The obstacles to next-gen networks

Broadband has been a huge success in the UK with more than half of all UK homes with a connection, at an average speed of four megabits a second (Mbps). But there are fears that the country is being left behind in the push towards next-generation networks.

The UK's current broadband network is predominantly based on copper wires designed for telephone calls, and in the coming years the hardware will reach its technological limits, putting a cap of 24Mbps download speeds on connections. The technology, called ADSL, also suffers from issues such as falling speeds with greater distance from the exchange, noise on the line, limited upload speeds and slowdown when more people are on the network.

A future download speed of 24Mbps might sound fast, but other countries around the world are offering 40Mbps and even 100Mbps connections right now. An extensive network of fibre optic cables has been touted as one solution but a UK-wide fibre to the home plan would cost £15bn to roll-out and some in the industry question the financial wisdom of such a network and whether it is needed at all.

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at least you guys have over the 1mbps...
here cable & wireless panama have us capped and with p2p blocked...
if you got 2mbps you have a 15gb cap and can't download anything... if you do at dial up speed...
they also installed nitro adsl.. we comsume the broadband cap faster.
so in less than a week you are downloading at 128k

In Australia you can get 24mb for 50 a month or around that but it just all depends on your download quota as to how much you pay. There are plans out there where 50 a month would get you around 20gb and 80 a month you can go up to 150gb, but the higher quota plans generally also have the bulk of that during an off peak only time (like 3am to 9am or something)

Keep in mind that 24mb is best case scenario and probably only achievable if you live right next door to the telephone exchange. I personally don't know anyone apart from myself who has got over 12mb on adsl2.

does virgin/ntl have a fibre backbone, fibre allowing a greater data capacity.

so why doesn't virgin/ntl start offering its customers with a larger download speeds?

actually, the speeds we are supposed to be getting = a complete LIE. im a customer of virgin media and i have the basic package that 2mb, and i get probably 1.5mb download speed or less.

i have friends who live very close to the exchange centers and they have the expensive packages = 20MB, but they dont see 20mb downloads (even sites that offer a great download speed).

ok so im getting off the topic, basically what im trying to say is. virgin/ntl have the infrastructure in place (according to a friend, ntl have placed fibre lines throughout there network from top to bottom of the UK), so why arn't we seeing todays promised speeds if they already have this fibre infrastructure in place

eg. 2MB package = probably a max of 1.5MB
e.g 4MB package = probably a max of 2MB <---- i had this package but down graded it, didnt get the promised speed

Virgin also glamorise and state they have a fibre network (see virginmedia.com website) yet as a customer we dont what we are promised.

ive spoken to them and im trying to get a full 2MB connection.

I've got a few friends who have just upgraded to 20Mb, and do get the full 20Mb, hell on Giganews, one of them was managing to pull down 50Mb :eek:

Yes Virgins backbone is Fibre, it always has been, its a mix of coaxil from the cabinet and fibre from then on which lets them offer the greater speeds... the problem comes when you too many people on a fast connection in the same area, you hit a bottleneck on the network, though fibre can handle a multitude of speed, the equipment at the exchanges can't... and even then you still have the main backbone pipes that connect with America, Europe and so on, once again these are shared through out millions of customers...

your find virgin has a traffic management program so based on where you live, how many people are connected in your area and tiem fo day is what truly controls your speed with them...

and on another note... your find Japans equipment orginates from the UK in design, the reason they were so quick to impliment it over us though is because their telecommunicaiton network is relatively new so most of the time lines are being isntalled fresh with roads alreayd having works doen a luxury the UK doesnt have becuase you can't dig up all the roads... just like at Thames Water and all the issues thats causing in London...

redmanmark86 said,
the reason they were so quick to impliment it over us though is because their telecommunicaiton network is relatively new so most of the time lines are being isntalled fresh with roads alreayd having works doen a luxury the UK doesnt have becuase you can't dig up all the roads... just like at Thames Water and all the issues thats causing in London...

sadly that doesn't counter the point that the Japanese are happy to invest $45 billion (£22.5 billion) into gaining 30 million installations by 2010, when in the UK they are looking at refusing £15 billion to deploy nation wide. (when 'speed' in industry is governed by how much money your prepared to throw at something)

What do other countries pay for 24Mbps? In any case, that kind of speed would cost an outrageous amount of money in the USA. My Telco in the US already strong arms me for 3Mbps @ 79 bucks. Just imagine what 24Mbps would be.

Another thing that's kind of funny, all predictions point to a 2012 end of the world thingy. With all these new things coming out around 2012, I wouldn't worry too much since we probably won't be around to use them anyway. x)

Think it's currently available in the UK for around £22 ($44), from Be Unlimited. 24Mb down, 2.5Mb up.

So it looks like you Americans are getting bent over a barrel.

what about the aussie that recently invented a way to reduce noise on copper lines hence bringing adsl speeds up to 100mb??

sounds like it's going to reach it's technological limits REAL soon! eh

That new system, (called DSM) requires 2 pairs of copper wires, most homes in the US built in the last 30 years have this apparently, but I don't know about the UK.

100mb DSM, is 'Level 3' the highest tier, and "This would probably never be used domestically, as it would be just as difficult to rewire with an additional pair as to run one fiber optic bundle."
+ what is the falloff of DSM? and the upload ?

Coment on VDSL deployment "Average copper loop length from street cabinet to residence is 300m in Germany and 700m in France. This has a large negative impact on the ability to successfully deploy VDSL in France, only 20% of homes would see speeds above 50Mb/s." (source) as such they expect FTTH to double VDSL installations by 2015


and even now, 24mb ADSL is all very well to offer, but when most homes in the UK have problems achieving 2mb to 4mb even if they're sold 8 or more because of either distance from the exchange, or poor wiring, what's the point?

What's the falloff with fibre? compared to DSL/DSM, nothing!

This is the sort of utterly limited foresight that keeps us significantly behind, may help our money grabbing communications overlords today, but will screw the entire county over in the future, just as our infrastructure is struggling with the load already on out-dated equipment being pushed beyond it's limits. Frankly they just got lucky with the discovery of the technology behind ADSL2, but even that is suffering.

Because of good foresight, and significant government investment, Japan has had the cheapest bandwidth and best connections for 10 years now, they had 25% of the population on ADSL by 2002, and already had two million fibre to the home installations in 2004.They now have a $45 billion plan to have 30 million fibre connections by 2010 ( source: http://eurotechnology.com/internet/index.html )


http://www.websiteoptimization.com/bw/0711/ (bandwidth costs comparisons)

Well as an Ex-BT employee (i quit cuz it was dead boring)... i can tell ya, they aint as bad as ya think, OK they aint great either but do you have any diea how awkard OFCOM made things, BT wanted to do fibre to home liek 20/30 years ago but OFCOM said no and thats when it would of been relatively cheap to do, now the infrstructure would cost loads to do, and thanks to the way OFCOM divided BT in to, BT OPENREACH would have to do the fibre from home to exchange and openreach are designed so BT Openreach have to rent the line of them like any other comapny...
I'll admit 21CN to you only states it will be 24mbps, but there is all sorts of research going into getting 100mbps for each home through technology like VSDL, but the problem is the upfront cost would be shifted to the end user and the simple fact is most people in the UK dont care abotu super fast connections, and want to pay the extra money just a small minority and thats a fact...
anyway 21CN has a whole host of issues at the moment...

some in the industry question the financial wisdom of such a network and whether it is needed at all

Are they not aware of what is happening around them? With the increasing demand for broadband applications it is going to become the singular reason to upgrade the network. What p**ses me off even more, is that BT 21CN network plans are not only delayed but they incoperate now out-dated technology that will only offer upto 24Mbits/s (and that's if ISP can afford the licesing fees to offer that.

Quote - BT's Website
The UK currently enjoys the highest stable speed broadband across the widest national footprint in the world, thanks to BT's investments.

I'm sorry, what!?!

Link: BT's 21st Century network - UK rollout

Antaris said,

I'm sorry, what!?!

few countries have the near universal coverage that ADSL has in the UK. something around 98% or higher are able to get some sort of service even if its just a 512kbit/s one way out in the sticks.

back to the rest of the topic...people seem to be getting hung up on the idea that ADSL2+ is where it ends and that's all BT has in the pipeline. chances are this will be nominally true until about 2010/2011 when the 21CN upgrades to the core network are completed. at that stage i would suggest fibre to the cabinet becomes the next piece in the puzzle. the reasons are its incremental and relatively easy to install and doesn't involve digging up absolutely every street in the land in one go. at that stage nearly everyone would be within 1KM of the cabinet meaning you've cut out the long trip back to the exchange and a lot of the associated noise and attenuation of signals they you get from the copper and aluminium lines. then VDSL2 is the name of the game which would offer closer to 100mbit and probably at least 40mbit to nearly anyone which may be actually more useful in 4 or 5 years. at the moment many servers couldn't actually send you anywhere close to that anyway.

some in the industry question the financial wisdom of such a network and whether it is needed at all

Of course it's ****ing needed, I still need to buffer my porn!

I love these stories that say stuff like " offering 40Mbps and even 100Mbps connections right now"

the problem is you have to find a server had has equal speeds to make use of it at once! that or run a TON of downloads at once...

that problem or your ISP doesn't actually have that bandwidth and they just gave you a connection to them at that speed! and not to the internet

My ISP decided [after a great deal of begging on my part!] to use me to test out some new ADSL 2+ equipment. I now get 24m down and 2.7m up [Annex M], and yet I've never connected to anyone [other than my ISP] who's given me data at more than 6m.

Go figure.

stop complaining and hurry the f up already with the fibre
money should not be an issue considering how much each customer already pays

ISPs are swimming in money because they get away with charging so much for so less
almost borderline white collar crime. not just in the UK but all over the world

X'tyfe said,
stop complaining and hurry the f up already with the fibre
money should not be an issue considering how much each customer already pays

ISPs are swimming in money because they get away with charging so much for so less
almost borderline white collar crime. not just in the UK but all over the world

Your not kidding there.........

dont be stupid, practically all ISPs oversell because the cost per megabit they pay is a lot more than what they sell at to you. virgin media have a decent backbone and see how much debt they went in to? sky's broadband is losing them money, plenty of adsl companies end up selling out because they are either losing money or not making much

dev said,
dont be stupid, practically all ISPs oversell because the cost per megabit they pay is a lot more than what they sell at to you. virgin media have a decent backbone and see how much debt they went in to? sky's broadband is losing them money, plenty of adsl companies end up selling out because they are either losing money or not making much

ntl got into debt because they told people aload of ****, like they still do.
skys broadband isnt losing them money, not possible, its bt broadband with a different name so your very wrong there
ISPs in UK overcharge, limit you to crappy speeds and bandwidth limits and are lamers
if they lost money from it; they wouldn't do it. I suggest you go on a GCSE business studies course

n_K said,

ntl got into debt because they told people aload of ****, like they still do.
skys broadband isnt losing them money, not possible, its bt broadband with a different name so your very wrong there
ISPs in UK overcharge, limit you to crappy speeds and bandwidth limits and are lamers
if they lost money from it; they wouldn't do it. I suggest you go on a GCSE business studies course

No ntl/virgin went into debt due to the money they spent on the backbone/network. There was a small cable company who started up in scotland who went bankrupt trying to make a network like ntls, but that cant happen can it?

Just because sky's broadband is resold bt broadband doesn't mean its making them money, there's a news article somewhere that the lower tiers of sky's broadband cost them money and the highest of tiers doesn't make them much money. They use the tv money to cancel out the losses (you do know companies do that with your amazing gcse level business skills?)

what is the 'correct' charge for broadband then? don't bother quoting prices from other countries as their networks are different. the sooner ISPs charge for internet like they do phones the better imo. then anyone who wants to download stupid amounts of stuff has to pay more than someone who doesn't.

n_K said,
if they lost money from it; they wouldn't do it. I suggest you go on a GCSE business studies course

I could say the same to you! Haven't you ever heard of a loss leader? What they don't make in ADSL they make up in supplying other services such as phone or TV (this is what I'm assuming by the way, going by what dev said)

PureLegend said,

I could say the same to you! Haven't you ever heard of a loss leader? What they don't make in ADSL they make up in supplying other services such as phone or TV (this is what I'm assuming by the way, going by what dev said)

if a company made a product that big a loss leader, why would they do they same with the business side ? Im with the business side, and for the same price I will be getting lots more extras, lower connection ratio, a free domain name, etc. so no, go get your facts right.

And I know how much telephone companies are worth, an aquantence sold off a small telecom business they started to ntl (when it was NTL) and make a huge bundle off it. So yeh, no offence but in all reality I do know, by far, a darn lot more than you will know about telecom companies.