Every time I read an article on Ian's site, I find the text to be a sequence of bad assumptions, and technical inaccuracies. It is funny how these fallacies link together to reach a conclusion he wants to reach anyway... but it always seems to be a mountain built out of a molehill, built on shifting sands.
I find that in almost every article, I could tear apart virtually every paragraph. Sometimes I even feel the need to leave a comment doing so.
But then I read the comments. The population of the blog don't appear to be much interested in the truth, or in debate. They don't appear to be interesting in engineering detail. They just want to build the molehill higher at every possibility, built on personal agendas.
For example, in that article, and others, he regularly states that Openreach is the division responsible for the "network infrastructure" of BT. Unfortunately, he always fails to note that it is only the access network: The voice exchanges, exchange-based DSLAMs and MSANs, and core network infrastructure/transmission infrastructure all belong to other divisions.
That means he misses any spending related to BT Wholesale, for example, so the cost of backhaul from fibre head-ends will be missing from his analysis. The cost of the external contractors for the submarine links being installed as part of the Scottish rollout is at least 20% of the HIE project, and BT's internal component will add more. Missed entirely. IIRC, BT expect the core network to handle 5x as much data over the next few years, presumably mostly generated through expanded takeup of fibre.
Another example is seen regularly, with a wilful desire to confuse line lengths when talking about VDSL2 speed. His latest article, for instance, puts one graph (the distribution of exchange line lengths) next to a graph of speed vs distance for VDSL2 (so obviously cabinet line-length). Is the difference clarified? No. Is there even a need for exchange line-lengths in the article? No. Does it appear like a deliberate attempt to fudge? It looks that way to me.
The whole site (both articles and comments) seem to revolve around the belief that "long lines" (meaning long exchange lines) always
equates to slow speeds. That being rural means a long exchange line and a slow speed. The latest article is even worse - taking quotes from the recent "Digital Business First" document that are patently useless: "large areas of the UK ... 10 million homes and businesses ... speeds of 2 and 24Mbps ... These "have nots" are being left to languish in the slow lane indefinitely." There are so many ways to criticise that one paragraph, yet Ian chooses not to do so, but instead to highlight it.
On the whole, his articles repeat quotes from dubious sources, and sets out to criticise BT. He never once critiques the flaws in the sources he uses, even when he uses them in sensible ways.
Somewhere in there are probably one or two valid, decent, points. But they're coated in so much drivel that I find I cannot trust him. And nowhere more so than the subject of money.
In the sidebar, Ian says he depends on the words he writes to put bread on the table. I worry for the health of his family...
but interesting how I've only heard people really talk about >45k for a cabinet but they once cost 11k?
Having read some of the PAC report this afternoon, I think they're comparing apples with pears there, but it isn't obvious. When the "Ireland" cabinet is discussed, the £11k number is dismissed as "cabinet only" - suggesting that the other numbers are for something more than the cabinet.
The highest costs in the graph's on Ian's site seems to be for £30k, and the annotations describe this as an orphan cab at ELO rural exchanges.
I believe this refers to exchanges that have no PCP cabinets, and consist of EO lines only, so the cost must include the work to retro-fit a PCP into the copper wiring, and then add a fibre twin to the setup.
Adding the PCP is probably quite a labour-intensive, and therefore expensive, job.