Home buyers nightmare broadband struggle

Houses without a connection or slow download speeds can be worth up to 20% less, say estate agents http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/02/fast-broadband-vital-to-homebuyers

home broadband sale

How very true this is!
I have been speaking about the poor availability and impact of Broadband for some time now. The impact for Estate Agents can be replicated across many such businesses I suspect, but this is a good example of the penny finally dropping of the overall impact it will have on house prices and businesses and lifestyles in general. Broadband roll out in the UK has been handled really poorly by government Agencies and their Advisors and BT of course. If you have poor or no broadband the impact on you is almost catastrophic as life revolves around accessing the Internet daily!

Kids need access to the internet to help them get educated for life and parents need access to fast broadband to enable them to work from home and to trade on the internet for the best holiday flights, Insurance and shopping for almost everything in fact. Social Media is essential to keep in touch with friends and family and business colleagues and to keep pace with news and current events in the world as they happen. Use of the internet will only expand over the next couple of decades as technology comes up with more and more innovative gadgets for us to make life easier!

Concrete Broadband

Fixed Broadband both copper and fibre varieties are just as important as 3G and 4G mobile broadband for solving broadband coverage in all areas where it is bad. We seem to just be focusing on what the incumbent provider BT and Openreach are offering and quite frankly that is a mistake.
We need to stop treating broadband as something handy to have as it is really a fourth utility and we need to prioritise it over the waste of money that is HS2. Whilst Rail Travel is currently essential it will decline in the 20 – 40 years it will take to roll this rail link out. Moreover, with more and more businesses turning to remote workers working from home or mobile and Video and Audio conferencing on the increase as broadband improves, it is about time we focused all our resource on making sure every home and business had a connection to the Internet and every city had free WiFi to make interconnection of all services simpler and more efficient.
When I say focus on it, I don’t believe how much it will cost to install these services should not be measured on how much of a return and the amount of time it will take for that return on investment to refill the incumbent providers pocket. We should be focusing on how much money will be made as a result of every house and business in the UK having a good, fast broadband connection.

This would catapult our standing in the world as a place to do business with and put the UK firmly on the map again for being the place to come and live and do business globally in. Our return on investment would be felt as a nation not as a business trying to control a market place and in doing so failing to deliver the morally correct solution to everyone instead of cherry picking those areas it thinks it can make the most money out of.
BT keep telling everyone how successful they are at rolling out the new super-fast broadband services all over the country and the way they present this roll out you would think they are doing a fantastic job and that before very much longer we will all have 80mb download speeds and 20mb upload speeds as an average speed. However the BT propaganda machine is very convincing and is also not telling the truth entirely if at all in my opinion. The average speed of the Internet we were told had risen throughout the UK to some 6mb down and 750kb up. Well from what I see as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) this is not accurate and it’s not even 2mb in some Rural locations and many – many areas are still “Not Spots” or in other words failing to get anything remotely resembling a usable broadband service.


Every day I am asked to install super-fast broadband for business customers all over London and the home counties and its extremely frustrating and also hard work explaining to customers why they can’t have it and in fact are stuck with ADSL2+ still for their new property as the local cabinet is not due to be upgraded yet. One in ten of my customers still can’t get Super-Fast Broadband even though they are brainwashed by adverts telling them it is available everywhere and even though they have been told they can “access” it. An interesting word “access” It really is not the same as stating you can “connect” to it! In fact some customer don’t believe me when I tell them they can’t get connected yet as BT has intimated they can until they try and order it from Bt.com and find I am right!

If you can get it, you won’t be able to celebrate if you have over 2km of copper or god forbid Aluminium cable from the newly installed Fibre cabinet as it is unlikely you will get more than 5mb download erratically and 1mb upload. So Superfast Broadband is not the Panacea BT led us to believe a few years ago and it is clear this is not going to solve all broadband “access” problems in the UK or anywhere else it is deployed.

This is usually not know as “super-fast” in fact far from it and actually it is ultra-poor value for money and by the way, have we not been here before with “up to 8km” copper ADSL services failing to deliver a workable broadband service from the exchange? Causing similar issues of poor connectivity? Is this not what we were told Super-Fast Fibre Optic Cabling for Broadband was going to resolve? It’s great to see how far we have come with the technology! About a foot I reckon
We have a real problem now in ensuring the delivery of Super-fast broadband happens as it was planned to happen by 2015 – Mr Cameron pledged this would happen but it has slipped to 2017 so let’s be clear that it’s going to be 2020 before we have anything like a joined up network of Fibre Optic broadband and that will be patchy. I am also sceptical of the speeds quoted as it seems “super-Fast” is also now ADSL2+ copper services and that 2mb up and 24mb down from these ADSL2+ services is classed as offering the same as Fibre Optic services can. That word “access” is used to describe Super-Fast Broadband and therefore seems to have shifted to include copper services at the 24mb download area. How misleading all of this is becoming?


In fact it just too confusing for non – techies to understand and quite frankly they should not have to! BT and Openreach and local councillors and MP’s and government minister and departments etc. who have quite frankly made a complete mess of the whole Broadband Delivery (BDUK) process need to open their eyes a little wider and admit this has gone really badly and instruct BT to explain just what they have achieved so far and spent Millions of Pounds of Taxpayers money on “not” delivering. I would like to see a separate body/company with no vested interest in this market investigate what the public BDUK money has been spent on as currently I am not seeing any difference in the places I can order and install these products any more than I could five years ago. At best the roll out is slow, at worst it’s just not happening at all and if any of it is happening it’s certainly not competitively priced because there is no real competition, that has been eradicated during the tendering process!

B4RN Logo

BT has won just about every council run Broadband Project that applied for BDUK funding! Really? Please don’t insult my intelligence by telling me due diligence and correct tendering processes were followed in every case. We know how good the Government is on tendering competitively and if you’re doubtful I suggest you ask Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Trains what he thinks about the subject. For the situation to change, we need everyone in Government and BT and my industry to focus on delivery and get this roll out back on track.

B4RN Community

I said earlier that it will be 2020 before the network is fast enough to be classed as a success. That said, if we don’t see significant speeds of 25mb down and 2mb up as an average we will not have achieved anything like the growth in speed and coverage we will need just to keep pace with the current demand. In most businesses and households the average speed down will need to be 40mb and the average speed up will need to be 10mb as we are all asking for more upload speed and throughput as a result of blogging and social media uploading etc. I just can’t see that is possible so am being realistic about the possible speeds that will be achieved as an average by 2020. That’s not to say I am at all happy with that statement! Just saying!!
Finally I have yet to hear anyone telling us what the future is going to be and where the money is coming from to get us to where B4RN is now at speed wise? We need our UK network to be running a 1GB network up and down by 2030 if we are to keep up with technological advances that are already here.


For example 3D printers are here now and these will need high bandwidth up and down to print objects quickly enough. Holographic Video Conferencing is also here now and again to use it we need bandwidth capable of supporting these devices and many more to follow in the near future.
I have only heard a deathly silence from everyone about how such networks will be funded but rest assured it will take far more than is currently being spent rolling Super-Fast Broadband services out.

So as its taken ten years to get this far, maybe it’s time to start lobbying your local councillors and MP’s to add broadband roll out funding as part of their manifesto’s now before the next election!

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