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Discussion Starter #1
This forum rightly champions the massive investment in buildings and infrastructure in Birmingham, but is the provision of fast broadband investment from Open Reach keeping pace with growing demand from new office and apartment complexes?

We live in central Birmingham but suffer from incredibly slow broadband - in the bottom 4% of national provision- but discover there are no current plans for Open Reach to invest in new capacity on our "cabinet".

Is this an isolated problem or more widespread?
 

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You shouldn't be surprised that UK broadband speeds suck
WIRED
11/08/17​

A study has shown that 30 countries have faster broadband than the UK

The UK ranks 31st in the world for broadband speeds and lags behind most of Europe, according to a new study. Cable ranked the UK's average broadband speed at 16.51Mbps (megabits per second), which means a Lord of the Rings length movie would take one hour and two minutes to download.

A total of 19 European countries, 17 of which are in the EU, have better speeds than the UK. But we still come ahead of 158 other countries including Italy, France, Ireland and Monaco. Singapore tops the table with an average speed of 55.13Mbps. Yemen has the slowest broadband speed in the world, at an average of just 0.34Mbps, meaning it would take two days to download the same HD movie that would take just over 18 minutes in Singapore.

But why is the UK faring so poorly against other countries?

Andrew Ferguson, editor of thinkbroadband, says we shouldn’t be surprised – and that slow speeds are partly our own fault. There are millions of people in the UK, he explains, who could upgrade to faster services... but haven't.

While he admits more money needs to be spent to get better technology to a minority, 93 per cent of people in the UK have the option of selecting super-fast broadband and simply haven’t brought it. This discourages providers from rolling out the faster connections, says Ferguson. “Providers will put better options out there to test whether they will work. If they aren’t being bought, they think ‘why are we bothering, we might as well just offer the cheap option everyone is buying’,” he says.

In the UK, broadband runs on a fibre to cabinet system, which relies on copper wires that slow broadband down. If you are within a kilometre of a BT green street cabinet you will probably get superfast broadband. Beyond that, not so much. So really, broadband success depends largely on whether you can afford it, and where you live.

This is why it’s important to ask your provider for a personalised estimate of the broadband speed in your area, says Ferguson, who warns not to rely on what sales people tell you over the phone since speeds can vary over time. Some service's speeds drop off in the evenings because the whole world is online.

However, it’s less about a lack of superior technology, and more about how past decisions have shaped the state of broadband affairs today, says Ferguson.

Back in 2005, a decision was made in the UK that broadband should be a cheap, commodity product, which it then became. Making it cheap and affordable meant millions signed up for it, so those that rolled it out didn’t see much return on investment and weren’t encouraged to put out better, more expensive technology.

The better technology is 'full fibre', which Sweden and Spain have more of, hence they beat us on the international ranking, says Ferguson.

“The UK has gone for the soft, bit by bit approach to broadband speed and the advantage of this is that more people have something that's reasonable," says Ferguson. "In Spain, 80 per cent have full fibre but there’s this massive drop down to the 20 per cent who have as bad as the UK or worse.”

“The aim in the UK is to get 100 per cent of people to a reasonable speed level, rather than have a few on a gigabit.” So it comes down to the stark differences in how the UK has approached broadband historically, versus other countries.

Another recent report, this time by Which?, says people who expect high-speed broadband are often left disappointed with the speeds they actually get.

Ferguson worries that people who read this report will be reluctant to upgrade now because they fear they won’t get significantly faster broadband, where the vast majority do.

This is an issue because the government wants people to upgrade since, through gap funding, public money is used to improve service options. Essentially, more sign-ups means more money for local government and local councils, who then reinvest it.

While being faster is always better, we shouldn’t be too fixated on the exact place we sit in league tables because each study uses different methods and samples, warns Ferguson. Speedtest’s Global Index placed the UK at 24th in the world for fixed broadband speed and 40th for mobile in July, but Ferguson says this figure is skewed because they include large corporate networks such as banks, which doesn’t reflect consumer speeds
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have been asking BT Openreach when they intend to upgrade our broadband speed (we are lucky to get 6 Mpbs).

BUT stock response over 3 years is no plans but would we like to fund it ourselves via community fibre way as we are "a difficult to reach community".

I live on an A road in central Birmingham not on top of a mountain in Shropshire!

This level of complacency and the completely random postcode lottery of Birmingham provision of fast broadband and lack of commitment to investment will hold back development in our city!
 

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Sure you don’t have issues with your router/modem?

Birmingham will be one of the first cities to benefit from proposals announced today by Openreach for a major acceleration of its ultrafast fibre broadband network.

Openreach, Britain’s national broadband infrastructure provider, has announced proposals to extend by 50 per cent its target for rolling out Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) to reach 3 million premises across the UK by the end of 2020 through a new ‘Fibre First’ programme[1].

Eight major cities - Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester - make up the first phase of Openreach’s Fibre First programme which will connect up to 40 UK towns, cities and boroughs with FTTP networks[2], with build starting in 2018.

It is expected that tens of thousands of Birmingham homes and businesses will benefit from this latest multi million pound expansion. Further details of the roll-out in the city are expected to be announced later in the year. According to independent website thinkbroadband, 96.6 per cent of Birmingham households and businesses already have access to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps and above.
http://news.openreach.co.uk/pressre...nreach-launches-fibre-first-programme-2399683
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No it is the Openreach cabinet,

For reasons best known to BT we are allocated to a cabinet 1.5 miles from our building which is full and not linked to fibre.

This is on a development completed 2.5 years ago.

And we are told it is not commercially viable to upgrade the cabinet!
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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I've got BT's Infinity 1 service that usually gives me around 32Mbps.
I live in Harborne not too far from the Exchange and I've long suspected that a much higher bit rate could be provided if BT wanted to oblige.
Anyway, about 9 months ago my service developed a fault that the automatic BT fault finding system acknowledged existed and cleared in about 20 minutes.
When I checked my Broadband download speed it had rocketed up to 76 Mbps and my upload speed had doubled.
The miracle only lasted a few hours before it throttled back to normal.
I reckon the fibre to cabinet system is capable of far higher speeds than BT acknowledges.
 

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@rijowhi on Twitter
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5G Phone Network To Be Trialed In West Midlands?

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/ne...-5g-14841708.amp?4=&__twitter_impression=true

Very fast Wireless Internet!

Rijowhi EXCLUSIVE: This will be just the West Midlands County NOT all of the Combined Authority area. Confirmed by Andy Street himself on my Twitter Feed - @Rijowhi.
The ‘CA area’ is the county if that clears up for the future - the associate members aren’t part of the CA’s statutory area 🙂

Internet speeds are a national problem. A huge amount of Greater Manchester has the same issue - to the point where it was a difficult factor in choosing a place to rent (I need relatively good internet for work). Nottingham is the only place I’ve come across where consistent fibre is widely available.
 

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@rijowhi on Twitter
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The ‘CA area’ is the county if that clears up for the future - the associate members aren’t part of the CA’s statutory area 🙂

Internet speeds are a national problem. A huge amount of Greater Manchester has the same issue - to the point where it was a difficult factor in choosing a place to rent (I need relatively good internet for work). Nottingham is the only place I’ve come across where consistent fibre is widely available.
I know Planey28...Non-Constituent members and all that Jazz. That's a whole other discussion...I know it was the way I wrote it btw.👍

Anyway it would be wonderful for the West Midlands County to win this. It's great to see the Second largest City-Region have some real ambition...
 
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