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Broadband one of 500 infrastructure projects
Tuesday 29 November 2011 13:39:53 by Andrew Ferguson

Spending on superfast broadband had been highlighted as a possible beneficiary of the current Governments plans to drive an economic recovery. The Chancellor's Statement to the House of Commons, manages a total of three mentions for broadband.

"For the first time we are identifying over 500 infrastructure projects we want to see built over the next decade and beyond. Roads, railways, airport capacity, power stations, waste facilities, broadband networks.

The Government is funding plans to bring superfast broadband to 90% of homes and businesses across the country, and extend mobile phone coverage to 99% of families.

This will help create a living, economically vibrant countryside.

Our great cities are at the heart of our regional economies.

And we will help bring world leading, superfast broadband and wifi connections to ten of them – including the capitals of all four nations."

Extracts from Autumn Forecast Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP

There was confirmation of some £20 billion of private investment in modern infrastructure, but no breakdown of how this agreement with two groups of British pension funds would be split around the various infrastructure projects.

The target of 90% of the UK having access to Superfast Broadband was a goal that we all previously knew about and is part of the BDUK remit, along with the ensuring 2 Mbps or faster for all. There is no talk of how the final 10% may get access to superfast broadband, with it seems an emphasis on providing both fixed and wireless superfast broadband in the cities.

Previous private investment by the BT Group and Virgin Media will pretty much ensure that all UK cities have access to superfast broadband by 2015, and even with the 4G auction delays, roll-out in the cities is likely to happen rapidly once the auctions are complete.

The Government has missed a chance to make a clear statement for those businesses and residents who live in the most rural 10% of the UK as to what they can expect in terms of broadband, and what new incentives would be created to encourage private investment in either commercial roll-outs, or capital investment support for community led schemes.

Now it is possible that the coming weeks may reveal further amounts beyond the existing £530m the BDUK has access to, and the £300m expected to be available in 2015 to 2017, but at a time when vision and direction is needed it appears to be lacking.


Posted by doowles over 5 years ago
Interesting to see there will be a competition for 6 citys for 80-100mbit broadband. I'm guessing BT will have something to say on apartment blocks soon as well ;)
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago

A.111 Rural broadband – The Government will support rural broadband by:

• considering new approaches to make the roadside telecommunications network available to enable points of access for third party services such as broadband for rural businesses.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Just finding out about the competition side, which I don't understand, as BT and Virgin have already invested over £3bn combined in the cities.

A.111 is that not the Digital Pump concept again, which was meant to put fibre into the communities?
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago

1.93 The Government will invest £100 million to create up to ten ‘super-connected
cities’ across the UK, with 80-100 megabits per second broadband and city-wide
high-speed mobile connectivity. There will be a particular focus on small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) and strategic employment zones to support economic growth. Edinburgh,
Belfast, Cardiff and London will all receive support from this fund, and a UK-wide competition will decide up to six further cities that will also receive funding.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
How far will £100m go in 10 cities? That is not going to get FTTH to many homes, perhaps to the businesses.

But metro ethernet is widely available, and where connectivity is crucial for business not too badly priced in the urban jungle.

Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
80-100M comes from FTTC which is already happening...

Is this a non-statement?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
In my view, its a non-statement, others are free to disagree.

Would love to see the 2015 £300m brought forward to this Governments term, to underwrite better USC.
Posted by Alchemyfire over 5 years ago
Bit disappointed by the announcement. Only £100mil, and it's all going to cities which are already in the process of having fttc installed anyway.

Would have been nice, like andrew said, to have seen that additional £300m bought forward.
Posted by mervl over 5 years ago
Government hands are tied aren't they? They've two measures: 1. low-cost subsidy and 2. regulation under existing laws. 1. gets bogged down in the minefield of procurement regulations; and 2. is Ofcom's remit with a timescale that seems geared to eternity (in the minefield of consultation and judicial review). To some extent therefore I can't blame the government for "whistling in the dark" to try to keep everyone's spirits up!
Posted by mervl over 5 years ago
Having read the plan: yes in a sense it's tinkering at the margins, but in a lot of cases that is where the ship is broken for the proverbial "half pennyworth of tar". The problem is that many past such government initiatives have become bogged down in the bureaucracy: they seem only too aware of it but avoiding it is another thing altogether. And almost all of it is (has to be) private money.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Load of tosh to me...

What should be done is tax breaks and doing away with VOA... which means the treasury spends nothing and is suited to the market system we have in this country, given their is no local government owned infrastructure (utilities or ducting). But, allows the infrastructure providers to get more bang for their buck or make non-starter projects (for SME infrastructure providers) affordable.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 5 years ago
I would like to see a map showing where the last 10% are.
Posted by timmay over 5 years ago
Waste of money spending it on Cities that would have been reached without the need of giving money to BT pension fund and share holders!
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
Will the 10 cities already have a lot of VM and FTTC?
Posted by SurgeFilter over 5 years ago
Infuriates me so much.

Still struggling on less than 100k/sec (yes, K!), running a home-based internet business (exporting mostly) and I'm only 4 miles from a major UK town.

Nobody cares... BT don't. Virgin don't. Local council don't. Government don't.

I wouldn't care if I had to spend 10 times what I currently am on ADSL (which is meant to be an 8Mb package. Joke of the century).

I have the best of kit otherwise: New internal wiring, Best professional router on the market, Gigabit Ethernet, but I'm 5 miles from exchange thus screwed. FTTC unavailable. But as long as London is sorted!
Posted by mazadillon over 5 years ago
SurgeFilter - how about tooway satellite broadband? If money is truly no object you can get a 10up 4 down connection for £99/month
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Though the one experience I've had of satellite and its the £99 10/4 package, is that contention on the service is bad, e.g. to get better upstream than the 0.4 they actually got suggestion was pay for another upgrade.
Posted by jumpmum over 5 years ago
Have you tried getting a business ethernet product? There are a number of companies that provide these and they may come in your 10x ADSL price. Easy link to start is BT then you can compare everybody else against them.
This will give you much better than Satellite. Even a 2Mb uncontended service may meet your needs and be cheap enough.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
@SurgeFilter:As others have noted - there are several options if you're willing to pay. ADSL was always going to be a compromise. A cheap mass-market product that mostly does what most people need for the paltry price most people will pay.

>which is meant to be an 8Mb package

No, it isn't. It will be an 'up to 8Mb' package. How many more times do people need to have that explained to them? Under ideal circumstances the technology can deliver 8Mb/s. Yours are not ideal - it's doing the best it can exactly as advertised.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
(cont'd) location has always been an important consideration for anyone running a business. Probably the most important consideration. You have chosen (for whatever reason) to run your business from a remote location.

The fact that you can even run an import/export business of all things from the back-end of beyond is astonishing enough. Twenty years go people would have branded you mad for even trying. Times have moved on but you should never forget why humans invented urbanisation. You are flying in the face of thousands of years of history. That it works at all is amazing.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Hmm I can understand why some small business would want to set up at home it ticks a lot of boxes, but when you are setting up your business surely you'd have a check list of things to go through (accommodation, road links, phone services, power etc) one of those should be Internet access? You must have taken that into account and been ok with it? You've made a compromise yourself as opposed to moving the business. You can of course get much greater speeds with a true ethernet delivery but that will cost you.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
If you have half decent 3G coverage, then a 3G broadband product may be your best bet.

Find out which providers have coverage in your area. Three has a £18 monthly plan (18 month) which gives 15GB/month usage.

If you need more capacity for personal/family rather than business use, get another dongle with wifi thingy for "home" use.
Posted by fastman over 5 years ago
SurgeFilter can you PM your psot code and i will try and look and see what is happeinging
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
100million is pocket change, laughable. Also laughable that VM qualifies as superfast broadband.
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
Also people stop making false assumptions that cities are been well served by BT's rollout, from the data I worked on more than 70% of the FTTx rollout is rural exchanges. There is numerous cities that have had 1 exchange picked or less. The question is will these cities be picked for subsidy. Or will they throw the money where investment is alreadytargeted. (usual story)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Some data that is in our news, but people forget I guess:

Belfast 97% superfast availability as of Summer 2011
Cardiff 89%
Edinburgh 82%
London 85%
Posted by exPARC over 5 years ago
The percentage game is deliberately misleading! We need a deployment policy of "fix the worst first" not one of boosting urbanites already reasonably served. Let's see a county-by-county count of residences/businesses cursed with digital apartheid?
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