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Map of next-generation broadband roll-out
Thursday 12 November 2009 11:40:40 by Andrew Ferguson

Point Topic is well known for its analysis of the UK and overseas broadband market, and has issued a press release showing the proportions of people that will have next generation access (NGA) by various dates up until the end of 2012. Interestingly the Virgin Media DOCSIS 3.0 roll-out is not mapped, even though it will have as much fibre in it as the BT Fibre to the cabinet solution. Previous announcements from Openreach stated that the firm is looking at 2.5 million homes having the option of full fibre to the home (FTTH) by 2012.

UK broadband demand and NGA deployments
Click image to view at full size
  Population covered Coverage as % of UK population
Q4 2009 843,000 1.4%
Q4 2010 4,529,000 7.4%
Q4 2011 10,000,000 16.3%
Q4 2012 21,350,000 34.8%

The map is a population density map of the UK, showing where most of us live, the red areas representing the BT NGA roll-out and pink various 'altnets'. The altnets are where various other fibre projects are known about. If one accepts the 50Meg product from Virgin Media as being next generation then of course the map will look different, but in reality the Virgin Media footprint will overlay that of the BT NGA, and should exceed it as Virgin Media claim around the 50% of UK homes passed mark.

This data puts out into the public domain the oft quoted figures that 50 to 60% will still not have next generation access by 2012, and in theory is where the pot of 50p per month from telephone lines comes in. The plan as it stands this week is for this money to be used to push next generation access up to something above 90% of UK households. Next week, when the Digital Economy Bill is announced, the current governments plans should become clearer, and we may even see the opposition parties put their plans out into the open, particularly as we are just some six to seven months away from a General Election.

The biggest debate is whether public money (from a specific levy or general tax pot) should be used prior to what is normally deemed as market failure. Certainly if by 2011 Openreach and Virgin Media are seeing strong take-up for the faster products they may commit to further spending. Remember that while we complain about the speed of roll-out from commercial companies, the time-scales for publicly funded projects are even slower, and the perception is that a lot of money is wasted within these schemes.


Posted by njalondon over 7 years ago
Where is the information to produce the map sourced? I'd like to see a rough outline of exchanges and dates of service.
Posted by gbswales over 7 years ago
Kind of puts things into perspective - if you want next generation broadband, move to a major city like London or Manchester! Maybe by 2030 they will reach smaller towns and rural areas by about 2100 - its a joke!
Posted by s0nic over 7 years ago
I take it the big red blob over South Yorkshire is referring to the Digital Region Project?
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago
Is there a more detailed map with place names? I'd also like to know who Point Topic think might be building an AltNet in Kent!
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago
There are also some very big surprises here! Ashford not included in Openreach's NGN roll out, why's that? as there are some massive problem areas there in the new builds with no VM!
Posted by ralphaverbuch over 7 years ago
I wonder why no-one is discussing the idea of allowing local communities (as BT once did) to commit to an upgrade by achieving a certain minimum number of households who will upgrade if the faster service is introduced? I championed my own local campaign to get our exchange upgraded and it took us three months to reach BT's requirement to proceed. Why on earth not do the same here? Or allow it to go to tender on the basis of a company doing an LLU at the exchange if those sign-ups go to the tender winner's service for the first X year(s).

Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Is the Broadband Density much different to the population density?

How much does this really tell us?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
I have mentioned the older demand led schemes, and whether a few people willing to pay more for initial set-up could skew the roll-out or encourage a wider roll-out.

A lot is on hold at present until the Digital Economy Bill is sorted I suspect.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
gbswales - Yea, we're so far ahead in terms of *overall* coverage it isn't funny.

ralphaverbuch - Because BT are not at that stage yet? They're still looking at enabling the exchanges they /know/ will be commercially viable. The signups stage, as with origional ADSL, will come later...

(And if you want to get someone like a LLU company in, organise it!)
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
Hah, if it were up to LLU we'd not get half the coverage. Remember - there's only one company that has put its kit in every exchange in the country.

Sad (perhaps) but true.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Yes, quite.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
Dawn_Falcon's point is very valid "And if you want to get someone like a LLU company in, organise it!"

The experience we all gained from the adsl rollout should be built on. Those that "really" want fibre sooner rather than later need to mobilise themselves to pull in operators prepared to make the investment in areas with "proven" demand.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
midlands looks very bleak.
Posted by njalondon over 7 years ago
Having lived in the midlands for 5 years I'll agreee that it's bleak here:)
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
I think Point Topic's sources for BT exchanges are 'speculation'.

I wonder why they aren't including Virgin Media areas in this? It's almost like they want to paint as grim a picture as possible and to include VM will dilute it.
Posted by richiethom over 7 years ago
@timmay, I think the pink in Kent is probably VFast (they're not fibre though, Wimax, I think)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
WOW the numbers are even smaller than i first thought, looks like many will be stuck with shabby MAX products for a while yet
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
I suppose I should be grateful for Max...after all, if I were on a fixed rate product BT would only let me have 1mbps at best, with Max I'm speeding along at a blistering 2mbps.....
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Dixi - Quite correctly, they don't consider VM next-gen.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Well no they call themselves a DSL and Broadband site. That they don't see fit to feature a 50Mbps service available to nearly 50% of the population is something of an anomaly.

VM's HFC network is 'next-gen' being fibre to node. To suggest otherwise would be excluding everything that isn't FTTP.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
So are you actually with BT?

Also have you checked your home wiring?
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
Otester, if you were asking me - I'm with plusnet, although we can only get BT Wholesale.

I've done all I can with my line to get it stable and fast as possible, its physics - too far from the exchange.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Dixi - I stand by my statement.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Then I guess we've very little next-gen stuff in prospect, it being whatever i3 deploy, a few small local deployments and BT's brownfield / greenfield FTTP.

Failing that if you'd like to explain factually rather than from an opinionated standpoint why HFC networks that deliver 3Gbps per nodal area can be considered as being same generation as CO-based DSL I am very much open to discussion.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago

Is your throughput in line with your profile?

At 4km I'd expect 3.5Mb on ADSL1 (which is what I get).
Posted by infinidim over 7 years ago
It's all very well BT showing what they are going to offer in the future, I am currently in a battle with them to get them to deliver "up to 20Mb" broadband to where I live. They even say on the "" it's available at my post code, but will they deliver it to me....NO....they will only deliver "up to 8Mb" service...

Infinidim (Fareham, Hampshire)

Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
BT Retail and BT Openreach who are doing these rollouts are totally different parts of the group infinidim and the actions of one are nothing to do with the other.
Posted by traderbuck over 7 years ago
I frankly am flabergasted at how slow BTs service is being rolled out, particularly in regions like mine, ie North Wales, but not at all surprised at how difficult it is made for other ISPs to get their equipment in place or provisioned. Then add Traffic Shaping and I am just disgusted.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Minor issues of course that BT Openreach, who deploy this stuff, don't shape other ISPs, that North Wales deployment is relatively slower due to a lower return on investment and lower population density, BT don't actively dissuade other ISPs from unbundling exchanges they just don't want to for the reasons above and that it's nothing personal - virtually all low population density realtively isolated areas get the same treatment.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
I got 3.5mbps briefly using DMT but 3mbps was typical - but not recently. Maybe more cross-talk or new interference.

Atenuation ~63db, no faults with the line AFAIK so the pair must take a long route. XTE2005 with CAT5e wiring, no difference test vs router socket (short cable run anyway).

Tone plot suggests inteference at some frequencies.

MSR is 2272 + I get 2/2.5mbps now so can't raise a breach fault. Would post in the forum to follow this up - but I can't see milage in it - it's not affecting many bins much.
Posted by cjbell68 over 7 years ago
Anyway - thanks for asking but I'm resigned to 2/2.5mbps. May use a Netgear DG834GT and push the margin down to 5 or 4 (as its stable at 6 most of the time within 1db) - but going back to the main topic - we need our loop lengths shortening to see any true benefit.
Posted by harrispkjh over 7 years ago
So why can't we ignore ALL cables and phone lines and just use air-waves, as do the mobile phone companies with Broadband !!?
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