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Connecting Cheshire to push fibre to 96 percent of premises in County
Monday 29 April 2013 17:03:59 by Andrew Ferguson

The four councils Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Halton Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council and BT have now signed a contract with a total value of £28.5 million to increase the number of homes and businesses that will have access to super fast broadband.

The project goal should mean that 96% of premises will have access to a fibre based service, with the remaining 4% seeing speeds that should be at worst 2 Mbps and for most something faster. The standard technology split is the normal mainly FTTC roll-out, some areas with native FTTP and of course fibre on demand.

"Cheshire has a large number of small and medium sized enterprises and a high volume of business start-ups, which collectively contribute a substantial proportion of the regional economy. The rollout of more fibre broadband will act as a powerful economic driver for these businesses.

Ensuring enhanced connectivity is vital to secure future growth; exploiting the strategic benefits of high-speed broadband across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington will deliver huge returns on investment. It is no longer enough to be connected, it must be fast, reliable and affordable to fully realise the county’s potential."

Bill Murphy, Managing Director, BT Next Generation Access

The intervention area is such that around 80,000 homes and businesses should benefit by the end of 2016. The split of money in the project is made up of £1.85m from The Connecting Cheshire Partnership, £4m from BDUK, £13.6m from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £9 million from BT itself.


Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
That's another £19.45m given to BT for yesterday's technology, versus BTs own £9m. And again: BT will have 100% control and onership when it's finished. That's as bad as rescuing all the struggling banks some years ago with public money.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
What's the realistic alternative, who else would own a solution? £365 per potential property, what would FTTP need?
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@Somerset: You don't just want to give money away to a private company for nothing, that's just plain stupid. At the very least, the other funding agencies should have their shares in the new infrastructure assets.

Subsidzing a private monopoly company like BT is just throwing away good money.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago

So what is your grand plan?

Where is the money going to come from to pay for complete rollout to 100% population, with "today's technology"?

How much money is it?

How long is it going to take to install?

What speed are people going to actually get on this "new technology"?

And who is going to install and run this thing?
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
FTTP 95% rollout is ~£15-20bn...

There are no UK telco's that can afford to take on that level of debt on wholesale network (treble BTs and quadruple VMs), full monopoly networks like Jersey Telecoms operate you can do it because you get 100% of the ROI.

Heck, FranceGov is giving away Euro10bn for FTTP rollout. No UKgov has ever considered that level of support, BDUK ~£500m doesn't cut the mustard.
Posted by PhilCoates over 4 years ago
'That's as bad as rescuing all the struggling banks some years ago with public money...'

Not really. The Banks were mismanaged and a decision was made by the then Government to bail them out.

I cannot see how BT can be criticised. There were opportunities for other Telcos and other Businesses to bid for the work BDUK funding was priming. No-one else bothered or dropped out. How is that BTs problem? For those of us with little if any access to BB, I suspect no-one cares who gets it as long as its finally available.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
Frankly I can see councils picking BT as a way of getting something for their money.

It is a known brand people can pick the provider of their choice and they are likely to a)do the work promised and b) still be here in 5 years time.

So why the complaining given that at least there will be something to show for the money.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
On another topic NTL are to axe 25% of their UK workforce with 300 jobs going in Wales alone
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
I think we are all waiting for your plan JNeuhoff. What if an altnet or Hyperoptic or GEO or Fujitsu had won, would you have the same to say about them?
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@GMAN99: So you are perfectly happy that your taxpayer's money, and/or other investor's money goes to a private company, and neither the council nor the other investors have any shares in the new network infrastructures?
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Who was this and what did they get back:

'Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery.'
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago

And if the council had asked OR for a share or part share of the FTTC cabinet and infrastructure then any or all repairs and maintenence could be then extracted out of said part owners.

Councils want this to just work and get it ticked as "done" anything more complicated would have likely cost more and would be even more delayed due to legal issues and what not.

Believe it or not they have a whole lot more important issues such as crumbling roads and other things to worry about before broadband on the list.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Does it help to think that the council is purchasing an undertaking from BT to provide an internet access service to residents of the county in perpetuity, rather than a share in some equipment that will become outdated or obsolete in the future, and may even get removed?

That puts the onus on BT to provide more equipment (at its own expense) if take up is a lot higher. And to provide an alternative when the service ends (such as FTTdp or FTTP).

In 20 years, a share in the cabinet/equipment alone will be worthless. The service on top is the valuable thing.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
But why is an internet service valuable to the county?

So long as it is there, it helps attract people and business to the area, and enables new employment.

The council get their return from the improved taxes and rates that they receive, and reduced benefit payouts. The improved life of its residents.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
The government wastes far more money on IT and failed projects. This will be a project which will provide a "real" return on investment in the form of a functional BB for 90% of the population.
£520m well spent I say, compared to the billions flushed straight into the pockets of companies as profits in the PPP NHS debacle and other travesties of taxpayer monies wasted!
Posted by mabibby over 4 years ago
Agreed, it strikes me that @JNeuhoff has no appreciation of corporate level politics and IT projects.

FTTC isn't yesterday's technology it's a valid platform and an interim position that allows tomorrows technology to be delivered in an economical fashion when required.

With FTTPoD being available to those who want it, I can't see a more pragmatic delivery method?

If OR had to FTTP 90% of the population from Day 1 we'd never get there as there would be too many exceptions and variables to come up with scaleable delivery method. Too complex!
Posted by mabibby over 4 years ago

As for the funding, well it's core utility for the country and i'm sure government funding is provided for any plans of new energy plants? So why not BB?
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@themanstan: While I agree that the government does indeed waste a lot of money on other projects, too, this is no excuse to do the same to BT. BT and its greedy shareholders will be the only ones benefitting from the incomes generated by the new network infrastrucutures. The funding agencies and local councils (aka taxpayers) do not a get a monthly revenue from these deals.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
You do realise that governments and councils go about this kind of thing all the time?

Grants and rate reductions to attract businesses into the areas. Gap funding to build business & office space in unattractive areas.

If you don't believe that government should provide gap funding to attract business into an otherwise-unprofitable venture, how would you go about it?

How would you pay for it?

There are loads of other questions up at the top that you've ignored so far. You're quick to criticise, but slow to offer a viable alternative.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
That's the whole point of subsidies, for non-viable areas where private companies don't want to invest because the ROI is too long. Also, a subsidy there is no liability, if local councils took shares in the infrastructure and gained revenue they would take on liability. Look at our potholed roads for their record on ability to fund and maintain that infrastructure.You can't have revenue without taking ownership and this risks associated with it.
That is the simple choice at the moment grow the infrastructure with subsidy or not grow it beyond the coverage that is planned.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Also BT wholesales, so other ISPs will get profits too otherwise they would not be in the business.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - You do know the customers of the ISPs will also benefit, or does that not matter?
Posted by Hawq over 4 years ago
Like the idea, need to tin the lottery for it to do me any good though
Posted by BTfanboy over 4 years ago
Gmann the BT lackey turns up again.
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
well at least maybe the 20-30% in warrington who can only get under 0.2-2mb will be getting fast speed soon (i guess as in 2-3 years?)
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