Br0kenTeleph0n3

Following the broadband money

Who advised BDUK on qualifications for its Final Third procurement?

with 13 comments

I have put in a Freedom of Information Act request for the advice that Broadband Delivery UK received in the drafting of the preliminary qualification questionnaire for companies that wish to be considered as one of 12 possible suppliers included in BDUK’s Final Third broadband procurement framework.

You can follow the progress of the request here.

The qualification thresholds for primary contractors are widely regarded as limiting the choice of supplier to very few, and limiting the potential involvement of community network operators and local investors.

Malcolm Corbett, CEO of the Independent Community Networks Association, regards the PQQ as a repudiation of the government’s Big Society policy, in which local people are encouraged and even expected to develop local solutions to local problems.

There is also controversy over the apparent easing of the accepted definition of “superfast” from above 24Mbps download speed to above 15Mbps.This will make it easier for the winning suppliers, and hence the government, to declare “victory” by the time the 2015 elections are due.

On the upside there does appear to be a requirement that the minimum acceptable download speed is 2Mbps.

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Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/07/01 at 09:05

13 Responses

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  1. As long as the 2mbps USC is symmetrical it can only be delivered properly in rural areas by fibre so that puts paid to public money being wasted on BET then?
    If that is so, then it is good news, but I can see many authorities being conned.
    I cannot understand why bduk don’t concentrate their efforts on innovative solutions instead of aiding and aBETting the incumbent to protect its obsolete business model keeping us tied to a copper phone line when it is patently obvious it doesn’t deliver value for millions of consumers.
    Chris

    chrisconder

    2011/07/01 at 09:36

    • The USC isn’t symmetrical. Symmetry is a totem pole for campaigners to dance around, hardly anyone buys faster upstream when it’s available and most of us would be happy with “enough” upstream as opposed to the same up as down. Some people might even want / need higher upstream than down. There are rational arguments for asymmetry.

      PhilT

      2011/07/01 at 13:16

      • On the rare times when I upload video to this blog I would really, really appreciate a better upstream rate than I am offered. Nearly six hours to upload a 4 min video? (OK, so it was fairly hi def for readers’ benefit).
        I’d be happy to convert my download speed into upload speed, ideally on demand. And why should I have to pay more, since I’m using the same total bandwidth? Why am I not offered the choice, or even a price?

        Ian Grant

        2011/07/01 at 14:56

      • If the Health Service wakes up and starts using video conferencing for consultations then significantly greater upload will be needed. Tools like Skype are also hampered when using high quality multi-way video conferencing for home workers (I’d never use it for a client meeting). And anyone with kids will know the challenges of kids trying to use gaming which often has a peer-to-peer element.

        That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to symmetrical but it does mean it needs to be significantly more so than today’s services.

        Adrian

        2011/07/01 at 15:32

  2. Just possible that the definitions were based on what solutions could be deployed based on a fixed amount of funding from BDUK.

    Somerset

    2011/07/01 at 12:54

    • That might be true. In which case it shows a failure to imagine other ways to attract investment. But let’s find out, shall we?

      Ian Grant

      2011/07/01 at 13:05

    • The outputs of BDUK seem to have taken a real dive around the time KPMG were appointed and Rob Sullivan took over. So I suspect the definitions were created during the period when Rob Sullivan should have been listening to his experienced staff rather the unimaginative and ill-informed outputs of expensive consultants. Government should know by now that the price tag isn’t always an indication of quality.

      I know that many of the people I’ve met in BDUK have a much better grasp of the NGA industry than this document suggests, and I suspect they feel as let down as many of the rest of us.

      Adrian

      2011/07/01 at 13:46

  3. If the Health Service wakes up and starts using video conferencing for consultations then significantly greater upload will be needed – a 2 Mbps USC would be useless to the health service.

    Tools like Skype are also hampered when using high quality multi-way video conferencing for home workers (I’d never use it for a client meeting). And anyone with kids will know the challenges of kids trying to use gaming which often has a peer-to-peer element.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to symmetrical but it does mean it needs to be significantly more so than today’s services.

    Adrian

    2011/07/01 at 15:33

    • What speeds are needed for video conferencing? ISDN has been used successfully for many years.

      Somerset

      2011/07/01 at 15:36

  4. do you have an 832k or better upstream service ? if not, why not. If you aren’t prepared to pay for it then it obviously doesn’t really matter.

    PhilT

    2011/07/03 at 00:04

  5. On the point about 15Mbps, Pauline Rigby, author of INCA’s Beyond Broadband guide commented today on our weekly skype call that 15mbps downstream is the lower limit that BT uses in determining whether FTTC is practical.

    Re: symmetry, I’m with Adrian and Ian on this. Many of those working on INCA activities do so from home. Weekly skype voice calls are ok, but I would love to be able to organise group video conference calls between us to enhance group communications.

    Regards,
    Malcolm

    Malcolm Corbett

    2011/07/04 at 11:59

    • Malcolm – What bandwidth do group video calls need?

      Somerset

      2011/07/04 at 17:20


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