Go Ape, the tree top adventure company has had to shell out £30,000 to bring superfast fibre optic broadband to their new offices.
The company has moved to the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds which is close to its original base, however due to the fact that the network infrastructure in that area was out-dated it means that they had to invest £30,000 into bringing faster broadband to the offices, which their boss says will help create 100 jobs this year.
Mr Mayhew, the Go Ape boss also feared that rural locations may lose out on new jobs with fast growing companies moving into cities where they can have faster internet connections already there ready for them, rather than keeping in their rural locations where extra investment, such as what Go Ape have had to do, will be required.
“It is an incredible frustration and it really holds back the rural economy. It funnels all the job creation into Cambridge and Norwich, jobs that would otherwise be spread more evenly.”
Go Ape managed to get the faster broadband for £30,000, this is substantially lower than the £105,000 that they were quoted from one broadband provider.
Today is “Super Switch On Day” when it comes to fibre optic broadband in rural areas as 5,000 homes were turned on to be able to receive fibre optic broadband this morning.
The 5,000 premises cover homes and businesses across Cheshire, the Cotswolds, Hampshire, Kent, Medway, Shropshire, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire that will have their new green street side boxes set live today according to the Telegraph newspaper.
Much of the money that has been invested to reach parts of these areas is from the government and local councils as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project, with BT covering the extra funds. It is these areas that BT themselves wouldn’t roll out their fibre optic broadband too with just their own investment as they said it didn’t make financial sense for them to do so.
It is now estimated that more than 200,000 premises are connected to a fibre optic enabled cabinet as part of the BDUK scheme.
Initially the UK government had planned to have 90% of the UK with connections to fibre optic broadband by the end of 2015, however this target isn’t going to be met and the revised target is to reach 95% by the end of 2017.
Virgin Media are set to up their fastest fibre broadband speeds to an ultrafast 152Mb, this is double the fastest widely available broadband speeds on offer from broadband providers who use the BT Broadband network.
Currently broadband providers using BT’s network can only claim to offer up to 76Mb (BT Infinity 2) on the whole as this is what is available for the majority of premises connected with fibre on it as BT are connecting the majority of premises with FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) and there is relatively few in comparison having full FTTH (Fibre To The Home).
The 152Mb broadband speeds for Virgin customers will be available to all the 12.5 million homes across the country that are in areas served by Virgin Media’s fibre optic cable network. These speed increases mean that at 152Mb a user could download a HD movie in less than 4 minutes and a full music album in just 4 seconds. The real benefit of the extra speed will be for when there are numerous people in a household all connecting to the internet connection for different things and they will all be able to still connect quickly and easily for their own needs.
It isn’t all great news for Virgin Media customers though as Virgin have also announced that the costs to customers will rise by on average 6.7% from February 2014 but Virgin will hope that the speed boosts customers are to receive should help soften the blow, and customers on existing broadband packages would see their speeds increased by at least 20Mb. Customers will be written to by Virgin Media to inform them of the price rises.
Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media chief executive officer, said:
“As people connect more things simultaneously to the internet more often, they need powerful broadband with the bandwidth to deliver a great experience for everyone in the home. That connection is what we deliver with our unrivalled network. We are boosting speeds again and ensuring our customers can get even more value from their Virgin Media subscription. Our top speed will be twice as fast as BT and all the others reliant on their old copper telephony infrastructure as we extend our lead as Britain’s ultrafast broadband provider.“
The BT chief executive, Ian Livingston, has hit back at claims made by TalkTalk that the government are “funding a monopoly provider” by claiming the criticisms are coming from “copper Luddites” who are not prepared to invest in fibre themselves.
The TalkTalk chairman, Sir Charles Dunstone, had called for regulatory intervention because of the public funding that BT are receiving from the government to help roll out their fibre optic broadband network to “non-commercial” areas of the country.
BT are investing £2.5 billion of their own money in their fibre optic network which should cover two-thirds of British homes and businesses. The government have a pot of money to help cover the final third that BT deem not to be commercially viable for them to roll out to off their own back. The governments money is in the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pot and so far only BT has won the extra money that different rural areas can bid for after Fujitsu, who were the only other main bidder for the funds, had pulled out meaning that BT are basically a shoe in for the new contracts put forward.
He also called for Ofcom to look into the wholesale prices that BT is able to charge for other providers to have access to it’s superfast broadband network, however Mr Livingston from BT countered this by saying:
“These criticisms are coming from people I can only describe as copper Luddites. They don’t’ want to see the UK getting fibre. BT fibre is open to any provider in the UK on the same terms as BT – there are 50 or 60 of them, that’s not what I call a monopoly.”
Sir Charles told the Financial Times:
“We need to regulate fibre – and to check where the money is going.
There is so much government money going into subsidising higher broadband speeds but no one really knows where it is going and how it is being spent.“
Fibre optic broadband and mobile broadband networks is taking too long according to the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt believes that the UK is in danger of falling behind the rest of Europe by taking too long to get things sorted. He liked the problems to how we dealth with our railways by saying:
“We need to ensure we do not make the same mistake in broadband that we made in railways – building our high-speed network 45 years after the French and 62 years after the Japanese.
PIA (physical infrastructure access) has to be sorted out – and quickly – in a way that allows fair competition with different providers able to invest in our broadband infrastructure.”
The price that BT wants to charge rivals for access to their underground ducts and telephone poles so that they can install or lay their own fibre network are due this month, but it is likely to be a case that the prices will be disputed by BT’s rivals as too high which will then again delay the process of more fibre being laid in the UK. This could then delay the process by up to a year before Ofcom comes in with making a decision.
Currently we have Fujitsu looking to create a £2bn fibre network across the UK but they are after £500m of funds from the government that have been put aside to help roll-out next generation broadband to rural areas.
Along with his thoughts on fixed line fibre broadband Mr Hunt also said how he wanted the mobile phone operators to work together and put aside any competitive differences with the forthcoming 4G spectrum auction so as to not have that delayed any further.
Mobile data is increasing at an astonishing rate and so the 4G network capacity is in great need, it is predicted that by 2015 the volume of mobile data is set to increase 26-fold!
Currently Vodafone and O2 have space spectrum while Three and Everything Everywhere (Orange & T-Mobile are jointly owned) are in desperate need for extra capacity.
Mr Hunt said:
“Sweden completed their auction in 2009, Germany last year, Italy is doing theirs this week and France will finish theirs this year.
Mobile phone operators must put aside competitive differences and work together in their common and our national interest to make this happen.”
The Shetland Islands are to be connected to fibre optic broadband thanks to funds from the European Regional Development Fund.
The £367,500 that has been received is to help with the “Shetland Fibre Optic Network” which plan to connect up the Shetlands to a fibre optic cable that has been laid between the Scottish mainland and the Faroe Islands. In total the project is expected to cost over £1 million.
The improved broadband connections will be a huge boost for residents and businesses on the Islands.
Superfast broadband is to be made available to every home in the UK by 2020 according to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Currently there is plans that superfast broadband of 50Mb or above should be available to be available to 90% of the UK population by 2017, meaning that it would look like the remaining 10% of the rural areas that would be left would only take an extra 3 years to be connected up to the new superfast broadband.
Mr Brown said:
“Super-fast broadband is the electricity of the digital age. And I believe it must be for all — not just for some.”.
Labour expect to raise between £175m-£200m each year by charging a 50p per month (£6 per year) tax on each telephone line in the UK, with this money being used to help fund the roll ou8t of next generation broadband to rural areas where it does not make financial sense for companies for BT to fund the roll out to.
Mr Brown believes that it could help save the government billions of pounds and change the way public services are provided to us.
One of the ideas is that each person would have their own section on a central government website where they would be presented with all their own personalised information about Council tax, rubbish and recycling collections, doctors and dentists available to them and the local available schools and each persons hospital records.
The idea being that when a person changes address all their information can be taken with them meaning that they only need to update one website with their new address and the other organisations would automatically get updated with the new records too.
Although all the extra jobs that would be made by the plans,, an estimated 250,000 jobs, it would however potentially see the end of jobs for some, as passport offices, vehicle licensing and tax offices could all be closed within 10 years.
Superfast fibre broadband is currently available by Virgin Media and BT are currently starting their roll out of fibre optic broadband (BT Infinity) that aims to have 40% of UK premises covered by 2012.