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Saturday 29 January 2011

Spot the flaw in the USC argument?

Read more! Grasmere - home of Wordsworth and all those daffs - has geocoded some data about local broadband connections.

This blog post can be read at

There are people reporting download speeds of at least 1Mbps and some as high as 6 and 7Mbps. The majority are above the proposed USC of 2Mbps.

Spot the "No" answer in every single case to the last question!! The most oft touted reason for the USC being so low is that it is sufficient to allow people to use such current applications as iPlayer. Is it? In real life or just theoretically to suit the 2Mbps argument?

If you are using one of the many satellite services, you often cannot use iPlayer either as frequently your IP address will be coming from Europe - eg Belgium, and the Beeb don't let foreign IP addresses access our coveted licence fee paid for content.

How much evidence do we need from REAL PEOPLE that the USC is being set too low for 2011, let alone 2015 and beyond? We can argue the accuracy etc of the speed test results to the nth degree but it still doesn't alter the fact that these people, and many others like them, cannot use iplayer and similar apps even when speeds are above the proposed USC. Problem? I think so. Now and in the future.

The argument we should also be getting into is throttling and deep packet sniffing - who decides that iplayer is a burden on the ISP and hence that a BBC licence payer cannot access it? Are we going to end up with yet another postcode lottery that is entirely dependent on which ISPs operates in your rural area to govern whether you can/cannot get iplayer etc? Because looking at that, and with all the verbal and written evidence we have from around the country about iplayer being unusable, it's hard not to draw the conclusion that rural areas are being discriminated against, and that if insufficient capacity is put in the build-out of core network using the £830M (which is, after all, BBC licence fee money!), rather than faffing around in the first mile with BET, satellites etc, there could be a lot of people still unable to get iplayer in the future.

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Working action (not)

Read more! Oh delightful. Cumbria County Council can't work with Lancashire to maximise the CLEO asset and seem determined to give the over-specced educational network to BT when we paid for it. We have politicians who are playing some sort of divide and conquer game in the North West instead of working together....excuse me whilst I apply my head to this breeze block.

This blog post can be read at

We're back in that stupid world where people forget broadband can cross county boundaries and are determined to go for some sort of personal glory instead of joining up the dots (and fibres and demand and funding) to get the best end result.

Let's pick a place at random, say, Sedbergh. Is it in North Yorkshire or Cumbria? Well, just to confuse matters, it used to be in the West Riding of Yorkshire, but now it's in Cumbria whilst also being in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the South Lakeland District Council. Where are the nearest shopping places to Sedbergh? Yep, in Lancashire and the Lake District, but many of the residents have relatives in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales. (Look at a map if you are confused!) And just in case you don't grasp how multi-regional the people of Sedbergh feel, it's twinned with Zrece in Slovenia.

Sedbergh's exchange provides the phone lines for people up and over in Yorkshire (Garsdale) and could (if you look at a map) solve a problem for a bit of Cumbria directly over the hill from Garsdale.

But, oh look. We've got county councils being parochial in both their thinking and use of the funding, instead of communicating with each other about getting the best deal for the whole region, and politicians from different parties trying to group demand into constituencies instead of saying, "Hey, let's work together and make something really quite extraordinary happen."

I personally have a deal of respect from the majority of northern politicians, as I've been lucky enough to get to know William Hague, Tim Farron and Rory Stewart, but guys, guys, guys......rural areas suffer from lack of population. Don't divvy us up even further. And as for the County Councils in Lancashire and Cumbria, I think they need their heads banging together. The two counties are already joined up by a fairly substantial lump of infrastructure in CLEO. What on earth are you doing failing to maximise that asset so the whole of the North West could be sorted out? (Excluding all that urban bunch in the south of the region who don't fall into the Final Third and can resolve their own, different arguments with the telcos).

In Cumbria and Lancashire we are about to see two re-runs of the total failure that was Project Access, using even more money, without, seemingly an ounce of common sense being exhibited by those who were elected to do a job on our behalf.

I am increasingly disappointed with the news coming out of this region, frustrated at the abysmal failure to learn even one lesson from the recent past, let alone the many that could be learned, and embarrassed to watch the regional broadband news develop in a way that, at present anyway, can only be a substantial waste of public money, time and effort.

I suspect that once again we will look back on this time, as we did with Project Access and the ADSL rollouts, and be bloody ashamed we allowed such an obvious, basic, bunch of avoidable errors happen. Let alone the impact that making the decisions which look likely to be made, or already have been, will have on our long-term economy.

Shame on you, I say.

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Friday 28 January 2011

JFDI - 3rd book published!

Read more! There was only one other person who could have sat down and read all three of the JFDI books today, as she is the only other person who has all 3. (Luckily, she enjoyed her birthday instead!) The final part of this trilogy has hit the bookstands.

This blog post can be read at

I have been supremely lucky in my 'broadband' life to meet many of those who have made the world a very different place. Dave Hughes (Everest), Dave Isenberg (Stupid Networks), Abi Ransonet (Lafayette), Todd Marriott (Utopia) - I am lucky enough to have met them all. There are 1001 others, all of whom, to me, are equally important - this is not a name dropping exercise, more a very grateful thank you for the opportunities I have been granted.

For everyone who is planning a community network - please, please, talk to those who you meet. Whether they are building a new village hall in Cumbria, setting up TV bingo in deepest Alaska or the Andes, or overcoming natural obstacles in the Himalayas - your lessons are valid to each other.

The technology is irrelevant. What you do with it MATTERS.

Thank you all. This has been a very special part of my life and I hope my books may help, somewhere down the line. Every community and individual I have ever encountered through broadband has enriched my life.

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How bad is IT?

Read more! I'm hoping that some of the truth around the absolutely shameful behaviour within the UK telco industry is about to out.....

This blog post can be read at

Whoever you are, wherever you live, it can no longer be hard to avoid that our telcos are behaving on a par with the banks. Ripping everyone off, banking phenomenal profits, whilst providing a degraded service that is only debatably fit for purpose.

Today, I spent the day staring at a phone that couldn't find a network. I wasn't close to a landline, but as soon as I was, I rang Orange. Undoubtedly they have the recording; until then, I'll paraphrase.

"My phone won't work, at all. It has been cr*p all day and I need a connection asap or an alternative."

"Your mast is white".

"Sorry? Does that mean it's offline?"

"We-e-e-ell, it means I can't actually find it right now ....can you put your phone on 2G?"

"2G? You think I'm in a 3G network area? We don't have 3G here, even 40 miles from your HQ in Darlington."

"Ah, no, but all will be well in February. A massive upgrade is due to all your masts, including the T-Mobile ones."

"So, I might get a connection again in February?"

"Honest, it'll be great in February. Just put your phone manually onto 2G now and all will be fine then."

"In February?"


"What about now?"

"There's a mast {here - unknown dale} - that's sort of online. Must be the upgrade."

"I've never heard of it. How far is it from me? Are all our masts down locally?"

"Well, the one in Kirkby Stephen is white, Maulds Meaburn is a bit low....Um, they're all off."

"There is no way I could even see those masts from here anyway, what about locally?"

"They are local."

"No, they are not. We have hills and forests that are in the way....."

"Oh, how about {names 5-10 different places that are within 50 miles}...?"

"No way can you see those from here....". [I've surveyed thousands of miles in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire, line of sight for FiWi....]

"But they're...sort of must be this upgrade to 3G. It'll all be fine later in February".

"What about tomorrow? I need a phone."

"All I can tell you is to put your phone, and your neighbours, on to manual 2G, find the best network [he suggested T-Mobile - which Orange own] and then stick with that until we upgrade."

"So, when will our mast be fixed?"

"Well, I have to say this is a bit tongue in cheek, but the repair date on your mast is currently unknown".


"Um, I don't know. Really. My best advice is stand on the highest chair you have got..."

I hung up.

You know when you realise the person you are talking to on the helpline has no chance of making as much sense of the data as you, and you have no chance of seeing it? You just give up. I can't blame the operator, but I can blame the networks.

Do you know what? Your consumers are not morons? Don't treat us as such.

Meanwhile, BSkyB buy the Cloud, O2 offer nationwide wi-fi, most mobile networks in rural areas cannot download an app let alone use it; I hear it's as bad in London if you are an iPhone user. (But where is the news on that?) The country spends its life trying to pay over the odds connection charges to help lines for support issues, whilst getting nowhere. And we think it's ahem...normal?

Want my opinion? OK. Here goes....Not a reader? Start at "Everything old is new again" and read this about BskyB's acquisition of the Cloud. The Cloud (Niall Murphy) was one of my early event speakers and sponsors, before most of you had heard of wifi or broadband.

Our networks are fooked. They cannot provide the service required TODAY, whether wired or wireless.

It is time for a hats on the table summit where people TELL THE TRUTH and find the right solutions for UK plc comms. Because, otherwise, what is going to happen is that someone, somewhere, will put together a femto cell deal or similar over wifi that takes the lot of you greedy, difficult, mobile operators and telcos out at the knees. And if it doesn't happen from within industry, it will come from the grassroots people who are utterly and totally fed up with your shenanigans.

We need mobile comms not to feed money into your pockets, but to STAY ALIVE, to keep our businesses running, to track our kids, to share village news, to COMMUNICATE. WE don't need you purely so you make your profits. It's so simple. Get IT.

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Friday 21 January 2011

110Mbps capable FTTP/H? Or not?

Read more! Dear BT, Quick question, when you say your FTTP/H solution is 110Mbps capable (as per report on ISPReview) do you mean it could get there somewhere in the future or that it will deliver from the word go?

This blog post can be read at

In Milan, we will all be eagerly awaiting the update about which countries have gained entrance to the FTTH Council League - I know the UK has not. And if they can all deliver 100Mbps+ now, is there a technical problem in the UK we should be aware of???
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What short and selective memories we have (2)

Read more! If you are late to the party, the intro to this particular post is here

This blog post can be read at

Some of you won't remember LS29 and similar community networks who sought to connect communities to broadband when the incumbent was dragging its heels, urban and rural. Or even the trigger level campaigns for ADSL that employed well-meaning volunteers within communities around the country, (Think Infinity - it was exactly the same programme but more aggressive - most exchanges, not a just a "lucky" handful). Those people believed the adverts - everyone would be connected if they just trod enough miles around their Parish/exchange area to 'stimulate demand' with pre-prepared posters on behalf of a private company.

You probably don't recall the fight for the arrival of the LLU unbundlers. They came later in the tale. And their appearance was for a very good reason, but they are, sadly, still in the Betamax category for many consumers. And no-one seeks to help consumers make an informed choice, even today....

I know that the vast majority of the readers of this blog were not at the first BSG conference in Birmingham, (I did not sing my tagline; that rumour is not true!) or present when the Analysys Mason report was launched to huge dispute about that £28Bn figure for FTTH, or at the Amsterdam FTTH conference when the miniscule British contingent were so, so depressed at the oh so apparent lacklustre UK approach to telecoms infrastructure as we heard what other countries were doing.

Many of you may not remember the huge arguments during the trigger level campaign that ADSL was an "interim technology", "unfit for purpose in the 21st century" etc. The utter tosh (sorry, I mean corporate spiel) about how great ADSL would be for this country and how it would reach "nearly everyone" met with substantial resistance, but we didn't/couldn't spend £30+million marketing it to the British public. (£35M ISTR was the ad spend in year 1 alone by BT - Source: Marketing Weekly, on a train, many moons ago).

Back then, some were, and still are, trying to get party lines removed so people could have a phone line each. You think broadband notspots are bad? There are (AFAIK), or definitely were until very recently, still people in this country sharing phone lines on what used to be called 'party lines', so they must wait for the neighbour to get off the phone to make a call. House on fire? Tough. You won't find these people wingeing in online forums - they can't even consider getting online. And when that disconnectivity coincides with no mobile coverage? Well, go figure how this country is ever going to lead anyone in telecoms infrastructure when we allow that to happen.....

I'm quite sure most people don't remember the miraculous trigger level hits that occurred almost overnight when a community network offering an alternative to ADSL went public locally. Nor the fact that there were trigger levels reached that sometimes stretched the imagination for the total number of residents within that exchange area, or when local knowledge denied that that many residents could even access or use a computer to register. The announcements of ADSL exchange enablement which coincided (oh, how coincidental?) with community networks announcing to their residents that they were going live within days or weeks because the local demand was high, especially when there had been zero indication (in some cases, flat denials), that it would be 'economically viable' or that anyone else was willing to chuck a DSLAM in the exchange.

Someone, somewhere, was scanning local papers, which at the time were nowhere near as online as now, to counter any such community or technological 'attacks' on what can only be seen as a land grab. After all, if all you can offer a rural area is something worse than ISDN, do you *really* want a bunch of geeks to appear out of the rural or urban woodwork and set up a network that offers a far better solution, locally run, than you care to offer during THAT DECADE?

Can you spot the similarities yet? Are you mapping community activity to put in FTTH or alternative solutions vs Infinity and amended FTTC announcements? Well, you should be.

The good bit and the lesson that should never be forgotten was when Ed Brown of ADIT helped BT enable the 23 (was it 23? I think so) rural Yorkshire and Humber exchanges that BT claimed weren't viable. Yep, with public money, but, oh, if they prove to be viable after all, guys, you are paying that money back to the public purse. My sources tell me that repayment came to over a £1million.

So, if all these rural areas that we are planning to chuck £830M at turn out to be viable after all............? We should have anywhere up to £830M to play with all over again. N'est-ce pas?????

Some of the networks that consumed the Net from the mid 90s onwards and made it accessible to anyone in their region, on free spectrum that could be set to work on even the most battered PC that had been binned for running Windows 3.1, must have been a bit of a worry, I guess. But not to their users who (mostly) LOVED 'em and supported 'em. And many of whom, seemingly, are on worse connections now, 10 years later, because someone, somewhere has gone to great efforts to make it damned difficult for those altnets to bypass the...sorry, got to say it, incumbent.

I don't say this lightly, but I strongly believe, and am willing to hear otherwise, that there was an ethos of "Take 'em out at the knees" and we are seeing that again. Not for the greater good and well-being of UK Plc, but for a long-term gain that is endeavouring to capture as large a market share for THIS CENTURY as possible for shareholder interest.

And our memories are too bloody short.

Well, most of them are. You, whoever you are, are probably reading this because you are frustrated that the UK is lagging behind Latvia, Estonia, Korea, Sweden, and a whole host of other countries. Damn, where did our Empire go? Are we really Third World, or heading that way, because we can't play in the knowledge economy - we've not got much else to play with industrially. Have we?

Are we really going to forget that we were all promised the light fantastic with ADSL, and thousands and thousands and thousands of this people in this country have nothing, or near as dammit nothing, that you could call 'broadband' by the 1984 definition, let alone 2003 or 2011? Capable of simultaneous transmission and reception of voice, video and data - what the hell happened to that? I look at sending a less than 20MB PDF to the printer today and it's walk away from the computer time - pick a task to fill the time - I drove 10 miles to submit my self-assessment form (do it online? PAH!!!). In 2011. In Great Britain.

If you really believe that giving anyone the money for a future-proofed solution, when they are proposing a solution for the 21st century that reworks a 100+ year old copper telephone network, is right, then I suggest you take a look around the world at the places where for at least 5 YEARS, tiny little rural companies have been able to chuck more than is promkised with FTTC over far longer lengths of copper. Because if a certain massive multinational hasn't worked that one out when they should have been taking the lead, globally, then all I can say is that Peter Cochrane retired too damned early and we need him back in Ipswich to get fibre to the home back on the menu. Fast.

Or else we realise that ADSL is still, all these years later, a short term interim solution, as is anything over copper, and it is time to assess how much not having decent broadband is costing this country. That tax return I submitted today, well, dead sorry HMRC, but once again, you are getting nowt off me as I can't compete with the guys who started up in my sector 5 years and more after me. The competitive advantage that I, and many other companies in the IT industry had from being British, innovative, ingenious etc has now been so substantially eroded, you are now writing us cheques, year on year. Bloody genius. That should force the national economic recovery...not!!

If the Treasury, HMRC, our economists etc are willing to permit private companies to drag hundreds of thousands of small businesses into the gutter, when we should have been leading the world and cashing in, perhaps it is time to reassess exactly who is benefiting from this approach?

And you, oh Councillors etc who are going to make decisions for public purse money this year through the 5 BDUK projects, don't look to Cornwall. Look beyond these shores at what is being done elsewhere. Why are we NOWHERE CLOSE to being on the FTTH Council League tables even with the proposed spend on 'fibre optics' for the next few years being lauded in the press?

Ask yourself if the ASA was wrong to ignore all the complaints that, if you call it a fibre optic connection, it must be precisely that - not coax or any other form of copper. And are you falling for very expensive ad companies working their magic on your minds with convincing messages?

Or do you understand, fully, the implications of the huge savings this country will make - economically, environmentally and socially - if we have a comms infrastructure which is appropriate for this century? Are you going to deny this country that, by choosing, as David Durnford of Small World rightly pointed out yesterday, a non-innovative and oh so last century approach?

“Also the whole point of this Government money for Cumbria is to be innovative and BT’s approach is not innovative – arguably they shouldn’t even be bidding.”

Don't be governed by the pace of today. Make time to learn from history. Much of this very, very recent history is on the Net (accessible within seconds) and all of us owe it to this once great nation to look back, learn, and apply the lessons, so we don't find ourselves in 5, 10 or 20 years time from now in the same sorry state we are in today.

And yes, I accept this is a massive rant, but if in 1 or 2 (or another 15) year's time, when I am sitting on my fibred island, and I see the UK in a similar comms mess to the one it is in today, I would kick myself out of my hammock if I hadn't spoken out when I had the chance.
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What short and selective memories we have (1)

Read more! We are re-inventing a square wheel within less than a decade. And I think, now, that it has become more than just sad. I'm beginning to wonder whether it isn't bordering on "criminal" for the British population to be subjected to such "abuse", for whatever reasons it may be - shareholder interest, long-term market share gain, or just plain greed? Who am I to guess the whys and wherefores?

This blog post can be read at

As I know many people don't particularly like reading, I'm going to write a shortish post, and then put my arguments in a longer one.

We are entering a phase of claiming that at least 30% of this country is not viable for FTTH..... and let's clarify that by saying that currently only one company is claiming that it is not viable. For their business......without any evidence.

So, on fairly hazy evidence, we are going to fund the shortfall, right? Using £830M (currently) of public money.

So, let's remember the most vital lesson learnt during ADSL roll out. Which was not that long ago, although I am aware that many of you don't remember that time - hence the second post.

When BT claimed that 23 (as I recall) rural exchanges in Yorkshire and Humberside were 'not viable' for ADSL rollout, the ADIT stepped in. ADIT was a DTI funded 'body' who were originally called the Regional Aggregation Boards (RABs), and of whom there was one per RDA until they were all amalgamated under a single umbrella, based in Newcastle.

Ed Brown, a nuclear physicist in charge of ADIT, decided to fund (ISTR) the roll-out so that Y&H could boast "100% ADSL broadband coverage" - with all the limitations we now know that incurs i.e nowhere bloody near 100% in places like Yorkshire & Humberside.

The ADIT (supported, as I recall, by Yorkshire Forwward) paid the money up front to put in the DSLAMS to the 23 exchanges


1) should those exchanges prove to be viable after all, BT would repay the money to the public purse.

2) every single exchange must have a future-proofed fibre 'middle mile' to the nearest POP for future-proofing and to remove any bottle neck should BT be equally reluctant to invest in future.

My sources tell me that over £1million was repaid because those deeply rural and remote exchanges did indeed prove viable and paid back according to BT's own criteria for ADSL enablement. (And enough people at BT read this blog to argue otherwise, should they wish to)

So, if you plan to give a SINGLE PENNY of the £830M to BT, let's do it on exactly the same basis.

First things first, if you try putting in FTTC, BET or satellite and claim it's innovative under the BDUK guidelines, whoever you are, you should be deported forthwith to Korea and plugged in to a bang until you finally get what 21st century broadband is. (That's equivalent to Ed's 2nd criteria for the funding)

And if the area you connect with money from the public purse proves to be viable for FTTH, YOU PAY THE MONEY BACK.

END. It is that amazingly simple. It is either is, or it isn't, economically viable. Currently there is very little data to prove that rural FTTH (into the Final Third) is not viable. In fact, read: none at all, except, and I hate to say this, the word of a private company with a long-term vested interest in a telecoms land grab for the 21st century to put them in an identical situation they "enjoyed" during the 20th century.

So, to reiterate:

Part of the BDUK projects? Or being told FTTH is not viable near you? Then, draw up a contract that supports the investment, but with a clause that demands repayment should those statements prove to be wrong or inaccurate. And when/if the supplier is proven wrong, get the money back and spend it somewhere that may prove more challenging in the Final Third.

Otherwise, all you are doing is paying public money to a private company to enhance their investment fund because of an unsubstantiated claim that "it is not viable".

Oh, and if you get asked to dig from the cabinet to your own homes because FTTH is also unaffordable to your community (as in Carlisle last weekend), the same contract should apply; thereby saving communities, councils etc a fortune in legal fees in drawing up a simple contract everyone can share.

And this, my dearest friends, is Big Society at work.
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Wednesday 19 January 2011

Why we must settle for nothing less than FTTH....

Read more! I am struggling a tad with a story yesterday that implies that "superfast broadband" is 'up to 6Mbps' from now on. Have we lost it??? Other countries are doing 1000Mbps (yes, count the zeros) and we think 6Mbps will make us a leading broadband nation?
This blog post can be read at

Meanwhile, thanks to Twitter, I finally have permission to reproduce a quite extraordinary post from across the Atlantic (I presume) from @lamapper on the Broadband Cumbria site

If you are not following Barry Forde (my first ever keynote speaker, in Leyburn, possibly before many people here had even heard the term "broadband" and long before I knew many of those who are now broadband centre stage!), then do so. Now!

Do not support a BT Infinity campaign or let your County Council spend your/our money until you know the options. Barry is outlining the choices and the world is responding..........

@lamapper says:
Great article, with great explanation that . . .

“they (BT)refuse to supply dark fibre to third parties”

. . . that is the problem in a nut shell in every country in the world today.

Japan solved this by deregulating NTT, thus in 2000 Japanese consumers received 100Mb/100Mb for $55 per month…Thanks to the de-regulated Fiber by 2006, they could swap out their Fiber Modems and could get 1 Gbps/1Gbps for $52 per month. The price going down as more and more subscribers come on board in spite of the exponential increase in a customer’s bandwidth is a very STRONG indication that the Japanese economic market for Internet access is working.

Many of us understand that you can multiplex a single fiber cable and increase the bandwidth from 1X to 1024X, this has been true since the early 2000s. And when a company runs Fiber, they do not just run a single strand…that would be a waste of time and money…they just leave the extra Fibre dark.

Here in the USA, the current non Fiber providers – read Cable, DSL, Telco… (and the non synchronous Fiber providers like Verizon who only offers 50Mb/5Mb) are quick to deny the reality that consumers need high levels of bandwidth and that ONLY Fiber To The Home (FTTH) will do the job over the long haul.

Any solution that does not put Fiber in the home of the consumer is at best a waste of time and money, and at worst a Ponzi scheme perpetuating the bandwidth scarcity myth that most providers rely on for their failed tiered pricing plans.

Consumers in the USA are no longer waiting for the telco – cable – wireline – wireless provider oligopoly to provide Fiber any longer. Consumers are beginning to wake up and have noted that their (providers) actions since 1990 have shown their true colors. That they have no intention of providing Fiber To The Home unless forced to do so. This is in spite of receiving in excess of $900 Billion SPECIFICALLY for Fiber from American Tax payers (money + taxes + fees) since the 1990s. They have had three decades, over 30 years to provide Americans with Fiber. They have failed. In fact it is reported they spend in excess of $1.5 Million per WEEK lobbing elected politicians to avoid fulfilling their 1990 era promise of Fiber…for which they were amply paid I might add.

Heck Chattanooga finished their FTTH build-(approx 2,500 businesses and over 20,000 residences) out 7 years ahead of schedule with an infusion of cash of barely over $100,000. EPB finished in 3 years instead of the planned 10 years. As of December 2010 they are finished with the initial Fiber build out and are already looking at expanding their offering thanks to the huge demand for the service by their citizens. It should be noticed that the incumbent provider had been fighting against EPB and Chattanooga since the 1990s to prevent this reality. Thankfully they failed.

In spite of these un American and anti-competitive providers a few American communities have provided FTTH to their citizens. In every case they have been fought tooth and nail by the incumbent provider whether telco or cable. In spite of the up hill battle, almost 30 communities have SYNCHRONOUS FTTH Internet in the USA. When Google announces their 5 Go Big With a Gig communities there will barely be over 30 communities in the USA that are providing true and honest Internet service to consumers, citizens and residents.

This map shows the locations of SYNCHRONOUS FTTH US communities/cities:

It is interesting to note that Utopia in Utah provides FTTH via User Owned Fiber. Home owners pay $1,500.00 and their community provides another $1,500.00 via bonds for this purpose. The home-owner’s real estate increases in value thanks to this User Owned Fiber.

Most of my friends are planning to move to one of the 30 or so communities on the map in order to secure FTTH Internet for themselves and their posterity. We have waited 30 years, we will NOT wait another 5 years. Thankfully we do not have too.

Over time as more and more home buyers insist on FTTH as their number 1 consideration when purchasing a new/used home, communities will have no choice but to either force their providers to provide Fiber or kick them out of their communities. Those communities with FTTH offerings are recovering faster economically than others as businesses too are relocating bringing jobs with them. Makes these communities a better long term investment in all areas, especially Real Estate.

What BT and their ilk should worry about more is the loss of TRUST that their inaction, bad business practices and customer no service methods have caused among their consumer base. After multiple decades of abusing their customers TRUST, why would you even want to do business with them, ever. My friends and I do NOT and we are instilling this legacy in our children as well. The great things about our kids, they are more Internet savvy than many of their parents, they get it.

Let em choke on their non FTTH, non synchronous, non net neutral inferior Internet offerings.

A couple of the FTTH communities thanks to synchronous bandwidth are allowing their customers to run their own personal cloud, file and email servers from their homes….long overdue and about time!

Even 10Mb/10Mb at between $25 to $50 per month is much, much better than a promise of “up to” anything, throttled back to less than 100Kbps/30Kbps, the Cable provider reality in the USA today.

In Japan, NTT, thanks to owning the Fiber once again found themselves in the dominant position in spite of De-regulation, I suppose consumers in both England and the USA are going to have to get a little bit more upset at the incumbent provider’s customer-no-service and insist on FTTH or they will never get it! Our combined telco/cable Internet history shows this truth to be self evident.

Here in America, we are relocating and moving for FTTH, problem solved.

Funny how synchronous Fibre bandwidth solves the net neutrality issues as well, once the bandwidth scarcity myth is put to death, there is no longer as large an incentive to censor, restrict and limit, why waste time and money on software and/or hardware if its simply not needed?

The Future can be BRIGHT, but only with FTTH, nothing less!
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Tuesday 18 January 2011

Milan FTTH Conference Competition - Question 3

Read more! OK, final question for the first week of the Milan FTTH Council conference warm up competition.

This blog post can be read at

Don't forget to Flattr us. It could buy a special gift in Milan for the prize pot.

Forward this question to other blogs, forums, Twitter etc. There is an additional prize for pingbacks, trackbacks, retweets, diggs etc on this one!


We are constantly hearing about new speed barriers being broken by FTTH networks worldwide. (Go, Chattanooga!)

What download speed would
a) your company
b) you, as a consumer

consider a connection to be "superfast"?

What upload speed would
a) your company
b) you, as a consumer

consider a connection to be "superfast"?

Answers to the comments section (please leave a method to contact you!) or email ldotannisonatgmaildotcom for a chance to win a unique prize from our Milan FTTH Council 2011 Conference Loot Pot.
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Milan FTTH Conference Competition - Question 2

Read more! Next question for the Super Prize Giveaway from Milan!! Be heard in the Press Room by sending your answer to ldotannisonatgmaildotcom or writing in the comments below.....

This blog post can be read at

We are running a competition in the run-up to, and during, the Milan FTTH Council conference. Thanks to AFL, Emtelle, CTTS and NextGenUs for the prizes and support.

Are you going to Milan? If so, don't forget our Tweetup. This year the venue will be announced once we know the layout ;o) so follow Lindsey on Twitter for details.

Each question has a unique prize so don't miss out on your chance to own something no-one else in the world does by answering our simple questions! All winners will be announced during the conference - if you are there, we want to meet you. If you sadly can't make it, the prize will be posted.

Which do you believe has the most potential - a Community or industry solution to FTTH?

Can you give an example (place, URL etc) to illsutrate why you believe your answer is correct?

All answers have the opportunity of being picked up by the FTTH media and conference participants, so tell people about your project.

Comment below or email your answer.
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COMPETITION!!! Fibre tax is stalling UK investment in FTTH

Read more! In the run-up to the Milan conference on 8th Feb, we will be running a series of questions - the best answers will receive prizes in Milan at the FTTH Council Conference or, if you cannot attend, the prize will be sent to you. So...question 1.... The prize for this question is a really quite awesome and completely unique 5tth item that some time ago Benoit expressed a desire for!

This blog post can be read at

Do you believe that business rates on fibre, which are only applied in the UK, are affecting investment in UK FTTH?

From a telco point of view?

For external investors?

For UK investors?

You can either post your answer in the comments or email it directly to ldotannisonatgmaildotcom. The winner will be chosen in the Press Area at the Conference by a selection of the world's top FTTH journalists, and re-published here.
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Monday 17 January 2011

The FTTH Never-lution?

Read more! 2011 is beginning to take on that feeling of dichotomy and mutual exclusivity which has hindered all of the Noughties (for me). On the one hand, we have communities building networks and lighting gigabit fibre to the home (or installing cabinets owned by themselves and not a telco, in preparation for FTTH), and on the other, we have local papers giving front page space to BT's FTTC (Fibre To the Copper), BET or satellite, not-true-broadband solutions.

This blog post can be read at

I refuse point blank to get excited by FTTC, and as far as I am concerned it is not an evolution, nor a revolution, it's a neverlution. Take that word apart yet further (Etomologists - take cover!) and you have "never" "solution".

I've watched a fairly substantial quantity of public money be spent on broadband solutions over the last decade (See my Samizdat and ABC blog posts for more if you are bored here). None of it IMHO has been spent with more than a passing glimpse at joined up thinking, few lessons have been learnt and then applied, and little understanding has been shown of the corporate psychology which dictates our plight as a non-broadband nation.

And so it seems that it is likely to continue. Except for those communities who are gifted with a broadband champion, or fall under the lucky pin, and those who JFDI, often against all odds. This JFDI approach is not, interestingly, mutually exclusive of telco involvement, which is, of course, where the term "FiWi Pie" came in.

And, as my term is persistently misused, to assist the neverlutionaries I thought I would explain it again before we get too far into the year and people get lost in the over-abundance of corporate press releases and (short-lived) council back-slapping that is likely to occur this year.

FiWi Pie came about because it was obvious, back in about 2004, that whilst wireless was a great solution, it was proving impossible to put together a business case or find a backer for that most obvious choice even then - fibre. So, use wireless to get fibre closer to the village, market town etc. Simples. Hence FiWi as in Fibre ---> Wireless.

Then, when you break down the needs for a network, you realise that what you need is involvement, co-operation and co-ordination by all the parties required to build said network. Whether that is backhaul, first mile solutions appropriate to topology, demand or economics, tech support, billing, local ownership, a wayleave specialist, or someone willing and insured to climb a pole or on a roof - you need a TEAM.

And in order to make this network sustainable, that team needs paying. i.e. that team needs to share the PIE that comes from running a sustainable network. Or you end up suffering from volunteer fatigue.

So you get FiWi Pie: Fibre as an affordable backhaul solution (as close as you can bring it under 'market conditions'), wireless to distribute it where fibre is not possible, and a hard core business plan to keep and expand that solution over the next 20-50 years.

But in 2011, what we are looking at if we are not careful is one player who wants to eat all of the pies. Whilst leaving a substantial proportion of the population hungry.

Which will lead to another decade of head-banging, blame games, and a country left way behind the information and knowledge revolution.

The first sign of the real problems that lack of true broadband is bringing to UK PLC will probably occur during the Olympics, when the vast majority of the population who do not have tickets or live near a venue or a publicly accessible video stream will struggle to be involved except through trad media. But luckily our meeja will be so busy pulling Team GB apart (and hence the Coalition - spot the logic) for our failure to produce enough gold medallists, that this failure to make the technology available to all will probably go as unnoticed as most other important news seems to when publicists are given the opportunity to lose press releases under the 'celebrity stardust'.

Meanwhile, the brain drain will continue, the country will fail to recover as small businesses (who could rescue this country probably single-handedly) will have fallen by the wayside or never been formed in the first place, and our kids will travel to furrin places and wonder what on earth they have been technologically lumbered with at home......Ah, the joys of being British!

If this country wants to make a go of it, my suggestion would be, to BT, that it is time to:

  • find the recipes for the necessary pies

  • make the pies together

  • and then share out the pies for the well-being of all

Or we are likely, (less than) 10 years from now, to be working out how to make up the short-fall in our economy. And we will be reliving today.

There are people in 2011 who have finally given up arguing that ADSL is a suitable solution, and have shifted their allegiances to FTTC. In a few years time, undoubtedly you will be arguing the same points as you have for ADSL:

BT is the only investor (rot), FTTC is a perfect solution for the customers of today (rot), there is no business case for FTTH (rot), no-one needs more than 2/10/40Mbps (rot), asymmetry is all people need (rot), rural fibre is not viable (rot), we should be happy that we have broadband when many countries don't have sustainable agriculture or clean water or health services (have you been out in Britain recently?????)

And my final prediction is that if you let the duopoly at all the pies, this country will be as skinny as me!
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Wednesday 5 January 2011

Cuts, cuts, cuts and cuts

Read more! Welcome 2011. My trip to drop the sprog2 off today (300+ miles so she can become a Uni candidate) cost me a fiver more than last month in fuel. Why? Because we are all now funding public sector and civil service pensions. From our own pockets. Oh, yippee. Stuff austerity measures- this is bloody lunacy.

This blog post can be read at

Sprog2 came home for Xmas. Discovers her peers, at the Grammar School where she spent the last 5 years, now go to school 2-3 days a week "for a couple of hours at a time, and only for lessons". There is no community, no sport, no ambition, no Uni or career choices being made; in fact, sweet FA to support them through Sixth Form. My relief at her leaving that school is seriously tinged with sadness - for those left, and this county of Cumbria in the future.

I am a tad astounded at the local school's attendance news in 6th form, as I can barely get hold of sprog at boarding school. For weeks on end. Because her timetable is full on. (And what a relief that is as it's costing the family a bloody fortune, even with her scholarship.)

Then, you start looking round at the Cumbrian kids here. WTF are we giving them??? The schools are facing major deficits, no-one seems to care about the future (somewhere, recently, I read that more Cumbrian schools are now facing deficits, and those in debt face a bigger deficit - I'm bored of searching the Herald etc for the appropriate article), and the kids are uninspired, lacking in community and social involvement, and basically, without being too harsh, abandoned.

Our future? Yep, we must be looking after them in this time of cuts.

The problem is - we aren't. We aren't looking after the next generation, the health service, the private sector, the tourism industry, the roads, the farmers, the small business community etc etc. Who the hell are we looking after, out of interest?????

Here's my take on the issue, with a huge thanks to my father for causing insomnia here in Cumbria. As a private business, I and thousands of others appear to pay around 18% contribution towards public sector pensions. For firemen, nurses, police etc, it appears to be around 30%. For the Armed Forces, it is unknown, but potentially 100% of their pension contributions comes, not from their wages, but from thee and me - the taxpayers.

Correct me if I'm wrong. Please.

A back of the envelope calculation would imply that the £18Bn cuts which are being made are PURELY to fund the public sector pension issue. Is this a totally deluded calculation? I need to know if it is as it is causing sleepless nights at this end.

If this calculation is even close, what we are doing is a) unfathomable b) fing pointless, c) totally detrimental to the economic future of UK Plc, and d) preventing 101 other vital and economically productive investments - add your own below in the comments.

For less money than we are *potentially* paying into the pensions contribution fund for public sector, we could a) FTTH the whole of the UK in 1 year b) create untold new jobs in the private sector, including the manufacturing and industry base (which we have decimated in favour of imports, for no good reason) c) fund the educational establishment so the next generation are *educated*.

What we appear to be doing is, nothing. A real big fat Sweet FA. Just to keep a trenchload of public sector workers sweet in their old age. Meanwhile, we are selling out the youngsters. Forcing them to face phenomenal educational fees and bills and debts, and undoubtedly pushing them to take jobs outside of this country so the debts are never repaid.

Bloody genius. NOT.

If the State Pension is enough to survive on for you and me, then surely, every single public sector 'pensioner', whose pension we are currently topping up from the public pot (more so now with the austerity measures), can also live on it? And if so, every single pound over the base rate pension can be put back into the economy, from tomorrow onwards.

The public sector has become gluttonous, bloated, ineffectual, wasteful and in many instances complex beyond belief purely to solve the problems that the system has created. There are untold people within public sector who create complexity purely to protect their jobs, careers, pensions and job benefits. They do NOWT.

There are also marvellous, fantastic, admirable people in public sector whose wages and pensions are being 'stolen' by the above; sadly, and nearly always, the average tax payer in the economic sectors who could rescue this country from third world status are paying for the great people too - to lose out. We pay, not just the muppets in overpaid and pointless career paths who can't clear a road or collect rubbish, fix a broadband connection, promote tourism or agriculture, or make their own community a better place to live, but also for those with public sector pensions that are way beyond their 'deserving status' at the end of the career.

At what cost? Our next generation. Our small business economy who *can* create jobs when public sector can't justify any more. Our innovative, inventive and ingenious industries. Our TOMORROW.

We are depriving the great and good in Uk Plc, the community-minded folk, the kids, the small businesses, and all of those who can turn this country around. Just to keep a few fat pigs (and I say that with all the provisos and acknowledgements listed above in recognition of those in public sector who contribute) in their dotage.

Get on. Welcome to 2011. That'll be FTTH off the menu for YEARS to come............

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