Scottish hotel quoted £80,000 for BT fibre optic line

Outrage at a quote of GBP80,000 for BT to provide a fibre optic line to a remote Scottish hotel, namely the Glen Cova Hotel (DD8 4QS is you want to look it up on a map) means it is likely to become a political cause celebre. The Telegraph[1] and its political editor Simon Johnson has highlighted the plight of this hotel, but this is not just a plea for better broadband for that hotel as the article appears to be part of the Westminster versus Holyrood sparring that is underway at present. A quick peak at a map and a check of the address indicates that even getting 0.5 Mbps from ADSL (and it is likely to be the old Exchange Activate service) is actually pretty good for the distance involved and while we know satellite broadband is far from ideal given the location we would recommend that the hotel installs a satellite broadband service and while latency will be a pain, for social media use and guests uploading content it would be vastly superior to the existing ADSL service.

On the GBP80,000 quote it becomes less gobsmacking when you look at the distance to the current closest VDSL2 or FTTP service and that appears to be some 14 miles away in Northmuir to the south. There are no obvious plans that we can see to deliver FTTC to the Clova exchange and given the size of the exchange footprint which is a thin roughly 12 mile long strip comprising around 30 premises FTTC (VDSL2) would be useless without five or six cabinets and thus a FTTP deployment would be more likely. In theory the Scottish R100 project should help premises like this, but a lot will depend on the level of funding available i.e. it is possible that a satellite or TV white space (white space tech is much more like fixed wireless so better latency and speeds) will be used to deliver 30 Mbps and faster to such remote locations.

NOTE: The same caution over technology applies to the BT USO proposal and pretty much any other USO proposals.

Stories like this are going to be increasingly common in the year, the reverse of what one would expect as the coverage levels increase and that is because until 100% coverage is achieved at a speed that people will be happy with (and that speed varies widely) those who are yet to be reached or helped will feel increasingly ignored, or put another way when two thirds of people cannot get decent speeds it is somehow easier to accept than being in a group of just 1 in 30 or smaller who cannot get decent speeds.


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