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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

50p/month is simply not enough

The Digital Britain report has enforced a 50p per month per landline levy on us all in the UK for the next gen fund to connect the disconnected. Well, maybe. (See below) We did some maths....

Potentially, according to the report, this will raise around £150-175m a year. The Fund will not even begin to gather funds until post-election in 2010, which potentially means it will not actually see the light of day if Labour lose the general election. (So... don't get too caught up on this red herring.)

Let's do some maths. In countries where FTTH and other next gen solutions have already been deployed /are already in place and there is ample experience with the costings, the figures for rural and remote seem to average out at around £750-£1k per household when done commercially. (Hold those last three words in your head, as there are other routes to fibre lay, including dig where you live, #JFDI and CIC owned community solutions, which are FAR cheaper).

Therefore, £150m per year would allow the connection of approx 150k households/businesses per year, without the quango expenses to admin all this. (So, that'll be the other 25m accounted for.)

The report states that this fund would be for the FINAL THIRD ie 33% of the population who the telcos won't touch. We know from our previous Fiver To The Home 5tth work that there are approx 25million homes and businesses requiring connectivity, so the final third would be 8million homes and businesses.

8,000,000 /150,000 = 53 YEARS to deliver the eNdGAme FTTH using the tax applied through this fund on every copper landline. And that is a generous estimate as we all know these Govt IT schemes go over budget and over time....

Even if this Fund were to subsidise, encourage external investment etc, where exactly is it going to be spent and how? Are we allowed a say in making sure this farce doesn't degenerate into a total cock up?

Stephen Carter stated on Radio 4s PM program (45m:40s) this evening that UK is the first country to "find a solution to building fibre networks to the entire country" and the first country in the world to fund it.

Wrong on both counts. And certainly not out of that pot, Mr Carter. Not in your lifetime or mine, anyway.

I would like to refer you, again, Rt Hon Stephen Carter MP, to my 12 point broadband manifesto and also my open letter to you in January 2009.

It gets worse... what has been proposed is to hammer UK enterprises, rural citizens and businesses by making those who have NO CHOICE about having a landline because mobile coverage is so dire, or who have multiple phone lines/ISDN etc, pay to connect.....themselves.

Do you know what? I have a piggy bank. In it, each month I will save my 50p and using my impoverished business profits as my digital company is unable to generate what it is capable of because of the paucity of the UK broadband network, I will pay for my own fibre to the home connection, thanks. Just as many communities are now doing.

We do not need Govt (and resigning ministers) making suggestions, policy, regulation etc to deliver next generation broadband anywhere between 2012 and 2017 (with a following wind). We need true, symmetrical broadband that fits the 1984 definition of the technology NOW.

Can what you propose transmit and receive voice, video and data simultaneously? No? Not even 1984 broadband then, let alone next gen.....? Then I'll keep my 50p, thanks. And bin my copper phone line and use satellite until I join all the IR35 software talents abroad.

Watch this space for a mass exodus of the digital skills that 21st century Britain needs to replace the manufacturing industry it has so cunningly destroyed...

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