For those who believe BT winning the BDUK contracts is a bad thing it is a sad day as BT wins the contract for the USC and superfast coverage of Suffolk. For those just looking for better broadband and with little concern over who builds it, the news that the slowest connection will be 2 Mbps and that only 2% will have speeds less than 5 Mbps.
Suffolk County Council has confirmed the awarding of the contract to provide better broadband for Suffolk to BT, the council putting in £11.68m, matching the BDUK funding, with BT providing the balance to make a total of £40m of spending. As a result of this investment and the commercial roll-outs already underway in the county the situation with regards to broadband speeds is as follows:
The £40m project covers some 135,650 properties across the county (39% of Suffolk), and 84% of these properties that currently get less than 2 Mbps now, will get a fibre based broadband service. We believe the speed improvements refer to what is available via an Openreach FTTC roll-out, so as 4G LTE services roll-out once the Ofcom 4G auction completes households may see further options for superfast broadband, and in 2013 those with the money to pay the higher fibre on demand install fees will also benefit from the reliability of a full fibre service, and its faster speeds.
Interestingly the timeline for spending the £40m suggests that this is the total investment for the next 15 years, which raises the question whether the County Council has decided to not try and pursue any of the potential EU funding for 2020 targets and forego any money from the £20m RCBF funding. Fifteen years is a long time in the broadband world, in fact 15 years ago broadband was more like a lab experiment that had escaped the lab cages to the odd street. Perhaps this time frame reflects what we would expect to be the time when BT is expecting to start ripping out the remainder of its copper network, and move to a fully fibre based network for both broadband and telephone services.