Monday, January 05, 2009

How can Cameron deliver "fibre to the door"?

David Cameron has announced that he wants to see Britain become a "fibre to the door" nation within a decade, saying,
"We need to move much faster towards a Britain where fibre right into people's homes is the norm for everyone and a Conservative Government will do everything it can to make it happen within a decade."
Hmm... lets see then. Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) has been going on for some time now but it's still the case that BT Openreach own the final leg of copper from exchange to door (even if you're being billed by someone else and you only have a relationship with that Comms Provider).

So, if we're going to have "fibre to the door" how will a Conservative Government "do everything it can to make it happen"? Does this mean breaking up BT Openreach's maintenance monopoly on the final leg loop between exchange and door? Or does it mean increasing it? Or is it just a pointless promise that will soon become a mere aspiration?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Broadband Stakeholder Group has recently calculated that Fibre to the Home will cost around five times as much to deploy as Fibre to the Cabinet. With uncertain returns at this embryonic stage, it makes no sense.

IanVisits said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the policy is limited to providing a facility where someone can themselves fibre their home, and have a convenient termination for the new cable close to their property.

It would be useful though if the building codes were amended so that all new builds have to come with fibre as a default.

Seems daft to be putting up all these new blocks of flats without spending a negligible amount of cash on some decent internet wiring.

Maybe we will all switch to WiMAX in the future though?

Guido Fawkes said...

If you live in a metropolis you may already have fibre to the door. Cable TV.

Barnacle Bill said...

So we are going to all be getting free packets of All Bran delivered to our door then?
Well that will be once less of my Five-A-Day I have to worry about.
I bet you Broon tops it by promising to deliver Fruit & Fibre to every door!

dizzy said...

The vast majority of the cable network is fibre to the cabinet actually Guido

T England said...

I would have thought a better idea would be to say he'd get everyone wifi'd up on a fast flavour, say N!
I used to work running cable for a large ISP, at the time we was told that eventually we wouldn't need to run cables from the house to our main cable box because everyone would have a wifi router in their house that would send a signal to our main box in the street & so cables wouldn't be needed!
This seems like a much better option for the short term as running fibre is very slow, delicate work & very costly.
I left a couple of years back & as far as I know this wifi plan still isn't happening!

We as a nation need a good fast network because as more people join the internet highway it will become very crowded & will eventually slow to dial up speed.

Labour are no good with the internet & technology so Cameron may not making the right noises but he's on the right track is he not?

Anonymous said...

Just on a nerdy point Openreach aren't the monopoly that is important it's BT Wholesale - BT put Openreach in place as a fire-break to stop parts of BT Retail escalating the provisioning of their customers over other providers customers who were also using BT Wholesale services, because they were afraid OFCOM was going to split Wholesale away from BT Group.

The simple fact is that anyone can install fibre to the door if they wish to, there simply isn't a commercial case to do so. So unless Dave is going to pay companies to do this it isn't going to happen. If the Tories want to push better connectivity, rather than focusing on the network architecture that provides it, why not start making provision of home workers tax efficient? At the moment it still costs me money to put someone working in their house, if the Government made is financially beneficial for companies to encourage home working the demand for better connectivity would increase and a commercial case would appear.

T England said...

Here's an interesting one what will Digital Britain look like in 2009?
And as for Wimax
WiMAX feels the credit crunch

Niccolo Machiavelli said...

How does high fibre food assist in digestion and what are the benefits of a high fibre diet?

Dietary fibre is only found in plant foods. Fibre has several effects on digestion, some beneficial, and some detrimental. One beneficial effect is that fibre tends to slow down the rate of digestion of food, leading to a more gradual emptying of the food from the stomach into the small intestine. This means that there is less likelihood of large quantities of glucose (the major breakdown product of carbohydrate) being absorbed rapidly from the small intestine into the blood and therefore a lower chance of an 'insulin surge'. Insulin is the hormone that is released when glucose is absorbed from the small intestine. It is possible that by slowing stomach emptying, fibre helps avoid the situation where the body has to produce large quantities of insulin (as a result of repeated rapid release of glucose into the intestine). In turn this may help protect against diabetes in susceptible people.

However, fibre does interfere with the absorption of some nutrients. For example, up to 5% of the fat in a moderately high fibre diet is not absorbed because of this interference. This may even be a good thing in Australia, given that 63% of men and 47% of women were overweight in 1995 (with no sign that these levels of overweight and obesity will decrease in Australia). High fibre foods also interfere to some extent with the absorption of some essential minerals and trace elements, but a high fibre diet is also likely to provide you with extra minerals and trace elements, so the effect is not believed to be very significant for normal Western diets.

Despite these minor detrimental effects, a high fibre intake is believed to be significantly beneficial overall. Low intake of fibre (particularly of the insoluble forms of fibre such as those in bread and other wheat products) is one of the major causes of constipation. Low fibre intakes are also strongly associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis. Although the evidence is less compelling, lack of fibre in the diet may also contribute to the incidence of rectal cancer, haemorrhoids, obesity, appendicitis and ulcerative colitis. High intake of soluble fibres such as the pectins and gums (found in fruits, vegetables, rolled oats) and saponins (found in legumes) is associated with reduced blood cholesterol. High intake of foods of plant origin (all of which contain some fibre) is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and an increased life expectancy.

Another benefit, and one that may assist with weight control, is the feeling of satiety (that is, a feeling of fullness) that follows a meal rich in fibre. It is also true that high fibre foods are almost invariably low in fat, so a high-fibre diet will usually be a low-fat diet.

Of course, it may not always be the fibre as such that is helpful. Plant foods contain many vitamins, phytochemicals, trace elements, non-nutritional antioxidants and other substances that may be just as valuable as fibre, or even more valuable. But the fact remains - to get all these other potentially beneficial chemicals you have to eat plant foods.

The current daily intake of fibre is probably 20-25g on average for Australian adults. Increasing this average intake to 30-35 g would very likely lead to improved health outcome. This is achievable by simply eating more fruits, vegetables and cereal foods (preferably whole grain).

Gareth said...

There have been trials where the fibre is shoved up your poo chute. Not yer colloquial poo chute just the sewer pipe. Great if you want to log on while, er, logging off.

I'm sure there are perfectly sound reasons why it hasn't taken off. Same too for tinternet through your power cables. I guess reale worlde obstacles of some sort that the hype glossed over.

Anon 09:30,

Who are the Broadband Stakeholder Group, do they take any of my tax money and do any of them represent the consumer? The Website makes them sound jolly important but seems to be just about telecoms companies, broadband providers, the media and the Government.

Vindico said...

FTTH would cost at least £28.8bn according the Broadband Stakeholder group. BT has no incentive to invest in new infrastructrue when they inherited the copper at privatisation and can continue to sweat it.

Realistically WiMAX and other wireless technologies can infill where a mix of FTTC and VDSL cannot reach.

Rural Man said...

Unless you're living in an urban area, the problem isn't the last mile, it's getting anything remotely resembling broadband. Now that Virgin Media has a near monopoly on cable provision it should have a universal service obligation slapped on it.

Richard Abbot said...

How about we suggest how it can be done dizzy? There must be a way round this. Never mind Open Reach how about open mind?