Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Broadband : what is the cause of the cause ?

Why does rural UK get such poor fixed Broadband service? The answers are may fold and I can't really speak for the rest of the UK and my picture is obviously incomplete, but here goes
  1. We have a single incumbent supplier of last step infrastructure[the cable from exchange to your house]  who is in effectively unregulated by the regulator and in complete control of the market, this is OpenReach which is of course a subsidiary of B.T.
  2. Councils and government don't understand the technology and business issues, so rely on information provided by the key players (B.T.) to set their direction. This results in a type of Stockholm syndrome where ministers and public servants become infatuated and absolutely trusting of their capture. Councilors for example don't understand the business or technology to be effective in providing oversight, so they don't. An other example of willful blindness by well intentioned people, but still not an excuse.
  3. Because of 1 and 2, mobile operators have been ignored and left to their own devices. The fact that I now get 14MB over 3G is testment to the eficacy of competition and advancing technology.
  4. Compared to countries like the US we pay too little for fixed line. 
  5. The government subsidy (from Wales or Westimister) is going a fair way to making BT a Sky competitor and not actually providing decent coverage and speeds.

Much like the Railways or Water or Electricity, the last step is highly problematic to implement proper competition, so we have a veneer of competition. Companies like TalkTalk who compete on the bits that don't really matter like the contract and add on services.

So is a solution to phase out fixed line all together over the next 10 years? No public money be put into fixed line at all anywhere in the UK as there is no possible way that fair and effective competition which acts for the benefit of UK PLC can come into play. Let the mobile operators have a shot, they have a better change of providing a decent solution as it is clear BT won't be.

I have certainly come round to the way of thinking that the current alleged superfast roll out should be halted as it is 1) not superfast 2) it lacks coverage 3) we the tax payer are being overcharged 4) BT is able to veto other solutions/innovation and it is aggressively taking that option.

Like so many other sub-optimal (I am being kind) services, I can't see this situation changing while as a population continue to tolerate it.

1 comment:

  1. The only way for this to change is a movement. I'm not talking about revolting, of course, but rather a petition or an official complaint. Tolerance is a dangerous thing, as people would simply let anything happen to them, even if they deserve something much, much better. I hope that your connection situation improves soon.

    Jannette Britt @