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Lancashire partners with BT for superfast broadband
Friday 27 January 2012 08:42:08 by Andrew Ferguson

While there are three areas of the UK at risk of no BDUK plan, Lancashire County Council is ploughing ahead and has announced who its commercial partner is to be in delivering vastly improved broadband to the county.

A high target of 97% having access to superfast broadband at speeds in excess of 30 Mbps is stated as the eventual completion goal of the project. The remaining 3% will see basic broadband speeds of 2 Mbps or faster which for areas where people have no broadband will still be welcome, to try and reduce this 3% even further a £500,000 fund is to be created for these rural areas with an initial pilot to the east of Lancaster.

"We are determined to ensure that Lancashire continues to benefit from being at the forefront of this technology. Establishing this superfast broadband network will not only open up opportunities for businesses in Lancashire, it will revolutionise the way that people in the county, especially in rural or deprived areas, connect to the wider world"

Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council

The size of the public sector pot in the project is £10.8m from BDUK, £16.5m from the European Regional Development Fund (£16.5m) and £4.7m from Lancashire County Council. It is not clear at this time, but given how investment is often restated many times it is possible the £16.5m from the ERDF may be some of the extra £100m announced for broadband projects.

A roll-out with a 97% superfast broadband target pretty much ensures that Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) will be the dominant technology, hopefully Openreach when planning the roll-out will be able to incorporate a mixture of FTTP and FTTC technology, for small villages and towns that have clusters of terraced housing, FTTP deployment costs should potentially be feasible, particularly where ducting is available.

Lancashire already has a community led Gigabit fibre project underway, and while there will be criticism of the Council for choosing BT as a partner, since BT is very likely to rely heavily on FTTC, this leaves projects like B4rn in the position to provide an attractive world leading speed solution, that other rural communities, particularly in the last 3% of Lancashire will be very interested in emulating.


Posted by PhilCoates over 5 years ago
I will be interested to see what their detailed delivery plans will be - my own County (Staffordshire) is allegedley on course for a February submission - and I'm interested in the range of solutions they have envisaged
Posted by TavistockSFB01822 over 5 years ago
I am failing to understand why Devon County Council can only provide 23 percent superfast roll-out (with funding etc.), with a target of 85 percent for Devon and Somerset (made up of 38 percent plus this 23 percent and crossed fingers).

Large Towns will be left behind and left out - OK for BT Openreach information that is Tavistock. It is less than 3 miles away from Superfast Cornwall.
Posted by nickkcin over 5 years ago
Be prepared for loads of announcements like this. BT is the only one going to win them. There will be small pockets of B4RN but most will have to rely on BT
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Probably yes, the thing is who else is bidding that can/will wholesale whatever they put in, that must be a massive part of choosing who wins.

It would be for me if I were making the decision for my constituents, rail road them into one ISP or give them a choice of 30, 40, 50 ISP's and variable costs.

Leave aside the "its set-up for BT to win" I'm talking about wholesale.
Posted by jeep over 5 years ago
Seems Lancashire are showing how to get things done,think we could do with there assistance in Devon before all the allocated money is frittered away on endless meetings & paper shuffling.
Posted by duckson over 5 years ago
Roll on FTTC/P....i've just got on LLU as we've only just had TalkTalk LLU put in the exchange and could only see us getting fibre in 5 years+.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
Lancashire could indeed lead the way if the county council embraced B4RN instead of trying to ignore it. There has been no community engagement and the 'exhaustive procurement' they speak of seems a bit strange when at the cabinet meeting last February they seemed to know who their partner would be...
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
If 97% are getting FTTC/P then I'd say its money well spent or would you rather blow it all on the 3% that are hard to reach
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
£32m at B4rn costs is around 24,800 properties with FTTP. At the presentation they indicated that as soon as they enter a more built up village the costs will rise due to street works required.

I support B4rn as a community solution, but I do have a sense of reality.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
As soon as B4RN enters the more urban areas the income will rise, which will pay the extra install costs for street works. Several B4RN projects dotted through Lancashire would provide much needed competition, and by providing a much superior solution at a cheaper price would stimulate more demand. Many of the 97% will not get a very good service from fttc because they will be too far from cabs. BT infinity 'guarantee' 15 meg, but other isps will go down to 5 meg.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
cyberdoyle, parts of the contract states what BT must deliver in bandwidth to these area. And they MUST deliver if the customer has a long D side there are options available

As much as I hope B4RN works I think they've enough on their plate without going urban, lets see if they can pull off the current plan first.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Also I'm not sure what you mean by "As soon as B4RN enters the more urban areas the income will rise" are you saying it will cost more in urban areas, its about £30pm now for rural isn't it? How much do you think urban dwellers will be willing to pay and also how much more debt would B4RN take on bearing in mind it will take over 10yrs+ to pay off the current project
Posted by FibreGuy over 5 years ago
As regards B4RN there are better and much cheaper way of delivering superfast broadband service to rural Lancashire notspots as B4RN will discover once they commit to the build phase...

The concept of urban customers being willing to pay the prices B4RN needs to see is not grounded in reality unfortunately.

At least the B4RN legacy will be be a long term asset deploted, so long as conrners are not cut to save money on the inevitable construction over-runs.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 5 years ago
I have a strong suspicion that the JFDI aspect of B4RN will keep any construction over-runs to a minimum.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago

As soon as B4RN enters urban areas it will encounter competition. Additionally, insurance costs will rise considerably. Any works performed in urban environments will require full risk assessments and full H&S. These are not inconsiderable costs, any failure here resulting in injury or danger to the public will incur the wrath of the HSE... these guys have powers like you would't believe, similar to customs officers in fact. If they aren't happy the can shut down all operations.
Posted by fastman over 5 years ago
Nitchin -- BT in this instance will be an open access network able to service provider to offer services over - so superfast with choice of provider --
Posted by RandomJointer over 5 years ago
As I understand the state of the market, Openreach will be able to serve 5 million homes by June. Much trumpeted 'B4rn' have not dug a metre of Her Majesties earth yet.

If I was looking to put Lancashire's tax payer's hard earned, tax paid money into a roll out, I would be looking at a proven system with brands that people want to buy.

I'm sure B4rn will be a great success in their area. Just like SYDR and FIbrecity, but I would'nt want to waste tax dollars on it.
Posted by RandomJointer over 5 years ago
My Apologies, I would like to correct the typo of 5 Million homes passed by June and correct to a forecast of 10million homes passed by at least June 2012.

Posted by wirelesspacman over 5 years ago
@ RandomJointer

But you are of course VERY happy for hundreds of millions of tax dollars to be given as a bung to BT.
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