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Missing Paperwork Delays UK Broadband 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the check's-in-the-mail dept.
nk497 writes "UK broadband funding is being delayed... by missing paperwork. The government is doling out £530m to boost UK broadband, but needs European Commission approval first. The department responsible for broadband says it's sent the necessary documents, but the EC says it hasn't received them. It's the latest delay to the funding, following competition concerns over BT's dominance in the market."
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Missing Paperwork Delays UK Broadband

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  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday August 03, 2012 @04:31AM (#40865891) Journal

    What part of something like Registered Return Receipt Mail with Insurance don't these people understand?

    If you have Important Document A to get somewhere, you pay the $20 it takes to send it top level Registered, and it gets there.

    Quoting from someone I heard from a US Post office, "If you send something Registered, and it doesn't arrive, someone loses a job."

    Thread over.

    • by FBeans (2201802) on Friday August 03, 2012 @04:35AM (#40865905)
      $20 doesn't go very far in the UK. Also firing someone in the US post office probably won't help much easier. We have a standard of quality here in the UK, one that we like to consistently under achieve!
      • Heh, but you don't understand. They want it delayed. Post office is just an excuse. Nothing in this world happens by random - or have you heard of truly random number generator? No!
        • by FBeans (2201802)

          Nothing in this world happens by random - or have you heard of truly random number generator? No!

          I have. Random occurs at the quantum level. http://www.fourmilab.ch/hotbits/ [fourmilab.ch] This site creates "hot bits"; truly random numbers. " HotBits are generated by timing successive pairs of radioactive decays detected by a Geiger-Müller tube interfaced to a computer."

        • Computer can not create random numbers, but there are many analog ways of producing random numbers, roulette comes to mind.
          • Computer can not create random numbers

            Stick a length of wire into your sound card's mic jack, then sample the white noise.

          • by bryan1945 (301828)

            I think I did the random number thing about 30 years ago when playing Dungeons and Dragons with dice.

        • have you heard of truly random number generator? No!

          Of course I have. Not a software one, of course; you can't get a true random generator from a deterministic process. But hardware ones based on quantum phenomena can be had for a few hundred dollars.

        • by 1s44c (552956)

          Nothing in this world happens by random - or have you heard of truly random number generator? No!

          Of course I have and so has most of slashdot.

      • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Friday August 03, 2012 @04:42AM (#40865931) Journal

        Sadly true - and it's not just recent. I remember that around 15 years ago, I sent an application pack for a PhD course at a major UK university via Royam Mail recorded delivery. This was a big pack of papers - not just an application form, but substantial portfolio of previous work. Of course, it vanished into a black hole - and I missed the applications deadline as a result. The Royal Mail was very apologetic and there was some derisory compensation offer, but I'd eat my hat if anybody lost their job.

        It was all for the best anyway - I stepped back from it, realised I'd rather go into the world of work rather than further academic study and, I suspect, my life is considerably better now than it would have been if I'd spent a further 3 years studying rather than earning.

        • by Inda (580031)
          If if was that important, you should have sent it 'special delivery'. 'Recorded delivery' isn't worth much; you're just as well off getting 'Proof of posting' which is basically a receipt.

          I worked there for a few weeks, dreaming of that nice summer job where you're home by lunch time. My dreams were shattered. The place is run by idiots in a panic. They couldn't even provide me with hundred-year-old technology - a pushbike.
          • by Ash Vince (602485) *

            If if was that important, you should have sent it 'special delivery'. 'Recorded delivery' isn't worth much; you're just as well off getting 'Proof of posting' which is basically a receipt.

            Yes, well recorded delivery does only cost £3 so that is not really surprising. Special delivery is more akin to the $20 Recorded that the USPO offers according to someone else in this thread although that is still loads cheaper at under £10 (that insures something up to £300 in value I believe). Recorded Delivery is really only designed for letters that have no value but you need a proof of reciept

            I worked there for a few weeks, dreaming of that nice summer job where you're home by lunch time. My dreams were shattered. The place is run by idiots in a panic. They couldn't even provide me with hundred-year-old technology - a pushbike.

            The post office do provide bikes, and they are cool. You probably didn't get one because th

        • by antdude (79039)

          What was your derisory compensation offer like? ;)

      • I'm not asking for competence - that would require a shipment of registered snowballs to hell!

        I'm more grumped out at the *particular* reason they chose, "not receiving a document".

        It all came up for me years ago about a contest entry not being received, and the US Post at that particular branch (representing the national system) "we don't guarantee delivery". (!?) "What about proof of mailing?" "No." So getting rather angry by that point, I said something like "if I had to send the oly original copy of an

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Even if you use registered mail, it doesn't mean much. A few years ago I paid a ticket, and they cashed the check, but still claimed the ticket was "unpaid".

        I THOUGHT the UK was a sovereign state. Why do they need permission from the central EU government? If one of the U.S. states decided to rollout broadband, they would just do it. They don't need permission from the Congress to enact land improvements internal to their state borders.

      • Yeah, if they were serious about getting it there on time, they would have used Fedex.

    • by Havenwar (867124)

      Well, that's assuming it didn't arrive. On the other hand it's much more likely it's just on the bottom of a pile of mail on some desk of someone who got fired, is on vacation, or just didn't realize it was important. While british mail is rather incompetent from what I hear, politicians and bureaucrats still hold the title in losing paperwork, so I'm more inclined to believe it's on their side.

      • That's the entire point of that service. It creates a trail to prevent this story's nonsense, and even your good guess.

        Sender points to his slip that says his Docuement entered the Black Hole (Mail Service).
        Black Hole says that they delivered the Document.
        Receiver has to *sign for it*.

        So then it just takes a couple questions under perjury to close the gap.
        "Did you bother to check the mailbox in question?"
        "Did you see the Document package?"
        "Why didn't you sign for it to pick it up?"

        So yes, in 2012 I don't wa

        • by Havenwar (867124)

          Okay, I see your point. Still I have seen the problem more often than not - "secretary X signed for the document along with 600 other things she received that day. We will ask her where it might have ended up as soon as she returns from her five week vacation."

          Also worth noting: sending registered mail internationally is far more complicated and expensive than the $20 originally quoted, and tax payers tend to get annoyed when governments spend money. "What do you mean they spend £X on sending a letter

          • Bingo, both to you and the guy talking about the ticket ahead of me.

            I'm quite happy for Secretary X to sign for 600 things then leave for Bermuda. Because then *the news story changes* from "document not received" to "document received but then incompetently mishandled".

    • by digitig (1056110)

      It's good to know that the US Mail takes registered post so seriously. I had call to use UK registered post quite a lot last year, and about one item in three went missing -- far worse than for standard post where I only lose about one item in twenty. The Royal Mail's response was offhand, and in most cases all I succeeded in recovering was the original postage cost. All the registered post gave me in the end was proof that I had sent the item, so I did avoid some hefty penalties I could have been hit with

      • Try getting compensation from a courier firm.... they are almost up to Post Office standards ...

      • Of the last two items of mail I've had from HMG here in the USA, one was sent through Deutsche Bundespost and the other was sent through Malta. So either the government doesn't trust the Royal Mail to deliver its mail, or the prices are so over-the-top that it's cheaper to ship the mail abroad and send it from there.
      • by Firethorn (177587)

        About 'Registered Mail' in the USA. It's a level of service that the US Government trusts enough to send classified documents and objects through. Not the highest levels, of course, but still extremely sensitive documents. Other companies will use it for much the same purpose, in addition to shipping expensive objects such as jewels.

        As such, while it's not perfect, all handlers of registered mail have to pass security investigations, which tends to ensure a certain level of reliability. It's not the fas

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        What the hell is wrong with the UK mail system??? Here in the US, in my entire life there has been _ONE_ instance where I have even HEARD of something getting lost in the mail! And that was sketchy shareware that I suspect may have never been sent in the first place! You lose one in _TWENTY_ in the standard post? Seriously?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      If you read the small print you will notice that Royal Mail International Signed For only tracks and insures the package until it leaves the UK. After that you might get a signature on arrival, if you are lucky.

      I had to take RM to Small Claims Court over this years back. I sent a part back to Hungary for repair and they lost it. The judge was a bit of a dick actually. Awarded me £10+costs because the item was faulty and thus valued at car-boot-sale price, even though the whole point of sending i

    • Hopefully they remembered to make a photocopy of the documents before sending them ;)

  • by FBeans (2201802) on Friday August 03, 2012 @04:32AM (#40865895)
    Is it just me or is it Ironic that the UK broadband is being delayed! Perhaps the government have reached their mail-data-limit for the month and are being heavily throttled? On the other hand, it could be as simple as a lost packet!
    • Ironically the red tape seems to be very broad! :-D
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Even 25 years ago they could have faxed the damn documents. Unfortunately these are the Luddites in charge of delivering the government's promise to have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015. I would have added "ha!" but it really isn't that funny.

    • I was not involved!

  • ... the American government was incompetent!

  • Ah... state aid clearances...

    The philosophy behind the system is sound - Government subsidies to particular companies distort the market, so in a competitive marketplace, such subsidies shouldn't happen unless there's an over-riding social benefit. And it's important that there's somebody impartial to check whether such a social benefit actually exists. Sounds fair enough to me.

    In practice, if you ask any UK civil servant (or, I suspect, a civil/public servant in any EU member state) who has had to deal wit

  • Since when? Did someone steal it all?

    • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

      Hmm, there are still places with poor broadband coverage, or they may mean "high speed" broadband (e.g. FTTC), which only a fraction of the UK has. I don't have it and I'm on what is laughably called the Cambridge Science Park Exchange. We don't even have 21CN [wikipedia.org] enabled on this exchange and only one LLU provider.

      Cynically I suspect BT of deliberately not rolling out 21CN or FTTC on this exchange, because they don't want any of the small to medium sized companies on the park switching from high cost leased l

      • by Havenwar (867124)

        The headline says broadband is delayed which implies it doesn't exist, that it has yet to be introduced at all - not that it has poor coverage.Of course I'm aware that the UK has very poor broadband saturation, but honestly I don't find it to be so bad as to be called non-existent.

        • Cable broadband saturation is definitely poor - sometimes, only one side of a street has it. ADSL-based broadband is essentially ubiquitous in all towns and cities, although some remote rural areas are lacking.

          However you look at it, the vast majority of the UK has access to some form of broadband.

          How well they work and how fast they are, now that's a whole other story...

          • Ahh the cable companies mess ... Loads of small companies who signed people up to cable TV and broadband as they laid the cables.... and so only cabled up the people who wanted it then ...

            These all eventually were merged into what is now Virgin Media ... who now have the legacy of this patchy system ....

            Can I have cable broadband, no sorry your building has not been cabled, even though I live in the centre of a large UK city, two doors down from the telephone exchange!

      • At least you're on the science park exchange, try being on either the Bar Hill exchange or the Cottenham one.
        3Mb on a good day...

        • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

          Ouch. We can at least get 7-8mbps most days.

          • by Blahah (1444607)

            I don't know what's wrong with your connections - I'm in Cambridge and I get 100mbps, with speed tests always coming out at 98mbps or above. I guess the difference is I'm on Virgin instead of BT.

            • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

              You can't get even get Virgin fibre in this bit of Cambridge (i.e. Chesterton). Well if you believe their website you can't. It may be wrong. Mind you their website doesn't think our house exists. It thinks the one next door, which is exactly the same age and design, exists, but not this one.

      • We had a similar story. Our local exchange (500m away) got 21cn and they (BT) refused to sells us a faster 21cn connection because we already had a 2mb leased line (from before BT's 8mb adsl max rollout) and they could not sell us a cheaper solution...

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      UK broadband is... inconsistent. Very good in places, appalling in others, and still not available in a small minority of places (mostly rural, but with a few surprising urban blackspots).

      I'm lucky - the place I moved into in April (a South London outer suburb) is in an area covered by Virgin Media's cable service, and seems to be at the better end of what they offer. My service is advertised as "up to" 100mbit downstream and 10mbit upstream. The router is capped at 10% above those levels. In reality, durin

  • by aglider (2435074) on Friday August 03, 2012 @04:58AM (#40865981) Homepage

    It's been something like 20+ years ago I've lost my last email.
    Because of a failing relay.
    Unless this paperwork is really worked on paper. In which case I can guess:
    - the envelope has been handed to the post office, but never left it;
    - they missed the proper stamp value on the envelope;
    - they missed the proper destination address on the envelope;
    - the envelope reached the destination but got handed to the wrong office which trashed it;
    - the paperwork has been written in English and sent to a German/French/Italian only speaking office;
    - the paperwork has been sent to Cowboy Neal;
    - all of the above at the same time.

  • They're all at the bloody Olympics rather than working, probably didn't even bother posting the letters
    • On a side note, my company's sister company has been told they will have to wait until after the Olympics have finished before BT will enable their FTTC connection.

      Even though the exchange is enabled and ready to go (and they are in the building next door to the exchange).

      Apparently BT have all their engineers on call in London.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Improve broadband = Should have done years ago.

    Shame on the UK for not voting in a compitent goverment - Oh wait what were the choices again ;-)

    We need someone to start up a Techie party that promises to minisime the number of people involved in pointless administration and finally get the UK into the 21st century. Most of the goverment departments still use their own databases of people and are not linked - so they end up sending paper records to other govement departments for someone to type back into ano

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are only really two options for broadband in the UK

    1)Virgin media which is cable based

    2) ADSL which you can pay various different companies for but they all have to use BT open reach to get the telephone line to your house.

    Customer service is poor across the board, Virgin media have always been poor, its been the one constant through their various different owners. The company you buy ADSL for is limited in what it can do because the bottom line for them is no matter how good a customer service they t

    • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

      They have to use OpenReach unless they have LLU at your exchange, in which case they use their own equipment. ISPs with LLU can generally be spotted because they're cheaper and/or faster (because they're not paying BT's wholesale metered rates).

      • You are getting your dividions of BT mixed up, BT openreach maintain the connections to your house (and I think they also run the FTTC equipment in the cabinets but i'm not positive on that), BT wholesale run ADSL and phone equipment at the telephone exchage and sell service on it to service providers (including BT retail).

        So you can escape from BT wholesale by using a LLU provider but you will still be relying on BT openreach to fix any faults with the cabling to your house.

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      Because I live out in the sticks, it's BT Openreach that repairs the line out to my house whenever it fails even though I'm on LLU. A significant part of the line is overhead, which isn't wonderful for ADSL, but it gets the job done at about 5Mbps and eight miles from the exchange.

      I have *never* had any of the problems you've experienced, although at one point I had to persuade the engineer *not* to repair the line because the power was off anyway and I didn't think it was safe for him to work up a ladder

    • by Ash Vince (602485) *

      There are only really two options for broadband in the UK

      1)Virgin media which is cable based

      2) ADSL which you can pay various different companies for but they all have to use BT open reach to get the telephone line to your house.

      Utter crap. There are many other options.

      Firstly, in the vast majority of urban areas what is on offer is LLU ADSL2+ which is theoretically up to 24Mbps. This is often capped at 1Mbps upload but if you need to upload lots then SDSL is available in many places too. I just got a quote for my home address on the edge of London and Surrey and found I can get SDSL to the home (if I get a mortgage to pay for it, £600 per month but that is a commercial offering not really aimed at home users)

      I just checked m

  • Obviously the forms will now have to be buried in soft peat for 3 months before being recycled into firelighters before they will lift a finger to do anything about this.
  • schadenfreude - schadenfreude/SHädnfroid/
    Noun:
    Pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.

    I have to admit, part of me is happy this morning upon hearing this news. Another part of me says, quit your whinging.
    Fact is: Last time I compared products available for residential broadband in the UK to California, USA : You're years ahead, mate!
    I enviously spied speed/price offerings of sub-$50/month for 100Mbps! From three different Carriers. Whoa.... This is not available in my country for a

  • I can't even turn on the kitchen tap without filling out a 27b/6...

  • Ever street around me can get BT's 'infinity' broadband, with download speeds in the 30-40 meg range, but my street was forgotten about when BT upgraded the exchange and we're stuck with less than a tenth of that speed. Getting this omission dealt with is an ongoing nightmare, BT's 'infinity' division seadfastly refuse to talk to customers. Despite *being* a telephone company, they have no phone number on their website!

    After bashing my head against this one for a while I found they will talk to me when I pu

  • The government is doling out £530m to boost UK broadband, but needs European Commission approval first.

    No, they don't. The UK is a sovereign nation whose government does not need permission from Brussels to engage in the normal domestic functions of government such as rolling out basic services to their citizens. This isn't some matter of foreign or trade policy for which EU buyin would be critical. Nor is it some matter with broader continental repercussions.

    The UK should just go ahead and do it, the EC will not pick a fight for no reason -- I credit them with far more sense than that.

    [ And no, I'm not a ra

  • Did anyone tell them to check their spam filters?? :p

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