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Friday, 15 October 2010

Showing some moral fibre in the UK

Few of us are willing to pretend that sweating the copper asset is good. Because it is only good for BT shareholders. And even that is now debatable. It certainly isn't an option if we want to take on the world. Right now, with the plans available from our incumbent, the UK would struggle to competitively take on anyone for FTTH by 2017.

Is that what we want as a nation?

This blog post can be read at

It really is time that people stood up to BT in this country and made inroads into the necessary infrastructure investment and deployment that is required to get us back on the road to innovation and implementation.

We can pretend that FTTC, Cornwall, Infinity, and multiple other farcical announcements are good for the country. Or we can JFD what is required. Luckily, there are many who believe that copper is only good for socks, kettles and bracelets, and who know that BT is not required to deliver any level of 21st century network deployment.

New non-BT exchanges are being built as I write, and it is time for every community to realise that you do not need, nor want, BT Infinity if you wish to get to a Chattanooga or Korean level of connectivity. Not just sooner rather than later, but AT ALL.

It is time to take BT out of the first mile entirely. There is a place in FiWi Pie for them, but as a wholesaler. Openretch has had its day.

We need to climb out of the box, and understand that the biggest 'drag' on this country's move into 21st century comms is the company we gave an ageing infrastructure to, and failed to apply functional separation to.

Luckily, we no longer need that ageing copper-based infrastructure, nor the companies around it, and each and every community can build its own community broadband network in this day and age, without requiring the incumbent's involvement. We don't need new quangos either - time to JFDI.

So, let's start.....


SilverPolisher said...

I am not sure that I would agree that sweating the copper asset is fundamentally a bad idea. If you own an asset that can still does a good job, it is sensible to sweat it. My understanding of sweating is that the owner acknowledges that the asset is nearing the end of its life and so will spend zero cash on maintaining it. While it is working keep using it, but as soon as it fails scrap it and replace it with the next technological generation.

Of course if no new technological generation is available then sweating assets is not a good thing since in this case it is sensible to maintain the old kit to a high standard.

I have no knowledge of BT's maintenance schedules, but as someone who has been waiting patiently for FTTX for many years, I think I would like BT to sweat their copper. Every penny spent on maintaining is it money down the drain. Perish the thought that they might even be considering installing new copper additions to their network, when the next generation fibre technology is sitting on the shelf waiting to be installed.

I subscribe to the cock-up rather than the conspiracy theory of history, so that if BT is spending money on obsolete technology this cock-up is damaging their shareholders rather than benefiting them.

I suspect that this is the case, and the regulators should be doing all they can to support proper fair competition with BT. Without this it will not just be BT shareholders who will be losers, it will be all of us.

My message for the competitors:

FJDI! The door is unlatched. It just needs a little push. Come to the conference in January to find out how easy that push will be.

Cybersavvy UK said...

I'm a little confused......

Having done the double negative bit in your first sentence, I reckon you are on our side....maybe?

The copper is fooked. It does not work. How difficult can it be?

We have a future generation of technology, so I think the point is that there is no reason whatsover to maintain the asset.

3rd para: am struggling a bit now but it seems you are saying that maintaining the copper is a waste of dosh. Yes, correct.

4th para: Yep, if I were a BT shareholder I would be worried......

5th para: isn't it time to ensure that the separation of BT becomes fact rather than fiction?

chris said...

The way I see it is that in Cornwall BT have said categorically that they will be using 'other technologies' in their deployment in rural areas. This means BET. This means that they will be taking DACS off lines and running more copper. This is investing in obsolete tech, as the equipment needed to prolong the life of the copper is over £1k a house. The reason they will do this is to save them a tranche of customers on copper. ie many are already managing to get a meg, so by putting the outlying people on BET a whole community is consigned to the copper scrapheap. It is a scandal waiting to happen. BET You don't know what broadband is.

Somerset said...

I may be missing something here but if FTTC gives 40M and that is sufficient bandwidth for customers what's the problem?

What exactly does 'to take on the world' mean and what are the applications?

chris said...

Somerset - FTTC will only go 300 metres from the cabinet at fastish speeds, after that it peters out. And that is only if the copper phone lines are in good nick. Unless they are gonna put cabinets everywhere it is no solution to the problem, it can only be a stop gap solution to sweat the copper a bit longer in fairly urban areas. They won't put cabinets in villages without handouts from communities or councils. And it isn't symmetrical either.

Somerset said...

300m? What does this tell us: