/ Technology

Your universal right to broadband, even in rural areas

Broadband on country lane

Are you in a rural area still waiting for decent broadband? You may be in luck. The Government has announced plans to put broadband access on a similar footing to essential services, like water and electricity.

The Government plans to introduce a new universal service obligation for broadband. This’ll give you the legal right to request an ‘affordable’ connection to broadband with speeds of at least 10Mbps. And that’s no matter where you live.

So if you’re in one of the unlucky two million homes that doesn’t have access to the net, you’ll be able to demand a decent broadband connection.

At the announcement, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

‘Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain.

‘Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.’

Broadband speeds in rural areas

It’s a big claim and one that should be good news for Which? Convo commenter David Mitchell, who told us last week:

‘I live in rural Suffolk and have struggled for years with a broadband download speed of around 1mbs. Upload sometimes dwindled to Zero. The county council has a contract with BT to upgrade this ‘uneconomic’ area with the help of government cash but progress is glacially slow and the latest timetable is for us to get a speed of 2mbps by the end of 2017.’

We’ll be keeping an eye out for more news on the universal service obligation and what it will mean for people without access. There will also no doubt be questions about the cost of reaching 10mbps countrywide and who will pay. Whatever the case, it will be important that the cost is transparent and doesn’t spiral out of control.


Are you struggling to get speeds anywhere close to 10Mbps? Are you pleased to see the Government take this issue seriously? As soon as we know more about when you’ll be able to exercise your new rights, we’ll let you know.

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Comments
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Katie R says:
19 November 2015

I’d like a mobile phone signal !

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Kate -ofcom.org/mobile signal has a website where you can select your mobile operator and postcode and see the nearest area with coverage . If they are two far away then there are aerials that can be tried .

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I should have added that ,yes there are boosters you can legally buy in the UK and they work ,by a quirk in UK law it is illegal to use them . The logic of this escapes me at the moment as all you would be doing is connecting your legal mobile phone to a network I will check in more detail just why this is the case .

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O2 have/had a product called BoostBox which connects to broadband and allows better mobile reception in poor areas. Whether this is available for private users I do not know. Cost was about £150 I think, but if reception is really poor I think you can negotiate this down. Best to ring O2 and see what current state is..
Privately, when my transmitter is down and their re-route gives poor signal, you can get an Iphone app called TU Go, which uses broadband signal. This obviously depends on the quality of your signal, and if, like mine it hasn’t dropped out!

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David P says:
29 November 2015

Too right! I see ads for 6g mobiles and laugh. We struggle to get 3g locally and have to wander round in the garden. Do we live on the moon? No – somewhere between Oxford and Banbury.

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We have been with Talktalk for three years and I started with Tiscali. The service they provide is poor and download speeds pathetic. If I have called there service center with technical problems the staff have been very polite and helpful. But they just dont deliver. I am going end the contract and continue to use my IPhone to tether to the net

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I live in Cornwall and have so called “superfast” broadband with 22 Mbps. Is this the fastest one can expect? It is certainly better than many other parts of the country.

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No Rob , you have FTTC (fibre to the cabinet ) but must live a distance from it ,the next step is FTTP (fibre to the premises ) . This would increase your speed greatly , there is a new type of provision currently being tested by BT and US companies called FTTP-DP this means your copper wire from the pole DP (distribution point ) to your house stays as it is and a gadget is attached outside so no work is needed in your house . Experimental speeds of 800M and more have been obtained so far (depending on distance from pole to house ) . I take it you have optimized your internal wiring so that your master socket is near your computer,s router/modem ? also have you tried a LAN connection rather than wireless ?

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I live about 1/2 mile from the cabinet and I am paying for BT Infinity. When I had a speed of 10mps the internet dropped off every 3-4 mins due to the copper cable from the cabinet to my home being unable to sustain the impulse. The only remedy they could offer was a maximum speed of 7mps. It usually is about 4-5mps! Will BT do anything about it? NO! Will BT reduce my subscription due to the speed falling far short of the 39mps they promised? NO. If I could find a better supplier I would.

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Barbara -the first thing you should check is whether you actually come off the cabinet 1/2 mile from you which will have FTTC if you have Infinity . I cannot believe that the top speed is 10mps and they put the blame on copper to your house . There is more to this than meets the eye. Have you had an engineer into your house to check the loop resistance of your line from your master socket back to the cabinet ? Have you many sockets in your house with the master one last ? Is your internal wiring up to date , do you use wireless with much hardware connected to it , ie- many users in the house. Have you had your wireless connection checked to see if a neighbour is using(piggy-backing ) your connection for Internet games etc. There is a lot more , please get back and I will try to help —–1/2 mile from the cabinet and 10mps on Infinity ? -uh no .

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Michael pocklington says:
19 November 2015

There is no mobile phone signal where I live.

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Michael -As I said to Kate above you could try an aerial booster attached to your mobile ,it is not illegal to buy one in the UK but seemingly it is illegal to actually use one,although how they can stop you is another thing. No problem in the US sell like hot cakes there . I am still trying to find out why this is the case in the UK reminds me of the old CB radios okay in the US not here till belatedly the government changed the rules . This was tied up with radio interference with legitimate amateur wave bands but I dont see what the problem is with them here

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Okay got it now ,according to OFCOM -quote- boosters are classed as mobile signal repeaters able to transmit/re-transmit cellular frequency bands -only licensed network operators are allowed legally to use this equipment (good old UK laws again ) -no license ?? – £5000 fine/ 51 weeks in jail but in Scotland 24 weeks in jail . Personally to me this is down to income (isnt it always ) -follow the money – If you stuck an yagi aerial up on your farm surrounded by sheep/cattle ,the next farm could use your signal to get reception that makes you a network .naughty -naughty ! The mobile operator could take offence and cut you off as they insist in the ability to have full control over your cell-net phone to cut-it off /on change parameters etc . So Mr/Mrs/Ms living in an isolated non-mast community will have to put up with no signal BUT ,if you have the money there is a type of signal booster that does get by OFCOMS laws and is legal to use BUT it costs.

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Here in rural Wiltshire we would love ANY mobile signal and a broadband speed sufficient to use our smart TV. Promised fibre optic about a month ago when the box in our village went up and running we heard today that we couldn’t have it as BT hadn’t put enough capacity in the box. Roll on progress, David Cameron !

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Pam -What usually happens is the many people like me with BT get advised that FTTC is coming to your area ,you can also check up on the net to see the same . When this is the case You and others can apply ,well in advance , for a fibre connection .BT then notifies you by email that you can upgrade to fibre . Whats probably happened is that many villagers have applied ,waited , and got first chance ,this would be used (along with other indications ) of the amount of demand for fibre in your village or area of village and cables laid with this in mind . If the fibre cabinet is fully used BT (or others ) can install additional cable if they know there is a demand for it . This is also dependent on the grant supplied by by central government to BT ,in other words how active are the politicians in insuring that the maximum amount of users get fast fibre -follow the money. In my area eventually those still waiting had more fibre installed to the cabinet but if your ISP is BT contact them to find out ,if not then first call is to your ISP not BT.

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For 4 months I struggled to get download of .6M. I was later told that my speed had been capped. I now get 10 times that speed with .6M upload which is not great but workable.

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So, the government thinks broadband should be put on a similar footing to essential services like water and electricity. About time too, but that shouldn’t just extend to providing a broadband connection in the first place. It should also cover restoring service after a fault. The report in the latest Which? magazine on “the broadband waiting game” is one of the most weak-knee’d I have ever seen from CA. No one would consider it acceptable to wait a week for the electricity supply to be restored after a fault, but Ofcom and CA apparently think that’s OK for broadband. It isn’t. Save in exceptional conditions, electricity companies manage to fix faults in a few hours, and OpenReach should be required to do the same.
Repair is even more urgent for those of us who live in areas with no mobile coverage (and yes, there are still hundreds of thousands of us), because loss of telephone/broadband leaves us unable to communicate with anyone (or for anyone to communicate with us) except by snail mail.

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Peter are you talking of a complete disconnection of your landline service ? If so in the old days you phoned direct to the maintenance dept . They then got an engineer to investigate the next day , now there can be a multitude of places where the fault can occur # 1=your master socket -#2- your internal wiring -#3- your external wiring -#4- the connection at the DP -pole or wall box-#5- the “D” side underground cable to the cabinet -#6- the “E” side cabinet to exchange this takes time and nowadays your calls dont go direct but to a control desk then they are sent to Openreach -then an engineer is drafted into fix your fault .This now entails all other private communication companies operating in the UK so gone are the straight forward line of sight repair implementation also if your underground cable is faulty another division has to repair it, When I started out with BT I had to do the lot things have changed so has the safety rules for engineers they have tightened them down and many things I did are now Banned ! If your are talking upgrades to fibre then that is a different subject . You are right though if you want change it has to be government implemented and maybe more taxes .

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Absence of high speed broadband or its temporary loss is not, surely, in the scheme of things, missing an “essential” service. Energy for heating, water, housing, food are on my list of essentials. Broadband is more and more useful, its loss inconvenient or very inconvenient, but not life-threatening and if I had the choice as to where to spend limited taxpayers money it would be on health, education, support for energy housing and food before I even thought about broadband.

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Malcolm -while I sympathise with your answer the problem is media hype where being without a broadband connection is looked on as “social hell ” And you must know the government will only deal with you through many of its departments by an Internet connection . This applies to banks/power companies who give discounts for no paper also the government has hyped this also time and time again.

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duncan, I don’t disagree but I simply point out that whilst it is a very desirable service to my mind it is not essential. Live in the sticks with no bus service but there is no universal obligation to provide transport. Many (all?) services have a telephone alternative – govt (I recently sorted my car tax that way), banking, switching energy suppliers. Not as quick or efficient, but still available. It is simply deciding priorities for spending my taxes. Many people make a choice of living in the country, with its many attractions, but may lack broadband; if it is essential, then choose a country area where it is available. One contributor mentioned having to travel from their rural home to a town to run an internet business. Seems like a lifestyle choice came first (and why not) but I’m not then keen on subsidising that choice.
Only slightly grumpy today.

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i have just had a letter from B.T. saying I can expect to get 1Mb

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IN that case Eileen ,and I presume your distance from the exchange is large, is there any other local alternative ? Do you live in a village where the combined village could apply for a microwave connect ? or other methods ? Like a neighbour with a faster connection allowing you to “piggy back ” off her wireless signal.

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This is like going back sixty years to the days of the ‘party line’ from the GPO telephone exchange! Slow progress to fast broadband.

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I dont disagree I had a “party line ” at one time John and yes I complained bitterly about it . But the truth was that the pole DP was full up ,there was no more spare pairs until new local cable was provided by the addition of another box on the pole which in those days only had 15 pairs of wires so it meant 30 subscribers could have their own line . The boxes are larger now but even in 2015 the basic engineering principle hasnt changed – only the fact that with the event of BB people expect a fast service but its still down to new cable (fibre ) and cost so economic logistics hasnt changed either -so who pays? previously it was BT under the GPO (as part of it ) but as you know it was separated and then sold off and then parts like =cell-net sold completely and because of other companies outcry -Outreach was formed under government law. So its basic political principles – private company =look after shareholders OR -re-nationalise (never happen under our present government ) and the taxpayers pay -hands up all those willing to pay for every long line miles down a road that isnt economically viable ?? Thats if you want 100 % -nationwide -fast broadband supplied via a landline. Elections have been won and lost on less .

Guest

Been pondering the original premise of this topic (which has wandered, somewhat) and I started to wonder if Cameron will back up his rhetoric with action.

We’re lucky to live in an area where the great Victorian Engineers, most notably Thomas Telford but others also, constructed astonishing tunnels, bridges, roads and canals through extremely inhospitable terrain. In those days, of course, such projects were primarily in furtherance of trade links, and so were paid for by private investors or, in rare cases, the Crown. But the Railways required more, since negotiating with every landowner would have been a herculean task, and so Acts of Parliament were passed enabling ‘fair’ compensation to be paid, while CPOs took care of acquiring the land.

Railways, roads and bridges are necessary and many essential services use them and, although I originally questioned whether anyone could describe a decent Broadband connection as ‘essential’, I kept a diary for 24 hours to see what proportion of my time is Broadband dependent. To my surprise (and without boring everyone with the minutiae) I discovered that I actively use BB for roughly 5.7 hours per day.

Before anyone suggests I should procure a life, I should point out that most of that wasn’t clicking away on this forum. From booking train tickets, to ordering electrical items, ordering food, obtaining piano transcriptions, reading music, turning equipment on and off, watching TV, talking face to face with our children when they’re on the other side of the world, listening to Radio 3, getting hold of manuals for various things, booking surgery appointments and a lot more I suspect our lives would be immensely poorer without Broadband. We’d certainly have a lot less time to do the things we really enjoy.

In a nutshell, I’ve discovered it’s not simply hype: we’re moving – inexorably – towards a connected society and we expect to be able to do the things we do in the same way we expect clean water to be delivered when we turn on the tap. Although, as we have a spring, that’s not perhaps the best comparison…

But if the Government is to make good on its rhetoric then they will have to be prepared to sidestep the multiplicity of obstacles to laying fibre – including the funding issues – and ensure that everyone in the UK is able to connect at least fairly closely to a fibre-enabled cabinet. Because society is only going to become more BB dependent – not less.

Guest

Well said Ian. There is another ingredient in the pot and that is Ofcom. Other contributors have overlooked the Regulator’s crucial role in [among other things] preventing the exploitation of monopoly positions, supervising tariff structures to ensure fairness, promoting the development of the network and the upgrading of the technology, and setting the Universal Service Obligation that is designed to obtain consumer benefits and the achievement of the other objectives.

Broadband is a two-way street and its extension to the ‘not spots’ is not just of benefit to the small enterprise in a remote location that might want to send updates to its small number of existing customers but to the thousands of potential new customers who might want to browse its product range and possibly send an order [which they will not do if their transmission is at dial-up speed with added interruptions]. That’s only one example of the massive potential enhancement of service and life in general that better connectivity brings about. Therefore it needs to done expeditiously and the cost recovered across the industry so that fibre is provided within affordable reach – the affordability related not the to cost of that particular stretch of infrastructure but the actual line connexion and the ongoing tariff. In global terms , there are not many paces in the UK that can truly be termed ‘remote’, a bit isolated perhaps but not unconnectible.

Incidentally, BT and other network providers do have the benefit of various GPO, Telegraph, and Telecommunications Acts to enable them to place installations where they are required, to enter and cross land, and to acquire land compulsorily if necessary to facilitate the service provision, so there need be no blockages to this policy intention.

Sometimes I fear that this Conversation is trying to talk the project out through assuming obstacles that don’t exist.

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John in relation to access on private property for BT the law has changed ,yes ,like the police etc BT had access to homes /land /etc no longer the case I am afraid to say. A home/landowner now has the legal right to refuse access for BT to install a pole or even walk on private ground without permission or has been highlighted in Which and other websites if a pole is already there and the neighbour has faulty O/H wiring and the tree branches as well as the tree are in a neighbors garden along with the pole the neighbour can get nasty and say no . A case in Glasgow was highlighted nationwide just under that point of law so BT had no other option but to transfer the faulty O/H to another DP at great expense . What BT (and others ) can do is offer the land owner compensation which was tried by a fish processing business next to me where BT wanted to put up a pole on their land BT offered £300 it was knocked back so a long diversion had to be installed to give the person service.

Guest

Thank you Duncan, but where there’s a will there’s a way so the occasional diversion shouldn’t disrupt the whole programme.

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If the Government really believe access to broadband to be on a par with access to mains water and/or electricity, then it should be easy and obvious for them to pass legislation to restructure our national telecoms industry, to follow “best practice” examples set by either of these two other key infrastructure industries.

BTW, have either David Cameron or Teresa May already mentioned that this development will soon be required as a precursor to the compulsory installation of new smart “telescreens” in all of our homes?

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Derek With the government set to introduce draconian spying laws that would put the NSA to shame if ,as you say,telescreens will be compulsory then -BANG !! goes any vestige of a fig leaf over its pretense in not wanting 24/7 information control over every UK citizen (I know they are near that now ) because then every citizen who hasnt had a photo taken of them for various reasons will now have their face all over the Internet and dont tell me there will be precautions taken I know different and since when has that stopped -hackers or 3 party BB whom our “beloved ” government supports from getting your face for its commercial benefit . Already happened in the US . Now it would be -suffer from pimples ??? use XYZ -the famous pimple remover used worldwide (pending court action for destroying the skin on your face ) delivered by email-snail mail – nuisance phone calls etc. 1984 ?? PG rated compared to 2015 -the Movie (not recommended for under 18,s ) But hey ! the government tells you you are helping to stop “””1000,s “”” of “”terrorists “” so its for the nations “security” (that part read as quietly in the background the music of -Land of Hope and Glory is played ) Not long till (serious face of government official ) on the BBC every week -this nation is under “attack ” we all should be vigilant-report your neighbour if he/she acts suspiciously (already this happens in the US ) A friend in the next village was reported to the police because he had a paraffin can and was using it to refuel his heater -neighbour- he is trying to set the building on fire . So think deeply the implications of any government introductions as your civil liberty is approaching zero.

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Mark Mayhew says:
27 November 2015

The frustrating part in all of this is the continued unfairness with the ISPs pricing structure. As an obvious example, why should anyone on a download speed of less that 2 Mbps be expected to pay the same tariff as someone receiving (say) 17Mbps on a like for like standard package via ASDL? The regulator should have crawled all over this a long time ago. In addition it seems preposterous that utility service providers and others can also be allowed to charge customers if their preference is to continue to receive paper bills when the consumer cannot actually view or download their bill online because of their poor connection? We all know that there are serious limitations on what you can do on a sub 2Mbps connection but the possibilities are almost endless on 17Mbps and above. Given that 2020 is a long way off, the regulator (Ofcom) should impose the need for a tiered pricing structure on ISPs linked to the service that they actually deliver. I work from home on a 1.3 Mbps connection and probably spend 12hrs a day online. We are separated from the main village because of a dual carriageway. The main village (approx. 2 miles away) receives speeds of up to 45 Mbps by being connected to the nearest exchange whilst we remain on a 1.3Mbps service due to being connected to another far in the distance exchange across country.

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Mark -BT basic -line rental + broadband is £30 for 3 months, what are you paying now ? Is the ISP you are with cheaper than that ? I sympathise with your situation but will your ISP pay for fibre to be installed as any ISP can install fibre I dont think they would due to massive costs maybe £50000 so/ outlying customer unless grants are made from the government to cover 100 % of the country (costing tax payers or if ISP,s are forced to pay shareholders who will up the rental charges to compensate ) I assume you know about any alternatives and they dont apply ? Microwave/wireless /friendly neighbor(you know personally ) with high speed connection. Satellite is too dear. The comment you made about the exchange you are on makes me think that your line is not connected to a fibre cabinet as ,if it was , the distance from the cabinet to your house would be like your house to the exchange as cabinet to exchange in fibre is near equal speed . In the days gone by a customer could dig a channel from their house to a pole DP (distribution point) and BT would install cable but not over a dual carriageway (maybe under )

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Mark Mayhew says:
1 December 2015

Duncan. Thanks. I am with BT paying £36 for a basic phone / BB package plus line rental. As far as I know, I am connected to a fibre cabinet. It is the same one that I was connected to at my old house. I know it was upgraded a few years ago. My old house was 500 metres from the local exchange and I was receiving 19Mbps via ASDL 4 years ago in the days before superfast and before anyone had considered the digital wilderness faced by rural communities! We are now just 3 miles away from that location by road but down a country lane and our house is surrounded by trees so Wi Fi etc not practical. Acres of woodland / agricultural fields separate our lane from the exchange by direct route. My frustration is I know what 19Mbps can deliver Vs 1.3 Mbps. I cannot even perform company E – learning at home as the videos do not stream. Our old house now receives 70Mbps so from a selfish viewpoint the BDUK investment priorities seem all wrong. Why upgrade a very good connection to a super fast connection as a priority and leave a very poor connection still very poor 4 years on. If I have to put up with it for a further 3 – 5 years so be it but that has to be reflected in fairness of price offered by the ISP based on service standard. I suspect that this is all to do with achieving government targets and pacifying company shareholders but If we flip the coin on this, our rural farmers do not restrict the access to food to city dwellers because they are “too far away” from where the crops are harversted and where the farmers fuel costs are too high to transport them? Our local power network have also recently upgraded all our overhead power cables – all completed free of charge and at minimal disruption to me as a consumer and all in the interests of improving service. It does show what can be achieved. If I knew then what I know now, we would not have moved here.

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If you are connected to a fibre cabinet then forget the exchange its the distance from the cabinet to your house that counts . WE are talking loop resistance in other words the resistance of the pair of wires in your O/H wiring from your house going up one wire to the cab and then back down the other wire . In practical terms there are normally 2 pairs of wires in the overhead wiring if those can be looped together that would half the resistance from your house to the pole DP (distribution point black box attached to it ) .It then depends on how far the pole DP is from the cabinet as the cable goes underground (usually ) from there back to the cabinet. Its possible that the cable from the DP goes still in the O/H to the cabinet or near it depending on the countryside but you could ask an engineer to “bunch ” the pairs together in your overhead that would help a bit. I am sorry there are woods round you I have run overhead through woods before and over streams long ago so I understand your position wish I could help more but we are talking government here.

Guest

The street cabinet to which my phone line is connected has been high speed broadband enabled for 3 years. I live over 2 miles from the cabinet and so only receive about 0.8Mbps. My local council (Hampshire) has announced plans for upgrades running up to 2020, but my area isn’t included.

I was excited to recieve an email from the Council inviting me to apply for a free installation of satellite broadband about a month ago. I applied but I won’t be taking up the offer now I have studied the details.

The recommended offer is for 50Gb of data per month for £65. My current slow broadband offers unlimited data and is sufficient for email and web browsing so long as no one else in the house is online and one is patient. That costs about £26 per month and I would still need the landline as the mobile phone signal is also poor.

I look forward one day to being able to stream TV via the internet like most people can already do. In the mean time I’ll just have to wait it seems even though I am paying for up to 17Mbps and recieving 1/20th of the service.

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BikerFrank- I agree 0.8mbps is terrible you must live well over 2 miles from the cabinet and your right satellite broadband is expensive . If you come off that cabinet I dont see how the council could help you anyway as it is FTTC and because of distance(loop resistance of copper wires ) it is not helping you UNLESS they are paying for FTTP -fibre to the premises okay in short runs but mighty expensive in long ones . I take it you use a LAN connection not wireless and your main telephone socket is near your computer ? If there are a lot like you where you live you could pay for a radio link via a small dish outside your house this already works in many areas of England but it means you and others agreeing to fund it . A long shot ,or should I say a very long shot is Google,s Loon project broadband via balloons trialled in New Zealand etc , I am no friend of Google,s for its spying on you but this could have potential. The clause “up to ” was forced on Internet providers by the government because of public outcry due to misleading advertising ,it covers from zero up to *****. IF I can help any more with info let me know.

Guest

It’s possible for those on long runs from the cabinet that part of the rollout may include putting additional cabinets in, this has happened in a few locations so far there’s also the possibility of fttc dslams being fitted to poles instead of cabs the equipment exists it’s just down to whether BT will roll it out.

[This comment has been tweaked to align with our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Guest

AS far as additional cabinets are concerned (apart from the fibre link cabinets) this would mean a new fibre cable run all the way to the exchange unless you used a main fibre cabinet as a host cabinet and run a link to another cabinet . This would require underground road works and a lot of time and manpower to do this and the original cabinet had a large enough fibre cable to service two areas.

Guest

A decent mobile signal would be good, yes there’s various bodges using your own broadband but…. Trouble is an application goes in & all the nimbys come out. We’re lucky our fttc went live Dec 14 we now get 58Mbps which is amazing I hope the rollout continue for those with terrible ADSL. Keep an eye on roadworks.org as you can find info on the roadworks BT will do to enable your cabinet, also don’t register and wait for an update from BT, they emailed me to tell me fttc was available 12 months AFTER I got it!

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IN reply to Richards post as regards keeping an eye out for roadworks etc to determine if you will be getting FTTC in your area ,you dont need to go to that trouble all you need to do is click on BT,s fibre info website input your telephone number and click on the tab . You will be taken to a website giving your street cabinet number and whether you have FTTC . It is– https://www.dslchecker.bt.com

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I tried to reply to Richard with URL you wont accept it from me it was just a BT website . Can you verify I am blocked from posting URL,s

Guest

Morning Duncan, as you can see your comment is now up. All URLs automatically place the comment in moderation, we try and get the posts approved as soon as possible.

Guest

ah ! thank you Lauren I did not know that . It is disconcerting when you click on the post and nothing happens ,you think it is not working and when you click again a gray – you have duplicated your post window comes up . Other websites come up with red print saying- your post is awaiting moderation – this might help on Which.

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I live 1 mile from the centre of our town, not rural in any way. I live in the black country no way you can say that is rural, my town is Walsall and any room in the house beside the kitchen no signal. Because of medical condition I have regular stays at hospital and as soon as I walk through front door of hospital I lose all communication to the outside world, no signal at all. Being urban can’t be any worse than this oh my service supplier is a large and we’ll know one, it’s not tesco or the local hardware shops service oh no this is O2.

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James if you live in the Walsall area (not Walsall Wood ) then the reception from O2 is down as they are working (as of now ) on the mast for that area . No time is given for it to be completed.

Guest

Rural Broadband has been installed on the cheap in Surrey. BT upgraded the links between the exchange and green boxes, but not the long overhead transmission cables which are still kilometres of copper cable.

My broadband speed has increased from 2Mb to 3.25Mb which is not impressive when speeds of 20 plus Mb are boasted. I was also promised a hub upgrade by BT from their call centre, who never supplied it

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Gilbert -if BT promised you a HH5 and I take it thats the one you wanted then get back onto customer services -I DONT mean India !! I personally have found them helpful . Under their rules every new customer whom signs a 18 months contract will get one free and existing customers on Infinity in the last 3 months of their contract will too ,IF they sign up for another 18 months . The full price is -£129 (reduced in some cases ) . I have been a BT customer for as long as I have had a phone and can honestly say the HH5 is BT,s BEST modem/router to date .I have had -HH3/4 and they have had problems the worst I can say for the HH5 is that in mains fail it sometimes needs a reset ,its reliable and my thoughts are echoed on many tech. sites . I completely sympathise with your small increase in broad band speed with FTTC but if you have miles of copper then there is not a lot that can be done except you look back at my recommendations on Which for people in your position . BT are experimenting on equipment to try and overcome some of those problems but they have not made any official statements for the general public .

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what seems to be wrong is that there is no competition on small exchanges
.

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Alan nobody is stopping any big communications company building an exchange -laying cables – connecting with the main lines EXCEPT shareholders who are quite happy to go into BT exchanges -install their OWN equipment and use BT lines to provide service and cream off high profit margin areas like large cities . But ask them to do the same in rural areas —uh no ! Virgin runs its own cable as does a few small English companies and one town in England . But they wont and never will do it .its called private “”enterprise “” where money talks (but to directors/shareholders ) So Alan start asking the many private companies -why not ?

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Clive Hope says:
31 January 2016

I would like to be able to use my mobile phone to receive or make calls which I am unable to so at the present time.

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Clive you havent given much away and my psychic abilities don’t stretch to mobile phones . Do I take it you have an old phone with its original sim card and you want to re-register/re-activate it ? . If you dont have the original sim card a new one might not be compatible with your phone . Some companies would let you do it but thats up to the company if you havent used it for a long time most people sell their old mobiles there are some companies in the UK that would pay you or you could donate to charity .

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hugo says:
1 February 2016

If you choose till live in a rural area with all its advantages – you have to take the rough with the smooth. Mobile technology will eventually sort out this problem though.

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Been told that fast broadband is coming to our rural area any time now (& saw all the cabling going in over the last months) but when I check, my provider (BT) says it won’t be available for me. This is presumably because I live a mile up a lane from the nearest village – so “rural broadband” doesn’t really mean what it says, does it?

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Sadly not for you Sandra if you have miles of copper from the cabinet , I cant even suggest getting together with others as you dont live in a village as some villages have got together and paid for fibre to be installed or have installed radio internet . I wont mention illegal methods . AS far as “waiting for mobile technology ” this still wont work with those too far from the transmitting /receiving pylon .

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I’d like a mobile phone signal ! too

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The signals all around the Isle of Anglesey are crap, have to travel miles to get a signal in some places.

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Mobile phone signals here have always been just a dream, but, ten years ago when the internet connection in this area moved from dial-up to broadband I was getting up to nine megs broadband download speed and an average around seven megs. This has got worse and worse and worse and is currently running around half a meg. Superfast Cymru, the roll out of ‘fast’ fibre-optic in Wales is just being connected in this immediate area and households are now being encouraged to upgrade to a new, superfast fibre-optic broadband service. Sadly the quoted parameters for this new ‘superfast’ fibre-optic broadband service here in North Monmouthshire are two to five megs download speeds. So, after ten years and two major technology upgrades, we may, if we are very lucky, get a service that is almost half as good as the service we were getting in 2006. Progress, don’t you just love it?

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John Your comment is interesting , you are saying you were on copper with an original download speed of around 7 megs and it got worse and worse until you are down to half a meg . This is down to an increase in the uptake of broadband users in your area . What happens is that the broadband signals overlap with each other in copper easily ,this produces noise ,the noise in DB ,the same as you get in a hi-fi amplifier , degrades the broadband signal slowing it down so over time your speed reduces . Introducing FTTC means the cabinet is the equivalent of the exchange so we are then talking of the distance you are from the cabinet . It sounds like you are a couple of miles or more from it, even though fibre is a big improvement it is still liable to interaction from other broadband users if the cable is full or nearly so , not to the same extent as copper but never the less there is a drop when congested this will be most noticeable to those who use broadband at peak congestion times where even those with very fast broadband -say 70/80 megs will experience a drop . But at that speed a drop of 10megs doesnt matter , but to those already on a low speed it will. This is basically without going into science the reason in your case .

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My speed with BT Broadband varies from 0.35 to 2 megabits per second here in North East Fife. I have written to BT, OFCOM, my Member of the Scottish Parliament, the Fife Broadband Officer and the local newspaper (The Courier) about this – but nothing ever seems to improve. We are not miles out in the Highlands, but about 4 miles from the local exchange in Tayport, but in a rural area. Yet I am paying the same as people in cities receiving very much faster speeds. Action is really needed.

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The Government has something of a moral duty to provide full broadband services to rural areas. They obviously consider those living in such areas worthy of paying their share of council tax and income tax, so why have we to settle for second best in other areas?

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Why can’t mobile masts be like electricy, gas or phone lines. All companies use them but you get the chance to choose which supplier you want.

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I can walk out my door turn left and I can see all the masts about 1.5m away………………….It is high ground and adjacent to a underground reservoir…………………….I know one of the main contractors who install the masts and I am reliably told that there is not a provider that is not catered for on that hill top and it looks like it
Can I get a signal,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,just………….sometimes………………………My wife does get great 4G at the same time as I cannot get a phone call……………I can stand perfectly still and in a few minutes I get 5 bars………………minutes later back to rubbish…………..I think these things are getting a little choosey about how they service………………..I’m paying £12 per month and it looks like we who are not into all this current high tech stuff are getting a lot less than our £12 worth

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Dee if we eliminate weather -obstruction – interference – and you can see the masts then in theory cell- phones are essentially radios communicating and receiving from the tower .A carriers coverage is a network of cell sites ,each with a base station controller for a range of 10 miles but is limited by the number of users on that tower also signal output from the tower is much greater than that of your phone . It is easier for your phone to hear the tower than it is for the tower to hear your phone . Your phone can output -0.2to 0.6 watts the tower can output 3 watts . That is why you may see a signal strength of up to 5 bars on your phone but still not connect to carry on a conversation . Phone makers had to come up with a compromise -long battery life OR short battery life with a 1 or 2 watt transmission signal ,they opted for long battery life . .The tower may not be the correct height or pointed in your direction , its possible the technician has mis-aligned the transmission signal direction unintentionally BUT he may have aligned it to suite the area of most users .. Want a bigger signal then there are boosters and hi-power cell-net phones but they use more battery power (shorter life ) . Just think walki-talkies bigger aerial/ transmitter/battery longer range.

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Duncan Thanks
Yes we have line of sight……………..We’re also high as are the masts and being high we are more often than not above fog…………..but weather does not seem to be the problem as I’ve been watching trying to figure out the why’s and wherefores…………..

I know there are a lot of anomalies but like the land line and internet I think a lot has to do with how much data is being passed at a given time………………as we are not near big town but are out in the sticks I notice the worst morning of the week for internet connection is Saturday……………..So I’m regularly seeing that all my little 2nd and 3rd cousins are causing this by nearly everyone have a device and having fun plus there are several times that amount I never see that I can only assume are the same
My wifes smart phone does things I dont need and her battery lasts at least 5 minutes,,,,,,,,,,,,Near every time I see the phone its on charge…………..I even had to put her 2x12v sockets in the passenger side of the motorhome just to keep her phone and ipad up………….the phone being the biggest offender
Am I correct in assuming that the mobiles phones being digital transmit/receive 0s and 1s whether it be speech/text or data………………..That being the case my wife’s phone from she gets up is operating at 100s if not many 1000s of times my 0s and 1s……………My wife is not alone although she is in that bunch that have to know what everyone is doing and she’ll send and receive more pictures and video clips in a some days than I take all year.
Maybe I’m comparing things wrong here
On Saturday mornings as I’ve said before I can open the laptop up, sign in and once the screen is up it can and regularly and does take the time it takes to make my breakfast to get my emails on the screen and get Which Recent activity refreshed etc……………….Other mornings are not so bad with some at least as fast townsfolk dial up was………………This morning is good,,,,,BBC news about 1 sec,,,,,,,,,,MET Office weather with little picture/map/icon thingy about 3 sec’s and so on………
While I keep loading stuff I’ll do fine but I have to read the stuff and when I do the next item will be slow…………..occasionally near stopped……………I’ll admit to having tried doing all sorts of things to try and get going again………………Hitting F5 several times seems to work or maybe its in my head………….
My mobile seems to be similar in that if its good enough to take a call I seldom get cut off or loose the call except for one particular area of our old stone house and even TVs were effected near that wall……………………You know what I’m talking about I’m sure
If I wish to make a call all I have to do is move to I get the call started and we’re up and running
Maybe I’m wrong but in my minds eye both the internet and the phone seem to be okay once you have grabbed your slice and keep holding it………………….The worst bits are getting hold of it
Not so much a problem when making calls but I’m receiving voicemail texts and calling the caller back before they get their car started the timing is so close………………………I have even walked back along the same steps where my phone apparently was not getting signal while talking without problem
I may be wrong again but the advent of smart phones seems to have coincided with this terrible service……………….Once upon a year there was not a square foot of this place apart from that wall where one couldn’t take/receive anything via mobile………………..I used to never receive voicemails because I could answer the call
I once worked nearby the airport………..some years ago it was a brill place to have a mobile but again today is rubbish with my former boss complaining similar to myself and that is one of the most expensive areas of rural property here with a high density of housing for rural…………..Almost like parts of England………………International Airports draw the usual crowd
Yes big aerials,,,,,,,,bring them back……………..I dont care if they’re old fashioned looking…….so am I

Guest

Your thinking is right Dee each tower can only deal with a certain amount of traffic many people are under the impression that each tower can cover any amount of data intake/outgoing but its not the case as you found out on Saturdays . The same applies to the internet via a landline peak periods speed drops okay if you have high speed to begin with ,not okay if you only have a few mps .

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John F says:
3 February 2016

When is this so called high speed rural broadband going to happen I wonder? I live in very rural Northern Ireland and the speed I get – if I’m lucky – is just over 1.5MB/sec. Not only that but my service has been down several times since I moved over here in February 2014. I don’t even know if my broadband service is ever going to be FTTC.

Guest

Hello John – if you are now living in NI then click on – nibroadband.com where you can click on = check availability — can you get it — order–or cant get it . You should be able to get an idea if -FTTC is being installed in your area ,if not get back.

Guest

Duncan and John,,,,,,,,,
Maybe I better throw my lot in here
If I put my number into nibroadband.com it comes up as taking orders from fibre annd has done for some time but if I look at the map they have me 2 miles from reality……….
If I put in my postcode I get the address option and when I click on our road and number it goes back to the supposed phone number location…………….This is not strange for here………………Come to think of it nothing is strange for here
So be careful and look at the little map thingy and make sure you really are where the suggest/think you are…………

An awful pity the bill hadnt got as bad a navigation system

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Thats funny Dee I thought it was only relevant to Northern Ireland ,I will check it out .

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Checked this out Dee ,it got my address and landline route and info right on the money I can only presume Northern Ireland and the UK are both off the same outreach website otherwise it would only give NI addresses.

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I’d think they share the same website and info,,,,,,,,,,,,,we know its definitely not everywhere here but there are certainly some address’s that are a mess…………….
Maybe its better to not include the ones that’ll not stand a cat in h*** chance……..
Former boss was here the other day and he knows his way around one of these smart phones and he and I done a little experiment with this laptop and his phone just outside the door……….
If it were not the cost his 4G was running rings around our landline…………..

Guest

Okay John got another URL which this time is totally relevant to NI . Its- fasterbroadbandni.com – This website is particular to NI and you can input the NI county from a drop down list ,on clicking it you have a long list of roads /addresses in that county that have fibre (FTTC ) to them .

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No mobile signal, where I live, so that option is not available, broadband is 2g if lucky, struggle to watch anything but basic work on my pc, home line went down prior to Christmas, took BT 64 days to fix it, compensation, £50.00 refused to give me anymore.

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just to add in my two penny worth. Living in central London we also have a very poor broadband service. On an exchange only line & when they cabled our road NTL only did one side & guess which side missed out, mine. The whole fibre optic installation has been a fiasco since the 1990’s.

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Keith -here is BT,s contract policy as regards /line disconnection (taken from BT care forum ) =Compensation or customer service guarantee (CSGS) is standard and is only paid when commitment has been exceeded . If a fault has been reported on a Monday the commitment is by the end of Wednesday-ie- CSGS starts on Thursday actual financial loss can also be claimed once the fault has exceeded the commitment . This is for you to be reimbursed for costs due to the delay in repair . As BT DOESNT guarantee a fault free service CSGS is paid for the delay in repair -NOT the fault ,generally a daily RENTAL credit wich is how much you pay PER DAY for the line . Good will is outside these terms and accepting it prevents you from claiming under AFL . So Keith you calculate your loss in line rental excluding the first 3 days that would be approx 60 days then ,how does that tie up ? .If you go to BT,s CARE Forum you can get advice or get your case taken up by a Moderator who is an exec. in BT employ.

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I don’t like Which’s Zoe Lederman’s phrase, “EVEN in rural areas”. In Norway for at least 2 generations, anyone building a holiday hut anywhere in the country has had the right to an electricity supply. Despite their mountainous terrain, their mobile ‘phones receive a signal in rural areas which in Britain would receive none. How much easier to provide a broadband connection to homes and businesses in this country, wherever they are.

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John VERY interesting as regards Norway,s coverage and your right Norway is way ahead of everybody else in the EU . What stands out that is different from the UK is that in partnership the Norwegian government is supplying Satellite broadband that is helped with government grants ,also large scale WIRELESS broadband is being used because of mountainous regions again with government help . Eutelsat (very large SAT company ) is their partner as is Tooway consumer broadband service consisting of a small sat dish and modem without the need of a telephone line . Also broadband is being delivered via cable TV as in the States . They are using a wide range of options ,unlike the UK but we are talking government money ,which Norway has built up a fortune from OIL and BANKED it for future use ,unlike here.

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I found that very interesting…………….

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Cameron’s announcement, I think, applies to rural England & not rural Wales. Here on Anglesey the village I live near has a cabinet, which is connected to the Beaumaris exchange. Unfortunately we and other houses out of the village, inc. a school are connected to the Menai Bridge exchange. Menai Bridge has had fibre installed, & we keep being promised over the past 18 months by BT superfast fibre is coming soon, but it never happens. And of course BT have been given a shedload of money by the Welsh Govt. to provide superfast broadband. Our normal speed is between 0.5 and 1.5 mbps. (V difficult sometimes just to download text emails.) That speed is when we have a service, which is very poor. Today we just got our broadband back (and our landline) after it had been out for 5 whole weeks. The same fault affected 4 other households. Wherever I go on Anglesey, I hear lots of stories from individuals and businesses about slow speeds, poor service, etc. No wonder Anglesey’s economy is amongst the poorest in the UK. Yes, it should be treated as a utility and there should be a universal right to broadband, inc rural areas, if only on the grounds that all major institutions, inc. public bodies, companies, and of course the UK government are forcing individuals to interact with them via the internet.

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Paul did you know the amswer to your own question ,as hinted in your last sentence ? According to your local newspaper -front page what is holding up high speed fibre – is land permissions -Quote- Big companies and overseas landlords are blocking communities superfast broadband , a top Welsh Government official claims . Engineers need to install 3,000 cabinets on highways and private land across Wales to run kilometres of copper cabling and lay fibre poles for high speed internet access BUT some private landowners are preventing homes ,businesses and even villages from gaining it by delaying or refusing to give permission for BT engineers to access the sites. Simon Jones Welsh Director of Finance and performance ,economy ,skills and natural resources said they were almost POWERLESS to stop landlords blocking roll-out. He said they should be “named and shamed ” including big companies ,overseas organisations using the land as a UK post box for their business ( keep that in mind posters ) and even residents who dont want engineers into their gardens. Labour MP Jenny Rathbone blasted them as “outrageous ” . To let you know Paul in the days of BT being part of the GPO -known as GPO Telephones -remember the green vans ? they had government legal authority to enter homes ( as I did ) And access ALL telephone equipment . Privatisation and the new Telephone Act put paid to that ,sorry to say. The current program is being extended to June 2017 but I wouldnt hold my breath . BT/Outreach are waiting ,as is the Welsh government but are being blocked .