TAP writes – I couldn’t help but notice this little report in the BBC on 31st July 2012.
The government’s strategy for improving broadband in the UK has been criticised as “misguided” in a parliamentary report.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications the Creative Industries, said the government was “very happy” it would meet the target of 90% of households with a fast broadband connection by 2015.
Speaking to the Today programme he said that “the aim is not just fast speeds but also a competitive marketplace”.
He said: “We do have the most competitive market in Europe… the rest of Europe looks to us as leaders in this.”
TAP – If we’re the leaders with the most competitive marketplace for broadband, I’d hate to have to deal with the ‘followers’. Let me explain.
My business sells online to our trade customers who view over 50,000 of our catalogue pages a month. As the primary complaint we receive is of speed, we decided to go a fibre optic leased line. Were we in a major UK City, this would have cost us about GBP 2,500 to install. As we are in a remote rural location, we were aware it would cost more. When the quote came in from a phone system selling agency at GBP 57,000 plus VAT, we were shocked. This is for bringing a fibre optic cable over agricultural fields for just two miles.
Nevertheless despite the cost, we decided that with thousands of customers needing to access our site, demanding faster speeds, we had no choice but to go ahead. We signed up on the 27th May with the promise of completion within 75 working days. The contract was with Talktalk, subcontracted to Openreach (BT) contracted to a third party, which we don’t have any idea who they are.
We were told unofficially to expect completion in early July. It was then time for our next shock.
A letter from Talktalk arrived dated 1st August 2012, saying they had absolutely no idea whatsoever when the contract would be completed. This they said was because the people who contracted with BT were providing no information, and they could not advise of any progress until BT had done their part of the contract.
That might look all well and reasonable to Talktalk, who operate inside Ed Vaizey’s so-called ‘highly competitive ‘ market place – so competitive, in fact that a two mile cable is charged out at GBP 57,000, and so competitive that no one can even be bothered to complete their contract, or even inform the customer (us) of progress, if any.
It is quite obvious that the government has no intention of creating a competitive marketplace. On the contrary, Ed Vaizey has created a cartel. They allow large corporations to slice up the market amongst themselves, and sod the poor customers and the people whose jobs depend on a fast link from their place of work to their marketplaces.
I mentioned to Talktalk that I am not likely to just sit here and say, oh great to their letter of 1st August 2012. On the contrary I will open up correspondence in the local media, TV if they’re interested and ensure the public find out the kind of treatment the government is permitting BT and their sidekicks to give to the poeple who depend on their services.
In reality the communications cartel/monopoly must be broken up. It’s gone on far too long, and is throttling British competitiveness. But of course, we know that’s unlikely to happen, when politicians walk from ministerial jobs into cozy fat salary jobs when their time in Westminster ends. Ed Vaizey wouldn’t dare say a word of crticism against BT. I do wish he’d shut up and stop pretending the government intends to deliver fast broadband by 2015 or whenever. Countries that want fast broadbank like Hong Kong or Singapore don’t talktalk. They just do it. Britain creates cartels that rip people off, ignore their customers, and enable the fat cats to get fatter, destroying our economy in the process.
I’ll report back if I get a reply from Talktalk. I spoke to them an hour ago. So far nothing. I’m not holding my breath.
Rupert Murdoch can see how to make money from Broadband too. The last thing the corporations will do is provide enough bandwidth. They can see how to milk this for years to come. All of us should realize what the game’s all about. See Guido today about people not able to watch the Olympics for similar reasons.