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Delays where ever you look with BDUK projects
Wednesday 28 November 2012 10:36:22 by Andrew Ferguson

The BDUK/local authority projects are moving at what is a fairly fast pace in terms of government procurement projects, and while the blanket EU State Aid approval delays may have impacted some projects timelines, many other aspects more in the control of the government have impacted it too.

The Financial Times has Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner claiming that any delays have been down to late data coming from the UK in response to questions from the EU, and the granting of approval which had been suggested as likely in November had very little to do with the visit to Brussels by the new culture secretary.

No matter whose fault it is, there are now plenty of projects that are not likely to announce the completion of procurement and actual delivery starting until Summer 2013, leaving a scant two years to meet the 2 Mbps USC goal and the 90% coverage of superfast broadband.

For the UK government blaming the EU for delays is perhaps to be expected, but while the broad targets were announced in 2010 when the BDUK in its current form was created, the funding split was not published until August 2011. Further delays will have been created by local authorities perhaps believing that the pilot schemes were to lead the way, and thus assuming these would show case the various solutions, the reality is that the pilot schemes are only marginally ahead of some local authorities, and we are yet to hear of any connections delivered via any BDUK project. North Yorkshire is likely to be the first, but as the project built on the work of NYNet that itself started in 2007, one would expect this.

The BDUK projects are criticised for the lack of competition, but the 1.5 horse race (Fujitsu only count as a half, due to their tendency to not bid) where the commercial operator has to invest close to £1 billion if they won all the UK projects, means small dynamic innovative operators cannot afford to bid, and the UK/EU requirement for wholesale access makes the ROI on infrastructure costs more challenging. What the delays do mean though is that these smaller providers, can quickly roll-out networks that offer something better than what Openreach would deploy in an area, yes Openreach will appear in perhaps 18 months time, but if you can beat them on performance and match or better the price then it should be fairly low risk.

It would be wonderful if in just over two years we could look back and see the delays from various sources for the BDUK projects as actually resulting in more infrastructure competition, providing wider choice at sensible prices for UK consumers and businesses. If one takes the common approach of complete doom and gloom, then one is ignoring all the hardwork of innovative small projects and the positive progress that even the larger providers are making.


Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago BDUK and others in front of a select committee today at 3pm
Posted by desouzr over 4 years ago
As far as I can tell fibre tubing is being put into BT ducts in the villages of Summerbridge and Dacre, North Yorkshire by a contractor. I've been told by a BT employee, working on the Superfast North Yorkshire project, that my cabinet in Pateley Bridge has a FTTC RFS date of Spring 2013. Pateley Bridge has a NYnet PoP in the exchange. John Moore who is the new Chief Exec of Nynet is due to appear before the select committee this afternoon talking about rural broadband.
Posted by indigobananajam over 4 years ago
Lots of purple planned exchanges in North Yorkshire (many with sub 1000 lines) planned for upgrade to fibre according to the BT When and Where site. Estimated all the way up to 2014. Looks like most exchanges are included, the only gray ones I found were extremely small telephone exchanges with approx 200 lines connected.
Posted by warweezil over 4 years ago
....meanwhile... being quite happy with the superfast services available in Cardiff and its surrounds (and the M4 Corridor) provided by BT the Welsh Assembly whatever they call themselves this year twiddle their thumbs and deliver much much less than a mere county council in the South West has managed... Hooray for devolved Government.
Posted by kamelion over 4 years ago
I wouldn't call Cardiff a broadband deprived area . Most of it is supplied by VM and was in place before the devolved government
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@indigobananajam -
Well spotted! There are indeed a lot of "future exchange" markings for a lot of the smaller exchanges around North Yorkshire now, and some of the larger towns too - in fact, almost everywhere.

There are also some "Coming Soon" that hadn't been included in the most recent announcement by Openreach. Oatlands (one of the three Harrogate exchanges) is one of these, and, I think, Bedale.
Posted by desouzr over 4 years ago
Also Topcliffe and Birstwith "Coming Soon" plus a couple of others if I remember rightly from looking last night. Is a new Openreach list due out in December?
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
There are quite a few CS visible in the maps - and they already appear in the PDF lists on the Openreach where-and-when site.

Given that the superfast-NY guys haven't announced coverage - and thats where I'd expect it first - I suspect the availability seen via the map is a PR cock-up.

Info from the superfast-NY page: "The biggest piece of work for the Superfast North Yorkshire programme is the upgrading of around 700 green roadside cabinets. In most cases this will require an additional new cabinet placed close by the existing one."
Posted by desouzr over 4 years ago
Well the Superfast NY website links to the Openreach Where and When map so I think they intentionally want people to look there for exchange info. I'm just surprised that Openreach has updated the map before making their big quarterly announcement about exchange upgrades.
Posted by warweezil over 4 years ago
@kamelion My point is that as long as Cardiff is ok it seems the rest of us can stew paying thru the nose for slow old tech services - no apparent interest in rolling out better services to other areas - This devolved assembly that is so busy shouting about how great a job it is doing for Wales seems to have forgotten that Wales actually extends beyond Cardiff / M4 corridor.
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
According to the EU, the delay is all down to Jeremy and his boys and it took a real woman to come in and sort it out.
Posted by ChrisRedpath over 4 years ago
Yet at the same time in my part of East Anglia, openreach shows 14 exchanges on the map. Of these, 2 are already enabled and the rest are grey :( How disappointing, they seem like they are waiting for BDUK to do anything.
Posted by KevG123 over 4 years ago
I know, its driving me an email reply from NCC to my question on when plans will be published. Maybe something very high level by the end of the year
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