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Saturday, 11 December 2010

Giving up but not without a fight

15 years is enough for anyone, banging their head on an astoundingly stubborn brick wall. It's called the telco industry, the lobbyists, and some real morons in govt. During that time, I've also met some seriously amazing people, but I've met some notable trolls, both in and out of government.

This blog post can be read at

This week: BT Open Reach van #1 draws into village. This man has come to put in 4 screws. Yes, 4 screws. It has taken him nearly 2 weeks to arrive. The village is awaiting the connection of a 'fat pipe' ie a chance to enjoy decent internet access.

Hours later, BT Open Reach van number 2 arrives. He can do nothing because there is a missing connection 4 miles away, which requires a simple plug to be connected. Village remains disconnected until.....a third van with separate engineers are called for a task you or I could do. We are now on a 'wait list'. It will undoubtedly be at least 2 more weeks, plus Christmas.

And when the connection has finally been made in the nearby village, no-one here is allowed to do the easy and basic task of plugging in the final plug to close the circuit. Watch this space, we are about to see 100,000 more such incidents from BT.

Meanwhile, we are about to face that delightful period where no-one is really in charge of this country. Vacations, recess, holidays, elections - call it what you will, these lengthy periods are recurrent for civil service, government etc. Sadly, your average every day man or woman, like me, don't get to enjoy these paid holidays. In fact, as a self-employed person, I can't even afford to be ill because there is little to no insurance or SSP for folk like me.

And what we are about to see is a 'cerebral vacation' about the procurement process for BDUK as y'all take your paid holidays. Yes, that's you at Cumbria County Council, in BIS, etc. Good on ya. NOT.

Whilst you sit at home enjoying your paid holidays, thousands of people will be debating the process you are undertaking in our name and with our money. Whether it is taxes or BBC licence fee dosh, we paid it. And now, unpaid, we sit debating how you will spend it, and whether you have even an inkling of how it should be spent.

Spend a million pounds, as Cornwall did, on the procurement process and there is something severely wrong. Especially if you reach the systemically flawed conclusion that Cornwall did - one bidder, BT. And worse, if your bidding process has cost companies and communities hundreds of thousands of pounds to partake - we will nail you to a cross for money that could have been spent CONNECTING COMMUNITIES.

Much as I might have respect for individuals involved in the 'let's connect communities' process, I've never in my political life been so aware of how tied you guys are to eejuts protecting their company cars, pensions, and steps on the career ladder until now.

So much so, that right thinking individuals, who today will remain unnamed but not for long, are sacrificing their own ideals, careers etc to satisfy these gluttons. IMHO.

There are innumerable people who endeavour to take out those of us who challenge what is going on, but I have yet to see a SINGLE ONE OF THEM actually put together a cohesive argument why community ownership, local peering, non-BT networks etc aren't valid. And what we are about to see is hundreds of millions of pounds of public money wasted on BT solutions without a single valid challenge. Oooh, except from the voices who represent the many hundreds of thousands of consumers who are going to be stuck with this dreadful, pointless and avoidable CRAP.

So, if you work for a county council and are ready to consider Next Generation Access solutions, or you are a District Councillor considering a planning application for a new development, or you are a civil servant at Child Services, or you are being co-opted onto an LEP, or you work for a RDA, or your community is about to spend money on broadband for the next generation, or you are an engineer at BT worried about speaking out, or you sit on an a LSP, or your Parish Council is debating broadband as an issue, or you are an MP with an inbox full of complaints about broadband, or Ofcom considering how to deal with consumer complaints or your family can't get connected, your business is dying because this country is so far from providing 100Mbps symmetrical (NGA), then this "holiday" think about it.

Think about what your input is to solving this problem. Think about whether what you are doing is going to solve it. Think beyond your job, and think about the communities in this country who RELY on you, whoever you are, whatever your job is.

And when you come back to work in January, don't let this country make an even bigger mess than it is TODAY of connecting people.


Somerset said...

So please lobby for the £29b.

Cybersavvy UK said...

Were you at the event when that report was announced? No. Have you any idea how the industry, rather than the media, treated it? No.

Some of have been BSG members since day 1. Some of us have followed the intricacies of this slightly complex world. For 15 years.

When or if you know even the half of it, contribute. In the meantime, @somerset, play catch up. I hear Google is quite good.

Somerset said...

So what's the way forward? We will have FTTC for 2/3 of properties in a few years. No one will want to put in anything else. VM have 1/2 so nothing different there.

Cybersavvy UK said...

Who says no-one will want to put in anything else?????? Where have you been????????

Cyberdoyle said...

the funding was for the final third. It is now in danger of being taken by the incumbent for its copper cabinets which will not serve the final third but just prop up the 2/3 who would already have had a service. Somerset it is time you got real and stopped this trolling.

Somerset said...

I'm sorry if you think I am trolling but I do have knowledge and experience of technology and am concerned that the issues are confused by incorrect statements like '...the backhaul the isp has purchased. its because its going through the phone network which simply isn't up to the job any more'.

What it meant by this 'phone network'? All ISPs have fibre (which does not matter) links dimensioned for what they consider to be the right amount of traffic.

MB94128 said...

Please don't use "ISPs" as a collective. The main problem is that the gigacomms [*] (BT, AT+T, etc.) control most of the backhaul. By dragging their feet they deny the small players a chance at solving the NGA problem. As our host noted the gigacomms tend to fragment their support areas so that it can take three (3) vans to solve a one trike problem.

Add to that fragmentation their overly conservative revenue models and underwhelming service plans and you have a convention of dinosaurs at La Brea [**]. The heart of a typical gigacomms service model is asymmetric and intermittent. The heart of NGA is SYMMETRIC and ALWAYS ON. That disparity in models is part of why the gigacomms are not to be trusted. Pile on their overcharging and foot dragging and one starts to suspect that they should be selling their own version of zoodoo.

*Gigacomm = a de facto telco (includes Comcast + Virgin) with a gross revenue over a billion dollars (U.S.)
**La Brea = famous tar pits near Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.

Somerset said...

The non-symmetric connectivity is simply due to the technology of ADSL links. For many that is not a huge issue as most traffic is down to the user. Businesses may be different though.

All the connectivity in the various core networks is symmetric. Even dedicated ISP links provided as private circuits.

Everything except dialup is 'always-on'. (In the UK!)

MB94128 said...

I think, Somerset, you are missing my point. The gigacomms may supply you with a connection that seems to be always on but count on you not using it thereby turning it off for them. NGA gives you a useful chunk of bandwidth and doesn't straitjacket you with obsolete or rigid usage models.

One could be a seasonal crofter and a leading player of MMORPG's that require two-way video chat. So how do categorize that person's usage ? WHY BOTHER ? Let's build a robust system that can support multiple usage patterns and let creative people create.

Cybersavvy UK said...

And I must be missing something @somerset. Was this quote from my article? '...the backhaul the isp has purchased. its because its going through the phone network which simply isn't up to the job any more'.

[If from my article, I'd better sort out my capitalisation and grammar or I could lose my qualifications]

If not, where was it from? Somewhere on't interweb? - Please quote a source. I'm a bit kerfuffled by its relevance, TBH.

Somerset said...

cybersavvy - sorry, 'going through the phone network' is a cyberdoyle quote which only serves to confuse the discussions as it means absolutely nothing and is totally wrong!

Cybersavvy UK said...

ROFL @somerset. I think you may find that your credits and attributions are somewhat awry.

The Three Kings suggest you JFGI.....?!