To be honest £4,000 doesn't sound too bad compared to the initial hassle of digging the fibre.etc. If a cabinet has 100 lines that's £40 a line (Obviously not all have that).
The vectoring bill of £4,000 per DSLAM does seem unduly low; especially compared to the £30,000 that the sweaty-palmed incumbent charges the taxpayer for bringing FTTC to just one cabinet, given half a chance.
How does that blistering £30,000 bill per cabinet actually break down? Alas we may never know. Non-disclosure agreements forbid insiders from breathing a word. Even Margaret Hodge, the sabre-toothed chair of the Public Accounts Committee was stonewalled in her quest for the truth.
We're also comparing apples and oranges here. BT, the buckaneer of British broadband will be plundering the vectoring kit from the Chinese at rock-bottom prices. Whereas that latter figure (£30k a cabinet) is what BT is gouging from our cash-strapped local councils. In one case screwing the tiddlywink parish council for Great Asby, Cumbria (pop. 280) for a staggering £60,000 for just two measly FTTC cabinets.
The big question is who's going to pay for all these new vectoring DSLAMs, John?!
I can give you a suggestion for that, if you get elected.
100% tax on all bankers bonuses and use that cash!
First manifesto pledge it is then! Scalp the bankers to bankroll a Great British Bonzana in Broadband Building!
It is time the Public played a proper hands-on role in building a fibre broadband network of the future. A true Public Works programme is needed. In the same Roosevelt tradition that lifted America out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Across America, FDR's Public Works Administration funded and built new railroads, highways, schools, hospitals, public housing, and so. Providing much-needed work at a time of high unemployment and poverty. A recipe for success; as relevant today in our era of "Schachtian" severe austerity. Under Roosevelt, the Public were mighty proud of playing their part in the Recovery; helping to lift the American Republic from her economic malaise, while at the same time building something great for the future.
Today, a similar Public Works programme should fund the rollout of FTTH across our land, future-proofing our telecommunications infrastructure for generations to come. It's quite wrong that BDUK continues to throw large bundles of unaudited taxpayer cash at BT, a public quoted company. While securing nothing in return. Strings-free gifts to a dummy-sucking parasite! Not even demanding equity in return for that public investment. It's our money for chrissake!
BT's network subsidiary, BT Openreach needs to be spun off, and better yet re-nationalised. Whether taken back into public hands in whole or in part. That public stake in the network gauged according to the taxpayer subsidies the telco operator has received for fibre rollout, as well as on the profits it has already made from state investments.
BT plc, to date, has received a £1.7 billion public subsidy from BDUK to rollout its half-baked FTTC offering across its crumbling network. According to the Financial Times today, the Government expects to "invest more than £1bn in [further] subsidising the rollout of superfast broadband..by 2017" That's a totally inappropriate funding model.
A full FTTH project needs vision and lots of cash. What better way to truly engage The People in the information revolution than by a Public Works programme? Funding full FTTH rollout through Public Credit. Issuing "fibre broadband bonds" to retail investors. Alas the liquidity today is largely in the hands of the affluent silver-surfer generation; their fortunes secured in more prosperous times. But today their nest-eggs dwindle under our low interest rate climate; diluted even further by the inflationary ("QE") policies of the central bankers. What better place to re-invest those life savings - with guaranteed returns - than in a nationalised telecommunications network?
To be sure, an enthused public would be invested in the fullest sense. Not just financially, but emotionally too, in that sense of pride from playing their part in building something quite magnificent. Many of the great public institutions of Britain of yesteryear were built in exactly that way: The plaques on many of our finest achievements bearing those heart-warming words: "Paid for by Public Subscription". That's exactly where should be returning to today with rebuilding our telco network - to that very same mindset; that public-spirited ethos.
The Public Credit method of funding infrastructure work has been all but lost in recent years. Yet as recently as the 1970s, local authorities in Britain were still financing Public Works through credit from issuing municipal bonds ("munibonds"). Today, these would be medium to long-term investments in building the information superhighway of the future. With yields secured on future revenues from the new fibre network. The Public taking increasing equity stakes in a demerged and defloated BT Openreach; the more we invest, the more of Openreach we nationalise.
Yet maybe that mindset of Public Credit - and (Hamilton's) principle of using it for the Provision of the General Welfare - is already upon us? There are certainly some interesting things happening in public finances. The government recently launched a series of "Pensioner Bonds" paying market-leading interest rates, with plans to secure a whopping £20 billion of credit from the bond issues. How it actually plans to invest that cash is not yet clear. Crossed fingers for FTTH rollout on that one! And then Monday, a new municipal debt agency was announced, "with annual [municipal bond] issuance likely to ramp up quickly to £2bn-£3bn." The new “munibonds” says the FT, will be used to fund Public Works such as new social housing projects.
Maybe a shekel or two left spare among all that cash for funding FTTH rollout? We can hope!
You have seen my avatar haven't you?
Ye of little faith! Each step at a time. Rome wasn't built in a day. The momentum for change is definitely gathering; dark storm clouds are looming over Newgate Street. The telco sector may yet get a Coloured Revolution of its own.
First battleplan of our special operation, Field Marshall Licquorice, is to storm the BT boardroom, and seize Openreach from the clutches of her cold-blooded, cruel and callous parent. For her own good, we must bring that poor child into protective custody.
Even the Financial Times, that stalwart of the City of London agrees* with us on that much....
"A little sand in the shoe of BT’s structure is no bad thing. Thirty years after privatisation, its ownership of Openreach is starting to feel anachronistic and cumbersome, requiring endless pages of rules. A cleaner solution would be to have the unit in independent hands."
And what gentler hands for nurturing our fledgling FTTH network than those of Her Majesty's Government?!