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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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 :(

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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)

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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

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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

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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.

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6mb/s :(

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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16.5Mbit on BT Infinity 2.

Previous residence up the road was around 42Mbit.

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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.

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*shiver* could you imagine a BT monopoly over TV, Phone and the Internet?

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

Completely missed that!!

 

Judging by a quick google search (so don't hold me to this) she completely left the world of politics when Major took over so its a little strange that her "stance" put a stop to it.

 

 

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.

 

 

Ok, I see, its actually Gizmodo trying to make a living by plagurising and getting some very key facts wrong that led to that comment. 

 

 

Gizmodo-

Thatcher's stance made the project unsustainable and the plug was pulled in 1991.

 

 

TechRadar - ...But, in 1990, then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, decided that BT's rapid and extensive rollout of fibre ....

 In this case, 1 year makes a very big difference. 

As many have pointed out however, her decision may have left BT in the dark, but others seem to have managed it over the years, Thatcher cannot be blamed because BT have been slow to react to people like Virgin making progress.

Edited by Skiver

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Despite what the article says, John Major could have overturned legacy decisions...

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A Tory doing something that would benefit everyone other than themselves, can you imagine? :rofl:

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UK Internet has come along way recently, as we're a small country we've got some of the most competent core networks. Although like the article states, the copper is the thing letting us down. If it weren't for Virgin Media my home address would be stuck on 1Mb.

 

Although I'm fine:
3367644168.png

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i don't recall the socialist labour party improving things much during their last 13 year stint in power that bankrupted the treasury. (labour of course blamed and still blames everyone else but themselves for this.)

 

we just got fibre enabled locally, oddly enough, under a tory govt. and we're in the boonies 12 miles from the nearest city.

 

we also just had free heatpump heating systems installed in our flats under a (tory) govt. 'green' grant scheme.

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I'd say UK internet still has a long way to go, it's a small country with a lot of resources.... It's happening but we are behind for sure.

 

I live near the centre of Manchester and there is no fibireoptic service, and the telephone exchanges are weak. So I get around 5mbps on a good day. It sickens me that I can get nearly 40Mbps on 4G and hardly anything on a direct hard-wired connection. 

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I have 50mb which is enough for my needs (is the lowest package my provider offers) but I could opt for 100 or 300mb packages.

 

Luckily new build areas are all getting FTTP these days, it has taken long enough.

 

If i'm honest I reckon my current threshold is about 8mbps, if I could get that on ADSL i'd have stuck with that, as it means I could stream HD netflix and not be lagged too much on online gaming etc.

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Luckily new build areas are all getting FTTP these days, it has taken long enough.

 

I can tell you they are not.

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I'd say UK internet still has a long way to go, it's a small country with a lot of resources.... It's happening but we are behind for sure.

 

I live near the centre of Manchester and there is no fibireoptic service, and the telephone exchanges are weak. So I get around 5mbps on a good day. It sickens me that I can get nearly 40Mbps on 4G and hardly anything on a direct hard-wired connection. 

Same here, I get about 8mb/s with my broadband connection and around 13mb/s with 4G on my phone. Recently upgraded my phone and got 3 months test drive with Vodafone so I was thinking about just using my phone as a hotspot, although I think there might be some sort of fair use policy in there if I looked :p

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