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Blame Thatcher - The UK's crappy broadband speeds

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#1 Crisp

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 22:17

The UK's Crappy Broadband Speeds is Another Thing You Can Blame on Thatcher

thatcher.jpg

 

Gerald Lynch - She brought down the miners and the unions, and it now seems that Margaret Thatcher also prevented the UK from becoming one of the world's leading digital economies by short-sightedly vetoing plans that would have made the UK one of the earliest fully-fibre equipped broadband territories around the globe.

In a fascinating piece over at TechRadar, Dr Peter Cochrane, former Chief Technology Officer at BT, explains how The Iron Lady, fearing a BT monopoly, halted plans to affordably roll out fibre-to-the-home connections nationwide. In 1991!

 

In 1974 it was patently obvious that copper wire was unsuitable for digital communication in any form, and it could not afford the capacity we needed for the future [...] In 1979 I presented my results and the conclusion was to forget about copper and get into fibre. So BT started a massive effort - that spanned in six years -- involving thousands of people to both digitise the network and to put fibre everywhere.

 

Cochrane's team had two factories dedicated to the fibre roll out, ready to work on a scale that would have made the process of connecting up the nation both affordable and quick. But ruling BT's moves anti-competitive, and looking to encourage American cable companies to invest in the UK, Thatcher pulled the plug in 1991.

BT's expert team parted ways, with assets and expertise shipped off to South East Asia. You need only look at the vastly-superior broadband speeds of Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea to realise how damaging this decision has proved to be. While South East Asian territories enjoy speeds that make BT's Infinity packages (and the fibre options of its competitors, too) seem quaint, the UK now looks to have 90 per cent of its homes on a laughable "super-fast" connection of just 24Mbps by 2017.

 

Source




#2 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 22:25

I'm in the UK. My current broadband speed is 120mbps and shortly going up to 150mbps.  Sure, not everywhere can get that, but it's hardly true that ALL internet speed in the UK sucks.



#3 Louisifer

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 22:43

All these years I thought it was just BT was behind the times. :laugh:

 

I'm in the UK. My current broadband speed is 120mbps and shortly going up to 150mbps.  Sure, not everywhere can get that, but it's hardly true that ALL internet speed in the UK sucks.

 

London will always enjoy the fastest speeds along with VM territories, BT lines will always be very hit or miss.

 

IMO BT should be working on the rural places (which need the speed increases) first and working backwards towards the exchanges.



#4 Stup0t

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 22:45

I am on 1mbps, I have a smart TV, cant use it.  I can either stream something in low quality or download something but not at the same time.  God help me when patch Tuesday comes around with 2 tablets, 2 desktops and a server to update. :( my exchange has been fibred but not my cab at the end of the street :(



#5 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 22:46

Well if this is the case, why not simply put it to parliament to have replacement lines put in?

Hell, if anything, it would help somewhat with the current level of unemployment also... :s (if passed)



#6 goodbytes

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 22:48

60mb here which is fast enough for me but I'll have my free virgin media upgrade by the end of the month I think it's going to 100mb. Not crappy over here

#7 psionicinversion

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 23:01

24Mbps will be considered the national average for 2017 at the moe i think the average is about 7Mbit. Also just cus its available doesnt mean people will use it to its fully extent. Soon as the rest of my estate is built ill be jumping to 120/150Mbit VM just hope the hurry up cus there moving at a glacial rate. prolly take another year or 2 :(

 

If we'd of had full fiber to the home all the way back then we'd be rocking Gigabit connections now



#8 ZakO

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 23:08

When I'm in the UK (Cornwall) I get 330mb supplied by BT.

 

 

the UK now looks to have 90 per cent of its homes on a laughable "super-fast" connection of just 24Mbps by 2017.

 

Actually, they aim to have 95% on a minimum of 24Mbps by 2017, with many other places on significantly faster.

 

While the internet could of course be much faster, in the majority of places it's not as "crappy" as this article makes out.



#9 McKay

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 23:11

6mb/s :(



#10 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 05:43

All these years I thought it was just BT was behind the times. :laugh:

 

 

London will always enjoy the fastest speeds along with VM territories, BT lines will always be very hit or miss.

 

IMO BT should be working on the rural places (which need the speed increases) first and working backwards towards the exchanges.

 

I don't live in London, or any other city.



#11 Louisifer

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:18

I don't live in London, or any other city.

I may have read "Location: UK" as "London, UK" :p

 

In my defence I was tired :sleep2:



#12 Skiver

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:23

I'm in the UK. My current broadband speed is 120mbps and shortly going up to 150mbps.  Sure, not everywhere can get that, but it's hardly true that ALL internet speed in the UK sucks.

Yep - Reading and enjoying 60Mbps, can't remember what the increase puts me up to towards the end of this year.

 

60mb here which is fast enough for me but I'll have my free virgin media upgrade by the end of the month I think it's going to 100mb. Not crappy over here

You are aware this "free" upgrade comes after they put their prices up right? It's free because they already started charging you earlier. Can't remember when but I know my bill has/will go up by about £4-5.



#13 Steven P.

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:25

She wasn't Prime Minister in 1991, so wonder how that happened?  :rolleyes:



#14 Aergan

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:30

16.5Mbit on BT Infinity 2.

Previous residence up the road was around 42Mbit.

#15 jasondefaoite

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:31

She wasn't Prime Minister in 1991, so wonder how that happened?  :rolleyes:

 

I know from previous replies to news stories from your good self, you aren't into actually reading the source articles to get the correct information.

 

No need to wonder any more, go read.