Posted in draft. Updates later.
For some time now my village has been suboptimal in terms of Internet access. When I moved here from Bristol in 2001 broadband had yet to make it to domestic premises and I was using an ISDN service with fairly recent memories of dial-up. Having come from pre-Internet BBS access over 9k6 kilobaud modems (and I even once used an acoustic coupler!) 64k was great. It was enough for text and the graphic light web sites of that kinder age.
But the Internet went fat and all of a sudden a broadband service of less than 2Mb/s was a total fail. Netflix and even YouTube is a non starter. BT weren’t particularly interested in us, as our thousand homes were fed from at least three different exchanges, all so far away as to reduce the flow of ones and zeros to a crawl. The push for Broadband Britain kind of slid past us and we would get fast Internet access… eventually. Apparently poor broadband access affects the value of houses too… We held meetings and responded to surveys and asked and asked.
Then along came an alternative. Cotswold Telecom came to speak to us at the Parish Council, offering a high speed wireless connection – up to 30Mb/s for about the same price most of us were paying for 1.5Mb/s and a potential upper limit of 150Mb/s. Interest was kindled, and not just by us. Almost instantly, BT stated their intention to bring fibre to the cabinet FTTC by summertime. So we’ve currently got a race on.
Undoubtedly, in my mind at least, the race is less about universal coverage and more about BT protecting the line rental. The copper BT network is incredibly old now in IT terms, and yet we pay sixteen quid a month for the privilege of dial tone. My mobile contract is less than that for unlimited calls, text and 4G access. As someone mentioned to me, that line rental equals sixteen quid times seventeen million lines times twelve months… £3.2Billion a year.
I’ve just placed an order with Cotswold Telecom for 10MB/s – the most basic service they offer – for twenty quid a month inclusive. I’m locked into BT for landline at the moment as I’m registered with GTPS for work, so I can’t go VoIP yet. This is the preliminary blog post which I’ll follow up with some real world data when it all happens. I’ll be interested in uptime, fix times, security of link, security of router, data rate and any filter policy that I encounter.