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North Yorkshire BDUK project announces contract signing with BT
Tuesday 17 July 2012 11:34:18 by Andrew Ferguson

The pace of progress for the BDUK projects as far as the general public is concerned has been that of a snail, but for those involved in procurement processes it may actually appear to be a fast process. Today sees the announcement of the contract signing for the first of the BDUK pilot projects, with North Yorkshire signing a contract with BT, that will see some £70m invested in providing better broadband to England's largest rural county.

"North Yorkshire is a large rural county with many remote premises. As a result, deploying broadband is a particular challenge.

We believe the technology is vital to our economic future however and so we are delighted to have signed this agreement. The project will help local businesses to be competitive and ensure they remain in the county. It can also play an important role in attracting even more firms to the county thereby helping to create jobs for local people."

County Councillor Carl Les, the Deputy Leader of North Yorkshire County Council

The press release reveals the BT contribution is £10m (in addition to the £23m being spent by the company in the commercially viable parts of the county), £8.6m from the European Regional Development Fund, and £17.8m of BDUK funds. The target for the project involves 90% of premises receiving superfast broadband, via a mixture of FTTC and FTTP, the press release wording indicates some FTTP will be deployed, in addition to the launch of Fibre on Demand (FoD) in 2013. The remaining 10% of the county will see an uplift to 2 Mbps or better by the end of 2014 and crucially engagement with communities via collaborative projects to try and push faster broadband deeper into this final 10%.

While we are certain there will be criticism of this decision to go with BT, it is unclear whether holding out for an alternate solution would have improved things, there has been more than two years when alternatives to BT could have positioned themselves for these projects.

The use of FTTC is an incremental change, and the launch of Fibre on Demand in 2013, should show this interim solution is not a total dead-end, and that once the economy picks up, the numbers converting to full fibre may skew the economics enough for Openreach to announce a timescale for the next logical step, which will be to end-of-life copper based xDSL.

Update 3pm: The full BT press release is now available online. The Connecting North Yorkshire website has still to update with details for local residents and businesses.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
Dream on Yorkshire. Once your urban areas have been 'passed' statistics will show they all have access to 'superfast' and your digital divide will grow even wider. It won't make openreach deploy affordable NGA though. They will continue to leach the obsolete copper asset into homes until competition forces them to up their game. Fujitsu was your last chance to do that. Or altnets to the rural areas. Fibre is needed. Moral and optic.
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Good to see another contract being placed to deliver fast broadband to rural areas. Looks like a pretty good deal for North Yorkshire, and fantastic value compared to what has happened in the south of the county.
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Shame none of the altnets had the "fibre" to bid then really. The council can only select from those that can be bothered to respond to its tender.

Judging from the story, the council seems to be getting very good coverage of a big area for a relatively small investment of its own money. Remember those with FTTC will have the option to take FTTP from next year if they feel they need it. A more pragmatic, business-like approach than some seem to be recommending.
Posted by desouzr over 5 years ago
I’ve been following this closely for the last two years as it directly affects me – a person living in rural North Yorkshire. Cyberdole – in relation to your comments about “Fujitsu being the last chance” Apart from their early talk of FTTP the reality (looking at the presentations they gave at some of the NextGen events last year) was a mixture of FTTP, FTTC, wireless and Satellite. That was with FTTP only being deployed where there were large clusters of properties that could easily be reached by fibre. Not such a dissimilar approach to BT.
Posted by desouzr over 5 years ago
However, Fujitsu’s figures were always suspect as proven by their incomplete bid made in Cumbria. Who knows what they actually proposed for North Yorkshire. As far as the deeply rural areas are concerned some of them have already benefited from Council funded projects to deploy FiWi piggybacking off the council’s PSN with current speeds of up to 50/20 available. With the limited funds available I think it is a good outcome for North Yorkshire.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
Altnets can't bid when the tendering process only allows companies like bt and fujitsu into the procurement. And yes, maybe fujitsu would only have done what bt will do, but it would have provided competition. Just getting a fibre into a rural area with open access could have got many community projects going with affordable backhaul which is currently denied them.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Open access is there now, the problem being that it is not at a price that people want to pay.

Is Fujitsu's own fibre network available on an open access basis - they have 1000's of km already.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
As BT already provide NYNet they should have been well placed to win this against anybody.
Posted by desouzr over 5 years ago
Cyberdole - The whole tendering process is another issue that has been discussed in depth over the past 18 months. I am critical of it too but understand why it was done that way. One of the issues that NYCC took into consideration when awarding the contract was not to make the same mistakes that Digital Region made.
Posted by desouzr over 5 years ago
You can debate the positives and negatives of Openreach but at least we know that the big name ISPs (that are household names) will provide services over the Openreach platform to rural North Yorkshire and thus drive uptake of SFBB. We also know the prices these ISPs charge for their various FTTC products which are competitive.
Posted by desouzr over 5 years ago
I don’t see how awarding the contract to Fujitsu would have provided competition in uneconomical rural areas. Reasonably priced fibre backhaul is available via the NYNET PSN and is what small ISPs such as LN Communications have used to provide high speed wireless coverage in some areas of the North Yorkshire dales and moors.
Posted by nickkcin over 5 years ago
All sounds wonderful, until you realise that of the 180 odd exchanges that serve North Yorkshire, nearly 100 make up that 10% that will be left out. Rural communities will be left with the 2M 'promise' from BT, and these are those that would benefit the most
Posted by zyborg47 over 5 years ago
so more money making from tax payers for Bloated Toad
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago

BT has never promised 100% coverage, and the BDUK targets are not 100% either. So what is wrong?

The target may be low, but the project is aiming to hit the targets, another 5 years from 2015 to 2020 to meet the EU 2020 targets.
Posted by mabibby over 5 years ago
It comes back to the simple fact... somewhere along the line someone has to pay! You can't live miles from civilisation on an exchange which caters for a few hundred and expect the costs of superfast broadband to be low.

It's a private business with some select public funding, there's enough to achieve in the densely populated areas before considering remote customers. If customers who are remote rely so heavily on fast/superfast broadband, then you need to consider moving.
Posted by mabibby over 5 years ago

Just in the same way that if you want to commute to work somewhere that is far away you make sure you live near a motorway or dual carriage way. You don't scream and moan that the Highways Agency hasn't built you a bypass from the middle of nowhere haha!
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 5 years ago
@mabibby No way, just think about what you are typing.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
cyberdoyle, what is stopping the altnets rolling out to rural areas at the moment, like B4RN are?
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Quite right, common sense really.
Posted by nickkcin over 5 years ago
"BT has never promised 100% coverage, and the BDUK targets are not 100% either. So what is wrong?" - do you not see the answer???? It is in that statement!!!!!! The targets are not 100%!!!!!! Taking taxpayers money and then not delivering a service to all taxpayers. To answer mabibby I seem to remember rural communities can get 220v and get water and all have roads leading to them. The bidding process could have been set up to allow service to all communities, but was instead set up to favour BT!!!!
Posted by w0067814 over 5 years ago
What worries me is that we were all lead to believe that the BDUK model works on matched funding. That is where private industry puts in a figure very close to, or exceeding the figure that government puts in. This was certainly the impetus given to me when I was attending supplier's days.

How does BT putting in just £10m compared to a government input of some £26.4m come anywhere close to matched funding?
Posted by w0067814 over 5 years ago
This is quite a problem for the smaller players as many of them chose not to compete because councils were reluctant to split up call off into more manageable sized chunks (ie half or third of county) for a smaller company to swallow, both on a physical deployment, but more in a financial sense. If Altnets could have got away with putting in just 38% of the government money, then I think a lot more would have stayed in the BDUK game rather than declaring that they can't compete against BT.

What a shame.
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Interesting points ....but neither mains electricity, mains water, mains gas nor even terrestrial TV offer 100% availability. So why would broadband? Bear in mind tha cost of that final 10% will be especially high.
Posted by nickkcin over 5 years ago
"Bear in mind tha cost of that final 10% will be especially high" - and so you need Govt subsidy. Elec, Water, TV do offer 99.9% availability and that should be a better aim. Yes a hovel on the top of a mountain should have Satellite, but villages of a few hundred people should be able to be served (they pay their taxes, and don't get the full benefit of those taxes already)
Posted by Gadget over 5 years ago
according to the Ofcom factsheet ( post switchover TV coverage will be 98.5% nationally with a table on page 3 giving a breakdown by England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.
Posted by rjohnloader over 5 years ago
What chice was there? it was BT or nothing. FTTC will be amazing in this part of Wensleydale with several hundred properties over 3 miles from the cabinet and tons of aluminum cable in the way
Posted by stclares over 4 years ago
I am P..t of with BT. Since signing the contract they "Made Adjustments " to my exchange which increased my D/L speed from a pathetic 1.3mbps to about 2.5mpbs, but since then my connection keeps dropping sometimes every 5-10 mins. or at least 5-5 times a day. If that is an imrovement I am a Dutchman. I cant see the rural parts of N. Yorkshire ever getting a decent D/L speed. The trouble with Bt and all ISPs they will promise the earth and deliver rubbish.
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