BT boss responds to OnTheWight Rural Broadband open letter

BT’s Next Generation Access (NGA) Managing Director, Bill Murphy responds to OnTheWight’s Open Letter to IWC Cabinet about the proposed Rural broadband project.

Set of optical fibres by zigazou76

OnTheWight received the following letter this morning from BT’s Next Generation Access (NGA) Managing Director, Bill Murphy in response to Simon’s open letter to Cabinet members last week. Ed

BT is keen to make the great benefits of high-speed fibre broadband as widely available as possible on the Isle of Wight. BT’s commercial investment in the island’s fibre network has already resulted in more than 37,000 Isle of Wight homes and businesses gaining access to the technology in areas including Shanklin, Cowes, Newport, Ryde, Sandown and Ventnor. By the end of spring 2014, more than 50,000 premises in total will have access.

The proposal being considered by the Island’s council would benefit 20,000 further premises, none of which are scheduled to gain service from commercial operators. Openreach, BT’s local network business, is using a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. Both technologies offer speeds many times faster than the current UK average.

Funding model
In terms of value for money, the percentage contributions from the UK government, local authority and the provider are specific to the local situation and reflect the ambitious targets set by the council. The government has stipulated a gap funding model – the provider pays the economically viable cost and public funding covers the remainder. The proposed contract also has a “clawback” clause, so that if the take-up of the service is higher than expected, money will be returned to the council. The council then has the option to invest that money to increase coverage. If take-up is lower than expected, any losses are borne solely by BT.

As you would expect, and contrary to some erroneous claims, BT’s costs for these contracts are transparent and full accounts are available to the central and local government partners contributing public money to fund improvements in rural broadband. BT claims the money only after it has been spent and on production of evidence for that expenditure.

BT’s deployment of superfast broadband in the UK is one of the fastest and largest commercial fibre access network deployments in the world. We have committed £2.5bn of our shareholders’ funds to build this network and we are on track to complete our planned roll out, to some 19 million UK premises during spring 2014.

Open access
Importantly, and unlike many other providers, BT’s new fibre-based network will be open to all communications providers on an equivalent basis. There are more than 80 service providers currently offering or using fibre services over BT’s network in the UK, and all of these will be able to offer services on the Island if they choose to. Competition amongst service providers is essential to attract customers and deliver a sustainable service. Schemes which have struggled to achieve this competitive market for consumers have already resulted in costly failures.

In contrast to such schemes, the approach being considered by the Isle of Wight council has been proven to be successful, and, should BT be chosen, will be delivered by a company with a substantial presence on the Island.

I hope this provides your readers with useful information to allow an informed debate to take place.

Bill Murphy
BT’s managing director, Next Generation Access

Friday, 23rd August, 2013 2:38pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. Ian Young

    23.Aug.2013 4:12pm

    Open access is the key issue here.

    Could we have Talk talk, Sky or Virgin Media broadband service over a Wightfibre installed Network? I think not.

    • Halfthestory

      23.Aug.2013 4:48pm

      True, Wightfibre’s service wouldn’t be open to other players.

      But is BT actually providing truly Open Access? Aren’t they actually just proving a means for the other 77 ISP they refer to, beyond the three you list, to just resell a BT service on their behalf?

      • greenfiremouse

        23.Aug.2013 6:28pm

        Actually, you wouldn’t be able to get WightFibre from BT either.
        Having experienced first hand the cowboy methods that BT applied to box WightCable out of the market for supplying the whole of the Island with broadband years ago, I will not using BT ever, and if they were the only supplier in the country.
        Unfortunately, I cannot get the fibre option of WightFibre where I live, so I am still stuck with a line that goes through BT exchange. And it looks very much as if my current connection problems have a lot to do with that! (Of course I have a contract with a different supplier other than BT…)

        • Ian Young

          23.Aug.2013 6:50pm


          WightFibe do use BT Openreach to provide service in areas they do not have a network presences, I’m sure this will continue.

          • Greenfiremouse, WightFibre do not use BT Openreach to extend our coverage. This doesn’t mean that we won’t ever but at present we do not use BT for anything other than back-up links to the mainland and for delivering our phone calls off-island.

      • Ian Young

        23.Aug.2013 6:43pm

        There is some truth in what you say but:

        1: The major ISPs now have their own kit in Telephone Exchanges and only use the BT Openreach Network to deliver their kit to their customers.

        2: Wightfibre seem to won’t a publicly financed network which only they can access. No mention of resale of their broadband service or use of their network by other ISPs. Please tell me if I am mistaken

        • Simon Perry

          24.Aug.2013 1:28pm

          Your point 2 – I don’t believe Wightfibre are asking for public money to build their network.

          • woodworker

            24.Aug.2013 2:25pm

            so what are they asking for? That BT isnt given public money? That seems to be a case of Wightfibre trying to reduce the competition for themselves.
            If Wightfibre can build a network that can compete with BT, why dont they want BT to have this money?
            I agree that the money is too much and BTs share should be more, but if Wightfibre are not asking for public money, why do they object to BT having it? The only reason I can think of is to try and establish a monopoly.

          • Man in Black

            24.Aug.2013 2:44pm

            @woodworker The council are having to borrow the £3.5m+ to pay for the BT contract. What is the point of them doing that if another company has said that it will be providing the same service to rural customers within the same timeframe at no cost to the council?

          • WightFibre are not asking for public money – simply asking for a level playing field. Why should the council be borrowing £3M to give to BT to rollout broadband that Wight Fibre, Click4Internet and WightWireless are rolling out anyway?

            On the subject of open networks. If you have local competition then open networks aren’t required. BT Openreach are being made to open their network as a condition of the grant – they’re not volunteering to do so.

    • Highpoint infrastructure is an open access network and there is no reason why you couldn’t use the service of any supplier should they have a wholesale account.

  2. Patrick mckay

    23.Aug.2013 4:41pm

    Another spin off of course is that if BT is chosen as provider , BT Sport would come free, so customers would have a choice as to carry on paying for Sky to watch sports.

  3. Standard BT bullsh*t from its PR department.

    • woodworker

      23.Aug.2013 5:55pm

      as opposed to standard Wight Cable bullsh*t?

      why do you consider this to be “bullsh*t”? Anyone can say that, but unless you give a reason why its pointless.

      Personally, I think BT offers the best infrastructure solution which can be used by a number of providers to provide services, even if it is a reselling of BT services. I also think BT should be doing this regardless, not taking our money for it. I do not think wight cable can compete, and if they did get the contract, I think they would take longer to create an infrastructure which would be limited to wightcable service.

      • Do keep up WW!

        I have explained elsewhere why the promised upgrade in speed will not happen while the “last mile” is based on copper twisted-pairs. The physics are against it.

        The only way would be to fit each home/business with fibre- that is not part of the project given the cost that would dwarf the current budget.

        [BTW I have no brief for Wight Cable either unless it can show how it could afford to equip each property with fibre and prove that wireless links could hack the speeds.)

        • woodworker

          23.Aug.2013 8:14pm

          Im not going to trawl through your previous comments to see what you wrote beforehand.

          Copper wire from the cabinet to the house is perfectly acceptable and will result in a speed increase. You need to check your facts.

          • Woodworker. The new infrastructure will result in a speed increase for premises within 1.25km of a cabinet. But this is not speeds of 30Mb plus which is the whole point – this who project is meant to be delivering NGA (Next Generation Access) speeds but it will not do so to homes beyond 1km of a cabinet. So, yes, your speed will increase by, say, 10Mb or so, but if you are only on 4Mb to 8Mb at present, then that is hardly superfast broadband?

      • I don’t agree that BT have the best technology. They have always had to find technology that can work with the existing copper cables as it’s deemed to expensive and too bigger task to replace them with fibre. That means that their technical solutions are always a stop gap technology or in the case of Infinity a new method using old technology. In fact when it comes to delivering a service to a home Wightfibre cable network does have superior technology in case of capacity and reach. Whilst wireless may not be suitable for high density urban deployments it is probably the only method in which the very rural users can be reached without physically installing fibre to their premises. And with the cost of that we know even with the funding that would not be enough to even get close.

      • Woodworker. There’s no misinformation here from WightFibre. We’ve been fairly open and above board which is more than can be said for BT and the Council. The subject of whether WightFibre’s network is open or not is a moot point. The whole concept of BT’s network being ‘open’ stems from the fact that it was largely built with tax payer money (from when BT, formerly the post office, was government owned). It order to create a more competitive market BT was made to open its network up to other operators – and a few years ago BT Openreach was formed to facilitate this. If there are two network operators in the local loop the need to encourage competition by making networks open. As it happens some of the suppliers you mention do use WightFibre for connectivity to, for example, BT exchanges because we provide it at a better price than BT. We already have a competitive market here on the Isle of Wight, perhaps uniquely for a rural area like ours. We don’t need the Council to give BT a state subsidy which will spoil that.

    • He did not mention the Supafast (sic) broadband speed restrictions caused by copper in the “last mile”.

      Don’t wait to complain about not getting the promised speeds. Complain now before the money is spent.

      {I note that the government is still leaning on its Island Tory lapdog councillors to promote the project, just as it did for PFI and the educational reorganisation. Look what happened in those two cases!)

      • Ian Young

        23.Aug.2013 6:59pm

        Please read what BT say. They can provide FTTC and FTTP technologies. I’m sure you know what this means.

        • FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet, ie. ONLY to the street furniture)

          FTTP (Fibre to the Premises- the fibre from the cabinet to the premises would have to be paid for by the subscriber. (see below)

          You probably mean FTTB or FTTH.

          FTTB (Fibre to the building e.g. a multi- apartment block in which the internal distribution has to be done by the owner(s).


          FTTH (Fibre to the Home- the fibre ends at a box on the outside of the dwelling- the link from the cabinet and from the cabinet to an internal network is the owner’s responsibility and cost.

          In both these cases, it usually involves digging up the road- requiring planning permission- and costs around £100/metre plus £50/metre across pavements plus the cost of the fibre itself

          This means there would be a substantial add-on costs to those wishing to replace their twisted-pair copper wire connections to get the increased line speeds promised. (I live about 150 metres from the local cabinet, so my end cost would be over £15000)

          AFAIK the proposed BT project is not offering such end-connections but only to the street cabinet as part of the Govt/IWC investment.

          Please tell me if I am mistaken and the add-ons to get the speeds will be gratis. I would be delighted! :-))

          • woodworker

            23.Aug.2013 9:32pm

            you are not mistaken about the costs involved, but you are mistaken about the speed. Copper wiring from the cabinet to the house will not result in an appreciable speed drop. The speed drop happens between the exchange and the cabinet – which is why FTTC is perfectly acceptable in virtually all areas. Originally, fibre optic networks were implimented to handle large data transfer from the large hadron collider at Cern to universities throughout Europe… so unless you keep a particle accelerator in the basement copper wiring in the last mile will be fine and will result in at the most a couple of MB lost.

          • Tell me what is WightFibre offering – access to their network by all ISPs including BT. I think not.

            Tell me –WighFibre won’t they have to dig up the roads. Yes or no ?

            When I say FTTP I mean FTTP not FTTB I do know the difference. Please don’t patronise.

            FTTB is a concept that is long out of date.

          • See this report in a real village for a true example of BT FTTC and how it fails on performance and coverage, capacity, upgradability and customer service. Is this good enough for the IoW?


          • This report is so full errors it’s untrue.

            In simple terms do we want public money given to a Company that will provide not only the Fibre Network but also the Internet Service or to company that will provides the Network but let the customer decide who provides the service? Just tell me I can have Talk Talk or Sky Broadband over a WightFibre Network and I will say no more.

          • @ian Young re

            This report is so full errors it’s untrue.

            Please point out the errors you have spotted so they can be communicated to the authors.

          • This report is so full errors it’s untrue.

            @ Ian Young Thank you Cicero for your comment. As one of the authors Ian Young needs to provide what he thinks is wrong with the report so that we can consider amending it. Full email addresses are included in the report. Sound bites with no detail do not make a convincing argument. For a convincing argument that deals with the facts relating to the Island see the post from Wiber (24th August,11.41am).

          • The problem is that many properties are much more than 1200 meters from the nearest cabinet and that BT only add the new FTTC cabinet just near the old ones.

            The length of lines from the cabinet is still a problem specially out of town in rural areas and speeds will vary more wildly with VDSL technology. Yes at close proximity the speeds are very good but you only have to go 600 meters and they drop to half. And go over 1km and you may not even get superfast broadband at all!

            If you live in a rural area and are hoping for Infinity why not go and see how far away your nearest cabinet is?

        • @Ian Young

          So as FTTB and FTTH are out of date- will BT be supplying fibre to the premises gratis?

  4. Maybe we should think a little outside of wires and fibre. My family’s experience of Click4Internet has been excellent – 10mb down and 2mb up where BT only delivered 1.5mb down and 0.25mb up.

    Maybe if we had more investment in wireless technology, instead of obsessing over digging up roads and pavements to put in copper and fibre, we could find a solution from a local business that might be able to use our money a lot more productively and creatively than BT or Wightfibre.

    No single solution will suit all – I doubt a wireless network would work well in Ventnor (without an off-shore repeater!) but wireless providers might be a lot more sensible solution to this scenario without spending as much money. It is especially more preferable to pouring all that cash into the monolith that is BT, with bureaucracy and layers of cost, management and PR spin that the money will actually get wasted on if it’s sent that way.

    The money’s supposed to be there to implement a transformational solution, not to dish up more of the cheap porridge that BT might deign to roll out to us eventually, if we’re good.

    Has BT even said which exchanges the £6m will enable? Forgive me, I haven’t seen the detail anywhere…

    • Ian Young

      23.Aug.2013 9:47pm

      With all due respect Wireless is not the answer for the majority of us.

      If you have an ideological dislike of BT I can understand, but please tell me who else can provide the back waters of the West Wight, or indeed any remote rural area with a FTTC or FTTP fiber network which is accessible by all other ISPs. I can think of none.

      • Got any reason why wireless isn’t the answer? My experiences are that it IS in the rural backwaters much better than BT is prepared to – there’s nothing planned in the Yarmouth exchange as far as I’m aware. Do you have any details of which exchanges BT will enable and where they will be putting cabinets? OTW’s point (echoed elsewhere) is that the current council don’t have enough time to make a properly informed decision. They are being offered ‘give money to BT’. It is NOT a good idea – we’re just subsidising a large corporation!

        • Wireless carries less the 2% of all Local Loop Internet Traffic.

          It may be the answer for you and good luck, but in my option investment in Wireless would not be the best use of Tax Payers money.

          • Oh right – because it’s not popular NOW (because it’s not BT’s cash-cow) then it can’t be the ‘right’ answer.

            That’s how innovation DOESN’T happen.

            If you haven’t tried a wireless service, how do you know it’s not the answer for you RIGHT NOW?!

          • He said clearly that it might be the right answer for you…

            Oddly enough, people living in different places and having different needs will use different solutions. Personally, I wouldnt bother with wireless when theres a cabinet just down the road from me. Of course, if the wired service is slow for you, then maybe wireless is the answer for you.

      • Interestingly – even BT is using wireless in more remote areas. I don’t mean to suggest West Wight is remote but for some Scottish and Irish islands even BT is using wireless. Wireless can provide speeds faster than BT fibre for premises further than 1.25Km from a BT cabinet.

  5. Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

    24.Aug.2013 11:41am

    There are some key points to clear up before going any further as the posts in this thread are not all accurate and factual and there appears to be some misunderstanding.

    1. No island providers are eligible for public subsidy/funding. This is not a debate about WHO should get public money. This is not a debate about whether wireless technology should be funded by IWC with public money. This is not a debate about whether WightFibre or any other company’s network or technology would be the best option to ‘fund’. There is no possibility under the current framework rules for any regional provider to receive public subsidy or funding from IWC of any kind – only BT are eligible for any public money and BT are offering IWC only 1 technology – copper wires to deliver services to ALL premises. The IWC/BT project makes it very/specifically clear that no copper lines will be replaced and no fibres to premises will be laid. If you want a fibre to your premises and IF that option is available in your area, then you must pay the considerable costs as outlined in this thread – many thousands of pounds per premesis in almost every case.
    Local providers like WightFibre and also the extensive Wiber network (operated by High Point Infrastructure – HPI) used by companies like Click4Internet to deliver services have been excluded from eligibility for any funding so THERE IS NO OPTION FOR ANY PUBLIC MONEY TO BE GIVEN/SPENT ON ANY WIRELESS OR WIGHTFIBRE NETWORKS.

    2. Local operators like HPI (Wiber) and WightFibre have invested their own money in building their networks and providing services into areas where BT have chosen to allow their network to fall behind and fail to meet consumer demand. BT chose not to invest their own money in their own technology – probably because it is not a cost effective way to reach rural users. That’s BT’s choice. Providers like Wiber / HPI have chosen to invest their own money into their own technology because it does offer a cost effective way to reach rural users. Local operators like Wiber / HPI and WightFibre have not asked for any public money. These local providers have given confirmed detailed plans to IWC showing the exact existing coverage that they already provide and detailing their confirmed plans for additional infrastructure that they will deploy over the next 3 years – USING THEIR OWN MONEY TO DO SO.
    All that local providers are asking is that their EXISTNG PROVABLE COVERAGE is noted and recognised by IWC and that public money is not handed to BT to pay for expensive copper based network upgrades in the areas where alternative high speed coverage already exists and/or will soon exist as a result of legitimate commercial investment.

    3. The Wiber network operated by HPI covers the vast majority of the Island with high speeds. Most areas of the Wiber network already offer 30 Mb/s to those that want it. Future upgrades funded by HPI themselves will further improve available speeds WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC MONEY BEING REQUIRED, however commercial providers cannot and will not risk their own investment in the Island’s communication infrastructure if public money is being ‘handed out’ to a monopolistic incumbent in a SECRET and unfair process that offeres no competative tender environment for contracts and offers the tax payer no ‘value for money’.
    The extensive Wiber network offers multiple providers the opportuntiy to use it to deliver services – just like the BT network is open to multiple providers – so is the Wiber network. Click4internet is a local provider that uses the Wiber network to reach its customers. Other providers also use the Wiber network to reach their customers. If BT, talk talk, virgin, or any other provider wish to deliver services accross the Wiber network they are very welcome to do so.

    4. Woodworker’s comments that copper lines are fine and that speeds don’t drop over copper line distance are unfortunately wrong. I don’t want to criticise you woodworker but if you speak to any copper line user more than 1KM line length from an exchange they will confirm the massive speed drops. For example in areas like Hamstead, Wellow, Arretton, Brook – to name just a few, the copper line length depletes the speeds from something like 20 Mb/s at the ‘cabinet’ to less than 1 Mb/s at the premises. This is established fact and can be easily substantiated by field results/tests/canvassing.
    What is less widely known is that the ‘faster’ BT Infinity technology (called VDSL / 21CN) has a considerably shorter range over copper lines than previous technologies and the ‘superfast’ speeds promised to users can only be achieved over distances of around 600 meters line length. By 1 km line length or beyond the BT Infinity speeds have depleted to a small fraction of ‘superfast’. It is for this reason that so many people are against the choice of that technology as a solution that such a large sum of public money should be spent on.
    If you study the documentation and information you will see there are simply no guarantees of anywhere near ‘superfast’ speeds for many users within the IWC / BT plans. IWC propose giving BT around £6 Million of public money, around £3 Million of which will be BORROWED by IWC because the Island does not have the funds in the bank for this, all based on a ‘theoretical’ solution from BT with no guarantees and NO PENALTIES SHOULD THE EXAGGERATED THEORETICAL ‘PROMISED’ SPEEDS NOT ACTUALLY GET DELIVERED. In fact BT and IWC are well aware of the problem caused by long copper lines which is why their project document makes is very clear that many users will only get a PREDICTEDVPROMISED 16 Mb/s at the end of the project – nowhere near ‘superfast’ and of course that 16 Mb/s is NOT GUARANTEED – JUST PREDICTED – SO THE REALITY WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY BE FAR LESS THAN 16 Mb/s.
    Any statement by IWC or BT that suggests the proposed project will deliver ‘fibre broadband’ is false, misleading and disingenuous. The IWC have stated in writing that no fibre will be deployed to premises during the project – this means that this is a copper wire project delivering broadband over copper – not a ‘fibre boradband’ project in any way shape or form.

    5. Bill Murphy’s statement about ‘clawbacks’ is disingenuous and misleading. If you study the documentation it can be easily seen that any money due under the ‘claw back’ rules that Bill Murphy refers to, is kept on deposit by BT to be spent by BT internally, buying more BT infrastructure. So it’s retained by BT and spent by BT on BT technology. Only if BT are unable to think of anything to spend it on does any ‘claw back’ money leave BT and go to IWC. Can anyone imagine a situation where BT can think of nothing on the Island to spend the clawback money on at all? Of course not. Therefore no clawback money will EVERY REACH IWC BANK ACCOUNTS – it will be spent by BT on BT technology. For Bill Murphy to suggest otherwise does nothing other than mislead the reader and misrepresent the facts of the ‘deal’.

    6. We’re not saying that public money should be spent supporting Wight Fibre, HPI, or any other regional provider, or any other technology. We’re saying that BEFORE spending public money and distorting a vibrant and effective market on the Island, IWC should make a genuine attempt to engage with regional/other providers and test/trial technology that ALREADY EXISTS – speak to homes and businesses that ALREADY USE IT – and find out where subsidy is REALLY NEEDED and where IT IS NOT REQUIRED becuase there are existing services in place or legitimate plans for commercial investments in the near future.

    7. Please note that HPI has been ready, willing and able to make considerable further investments to its Island Wiber network for the past 2+ years. IWC have chosen to specifically withhold and ‘keep secret’ all information regarding proposed publicly subsidised infrastructure – where it will be installed, who it will serve etc… Without any information being available how can commercial providers target their investments/risk into areas that will not be improved by the IWC/BT project so that those left out of the IWC project will have alternative options? It’s impossible. The only option is for us to ‘freeze’ further investments and improvements until IWC and/or BT are prepared to divulge where they intend to spend public money and what they intend to use it for in those areas. This alone has set back commercial plans on the Island by at least 2 years and has been a tradgedy for rural users on the Island. Without the unnecessary secrecy and with an open and transparrent process we could have rolled out speeds of 50 Mb/s accross the Island by now – without any public money – enabling rural users to access a high speed network open to multiple providers to deliver their services accross – creating diverse and competative consumer choices.

    8. Nobody is suggesting that wireless technology should be used to serve the thousands of people who are within 600 meters of a cabinet. If you’re one of those thousands of premesis that are lucky enough to be within 600 meters of an Infinity cabinet funded by BT’s own money, and if you want to use copper phone lines for your broadband, then that’s a great option for you. HOWEVER if you’re at then end of a long copper phone line and the cost and disruption of installing additional fibres and cabinets to reduce your line length enough for you to get fast speeds over copper is not viable enough for BT to spend their own money on it, then there are alternative solutions that are cost effective for commercial providers to deploy, that are tried and tested, that are popular with those that have used them for years, and that can do the job perfectly well without public funding.
    The use of wireless technology to reach those with the longest copper lines and provide an alternative to a few thousand premesis that are uneconomic to reach using copper lines and BT Infinity, is the perfect solution. The correct choice of quality Wireless technology, such as HPI’s Wiber network, is more than capable of supporting the numbers and capacities involved – and this has been proven on the Island and elsewhere accross the UK, many times. For example Click4Internet reports it has retained 99% of its monthly subscribers since 2008 – proving that the Wiber network (wireless-fibre) is an effective and popular means of meeting rural users’ demands.
    Wireless has the capability to solve the problem of the few thousand ‘remotest’ users on the Island. The vast majority of them are already within an area covered by the Wiber network and already have access to 30 Mb/s if they want it. No public money is needed to hand out to BT for copper line solutions in these areas.

    9. Please remmeber that BT were given the UK’s phone network infrastructure some years ago. It was BT’s obligation to maintain and improve the network they were given so that it remained fit for purpose and continued to meet consumer demand. If BT have failed to achieve that then that’s their fault – not the tax payer’s fault.
    If my company fails to invest in our network, mismanages our pension fund, does not develop technology that can solve problems in a cost effective way, and chooses, for example, to pay out large bonuses so that there are no funds left to improve failing rural networks, then my company would fail – or it would have to give up equity/shares in return for investment to solve the problem, or borrow money and pay interest on the loan.
    When the UK government bailed out a large bank recently the UK tax payer received equity/shares in the bank in return. The bank got its sums wrong and failed and the tax payer bailed it out and took equity in return. If BT have failed then why should they be given public money without them having to give anything in return?
    Do people actually realise that the IWC / BT project will require around 76% public subsidy but will result in 0% public equity in return? This means that public services and assets (Hospitals, Schools, Emergency Services, Libraries – even IWC themselves) will still have to pay the FULL AMOUNT for their connectivity and communication services. Other providers that use the BT network (talk talk, sky, plus net etc…) will still have to pay the FULL AMOUNT for using the BT infrastructure – BUT 76% of the infrastructure will have been paid for by the tax payer – YET BT WILL RECEIVE THE MONEY WHEN CUSTOMERS USE THIS INFRASTRUCTURE THAT THE TAX PAYER BOUGHT! This cannot be fair or reasonable.

    It is a highly visible fact that BT have proved they are unable and/or unwilling to suitably maintain and invest in their own network to ensure they remain able to meet consumer demand.
    Based on that fact – do people think that public money should be handed out to BT (with no return, no equity and no costs) to solve the problem that is of their own making?
    What guarantees are there that BT will not neglect the network that the tax payer has funded in the same way they have neglected the network that the UK public gave them years ago?
    The reason BT can’t or won’t invest in the required improvements themselves is that their copper line technology is too expensive and not an effective way of serving rural areas with low density of premesis. BT has a choice to use an alternative technology that would be cost effective. Such a technology could be deployed by BT or other commercial providers for the sort of sum’s BT is contributing (i.e. 24% of the proposed IWC project) and the problem would be solved without public subsidy.
    Where is the incentive for BT to use more effective and efficient technology if they can receive a 76% public subsidy in return for giving up no equity, paying no returns, incurring no charges, and with no guarantees or penalties if promises are not delivered?
    How can any other provider invest in a solution with the threat of the IWC / BT scheme hanging over the marketplace and making it impossible to assess risk and target investment?

    10. People may not be aware that IN ADDITION TO the £3 Million that IWC intends to borrow and give to BT, IWC have also agreed to spend £98k of public money marketing and promoting the scheme. If IWC has spend nothing supporting, promoting or assisting local providers then why should it spend £98k promoting BT? It wants to give around £6M of public money to BT – is that not enough?

    11. It is a fact that the BT contribution of 24% towards the project is one of the lowest % contributions amongst similar projects around the UK. It is a fact that IWC and BT have determined that, out of the £6M of proposed public money, not all of it will be needed and a massive £1.2 Million will be ‘surpluss’. If such a large surpluss exists then why is the £3M being borrowed by IWC to fund the project not reduced down significantly?

    We (HPI) want to keep investing our own money and taking risk in deploying high speed services into the Island’s most rural areas. We are ready, willing and able to do this. We have already invested hundreds of thousands of pounds doing exactly that and the results have been excellent. We have demonstrated an open access, cost effective, polular, effective and sustainable solution that requires no public subsidy.
    We simply ask that IWC does not ignore our coverage, disregard our infrastructure and ignore the fact that we already serve hundreds of the Islands homes and many of the best know businesses with a service they are satisfied with. We ask that millions of pounds are not borrowed by IWC – driving it further into debt – to hand out to BT to build overpriced and underperforming copper line networks in areas where popular and effective solutions already exist.


    • woodworker

      24.Aug.2013 1:03pm

      I was replying to someone who claimed that fibre to the cabinet and copper wire would result in a speed drop. It doesnt – not appreciably. FTTC is typically within 500m of houses.
      FTTN and copper wire of a few KM may result in a drop – however I cant think of any village on the island that will have a few KM between the node / cabinet and the house. A few isolated houses might have problems – which is where wireless such as click4internet might want to be considered by the homeowner.
      Theres lots of people here talking about lots of different technologies. BT is, I believe, talking about installing FTTC on the island, and the copper wires from this will result in no appreciable speed drop. If they were talking about FTTN you may have a point.

      • @WW Erm! “you are not mistaken about the costs involved, but you are mistaken about the speed. Copper wiring from the cabinet to the house will not result in an appreciable speed drop.”

        It looks like you were referring to my post @ 0912 today. AFAIK nobody else else has estimated the costs of running fibre from the cabinet to the premises which you confirm in your answer.

        That post does not mention any speed drop . Maybe you were combining answers a different post?

        • woodworker

          24.Aug.2013 3:16pm

          I think thats probably the ONLY post you havnt explicitly mentioned speed on – and that you think copper wire in the “last mile” will result in huge speed drops. If you are talking about FTTC – which you seem to be – the last mile doesnt exist – only the last 500 metres or so. In virtually all island areas, 2 or 3 cabinets will cover all houses within a village at distances of 500m. Laying fibre to the premises is not required, cost effective, or feasible. You realise that it is not cost effective or feasible – Im not sure why you cant see that its not required apart from for the odd remote house, which might be better off using wireless service.

          • Pls point out in which post I have mentioned a “speed DROP”.

            I have argued that twisted pairs will not provide the promised speed INCREASE.

            A different thing completely.

          • woodworker

            24.Aug.2013 7:19pm

            oh please. whether it be a speed increase from the current speed, or a speed drop from fibre optic speeds, its the same difference.

            It occurs to me that actually no speed increase has been promised, simply an infrastructure. No promise of any speed at peoples houses has been made.

            Im a bit sick of this. Whenever someone disagrees with you, you try and derail the debate with pedantic bullsh*t. Ironically, thats what you accused BT of wasnt it… “Bullsh*t”

          • @WW “oh please. whether it be a speed increase from the current speed, or a speed drop from fibre optic speeds, its the same difference.”

            Nope! Not from the subscriber’s (and taxpayer’s) perspective.

            Are you saying that BT’s Supafast promises relate only from cabinet to switch with no speed increase for the subscriber?

            Is DCMS/ BDUK’s statement in the document “Broadband Delivery UK” a lie?

            (It states that the projective objective is “to provide superfast broadband to at least 90% of PREMISES (i.e. not cabinets) in the UK and to provide UNIVERSAL access to standard broadband with a speed of AT LEAST 2Mbps.”)

            Perhaps one of the techies will tell us if a home twisted pair can hack more than a 2Mbps upload?

          • Woodworker – in Surrey up until the point of the contract being placed with BT, the council were saying that 99.7% of premises would have access to superfast broadband which SCC defined on their webpage as greater than 24Mbps. Once the contract was in place this was modified with words like access to “fibre connected” services. At an open launch meeting the council deputy leader assisted by Bill Murphy said they could not be specific on speed as it depended on the time of day and other factors like IPlayer loading, thus confusing data throughput with broadband line synchronisation speed, surely deliberate bull**** just to confuse a mainly unknowledgeable audience. We now believe the contract specifies greater than 15Mb/s to 94.6% of premises. SCC has not made this public, but have stated as such at some community meetings. Now, if the contract can be that specific why is this aspect fudged and still not made wide public knowledge?

            I can see the same pantomime on the Isle of Wight with some politicians anxious not to be seen to be back-peddling on promises. Thank goodness that you have politicians that do represent the public’s best interest rather than big business and have the opportunity to secure the truth before a contract is placed. Also, the Isle of Wight has options of alternative providers, who may well be able to beat any BT proposal without public subsidy.

            This report provides actual performance data and it is not good.

            The Isle of Wight may have a different cabinet geography, but that is up to BT to demonstrate with an accurate description of what they can provide before any contract is place.

            By the way @ Ian Young, did you once work for BT?

          • It’s noticeable and commendable that you keep polite with people you disagree with, Cicero.

        • Thanks @tryme.

          Having indulged in online debates since the mid-80s (yes- within the computer industry we were doing it well before Tim Berners-Lee made it much easier and more widespread),I have found that once a discussion descends into ad hominems it indicates that the debate is at an end.

          Its participants, having exhausted their stores of wit and wisdom, have nothing intelligent left to say.

          Sad but true! :-((

      • The line distance may be typically less than 500 meters but you have to remember that this is only the case in urban areas and that most of the urban areas already have FTTC. My research shows that in rural areas these distances are far more. In fact villages like Yafford and Brook do not even have cabinets! Shorwell only has one!

        So yes I agree in towns and cities where most BTs stats are gained this may be true but this funding is for rural areas and that’s where the problem lies and what the funding is for.

    • phil jordan

      24.Aug.2013 2:17pm


      would you like to email me on to discuss further…?

      • As this is your private email Phil would such a discussion be off official records?

        • phil jordan

          26.Aug.2013 1:07pm

          It’s a private email address I created for the election campaign and it was included in all of my election material. I still get residents writing to me via this address with concerns and issues which I then deal with. The address is outside of the Council system.
          However I am on holiday in France with no access to the Council system or emails but I can access this one. Under other circumstances (ie, not on holiday) I would have posted my Council email address. That is the email address for me that is published on the Council website. Hope that clarifies the position.

          • I’m afraid as a layman it doesn’t strike me as appropriate Phil. Also would a person involved in decision making normally discuss the matter publicly beforehand?

          • phil jordan

            26.Aug.2013 2:57pm

            You seem to be conflating issues.
            I am using a hotmail email account whilst abroad. It is also a hotmail account I use in the UK because it was included in my election material and is used by members of the public and residents of my Ward. In addition, I also use an email address. (not accessible, in my circumstances, from abroad)
            Not quite sure what you mean by that being not “appropriate”.
            The second part of your question is dependent on varying factors. If it is possible to conduct discussions in public then I am perfectly happy to do so. If it is not, and there are many occasions when that is not possible, then it would be discussed privately. I deal with many issues ‘privately’ because that is the nature of dealing with a residents’ problem, issue or concern.

            The two matters are not connected as far as I am concerned.

          • Wouldn’t it be more appropriate, open and transparent to ask the party concerned to contact you on your official council domain email address and deal with the matter when you are not on holiday?

          • Bystander, I suspect you would be the first to moan if something wasnt done because a councillor was on holiday. Phil Jordan is trying to go out of his way to gather information even whilst he is on holiday. That is to be commended – although I have to wonder why County Hall is so far behind that a councillor cant pick up their email if they are not in the country.

          • phil jordan

            26.Aug.2013 4:51pm


            You appear not to be understanding what the actual position is.
            I use BOTH email addresses for my Council work. They are interchangeable and they are both used by residents and others to contact me. They are both published and they are not ‘private’ in any meaningful way of understanding. They are both ‘private’ to me, of course.
            As to when I should choose to deal with Council matters…I think we ought to leave it there, don’t you?
            I think I have probably said enough on this especially as it is drifting away from the core piece about the rural broadband scheme.

          • @irony Wiber appears to be saying that it isn’t in private companies interest for BT to get this and Phil is proposing that is discussed off the record.

          • phil jordan

            26.Aug.2013 4:57pm


            Well, I have a Council laptop that *would* get the emails via a wireless link. I do not have that with me.
            I also have a blackberry which *can* pick up emails via a wireless link. That was lost on the plane on my way out and I do not have it in my possession.
            I also do not have wireless broadband access where I am.
            So, the technology exists, I suppose… but I am unable due to circumstances to access Council emails from France currently. Hence the use of a published hotmail account address.
            Hope that explains the situation.

          • phil jordan

            26.Aug.2013 5:05pm


            Whoa…I am going to put a stop to this right now.
            I have not suggested any such thing as discussing this “off the record”.
            You are wrong to suggest otherwise…

          • There has been a lot of technical detail on this topic already, and I am very impressed at those who understand it! Some might reasonably feel there comes a limit to the amount that can be gone into OTW, especially when some aspects may not be discussable publicly, (such is life). But in any case, we are not suggesting that Council business can be discussed only here, OTW. (Nice idea tho!)

            Lots of contact will be via other forms of communication too, and we can leave Phil to handle that as he thinks fit.

          • The difference between hotmail and your official Council email Phil, other than encryption of course, is that your official email content is available to the scrutiny of the Council and the public. Ask the Monitoring Officer if they are happy with what you’re proposing.

          • kevin Barclay-Jay

            26.Aug.2013 11:50pm

            Don’t play his game Phil

          • Well said Kevin.

  6. phil jordan

    24.Aug.2013 2:13pm

    The fact is that copper from the cabinet to the property DOES impact speeds. Indeed, it’s a crucial factor in the overall scheme since it will affect the declared speeds that are being made.
    In another thread, Walter Wilcox posted a report they had carried out AFTER this FTTC had been installed in Ewhurst, Surrey. You would do well to have a read of it. [bear in mind, this is not a before the event..this is what actually happened after the event of the roll out – look at the speeds being obtained and their distances from the cabinet. This report was done for about 385 properties in the village]

    There is a document available on the Internet which I have seen in many, many other places and I have added it here. It shows *estimated* connection speeds based upon distance from the cabinet.
    They are estimated because other factors also impact the degradation of signal on a copper line ..such as, bad joints, water, airborne cabling, cable degradation etc… but this table shown below is not one that is highly contentious and is widely accepted to be quite accurate.
    It shows that your assertions are incorrect and when we look at other actual schemes such as Ewhurst we can confirm that to be the case.
    You can see big drops relatively from 100 – 200 metres (note metres, not yards)and at 1km we get below 24Mbs download. We havn’t begun to discuss upload speeds either at this point.
    It has been claimed that the Island will have 89 new cabinets. Since we have no idea where they are to be sited it’s difficult to say with any surety that a property will be within a fixed distance from a cabinet. We don’t know just yet. In addition, we have yet to be told which postcodes are to be included in the original roll out and which postcodes are to be in the rural rollout…the scheme we are considering.
    Very difficult other than to make assumptions about who will be covered, which cabinet they will be connected to and how far away they will be.
    What we can say with some safety is that the signal and therefore speed degrades (quite quickly)as the property is situated further from the cabinet.
    Here’s the table:

    Distance to cabinet (metres) Estimated connection speed
    100m 100 Mbps
    200m 65 Mbps
    300m 45 Mbps
    400m 42 Mbps
    500m 38 Mbps
    600m 35 Mbps
    700m 32 Mbps
    800m 28 Mbps
    900m 25 Mbps
    1000m 24 Mbps
    1250m 17 Mbps
    1500m 15 Mbps

    There are other aspects of this scheme also that I won’t go into right now but it’s clear that FTTC will NOT bring superfast broadband to much of the rural Island, it is not going to provide for the future demand which will see much more *cloud based* working (say, 7 – 10 years)and a need for faster upload speeds. This scheme will not deliver that.
    Interestingly, the EU and Ofcom define NGA (colloquially known as superfast broadband) as 30Mbs+ (download) yet BDUK appear to have defined it as 24Mbs+
    BT have told us that where existing broadband is available (..and there’s a fair bit of that in the rural area of the Island) we will have that speed (which, on average, is about 8Mbs – 9Mbs) PLUS 10 MBS.
    None of which approaches the BDUK (re)defined 24Mbs download speed and, in any event, doesn’t take into account the lower speeds already being received in the rural area.
    This will NOT deliver superfast broadband as defined by the EU, by Ofcom or by BDUK for the most part.
    Another consideration to make is that the uptake of NGA where it has existed for some while now is only 20% (cost is being mooted as the reason – even though BT have built in the 20% uptake model for pricing).
    When we start to drill down into this scheme we are probably starting to see slower speeds will be achieved than expected, and up to 4,000 properties only will take it up (until we know the postcodes of the area for the scheme we cannot even make an accurate assessment of those numbers…).
    I happen to believe that it is my responsibility and duty to make sure we spend very, very precious money in the current economic situation wisely.
    I am not convinced that this scheme is doing that. I am seriously concerned it will not produce what we are being told to expect and, as you can see from another couple of posts in this and other threads, there *might* be an alternative way of getting similar coverage (maybe even better) using a combination of technologies to address the issue. Go look at B4RN as a scheme… Check out the Newsnight report last week about rural broadband and see the village using the Church tower to (fixed) wirelessly cover the village and look at Ewelme, Oxfordshire to see the use of 4G technology. None of these schemes require the investment we are some cases there is NO investment from the Local Authority. Northamptonshire is another County using a mix of solutions.
    Finally, this open letter from BT claims they are using FTTP on the Island rural broadband rollout scheme. This is the first I have heard of this and I shall be seeking clarification via a number of channels to establish if this claim is correct or not. I would now like to know how many properties will be connected by FTTP in the rural rollout scheme.
    Many thanks to Wiber for doing this issue a greater justice than I could and for that reason I am confining my comments to a specific number of smaller points.

    • woodworker

      24.Aug.2013 2:32pm

      FTTC is generally accepted as up to 500m from the cabinet – which doesnt result in a great speed drop.
      Beyond that distance, you are talking about FTTN – which is not what BT are proposing.
      Theres lots of scaremongering going on here. The fact is if BT put this infrastructure in place (and they already are in several areas of the island) there will be more choice of which service to use. Speeds will be affected by distance to the cabinet, but that distance should be no more than 500m for most people, and the odd house that is a greater distance away can consider other options.
      Expecting BT to provide FTTH anywhere is ridiculous and unnecessary – so far. In 10 years time, I suspect this discussion will be had again – but really, any premises that need more than 38mbps will seek a different solution or move to an area with better infrastructure.

    • Interesting differences in line speed tests just carried out on my home machine (about 150m from a cabinet)within minutes of each other.

      BT test and promise selling broadband= 22.5 Mbps download (no mention on upload speed)

      BT line speed test = 18.7Mbps download/0.98 Mbps upload

      Independent line test by iolo System Mechanic= 12.5 Mbps download/ no upload measured.

      Who is telling porkies? :-))

      • @ Cicero,

        Might I suggest a little caution over speed test results ? E.g. some are affected by virus checking programs. Note that all speed testers average actual transmissions over a period of time whilst other traffic is circulating over the internet, so it is highly unlikely that a continuous stream of data is being transported at a constant speed.

        You may find this type of speed measurement is more useful as it probably avoids Internet protocol traffic management effects:-

        I am guessing with the BT results that you have a BT ADSL2+ service rather than a new VDSL service ?

        If I am wrong and you are using a new VDSL service** a significant amount of performance data is available if you connect an unlocked Huawei modem:-

        ** If this is in fact a VDSL service then it is likely that you have some performance issues as the upload speed should be higher.

      • I think the most telling number above is BT’s promise of 22.5Mb download – is this meant to be ‘superfast’ – defined by the EU as 30Mb plus. The EU says this government (council) money is for delivering Next Generation Access defined by the EU as 30Mb+ and here we have BT openly promising only 22.5Mb but still charging ‘fibre optic’ prices?

  7. Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

    24.Aug.2013 3:10pm

    In response to woodworker’s comments:

    At the moment there are thousands of premises that are 1 km or far more in copper line length from their nearest cabinets. That’s why people in palces like Arretton, Brook, Wellow, Shalfleet, Chale etc… are unable to get more than under 1 Mb/s through the phone line. The cost of adding 89 new cabinets so that some of these premises will be closer to a cabinet runs into millions, of which the UK tax payer would have to contribute around £6M. Even after the money has been spent and the 89 new cabinets have been installed, the best estimate that BT can offer is that many of the premises would still only get 16 Mb/s. This is because they will still be too far away from a cabinet to get speeds that comply with NGA or ‘superfast’ criteria – due to the losses in copper lines.
    The problem experience by those furthest away – those who currently get the lowest phone line speeds – will not therefore be solved even after the £6M of public money has been spent. The vast majority of those premesis concerned ALREADY FALL WITHIN AREAS COVERED BY ALTERNATIVE PROVIDERS and therefore they already have access to speeds of far more than 16 Mb/s if they want them.
    So there is no justification for spending £6M of public money on a copper based broadband network upgrade to ‘hopefully’ offer ‘predicted’ speeds to users that are no faster than those already available to them from alternative networks that require no public subsidy.
    The only reason that the IWC/BT project costs are so astronomically large is that BT is only offering IWC its copper line broadband technology as a solution. It is widely understood and accepted that copper line broadband technology is not a cost effective way of delivering fast speeds to rural users in areas with low density of premises – because of the large number of cabinets required to keep everyone’s phone line lengths short enough to overcome speed depletion over copper. The number of lines that each cabinet serves in remote areas will be failry low and that also makes copper line technology uneconomic. Copper line technology works well and is a viable and cost effective solution when there are hundreds of lines, each no more than 600 meters long, all running into a cabinet. This is not the case in many of the Island’s rural areas.
    So for copper line broadband to be effective cabinets have have to be located in places where they are substantially less than 1 km line length from surrounding premesis and, in low density rural areas this inevitably results in relatively few lines per cabinet and lots of cabinets being required.
    The problem is that cabinets are expensive. It has been proven that BT ‘sell’ or ‘charge out’ the cost of cabinets in projects like the IWC one at around 3 times the cost that they would allocate if they were funding the cabinet themselves. The figures are something line £10k per cabinet if BT is paying for it and around £30k per cabinet if public money is being used to pay for it. Hardly surprising then that BT are very happy to send the tax payer a bill for a technology solution that requires large numbers of cabinets to be deployed.
    If one looks at the cost of the cabinet divided into the number of (‘short’) lines it can serve with high speeds it becomes evident that the ‘Cost Per Line’ is usually too high to be cost effective / economically viable. This is why BT won’t fund the project themselves – because even at around £10k per cabinet (their ‘internal price’), once the fibre has been dug/installed to it (=large additional costs), then with only a 20% customer take up of ‘superfast speeds’ (because of the relatively low demand from consumers to pay increased costs per month for ‘infinity’) on a cabinet with say 100 lines, it’s a lot of money to spend out to gain say 20 users who might each be prepared to pay £10 or £15 per month more to upgrade.
    Now if the tax payer is offering to pay for the cabinets, and if BT can get away with charging the tax payer substantially more per cabinet, say around £30k per cabinet, then it does not matter to BT how few lines are served by each cabinet – and it’s in BT’s interest to sell/deploy as many cabinets as possible using public money.

    The problem is that the tax payer gets ‘rinsed’ through for unbeleivebly large sums of money to deploy a ‘price inflated’ technology that was blatantly inappropriate for the terrain concerned. So inappropriate is the technology that the provider itself (BT) has made it very clear it is uneconomic for it to invest in itself. If that does not send alarm bells ringing then I don’t know what would.
    Other providers have looked at similar terrestrial technoogies and found that using cables and wires to connect up low density rural areas is uneconomic – unless you can substantially reduce costs by using ‘free labour’ from large groups of local people digging trenches and laying fibres ‘for free’ and widespread co-operation from land owners for way leaves and other rights – as B4RN have done to great success and great effect.
    Whether such an approach could/would work on the Island would have to be evaluated – and then we’d have to see if locals were prepared to engage and donate large amounts of their time doing manual work of course, and whether land owners would participate.

    As a result of no cable/wire/fibre/copper systems being able to deliver high speeds to low density areas in a cost effective or economically viable way, without ‘free labour’ being used, some providers have developed alternative ways of delivering high speed services into such areas, at market rates, in a cost effective and sustainable way – that does not require ‘free labour’.
    The use of fixed wireless technology like Wiber has proved that it is cost effective to commercially fund projects without public subsidy and that consumer demands can be met and exceeded. BT have chosen to not develop or offer IWC any alternative to copper line technology for the Island. This should also set alarm bells ringing. But then again it would be like expecting and oil company to develop a low cost car that did not use oil to run – a conflict of commercial interests.
    BT is a company that has an opportunity to sell a whole bunch of cabinets and equipment at demonstrably inflated prices, to a local authority who has made no attempt to ensure a competative tender environment exists and is entirely satisfied that it ONLY RECEIVED ONE TENDER FOR THE JOB. IWC made no attempt to trial or properly evaluate any other technologies that could offer better results for a fraction of the spend, or to reduce the ‘intervention area’ that required public funding by considering the demonstrable and popular existing coverage already in place by other providers.
    IWC have done their level best to exclude and ignore existing popular high speed coverage that does already exist and might cause the number of new BT cabinets require to be substantially reduced – perhaps reduced to ZERO.

    Islanders should be up in arms and asking serious questions of IWC :

    How can a process that gets only 1 tender be valid when public money is being spent?

    How can a contract give value for money when it’s with a company that won’t invest in its own technology because it’s not economically viable?

    Why have IWC chosen to completely ignore and rule out the coverage offered by existing popular alternative networks that so many Island homes and businesses have been using happily for years?

    Why has IWC chosen a copper line technology for a low density rural area when there is no doubt at all that such systems are not economically viable and are not able to offer speeds fast enough to qualify as NGA or ‘superfast’ and won’t be able to reach the premesis who currently have least?

    • Wiber, your points are all valid, except the last comments about the IWC. The outgoing administration (who would probably do whatever Conservative Central Office told them to do) have left the new Independent administration in a very difficult position with regards to the investment/subsidy.

      The process is nearly complete and they should be lauded, engaged with and assisted in trying to figure out how to get a positive result for Islanders out of the botched mess left by the Conservatives.

      If you haven’t already, start talking to Phil Jordan and make your case with the current administration, rather than complaining about those who (thankfully) lost control in May.

  8. Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

    24.Aug.2013 9:08pm

    Thanks ThomasC, that’s a good point. I’m naturally synical about such ‘changes’ but we should give the new guys a chance – you’re right.

    We have been keen to engage with IWC from the outset and my comments are as a result of our frustrated attempts in that regard.

    We remain ready, willing and able to engage in whatever capacity is appropriate so that we can get on with developing our network and services within the Island’s natural market.

  9. I endorse the comments made by Wiber and Phil Jordan.

    There must surely be a strong case for no State Aid at all to be granted to BT when there are already commercial competitors on the Island who seem ready and able to provide far superior solutions outside the main conurbations? Why should taxpayers’ money be given to BT which must place enormous strains on the commercial viability of the competition ? How can the IWC justify such behaviour ?

    Indeed BT used that argument to destroy our SEEDA approved RDPE Grant for £180,000 in Ewhurst. This is after I had a letter on March 1 2010 from BT refusing any FTTC solution in the current and next deployments; followed by a non-compliant offer with no money mentioned submitted to our local politicians under another infamous Non Disclosure agreement. BT then announced they were after all going to deploy their FTTC solution after another delay of 3 months in Easter 2011. The first connections were made at the end of October 2012 and we continue to face delays whilst BT install more cables and equipment. As this is now classed as a commercial deployment, even though it is inadequate in quantity and quality for many, SCC are unable to provide any state aid funding for remedial works and to date BT don’t have any obligation to do anything either. There can be little doubt that “outliers” throughout the Island will be in the same predicament.

    Regarding the cleverly worded letter from Bill Murphy there is a quite remarkable lack of clarity when BT have the actual green cabinet line counts and distances together with VDSL (Superfast) broadband performance data for every service commissioned, so could quite easily provide far more accurate figures for all to see.

    Some might be interested in some features of the falsely-claimed “Fibre Broadband” twisted pair services to each premises. A typical large green cabinet is shown here where it is obvious that only a fraction (200) of the requited capacity has been provisioned without space for all services. The connections to the new cabinet, with just one fibre used, are made from the right hand column cables. Each new connection doubles the number of crimp connectors required and can add up to around 50 m to the line length. It’s little wonder that this design is affected by all manner of electrical noise problems as well as some poor quality phone lines. Some “Jam tomorrow” is promised but in no way can this design be considered sustainable into the future. “One of the worst mistakes humanity has made” according to evidence to the House of Lords select Committee last year and “The wrong technology” according to BBC Newsnight recently.

    If you are unfortunate and have a new service installed by a cheaper BT subcontractor; they don’t carry a test instrument so are unable to test the line quality. However “… the stable line rate will be determined during the first 10 days of service usage.” (Extract from the BT Wholesale availability checker). The installer goes away demonstrating e.g. a download sync speed of 40 Mbps but the end user is left to discover on the morning of the second day after installation that the speed is now 4.65 Mbps. After that a quite frustrating time follows with much delay to get the Asian call centre interested enough to request a site visit. I have personally assisted 6 Ewhurst residents through this quagmire.

    Caveat emptor !

  10. I do hope those responsible for spending tax payers money have read the National Audit Office report on BT performance supplying rural broadband. Or even checked Private Eye (current issue, page 8) for a summary?

  11. @ Colin & everybody,

    Perhaps it’s not unreasonable to augment BBC Newsnight’s**

    “Wrong Technology” with “Wrongly implemented” ?


  12. I think it’s worth mentioning the shortcomings in some of the local-run networks.

    WightFibre have had issues with congestion pretty much since they began, it appears to be resolved short-term every now and then but the issue always seems to return. I hope that is changing along with their slight shift in direction, but historically, they’ve been the subject of a lot of criticism on the Isle of Wight, especially amongst the IT techies.

    Take their speedtest website for example – they are publicly releasing the email address, postcode and IP address of everyone who takes part in that speedtest. Is that the kind of company you want to hand £3m and trust with all of your internet traffic?

    The reports I’ve heard and my own experience of HPI/Click4Internet have been extremely poor. Inconsistent connectivity and high latencies being the primary issue – something that may not be noticed by their average user currently, but it shows a shortcoming that is only likely to worsen as more people subscribe.

    In the interest of being objective, the other wireless provider on the Island appears to be doing a very good job indeed.

    Personally, I’d take 20mbps over FTTC if I was 1km+ from the cabinet before considering either of the two alternatives being mentioned here and that is the direction I would push family, friends and clients.

    However, I’m one of the fortunate ones who hits 80/20 on FTTC (With a max attainable of 101/34 with a 200m D-side – far exceeding the estimate stated above) – these estimates are very conservative and many exceed them significantly.

    Whilst BT ought to be providing more specific plans for how they intend to spend the £6m, I think we should be getting that done and out the way with, providing the best feasible connectivity for Islanders and let WF, C4I and any other providers fill in the gaps as they see fit.

    • Geoff Underwood

      27.Aug.2013 2:36pm

      I have two Click4Internet installations. One at our business premises and one domestic. I haven’t noticed any issues with contention ratios on either installation, so I don’t know what you are on about. We use BT to route email and Click4 for internet. We had a big drop out recently because some bright spark cut through the BT cable, but luckily they missed the wireless lick to the Wiber network!. I do however have BT at my main residence near Newport and it is hopeless. If I could have Wiber there, I would, but I have to be content with BT’s sub <7Mb plus constant drop outs. I would support click4's comment above… contact their support if you have a technical issue. I would myself, but fortunately nothing has ever gone wrong with their service at any property that I know of. BT on the other hand are nigh impossible to contact. It would appear that BT have high contention ratios in their internet provision and their "always busy" help line.

      • You need to understand the difference between BT Retail and BT Openreach who provide the infrastructure.

        I would agree with you on BT retail being poor, but the beauty of BT ADSL/FTTC is that you are not forced to use BT – you have a choice of hundreds of ISPs who will deliver you a connection over the reasonably solid BTOR infrastructure.

        If you want to see how your connection really looks, I’d invite you to head over to – register and setup a Broadband Quality Monitor. There are guides there that will show you how to interpret the graphs.

        This will give you a far more accurate idea of how the connection is performing than using an inaccurate service like (which appears to be C4I’s favourite diagnostic tool when they aren’t claiming that it can’t keep up with the speeds they deliver).

        • Please look at a thinkbroadband test I did on click4internet after reading your comments. I just ran it on my home connection. Connection was in use the whole time.

          Its much better than yours proving that you either were not on a click4intetrnet connection or have some fault:

          I would suggest if you are the IT person responsible for that connection then you need to contact support.

          We have helped many businesses improve their internal networks and solve router problems.

          In some cases we have even provided free routers and LAN diagnostics for when the user is not able to solve their own internal network problems.

          • Hi Cris,

            Thanks for taking the time to run your own test, however I don’t really see how it disputes my conclusion.

            I don’t consider that an acceptable graph for a superfast broadband connection.

            Whilst it is better than the one I supplied, it is not significantly better. There are still wild variations in maximum latency and there is still regular packet loss.

            By contrast, here is a graph from a FTTC connection in use all day and night –

            That is what I expect a quality, superfast connection to look like.

            There are no internal LAN issues when the latency tests are being performed against your own equipment at the customer premises.

            Of course, this only touches on the surface of my concerns with C4I. The reports of using your customer-side APs as routers and double natting users, the use of as a diagnostic tool, only to tell the customer that simply cannot keep up with the speeds you provide when it’s not showing full speed.

            I could go on. You guys have the potential to offer a really good service, it’s just a shame it’s being wasted.

          • Just to clarify on one of Walter’s comments below, suggesting this is a vicious attack from a competitor – I can assure you that is not the case.

            There is nothing more I’d like to see than C4I provide a quality service – the more connectivity the Island has, the better.

            I’d like to think that these discussions would prompt C4I to look at addressing the issues rather than defending them.

          • What like this one:


            We have hundreds of users all getting consistent performance using VOIP as well as any internet application and no complaints in general.

            We are also a full open access network fully compatible with the same radius authentication systems as BT wholesale.

            I would welcome to be more open about reasons why we do certain things the way we do but this is not the place to do that.

            Just for your information though we don’t use as a diagnostic tool we use Iperf to test network throughput when done by engineers? And ping latency may show artificially to be a bit higher on our network because of how we qos things.

            If we did get any complaints about service we would look at that but that’s not the case.

            If you had as much experience as me about commercial wireless then you would possibly know about that. I have been doing commercial wireless for over 10 years. Everything we do has a very good reason :-)

            We do recommend for customers to use as a guide.

            Double NAT? There may be some cases where a router is setup like that because the reciever we provide is also a router. But it should always be in the DMZ so hence not having double NAT.

            If you are a user or manage a network and you feel anything is not as good as it can be then please let us know so we can help. Were always happy to be open with users and provide reasons or possibly make changes if needed.

          • Also just need to add that if there was any LAN issue the same results would show up when pinging infrastructure from that customers premises. That’s pretty obvious to any network engineer?

          • Cris, putting a customers router/firewall in ‘DMZ’ does not remove the double NAT situation. Traffic in the DMZ is still subject to NAT, regardless of whether all incoming traffic is forwarded.

            I have both experience of your engineers and reports of others’ experiences and in the past was used. If you’ve moved to testing throughput properly, then well done.

            On the LAN/pinging your equipment point, I’m referring to pining the IP of the customer where your equipment at the customer end is setup as a router.

            If you are using the same authentication methods as BT, why are you presenting the connection to customers via NAT on your own equipment? Why not allow the customer to make the PPPoE connection?

            Whilst I have worked with long-range Wireless, I do not profess to know it all. What I have done is worked for several London service providers, working with their networks – I have a very good understanding of how things work and how they should be done.

            The issue isn’t high latency, it’s the inconsistent latency. This is evident both when testing latency both with ICMP and TCP (port 80). Why is QOS pushing your latency up, anyway? ICMP ought to be near the top of the queue!

            If you’re concerned that it is a fault with a particular customer, feel free to give me a couple of other IPs of users on different masts to test.

          • It’s amazing that the graph you posted above has disappeared :)

            We both know that the second graph is not a user’s IP address ;)

    • Its easy for a user to wrongly believe they have a service provider side issue when in fact the problems lie within the users network and they have not contacted support to find the cause. It would be impossible for a service provider to exist long term if any faults continued to affect all users.

  13. Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

    27.Aug.2013 1:56pm

    Dear mpit,

    Your comments regarding Wiber appear to be unfounded and untrue. If you really are a user on the Wiber network as your comments appear to suggest then please call support right away so we can run tests and see what’s causing the issues you claim exist as you must have faulty equipment – we’ll be happy to test it and if it’s any of our equipment at fault we’ll replace it right away. We have no support tickets/issues from any customers on our IoW network relating to high latency or ‘inconsistency’ so we don’t understand why you would say that? Performance and customer retention is second to none – Click4internet report 99% subscriber renewal and retention since 2008 – that speaks for itself and that’s easily/simply provable.

    The problems you report sound typical of someone using a domestic WiFi router? WiFi inside the home can cause latency to increase and domestic WiFi routers in home environments can behave inconsistently. That’s nothing to do with your provider though or the technology that’s used to provide your connection. There are solutions to all such things – just call our support team and they’ll be happy to discuss that with you and send an engineer for a complimentary visit to evaluate, test and diagnose any issues that exist and discuss solutions with you.

    From your comments the reader may get the idea that you are a supporter of one of our competitors and that you are using this blog as a means of making defamatory remarks and casting aspursions about us. You seem very keen to promote just one company and denegrate the others. That’s bias and unfair in my opinion.

    IF this was a debate about which company to support with public funds and which technology the tax payer should invest in then we would be happy to submit our large file of customer compliments and statements of support etc… and to make our network available for infependant testing/analysis to prove beyond doubt that your commentas are unfounded – BUT THERE HAS BEEN NO SUGGESTION THAT HPI OR ANY OTHER LOCAL PROVIDER will receive public money. Nobody’s saying HPI, WightFibre or any other company should/will receive public money so your a little off the mark i’m afraid – no local provider will get £3 Million so that’s not the issue here.

    We believe that companies should compete in a natural market. If as you suggest, a given company or technology does not perform well, then it will lose customers and fail. That’s commercial reality.

    Right now the only things we can say 100% for sure is :

    1. People are leaving BT and other providers that use copper lines in droves to seek alternative providers/technnologies due to the shortcomings of copper broadband in rural areas leading to poor speeds, high latency and unrelaible/inconsistent service.

    2. Local providers like Click4internet that use the Wiber (wireless-fibre) network report excellent feedback and results from customers and show exceptional levels of customer retention and satisfaction.

    3. The Wiber network continues to grow rapidly and continues to satisfy the needs of many of the Island’s best know businesses as well as hundreds of home users.

    Mpit – if you’re a genuine user of our network and if you’ve got a genuine issue then please get in touch with support right away. We will be happy to publish the outcome on this blog and we will of course respect the confidentiality of your personal deails. We look forward to hearing from you.

  14. I am not a user but I have clients that have either used you or occupied offices where you have previously provided connectivity.

    The same high latency/packet loss issues were present on each and every connection – I spent a while looking at it whilst trying to ascertain whether C4I was a viable option to recommend to other clients.

    Much of that testing has all gone, but I happened across a graph I had setup elsewhere monitoring the latency of one of your customers – I’m informed this connection is not in use.

    Latency all over the place, a lot of packet loss which is consistent with my findings with other connections you have provided.

    I am neither a customer nor an advocate of the ‘other’ wireless provider, I’m simply relaying my personal experiences.

    Customer retention has little relevance here – I’m sure your average user would barely notice such issues, that doesn’t mean they are irrelevant, though.

    Pinging your own infrastructure shows huge inconsistencies in latencies – anywhere from 18 to 76ms in a quick 25 second test, so the argument that it is a customer/support issue is null and void.

    Yet all the while, from the same central london location I receive a consistent 9ms latency to my home connection on FTTC in Newport.

    I have no real interest in defamation, I’ve mostly kept my findings to myself, but when you decide you wish to attempt to dissuade the Council and the residents of the Isle of Wight from putting much needed funding into building a quality FTTC infrastructure, leaving us with sub-par services from yourselves, I feel that it’s important to point out the facts.

    • I think it’s prudent to add that whilst I’m aware that latency isn’t 100% indicative of the quality of a network, it generally gives you a pretty good idea, especially when there is out right packet loss.

      • A speedtest on my home computer a couple of minutes ago (150 metres from a cabinet) revealed a latency of 21ms- presumably that “gives you a pretty good idea, especially when there is out right packet loss.”?

        (No Wifi is used just a normal BT broadband modem)

      • @ cris

        You are to be heartily congratulated in pursuing a low-performance claim from somebody else, as reported by mpit.
        As there has been no further response, I wonder if you might have been the target of a smear campaign, quite possibly orchestrated by a ruthless predator ?
        Fortunately you seem to have escaped so far.


        Ewhurst has a very similar problem to the I o W, particularly for those on medium to long lines.
        You might recall another statement made by mpit :-

        “Of course, just because Ewhurst is in this situation, does not mean that properties or cabinets are as sparse.”

        Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Ewhurst is in Surrey – NOT e.g. Outer Mongolia !

        Given that your area is much larger with open country than our single village, there must surely be a strong possibility that the I o W has far more sparse areas with medium to long line lengths?
        It is the longer ones which are always going to be the difficult ones due to the laws of physics, even without poorly maintained lines.
        This is one of the reasons Fibre To The Cabinet is “The wrong Technology” as Peter Cochrane explained.
        I wonder if that is the underlying reason why details of the ageing copper and aluminium alloy telephone network, which must remain part of the connection, have not been published ?
        Those records must exist in order to maintain the existing network now.

        We had asked questions about the plans to provide the same levels of service throughout our Ewhurst area and a “jam tomorrow” solution using tiny Fibre cabinets was hinted at, but has now seemingly been forgotten.
        We only have a single little tube near each existing fibre cabinet to feed an impossibly larger number of tiny cabinets.
        Power was supposed to be feed from consumers’ premises but that is fraught with uncertainties.

        Perhaps that’s why you have not (yet ?) been offered any “Jam tomorrow” ?

        Fibre to the Cabinet can only be a dead end, certainly when compared to Fibre to the Premises which doesn’t corrode and has almost limitless expansion without any length restriction.

        Talking of power for the 86 proposed cabinets, you should ask what the duration of the batteries is once the cabinets are full; rural areas often have quite long power outages, especially if the lines are brought down.
        Once the battery is flat, all the VDSL broadband services will cease; possibly just when you really need them in bad conditions say with a medical emergency.
        (Mobile signals often disappear in those conditions too.)

    • @ mpit,

      I can well understand your approach where you have a high performing and hopefully very reliable VDSL service close to the fibre cabinet, provided you don’t run out of new line capacity.

      The difficulties arise further away and are far less predictable. Some places have already been identified earlier in this thread. The BT Wholesale estimator is good in high density urban areas but can sometimes be wildly out on long rural lines of very variable quality. One reason is the estimator is based upon distance to the DP (distribution point) and not to the end user’s house. If you are close to the DP then an accurate estimate is likely but not so if you are unfortunate to have over a km of ongoing poor quality line as well as the distance back to the fibre cabinet. E.g. an estimate of over 19 Mbps results in a sync speed of 0.63 Mbps

      As far as I’m aware BT don’t have any Universal Service Obligation to improve a line for any broadband service, provided the telephone works. This is exacerbated when a subcontractor can’t even do a Pair Quality Test, let alone do the VDSL commissioning tests as he doesn’t have a JDSU or EXFO test instrument. Again you may be fortunate IF your line happens to be in good order. If not you can have a nightmare particularly dealing with the BT fault processing systems. Some other ISPs such as Plusnet, Zen Internet, AAISP etc. have better call centres but they all rely on BT Openreach staff some (but not all) of whom are quite obviously demotivated, disinterested and bewildered especially when compared to some of the examples from other providers we have observed even in this thread. For an admittedly extremely bad example have a look here:-

      Where a Saturday afternoon emergency to reconnect 12 wires left four wires disconnected without even a phone for 25 and 28 days respectively. After that we had further serious struggles to regain very poor ADSL services.

      Lack of adequate maintenance can also have serious implications, again with a refusal to improve line conditions. In one example we have an underground cable buried without ducts so can’t be easily replaced or repaired. One underground branch with a line distance of about 1.7 km has a quite good VDSL performance at nearly 22 Mbps sync speed (but far lower throughput speed). The other branch continues up via an overhead line section shown here:-
      direct to a house actually closer at only 1.5 km from the fibre cabinet but with a less reliable sync speed of 11 Mbps and thence to another business at 1.7 km with a sync speed under 9 Mbps. It is these uncertain and unreliable services which cause so much concern especially as they are recorded (erroneously) as poor performers unable to be improved under current contract conditions. In our experience “customer diversion” tactics are used sometimes to frustrate an end user to despair and abandon a repair request.

      Regrettably a Fibre-To-The-Cabinet Service cannot be considered fit for purpose in these conditions. Perhaps more importantly such an area should not, in my opinion, be gifted with a poisoned chalice of a subsidised partial under-performing solution starving out far more appropriate (and unsubsidised) investment by others dedicated to solve difficulties for their very existence.

      Given the recent Newsnight “wrong technology” article and the audacious example of it is to be hoped that wireless will be strongly encouraged in the short to medium term whilst your indomitable Island spirit prepares for a fully future-proof symmetric 1 Gbps Fibre-To-The-Home solution, just as Jersey has already completed too.

      • FTTC isn’t a universal solution, however it is a solution for the majority.

        Just as there are issues with long/old/poorly maintained D-sides with FTTC, there are issues with wireless coverage over hilly terrain – you simply cannot please everyone.

        As ‘Wiber’ is so quick to claim – they are doing very well without BDUK funding and thus they may continue to do so, but why campaign against BTOR receiving the funding? It is nothing more than an exercise to throw their toys out of the pram because they think competition from the best supplier for the job is unfair.

        We currently have six exchanges enabled for FTTC with a further ten listed as ‘not coming’ on the BTOR FTTC Checker.

        I’d be willing to put a good bet on the majority of people served by those exchanges have a D-side of 1km or less, leading to very reasonable speeds indeed. In these cases (the majority), FTTC is the best feasible option currently.

        I cannot comment on your own situation where you live, but I just don’t see the issue of D-side line lengths being a huge issue.

        Where it is an issue, WF, WW or C4I can step in and take up the slack, but none of them cover 100% of the Island.

        What you also need to remember is that FTTC takes the infrastructure one step closer to FTTH, installing splitter and aggregation nodes around the place which brings FTTH capable fibre connectivity much closer to the EU.

        I have no doubt BTOR will look at taking everything FTTH eventually, but that will take a long time and we need interim solutions.

        It doesn’t just stop with FTTC, BTOR have been trialling Vectoring technology this summer which promises to allow a boost in max speeds for shorter lines whilst improving speeds on longer ones, too. Beyond that, you have technologies like G.Fast emerging which offers Gigabit over copper.

        • @ mpit,

          Quite clearly our opinions differ in some respects. I just hope that those within your Local Authority are exercising due diligence on this matter and might now be a little better informed.

          In our experience in Ewhurst we have sadly encountered many unsatisfactory aspects

          E.g. 1

          E.g. 2 See the last two paras of this letter published two weeks ago in the Surrey advertiser:-

          It is clear that BT statements cannot always be taken at face value.

          E.g. Regarding the vectoring trial, ECI cabinets would require the M41 to be replaced by an entirely new V41 and Huawei cabinets use a SmartAX MA5616 (which is no longer manufactured) but which requires an enhanced sub-rack MA5603 (again no longer manufactured) to be fitted in every cabinet throughout the UK. Although I expect that Huawei might restart a production run for a large customer, it must be doubtful if the cost benefit could be justified given the announced pay-back times of around 10 years for what is still being installed now.

        • phil jordan

          29.Aug.2013 4:15pm


          Interesting comments.

          Maybe you can explain a bit further for me….?

          for example:
          “I’d be willing to put a good bet on the majority of people served by those exchanges have a D-side of 1km or less, leading to very reasonable speeds indeed”

          My understanding is that a further 89 cabinets would be installed in the BT scheme. Currently, we do not know where those cabinets (or existing) are sited. Yet, one might assume they were essential for the roll out scheme to progress. If we have no idea where they are to be sited, if we do not know which postcodes the rural scheme will actually be activated in, or from can we make any assumption about distances from the cabinet?
          Other than be “willing to put a good bet” they are not known presently.
          As a cabinet member responsible for making a serious decision with £3.6M of borrowed money I want a bit more than a “good bet” …!
          I’m not betting with £3.6M of public borrowed money though…

          I’m curious as to how, in the absence of this information also,you can describe the solution as being for the “majority”. Clearly, from the outset, the promised solution did not materialise for Ewhurst as their research and report clearly shows.
          (If I have read it correctly….) 76% (approx) of people in the target area of 95% of the village did not get NGA. As I understand it, the final contract specified 15Mbs download speeds to just under 95% of the village. That is not NGA under any definition, let alone the EU and Ofcom variety.

          My question therefore, would be, are we getting 100% NGA to 98% of the rural area as defined in the Maps..? If we start to agree contracts below 24Mbs we are not buying NGA and we need to make the residents of the Isle of Wight aware that we are not spending on NGA…but merely on broadband for the rural area.
          ( a lot of which already exists, of course!)
          I’m also interested in the number of properties involved. What is your understanding of that number…?

          Your other point is interesting and something worth investigating further.
          You talk about “vectoring” and “GFast”. I have been reading about these emerging technologies.
          Tell me, if speeds that you describe will be possible via copper cable…….why are we being asked to pay for fibre…?
          We are looking at a future proof solution (it isn’t by any means…in fact FTTC may well be out of date within a few years)but with technologies such as you talk of coming appears to me the rush to fibre (to the cabinet) is somewhat inappropriate in view of the public funding required.

          • You’d have to assume that BTOR would look to enable the areas that are likely to have the most take-up. I don’t have a map of BTOR’s infrastructure to say it for certain, but my experience thus far hasn’t shown me a single line that is longer than 1km from the cabinet. The exception to that would be exchange-only lines, which could not receive FTTC without major network reorganisation, anyway.

            I’m sure there are lines that have a D-side of over 1km – I’m sure that’s a question BTOR can answer as they keep this kind of data on lines for the purposes of speed estimates etc.

            I’m dubious of the Ewhurst figures – where have they come from? I got the distinct impression that these weren’t statistics based on the full supply data. It also gave me the impression of being skewed by bias.

            The impression a quick google would give, is that the majority of lines are under 1km from the cabinet, so can expect greater than 24mbps.

            Vectoring and GFast are just extensions of the VDSL technology behind FTTC. Ie. you take Fiber to a cabinet, and provide the “last mile” connectivity via copper. These technologies can only provide these speeds using copper over relatively short distances.

            The only fully future proof solution is fibre to each and every premises, which simply isn’t realistic right now given the resources, cost and time that is involved in deploying fibre to a property.

            What you do have to remember is, however, that FTTC lays the foundations for a fibre infrastructure. It gives us a fibre network that spans all of the areas that is capable of supporting FTTH in the future.

            I have little knowledge or interest in the politics of spending £3.4m on broadband, but it seems to me that either it is spent now, when the government and BTOR are willing to contribute as well, or we get left behind.

            What are the genuine alternatives? Handing the money to a small business that may or may not still be here in ten years time? Tying all of our residents and business’ into a single provider?

            If the council were to form a company to provide a wireless network with wholesale access it may work – I’d probably even be knocking on the door wanting to be involved, but that isn’t likely to happen, is it?

            I think that’s the important question – if we do not take advantage of BDUK, what are we left with? Because the focus right now seems to be the complaint that we aren’t getting enough – surely that is better than nothing at all?

          • phil jordan

            29.Aug.2013 5:34pm


            Thank you for the interesting reply and comments.

            Here’s one of my conundrums. We cannot take any existing average data (I’ve read the National Average figures on these distances…)because it doesn’t include any of the 44 rural areas involved in the BDUK rural roll our scheme. Those geographical areas are huge and as they largely don’t have provision now (otherwise we wouldn’t be discussing or trying to implement a scheme to roll broadband out into these rural areas…!)and the distances will ‘skew’ enormously the current averages which come from largely more Urban areas of the country. My conundrum is that new cabinets are to installed to facilitate the roll out – we know on the Island it is to be 89 cabinets – but we don’t know where they are to be sited. We do not even know, as yet, where the rural scheme will start and end..other than vague modelling. The Maps I speak of are required as part of the EU and BDUK scheme for ascertaining that NGA is NOT available in a postcode area or will not be available within the next three years. I have some problems with that alone as clearly there has been broadband available in areas marked as having no NGA (termed White NGA areas)existing. However, the issue is, surely, this is a rural roll out, with new cabinets.. how can we accurately state that any premise will be within a known distance from the cabinet?
            All of this scheme is rolling out into unknown territory…
            If BT have this information do you not think it curious it hasn’t been provided yet?
            (by the way, the Map is included as an appendix to the cabinet papers for the 13th August – available online)

            I’ll leave Walter to answer your doubts as to the Ewhurst scheme…. I hope he is gentle with you!!

            I agree entirely with your comments about FTTP/FTTH….. that is the ultimate solution. Trouble is, it isn’t going to be done by BT anytime soon. I’m not being asked to approve FTTP/FTTH…I’m being asked to approve FTTC which is not going to deliver 24Mbs to 100% (98% if you wish) of premises within the white NGA areas.

            So, we are not approving NGA broadband for the rural Island…we would be approving ADSL and ADSL2 broadband (for the most part) to less than 100% of properties…yet we are being asked to fund NGA to 98% of the premises.
            Broadband already exists in the NGA White area – whatever speeds are being attained and however the coverage.
            Finally, we are not being asked to find an alternative solution… we are being asked to approve this scheme or not. That’s all.
            For what it’s worth…there could be a whole range of solutions available to match, maybe even better, the BT solution. It just takes a bit of vision and drive and a political will to get it done.

            Ofcom tell us that by 2017 4G will cover 98% of the UK. 5G will follow in the future.

            Wireless technology (along with 800Mhtz bandwidth) will improve already decent coverage to many areas. Fibre could be laid as well.
            We could have community schemes such as the B4RN scheme.
            Actually, we could start to involve local communities with local businesses and get this thing done.. there’s little we cannot achieve given the desire and will to do it.

            Never mind the funding…what we are looking at is borrowing £3.6M to fund this a time when we are going to have to make severe budget savings.. and it is looking very likely that it won’t bring the NGA to 100% of the rural area.

            That is why this is so serious and important and needs very careful consideration.

          • I have copied the words and provided responses in CAPS. Please note this is only to show clearly some comments and opinions – it’s not meant to be shouting at you all.

            You’d have to assume that BTOR would look to enable the areas that  are likely to have the most take-up. I don’t have a map of BTOR’s infrastructure to say it for certain, but my experience thus far  hasn’t shown me a single line that is longer than 1km from the cabinet. The exception to that would be exchange-only lines, which could not receive FTTC without major network reorganisation, anyway. A FEW EXCHANGES HAVE A PCP JUST OUTSIDE THEM. THIS SITE WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIST EXACT EXCHANGE LOCATIONS SO YOU COULD SEE THE PROBLEM AREAS AND NUMBERS.


            I’m sure there are lines that have a D-side of over 1km – I’m sure that’s a question BTOR can answer as they keep this kind of data on lines for the purposes of speed estimates etc.

            I’m dubious of the Ewhurst figures – where have they come from? I got the distinct impression that these weren’t statistics based on the full supply data. It also gave me the impression of being skewed by bias. OUR DATA HAS COME FROM THOSE VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE BEEN KIND ENOUGH TO TELL US THEIR PHONE NUMBERS. WE MUST BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO DISCLOSE PEOPLES’ PHONE NUMBERS BUT WE HAVE INCLUDED POST CODES WHICH CAN BE USED WITH THE SCC INTERACTIVE MAP OR VIA E.G. GOOGLE. WE HAVE CONFIRMED PRECISELY WHO IS CONNECTED TO WHICH PCP BY USING :-





            Vectoring and GFast are just extensions of the VDSL technology behind FTTC. Ie. you take Fiber to a cabinet, and provide the “last mile” connectivity via copper. These technologies can only provide these speeds using copper over relatively short distances.



            I have little knowledge or interest in the politics of spending £3.4m on broadband, but it seems to me that either it is spent now, when the government and BTOR are willing to contribute as well, or we get left behind. I WONDER IF YOU MIGHT JUST OVERTAKE EVERYBODY ? !!!

            What are the genuine alternatives? Handing the money to a small business that may or may not still be here in ten years time? Tying all of our residents and business’ into a single provider? NO, AS YOU HAVE COMPETITION ALREADY. ANYWAY THAT’S A BIT OF A READ HERRING IF YOU ALL RELY ON THE OPENREACH MONOPOLY.

            If the council were to form a company to provide a wireless network with wholesale access it may work – I’d probably even be knocking on the door wanting to be involved, but that isn’t likely to happen, is it? IT CERTAINLY CAN’T HAPPEN BEFORE THE NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING, BUT THAT IT COULD WELL BE DISCUSSED WITH THE EXPERTS YOU HAVE AMONGST YOU IF YOU REJECT THE WOOLY ILL-DEFINED TAKE-IT-OR-LEAVE-IT CASH GRAB. (Please pardon the my subtlety of my words ! )

            I think that’s the important question – if we do not take advantage of BDUK, what are we left with? Because the focus right now seems to be the complaint that we aren’t getting enough – surely that is better than nothing at all? SURELY THERE ARE ENOUGH WARNING SIGNS THAT THE BDUK INITIATIVE IS ALREADY FRAUGHT WITH DIFFICULTIES. IF YOU ELIMINATE THE FEAR OF SUBSIDISED PREDATORY TACTICS, YOU COULD WELL FIND FAR MORE COMMERCIAL ENTHUSIASM – AS HAS ALREADY BEEN MENTIONED HERE.

          • @ mpit – Please stop making misleading comments. The Ewhurst report clearly states the derivation of the data and this is reproduced below:
            Extrapolation of the sample data and those without service gives an estimated 226 households (see table below) that will not be able to access greater than 24Mbps.

            Ewhurst Locality Number of premises with less than 24 Mbps access
            Lower Barhatch 6
            Upper Barhatch & Horseblock 36
            Ride Way, The Warren, Moon Hall, Peaslake Roads 45
            Coneyhurst Lane part 24
            Holmbury Road area 30
            North Breache 20
            Horsham Lane 28
            Somersbury Lane 19
            Slythurst 8
            Wykehurst Lane 10
            Total accessing less than 24 Mbps 226

            The total of 226 equates to approximately 24% of premises (942) in Ewhurst according to Post Office postcode data. Further, this is 63% of the likely installed capacity (356) for superfast broadband. Of the 226 households, it is estimated that 69 will not be able to access any service over the new fibre to the cabinet infrastructure. 34 of the 69 are connected to cabinet 6, which provides telephone lines to Ewhurst premises but from which no household can access a FTTC broadband service, probably due to cable quality and length.

            For a clearer view of the table see the report

            The sample data is explained in the report as relating to 87 premises where line synchronisation speeds were actually measured. The rest of the 226 are estimated, based on the line length; derived by knowing the cable runs and using a large scale map. As the new cabinets, related ducts and tie cables provide less capacity than the number of lines served by the original cabinets it is worse than 24%, but actually 63% of premises that do not have access to greater than 24 Mbps.

            The cabinets that serve Ewhurst are off Cranleigh exchange. Cranleigh exchange has about 6,500 lines. I expect the overall percentage for greater than 24Mbps for the Cranleigh exchange area is better than that for Ewhurst, although I do not have the data and it is likely that BT have not enabled all cabinets. This just demonstrates how the use of averages is misleading.
            FTTP on demand (the mainly not-available product BT “sell” to local authorities to convince them that the investment is future-proof) is unlikely to be practical in Ewhurst as the nearest fibre aggregation point is too far away.

            I am sorry that these facts appear to you as biased. As an engineer I deal in facts. I am sorry that these facts appear to you as biased. As an engineer I deal in facts. Perhaps that is why I am sceptical when marketing / PR people make vague promises based on averages and deliberate misleading information.

          • @cooperfarnncombe

            So you’re telling me that cable runs from EU to PCP have been mapped out for 139 properties? What data are you using to estimate sync from the line length and at what length have you estimated that no service can be delivered over?

            I think it’s very misleading to put capacity into the calculations for those unable to receive a service – take up is never 100% and is usually progressive. Whilst they haven’t always been prompt, BT have been adding additional capacity where needed (one assumes that if capacity is reached, a cabinet must be commercially viable after all). I assume the cabinets are all 128 port items?

            Of course, just because Ewhurst is in this situation, does not mean that properties or cabinets are as sparse.

          • @cooperfarnncombe

            I’ve just been reading your report on speed vs. distance.

            Firstly it seems to imply that you are working on distances by road, this seems flawed, but we’ll carry on.

            You’re also failing to mention how you are obtaining speed data for those you’ve actually measured. A speed test is deeply flawed, as it brings in an outside and irrelevant factor to the data. There are some obvious line faults in there as well as users on a 40mbps service skewing the results.

            An objective test would be looking at max attainable rates reported by the DSLAM, attenuation and SNRM data.

            I’m sorry, but that document has only reinforced my sense that the results are inaccurate or biased.

    • The graph you provided actually shows pretty good latency below 40ms aso good reliability It only shows a couple of packet losses at night and once at around 10am.

      These obviously could be caused when a large download is made or a router reboots or anything internal to you. It could also possiblyt be an ISP fault but certainly these would not constitute any indication of poor service there.

      You can only measure packet loss when the connection is completely idle and that’s most likely not going to be the case specially during the day.

      I would also like to add that free services such as Think broadband may be a good rough guide for a home user but would not be up to the standard proper monitoring solutions such as used by ISPs.

    • I can’t tell if that’s a valid click4internet IP address as it’s not showing on the graph you posted so we cannot verify that is real!

      It’s not really showing a poor service though TBH as most latency is below 40ms ad there is only two drops! ADSL and VDSL could certainly perfom much worse.

      I will set one thinkboadband test up on my click4internet connection now and post results later and we can see how it compares to yours.

    • Please look at a thinkbroadband test I did on click4internet after reading your comments. I just ran it on my home connection. Connection was in use the whole time.

      Its much better than yours proving that you either were not on a click4intetrnet connection or have some fault:

      I would suggest if you are the IT person responsible for that connection then you need to contact support.

      We have helped many businesses improve their internal networks and solve router problems.

      In some cases we have even provided free routers and LAN diagnostics for when the user is not able to solve their own internal network problems.

  15. peaceful_life

    27.Aug.2013 2:18pm

    Lots of community stuff going on with mesh patchwork systems, interesting stuff.

  16. As a long standing user of the Click4Internet service I have to say that I’ve always found their service and support to be reliable and competitive – suffice to say if there has ever been anything to address they have been faultless and always courteous. A great service

  17. Click4Internet have provide us with a reliable superfast broadband that delivers here to an area that is way outside of the scope of BT or any other operators and is a true godsend to our businesses. It works where others do not! BT can bleat and blither all they want, but they do not deliver like c4i.

    (And we are not even on the Isle of Wight, but on the opposite side of the Solent.)

  18. Caroline Knox

    27.Aug.2013 4:52pm

    Living in Merstone and being at the end of the line meant I had a pitiful service, far less than I required to fulfil the online form filling demanded by the Government for VAT, cattle movements etc etc. I was only to happy to stop using bt for any services and turn to Click 4 Internet / Wiber. I now have an excellent service that lets me do all I need to do and more.
    Rural areas frequently are provided with a very slow service, farmers have a high need for sufficient internet to allow them to comply with all legislation and Click 4 Internet should be allowed to proceed with supplying this service without being curtailed by a lack of support by our local authority for alternative local service providers

  19. This topic reminds me of the Gary Larson cartoon: ‘What we say to dogs….What they hear: ‘Blah blah blah blah….’

    Very funny! Carry on…

    • Hilarious…. unless you have a poor connection.

    • We=BT Dogs=us? Message content=PR bull-droppings :-))

    • ThomasC, I was only laughing at my own ignorance, at how impenetrable these posts are to me. I’m glad you lot all understand it though, we need your expertise.

      • @ Tryme,

        Much of the strangeness is probably due to the terminology and the weasel words from you know who ! I’m sorry if I launch into acronyms and industry terms. I too was unfamiliar with much of the BT speak in 2003 !

        The technology is sadly little more than joining manky old twisted pairs in the best way to squeeze the last “drop of blood” from an ageing infrastructure.

        Things are very much simpler if you are starting from scratch with a brand new fibre system in new ducts and the required maintenance thereafter is very much less. Water ingress and noise problems just don’t happen. Probably fibre’s worst enemy is a JCB and if you engineer a fibre ring (unlike somebody else does) you can suffer one break without a loss of service to the ring.

        If you would like to know more please e-mail me. My address is in the paper we wrote.

      • That’s very kind of you, walterw and I am flattered you would think I’d understand even your simplified explanation! (Though I did get some of the gist, thanks).

        Rest assured I am happy to leave it to you all. It’s a pleasure, actually, to come across something in English that completely defeats me but makes sense to others. The cleverness and diversity of humanity, hooray!

        • Here’s a little more enlightenment for you:-

          I would like to thank all those who have taken the trouble to read my admittedly sometimes rather long explanations of our experiences with the intricacies of VDSL (Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line) deployment. As you observe this is still ongoing and there is no immediate sign of the UK coming to its senses on many aspects of current activities. Witness the BBC Newsnight article (link below***) where one highly qualified and experienced engineer clearly explains that the wrong technology is being installed even now, whilst the main proponent expresses supreme confidence that it is an adequate solution for all. The Politician (and all his Public Servants) involved quite sensibly won’t comment on the technical aspects but seem quite content to ignore the situation.


          There can be little doubt in Ewhurst that the ruthless predatory tactics of the monopoly has made matters far worse than they could have been. Our project which was destroyed, now obviously with the acquiescence of the Local Authority and most politicians, was specifically designed as a sustainable solution. We had already recognised in the mid “naughties” that the outliers’ lines would always be a serious problem and would remain so as long as insufficient infrastructure investment continued. By selecting an independent solution we had a means to provide the best medium term solution for the central area and, whilst obtaining the revenue from that, it would allow the extension of the new fibre spine, in a new duct, initially to the outliers but gradually replacing all of the twisted pair aluminium alloy** and copper network. What we now have is a partial implementation which uses the existing nearly full and sometimes broken fragile ducts but with only a four fibre bundle delivered to each cabinet together with one empty tube. This is totally inadequate as a foundation for future development and leaves all the outliers with inadequate services now nor, more importantly, any commercial possibility to improve matters in the future. (Whilst {in my opinion} the populous is diverted to consider the benefits of a far less useful, but significantly more expensive, HS2 rail project 30 years hence serving a tiny minority of the UK. Note also that HS2 was conceived during a former government and continues with some cross-party support. )

          ** I have not discussed aluminium alloy before but it is another nightmare and even worse where those cables are buried directly in the ground without ducts. The alloy age-hardens so the wire joints become brittle and can corrode into a semi-conductor intermittent connection playing havoc with higher frequency signals. Furthermore an engineer tracing a fault in one pair can so easily disturb several others but usually in blissful ignorance of the result. Ergo more frustrated calls, by others unaware, to India then given instructions to put a different wired telephone into the test socket, provided the end user can hear through the crackles.

          Yet another important aspect is that the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) has grown since around the 1930s being adapted as the needs arise. Quite naturally new works have left earlier ones largely intact. The result is that older houses are often connected to green cabinets much further away than the ones being used by more modern houses. Given the current economic climate, and investment in spurious non-essential activities, there is no possibility to re-wire the Island or even just an individual’s line if they require a new VDSL service. In my opinion it is high time that a far more appropriate point-to-point fibre network is initiated, even though it won’t happen overnight. Surely this must be the way to use precious taxpayer’s funds rather than following Ewhurst’s woeful experiences ?

          Just in case somebody recommends “Fibre on Demand” it is a “Jam tomorrow” solution, available possibly in some areas, currently costing several thousands of pounds for EACH subscriber installation.

          Those wishing to understand more about the technology might like to read a paper explaining matters in straightforward terms here:-

  20. My wiber works excellently in an area with no broadband connection at all on top of that you can not get a 3g signal either.
    Before wiber I had to take my laptop to some where with wifi in order to get a connection, it was a nightmare.

    Having used wiber for a good few years now it is far more reliable than the phone line broadband I had when I lived in east cowes.

  21. Dear Councillor Hutchinson,

    I refer to your recent article in a parish publication which I read with utter disbelief.

    We are a local ISP, based in Freshwater, that has been offering 30 Mb/s and more speeds to the west wight, including Yarmouth, Wellow and Thorley, since 2008. In that time we have achieved 99% customer retention in those areas. We have invested in 2 leaflet drops to every single home in the area your article concerns – promoting our service and offering free home trials. The last leaflet drop invited locals to attend an open evening at one of 3 nearby locations to try out our service and ask any questions face to face while enjoying complimentary refreshments and nibbles. The open evenings were held at Wellow Community Hall, The Dairy Deli in Shalfleet and On The Rocks in Yarmouth.

    We have maintained a continuous and significant advertising presence in Island Life and Island Business magazines for more than 18 months. We have also published adverts and advertorial in the Isle of Wight County Press and we participated with an article in a recent technology feature they ran. We have displayed a 3 meter wide, 1 meter tall bright red banner on the fence at Yarmouth Roundabout for the past 8 months. We have been operating a ‘free to try’ public WiFi Hot Spot service in Yarmouth Harbour and the surrounding area since christmas 2012. We have provided essential administrative connectivity and public WiFi services to The Gaffers Festival in Yarmouth for 3 years running. We have provided essential administrative connectivity and public WiFi to The Garlic Festival and the VDub festival (at IWC’s own County Show Ground) for 2 years running with bright red banners visible at the enterance to both events.
    We have been providing free to use public WiFi on board Wightlink ships from Yarmouth to Lymington for 3 years – we have a highly visible red banner at the port in Lymington.
    We provide administrative connectivity and public WiFi Hot Spot connectivity in and around several of the Island’s most famous tourist attractions. We have public WiFi Hot Spots that are free to try at various pubs and restaurants including The Horse and Groom in Ningwood, The Farringford in Freshwater, Royal Solent Yacht Club in Yarmouth, On The Rocks in Yarmouth, The Dairy Deli in Shalfleet and the Wightlink Yarmouth to Lymington ferries.
    We provide internet connectivity to some of West Wight’s largest and best know businesses who are delighted with the service and have been using it for years – meetings can be arranged with them to confirm this if you wish.
    We provide a publicly available WiFi service to Seely Community Hall in Brook.
    When the 6 west wight schools suffered disconnection due to BT line failures last year we were approached by IWC and Island Computers and we were able to install and complete high speed services to all of the schools within 3 working days of order – services which ran faultlessly for months until their BT lines could be repaired and reinstated. This means that 100% of west wight schools used and relied on our internet connectivity for months during that time. For the avoidance of doubt the schools were in Shalfleet, Yarmouth, Totland, Freshwater and Brighstone.

    To achieve this we use the Wiber network. This is an extensive and comprehensive high speed fixed wireless network operated by Island company High Point Infrastructure Ltd. (HPI). The Wiber network uses unique (wireless-fibre) technology developed here on the Island over the past 15 years, by local Island staff working locally. Wiber offers high speed internet to over 2,000 square kilometers of local regions including parts of Hampshire, West Sussex, Dorset and more than 85% of the Isle of Wight – including pretty much all of the proposed ‘intervention area’ as wrongly defined by IWC for their proposed BT / BDUK project.

    HPI and Click4Internet use 100% Island staff for their IoW operations and both companies also run their mainland operations from their IoW base – employing local people and operating an apprentice scheme for young Islanders in association with Smart Training and Recruitment (based in Newport).

    Click4internet are members of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) and recently received a ‘highly commended’ status in the Island Business Awards.

    HPI submitted a very detailed response to IWC’s recent Open Market Review (OMR) process within which they documented the existing, well established and popular extensive high speed coverage of 85+% of the Island that the Wiber network offers.

    The Wiber network is ‘open access’ and providers, whether local or national are welcome to deliver services across the network. There are already 2 local providers that offer their own competing products across the Wiber network as well as a number of resellers that also participate.

    I find it astonishing that a local councilor representing the ‘local situation’ would not have heard of us, seen one of our banners, leaflets or adverts in the local area, heard about our ’emergency rescue’ of the west wight schools, been aware that we were one of only 2 local companies to respond to IWC’s OMR, heard of our connectivity to Wightlink or our comprehensive Hot Spot service in Yarmouth Harbour – a service which attracts more than 600 new users per month in recent months – all of whom had access to try 20 Mb/s Public WiFi internet FOR FREE!

    It is this kind of ill informed and frankly false and misleading propaganda and rhetoric that is destroying opportunities for Island businesses and creating a ‘climate of misinformation’ that is clouding the thoughts and feelings of the local community. If we are ignored and down-trodden by our own elected councilors then what hope do we have?

    I note that we have to pay thousands of pounds a month to market and promote our services yet IWC’s proposal is to spend £98k promoting the proposed BT scheme. If even a fraction of such an amount was spent by IWC marketing or promoting the well established, effective and popular local providers that have been providing these services for years, or educating councilors on what companies exist and what their activities, capabilities and achievements are – then the situation would be very different and disingenuous, misleading and utterly false articles like the recent one in the parish publication would not occur.

    Surely it is a councilor’s civic duty to at least contact local providers and speak to large island businesses and local people that have used them for some time before going to print with information that misleads the reader and misrepresents the situation that exists. It is entirely wrong and horrendously misleading to tell people in Wellow, Freshwater, Yarmouth and West Wight that no fast broadband exists in the area and that millions of pounds have to be borrowed by IWC to solve the problem.

    Now that you have the facts at your disposal I would very much hope that you will instigate another article in print that correctly and accurately informs the reader of the choices they currently have and the situation that actually exists in their area. If you would like to mention in writing that Click4internet serve the area with high speed (30 Mb/s ‘superfast’) internet then seeing as you have mentioned BT in your article I think that it would be entirely appropriate to mention our company so as to prevent an unfair ‘promotion’ of one provider over another by a council official.

    Please contact me URGENTLY so that we can discuss this matter to ensure that your understanding of the situation is comprehensive and your ‘facts’ are accurate.


    (Moderated commentor’s name to remove company name advertising – Ed)

    • Being an internet “service provider”, perhaps it would be prudent to look at your website and SEO?

      Your website does not appear when searching for ‘Isle of Wight Broadband’ or similar.

      Can I just pull up your point on your claim of using “unique (wireless-fibre) technology developed here on the Island”? Because every one of your installs I’ve seen has used off the shelf kit.

  22. I have done extensive research about FTTC technology and my view is that it will NOT solve the problems for the most rural locations.

    The maximum distance that the technology can operate is about 1400 meters of phone line from the roadside cabinet (also assuming perfect cables in lab conditions).

    Many farms and rural properties are much more than this distance from the nearest roadside cabinet not to mention that phone line quality and grade is often far from perfect. This would mean that many would get no better service than they do now.

    With this in mind it is no surprise that BT didn’t/wouldn’t provide this information to the council which would have proven to them that their technology would not actually solve the problem.

    In my opinion this could be likened to fraud of taxpayers money!

    Not to mention the fact that FTTC and VDSL is not a new technology and is basically a stop gap method to try to improve some of the problems ADSL had.

    It certainly is not something that should be getting funding as a next generation service to solve future needs.

    • Cris, Has your research been a personal endeavour or as an employee of Click4Internet? Do you have the results of your research? Ie. A percentage of lines in an area that are beyond say 1km from the PCP?

      • Its impossible for me to provide a percentage as the actual data is not made available.

        However it’s quite easy to make plenty of case studies as the locations of the cabinets can be discovered. It’s then quite easy to make calculations based on the shortest possible cable run and see that a very large amount of properties would be excluded from the VDSL services even when you measure as the crow flies.

        Some of the stats posted by the users of Infinity do make it look possible thatb it could be much worse. I assumed over 1200 meters but with users claiming poor service with only 800 meters of cable the situation cold be much worse than I thought.

        I think it at least shows that the Council needs to ask much tougher questions of BT and get better guarantees as to what will be available and where.

  23. I have been a user of Click4internet for some years now and enjoy what I consider as an excellent service, providing me with a fast and reliable internet connection where previously I had only slow unreliable dial up. This was and I still beleive the only method open to me in Porchfield. Since I have been using Click4internet I have had no problems and had very courteous communications with the company.

  24. @cooperfarnncombe & I have produced a joint response to your two below. Each response in separated by a line.

    So you’re telling me that cable runs from EU to PCP have been mapped out for 139 properties?

    That is correct. We have (painstakingly) used the distance calculation facility within the SCC Interactive mapping system knowing precisely the route of all the main D side cables. Note that we have been struggling with this infrastructure since 2004. The actual distances will be marginally longer due to the loops in joint pits and on poles.

    What data are you using to estimate sync from the line length and at what length have you estimated that no service can be delivered over?

    Perhaps you are being deliberately obtuse? We have told you we are using sync speeds actually measured from the end user’s modem. This is obtained from the official BT speed test part 2 taking the IP Profile and factoring up by the known value of 96.79 %. We are NOT using any throughput speed result as that figure is far worse with interleaving etc (as well as the averaging algorithm and internet latencies etc. etc.) Furthermore we have verified that accuracy by observing the results from an unlocked BT Openreach modem on many occasions. Here is a typical small extract of the data we have observed but it’s certainly not the worst. Note there is a bug in the Broadcom chip so it doesn’t display attenuation. We use the synchronising speed as it is that stipulated in EU regulation for specifying broadband performance.
    Mode:                    VDSL2 Annex B
    VDSL2 Profile:                Profile 17a
    TPS-TC:                          PTM Mode
    Trellis:          U:ON /D:ON
    Line Status:           No Defect
    Training Status:     Showtime
               Down          Up
    SNR (dB):    4.6             5.1
    Attn(dB):       0.0             0.0
    Pwr(dBm):    10.3           1.9
                         VDSL2 framing
                         Path 0
    B:                 29               17
    M:                 1                 1
    T:                  64               5
    R:                 16               0
    S:                 0.1333                  0.9931
    L:                  2760           145
    D:                 489             1
    I:                   46               18
    N:                 46               18
                         Path 0
    OHF:            64535157             199617
    OHFErr:                 403             5
    RS:               3471380726                  4163589
    RSCorr:                 2609920471                  0
    RSUnCorr:   39588                   0
                         Path 0
    HEC:            5653           0
    OCD:            0                 0
    LCD:             0                 0
    Total Cells:   822574730           0
    Data Cells:   148307386           0
    Drop Cells:   0
    Bit Errors:     0                 0
    ES:               22406                   16
    SES:             41               8
    UAS:            1659           1659
    AS:               691088
                         Path 0
    INP:              11.00          0.00
    PER:            10.66          16.13
    delay:           16.00          0.00
    OR:              78.75          19.33
    Bitswap:       530003

    I think it’s very misleading to put capacity into the calculations for those unable to receive a service – take up is never 100% and is usually progressive.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but yet again you are (deliberately ?) misunderstanding our data and descriptions. Those unable to receive a VDSL service (69) now will never be able to receive such a service due to poor line quality and length, so why should we exclude them from our data? 

    SCC said that by the time the Surrey wide project is complete 99.7% of premises would have access to greater than 24Mbps superfast broadband.  Once the contract was in place this was modified to 94.6% having GREATER THAN 15Mbps.  We specified infrastructure capacity to support access to all premises from day one in our procurement specification for the project that BT subsequently destroyed. We accept that soft infrastructure such as electronic cards can be installed as required in a progressive way, but not hard infrastructure such as ducts, tie cables and cabinets, causing the original disruption to footpaths and roads to be repeated and repeated again in some cases.  BT have completely ignored our stated requirements and have failed so far 3  times with cabinet 20 to maintain its availability.

    Whilst they haven’t always been prompt, BT have been adding additional capacity where needed (one assumes that if capacity is reached, a cabinet must be commercially viable after all). I assume the cabinets are all 128 port items?
    On promptness BT were 18 months behind our agreed schedule from our chosen supplier and BT continue to fail to track take-up resulting in very significant further delays. Commercial viability had little to do with BT’s perceived requirement to destroy all competition. We have already told you that the cabinets are only 128 when we had required a capacity of 500. However BT elected to install ECI 128s when they could so easily have installed the larger 256 (semi-populated) cabinets from day 1. We are now faced with the extending delays, one month every month, whilst BT bring ECI’s subcontractors to site to partially dismantle the live cabinets. On past performance they will do each one individually rather than taking the most efficient way of doing all three.

    Of course, just because Ewhurst is in this situation, does not mean that properties or cabinets are as sparse.

    Please explain what you mean. The Island’s topology is well known and it’s about time BT published the exact location of all PCPs and those 86 (Including all line lengths) which might be provided with a FTTC, should the Local Authority agree after receiving a fully defined specification including actual line lengths.
    30.Aug.2013 12:25am

    I’ve just been reading your report on speed vs. distance.
    Firstly it seems to imply that you are working on distances by road, this seems flawed, but we’ll carry on.


    Carry on what ?  We have (painstakingly) used the distance calculation facility within the SCC Interactive mapping system knowing precisely the route of all the main D side cables. Note that we have been struggling with this infrastructure since 2004. The actual distances will be marginally longer due to the loops in joint pits and on poles. As the length has nothing whatsoever to do with our actual speed records, it is only showing the sorts of performance which can be expected in an operational network.

    You’re also failing to mention how you are obtaining speed data for those you’ve actually measured.

    We have stated we are providing SYNCHRONISING SPEEDS which as you know are not directly proportional to throughput tests and which are affected by Dynamic Line Management functions, including interleaving as well as retransmissions etc.


    A speed test is deeply flawed, as it brings in an outside and irrelevant factor to the data.


    I am glad you have recognised that fact too, but a clearer understanding might have stopped you raising yet another red herring.

    That is why we quite intentionally avoided speed tests per se.


    There are some obvious line faults in there as well as users on a 40 mbps service skewing the results.

    We know there are line faults but the end user is unable to obtain any repair unless very significant performance drop is observed and cannot force BT Openreach even to visit site under their No Universal Service Obligation, threats / promises of charges and restrictive practices. We have explained and clearly stated by bolding those (few) figures capped by the lower service options (40 / 2 & 40 / 10). All other figures do not reach their respective “up to” figures of 40 or 80 Mbps. If BT are not prepared to fix faults, then they too have to accept the consequences of lower speed data.

    An objective test would be looking at max attainable rates reported by the DSLAM, attenuation and SNRM data.

    As you obviously understand and have access to these figures, we will be delighted if you make all that data available for end users, instead of blocking access to the end users’ dataset within the Openreach modem.

    I’m sorry, but that document has only reinforced my sense that the results are inaccurate or biased.

    It is a pity that your sense did not include a proper appreciation of what we had stated.

    Again you are entitled to your opinion but, in the absence of anything more than weasel words from BT, we have provided an objective set of facts to illustrate (In our opinion) that BT’s solution is not fit for purpose on long lines. Given that the product is marketed as (up to) 80 Mbps it arguably contravenes trading standards if you don’t estimate the maximum distance where 80 Mbps (& similarly 40 Mbps) is likely to be available. You will note that in our data 80 Mbps is only available to some up to 416 m. If BT were to sell their services more transparently, an engineering contingency might dictate that 80 Mbps is only sold up to 300 m line distance from the FTTC via the PCP. Meanwhile the likes of http://WWW.B4RN.ORG.UK
    are providing true point-to-point Fibre-To-The-Premises at 1 Gbps symmetric with capacity for EVERY property NOW and without any line length limitations at all, whether or not the householder takes the service. Incidentally B4RN are achieving remarkable take-up rates sometimes to around 80%. We wonder why BT cannot match those figures too ?

  25. We apologise as we have just noticed that the first few lines of the data report were unintentionally truncated. You will note that the Path (= Sync speed) downstream figure is substantially below the Max figure.

    xdslcmd info –show
    xdslcmd: ADSL driver and PHY status
    Status: Showtime
    Retrain Reason: 2
    Max: Upstream rate = 536 Kbps, Downstream rate = 9176 Kbps
    Path: 0, Upstream rate = 558 Kbps, Downstream rate = 7094 Kbps

    Link Power State: L0

  26. Those that have not been involved technically with VDSL services may find this a confusing  subject – it is ! We’ll be delighted to provide further explanations for anyone interested.

    We have been a little remiss in that we have not explained the observations we have made of the BT Wholesale Broadband Availability checker as at 31 August 2013 and the installation happenings in Ewhurst. It should also be noted that short-haul installations have been completed without serious difficulties, although many have had their speeds gradually reduced over several months, possibly due to “Cross-Talk” interference between adjacent pairs in the cables as more services have been connected.

    At first glance you might think that applying to your chosen ISP would suffice but if you have a long line and you have not been tempted by the weaselly “Up to 80 Mbps”, you may decide that it’s not worth the risk of upheaval and things going wrong for very little gain. We suggest it’s prudent to use the wholesale checker as well to obtain additional data, especially your PCP Green Cabinet number so you can calculate your approximate line length and also to make a record of what the initial speed estimate is.

    The BT Wholesale checker can be found here:-

    Note that the checker is occasionally modified without a formal re-issue. There have been two welcome additions over recent months. Viz. the checker now includes the PCP green cabinet number that each line is connected to and some apologetic words have been added in preparation for the cabinets running out of capacity. It would be a great deal more helpful if the checker also listed the currently available line capacities of each FTTC. For those unfamiliar, more meaningful product descriptions from ISPs themselves might be more easily understood; however the so called contract guaranties are all based upon the wholesale weasel words that all FTTC providers must incorporate. Note however that the I o W is very fortunate in that it has genuine independent competitors which many may find far more acceptable without the distance limitations and arcane constrictions of the monopolistic supplier.

    In most circumstances the checker provides some nearly adequate data, but only for those on short lines. For those on medium distance lines and outliers with longer lines there is far too much variation between estimated and achieved speeds both before AND AFTER** a VDSL installation. The checker really fails those unable to achieve a VDSL connection at all, so could be subject to trading standards or Ofcom intervention.

    Here are some of the Wholesale Estimator’s “Features” we have observed.

    If your cabinet has been provided with a FTTC, but BT deem your line is incapable of supporting the higher frequency signals you DO NOT SEE any mention of FTTC being available. Thus the disenfranchised are even being deluded about the lack of suitable infrastructure where they should be made aware so they can explore other existing ways of obtaining a faster service through independent suppliers.

    If you are able to get a VDSL service but the cabinet has run out of capacity you will see a future availability date IF that line does NOT have a VDSL service already, BUT if it does you are not told of the delay, presumably as the service could be swapped in the future. The following “No capacity” message is shown for lines without VDSL. (It’s also possible other messages can be displayed).

    “FTTC is currently not available on this cabinet due to following reasons:- Sorry your cabinet is temporarily unavailable, capacity will be restored as soon as possible.”

    The really nasty “sting in the tail” is in a subsequent note:-

    “Where planned or expected availability dates are shown, these may be liable to change.”

    Thus there is no guarantee that BT will provide any further services at any time, perhaps if budgetary constrictions dictate that it is not an economic certainty ? We have fallen foul of this condition. BT first reported no capacity available for the third time since 19 October 2012 on 18 July 2013. On August 27 BT altered the availability date from August 28 to September 25 (i.e. now 70 days). Past performance suggests another month could well be added just before Sep 25. There can also be another 2 week delay to actual installation after an order has been accepted.

    ** Once your VDSL service is installed you should record speeds at least every day for the first 10 days using
    However if you have a service provided by e.g. the Car Phone Warehouse Group, such as TalkTalk and AOL and a few others, BT are in “sulk mode” with them and won’t allow you to test their speed; even though the service is provided through exactly the same street equipment as all the rest.

    The Dynamic Line Management (DLM) function will reduce the sync speed during the first 10 days and that (only sometimes) affects the Wholesale estimator; as BT set thresholds to reduce the number of faults they have to deal with. However there is no formal check, as perhaps Trading Standards might like, and there is no automatic reduction in charges if you opt for the more expensive faster services when your speeds don’t exceed the slower ones.

    I would not be surprised if we get a FUDder-dudder** saying that black is white so I am posting a number of actual examples below showing what has actually happened. I do not claim that there are specific rules, but it’s quite clear that some manual intervention happens, but only sometimes. I suggest this provides abundant evidence that BT’s FTTC deployment (Without any Universal Service Obligation) will fall far short of satisfactory performance for all. That’s not to say that BT should be discouraged from installing their own equipment, funding it themselves, in order to retain a market share and competing with others in fair and open competition.

    **FUDder-Dudder (Fear Uncertainty & Doubt) is my invention for those waving strong BT banners and attempting to divert or hide the arguments as we have seen above and in the previous article.


    Two adjacent properties just over 1 km line length installed in 2012. Both had quite appalling sub-contract VDSL installations where substandard house wiring wasn’t even examined **. Bridge taps and ring wires connected to multiple sockets were totally ignored. One wasn’t even provided with the new integral filter faceplate and used the third in-series slave socket behind two old master sockets. Matters were made much worse as an old fluorescent tube was left flashing continually in the garage.

    BT Wholesale Estimate = W/sale Est  Sync = Actual Sync speed in Mbps
    House 1
    W/sale Est on 5/1/13     44.8 Mbps & Sync 19.42
    W/sale Est on 31/8/13   28.6 Mbps & Sync 35.00 (capped)
    House 2
    W/sale Est on 5/1/13     51.1 Mbps & Sync 20.00 (capped)
    W/sale Est on 31/8/13   31.6 Mbps & Sync 28.07

    ** When BT started to install VDSL services using their own staff in Ewhurst, a number of installations were postponed due to bad wiring within the curtilage of the property. BT sometimes then offered subsequently to repair wiring at additional charges. These examples show that BT are now abrogating their responsibilities by connecting under-performing VDSL services leaving end users ignorant of potentially better connections, but charging for the service regardless. 

    EXAMPLE 2 

    One house with two lines both estimated at 15.2 Mbps on 26/9/12 and still estimated at 15.2 Mbps on 31/8/13 (I.e. Estimate far too high compared to actual sync speeds throughout and not adjusted to reflect the appalling performance achieved.)
    Sync on 30/11/12 6.58 Mbps & on 31/8/13 5.79 Mbps


    This is an extended cluster of 4 houses with VDSL services. The furthest also has two more ADSL services (with over 4 km of additional wires back to the exchange) both performing better than the VDSL service.

    House 1 –  line Dist Approx. 1370 m
    W/sale Est on 8/11/12     19.8 Mbps & Sync 16.01 on 3/12/12
    W/sale Est on 31/8/13     3.9 Mbps & Sync 15.66 on 3/12/12

    House 2 –  line Dist Approx. 2070 m
    W/sale Est on 31/10/12     19.8 Mbps & Sync 5.53 on 2/12/12
    W/sale Est on 31/8/13     3.9 Mbps & Sync 4.45 on 31/8/13

    House 3 –  line Dist Approx. 2090 m
    W/sale Est on 4/1/13     19.8 Mbps & Sync 3.47 after 1/2/13
    W/sale Est on 31/8/13     3.9 Mbps & Sync 3.47 on 31/8/13

    House 4 –  line Dist Approx. 2404 m
    W/sale Est on 19/11/12     19.8 Mbps & Sync 2.03 on 27/11/12
    W/sale Est on 4/12/12     19.8 Mbps & Sync 1.08 on 4/12/12
    W/sale Est on 31/8/13      3.9 Mbps & Sync 0.64 on 31/8/13

    The house 4 line has been subject to much investigation all to no avail, except that we are told that BT will cancel the service free of charge !

    We hope these examples and the exceedingly convoluted and restrictive procedures described above illustrate that BT’s current offerings for those on middle distance lines and beyond are quite inappropriate and should not, in any circumstances, be considered adequate even now, let alone into the future as speed requirements are inevitably increasing substantially already.

    Returning once more to the BBC Newsnight article of 13 August 2013

    we believe our records for a small Surrey village provide evidence:-

    1. To confirm the former BT CTO, Dr Peter Cochrane’s assertion that BT’s FTTC offering is the wrong technology

    2. Contradicts BT’s NGA Managing Director’s assurance and lacks sufficient credibility that FTTC is an adequate solution for those more than a few hundred metres from their PCP green cabinets.

    3.  Notes the wisdom of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries to avoid commenting but hope in so doing he recognises that a major change in policy is now long overdue.

  27. AndrewCampling

    5.Sep.2013 12:20pm

    I notice a fair number of comments have been made concerning the off-island community of Ewhurst in Surrey, many based on what appears to be possibly out-of-date information from consultants not actually living in the community.

    You may be interested to have the latest position in order to allow any future debate to focus on the facts:

    1. The network in question was fully funded by BT as part of our £2.5bn national programme to provide access to fibre broadband services to 19m premises by next Spring;
    2. Approximately 95% of premises in the village now have access to fibre broadband;
    3. Take-up of service in the village is running well ahead of the national average, with several hundred residents and businesses showing it offers them a service that they are prepared to buy.

    We are continuing to look at options that will allow us to provide access to fibre broadband services to premises including the remaining 5% in Ewhurst where it is not currently economic for us to do so. Options such as “vectoring” may help, and in fact we are running a technical trial to assess its suitability at the moment.

    I hope this is useful, provides you with a more up to date view on what is really happening in Ewhurst.

    • Simon Perry

      5.Sep.2013 12:45pm


      Interesting to see a BT employee on here again. We’d had an exchange with BT’s press office about two weeks ago, suggesting that we gather some questions, so BT could allay the concerns of Islanders, but this was declined.

      BT is now putting employee time into making statements on this story. Why not put that time into answering focused questions, rather than just making statements? Surely that’s the way forward.

      Here’s the exchange after we’d received BT’s Bill Murphy’s open letter reply to OnTheWight’s Open Letter :-

      It’s great to know that Bill is interested in development on the Island.

      Previously we’ve had many apparently-knowledgeable commentors. Seems like a good idea fro us to gather some questions and forward them to him about it, don’t you think?

      I re-prompted a few days later, as I hadn’t had a response, to which came:-

      I think we should wait to see what develops over the next month or so, while we wait to see what decision is made by the Isle of Wight County Council.

      I responded:-

      I’m shocked. Surely the time _before_ the decision is made is the time for BT to answer the concerns of residents?

      To which there has been no reply in the last eight days.

  28. AndrewCampling

    5.Sep.2013 1:01pm

    There have been various comments made on here and elsewhere regarding certain technical aspects of fibre broadband. I thought it would be useful to provide a summary of some of the key points and a view of the current situation based on our experience of providing access to these services to over 16 million premises across the UK so far.

    1. Can fibre broadband of the type being deployed by BT on the island to over 50,000 premises already, and proposed by the council to reach the remaining 20,000 premises support high speeds (so-called fibre to the cabinet, FTTC)? In short, yes of course it can. Ofcom’s recent report showed average speeds across the UK on FTTC are a little over 60Mbps for downloads and around 16Mbps for uploads.

    2. Will many of the 20,000 premises included in the council’s proposed programme gain fast download speeds?
    This is a matter for the council to comment on, – at the last Cabinet meeting, officers stated that, or the 20,000 premises, 87% would receive 24Mbps+, a further 12% would see at least a 10Mbps uplift, with the final 1% getting a minimum of 2Mbps. Our experience from Cornwall and elsewhere is that these number can improve during implementation.

    3. Wouldn’t wireless (4G mobile or fixed wireless) be better?
    In June 2013, EE quoted a report from measurement firm RootMetrics which said the average download speed on its 4G network was 19.4Mbit/s, or less than a third of the average download speed of FTTC, and this is before it has deployment in rural areas.

    BT has tested fixed wireless broadband access in rural areas using a range of spectrum bands, including in 700MHz (TV white space), 2600MHz (4G bands) and 3500MHz, and in a number of different areas of the UK. Our results have demonstrated that the commercially available wireless bands are useful bands for the provision of broadband at standard broadband speeds, but none of them could deliver NGA speeds in rural areas in a commercially viable manner.

    4. Will the local economy benefit?
    A key consideration is how the local economy will benefit, and whether all sections of the community will have the opportunity to see improvements. If we look to Cornwall, one of the early examples of public investment in fibre broadband, from the Superfast Cornwall web site you can see:

    * A range of case studies showing how local businesses have benefited
    * A number of examples of the benefits for different households
    * Details of the “Green Gauge” scheme to track and log sustainability benefits of the project
    * Details of the supporting programme to tackle digital exclusion

    We believe that the Isle of Wight can enjoy similar benefits if the project proceeds, especially as coverage will be even greater than is currently proposed in Cornwall.

    5. Why not use a local company?
    You many be unaware that BT already employs a large number of people on the Isle of Wight, I suspect rather more that either of the two other companies mentioned in relation to this matter, so this is a moot point. Our investment on the island has continued over a number of year, as evidenced for example by our commercial fibre broadband programme that will provide access to services to 50,000 premises on the island by next Spring.

    • @Andrewcampling.

      Will BT guarantee me better than the 1Mbps the max 1Mbps upload (21Mbps download)I can get at the moment despite being less that 50Om from the cabinet ?

      If not, why not?

      • BT’s apparent silence on line speed guarantees is deafening! :-))

        • I don’t think anyone can guarantee it, but it is almost certain that you would see an improvement in upload speed with FTTC less than 500m from the cabinet.

          I have a customer who is approximately 400-500m from the cabinet, syncing at 80/20 and another at around 600-700m syncing at 59/14.

        • AndrewCampling

          5.Sep.2013 11:08pm

          Apologies for the delay in responding, I’ve been at the Overview and Scrutiny committee hearing at County Hall.

          Your question is not sufficiently detailed to answer, for example do your quoted speeds refer to the performance of an ADSL or FTTC service?

          Given the distances you mention from the cabinet, I’d expect a much higher performance for an FTTC connection, however local factors such as how you measure the line speed, whether your home or office cabling is up to standard, even whether you have faulty electrical equipment nearby can all impact on the speeds.

          If you’re unhappy with the performance of your service speak to your ISP and ask them to investigate.

          Whether anyone will guarantee the performance on a line, technically broadband is a “best efforts” service, so no service provider would want to give you a guarantee, however you can normally exit the contract if there is a significant difference between the estimated and actual performance.

          I hope this helps.

          • @AndrewCampling

            Thanks for your reply.

            * My set-up is asimple- twisted pair coming into the house from a cabinet <500m away apparently equipped with ADSL2+, necessary BT-supplied protective thingies installed on phone input jack etc, BT-supplied connect from input jack to BT Home Hub 2, Ethernet connect from Home Hub to computer tower.

            * No disruptive electronic equipment within 100m.

            * BT Speed test (30 secs ago) shows
            Exchange to Home 21.6Mb
            Home to Device 18.7Mb (Download) and 1.03Mb (Upload)

            *Infinity (not available)
            So- I reiterate my question.

            "What upload improvement can I expect to get from the Supafast project(not "best efforts" or maybe I should change my DD to 'best efforts to pay')?"

            [BTW BT has been my Broadband ISP for some years.

            Asking help from the Call Centre now it has been relocated to India is usually pointless due to language difficulties and the (often) lack of technical knowledge of the operator. On the past three occasions, I have had to resolve the problem myself.]

          • “necessary BT-supplied protective thingies installed on phone input jack” = ADSL filters

          • I think you’re confused Cicero. You’ve told us that FTTC/Infinity is not available to you?

            The cabinet has no ADSL2+ equipment in it. With ADSL, you are connecting back to the exchange.

            If you are on ADSL, your speeds are very good.

            If you require higher uploads speeds, there are ISPs that can provide you with 2.5mbps upload on ADSL2+, but I don’t believe BT Retail offer it on their residential packages.

          • @mpit

            You are right! I am confused! :-))

            Kitz tells me that the cabinet has “21CN (WBC) Enabled”

            BT WBC website tells me 21CN (WBC) ” supports an up to 40Mbit/s service – with upstream speeds up to 10Mbit/s)

            So why I am getting only 21Mb and 1Mb?

            Further you say “there are ISPs that can provide you with 2.5mbps upload on ADSL2+, but I don’t believe BT Retail offer it on their residential packages.”

            Does that mean, as a residential subscriber, I will not get better speeds from Supafast/NGA as promised by the project?

          • Firstly, you need to distinguish between ADSL and FTTC.

            It sounds like you are currently on ADSL. FTTC is a different product and if you wanted that you would have to order it – it requires different equipment to be installed and a visit from an BTOR engineer.

            I don’t know where you’ve found your information exactly, but you can get information about what services you can receive here:

            And no, that does not mean you cannot get better speeds from FTTC as a residential customer. It simply means that Residential BT Retail customers on ADSL2+ (Which is not NGA) do not have an option for faster uploads than 1mbps. On FTTC, the fastest speeds as a residential or business customer are around 73mbps down and 18mbps up.

          • @mpit “FTTC is a different product and if you wanted that you would have to order it – it requires different equipment to be installed and a visit from an BTOR engineer.”

            Is not FTTC fibre-to-the-cabinet and not fibre-to-the home?

            Thus if I wanted fibre-to-the -home, I would need to pay for laying the fibre from the cabinet to the home.

            You suggest that with FTTC “..the fastest speeds as a residential or business customer are around 73mbps down and 18mbps up.”

            Does that not mean for premises still using copper twisted-par lines that either the twisted-pair technology has changed dramatically to cope with those speed or I would have to replace them and pay to install fibre from the cabinet to the home at a cost in excess of £15000 for the 150-500m span from the cabinet to the home?.

            If so, and as a long-term residential BT broadband subscriber living in the IoW “Intervention Area”, the proposed Supafast project does not appear to benefit me.

            Please tell me if I am mistaken and why.


          • @ Cicero re

            The major problem is that all of BT’s FTTC designs cannot distribute any ongoing fibre as there is usually only a single 4 fibre bundle. In any case a FTTP connection cannot (easily) be integrated into the MSAN fibres for the FTTC. You would need a Fibre on Demand solution direct into a fibre aggregation point, such as shown below. Again at very significant costs, if it is ever marketed in your area.


          • @Cicero

            Yes, FTTC is fibre to the cabinet. I’m not sure why Fibre to the home has been mentioned?

            Let’s clarify things a little more in-depth.

            With ADSL the connection is made from your modem, along your d-side pair which terminates at the PCP, where it is jumpered to another pair that eventually ends up back to a DSLAM at the exchange. The connection is delivered completely over copper from the exchange to your premises.

            With FTTC, your FTTC modem is connected to your d-side pair which then terminates at the PCP, from there it is jumpered via tie cables to the FTTC cabinet where it connects to a DSLAM for your internet connection and your line is then jumpered back to the PCP and then onto the exchange for voice services.

            FTTC is delivered over your existing copper pair – the engineer visit is to install the FTTC modem, jumper your D-side over to the FTTC cabinet from the PCP and then test your line where possible (ie. when it’s done by a BTOR engineer rather than a contractor – afaik all installs are done by BTOR engineers on the Island)

            At your quoted distance of under 500m from the cabinet, I’d expect you to see at least 60 down and 15 up, but there is every possibility you’d see full sync of 80 down and 20 up (Which offers around 73/18 actual throughput as I mentioned earlier).

            So yes, if you’re cabinet is currently considered not to be commercially viable, and the BDUK project includes your Cabinet for upgrade then the project will benefit you.

            Did you visit the link I posted in my last comment to check what is available to you now?

          • @MPT Thanks for the clarification- I think, as I am getting lost in the technical bits.

            What this simpleton technodweeb understand from your message is:

            1. I will need a new modem for FTTC- will that be a new free BT Home Hub?

            2. A BT engineer will come to my home to fit it. What is the cost likely to be?

            3. Then the engineer will do some clever stuff with the copper twisted pair and jumpers (in the home of in the cabinet or both?)

            4. This will allow me to get up to 18Mb upload over the existing copper twisted-pair.

            5. This all depends on BT’s decision whether to add FTTC to the cabinet in question.

            6. Presumably it also depends on BT Retail providing a contract upgrade route for residential customers.

            Have I understood properly?

            How and when will we find out if the cabinet in question is scheduled to have fibre added to it?

            Thanks for your patience.

          • 1. Currently, there is a new separate modem that connects to a router either the ISP supplies or one of your choice.

            Many ISPs are trailing all-in-one solutions (such as HomeHub5 I think) as part of the movement to a “wires only install”. This means the engineer will not need to visit your properly, only the cabinet.

            2. There is no cost for the engineer normally – that is covered by your ISP and will normally be free with a contract. As above, this will soon change.

            3. The engineer will basically loop your line through the FTTC twin. These connections are done at the PCP.

            4. On an 80/20 service, correct – you’ll receive up to around 18mbps upload.

            5. Correct.

            6. Every ISP I’ve seen offers a route from your current ADSL contract to FTTC.

            As for when it’s scheduled, the easiest way is to put your telephone number into the checker on the Infinity website – this will tell you whether it’s available to you, and if not whether it’s planned and an estimated date.

            If it is planned, it’ll give you an estimation of speed – these estimations are usually very conservative. Mine was 60/18 and I sync at the full 80/20 with plenty to spare (Modem reports a ‘max attainable’ rate, which is the maximum speed your line could actually support – mine reports at 98 down and 35 up, but BT limits this to 80/20).

          • @mpit Thanks!

            My ISP is BT.

            But there is no indication of when Infinity is likely to arrive: it is shown as “Not Currently in Roll-Out plans”

            So it looks as if I am stuck with 1Mbps Upload for the foreseeable future whether or not Supafast is installed in this “Intervention Area”. :-((

          • You can get 2.5mbps upload from an ISP that offers Annex M, although I believe this may impact on your download speed slightly.

            Vivacity have packaged provided via TalkTalk Business that have Annex M.

            BT Business and Plusnet Business also offer it, I believe.

            Of course, the downside is that you’ll be paying more for it – somewhere around £35+vat IIRC.

            The other option if WightFibre isn’t available in your area is to speak to – they’ll do 30 down and 8 up for £34/m.

          • AndrewCampling

            6.Sep.2013 7:33pm

            The comment about availability refers to our substantial investment as part of our commercial deployment. It would be wrong to conclude that you will not benefit from the council’s proposed programme if you’re in the intervention area, but we clearly cannot give a view of availability before the council has decided whether to proceed with the project.

          • @AC “but we clearly cannot give a view of availability before the council has decided whether to proceed with the project.”

            Why not? , Most commercial tenders include committed delivery date and penalties for non-compliance. BT usually demands it from their suppliers.

            Otherwise the purchaser is buying a pig in a poke and has nothing to measure the successful bidder’s eventual performance against.

            If BT is successful in its bid, how soon after the contract is awarded will BT publish its list of cabinets/exchanges/fibre links to be installed and/or upgraded?

          • AndrewCampling

            6.Sep.2013 9:42pm

            Remember this is a partnership rather than a traditional customer/supplier contract – otherwise we wouldn’t be investing money too.

            In terms of details of coverage etc, this is a matter for the partners to announce after the contracts are signed, but clearly the council needs to make a decision whether to proceed first.

          • Andrew, It is disingenuous of you to represent (below) this deal as a ‘partnership’. It is a proper, government contract where the Council is paying BT to deploy infrastructure. True, BT is making a small, in this case 24%, contribution but given BT Openreach will take all the wholesale revenues from services sold over this infrastructure by BT Retail, TalkTalk and Sky, it hardly unfair for you to make a contribution. I know, I know, if penetration of NGA exceeds 20% the council will get some money back. We both know that is unlikely.

          • AndrewCampling

            7.Sep.2013 9:37am

            In fact experience in some other parts of the UK shows it is perfectly possible to exceed 20% take-up levels, and in rather less time that the duration of this contract. Clearly none of us know the what the demand will be in the Isle of Wight intervention area, however it is important that the council have the prospect of generating additional revenue if demand does exceed 20%.

          • @AC “Remember this is a partnership rather than a traditional customer/supplier contract – otherwise we wouldn’t be investing money too.”

            Presumably not a legal partnership in which the partners are jointly and severally liable?

            Or even a joint venture crystalised into a legal entity, also able to be sued?

            But more likely two separate legal entities (IWC and BT) coming together for mutual benefit?

            If the latter, then each entity (subject to the agreement between them)is free to publish whatever information they so desire.

            Does the agreement between IWC and BT include the list of cabinets and exchanges to be upgraded and when?

            Presumably IWC officers in carrying out their due diligence on the contract would have insisted on such a list.

            If not, once again the IWC (i.e. us) will be buying a pig in a poke as happened with the Roads PFI contract.

            So, unless the officers have failed again, such a list should be available already.

    • Andrew,
      A few short comments:

      1. The ecomony will benefit irrespective of who deploys the superfast broadband
      2. EE’s 4G network is not Fixed 4G. UK Broadband’s Fixed 4G networks in Swindon and Reading run much faster than BT’s
      3. Your 60Mb average for FTTC includes Virgin Media so really provides no real measure of BT’s capability.
      4. I’d love you to quantify BT’s ‘large’ number of employees on the island – and please exclude contractors and employees who travel here to do the work then leave again each night.

      • AndrewCampling

        5.Sep.2013 11:00pm

        Picking up on your comments in order

        1. It may, although we bring far more experience of, for example, digital inclusion projects across the UK than other network operators.

        2. My original comments refer both to 4G mobile and also fixed wireless, we have tested both.

        3. You are mistaken, the average speeds quoted by Ofcom refer specifically to BT’s Infinity offering – it gives separate figures for Plusnet too.

        4. We published a breakdown of our economic impact across the UK, showing numbers of people based in different places for their work, the numbers of our people living at those same locations, numbers of contractors, spend with local companies and the total benefit to the local economy of all of these. I’ll gladly send you a link if you are interested, does your company do the same?

        • On your comments to may comments:

          On 1, I certainly hope, that with 10s of thousands of employees that BT would have more experience but what has that got to do with my point? In any event, is any of that experience deployed here on the Isle of Wight?

          On 2, you comments may well have referred to both fixed and mobile 4G but the speeds you quoted were for mobile 4G, hardly a fair comparison

          On 3, In fact the Ofcom report which quotes your 60M average speed in for your Infinity 2 product and FTTP (Fibre to the premises) product so isn’t a reliable average for Infinty. In any event, the real question is, what are the average FTTC speeds your customers are getting here in the island.

          On 4, please do post a link here for all to see. Of course BT make a major economic contribution across the UK but I’ll be really keen to see, specifically, the economic contribution to the island.

          • AndrewCampling

            6.Sep.2013 7:25pm

            Again I’ve followed your numbering:

            1. Our fibre broadband network on the island already covers over 37,000 premises, will reach over 50,000 by next Spring, so yes we have a great deal of on-island expertise. I think these numbers compare very favourably with the other local providers.

            2. I quoted speeds for mobile 4G as some have suggested this is a viable alternative to a fixed network. My other point related both to the economics 4G and fixed wireless, which may explain the significantly higher prices charged by one of the island’s fixed wireless providers when compared to our equivalent FTTC products.

            3. The Ofcom report states that the numbers I’ve quoted are for the average performance of the BT Infinity “up to 76Mbps” FTTC service, make no mention of FTTP (or Virgin as per your earlier comment), so I believe you are mistaken again.

            4. To make it easier for you and others I’ve included the key numbers here as follows:
            – 58 of our people work on the island
            – 72 live here
            – our economic activity supports £11m local turnover pa

            As before I hope this is helpful to you and forward to seeing a similar level of transparency from the other local operators.

          • AndrewCampling

            6.Sep.2013 7:39pm

            I should have added that our annual accounts and quarterly results are available online and open to scrutiny, and that we also publish an annual sustainability report.

            As I said above, I look forward to seeing similar levels of transparency from the other local operators.

      • Andrew, It seems WordPress has hit it’s limits on ‘Replies’ to this chain so, to answer your latest response:

        1. The ‘expertise’ you cite as having deployed NGA to 37,000 premises (in reality, only 1,300 by your own posting elsewhere here) all comes from off the island. You only have to watch Openreach and Kelly (working on behalf of BT) vans travelling back and forward on the ferries to substantiate this.

        2. The Ofcom report which you claim gives an average speed of 60Mb for up to 78Mb broadband is clearly labelled ‘FTTx’, not ‘FTTC’. Care to explain why?

        3. I note you still haven’t provided a link to the ‘published’ figures as requested, probably because they provide no island data. Instead, you provide some claims on your contribution to the island which no-one here is able to substantiate.

        4. Further to (3), stop asking others to provide open transparent data when BT itself is failing to do so at an island level. In any event, it is not island companies seeking £3M + of island taxpayer money, it is you, BT, so the onus is on BT to be transparent.

        • John, if we want to talk about misrepresenting speeds, should we talk about WightFibre’s own Isle of Wight Speedtest?

          A test that doesn’t represent a true level of service when testing WF connections seeing as WF host the server. In these cases, you are merely testing internal network speed.

          The results seem heavily biased and cherry picked. For example the top 8 results are from Love Lane, funnily enough.

          There is only one non-WightFibre test shown above 20mbps and you haven’t added any new results since the 7th of May.

          I think if you are going to start pulling BTOR upon claims and transparency, you ought to practice what you preach.

          • mpit, I haven’t looked at in a long time but it is supposed to be updated daily. I’ll check on Monday what is happening. The site is only supposed to accept residential speed tests and we do have a number of customers in Love Lane. In any event, the only speed test measurements I have challenged on here are Andrew’s interpretation of the Ofcom report and how he get’s to his claimed UK average 60Mb broadband speed.

            As an interesting aside, if you trust me for a moment on results, an analysis we did of date from Nov 12 to Mar 13 showed broadband speeds on the isle of wight were marginally higher than average speeds for the whole of the UK. That’s actually quite impressive given we are a rural area and shows that a competitive local marketing place works well and government intervention is not required to deliver good broadband for the island.

          • Do you have customers in Love Lane achieving 120mbps down and 60mbps up? That is the fastest test within the results!

            It is great that your results shows the Isle of Wight doing well in Speedtests, but coverage is very focussed around the main towns of the Isle of Wight.

            I presume WF has completely given up on deploying new wired infrastructure (apart from this FTTH test-estate mentioned earlier) and you’re completely relying on wholesale from the two wireless providers to extend your reach?

            It’d be great to see WF extend their network and making it available for wholesale.

            I’d likely be using WF right now if WF didn’t insist on installing and paying for line rental on a telephone point I didn’t use, and still allowed me to have a connection without contract (Years ago, I had a connection where I paid £30 install and £70 deposit for the modem in lieu of a fixed term contract).

            It’d be great to get a backup connection and a chance to see if WF have improved since the abysmal connection I had 2-3 years ago, but spending £45/m for at least two years for a connection that may be just as bad doesn’t seem like a good idea!

        • AndrewCampling

          7.Sep.2013 9:31am

          Once again covering your points in order:

          1. Our fibre broadband services are accessible today to the residents and businesses in 37,000 premises on the island. Your point about people commuting to the island is important, highlights we can and do augment our local resources where necessary, drawing on our and our contractors’ national capabilities. I view this as a strength.

          2. If you read the Ocom report you will see on page 10 that it gives clarity on the BT retail services included within its statistics, namesly “BT retail’s ADSL2+ services and its ‘up to’ 38Mbit/s and ‘up to’ 76Mbit/s FTTC (BT Infinity) services”

          3. I put the text rather than link to the figures I quoted to save you time, you can of course access the report directly at

          4. Noted, however those presenting themselves as offering credible alternatives ought to be able to back up their claims with similar levels of transparency.

          • Simon Perry

            7.Sep.2013 9:58am

            Andrew, you said, “Our fibre broadband services are accessible today to the residents and businesses in 37,000 premises on the island.”

            I know a lot of Fibre boxes have been installed, but are they all actually live with high speed connection available to customer now? I know that we had a Fibre box installed at the top of our street a month+ ago, but are still we’re not able to buy the service as, we’re told, it hasn’t been fully commissioned.

          • AndrewCampling

            7.Sep.2013 10:24am

            The residents and businesses in those 37,000 or so premises all have access to fibre broadband today. So any of the occupies could select from on of the 60+ service providers and order service if they haven’t already done so.

            We plan to cover over 50,000 premises on the island by next Spring within our commercial investment programme, so another 13,000 or so premises will be covered over the coming months. Based on what you’ve said, you are within that 13,000.

            The remaining 20,000 premises on the island will benefit from the council’s proposed partnership, should it decide to proceed with the programme at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

  29. Bill Murphy is wrong when he says the Council money is only being spend in areas where ‘other commercial operators’ are not investing. Both WightFibre and Click4Internet have already deployed infrastructure in those areas but the Council have chosen to ignore our submissions through – if I was being kind – a misinterpretation of government and EU guidance.

    This deal is bad for the island the Council is, in effect, subsidising a big global giant (BT) to the detriment of two hard work, local companies – WightFibre and Click4Internet – who are providing superfast broadband on the island already.

    • AndrewCampling

      5.Sep.2013 1:30pm

      From what I’ve read, paragraph 51 of the updated cabinet paper covers your first point.

      With regards local companies, as per my previous post, we employ a large number of local people on the Isle of Wight, and continue to invest in our operations. 0ver 37,000 island premises can already access fibre broadband thanks to this investment, a number that will increase to over 50,000 premises by next Spring. And remember because we operate an open network, they are able to select from a large number of service providers including Sky, BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet and many others.

      • Para 51 is one of WightFibre’s main points of complaint. The Council demanded a fully signed off, board approved business case before it would accept WightFibre’s submission yet BT’s proposal is “a modelled theoretical solution and is unlikely to be the ‘as built’ scheme that will be delivered” – Para 58 of the same document.

        This simply illustrates the Council’s biase in favour of big, global BT.

        In case anyone else what’s to look at the document – its here:

      • @AndrewCampling “0ver 37,000 island premises can already access fibre broadband thanks to this investment,”

        Really? Or do you mean access only to FTTC cabinets that provide no upload improvement for those premises?

        • AndrewCampling

          5.Sep.2013 10:52pm

          I’m not sure why you think there is no increase in upload speeds. The reality with “fibre to the cabinet” is that upload speeds are currently averaging approximately 15Mbps according to Ofcom, vs a little over 60Mbps for download speeds.

          So both upload and download speeds show significant increases compared with standard broadband services.

          • @mpit and AndrewCampling.

            Given your confidence in FTTC, BT should have no problem guaranteeing a minimum upload speed better than 1Mb from the project, say 10Mb, as the promised 2Mb would still be useless for a commercial operation.

          • Andrew, as above, the 60Mb average is for Infinity 2 and FTTP. In any event, its the avererage here on the island that we want to know.

          • AndrewCampling

            6.Sep.2013 7:29pm

            I covered this same point when you raised it earlier.

            As before, in fact the Ofcom report states that the numbers I’ve quoted are for the average performance of the BT Infinity “up to 76Mbps” FTTC service, make no mention of FTTP (or Virgin as per your earlier comment), so I believe you are mistaken.


    19.Sep.2013 4:17pm

    What I would like to know is; will those of us who live out in the countryside be getting this new system or will it just be those in the towns as usual?

  31. walter willcox

    19.Sep.2013 4:27pm

    Hello Wise and Ancient one !

    Nobody will know who is to have a new “fibre cabinet” connected until the locations of the proposed 86 cabinets are published. You also need to know which cabinet you are already connected to. You can find that out by entering your phone number now into this web page:-

    You then need to discover where that cabinet is and measure the distance to your house, following the phone cable routes if you know where they are. If you like to tell us here we can then guess the best performance you might achieve.

  32. Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

    19.Sep.2013 5:23pm

    Those who currently have the lowest/slowest speeds will be the last to see any improvement and in several years, after several millions of public money have been spent, those at the ‘end of the line’ are only planned to get 2 Mb/s.

    That’s the problem with spending money on a ‘centre-out’ style terrestrial phone line system – the ‘centre’ gets improved first and the ‘end of the line’ cannot be improved until everything before it has been upgraded. There’s never enough money to reach the last few because the the costs ‘per premises’ escalate exponentially for the last few premises. In this case the ‘last few’ is likely to be at least a few hundred premises and potentially a few thousand even.

    It’s a bit like building a road to a remote village in the desert – 100% of the road has to be finished before it becomes of any use to those at the end. That’s usually not an efficient or affordable approach and so for ‘remote settlements’ it’s often the case that airbourne transport has to be used as that’s faster, more efficient, more flexible, less costly and can be available quickly. Hence all the small airlines operating light aircraft all over the world serving small rural airfields where building a terrestrial road link would be eneconomic, slow and inefficient.

    Rural internet systems are very similar in principle. Terrestrial solutions like BT phone lines are fine until you get a short distance ‘out of town’ and then the costs of these fixed terrestrial links escalate as they get longer and longer and the premises get further and further away from the ‘centre’ and further away from each other = lower density of premises. The cost of maintaining and operating miles and miles of phone lines to reach out to just a few far away premises also become high and prohibitive.

    The solution is the same – use the air to connect. For far away remote premises don’t throw millions into a solution where costs grow exponentially with distance and as density falls. Instead use an airbourne solution that is fast, flexible, efficient and quick to deploy – saving vast amounts of money both installing and operating/maintaining it. That way those ‘final few’ can get vast improvements FIRST without having to wait at the ‘end of the line’ until mediocre or worse speeds eventually ‘trickle down’ to them.

    • walter willcox

      19.Sep.2013 8:08pm

      @ Wiber,

      What excellent common sense if only those non-technical administrators could remove their BDUK blinkers. A poor partial urban design is most certainly not fit for rural purpose which is why the “one size fits all” behemoth cannot justify their costs but expect the taxpayers’ to pick up the tab for only some parts of the rural areas.

  33. I have looked at the technical jargon and to me it just goes over my head. I supposed like the majority of users all I want is a fast reliable broadband. Thanks to Click4internet I have got it, have got it now, and been enjoying the benefits for a number of years. I cannot understand why money cannot be used to expand an already tried and proven system which surely would be quicker and easier than the BT option. The rural areas in need of it most are again going to be the last ones to benefit from such an arrangement.The rural areas want it now not several years down the line if at all. My vote goes for Click4internet, keep up the good work.

  34. This project should concentrate its efforts on areas that have no other options. Wightwireless, wight fibre do provide upto 30mb wireless services but not everyone can gain access to these services because they are not in the line of sight.
    Some areas on the island can barely achieve 1mb and 2mb line speeds. Focus should be aimed at these areas at least upgrading upto the cabinet is a start. Users on 2mb lines would be happy with 10mb or even 16mb.
    Lets also bear in mind that users on these lower speeds are paying the same as those receiving 16mb thats a fact that isn’t reasonable.
    Upgrading these cabinets is a start, and while it won’t yield speeds of 30mb and higher it is at least a start to future upgrades at property level.
    What will be sad is this money being spent on no specific level of development.
    What I fear is that the money will go here and there with no cohesive drive.
    BT may claim its upgraded 37000 users but thats in areas directly adjascent to exchanges basically the easy stuff.
    The UK is in danger of falling well behind the rest of the world and some in rural areas being left behind.
    BT and other providers have minimally invested over the years making vast profits nothing new there.
    I’ve read through some of the comments and not wanting to get caught up in the technical argument of copper wires I think providing all areas with 16mb as a basic level of speed should be the model of this project.
    Unless wight Fibre are intending on digging up the roads and increasing there infrastructure they have very little to offer. I live in alverstone but because of trees I can’t access there wireless service which seems to be there only alternative that they are bringing to the table. That doesn’t really offer any future development, if they were looking for funding as are BT to install cables then maybe but its my understanding that wight fibre has no plans to invest at cable level. There are areas that have cables installed years ago that dont gpo anywhere because they ran out of money now someone might correct me but wight fibre isn’t gonna resolve those cable terminations let alone invest in new runs.
    So BT really are the only option, I’d like to see them survey speeds on the island and concentrate efforts on the lowest areas. This money isnt going to supply every home with high speed fibre it’s just not gonna happen and what we shouldn’t want to see is this money go nowhere and achieve very little.
    The way technology and online services are heading providing 10-16mb lines for every home as a minimum is essential but also providing upgrades at cabinet level which pave the way to future cabling upgrades at street level.

    • phil jordan

      14.Feb.2014 1:14pm


      “This money isnt going to supply every home with high speed fibre it’s just not gonna happen and what we shouldn’t want to see is this money go nowhere and achieve very little.
      The way technology and online services are heading providing 10-16mb lines for every home as a minimum is essential but also providing upgrades at cabinet level which pave the way to future cabling upgrades at street level.”

      We need a bit more than that…!

      The Cabinet imposed certain conditions (I won’t go into this here…)when this was voted for acceptance, some of which I’ve included below:

      (c) 99% of premises across the Island will have NGA infrastructure deployed by September 2015.

      (d) 100% of premises to receive a minimum of 2mpbs

      (e) 97% of premises in the intervention area to have an NGA connection (min 30 mbps) post project

      (f) 87% of premises in the intervention area to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds (min 24 mbps) post project

      (h) 96% of premises on Isle of Wight to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds (min 24 mbps) post project

      (j) Planned completion of the main roll out by September 2015

      How we measure it all is a mystery but, those are the conditions.

      • @Phil

        “How we measure it all is a mystery but, those are the conditions. ”

        There’s no mystery to speed-testing

        Will give you a reasonable indicator, using a range of different servers.

        As per my recent letter and update since – my access to high speed broadband has now been gently pushed back month by month for a year by BT. It’s annoying as hell and there’s nothing we can do about it.

      • With respect, Phil, contract conditions are like planning conditions,subject to renogiation “in the light of current circumstances” and either revoked or relaxed.

        Further, unless the “Intervention Area” is tightly defined and monitored by IWC, all references to it are meaningless.

        The other weasel words are “post project”- is this immediately post-project in 2015, 0r 2020 or 2025?

        (I live in the Intervention Area and BT “currently has no plans” to upgrade the local cabinets or exchange. Thus it would be foolish for me to rely the promises for increased speeds promised for the “Intervention Area”.)

        You admit “How we measure it all is a mystery but, those are the conditions.”.

        Of course, that was BT’s contract selling protection tactic but IWC officers/councillors apparently were to naive to spot it!

  35. phil jordan

    14.Feb.2014 2:39pm


    I certainly wasn’t naive at all in thsi matter. Far from it. Indeed, I was the chief objector to the whole issue.
    I agreed to these conditions before the Cabinet meeting for a reason..I won’t deal with those publically…and I am going to make sure we do not re-negotiate anything in this matter.
    I’m concerned about how we measure the conditions but notwithstanding that, I want to make sure this goes according to how the cabinet believed and wanted it to go.
    The post project date means just that….there is a project and when it is finished that moment will be “post project”.
    I doubt that will be 2015 but we shall have to wait and see…I’m already concerned about the start of the project…and a whole host of other concerns….
    BT tactic was not the conditions we imposed. They were written in no small way by us in an informal cabinet meeting. I will be looking at delivery of those conditions, trust me!

    • @PJ Does the contract have a delivery schedule with committed dates and not based on “best efforts”?

      • @PJ

        The Minutes of the Cabinet meeting 10/9/13 at which the decision was taken state as a condition:
        j) Planned completion of the main roll out by September 2015.

        What is the sanction in the contract if this condition is not met?

        Are there any penalty clauses or could it be regarded as a breach of contract leading to a claim for damages?

        Is the contract available for public inspection or would an FoI reqest be necessary?

  36. Gentlemen,

    May I remind you of our findings in Surrey in general (as well as the “Commercial deployment” in Ewhurst and THCN Cranleigh ?

    1. The “Having access” figures includes every line in a PCP Green Cabinet far exceeding the installed FTTC capacity.

    2. The FTTCs usually deployed are Huawei 192 or 288 indicating the maximum capacity available; usually far below the PCP line counts.

    3. BT usually only install a single duct with a single set of 100 pair tie cables. These can be expanded after significant additional delays which may include more roadworks for a second duct etc.

    4. Although the VDSL services are marketed as “Up to 80 Mbps” the maximum is 76 Mbps which is only available up to around 400 m line length from the FTTC via the PCP Green cabinet. Most VDSL services out to around 1 km line length might get the lower “Up to 40 Mbps” limit assuming you have good line conditions**. A poorer VDSL service is usually available out to around 1.5 km line length but beyond that it is a lottery.

    5. ** BT Openreach frequently employ subcontract engineers who are not equipped with a test instrument. The installation is assumed complete if any VDSL service is available as demonstrated by the DSL light and usually a speed test BEFORE THE 2 DAY TRAINING PERIOD HAS ELAPSED. Subcontractors are not interested in line quality nor house wiring which can also have a drastic negative impact on throughput speeds.

    6. An estimate of your likely performance, but only out to the DP (Distribution Point) distance, is available from

    BUT if you see “Fibre Multicast” WITHOUT A FTTC speed estimate BT have declared you are “out of bounds” as your line is of low quality or too long or both !!!!

    Those that don’t mention FTTC or Fibre are not yet available or possibly never will be.

  37. phil jordan

    14.Feb.2014 5:36pm


    I don’t believe that the contract has been made public….an FOI might be required.

    I have not seen the contract and would be guessing the answers to your perfectly reasonable questions…

    Sorry its not very helpful at this time….

  38. phil jordan

    14.Feb.2014 6:00pm


    That would be a step so far from what the cabinet/administration directed officers to do that heads would roll…maybe worse.

    As you know, and have seen, the cabinet acceptance dictated certain conditions’s unthinkable that a cabinet decision of this nature would be *ignored*.
    If we wish to be pedantic (no offence cicero, just stating facts..) I have not seen the contract so could not state unequivocally that these conditions were included.

    • Thanks for your honesty Phil, it is fully appreciated!

      To summarise, is the current position and to your present knowledge that in regards to the Cabinet-stipulated that must be attached to the BT contract:

      * It is not confirmed that those conditions actually appear in the contract exactly as defined by the Cabinet?

      * It is not known if the contract includes a BT commitment to a detailed delivery schedule with dates?

      * It is not known if there are financial and/or other penalties should that schedule not be met?

      * It is not known if there is a clear geographic description of the “Intervention Area” to which the conditions apply,
      or the precise ways that meeting those conditions will be measured, or whether those measurements will made made by independent authorities?

      Presumably as a Cabinet member you would be interested in the answers pertaining to such a major contract?.

      • “Cabinet-stipulated conditions”

        • As a complete naive on the subject, how extraordinary that Cabinet wouldn’t make the conditions and then be given the last draft of the contract to ok, before it gets signed.

          • @ TryMe

            Very sadly it is not uncommon for public servants to become embroiled in these complex technical matters. Please see:-


            The shorter route mentioned in para 2 is in process of being implemented (since January 2013) with only a 12 fibre cable and then only for the Duke of Kent School. It is rumoured that they are being charged a five figure installation sum for this still incomplete facility for their business needs; but with total disregard for all the other benighted domestic residents in the area.

            Our minimal-capacity cabinets actually became available in late October 2012. Cabinet 20 hit the initial installed capacity by mid December 2012; several further capacity delays were experienced up to July 2013. It then became unavailable most of the time up to October 2013 but has apparently been available since then. However we have a resident in a semi-detached house who has been trying to obtain a VDSL “fibre” service since last August. He has been repeatedly told the cabinet has capacity BUT his line is too far; yet his neighbour has a VDSL service running at over 10 Mbps down the same drop cable.

            I must apologise for intruding into your beautiful Island’s affairs from Surrey but if ever there was a case of “Caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) this must be a strong contender !

      • phil jordan

        15.Feb.2014 11:31am


        You bet I would…..!!

        …and I am more than interested in the “answers….”

  39. Wiber - High Point Infrastructure Ltd.

    14.Feb.2014 7:19pm

    From my personal experience dealing with the project ‘lead’ officer on this matter – Stuart Love – I would not be so sure of what the ‘officers’ may have done – or not done here. They appear to be a law unto themselves.

    Mr Love told us, and the IW chamber of commerce board, at a chamber of commerce board meeting last year, that the deal between BT and IWC was a ‘done deal’ and that nothing could be done to stop it. This was BEFORE we submitted our Open Market View (OMR) response to IWC.

    What this proves is that IWC ‘officers’ intended to ‘ignore’ and ‘disregard’ anything and everything that any/all local providers would sumbit to prove their existing coverage and prove their future plans. So whatever IWC may try to claim about the OMR responses they received – we can prove there was absolute intent by the project lead – Staurt Love – to disregard all OMR responses.

    Even if we had submitted an OMR response guaranteeing to invest millions into providing 50 Mb/s to every rural household – signed off by the sultan of Brunei, Mr Love and his team would have found a way to disregard it. As he said this was always a ‘done deal’ and that means that the whole ‘public consultation’ was nothing more than a pantomime offering a merry dance playing lip service to the crowd.

    Now that IWC has driven the Island further into debt by borrowing millions to hand out to BT, we are all now told about the massive budget cuts that are required for the future. If millions were not borrowed and wasted paying BT to put services into areas that other providers already cover then the cuts would not need to be nearly as severe.

    Well let’s hope the ‘officers’ understood the council’s intentions correcly and have changed the contract accordingly. Personally I doubt it will have happened in a secure and irrevocable way with appropriate penalties and repercussions if terms are not met.

    I suggest we all cross our fingers as that looks like the best option now…….

  40. sussex man

    15.Feb.2014 10:35am

    Following up on Walter’s helpful postings, it is becoming apparent that BT appear to be providing around 33% line capacity inside the FTTC cabinets. This appears to allow them to claim EVERY line connected through the existing ‘old’ green cabinet is a ‘home passed’ as it has ‘access to NGA’. It is of, course, a logical COMMERCIAL decision based on expected uptake, but one needs to ask whether this is what the BDUK scheme AND your own money was to be for.

    What we appear to be seeing is that 66% or thereabouts could not have a service UNLESS more capacity is installed in the FTTC cabinets. The burning question at the moment around the UK (and, of course, for island folk, with your debt-funded scheme) is who will pay for the upgrades needed should the demand exceed the 33% of lines provided for. Customers, BT or you, the taxpayers?

    It is also important that any LA involved has a say in who gets benefit from the funding and that BT do not just go ahead with their own roll-out which may well have significant commercial bias – which was not the idea behind the BDUK scheme as I understand it.

    I feel Island residents need to be pushing for a lot more clarity in this contract.

    Lastly, if Wiber’s comments yesterday about the deal being done ‘before’ the OMR are correct, you really need to start asking big questions! One of which would be was any incentive offered to anyone to clinch a deal?

    • If a cabinet reaches 100% capacity, one has to assume it has to be commercially viable and thus BT will simply install another FTTC cabinet as they have done elsewhere.

      What is that 33% based on? AFAIK, BTOR have two cabinet sizes they install – 128 port and 288 port. So are these 33% of the PCP capacity, 33% of live lines, 33% of customers with broadband already?

      • sussex man

        15.Feb.2014 12:38pm

        mpit – “one has to assume” – it needs to be remembered the old saying that to assume can make as ass out of u and me.

        Fine and dandy if BT do this, but not ‘assured’ – and is it written into the contract on the Island? My understanding is that card sizes used depend on manufacturer used and can be 96,128,256 or 288 or sub-multiples of 96. Very frustrating if ‘capacity’ is reached just as a handful of folk place orders for FTTC broadband, and a handful does not equate to “commercially viable”, especially when max cabinet/tie line capacity is reached on some of the ‘busier’ cabinets and more trenching/pulling through/another cabinet is needed?

        As to “So are these 33% of the PCP capacity, 33% of live lines, 33% of customers with broadband already?” – pass – I suggest you ask the IoWC?

    • andrewcampling

      15.Feb.2014 1:04pm

      @Sussex Man
      It’s good to see non-residents taking such an interest in investment on the island. To answer your first question, operating costs and capacity increases for the network built through our partnership with the Isle of Wight Council are funded by BT rather than the council or government.

      In terms of coverage, the council has the opportunity to prioritise particular areas or look to maximise the number of premises passed within the available budget.

      Regarding your last point, if you or others have any genuine concerns about inappropriate behaviour then I suggest you take these to the relevant authorities.

      • @AndrewCampling Welcome back to the OTW blog.

        Perhaps you can answer Cllr Jordan’s detailed questions on the contract between IWC and BT for the NGA project?

        • andrewcampling

          15.Feb.2014 1:23pm

          Actually I think it best that Cllr Jordan gets answers to questions regarding the contract from council officers rather than from any other party.

          • There you go Phil! A Teflon answer from somebody who should know the details! :-))

          • andrewcampling

            15.Feb.2014 2:14pm

            Hardly a “teflon answer”, disappointing that you would think so. Cllr Jordan holds an important public position and I would very much prefer that he gets answers to such questions from his own officers.

            Surely it is best for our elected representatives to be given impartial information from council officers, the people paid to advise them and to keep them informed? I’ve no doubt that the appointed cabinet member for the project, Cllr Smart, will be able to help Cllr Jordan understand the detail too.

          • Apologies for the “teflon” Andrew but history shows answers to questions are often avoided.

            Do you think that IWC officers and councillors etc will have to observe “commercial confidentiality” on this contract even for an FoI request?

            Has BT stipulated that contract details are to be kept confidential and not published? (Understandable if so, but hardly “open and transparent”)

          • Man in Black

            15.Feb.2014 3:16pm

            In reply to @andrewcampling (2:14pm)

            “Cllr Smart, will be able to help Cllr Jordan understand the detail too.”

            I’m not so sure about that, I don’t believe Cllr Smart hasn’t the slightest technical knowledge, so not sure she really understands the nuances of the conditions approved by the cabinet.

            Why are you so afraid of sharing the details here?

          • andrewcampling

            15.Feb.2014 3:27pm

            @Man in Black
            You surely would agree that councillors ought to be advised properly by officers, and not seek answers exclusively from the internet?

          • @andrewcampling

            Does it not also depend on the source of the information? For example, information from a senior BT manager involved in the negotiation?

          • Man in Black

            15.Feb.2014 3:46pm

            Nail on head Cicero. Andrew Campling made visits to County Hall to discuss the contract before it was approved by the Cabinet. Surely he’s in an excellent position to share the details.

          • @andrewcampling

            Andrew… on 8/9/2013 @ 0847 you told me:

            “It’s not our place to comment on the precise details of coverage prior to any contract finalisation.”

            On 9/9/13 @ 1028 you informed me:

            “more than 10x increase in upload speed would be reasonable. Naturally this assumes the Council decides to proceed with the project.”

            Now that The IWC HAS confirmed the order can you release precise data on timing, coverage and 10x upload speed improvement?


          • andrewcampling

            15.Feb.2014 5:30pm

            @Man in Black
            Indeed you and Cicero did “nail it”, I and a number of others commenting here could hardly be described as impartial. That is precisely why Cllr Jordan ought to seek impartial responses from his officers.

          • andrewcampling

            15.Feb.2014 5:44pm

            Now that the contract has been signed, I’m sure the council will be making announcements concerning coverage. If it follows the example of other local authorities, I would expect this to be on a phased basis to ensure that the information given is as accurate as possible.

            Naturally my colleagues in the project delivery team will work closely with officers to provide them with the relevant information. However the final decision on what to publish and when will rest with the council.

            You’re probably aware that we’re making good progress with the earlier BDUK contracts in other parts of the country, with coverage ramping up quite quickly once the detailed planning stage had been finished and agreed. I’ve no reason to think that the Isle of Wight will be any different, so hope that many more islanders will be able to enjoy the benefits of fast broadband with a wide choice of service providers over the coming months.

            I’m sure we will update the information on the Openreach site at to reflect coverage on the island as the detail is finalised and announced by the council.

          • Looks like AC forgot to say that
            “It’s not our place to comment on the precise details of coverage AFTER any contract finalisation,” either.

            Now AC tells us he is not impartial, yet he was prepared to spend hours posting here talking about facts and figures, before the contract was awarded. I don’t recall any disclaimers at the time!

          • @tryme It couldn’t be- could it?- just a blatant tactic by AC (or his PR people)to divert attention from answering the questions posed to that of how to deal with any alleged “inappropriate behaviour”.

            Now that the contract is signed BT should be able to answer pertinent questions about the contract it avoided previously, claiming it was inappropriate during the negotiation phase.

            If not, why not?

          • andrewcampling

            15.Feb.2014 7:22pm

            Blatant tactic? Actually more than one poster suggested malpractice, I was asked directly to comment and did so. So hardly a diversionary tactic – suggest you read the posts.

            Is impartiality relevant? Not always, if people are clear of the possible bias. So I do not see a problem with correcting general misunderstandings on a site like this to aid informed debate.

            For example, if you took at face value some of the assertions made about broadband on this site, you would “know” that you cannot possibly get download speeds of over 20Mbps over copper cable, despite ample evidence to the contrary. I think it is reasonable to highlight these sorts of erroneous assertions, ideally with sources to allow people to check for themselves.

            However I do believe that impartial advice is to be preferred when it comes to clarifying the details of a contract to an elected representative. Why would anything else be better?

            When it comes to announcing coverage details, the council will make these, although our delivery team will of course assist as required. To be clear, this applies only to the areas covered by the partnership contract – we will of course continue to provide details of coverage across the 50,000 or so island premises within our commercial programme.

          • You have confused me with Cicero, Andrew. He prefaced his post with my name. ‘Blatant tactic’ is a quote you have taken from him.

        • @AC

          Nice swerve Andrew- one that a Welsh Fly-Half would be proud of. :-))

          Now try answering the questions…


          “more than 10x increase in upload speed would be reasonable”- so I can expect a 10Mbps upload? But when? BT has no plans to upgrade my local exchange or cabinet although I am in the contracted Intervention Area.

          “It’s not our place to comment on the precise details of coverage prior to any contract finalisation.”

          Contract has now been finalised for three months but BT is still refusing confirm the coverage or the schedule..


      • sussex man

        15.Feb.2014 1:20pm

        Thank you, Andrew. Regarding my ‘interest’, put it down to having friends on the Island plus concerns for the overall implementation of the BDUK project, and finding this blog more active and lively than those in many parts of the UK. You will have noted, I’m sure, that the ‘Ewhurst brigade’, having had the ‘BT experience’, are also taking an interest. That is the nature of the internet, unfortunately.

        Trying to read through your words, I understand that you are saying that any demand above the IoWC funded cabinet capacity WILL be met by BT without question and presumably within the contract time frame? That is very re-assuring for many.

        Lastly, may I ask you to comment on the post by Wiber on 14/2? I expect you will ‘decline’, and I can see why, but how would you, as BT, have viewed being told that regardless of what you submitted in the OMR, the contract was, say, going to WightFibre or others?

        • andrewcampling

          15.Feb.2014 1:33pm

          @Sussex Man
          My last comment applies equally to Wiber, that anyone with any genuine concerns would be best advised to take those to the relevant authorities.

          • sussexman

            16.Feb.2014 9:57pm

            Andrew – I note you have not replied to para 2 of my 15 Feb 1:20pm post which I copy here:

            “Trying to read through your words, I understand that you are saying that any demand above the IoWC funded cabinet capacity WILL be met by BT without question and presumably within the contract time frame? That is very re-assuring for many.”

            It would be useful if you could clarify the BT position on cabinet expansion where needed.

          • sussexman

            17.Feb.2014 2:31pm


            I see from Surrey County Council’s answer that any ‘expansion’ of cabinet capacity above the initial BDUK funded set up (which is based on ‘expected take-up’, aka around 33%??) will be a ‘commercial decision’ by BT (oh-oh), and perhaps ‘funded’ by BT as you put it is a little misleading, or economical with the truth as they say?

  41. Wiber - High Point Infrastructure Ltd.

    15.Feb.2014 2:47pm

    Thank you @andrewcampling for that good advice. I agree that an investigation or enquiry should be initiated.

    I am astonished by what has cone to light on this blog in the past few days. This is because I was vocally supportive in the past when I heard that a small group of councilors had insisted on significant changes to the IWC/BT contract at the last minute – before it was signed – although I am against the ‘deal’, I had thought that was an excellent intervention by a minority of councilors to protect the interests of the Island’s community and safeguard the spending of millions of pounds of public money – good on them.

    BUT it now appears as if all that really happened was a meeting during which changes were ‘discussed’ and then those changes were left to the ‘officers’ to interpret, draft and implement. It also appears that no councilors made any attempt to actually verify that the changes they had ‘discussed’ had been properly and accurately represented by the officers in the final contract?

    If this is true – and no councilor actually bothered to read and check the modified contract before it was signed, then that sounds like a remiss and unacceptable process to me. I actually find it an astonishingly cavalier approach to a project that will drive our Island around £3.5M deeper into debt for highly questionable and illusive results.

    Is it really true that nobody actually checked that the councilors’ intentions had been comprehensively and accurately reflected in the final contract? Is that normal practice for a project of this value and importance? Can anyone shed any light on this as it sounds unbelievable to me.

    I seek advice on what options are open to us in terms of beginning an official investigation, enquiry etc… into all this to ensure that things have been done ‘by the book’, that no laws have been broken, that no individual has acted improperly, and that everyone concerned has been duly diligent in their roles and that no ‘dereliction of duty’ has occurred.

    If anyone can help or advice on the potential courses of action open to us and the community I would be most grateful for any ideas, suggestions or support so we can get the ball rolling ASAP.

    • andrewcampling

      15.Feb.2014 5:26pm

      A number of people have either suggested or inferred in posts here that there has been inappropriate behaviour. If there is any substance to these claims then the people making them really ought to go to the relevant authorities rather than waiting for some sort of enquiry to start.

      I’m sure your local councillor can advise you on next steps if you are unsure.

    • Wiber, as I posted in the early hours of last night: ”As a complete naive on the subject, how extraordinary that Cabinet wouldn’t make the conditions and then be given the last draft of the contract to ok, before it gets signed”.

    • sussexman

      17.Feb.2014 4:20pm

      Wiber – I seem to recall some discussion about the Island’s Chamber of Commerce a while back – are you a participant, and are you aware of any involvement by them in all of this, in particular in supporting local enterprise? Maybe you could try them for help?

      • Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

        18.Feb.2014 3:23pm

        @sussexman Yes we are members of the IW Chamber of Commerce. We have written to them seeking assistance with this. We were invited to present to their board on this matter at a board meeting early last year. We were astonished to find Stuart Love, Project Lead Officer from IWC was sitting at the chamber of commerce board table for our presentation. We had not been told he had been invited nor were we informed who he was – we worked it out for ourselves luckily. We felt that his ‘surprise’ presence at the meeting was unfair and inappropriate and we were disappointed we had not been informed by the chamber that he would be there.

        We made our presentation and asked for assistance, support and representation. Mr Love then spoke and told the Chamber Board that the deal with BT was a ‘done deal’ and he intimated that because of that it was not worth the chamber getting involved to try to assist us or represent us. The chairman of the chamber board meeting seemed to accepted Mr Love’s view. We protested that this was misleading and that the ‘deal’ was certainly not ‘done’ by any means – the intervention area could not possibly be determined until existing coverage from other providers had been evaluated by IWC. We asked for assistance and representation to ensure that areas where we have deployed our existing, provable, popular and ‘mature’ high speed services were excluded from the intervention area so that public money would not be wasted and handed out to BT to install FTTC (broadband over copper wires) into areas where other comparable (or better) alternatives already exist or are firmly planned to be deployed – that provide genuine NGA / superfast compliant services.

        It was clear that Mr Love had no intention of modifying any contract plans or considering any of our existing superfast/NGA coverage when drawing up the intervention area – irrespective of what the OMR would return – as he said, it was a ‘done deal’ – no point in the chamber getting involved. The chamber board appeared to concur with Mr Love’s misleading and disingenuous statements.

        We felt bitterly let down and we wrote at length to the chamber to explain that Mr Love had misled their board about it being a ‘done deal’ when it was far from that in reality at the time. We asked formally for help and representation in this matter, as a member, but to date we have had none from the chamber. We have written to the chamber explaining that, for some unexplainable reason, the IWC officers have chosen to not include/consider/accept any existing coverage from any local providers so that the result is that intervention area that BT will receive hand outs for will overbuild large areas where we have existing coverage. We have explained that not only is this a grave waste of public money but that it could cause significant commercial damage to us. We have also explained that a situation exists where the ‘intervention area’ and the speed and coverage templates are being kept ‘secret’ and this means we are unable to target our own commercial investment into the areas that the IWC project will ‘leave behind’ (because we can’t find out where they are). We would like to ensure that we can provide a solution to those premises that find themselves ‘left out’ after all these millions have been handed out, but due to this secrecy we cannot find out the relevant information that would enable us to do that.

        We could not be more disappointed and frustrated by the chamber’s apparent lack of appetite to engage and assist us. We feel that the chamber should have taken IWC to task for Mr Love’s misleading statements to their board, and that the chamber should have offered us assistance and representation as a member in this extremely serious matter where public money is blatantly being wasted overbuilding existing coverage, and where local enterprise is being damaged as a result.

        It is widely accepted that the BDUK process was fundamentally flawed, unfair and offered no hope of ‘value for money’ for the tax payer and no opportunity for competitive and open tender. This is a view endorsed by the Public Accounts Committee and other bodies that have looked into and/or investigated this matter.

        Rumour has it, so we have heard through the ‘grapevine’, that the IW chamber of commerce has become entwined with IWC as a result of various initiatives and funding opportunities, revenue streams etc… It has been suggested that, as a result, the chamber has lost its independence and has no appetite to engage in any controversial matters where IWC are concerned – for fear of upsetting what has been described as a ‘very cosy relationship’ that is enjoyed between IWC and the chamber.

        All I can say from personal experience recently is that this ‘theory’ would certainly seem to explain and account for how and why Mr Love was invited by the chamber to sit at their board table during our presentation, without our prior knowledge, consultation or consent. And it would also appear to explain and account for how readily the meeting’s chairman appeared to accept Mr Love’s misleading words over and above our protests to the contrary. It would also appear to explain why we have seen no support, assistance or representation from the chamber in this matter and why the chamber appear to be taking no action regarding the millions of pounds of public money that are being handed out to BT in an evidently unfair and ‘exclusive’ process to overbuild the coverage of one of their own members.

        I’d be interested to hear what others think about this.

        • sussexman

          18.Feb.2014 4:20pm

          Gulp! As you have presented this it seems to be a fairly major breach of policy/covenant/rules or whatever a C of C has in its constitution, never mind the council.

          To clarify – was this Mr Love a member of the C of C board at the time?

          Based on what you say here, the OMR as conducted by IWC would appear to be rendered invalid, if not illegal.

          Do the rest of the contributors here have a different view? Is the Island content with the apparent conduct of this process which involves, as I understand it, a ‘borrow’ of several million and the spending of the same of public money?

          Was Mr Campling hiding in a cupboard for your presentation to the Chamber? Speaking through ear-buds to anyone on the board? Incidentally, I note he appears to have lost his electronic voice………….maybe Broadband Bill has told him to stop digging the (metaphorical) hole?

          If this sort of alleged behaviour over the BDUK scheme is commonplace across the UK there are some serious questions for the PAC at their next session with BT. I would suggest it is worth passing your story to Margaret Hodge. I can provide an address if needed.

        • Have you considered Judicial Review, Wilber? There is a time limit to apply, I believe, though when the clock starts ticking can vary.

          What can fuel such strange, not to say desperate, behaviour, I wonder …

          • Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

            19.Feb.2014 2:04pm

            We have looked into a Judicial Review. Initial estimates of costs are up to £150k. We would have to fund that ourselves.

            The main issue is that nobody can tell us what the likely outcome would be – so it would be a considerable sum to ‘speculate’ with. We have been advised that the ‘other side’ could cause delays and cause costs to escalate – apparently pretty normal tactics in cases like this. The one with the deepest pockets usually wins – and having been given hundreds of millions by the tax payer, BT’s pockets are pretty deep, and also IWC would be spending tax payer’s money defending the case so they would have very deep pockets as well.

            Having borrowed millions to hand out to BT the last thing this Island’s economy needs right now is an expensive legal battle paid for by the tax payer. It’s heads they win and tails we lose by the looks of things.

            We could build several more masts and repeaters for that sum and improve coverage even more, and that’s what we would like to do if we could only find out where the services will be required – what the ‘limits’ of the intervention area is and what speed and coverage they intend to deploy within that area.

          • @ Wiber,

            We all know that the BT FTTC solution degrades quite rapidly with line distance even on perfect lines. As BT’s subcontract VDSL installers (on the mainland) don’t carry test instruments and aren’t in the slightest bit interested in house wiring nor the state of the land lines, the achieved coverage envelope of all FTTCs is quite limited. If users are seeking the maximum of 76 mbps they must be within around 400 m distance of the PCP and FTTC. If 38 Mbps will suffice then around 1 km line distance OUGHT to be possible and around 1.5 km is probably a realistic maximum for any medium term service.

            Perhaps you could “crowd-source” the map references of all PCPs then allow say 90% of the maximum line distances to guess for cable routing losses. You could then publish the map with your distance rings illustrating the “not-spots” to encourage your clients to ignore the siren weasel-words. After that you can have a “Race to superiority” to target those areas where you have a strong economic advantage and deploy accordingly starting immediately.

            Good luck !

          • sussexman

            19.Feb.2014 6:11pm

            I can see that ‘going to court’ would be a one-way ticket to insolvency with the unlimited funds BT and IWC would muster.

            I have just been sent the latest on-line edition of the Rural Services blog and in it it does report that a few communities are beginning to notice that ‘something is rotten in the state of xxx’ – insert to taste – and are holding meetings to challenge LA policy on the roll-out and contracts. Like you, they are unable to ‘discover’ where the broadband will be poor, and of course when they do it will be too late. Too late even for the General Election……we are looking at 2016 at best, I think.

            One hopes the residents of the Isle will pick up on this in time, but it must be extremely depressing for you and, presumably, Wightfibre.

          • @wiber – You claim to have a superior product, so why worry about the intervention area? Just roll out as normal and compete! You get quite a lot of coverage for a well placed mast.

            @walterw – Two issues with those statements. I am more than 400m away from my PCP and achieve 80/20 (probably nearer 500-600m “as the crow flies” and further for line length). Modem reports a max of 90/33. That is on an aluminium line, too!

            Also, I don’t believe BTOR are using contractors for installs here – every one I have seen so far has been by BTOR.

          • @ mpit – Welcome back !

            As a BT associate perhaps you’d like to pick up on the unanswered questions now that Andrew Campling’s evaporated ?

            Congratulations too on your Psychic powers to overcome the laws of physics for your own connection. Perhaps you could ease the problem for most of us by unlocking Openreach’s VDSL modems so we can tell them more about the faults obscured “by lines that are to long” ?

            We await with interest whether you can positively guarantee that all end users wiring will be inspected** and all VDSL performance scrutinised prior to the conclusion of the installation visit by BTOR or contractors. (** house wiring improvements as users’ responsibility to correct.)

  42. sussexman

    15.Feb.2014 5:23pm

    Wiber – having seen the exchange between Cicero and Phil J yesterday I feel it must be a duty priority for Phil J to study the contract and satisfy himself that the extra conditions listed in another blog page here have been included. Perhaps then he could return here and give us some facts to work on. For you, consider an FOI request for the minutes of the cabinet meeting relating to the changed contract?

    • @Sussexman FoI not needed as the IWC publishes all its Minutes on the Council website.

      • sussexman

        15.Feb.2014 6:58pm

        Thanks, Cicero. I see the contract additions (presumably agreed in full by BT?) in the minutes, although I can see no minutes reflecting the signing of the contract. As per a request I made a while back, I am still confused by items:

        e) 97% of premises in the intervention area to have an NGA connection (min 30 mbps) post project
        f) 87% of premises in the intervention area to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds (min 24 mbps) post project
        h) 96% of premises on Isle of Wight to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds (min 24 mbps) post project

        Do these not clash since they are all ‘post project’? Can anyone explain? Does not e) overcast f)? f) and h) cannot refer, of course, to Wight fibre or HPI wireless connections since they ‘do not exist’………as far as IWC are concerned.

  43. Unfortunately the reality here is that this publicly funded project is destined to achieve nothing. the IWC couldn’t manage a fart in a paper bag. I don’t think they understand the figures or the model that needs to be achieved. BT are set to receive millions of pounds of public funding they’ll provide very little and dress it up in figures as an achievement. The bottom line is they should be aiming to supply full coverage of superfast broadband as set out in definition by the government.

    “BDUK said that 90% of “people in each local authority area” should have access to superfast (25Mbps+) broadband ISP services by 2015.”

    I fail to see how BT will meet this target focusing solely on its own infrastructure surely realisticly this has to be a combination of solutions. perhaps looking at the number of wireless services surely some funding would be more appropriately spent there.

    I am unfortunately unable to access these services because I have trees in my line of sight but why can’t more AP be set up to increase coverage.

    BT’s infrastructure modernisation should be a cost for BT and those that use BT resources i am not saying BT shouldn’t receive funding help with a viable plan but I don’t believe BT really care about results at the end of this, just increasing the customer base who are forced to settle for slow underinvested services. Surely the point of this funded project is to fund solutions to meet the target by 2015. What I think we’ll end up with is BT supplying areas with basic 2mb access areas that have this basic service will get nothing and taking 2 years to achieve this. Other providers are inovating in the way services are being delivered and doing with their own investment.

    If this is just a hand out to BT then I’d rather see no project at all.
    I think im not alone in thinking that I’m sick and tired of the corruption that seems to be a poison with the local authority and its not just a council issue its a massive problem throughout the NHS and other organisations of the vadalism that is conducted by individuals feathering their own nest’s.

    We are funding this project “the public” and the council are entrusted with making the right moral desicions based on doing the right thing and if anything here has simply proved they clearly aren’t.

  44. From Treasury Minutes (CMD8744 November 2013)

    6: Committee of Public Accounts recommendation
    The department should, as a matter of urgency, publish BT’s detailed roll-out plans so that
    other suppliers can get on with trying to reach the remaining 10% of the population that will
    still be without superfast broadband.

    6.1 The Government disagrees with the Committee’s recommendation.

    6.2 The department agrees with the Committee’s views that roll out plans should be published. However,
    as these projects are led by local authorities and the devolved administrations it is a matter for these bodies
    to publish roll out plans under the Rural Broadband Programme. The Secretary of State wrote to local
    authorities and the devolved administrations in July encouraging them to publish information on the expected
    coverage from their projects. Most local projects have now done this, recognising that the finalisation of
    detailed network plans is phased across local authority areas, and will be subject to some revision up until
    that point. The department welcomes BT’s indication at the Committee hearing of its willingness to support
    this process.”

    Please note that 6.2 states “The Secretary of State wrote to local authorities and the devolved administrations in July encouraging them to publish information on the expected
    coverage from their projects….. Most local projects have now done this”

    Not on the IoW! Why not?

    • sussexman

      19.Feb.2014 7:19pm

      Not just the IoW, Cicero – BT have actually told LAs NOT to publish the data and I believe have threatened all sorts of armageddons if they do. After all, that might encourage competition from Wiber and WightFibre to provide a high-speed service to the ‘deprived-to-be’, and we don’t want that, do we………….?

      It is only by ‘seeing’ what happens that communities will find out, hence my earlier dateline. UNLESS there is sufficient public unease to trigger some serious questions.

  45. It is very quiet here! Can someone reassure me that the community is actually bothered by what they have read here about the way this aspect of public finances appears to be handled on the Island? I’m not sure what £3.26 million (plus the rest…) works out at per head, but I’d be ‘bothered’!

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