UK rural fibre broadband provider Gigaclear has invested GBP 2.5 million to bring ultrafast broadband to communities in some of the most rural parts of Devon, offering speeds of up to 1 Gbps. The new fibre broadband services are available in villages including Rawridge, Yarcombe and Upottery. The FTTP network covers over 2,000 properties across the Blackdown Hills area.
Previously, communities had internet speeds as low as 1 Mbps.
Matt Hancock blissfully unaware that deal is on brink of collapse
UK digital minister Matt Hancock has denied that talks with BT to improve poor internet speeds in 1.4 million rural areas have fallen through. The former British state monopoly has controversially volunteered to connect 98.5 per cent of premises to at least 10Mbps by 2020, as an alternative to the government’s plans for a mandatory 100 per cent by 2020. The business has said it will cost around GBP600m, which it will recoup by further hiking everyone’s broadband bill.
If the government takes BT’s route, it will be accused of propping up a monopoly. Some alternative network providers have expressed concern that such a move could damage their roll-out plans. However, insiders have said the plans for a legislative approach are in such disarray it could take years for rural communities to get decent speeds.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, a deal between the government and BT is on the brink of collapse. Sources told the paper that the talks will fail partly because of fears of legal challenges from BT rivals, who said the new technology would disadvantage them. An announcement is expected in days, the paper said.
When grilled at the Parliament and Internet conference, Hancock said: “We have taken a twin-track approach. We have a statutory universal service obligation (USO), which we have consulted on and are considering our response… and we are talking to BT. We’ve made progress on both fronts.
“I didn’t recognise the description in the papers… but part of being a minister is sometimes seeing things that are close to the truth and some that aren’t.”
Openreach boss Clive Selley said BT’s voluntary USO would be an “important” measure in addressing poor connectivity in rural areas. His comments followed a Devon village’s decision to burn an effigy of an Openreach van on bonfire night in protest over slow broadband speeds.
Hancock declined to comment on whether we’re likely to see more burning effigies of Openreach vans if the government fails to decide on a route soon. (R)
Last week Digital Minister Matt Hancock said he wanted to stop being ‘badgered’ by complaints about slow broadband, but one incident on Bonfire Night this weekend showed that there is little chance of that happening any time soon. In what might be the most British form of protest ever, the village of Templeton in Devon burnt an effigy of an Openreach van. It was an unconventional target, but one loaded with symbolism for a community frustrated at broadband speeds of just 700Mbps which it is claimed are harming local businesses, quality of life and education.
Resident Roger Linden told the BBC that the snail-like speeds meant that only emails and occasional browsing were possible and that anything data intensive such as video steaming was out of the question. He added that Openreach had promised to look into the situation three years ago but no progress had been made. Infuriating locals even further is the fact that a nearby village has been connected to superfast broadband but Openreach believes Templeton is too challenging.
This was the inspiration for villagers to redub the organisation ‘wont reach’ on the effigy. “Templeton’s an extremely rural community, so connecting it to fibre broadband has proved difficult for all network builders,” an Openreach spokesperson told Silicon. “The area wasn’t included in the local council’s subsidised programme either, so we’re working hard to find alternatives for the residents, including a co-funding solution.
Some of the locals have asked us about our Community Fibre Partnership scheme so we’re exploring this option further.”
The incident might be humorous but should not be dismissed. Only last week, Digital Minister Matt Hancock was boasting about superfast broadband coverage, the UK’s digital economy leadership and a desire for ‘full fibre’. But there are still communities in the UK lagging behind.
The proposed universal service obligation (USO) but if the UK is to realise the benefits of a ‘digital first society’ such as more efficient online public services or a stronger economy that will be challenged by Brexit, then it is essential that the issue of rural broadband isn’t ignored. The one positive outcome for BT and the newly independent Openreach is that their early re-branding programme appears to be gaining traction as there wasn’t a single mention of BT on the effigy. Quiz: What do you know about fibre broadband?
Using a combination of Long-Term Evolution technologies and Network Element series industrial routers, Huawei has designed a next-generation urban rail … Vehicular connectivity has become a means for basic safety messaging and traffic management over the past 20 years, but now new sensors are equipping cars … The Gartner Magic Quadrant reports are one of the de-facto evaluations in measuring vendor offerings.
- ^ BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ boasting about superfast broadband coverage (www.silicon.co.uk)
- ^ is that their early re-branding programme appears (www.silicon.co.uk)
- ^ What do you know about fibre broadband? (www.techweekeurope.co.uk)
- ^ … (www.silicon.co.uk)
- ^ … (www.silicon.co.uk)
- ^ … (www.silicon.co.uk)