Surrey County Council in a signing ceremony at County Hall has signed a deal with BT to supply superfast broadband the parts of the County where commercial operators have indicated they have no intention to commercially deploy services in the next three years.
The council raised £20m of its own money for the contract, with just £1.3m from the BDUK, BT as the winning contractor will be investing £11.8m into the project, giving a fund of £33m for rolling out superfast broadband services. While the national aim is for local authorities to run schemes that see 90% receiving a superfast service, the Surrey project is going beyond this and is described as delivering within a whisker of 100% fibre broadband availability. The project should deliver a service to some 90,000 properties.
The deployment will feature what must be a universal enabling of all existing BT street cabinets for FTTC services, and also extra work to enable FTTC for exchange only lines, if the use of the words "within a whisker of 100% fibre broadband" are to become true. FTTC services offer up to 80 Mbps downloads and up to 20 Mbps uploads, but of course your distance from the street cabinet is the key, some estimates of speeds at various distance are included in our fibre guide.
We have asked BT to clarify whether any pure FTTP will be deployed as part of the project, it is possible that for some exchange only line clusters that this is cheaper than a new FTTC cabinet. In 2013, the anticipated launch of Fibre on Demand will bring the Openreach full fibre 330 Mbps products to those businesses and home owners willing to pay a higher than normal activation fee.
Of course actual delivery of anything via this funding is subject to approval from the European Commission due to EU State Aid rules, but in the mean time we hope that BT and the Council can start planning roll-out, and inform the public of timescales for different parts of the counties. The general feeling on our user forums, is that most care little about who implements the service, so long as their provider sells it, and most importantly when can they order the service.