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Why the demand surveys for broadband are important.
Monday 05 November 2012 09:07:26 by Andrew Ferguson

As one of the conditions when applying for EU State Aid approval demand for the service to be delivered using public money has to be proven, and for the BDUK projects this is usually via a survey.

While we suspect many will see the surveys as just another box that has to be ticked on the projects in a conference call with Olivia Garfield CEO of Openreach last week, she revealed a crucial piece of information. The commercial led roll-out is driven by Openreach's own decision making process, but the joint projects with local authorities will see the councils telling Openreach where to go and deploy the service.

With the council in the driving seat it does mean there is scope for areas that have a need for better broadband to ensure they have campaigned well and made efficient use of any surveys to ensure they see an improvement beyond the USC that should arrive to all properties.

With the limited amount of funding available to councils, and goals that vary between 85% of a county getting a superfast service right up to 97% there is scope for a wide variation in deployment across the UK. This also means that villages may end up competing against each other, it also raises the issue that as much of the coverage and wording of the BDUK projects revolves around the concept of rural broadband, that people on the estates on the fringes of towns may be missed by the council planners.


Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
Maybe, but they can be misleading as well. Some people will express an interest before they know what the cost is and any other costs for equipment change etc. When they eventually find out, a proportion are no longer interested as overall costs are too high for their budget. Why don't they plan ahead and tell us what the expect to charge and what the hope to offer for that. Then we might get more meaningful and useful 'expressions of interest'.
Posted by PhilCoates over 4 years ago
There is a paradox here however.

Areas deemed as not commercially viable are frequently sparsely populated.

To what extent can a 100% response rate from such an area (which may represent perhaps 10 or 12 households) influence local councils?
Posted by Eljmayes over 4 years ago
This seems to be a buck passing exercise by BT before the contentious roll out plans are released.

I live in Lincolnshire and have had no new info on our project for the best part of a year other than "sign up to show demand". Those instructions have only netted a very poor demand rate of under ten percent in the majority of exchanges (many of which aren't massive- below 1000 premises). What is the trigger rate for an update?
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
@elijmayes. How exactly is this a BT buck passing exercise? The surveys are run by the local authorities as a precursor to applying for BDUK funding. If you've got a problem with this contact your local authority/Lincolnshire CC.
Posted by Eljmayes over 4 years ago
BT clearly want to distance themselves from (irate) customers who will blame them for their exchange not being upgraded before 2015. It's actually quite a sensible move as the Council have been woeful in the whole BDUK process.
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
@eljimayes. May I suggest you check out what the intentions are of BDUK and also consider that BT is a commercial company answerable to ints shareholders rather than a charity. BT have nothing to do with the surveys mentioned here and are not involved. No buck passing since here this is no buck to be passed. BT, if they win the BDUK contract as is likely due to EU tendering restrictions not of BT's making, will be expected to match the funding.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
Most of the surveys are not worth the paper they are written on.

Tobe meaningfull it needs to have some kind of commitment from those that sign. May be say £50 deposit put down in advance. This deposit would pay a small interest rate say 1%.

When the exchange is enabled the £50 can be used toward the FTTC ISP costs

The £50 deposit can also be refunded at anytime upuntil the exchange is announced as going live.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
Problem with the BDUK is you have teams in the council bidding for the money when they do not exactly know what they are bidding for. Some of the people planning the networks are not up to s
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
Tandard either. The should be looking towards the new BT model or similar anyway has it can be streamlined, but even a few other consultants are advising the councils wrongly and I can see this costing more money than the councils first thought!!
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
The BDUK approch was flawed. Councils rarely have the expertise or knowlege of technology sush as HS Broadband and letting each small localcouncil come up with it's own programe and implementation was both expensive and slow.

It would have been far better to just let the council do the demand side of things and decide on coverage required and the budget and priorties. The rest could have been done centrally by BDUK. Only one lot of contract negotiations, onne lost of consultants and possibly a more standard technology approach and a faster rollout.

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