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Standard User Bob_s2
(experienced) Fri 27-Sep-13 12:36:14
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More HS Broadband Issues


[link to this post]
 
More problems with the HS Broadband Rollout seem to be coming to light. BT are dropping some areas from the Commercial Rollout but these will not be included in the BDUK rollout so they are left high and dry unless as further phase of BDUK occurs which at present seems unlikely
Standard User BatBoy
(legend) Fri 27-Sep-13 12:41:00
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: Bob_s2] [link to this post]
 
No links?


__________________________________________________________________________a bit harsh and a tad childish__________________
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Fri 27-Sep-13 13:41:13
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: Bob_s2] [link to this post]
 
Name the areas?

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.


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Standard User Bob_s2
(experienced) Sat 28-Sep-13 15:32:10
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Haughley Green in Suffolk is one of them
Standard User mikejp
(learned) Sat 28-Sep-13 16:39:51
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: Bob_s2] [link to this post]
 
Makes for an interesting 'legal' situation then, as if they 'declared' the areas in the OMR and have now changed their plans.........................
Standard User simon194
(committed) Sun 29-Sep-13 01:14:06
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: Bob_s2] [link to this post]
 
FTTC in Haughley Green was never going to happen, and Openreach has already said as much, even though PCP 24 which serves the village is already fibre enabled because it's over 1.5 miles away.
Standard User gerarda
(newbie) Tue 01-Oct-13 23:04:51
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: simon194] [link to this post]
 
BT offered to provide a cabinet in Haughley Green (there is fibre running through the village linking two exchanges) at a cost of £40,000. The matter was referred back to the Suffolk County Council so they could argue about who was going to pick up this tab. BT have given a public commitment to provide superfast broadband in Haughley Green by Spring 2014. Whether the commitment will be honoured remains to be seen.

The other villages in the Stowmarket non-intervention area, Battisford, Little Finborough , Combs etc are probably worse off there as there appears to be no sanction in the BDUK contract to enforce commitments relating to non-intervention areas
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 01-Oct-13 23:08:28
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
What do you mean by non intervention area?

A commercially declared area?
Or
Within 85% superfast target area
Or
Outside superfast but within scope for 2Mbps USC
Or
Something else

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Wed 02-Oct-13 08:40:43
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
Were all the companies (including BT) asked for their "commitments" for areas or for their "plans"? I understood they were asked what they were planning to do - but as we all know once you start to do the work there are all sorts of things that can upset plans.

Does anyone actually know that BT are legally committed to deliver to areas they were planning to do? I don't think they were personally.

There is also the consideration that some areas where BT didn't have plans they have actually now done and so those have had to be removed from BDUK as they can no longer receive subsidy - swings and roundabouts?
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 09:21:10
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
My reading of BDUK is that so councils can add/remove to the intervention area over life of project, but of course this can create issues.

Perhaps this fluid nature is why councils are not putting out postcode lists, beyond the conspiracy theories

As for legal obligations, don't recall anything for the commercial areas. The BDUK contracts are of course contracts and will have legally binding clauses to meet.

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 02-Oct-13 10:29:10
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
Based on my understanding of EU law rather than specific knowledge of the BDUK process, I suspect that the companies are asked for a declaration of their intentions for commercial roll-out on a specific date, as state aid cannot be used to compete with commercial enterprise.


A company's declaration cannot represent a contractually binding commitment to develop such an area, as there's no consideration (price or promise) flowing to the company in return for their promise. Consideration is a fundamental requirement of a contract.


The doctrine of promissory estoppel is equally inapplicable to a promise to develop superfast broadband. Promissory estoppel arises when detrimental reliance is made on a promise, but is limited to situations where the relying party places reliance in a promise by the other party to give up their legal rights.

For example, if I agreed to cancel a debt you owed me free of charge to you (so there was no consideration) and we did not make this agreement as a deed (which would overcome the lack of consideration), there would be no contract to cancel the debt that you could rely on. However, if you subsequently made financial commitments relying on my cancellation of the debt, a court would likely hold that I was estopped by my promise if I later demanded repayment.

The learning point is that if there is any hint an agreement might not be backed by consideration and might not therefore be a contract, you should either insist the promise is made in return for consideration - which need only be a penny or a peppercorn (consideration must be adequate but need not be sufficient) - or ensure it is made as a deed (which overcomes the requirement for consideration).

A promise by a company to develop superfast broadband in an area is a statement of intent based on the best knowledge available at the time, rather than the company giving up any sort of legal rights it has over the council or anyone else. In any event, estoppel is a matter of equity (roughly speaking, what is most just) rather than a right, and I'm sure any court would accept it as fair, just and reasonable for the company to change its plans for sound commercial reasons.


Accordingly, I expect declarations of rollout plans by the companies are used solely to exclude areas for consideration of state aid during the planning process. If companies later change their plans, there's no legal reason I can think of why the BDUK project cannot revisit its decisions, though there comes a point where the planning is too advanced for changes to be made. Eventually the available money is committed as seems best and contracts are signed.


With any process as complex as the commercial superfast broadband rollout and the BDUK project, there will always be some examples of hopes being raised and dashed. I don't share in Bob's conspiracy theories - I believe BT Openreach are doing their best to roll out a product that many want to buy via the retail providers. Openreach can only expend resources on rolling out where there is reasonable expectation of a commercial return on their investment (otherwise they do not have a viable proposition for potential investors in the project), or where justified by external income such as BDUK and contributions from developers.

Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Wed 02-Oct-13 10:57:38
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
So I was right then wink

They merely said where they planned and those plans can change - how BDUK projects handle those changes is a different matter.
Standard User gerarda
(newbie) Wed 02-Oct-13 10:58:35
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Commercial
Standard User gerarda
(newbie) Wed 02-Oct-13 11:16:45
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
I think there is a difference when the commercial operator giving the promise is subsequently awarded the contract for the remaining areas. I believe that part of the conditions for the award of that contract should have been a legally binding commitment to honour their promises. In this case more so because the competing providers that were fllling in some of the gaps in the ADSL network waived their intervention rights for the common good.

In any event wasn't the consideration for the promise that BDUK would not give state funding to a competitor?

Iincidentally I don't think the conspiracy theories are valid, just naive, or incompetent or lazy public servants and ministers unable to tell BT fact from fiction
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 11:24:53
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
In which case as others have said there is no penalty if Openreach shrinks its commercial footprint, beyond people complaining.

Trouble is what may be shrinkage in one area, might be an improvement in another.

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 11:26:49
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
In any event wasn't the consideration for the promise that BDUK would not give state funding to a competitor?

In which case what about Virgin Media and other operators who will have responded as part of the Open Market Review?

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User gerarda
(newbie) Wed 02-Oct-13 11:47:27
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Did Virgin or anybody else give any commitments about increasing their footprint? I suspect not. I also think it unlikely that anyone in a Virgin cabled area cannot get a 2mb service so the minimum commitment is likely to be met.
Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Wed 02-Oct-13 11:56:19
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by gerarda:
Did Virgin or anybody else give any commitments about increasing their footprint? I suspect not. I also think it unlikely that anyone in a Virgin cabled area cannot get a 2mb service so the minimum commitment is likely to be met.


Why do you think they gave a commitment? They provided their plans - where they believed they would be rolling out - but that is subject to change.

And when a BDUK contract is awarded then it is a commitment but individual areas are subject to survey - so they may have said they expect to rollout a specific cabinet but if the survey shows it is prohibitively expensive then either the authority could pay extra, they could switch the plans to another area or they can agree to cancel it completely.

The bidding process does not allow enough time to do full surveys and the cost of doing so pre-contract would stop anyone from bidding. Therefore it is caveated to subject to survey and there are then decisions to be made as to what to do if the surveys are not as expected.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 11:59:30
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
So what legally binding commitments did BT enter into?

AFAIK there is none - i.e. they could just half the commercial roll-out at anytime.

At the end of the day, trying to do state aid, while the commercial programme was underway was always going to be dodgy, as you have NOT proven market failure.

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 02-Oct-13 12:00:01
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by gerarda:
I think there is a difference when the commercial operator giving the promise is subsequently awarded the contract for the remaining areas.
Morally, perhaps - but as a matter of contract law, the declaration of intention was, as far as I can see, non-binding at the time it was made. If so, it cannot subsequently become binding without the promise being embodied in some sort of contract.

The way I was taught contract law was to put the events on a time line to discover who was bound by what from when. This approach is very helpful for the various contracts involved in a BDUK scheme.

In reply to a post by gerarda:
I believe that part of the conditions for the award of that contract should have been a legally binding commitment to honour their promises.
If a requirement to roll out to the declared plans is written into the contractual terms agreed with the winning operator, it is clearly binding on that operator. Of course, other operators may have declared roll out that would remain non-binding for them.

I would see your proposed term as a good thing - but whether it's commercially realistic for the winning operator (almost certain to be BT) to accept such a term is unclear. I don't know whether such a term would be compatible with BDUK rules.

In any event, it's maybe more likely for the winning operator to change their commercial roll out plans during the detailed planning that takes place between the initial declaration and winning the BDUK bid. If there's sound commercial reasons for the changes, is it likely the winning operator will agree to reinstate plans they know are not commercially viable as a condition of the BDUK contract?

In reply to a post by gerarda:
In this case more so because the competing providers that were fllling in some of the gaps in the ADSL network waived their intervention rights for the common good.

In any event wasn't the consideration for the promise that BDUK would not give state funding to a competitor?
As a matter of EU law, state funding cannot be given to commercially viable roll out. If you engage with the BDUK process you take a commercial risk, knowing you will get no state funding unless your bid succeeds. This seems to leave a promise not to give state funding to a competitor as a nullity.


I'm not quite sure what you mean by competitors 'waiving their intervention rights'. The nature of BDUK is that one operator is given funding towards roll out that would not otherwise be commercial on a risk-sharing basis.

The award of a BDUK contract doesn't affect the rights of any losing bidders and organisations who didn't bid. They are free to roll out anywhere they see a commercial proposition in doing so and will not be competing with BDUK aided roll out in those areas. They know they will not be state aided for non-commercial roll out, as the BDUK contract goes to the winning bidder.

In reply to a post by gerarda:
Iincidentally I don't think the conspiracy theories are valid, just naive, or incompetent or lazy public servants and ministers unable to tell BT fact from fiction
So much of the debate around broadband roll out ignores economics, physics and engineering reality.

Universal FTTP would be great - but is unaffordable at the current state of development unless ministers are willing to cancel a huge project like HS2 and spend many billions on broadband instead.

FTTC leverages the existing cabinets and downstream metallic pairs.

FTTC is an enabling technology for future deeper fibre, as the aggregation nodes deployed for FTTC are used for FTTP (and FTTDP if that becomes a commercial reality rather than a research project). This investment, together with investment in backhaul networks from the handover nodes, will not be lost as technology continues to develop. It's not as if money is being put into a technological dead-end.

However, FTTC is limited by the length and condition of the metallic pairs downstream from the cabinet. This inevitable consequence of using the existing assets is the down side of deploying a solution that is affordable and deliverable with today's technology.


Hopefully future technological developments and economies of scale reduces the viability hurdles for FTTC roll out and makes FTTP deployment a more viable proposition. If BT Openreach finds a way to make FTTPoD more cost-effective for consumers, it might be possible to overlay the existing FTTC network with FTTP on a fairly extensive scale by sharing the cost with the end users.

Unfortunately any sort of civil engineering work is expensive.

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 12:11:21
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
In fact the only way to properly pre-survey for anything needing power is to apply to the power company for an estimate, and if roll-out is say 18 months away the costs may have changed since then.

Technically anything is possible in terms of getting >2 Mbps to everyone, the problem comes from trying to do it within a budget and via a service people are happy with.

I can understand people wanting commitments to roll-out but can see the problems that can arise.

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User gerarda
(newbie) Wed 02-Oct-13 12:18:10
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
I do not think it is that difficult to look on a map and see all the places that are more that 1.5km from a cabinet, but no one appeared to do that in Suffolk .

However to be fair Suffolk Council when they appoint so called experts to do reports and those experts make statements such as "ADSL is universally available across Suffolk" there is no wonder they get in the mess we are in now
Standard User gerarda
(newbie) Wed 02-Oct-13 12:33:19
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
The state aid consultation document states"to the extent that operators claim a footprint for their networks they will need to provide sufficient information for us to be able to make a judgement about where areas should be classified as NGA Grey or NGA white for the purposes of defining our proposed intervention area"

It thus appears that if you give insufficient information eg do not disclose which postcodes are more that 1.5km from a cabinet, or state that you will roll out to these areas by some other means, then the intervention area has been set wrongly.

The catch 22 of course is that BT are on now on both sides of the boundary, so they win either way.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 12:33:41
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
In the sense that all exchanges offer an ADSL service in Suffolk that is true I believe.

In the sense that all lines in Suffolk have an opportunity to order ADSL it is probably true. There is an old figure from 3 or 4 years ago, that BT had ~32,000 lines in UK where people had ordered ADSL and it was not found to work at all.

Now how many of those are in Suffolk I don't know, but given time you could work it out, and the same with distance plots etc

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User gerarda
(newbie) Wed 02-Oct-13 12:58:31
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
and that "sense" is why Governments believe everyone has access to ADSL. I cannot think of any other situation under which a definition of available actually includes unavailable, and it is a testament to the ability of BTs spin department that it appears to be an industry norm
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 02-Oct-13 14:24:12
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
There's only so much granularity possible in a scheme like BDUK. Long lines (>1.5 km from the cabinet) are a particular challenge that may well fall through the gaps, as they are often highly geographically dispersed and low in density.

In some cases, network rearrangement may allow the creation of a secondary connection point closer to the served premises, and it would be possible to site an FTTC cabinet there. I'm not sure whether BT Openreach do this in practice - it's merely a possibility.

In many cases, the long lines are so geographically dispersed that there's no way to rearrange the network to create a viable deployment scenario for FTTC. The problem is finding a site for the cabinet that gives worthwhile predicted speeds for the end users without complete network reorganisation and running new lines from subscribers to a new cabinet (which is extremely costly - if you're going to go to all this civil engineering trouble, you may as well deploy FTTP whilst you're at it).

The obvious answer from a technological standpoint is FTTP, but the installation costs are far too expensive for the limited funds available, particularly from an 'investment per served premises' standpoint. The distances involved only serve to increase the cost per premises served.


If there's 80 long lines on a cabinet, in four rough groups which are all of relatively low density, the only economically viable solution for superfast broadband for those premises is likely to be wireless - fixed wireless (4G / WiMAX, Wi-Fi using specialist antennas) if the population density and terrain are favourable, satellite if not.


A good analogy is mobile phone network coverage targets. Getting to a certain proportion of population is fairly straightforward for the mobile networks - start in the major cities and build outwards in descending order of population density. At any given time, the low density of potential users and the challenges of terrain form an upper bound on the level of coverage economically deployable. Large and sparsely-populated areas are typically the last to be covered.

With both mobile phones and BDUK, it's important to remember the difference between proportion of population served and proportion of land mass covered. BDUK is about fixed users, so does not have the problem mobile users find of coverage disappearing when they move away from populatid areas. There will be areas, especially in large and sometimes sparsely populated areas like Suffolk and Norfork, where there is quite reasonably no need for superfast broadband.


BDUK, at least in the incarnation we have now, never promised 100% superfast coverage.

BDUK's aim is to get a superfast fibre-based service or an equivalent to 88% of population by end 2015 and 95% of population by end 2017. This will inevitably mean selecting the properties that are easiest to serve and deploying networks there, leaving the rest unserved. The maximum public benefit is derived by serving the greatest number of properties with the available funds. It is not possible to providing 'at any cost' solutions for the most difficult to serve areas, and those areas should not expect to receive anything from BDUK.


There's also a 2Mbit/s universal service obligation - but that's not really what we're talking about here.

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 14:32:40
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: gerarda] [link to this post]
 
Not just in the UK either, BT's reach must be massive.

Makes you wonder about other areas where politicians take stats are absolute without any understanding of the limitations

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 02-Oct-13 14:36:03
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
COUGH Universal Service Commitment

A minister once made that mistake in front of lots techies and other MPs

The aim is still 90% for 2015 - but an acceptance that current projections suggest 88% most likely.

The general hope is that by doing FTTC to all cabinets in a county most will manage the 2 Mbps without too much issue, and to hit the various superfast targets that will almost need to be done.

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User gazzyk1ns
(committed) Wed 02-Oct-13 16:10:02
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Re: More HS Broadband Issues


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
I live in Suffolk, and the worst "exchange/cabinet>properties" example I can think of off the top of my head is if you live in Brettenham, which is served by the Rattlesden exchange - that's 5km away, and that's as the crow flies. The BT checker says 2.5MB max, with WBC having a placeholder date of the 31st Dec, so I suppose IF those figures prove realistic then it's not the worse case scenario. Thorpe Morieux is served by the Cockfield Green exchange which is "only" 3km away as the crow flies, but the BT checker says "up to 1MB" on ASDSL Max, and 0.5 for fixed rate, with no date set for WBC. So they're not even planning to hit their >2MB target there.

I know distance from exchange isn't everything (or sometimes anything) when we're talking about the prospect of any type of fibre, but there are loads of places like that in Suffolk. I'm sure loads of people rely on local wireless services, I didn't want to start a competition of who can find the worst cases!

Edited by gazzyk1ns (Wed 02-Oct-13 16:11:23)

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