A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Monday, February 25, 2008

UK orders broadband future review

The government has said it will review the future of broadband internet in the UK amid calls that it should help firms pay for installing new infrastructure. I welcome this, although it has been given a lukewarm reception by some "analysts". Ian Watt is head of fixed-line research at Enders Analysis. He says that "the business case for next generation access is weak, Virgin Media already has a high speed network and Sky has a strong hold of the premium content that users might actually pay for". In other words, it's all working fairly well now.

Is Mr. Watt on the side of the providers or the users, or is he trying to be an honest piggy in the middle? I ask, because internet provision in the UK can be clouded in mystery. A mystery as to why it doesn't always work!!

It's easy for those using the old phone lines. Send a few pulses down the line and hope for the best. Those at the very end get "dodgy plus", those nearer the telephone exchange get by OK. If a user is tempted to complain, they get told "have you checked your computer?".

I would suggest that Virgin Media (on cable) and Sky (on satellite) can almost guarantee a reasonable service, but it does go wrong on occasions.

The truth is that the capacity does not allow for download optimum, which is all users downloading mega files at once. It's always going to be touch and go. Look at the internet traffic like motorway traffic. Being stuck on the M42 watching a plane land at Birmingham Airport and thinking of your holidays is very much like be stuck on a premium line phone call involved in a "dialogue" with your service provider!

The review should look carefully at whether the ISPs are conning us, giving us a good service or are just plain incompetent! We need to know.


You're right to say that the infrastructure needs improving. It seems to be particularly frustrating consumers who post comments on Broadband Genie when they are paying way over the odds for their broadband, while their european counterpars are faring so much better!

It's my hope that this investigation will lead to some proper investment in uk broadband, and a better understanding for the customers who deserve to get what they pay for.

Hi, Stephanie, I couldn't agree more. As shown on the BBC's Watchdog programme, many of the providers blame the customers. I've had a bad time with one. The demanded a bill of over £100. I wrote back saying that as the service didn't work from day one and that they could never guarantee service, I wasn't paying. I emphasised that they had broken the contract as such. I never heard from them again.

They know that, with a dodgy infrastructure, their sales pitch will always be undermined by the actual performance!

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