Due to slight distractions like reporting the fact that 17 Tower Hamlets councillors were corruptly elected in May 2014 and got away with it (so far – don’t give up the day jobs) Love Wapping is guilty of not properly covering normal hyperlocal issues like the abysmal broadband ‘service’ provided by BT in E1W.
Ooh a quiz!
This will now be rectified and a possible solution in the form of the Relish home broadband service
highlighted being fawned over. But first a quiz. Look at the two photos below.
The first photo is of the view from the Wapping Mole’s recent temporary HQ in Cowfold, West Sussex. Cowfold is lovely and Moley was loathe to burrow his way back to E1W but it is not, how shall we say this? Central?
The second photo is of course Wapping High Street. Busy, innit? The Wapping Mole is now back in his burrow not a million miles away from where this photo was taken.
What can we deduce from these two photographs?
Cowfold v Wapping
- Cowfold is lovely and green and quiet. Wapping is lovely and not that green and often a bit noisy.
- Cowfold is 66 miles from Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge is our local bridge.
- Cowfold is a rural area, Wapping is an urban area
So which has the better broadband speed? Cowfold or Wapping?
Cowfold. By a country mile. BT Openreach provides the lucky residents of Cowfold with 80Mbps of high speed broadband. EIGHTY.
In contrast many areas of Wapping are only capable of getting internet access speeds similar to that provided by modems. Remember them? 256Kbps was good! (Kbps – not Mbps)
Wapping’s most famous squirrel photographer finds it almost impossible to upload squirrel photos to the interweb due to extremely slow upload speeds.
Why is there such a disparity between rural Cowfold and urban Wapping? Because BT, which still dominates and controls the UK’s internet, does not give a flying squirrel about Wapping.
Or to be more precise it can’t make a big enough profit.
Wapping residents are being excluded from taking full economic advantage of the internet because they are denied adequate access speeds to the internet by BT.
BT has been promising Wapping residents it’s ‘super fast fibre broadband service for years. If you want to waste your time checking if it is available you can do so here but the response will be ‘computer says whenever’.
Maybe this huge telecoms giant has been lying to residents just to keep on the right side of the regulators? Surely not.
Sky, a competitor to BT of course, has raised the issue of the Openreach service failure with Ofcom and is calling for ‘a full market investigation’.:
“The scale of these problems is directly related to the level of investment in the ‘last-mile’ or ‘access’ copper infrastructure that connects individual homes to BT’s network. Alongside the submission, research by independent consultancy Frontier Economics shows years of declining investment in maintaining the copper network.”
Copper network is what most of us in Wapping have. It’s no use for fast internet.
Sky’s initial submission to Ofcom’s Strategic Review of Digital Communications is available here.
Wapping E1W is a digital ghetto
There are many reasons for the fact that Wapping E1W is a digital ghetto, the complacency of BT being the primary reason, and is a subject that LW will be returning to in the future.
Many Wapping residents have tried or considered other internet service providers with not a huge amount of success. The simple reason for this is that the other internet service providers are completely reliant on BT providing the physical infrastructure on top of which they can provide their own service.
BT doesn’t provide this in Wapping so you dear reader are absolutely shafted. Unless you move to Cowfold. It’s great.
More geek details on this in another post.
Note: LW did make a half hearted attempt to undertake broadband survey a while back but we can only do so much.
BT Broadband sucks. Relish broadband rocks. Usually.
So what to do? Love Wapping gave up with the useless, inept, fat and farty BT ‘broadband’ service some time ago and switched over to Relish home broadband service sometime ago and since then every bit and byte and LW jolliness has been transmitted to you via Relish.
How does this wonder work? Well in Vaughan Way / Knighten Street there is a black box of tricks and a damn great mast. You will have walked past both of these and probably not noticed either of them.
On top of the mast is a wireless gadget that connects to your Relish hub – if you have one – and then lets you connect to the interwebs at rather good speeds.
Here is the LW hub:
Cherish your Relish
LW can testify that there are many good things about Relish and only one bad thing.
Good things are that it is very easy to order and set up. You get it and just plug it in. Once it has settled down in its new Wapping home you will be able to see what signal strength you are getting (better signal = better speed) by the little blue lights on the front of the Relish unit. You can see that at the moment LW has for blue lights which is good.
What does this mean in terms of actual speed? Have a look at the test LW did this morning.
44 – 50Mbps was the download speed LW was enjoying in his burrow this morning which is almost top whack.
You can check out this test here.
In fact the Wapping Mole was so pleased by this speed – almost as good as Cowfold – that he took the liberty of adapting a well known ditty by Madonna ‘Cherish’ to reflect his joy and will be singing it all day.
Now try singing along with the Wapping Mole chorus as below:
“Relish the hub
Of always having broad band
(Oh baby I) relish the hub
That brings Love Wapping into my life
(I’m always pinging it)
Relish the hub
You got the power to make me feel good
(And baby I) perish the thought
Of ever leaving
I never would”
Catchy isn’t it? That is your ear worm for the day. Sorry.
Line of sight
The downside of the Relish home broadband service is that the speed you can enjoy is to a certain extent dependent on the location of your home to the mast in Vaughan Way.
This is called ‘line of sight’ for the simple reason that if you can see the Relish mast from where you are the more likely you are to get a nice whizzy speed.
Having said that the Wapping Mole cannot see the Relish mast from his new burrow and there are quiet a few big blocks of flats in the way and has, as you can see, been enjoying very good speeds indeed.
In his previous burrow Moley enjoyed reasonable speeds but not as good as this. Although that burrow was closer to the mast than this burrow for whatever geeky wireless reasons the speed here is more than adequate to order Mole supplies and irritate corrupt politicians.
The Relish hub has been on its travels around Wapping for tests with varying degrees of success. What will it be like for you? No idea. Only way to find out is to order one today, and if you do that before 4pm Monday – Friday you should get it the next working day, then see how it is for you. If you don’t like it then there is a 14-day money back guarantee offered by Relish.
Does this all sound like an advert for Relish? Well Moley does not care if it does. He hasn’t been paid to write this post and in fact should have written it a year ago but the whole Tower Hamlets corruption thing got in the way. Sorry!
Reality is that with no chance whatsoever of the BT ‘super fast fibre broadband’ Openreach service being available in Wapping E1W during our lifetimes we should look elsewhere.
Another interesting option is the Hyperoptic service which can provide REAL super fast broadband speeds of up to 1Gb (yes Gigabit) to you. The only drawback with Hyperoptic is that you need a minimum number of people in your building to sign up for it and of course then you may run into problems with old Wapping buildings and landlords / management companies / pig ignorant owners.
Why does all this matter? Providing a proper super fast fibre broadband service to everyone in Wapping is essential because it provides our community and the businesses and individuals who make up that community with options.
Looking for work? Want to start up your own business? Well having a 1Gb internet pipe in your living room will make a huge difference. Probably the difference between you doing it or not.
Access to super fast fibre broadband should be classed as an essential service for any dwelling in the same way as water, gas and electric services are.
Maybe our new democratic council will take the initiative and team up with someone like Hyperoptic and provide fibre broadband infrastructure to every social housing building in the borough?
Joke is of course that if Wapping was a rural community like Cowfold we would by now have benefitted from schemes to provide super fast fibre broadband to remote areas.
But E1W is right in the heart of a world capital and within sight of both Canary Wharf and the City of London and so is not rural. So someone somewhere either doesn’t care or…. no that’s it.
Maybe we should go and buy some sheep.
Wapping’s digital divide
There is also a real risk of Wapping being split in two.
Wapping canal seems to be marking the dividing line between those parts of our community that have super fast fibre broadband and those that do not.
London Dock, Tobacco Dock and 21 Wapping Lane all have fibre internet.
South of the canal almost no one has. (Correct LW if we are wrong on this).
So what gives with this? We too common down next to the Thames to be allowed super fast fibre broadband access?
To add insult to injury below Wapping there are, as with most parts of London, a huge number of underground tunnels including the sewers.
And guess what runs through these tunnels? A hidden network of massive internet cables that connect London, Canary Wharf and the City to the world.
As you walk to Hussey’s or Wapping Green you are walking over an unimaginable quantity of data zooming around fibre cables which are the backbone of the internet.
In the mast LW has chatted to Hyperoptic and other companies about the possibility of running one of these Damn Big Internet Backbones along (in) Wapping canal. This could then spur off to different key areas.
Not trivial to do but not that complicated either and you would be surprised at the amount of networking expertise Wapping residents have.
Anyone got a boat and a spade? Moles like digging.
For more information