 1999

    Attn: Ms Sally Trebble
    Consultation on Access to Bandwidth,
    50 Ludgate Hill,
    EC4M 7JJ
    Email netcomp.oftel@gtnet.gov.uk

    CC: Nigel Burke, Countryside Alliance

  • Right. Long distance and international calls are extremely expensive in the US. Here in the UK, long distance calls tend to be around 10p/minute peak-time and 3p/minute evenings and weekends. With BT's "Friends and Family" discounts or with a BT competitor, it's less still. I can even call the US for 10p/minute. Then there are international calling services which offer lower rates via a UK access number if you pre-pay. So what we lose on local calls, we make up on long distance. Furthermore, I think "local" tends to cover a wider area in the UK than in the US.
  • If you have access to a private dial-in service with lines on the cable operator's network, then you can still call that for free. This meant I could still get free Internet access for my last year at university when I was in private rented accommodation. (Well, there was still a line rental charge.)
  • that's good, of couse, by the time DSL gets underwhay there, it will already be to slow, cable has the capacity to be much faster from what I've heard. will it be just 256k, or faster?
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Congrats to the English. I glad that at least one country is getting their act together as far as connectivity is concerned. ( almost alliteration, eh?)

    Time for America to step it up as well.

    Then again, anyone remember HDTV?
  • Hmm.

    From what I've read, cable has the ability to much slower at times, depending on the amount of people on at the same time. (ie : If you and your neighbor are on at the same time, your speeds are cut down)

    If I'm wrong, please correct me.
  • I bet there will be a large number of people happy that they don't need to pay their per-minute charges on local calls, on top of what they pay their ISP, for Internet service. As well, having DSL available for the whole country should really bring the UK into the online community as a major player.

    I don't pretend to understand the pricing for the local calls or television tax (license) in the UK, but I know I enjoy having both at least appear to be free.

    As for hidden costs, maybe we're actually paying more? :)
  • hrm, considering that DSL has been avaliable for months in my small town onf 50thousand people, I'd say the US has *already* stepped up to the plate, and we don't have per-minute charges ether...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I was under the impression that ADSL gave perforamance that was roughly in the same ballpark as cable modems - however, that's not really the most important point. Cable in this country is far less widespread than in the US, with many more people getting their extra (non-terrestrial) channels via satellite. Cable is only avaliable in some areas, mainly in the centre of large cities. However, as ADSL can operate over BT's existing network, which covers practically 100% of the population, it could make broadband access avaliable to all.



    P.S. At present ADSL is avaliable in a couple of areas as a BT trial. According to NTK [ntk.net], BT will be start rolling out across the country in September, and it will have a monthly cost of £30 (around $48)/month.

  • well here in ames basic service is only 256kbits/sec, only ~5 times as fast as a 56k modem, its only $40 a month, but they sell the modem for $400 or so, quite a rip off, hopefully if g.light takes off, modem prices will be as low as ethernet cards/regular modems, then the service would be much more atractive

    you can get 786k/sec or somthing like that, but it costs quite a bit more, and I think it's worth it.

    Cable has the capacity to be faster at certan times, but DSL, from what I understand is basicaly like a small t1 line, you have your own dedicated line. I'd probably rather have DSL, it seems like those cable guys are real bastards anyway.

    I made those comments quickly so I could get first post :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I'll believe this when I see it, so many promises have been made in the past, but if it does come about for £30 pm i'll be one the first, chances are though we'll probably have to pay £massive to upgrade to DSL.
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    actualy HDTV is slowly gaining momentum, a few shows are broadcasts in that format (the tonight show with Jay leno, being one of the first) and a few stations are broacasting. it was never ment to happen right away

    there are probably a few hundred people in this contry who can see it :)

    I personaly think its a waste of time, bye the time it gets used (and most people will be stuck using 480p witch dosn't have any resolution increase over televison) well all be watching hi-rez video off the net, at 1600 scan lines or more :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by Amadawn ( 43796 ) on Tuesday July 06, 1999 @10:56PM (#1815844)
    Actually the UK is not the first European country to introuduce ADSL.Two or three months ago the Spanish government made a law forcing Telefonica (Our personal phone monopolistic company) to deploy ADSL befor 2001 (if I am not mistaken). This will be a 'low-end' ADSL (like the UK's), with a max. bitrate of 256 Kpbs in the downlink and 128 Kbps in the Uplink, but it's much better that todays modems! Also the prize will be arround 5000 pesetas (32.5 US$)).
    What we don't know is how the hell will ISPs be able to serve 256 Kpbps to everybody, nor which prizes will the charge us... It would be really fustrating to have such a bandwidth available and not being able to use it! :-(
    Anyway I feel this is a very necessary thing, if we want everybody to have a nice access to the Internet.

    You can check a small story about the Spanish ADSL deployment
    here [news.com]
  • There are a few different ADSL schemes out there, the one BT have been trialling in the UK gives 1.5 Mb/s, however it should be noted that they supply 1.5Mb/s to your street, not each person's house.

    I'll be interested to see how they're gonna interface the ADSL network to the Internet.
  • The 'copper wires', ie the Local Loop, which is currently owned by BT, won't be much longer. OFTEL has also decreed that the Local Loop is to be opened up for competition.
  • From what I've read, cable modems can go as high as 10Mbs, but you'd never see this in practise. The bandwidth on cable modems is shared by all households on each "hub" - of which there is normally one per street. The more people using the same hub at the same time, the less bandwidth they get. In the UK, Cable & Wireless have been promising cable modems "Real Soon Now" for about two years - and while I'm getting a tad peeved with the wait - the tech specs they posted look pretty impressive. I'm also lucky enough to be in a street with only ten houses on the one hub - so I'm hoping my connection speeds, when I get them, will be pretty good :)
  • Actually seeing as how any telco will ge able to offer the dsl service, competition should see the prices at a reasonable level.
  • Not unless you wish to transmit. The radio receiver licence was abolished many years ago.
  • To be precise:
    United Kingdom - Northern Ireland = Great Britain
    Great Britain - Wales - Scotland = England
    (Although to be even more precise, Wales is a
    province of England but don't tell the Welsh
  • Does £30 a month cover everything? Is that the flat-fee, then I can stay connected 24/7, for no extra charge?

    Where do I sign up?

  • "This may also force the cable companies to finally get their act together."

    I think there's at least as much pressure in the other direction [theregister.co.uk], what with cablemodem rollout starting for NTL companies next month [in this area anyway, or at least that's what we've heard]: BT have basically been holding back ADSL to milk as much money out of ISDN and leased lines as possible... and then there's the Nortel DPL thing starting soo too - it's about time we got some decent 24x7 bandwidth at less than exorbitant prices....
  • by db ( 3944 )
    ...The UK to get Broadband, yet I can't even get it in a suburb of Atlanta...


    Dave Brooks (db@amorphous.org)
  • 256K is almost 50 times more than you can get with the best modems. If you don't want it I'll have it. NTLs cable modems are charged by bandwidth and limited to 512K. I'll pay my 30 quid a month thank you.

    Britain's telephone infrastructure is pretty good. Its fibre (though not admittedly packet switched) for everthing apart from the local loop. Cable companies used fibre to the end of the street and coax from there as I understand it.
  • Can you get V.90 56k at 40k+? I can only get 33.6 on a good day tops. Check with BT about your local exchange, I had that problem when I lived out in the country and the problem was that the exchange was capable of running at 56K.
  • Cable? In the Cotswolds? In Shropshire? In Cornwall? In North Wales? In Cumbria? In the Highlands and Islands? Ha ha ha ha ha...

    What we need is broadband GSM not this fibre optic pie in the sky rubbish. Glass is for backbones, not for the likes of us.


  • How do you charge for "online time" on a packet-based connection? Answer: you don't. You charge for volume of data transferred (normally excluding ICMP; charging customers for ping floods would be a bit unfair).
  • They don't charge a subscription fee but make their money by taking a cut from the per-minute local call charges.

    Actually, Freeserve has two sources of revenue -- taking a cut from call charges, and the technical support line (at premium call rates). Naturally, the support line revenue will remain unaffected. Energis (who own Freeserve) supply the calls, which is why Freeserve is able to take a cut. Energis are likely to be one of BT's competitors in the ADSL arena, so Freeserve can get a cut of call costs/line charges just as they do now, and are unlikely to be affected at all.

    The problem will be for those free ISPs that aren't owned by a telco...

  • I'm not sure which suburb your in, but I used to (just moved to manhatten) live in the burbs from chicago and I had a dsl line through flashcom, not the greatest company, and Ameritech took thier sweet ass time installing it, but it got done. Now I'm waiting on Bell Atlantic to install the line here and its just painful. Your might want to check out the adsl forum, also northpoint and covad's websites, as they are key in the roleout of dsl.

  • I spoke to Diamond Cable (now NTL) a few months ago about this (Diamond Cable/NTL are one of the large - largest? - UK cable companies), and was assured that, as long as I ran an ISP as a non-profit service, my customers could dial in for free. I've been talking to neighbors over the last week or two (we're getting cable installed as I type this) and we're thinking about doing just that - a neighborhood ISP service. No idea if it's practical yet, though. With the advent of cable modems and ADSL, it's probably not practical at all. Oh well, no harm in dreaming :)
  • Don't go to Cambridge, it's awful! Come live in West Yorkshire instead: we have a proper IT boom in Leeds and the beer is better.
  • Shouldn't they be a principality if they have a prince?
  • The TV license fee is legally based on the fiction that it is illegal to monitor any part of the EM spectrum without a license (except for designated parts, like visible light :). You also need a license if you want to broadcast.

    But that's beside the point ...

    Free local phone calls do exist in the UK if you use an operator other than BT; apparently some years ago OFTEL refused to let BT zero-rate local calls for fear it would destroy BT's then-small competitors. The problem is that BT was privatised as a monolithic company in 1982, not split up into "Baby BT's" like AT&T. The result was that it took quite a while, and lots of regulation, before rival telcos became really viable.

    Today, however, Things Are Different. We have cellphone companies trying to undercut BT's long-distance call charges. We have cablecos undercutting BT on local and long-distance phone service. We have long-haul telcos. And now we have an unbundled local loop coming. It is beginning to look as if it's finally time to begin deregulating the telephone industry, now that a competitive market has arrived.

  • That story isn't quite right, OFTEL said that BT must open the local loop lines for other telcos to access by that date, not that access must be available to all areas by that date.

    "We propose ...... with a view to enabling access to BT's local loops by July 2001"

    Before that date BT still can roll out ADSL lines, and it's likley it will do this very fast so it can make maximum profit BEFORE the other telcos can come in and compete.

    My guess is a rollout plan from BT will appear within the month.

  • Not entirely true - there have been several cases where tv owners have been using satellite or cable and as they arent using aerials have refused to pay tv license. As you can imagine the courts puersuaded them otherwise....

  • 256K isn't much these days, and I'm concerned that letting BT keep its info monopoly by pushing DSL will hold up cable rollout. It's difficult enough already to fit fibre into Britain's ancient infrastructure; I hope this doesn't deter the glass guys even more.
  • I think the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish should be congratulated too ;-)

    British Telecom of course are shamelessly hyping ISDN ("Home Highway" blah) at the moment, presenting it as a new, amazingly fast technology rather than the old slow and expensive system it is. ISDN costs far too much in the UK.

  • I've been on the BT adsl trial for a few months. It currently costs 30 quid a month for a permanently connected 2m/bit line (512k/bit upstream). The most reliable rumours are saying that the live service will charge 'about the same amount', but there are also rumours that the bandwidth will be cut (to 256 or 512k/bits). National rollout is likely to start around September. Expect more announcements from BT soon. This may also force the cable companies to finally get their act together.

  • > No one gets it for free. Some get it un-metered, is all.

    It would be nice to have the choice though. The same goes for ISP charges. For extremely limited usage per-minute charging as used by freeserve is a valid option. I would be much happier with Screaming.net if they offered a subscription based service rather than trying to get by on the few minutes of metered calls that you make. With a subscription you have a contract and a reasonable expectation of a minimum level of service.

    >They're only doing it now because the CableCos are finally getting Cable Modems ready to run, and because the
    >Cellullar companies will be offering 4Mbps wireless starting next year at a flat rate, too

    The cablecos have been promising cable modems Real Soon Now for ages. They are in much the same position as BT. In their local areas they have a monopoly. Why should they bother giving you internet access when they can just stick with selling TV?

    I don't expect the mobile internet phones to be priced low enough to compete with BT for a long time - but at least there's real competition in the mobile market.

    I too believe in properly funded Public Service Broadcasting, but I think the method of payment could be fairer. The licence fee is like a television poll tax.

    We don't have HDTV yet and I've not heard of any plans to offer it. For most purposes PAL is good enough. I suspect TV companies would rather broadcast many low quality channels than one high definition channel. There are still plenty of places that don't have digital yet.

  • >The TV license fee is legally based on the >fiction that it is illegal to monitor any part of >the EM spectrum without a license

    It also means that we get two advert free TV channels, who can think about content rather than trying to boost audience ratings for the advertisers. Well, that's the theory anyhow :-)

  • Expected cost is 30UKP/month, same as the trial.
  • BT is legendary for overcharging for stuff like this. The cost of a 64K leased line is something like £6000 per year... I doubt that something offering 128K will be any less. Still out of reach of anyone but medium-large business.

    BTs pricing structure is crippling the use of the internet in the UK. Oftel always make these documents ambiguous enough to get away with it too (This one does too - it allows BT to add an arbitrary amount to the cost for 'overheads').
  • I am currently using a ADSL line supplied by BT in a trail they are running in North London. 2Mbps download and 384(??)Mbps Upload. It works very well although the value added services ( movies etc. ) are a bit of a joke. During the trial it costs £30 per month but one of the questions their market research form asked me was if I would be willing to pay per Meg! The trail is supposed to be ending in September and I'm praying they don't take my line away. I'm not sure I could cope with going back to a modem.
  • So you think that if I just got sky and ran a composite video monitor and speakers, instead of a TV that I *wouldnt* get hauled up in court?

  • Yes, but check unmetered.org's news and you'll see that BT *did* actually plan earlier to provide ADSL flat rate for 30UK per month. I believe the register and NTK carried the article too.

  • I say they haven't. (and I do live in the US) I also live in a small town (about 60k) and there isn't even rumors of any kind of high speed access in my area yet. In fact when I was looking at apartments recently I checked out all the surrounding towns, and the closest one with any kind of high speed access was half an hour away.
    I'll admit I haven't read the article yet, but reading this including the fact that the entire country must be able to connect to the Internet using DSL by July 2001 from the synopsis sounds like they've stepped up to the plate better than the US has. Sure we've got DSL in a few areas, but I haven't seen any massive rollouts or promises that the entire country will have some kind of high speed access within the next 2 years.
  • Is here: http://www.isntrial.bt.com/ [bt.com]
    I have a couple of friends on the trial and they report that their IP changes about every 20 minutes - this is how BT stops people hosting services.
  • I wonder what local loop unbundling means for all the 'free' ISPs that have been popping up recently? They don't charge a subscription fee but make their money by taking a cut from the per-minute local call charges. I can't see this model working for much longer once telcos start buying control of the local loop and offering umetered local calls.

  • ISDN costs as much as it does to persuade people not to use it. ISDN (Home Highway) uses much more switch capacity then a normal 64kbps line, so if it was cheap enough that everyone had it (or even just the portion of the population wanting fast internet access) would require a massive investment in new switches, which would drive up the cost again. With the pricing as it is, enough people can get it to make it profitable, but few enough to minimise the capacity problems on the switches.

  • Nah, the BBC [management] just think about boosting audience ratings to justify the License Fee to the Government. The Govt are much less inclined to have a quality rationale for the License Fee, although there are many program makers who don't think that way.
  • Almost, it is actually based on you ablity to decode that part of the EM band, ie any device with a tv tuner in it.

    That includes Videos (VCRs), TVs and TV tuner cards for PCs.

  • The cable companies who offer free local calls (usually to other customers, fair enough) now exclude ISPs without exception. A few used to include ISPs in the free thing, but not any more (takeovers were mostly responsible). The only people who can still get free access are those who were cable customers during the free days and insisted that the original ToS were contractually enforceable.
  • Its still owned by BT AFAIK but Oftel
    have said anyone else can use the
    pipes they have put in if they have
    a Telco license.
  • The document says that local loop ADSL competition and radio spectrum broadband access will start in 2001, NOT be rolled out nationwide by 2001.

    In fact, it's even worse than that. Paragraph 5.2 says that Oftel will rely on competition to drive high bandwidth services into rural areas. Whilst this worked very nicely for GSM digital mobile phones, just see what happened to cable TV- virtually unknown outside towns (just try doing TCP/IP on a satellite dish- very expensive and useless for uploading- and that's presuming you don't live in an area when dishes are banned, as they are in so many rural areas!).

    Plus, there is no recommendation that BT should be mandated to supply even their existing medium bandwidth services such as Home Highway ISDN to rural users (not available more than 2 miles from the exchange- I live only 500 metres from the exchange but the copper wire takes a 3 mile detour!)

    In short, rural areas have yet again been sold down the river. What annoys me is that it is rural residents that need this bandwidth the most. Oftel is a regulatory body and should be looking after needs, not profit. Why would townsfolk want cable TV, teleshopping, multi-user chatlines and home offices when the video shop, supermarket, pub and place of work are on their doorstep? These amenities are often not available to rural users where not only remote location, but sheer lack of numbers, make even subsidised facilities uneconomic.

    The official consultation period has ended, but once you have read the document [oftel.gov.uk] you can still send your opinions to:

    Ms Sally Trebble,
    Consultation on Access to Bandwidth,
    50, Ludgate Hill,
    EC4M 7JJ
    or email netcomp.oftel@gtnet.gov.uk [mailto]
    or fax 0171 634 8924 [mailto]


How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."