DCC FINALLY sacks broadband (non) provider Gigaclear

And it took 18 months of failure before they did so!

Gigaclear sacked from rural broadband contract after 18 months – why did it take them so long? This mess also shows just how hollow Boris Johnson’s promises on broadband are.

Don’t rely on Boris for fibre broadband – best do it yourself

A computer magazine (Computer Active!) has warned that Boris Johnson’s promises on UK-wide fibre broadband are just wishful thinking (or, if you prefer lying) – but there is an alternative for hard-to-reach properties:

Johnson countrywide broadband fibre promise totally unachievable

Owl says: What planet is this man living on? Planet Trump?

“The UK’s telecoms industry has issued the prime minister a challenge of its own after Boris Johnson said he wanted full-fibre broadband “for all” by 2025.

An open letter says the target is possible, but only if the government tackles four problems causing delays.

It adds that all of the issues must be resolved “within the next 12 months” to achieve the high-speed internet goal.

But one expert said at least one of the measures was unachievable in that time frame.

Mr Johnson originally declared his desire to deliver the 100% rollout of fibre-optic broadband to properties across the UK “in five years at the outside” in an article for the Telegraph published before he won the leadership vote.

In it, he described the government’s former target of 2033 as being “laughably unambitious”.

The letter sent to 10 Downing Street lists four policies that the industry says require urgent attention:

Planning reform – at present telecom providers need to get a type of permission known as a “wayleave agreement” to get access to land and buildings to install cables. But in many cases property owners are unresponsive. The industry wants ministers to force landlords to provide access if a tenant has requested a full-fibre or other connection be installed

Fibre tax – the so-called tax refers to the fact that fibre infrastructure currently has business rates applied to it, just like other commercial property. The industry claims this discourages investment and should be rethought

New builds – the government has carried out a consultation into whether new-build home developments must incorporate gigabit-capable internet connections, but has yet to publish its response. In the meantime, the industry says too many new homes are still being developed without provision for fibre broadband

Skills – a large number of engineers will be required to carry out all the work involved. BT and Virgin Media have previously warned that Brexit could result in labour shortages. The industry says more money must be committed to training, and it must also be allowed to continue to “compete for global talent”

“Nationwide full fibre coverage is not a can that can be kicked down the road,” the letter concludes.

“Work needs to start now, and 100% fibre coverage requires a 100% commitment from government.”

The letter has been signed by the chair of the Internet Services Providers Association, the interim chief executive of the Federation of Communication Services and the chief executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association.

Their members include BT, Openreach, Sky, Gigaclear, CityFibre, Hyperoptic, Virgin Media, Google and Vodafone among many others.

Openreach, which maintains the UK’s digital network infrastructure, said it welcomed the government’s ambition but warned: “Upgrading the entire UK network is a major civil engineering challenge.”

It urged the government to “boost the build” by “creating an environment that encourages greater investment”.

Number 10 referred the BBC to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for comment. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-49209013

Rural broadband still a dream for many – and will remain one

Shelve that dream of running an internet-based company in many parts of rural East Devon.

“The company awarded the publicly-subsidised contract to deliver superfast broadband to thousands of rural homes in Devon and Somerset has been given a deadline to come up with a rescue plan for the programme.

Last September, Gigaclear admitted the project was facing significant delays and was two years behind schedule.

Connecting Devon and Somerset, the organisation in charge of the whole project, stopped paying Gigaclear nine months ago.

It has told the firm it must come up with acceptable plans by the end of July to fulfill the contract.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-48664146

Vouchers up to £350 available to upgrade poor broadband services in Devon

“If you currently experience broadband speeds of less than 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme may be able to help you access a basic broadband service that will offer download speeds of at least 10 Mbps.

The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme, developed by the UK government, provides a voucher worth up to £350 for basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that will not benefit from superfast broadband within the next twelve months. …”

To see if you qualify, see here:

Home

Fat cat mobile phone companies want £600m from the government to cover country

Mobile phone companies make large profits. They do not want to spend their money on coverage, it goes to bonuses and dividends. They want all of us taxpayers to dig further into our pockets to provide them with bigger profits from wider coverage.

“Mobile operators want ministers to invest more than £600m to tackle poor phone signals in the countryside.

O2, Three UK, BT’s EE and Vodafone want backing for their plan to invest jointly in a single rural network that would give the four operators 95% coverage.

Only 66% of the country enjoys full coverage, so millions of people and thousands of businesses have to grapple with patchy signals or total black spots.

The mobile giants are willing to invest £533m to stamp out “partial not spots”, where one or more operators cannot provide a signal. That would bring national coverage up to 88% through a barter system, where they would share access to each other’s masts.

In return, they want the exchequer to foot the bill for 95% coverage. That includes spending about £620m over 20 years on areas with no signal, and £6m on opening up the Emergency Services Network used by police and ambulance workers.

Operators have told ministers those costs could fall by £90m if planning rules around issues such as mast heights were relaxed.”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

Owl is back … refreshed … weekend catch-up

A few stories that caught Owl’s eye over the weekend:

Theresa May won as prize by Russian woman:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/nelsons-column-red-faced-theresa-14995151

BT could be given licence to charge more for internet connections in the countryside under proposals by the regulator to encourage bolder investment in broadband.
(Sunday Times, paywall)

Bus fares massively more expensive outside London:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/may/05/bus-fares-reveal-massively-unfair-gulf-between-london-and-rest-of-england

Parents resist schools being turned into academies:
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/may/05/academisation-rebellion-parents-resist-school-takeovers

Schools grossly underfunded:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pupils-less-five-years-ago-15002258