Will BT's Band ever be Broad enough?

  Timmy!! 12:38 04 Mar 2005

BT this week/month have been banging on about the amazing speed of their 2MB ADSL broadband. I think somewhere priced around £35. (others i know offer 8MB)

In Tokyo this month they're launching a 100MB (i think synchronous) service for £20.

Apart from depressing the hell out of me, its made me think of a couple of (related) questions i was wondering if anyone could answer?

Firstly does anyone know what medium Tokyo's telecomunications is run on? i.e. BT as we know is copper, do ?TokyoTel? run on fibre?

Secondly, what would BT need to do get anywhere near this speed? Can they acheve this speed 4 all on copper or sometime in the near future will the whole of Britain need to be dug up?

Are we going to have to pay? Or are we being ripped off already in order to pay for this in the future?

  Flaco 15:06 04 Mar 2005

As best as I can make out at the moment (made redundant from telecoms 3 years ago!), the next logical and achievable step for the UK is 'ADSL 2'. However, Ofcom hasn't ratified this yet so we're presently stuck with the ADSL flavour which was original developed about 20 years ago. SDSL, which is currently available, would make life sweeter but pricing and capacity is the issue. VDSL (very high bit-rate) is also looming with a theoretical throughput of 52Mbps (get back in your wheelchair, Timmy!)

Currently, it is possible for SPs to beat the limitations via Local Loop Unbundling (LLU), whereby the SP is allowed to install their own DSL delivery equipment in the BT exchanges and so deliver their own product to the customer over the last leg of the link. Bulldog have been very aggressive in this respect, but the real key for the rest of the SPs is for BT to stop being generally obstructive and lower their LLU charges. When I was working with National SPs in Italy, Spain and Portugal upto five years ago, LLU was already a done deal in line with ITU directives. I've got absolutely no time for BT or Ofcom. European telcos must look at BT and wonder how on earth they can get away with it.

Don't hold your breath whilst waiting for Ofcom to pull their finger out, either. As people start losing patience with them and their toothless approach, at least one of their major decisions viv-a-vis BT has come under Select Committee scrutiny. Watch this space.

Although the UK isn't the worst place in Europe for broadband, some of our neighbours fare much better for either pricing or 'girth of pipe' (or both). It is possible to get 100Mbps - synchronous! - in Sweden for less than £44pm, uncapped 20Mbps ADSL 2 in France for £20pm and .5Mbps in Germany for less than a fiver a month.

Much of the Japanese network is shifting to fibre optic, and that brings some mouth (or eye) watering results with it: how does Usen Network's 100Mbps for £15pm grab you? You can get 50Mbps from Yahoo Japan for £21. Here's my take on it, though. About for years ago, we all got taken in by the Dotcom fiasco. Obscene amounts of money were squandered and there were serious consequences for many telcos who gambled at the tables. In the Far East, where the financial bubble had burst sometime previous to all that stupidity, the money simply wasn't there to speculate with. So they didn't get their feet wet. Instead they started investing shrewdly and heavily in network infrastructures.

They'll be teleporting to work while we're still waiting on the platform for a train that will never arrive. Probably.

ps - many facts and figures here were lifted from a rather nice little weekly computing mag that I won't mention here for fear of being excomunicated.

  Magik ®© 15:13 04 Mar 2005

ok, if you do not reveal the name of the mag we will come round and get it by force, choice is yours....

  CurlyWhirly 17:43 04 Mar 2005

so we're presently stuck with the ADSL flavour which was original developed about 20 years ago.

Crikey, I didn't know that ADSL was that old!
I thought that it was only a few years old.
It makes me wonder if it is really that long since it was developed, why it hasn't taken off before now?

  Flaco 19:01 04 Mar 2005

I yield! It is Micro Mart.

The thing with many technologies is that they are discovered en route to the answer for another question. The concept of ADSL has been around for a long time, but there was no application or circumstance demanding it's immediate implementation. Then the Web happened.

When I first heard about ADSL I was still covering the telecoms markets in Africa. In the UK at that time (c.1994) an E1 2Mbps line between A and B was still considered fast enough for most companies' needs. As far as individuals were concerened, ISDN was THE highspeed solution at home - 128Kbps assuming you used both the copper strands (2x64kbps) of the twisted copper-pair that comes into our homes. So one day, one of the guys in the office told us that Alcatel were soon to release a protocol that provided 8Mbps bandwidth down ordinary twisted-pair! In the corporate sales sector, bandwidth was always the bugbear issue at the top of the list. Our clients/projects always needed more of it. It was like telling a flintlock salesmen that they were going to be given AK47s instead!

  Magik ®© 19:34 04 Mar 2005

:-) :-) nice one bruv.......

  CurlyWhirly 21:12 04 Mar 2005

Thanks for the explanation! ;0)

  Flaco 23:51 04 Mar 2005

It's a nice little read, but at £1.90 a week it can start to seem a bit steep if you get hooked on it, even at subscriptions rates of 80 knicker. There's too many adds in it for that sort of price.

Not sure what your level is with PCs, but the style is 'light and easy', which is probably why it appeals to #*!&heads like me :)

Right folks, off down to Cornwall for two weeks tomorrow. Why hang about getting rained on in SE London when I can get rained on in the entire SW instead, eh?

  Magik ®© 09:39 05 Mar 2005

lets put it this way, my level on PC's is like you being at the top of the ladder and me still on the ground...

  Colinp 19:05 05 Mar 2005

Its been beach weather down here for a while now, very little rain. I even cut the grass yesterday whilst avoiding the bluebells.

  Flaco 19:07 04 Apr 2005

Just as I thought would happen, the best of the weather moved to the SE. Typical!

Anyway, looks like ADSL2 is starting to make an appearance via the LLU avenue click here. If Bulldog (read Cable & Wireless) start upgrading their LLU installation aswell, then we should see a healthy amount of upto 24Mbps connections soon.

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