Following the broadband money

Stitch up in West Sussex broadband?

with 5 comments

It felt like a stitch-up, the West Sussex Broadband Summit in Chichester last Friday.

BT, represented by its MD for next generation access, Bill Murphy, was the only communications provider (CP) on the podium, and he was allowed free reign to sell BT’s fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) product to the delegates, mostly parish and local government representatives, plus some civil society bods from organisations like the Country Landowners Assocation.

To be fair, Cable & Wireless’s Ian Fowler with Bill Lewis of Kijoma Broadband, a high speed mesh radio network operator were there to hold up the BT steamroller. But I suspect it was in vain.

This matters. West Sussex is 50 miles from London, but it has three of the four BT exchanges in the county that have not been converted to xDSL. So some of its citizens can’t get any type of fixed broadband. Speaker after speaker from the floor castigated BT for the rubbish service they and their fellow citizens receive. One was getting 28kbps  download. Tops.

West Sussex is largely rural. It is also bisected by the South Downs National Park, which means the county’s natural high sites for radio are almost out of the question due to planning restrictions. Defra’s plans to have all farmers submit their paperwork online just won’t work here.

But in case this comes across as just another rant against BT, let me hasten to add that Mike Hicks, the project manager for WSCCs bid for some of BDUK’s £530m budget, says no other CPs seem interested in his problems. He says he phoned Fujitsu Telecom following its dramatic offer to spend billions on network build, provided it has cheap(er) access to BT’s passive infrastructure and what’s left of BDUK’s money. After a run around to find the right person to talk to, he was asked how many people live in the towns?

Clearly, they are looking to do hub and spoke networks from urban centres, says Hicks. “That’s not our idea of rural broadband,” he says.

If you want to watch the whole show go here. But for those with less patience, try my 3.37 min video interview with WSCC leader Louise Goldsmith and Hicks.

Nick Herbert, who hosted the event and promised us an interview, blew us off. Well, it had been a long day, it was Friday and there was culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to shmooze with.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/05/24 at 11:50

5 Responses

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  1. Singapore mentioned – S$750 million funding from the government for a 5 million population in a small area.


    2011/05/24 at 22:11

  2. Hi,

    Bill from Kijoma Broadband here, interesting article.

    The bit you say about radio and hills is invalid though as Kijoma already use the hills around and our aerials are invisible. no masts needed.. Care for impact on the visual environment is a key driving force with us, along with stupidly fast and low latency broadband.

    Perhapsd you would like to take a tour one day?, see what you think. Then you may see why WSCC and their “ignore Kijoma” policy are extremely misguided and potentially heading for serious embarrasment.

    The three exchange areass you refer to are all Kijoma enabled, CDC even funded East Marden area to the tune of £5000 in 2005. The people and businesses there enjoy far faster services than they would get from a market one exchange, even after WSCC spend £50000 of our money on BT for getting ADSL there.. And of course far faster than any of their neighbours who do not use our service.


    2011/06/14 at 18:05

    • Thanks for the invitation, Bill. Of course I’d love to see what you re doing, and perhaps press you on why Kijoma is being ignored by the funding bodies. I cannot fathom why all the broadband coverage maps ignore wireless. Is there a conspiracy, and if so, who are the conspirators? I’ll call you in a day or two (just have to get some stuff off my desk first.)


      2011/06/14 at 20:27

      • HI,

        Ok good plan. If you look ath the Thinkbroadband archives (formerly adslguide) you will see me over the years asking them to add Kijoma as an ISP and even add a proper main forum for “wireless” . They also refuse and only have a basement forum for wireless and as they refuse to add us as an ISP then no speed tests done by our customers will ever show on their mapping system. The net effect of all this is that councils and others who use these sites for research do not see us at all.

        The only recent thing they did do, after much nagging, is add our coverage map to their mapping system. not much use though without any ability for customer feedback, speed tests etc..

        Bill Lewis

        2011/06/15 at 09:04

  3. Hi,

    Forgot to say, Kijoma is not a MESH based system, it is a proper Star topology system with Backbone feeds, entirely secure and NOT wifi .




    2011/06/14 at 18:06

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