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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

BT and the Big Lie

Today's announcement about BET perpetuates more than one Big Lie, and sadly many will believe that this is "job done" for long lines.

Let's keep banging on about this until we get it, shall we?

In 1984, broadband was defined as a service that was capable of simultaneous transmission and receiving of voice, video and data. We have allowed commercial entities the opportunity (often through ignorance and a failure to listen to experts, grassroots and consumers) to lower that bar to the point where this country now lags behind in the information and knowledge economies.

Even in 2009, 1Mbps asymmetrical is NOT broadband and it is utterly useless for bringing 21st century communications to rural citizens and businesses of this country. It is certainly not what an experienced telco should be offering as a solution for the current notspot problem, when it has been so clearly illustrated where the eNdGAme is, and which other countries are now actively pursuing. Further, bonding lines in areas where there is already a shortage of phone lines is not an option.

The notspot problem needs solving. It does not need brushing under the carpet with offers by BT to tackle long lines with an obsolete solution. Should this type of announcement convince the powers that be that the "problem is solved", then many rural areas of this country are going to go downhill faster than we can begin to imagine.

This announcement could well affect current and future funding pots which have been and will be brought into existence to encourage innovation and to solve rural broadband issues with exciting and future-proof solutions. By allowing a corporate to dictate what happens by setting a glass ceiling that affects every rural business and citizen, we are potentially permitting a form of digital ethnic cleansing.

It seems very difficult to get this nation to understand what broadband really is, and what it gives access to. Once again, we seem apathetic towards seeking solutions that solve the problems that our digital exclusion from the broadband world are bringing to us all, day in and day out. If we allow a corporate to continually define what rural broadband is, the only people who suffer are "US". BT's profits will continue to rise whilst the country as a whole struggles to engage in the 21st century. Our citizens cannot access health and education services that others now take for granted. Our businesses are failing to deliver competitive services that will regenerate and re-invigorate our economy. Our public sector cannot do its job, either optimally or cost-effectively. Our environmental footprint is far higher than it need be because we cannot video conference, avoid excessive travel through use of technology, and we are using ADSL (and allowing its continued use) which has a far higher carbon impact than FTTH.

Enough is enough. Let BT offer BET and similar services, but it should be made clear to everyone that this is a solution purely for BT's ends. And it must NOT be at the cost of helping communities, councils, and other companies bypassing the olden days and ways of the incumbent to bring true broadband to this country.


Cyberdoyle said...

excellent post. says it all. I wonder how long it will be before government finally get IT.
BT is holding this country to ransom. Copper cannot deliver next gen access, and by taking out a few more notspots with a stopgap solution will quieten a few more voices. But there will still be plenty left.
What really bugs me is that they will lay new copper lines to deliver a narrowband service instead of using fibre to deliver futureproof solution. O but wait, if they let fibre into one community then the whole country would rise up and demand it. We can't have that can we? Lets all stay in the slow lane and let other countries make a fortune in the digital revolution.

Carlos da Jackal said...

Interesting article! I agree with the gist of it in stating that BT are really offering this as a way to try an appease a growing minority with an end of life solution. While they roll out fibre from the exchange in most areas that are viable, they are trying to stretch the potential of their copper infrastructure past it's natural boundaries. However, it is good that they are recognising that there is a problem, and taking some measures to rectify it. As a side, I think it's funny how in their press release, the MD of Openreach mentioned how thanks to BT, "the UK already boasts world leading broadband availability"! These people really are living in another world!

Cyberdoyle said...

What bugs me is that Ofcom have always stated that 99.6% are connected to DSL enabled exchanges and that notspots don't really exist. Now BT have admitted that they do, what does that make ofcom look like? A totally useless quango? or just another sucker who fell for the hype until the people proved it was just spin? The same quango will now fall for the BET hype. an obsolete patch for an obsolete network.

PhilT said...

"In 1984, broadband was defined as a service that was capable of simultaneous transmission and receiving of voice, video and data. "

that's almost right, it was referring to use of multiple frequencies on the same wire to carry multiple services, for example telephony, CCTV, industrial process control, etc. G.dmt ADSL is broadband because it uses a range of discrete individual frequency bands in parallel. Dialup was narrowband because it used a single (voice) frequency band.


I recall having strategy meetings about whether to use broadband or baseband networking in large process plants. We went for baseband - RS422 and ethernet. Ethernet is baseband, in fact Gigabit ethernet is baseband ( 1000 Mbits/s symmetrical) as is single wavelength Fibre Optic.

Now "broadband" is used to mean anything the writer wishes it serves no useful purpose as a benchmark or definition. We need a better term.

As an aside, 1984 pre-dates the international public internet by several years, in November 1987 the NSFNET upgraded to 1.544 Mbps T1 standard in November 1987. That's the speed of the backbone, BTW, not the end user connection.

Cyberdoyle said...

here is a link to very interesting document,

'stupid or intelligent networks?'

well worth a read.


Nice post..!!

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