I currently live in a hamlet approx 3miles from the nearest town and according to Sam Knows.com, approx 4km from the nearest nominated BT Openreach exchange. My current provider Talktalk advise me that it is the length of my line that is the cause of the slow speed, and although fibre will be hitting the exchange in spring 2013, due to me being 4km away will be of no use as BT have chosen to leave copper to the doorstep in place! My average speed is 0.68mbps (less than 1mb) but as stated in previous posts, I am paying full price as if I was receiving close to 24mbps, and I think this is unacceptable, as it is in nearly all other retail industries so why should ISP's be exempt?? Clearly Talktalk are not to blame, as after all, BT own the lines of most of the UK phones lines, and Talktalk just pay BT. I have had email correspondance with openreach, and am told it is too expensive for any improvements to be made to the existing line as the population here is so little! Here I see a multi billion profitable company turning their back on rural britain shame on them. The old saying, Rome wasn't built in a day, but they got there eventually! Cutting corners is not the way to go, sewer channels was the way to go according to previous company H20 but that crashed after just 4 years and only served Dundee & Bournemouth, although could of been successful as it is cheaper to lay fibre in that way vs digging up roads. Sadly, I will soon be cancelling my landline/broadband service as I am fed up of buffering on Video-Audio streaming (even spotify!)
I am led to believe that the goverment are meant to be funding some improvements, but I am sure broadband is bottom of the priority list!
BT do not provide or maintain the external network. This is done by Openreach who work for all service providers. Openreach is a separate company within the BT group, and nothing to do with BT Retail, who provide phone and broadband services.
TalkTalk have to pay Openreach to provide and maintain the copper pair from the exchange, to your house. Openreach are only required to provide a line suitable for a telephone, unless there are sufficient orders from broadband providers, for them to invest in providing a fibre connection to a street cabinet.
Alas, all of our utility services are in the hands of big business. That means nothing will be provided without profit unless the government wields the club of compulsion, which then leads to squeals of "state interference" from those who don't benefit directly. "We're not all in it together," you might say.
Unfortunately the above posts are true, you allude too BDUK- http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/telecommunications_and_online/7763.aspx .
These projects are now being ratified (delayed) by the European Commission. http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5355-are-bduk-projects-really-delayed-by-eu-state-aid-rules.html
You might be interested in this scheme, I assume you reside in Devon http://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/ .
Its hard to recommend other methods of obtaining broadband as you mention Video and buffering, as usage on other methods is no where near as generous as fixed lines, usage is where the meat is!