How Not To Do It

The importance of good technical understanding on the team leading any rural broadband project has again been highlighted recently by the failure of the Selling Village Broadband Project. This local FTTH project was led by the Parish Council, who are accused of making an unwise choice of company to deliver the project, with disastrous consequences. The contract has been cancelled and the few existing services installed, nearly 3 years on, will be disconnected within a month.

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4 Responses to How Not To Do It

  1. David Nye says:

    This story also underlines the appalling difficulties that service providers encounter when trying to provide a competitive fibre based broadband service. An awful lot more still needs to be done to level the playing field.

  2. Walter says:

    It would be good if there even was a playing field!

    The Ewhurst debacle caused our preferred provider who had already demonstrated their competence elsewhere to abandon all domestic broadband provision.

    You might note that Gigaclear in Appleton has stated that they will only consider FTTH projects where fibre from providers other than the major incumbent is reasonably close. One reason is that it is quite impossible to engineer a viable solution where there is an unequivocal 90 day withdrawal of service clause .

    I had discovered ICS in our early days and had rejected them on several grounds including proven competence.

  3. David Nye says:

    It does now seem quite possible that Vtesse would have pulled out of our project at some stage in any case. For example, see this Computer World article.

  4. Walter says:

    Given what Vtesse had achieved in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, despite significant obstruction, there was every expectation that they would have been very keen to promote their capabilities in Ewhurst which only required 1.5 Km of fibre for phase one.

    It is interesting to note that an anonymous BDUK person thought at that time that “Ewhurst was a local difficulty”. In my opinion the decision to allow the underhand tactics to continue unheeded (by Parliament and several branches of the Civil Service – but not SEEDA or DEFRA) has, and continues to have, very unhealthy consequences. I wonder how many remember even during the last Government that BT Openreach were the “Proud Guardians of the last mile” ?

    Below is an extract of Peter Cochrane’s view as given in Evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications:-

    Q31 Lord Clement-Jones: Do you think that there is some complacency about
    adopting that view within government?

    Dr Cochrane: I think that there is a lack of understanding. There is a perception afoot that has come out of industry and is in the interest of certain industries but not in the interests of the population at large. In my time in industry, I have seen phenomenal change in everything from honesty to ethics to positioning. I came into industry and it was clear cut.

    We were the servants of this society. Our job was to put into place products and services that actually satisfied the need of the developing nation. There seems to have been a swing of the pendulum away from that to, “I am here to benefit the company; I am here for the benefit of the shareholders”. That loss of perspective, of a duty to society, is really quite damaging.

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