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Deadline looming for local authorities broadband plans
Thursday 19 January 2012 18:25:12 by Andrew Ferguson

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has once again highlighted the approaching deadline for local authorities to submit their plans for improving superfast broadband coverage in their area, and ensuring 100% access to a basic 2 Mbps service. The deadline is just under six weeks away at the end of February 2012, though originally it was April, so councils that had not prioritised the planning process may be rushing to meet the new deadline.

The Guardian article where Mr Hunt warns about taking away allocated funds uses the figure of up to £530m as the figure the Culture Secretary may remove, but a great many councils have already submitted plans, thus the amount at risk is a lot smaller. The exact numbers are unknown, as some councils may have submitted plans without a great public fanfare, so our advice is if you are worried about your local area having no visible plan, chase your local councilor or MP to find out how things are progressing.

An interesting snippet of information is that Jeremy Hunt has said many authorities are looking at a 100% target for superfast broadband, we have our doubts, as most plans we have seen talk of 90% superfast coverage, some are attempting to push as far as possible into this last 10%, but getting every household and business connecting at 25 Mbps or faster will prove difficult with the limited budgets available.

Procurement processes are never simple, and with some areas using a variety of sources for funding, there can be many rules that have to net to ensure allocated funds are released by bodies such as the EU. While the various local authorities appear slow, it should be remembered that the Delivery Model for Broadband UK published was only published in October 2011 when the BDUK itself started work in March 2010. The change of Governments in May 2010, and subsequent changing of deadlines 2 Mbps USC moving from 2012 to 2015, and the 2017 superfast target coming forward by some two years to 2015 will have accounted for some delays, but there has been very little sign of urgency to date.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
The councils are trying hard to do their best, but the amount of red tape is incredible, and also many have been advised by the wrong people. The monopoly known as the BT group have muscled in and scared off all the other companies due to them having the unfair advantage of openreach and confusion reigns. The councils are realising that BT is only wanting to protect its copper assets and doesn't want any competition. There will be no help for really rural people only subsidised satellites. Or BEt.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
>cont. And so the councils also know that if they let BT have the tenders they will incur the wrath of the little people and in a few years will look like fools, yet all the other companies who wanted to tender have pulled out, so now they are stuck with infinity. For infinity. And government looks like an idiot too. Its all a total mess thanks to the digital britain report and a load of vital vision brainwashed puppets pulling strings.
Posted by TavistockSFB01822 over 5 years ago
What about the Somerset and Devon County local broadband plan. There target is 85 percent superfast broadband. Will the Government assist when they see that plan? (5 percent is about 44,000 premises).
Posted by wirelesspacman over 5 years ago
when will these Government muppets wake up and realise that they can already get "a basic 2Mbps service" and even faster from the new satellites? Throwing large amounts of public money to solve a problem that is already solved is illegal under EU State Aid rules!
Posted by adslmax over 5 years ago
Why is Telford & Wrekin Council not doing anything about it ?
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
UKgov and OfCom screwed things ages ago when they prevented BT from competing in the domestic fibre market. They protected NTL and Telewest, who still went bankrupt, then protected VM from competition. And they were too slow to realise that the rest of Europe has been forging ahead OFCOM has left us 7 years behind.
Posted by PhilCoates over 5 years ago
Sure satellite will provide a faster service as long as what you do is not latency critical and the weather is good - my Sky service has been off more than on in the last few days.

The issue for me is not just headline speeds (i'm getting just under 2Mbps from 3G as BB is not available via copper where I live) but the download limits.

Before Xmas I had 2 major programme upgrades to download along with my normal (limited) internet use.

My 15Gb limit was reached on 20/12/2011 so no access at all until Jan 2nd when the limits are reset.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago

Satellite - looked at the setup costs for those, and the price/usage limits?

UK avg is 17GB a month, so hardly suitable for the average broadband user.

Also one sector of econony (gaming) is excluded pretty much from the services.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
Councils have been using the money to empire build, progress to date has been a farse with almost zero happening. THey clearly do not live in the commercial world. Most have not even gone out to tender let alone sign contracts. The chances are that many will have to scale back the schemes as they are burning through most of the money on management and administration

At current rates of progress I dont see very many meeting the end of year deadline
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
A council can NOT go out to tender until its plan has been submitted to BDUK and given approval, unlocking the BDUK money.

Also these are private/public ventures, so surveys needed to show that people are willing to buy a product for a price, e.g. encourage more money out of companies.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 5 years ago
If PhilCoates is losing satellite TV reception in bad weather very likely the problem can be resolved by using a correctly aligned and possibly larger dish. Satellite TV is by far the most reliable service that I have, even compared to water.
Posted by danielmec over 5 years ago
Is there a publicly visible page showing which Councils have submitted plans?

Just a simple page enumerating each local authority in one column and the date the submission was received in the next column would seem a helpful and easy thing for the Culture Secretary's department to do.
Posted by PhilCoates over 5 years ago

Odd i never thought of doing that!!!

This is post-installation and repeat visit by Sky Engineer.

The dish is correctly aligned and of the appropriate size.

The weather has been appalling in my neck of the woods - which is somewhat isolated (as my lack of ADSL suggests)
Posted by billyliar over 5 years ago
How can the govt lay down the law without the results from the pilot areas? I thought the point of having 4 pilot projects was to guide the 'proper' deployment?
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
Well the four pilot areas were suppossed to have been live last year
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
LOL! exactly what evidence have you got of that Cyberdoyle? Have you got a mole on the inside of all these councils or have you just made it up from your own opinion because it sounds good and fits with your believes

If they can't spend the money they shouldn't get it, simple. It should then be given back to the public as its our digital cutover overspend, can't wait for my refund letter ;o)
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
BDUK have gone the wrong way about it hens the high cost and slowness of progress.

BDUK should have set up 4 organisations to deal with the tenders , rolout etc. One for England, one for Scotland, one for NI and one for Scotland.

The councils only involvement would then be to identify the areas that would not be commercial & to access demand. This information would then be submitted to the appropriate contract negotiation/procurement group
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
That's two cuts for Scotland Bob!

Unfortunately, there is no organisation by which England's share cold be processed. All other parts of the UK have a devolved assembly for regional affairs.

What would have been appropriate is for companies to propose mechanism by which SFBB was delivered for given models. The analysis being a trade off between % coverage and uplift.

So a pure FTTP solution would be binned (unless Fujitsu can make the sums work, but we still haven't seen those) as it would not get enough coverage and a pure BET solution would also be binned because of lack of uplift.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
don't criticize our overlord known as BT, cyberdoyle, they are the masters, and we should be gratefull for whatever scraps they give us, yokals in the sticks be dammed, british tits does not want inbred farming folk on the net.
it should only be for the criminals in londons financial sector,
and the BT advert family, rural peasants should be content on bothering their sheep, internet is not for them. im off to sacrifice a chicken to the BT altar with gman99, all hail BT!!
Posted by fastman over 5 years ago
Creaky i assume you either in an enabled exchance with an unenabled cab or not announced or SFBB enabled exchnage or you on a very small exchnage (or whatever your particualr circumstance is) I hope you have had advised your county council off this fact to ensure you are incldued in their broadband plan
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
@fastman Wrong! cleckheaton is announced for june, by the way does rfs refer to when the installation begins, or when it is availible. ive seen a square box like shape spray next to another cab. in town, and yellow chawk lines with drilled holes near the manholes covers, halfway up the road to where i live.
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
rfs - ready for service.
Posted by exPARC over 5 years ago
Has anyone tried making sense of the BDUK toolkit allegedly supporting the DEFRA call for funding applications? The timescales to prepare and submit are ridiculous, even if the toolkit made sense. Our community has decided that there's no point in trying to make a coherent, professional application. Time to cull a few quangos.
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