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Northumberland and BT sign deal to boost broadband speeds
Wednesday 17 April 2013 14:43:40 by Andrew Ferguson

Northumberland County Council is the latest local authority to sign its BDUK project contract with BT with the plan looking to complete by January 2016. The £18.9 million contract comprises £2.9 million from BT, £7 million from the County Council and also the BDUK, the remaining £2 million is from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

"This is an important step in the campaign to bring faster broadband speeds to every home, business and school in Northumberland. Working with BT we will be announcing the installation schedule in the coming months and communities across the county can look forward to improved access to online services and better connectivity for businesses from 2014 onwards."

Kate Roe, Northumberland County Council’s deputy chief executive

The signed project is built around BT building beyond its current commercial fibre footprint, taking the number of homes and businesses connected to a fibre based broadband service up to 95% of those in the county. Of the 95%, around four percentage points of these premises will only get speeds below the 25 Mbps level. 25 Mbps and faster is the vaguely defined level at which you can call a service super fast for fixed line broadband. The 5% of premises beyond the fibre footprint, should see some improvements as the project is aiming for 2 Mbps or more to all homes and businesses, though there is the hope that as the project progresses that extensions to fibre coverage may be explored to give better speeds to this final 5%.

The project follows the usual predominantly FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) based coverage plan though some native FTTP (Fibre to the Home/Premise) is mentioned in addition to the availability of Fibre on Demand in all FTTC areas.

As with the other BDUK projects do not expect overnight miracles, the first improvements delivered via the project are not expected until January 2014.


Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
"Of the 95%, around four percentage points of these premises will only get speeds below the 25 Mbps level." - this I do not understand -lost in translation? Does it mean ONLY 4% will get <24mb? I doubt it! Is that the original text?

Now then, I seem to recall that when the BDUK scheme was launched it was 'expected' that BT would match the combined County and BDUK allocation - in this case £14million. It would seem that BT are pocketing a net £16million? Neat!
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
Sorry, Andrew - please delete - it did not appear the fist time!
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
95% will be on fibre based services but "only" 91% will count as Superfast ?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@herdwick Yes, because not all lines connected to a FTTC cabinet go at super fast like speeds.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
"so that 91 per cent of Northumberland homes and businesses will have access to world class broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps 1 by January 2016. A further four per cent of the county will also benefit from a significant improvement in speeds of up to 25Mbps via the fibre network."

To quote the linked article, so yes only 4% are expected to get below 25 Mbps. There is another 5% looking to just get USC type services.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Why are they looking for a supplier for the last 10%? Sums problem?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
9% won't be getting superfast based on the numbers in the BT release, so it seems some funding has been found for the others. Difference between 9% and 10% is probably not significant in the case.

Area is doing well at chasing funding
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
Nobody has commented on how little BT is investing. I think the intervention area is c70k premies - which puts BT's 'up to' investment at £40 per premise past.
Across the final third of c8m premies it would mean their matched funding of a further £1bn for rural would translate to £320m.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
I don't think it is "matched funding", isn't it "gap funding" for the BDUK contracts?

Not wanting to be a pedant, but matched funding usually suggests 50% or at least a fixed ratio, whereas gap funding covers the difference between the actual and economic cost. I thought that was why the % contributions in the various BDUK contracts vary so much.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@valueformoney Have you totted up how much BT has put in so far then? Rather than extrapolate from one figure.
Posted by Kr1s69 over 4 years ago
BT's contribution is less than some areas however this is understandable. Northumberland has the lowest population density of any English county. So getting to 95% of people is going to be expensive and is much less cost affective than in other areas.

Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
@andrew I will some totting up but extrapolation is needed as information is not consistently laid out. Nw_Londoner - gap funding would assume Bt is contracting to spend the amount they said they would. This does not appear to be the case.

Kr1s69 - you would expect the amount per business/customer would average out as per their ARPU. This is not the case.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
@andrew so excluding Wales the news on subsidies looks as follows across 15 projects.
The weighted av 'up to' but not contracted for investment is £108 per premise past. BT investment drops below £75 per premise in Rutland, Cambrigeshire/Peterb, Norfolk and Northumberland. BT's investment at £153 ppp is greatest in Northamptonshire. The BT upto invetsment adds to £209m.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
@Andrew, and at least two counties have stated that BT investsment is Opex and Capex, while BT is also using total investment for a county including historic spend.
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