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UK Government announces £250m of further spending on broadband
Thursday 27 June 2013 12:08:03 by Andrew Ferguson

More investment in the broadband arena from either the public or private purse will always be welcome and today as part of a much larger announcement by HM Treasury entitled Investing in Britain's Future, the spending of £250m has been announced for the period 2015 to 2017. The main aim of this extra money be to extend superfast broadband coverage from the original 2015 goal of around 90% to a target of 95% by 2017.

Update 6:30pm The DCMS has confirmed that this £250m is part of the £300m announced in 2012.

It is not clear if this £250m is new money, or is actually a reduction from the original £300m that was announced back in August 2012 when an agreement was reached whereby the BBC TV Licence would be top sliced to finance broadband improvements between 2015 and 2017.

The £250m is crucially described as up to and comes with the condition that it must be locally matched, which might result in some councils not chasing for it until they actually see the benefits from the investments already underway. Stating that the economy if already benefiting from super fast roll-out either commercial or BDUK funded is easy, but having the proof to hand is much harder. There had been some speculation that the picture post 2015, would see the emphasis on the BDUK diminish but the body is set to continue and be re-invigorated with some new blood.

"Broadband Delivery UK will be given greater operational freedom and an enhanced delivery focus, and will be equipped with the commercial skills it needs to deliver a broadband programme that will now extend to at least 2017;


investing up to £250 million, locally match-funded, to extend superfast broadband provision from current coverage plans so that 95 per cent of UK premises will have access to superfast broadband by 2017;

exploring with industry how to expand coverage further, using more innovative fixed, wireless and mobile broadband solutions, to reach at least 99 per cent of premises in the UK by 2018;

7.5 The Government’s strategy is to work in partnership with industry to deliver the crucial digital infrastructure needed to ensure that the UK maintains its position as the best internet economy in the world, underpinning jobs and economic growth. Strategic investment to deliver growth is key, demonstrated by the Government’s commitment to a £1.2 billion programme of public investment in superfast broadband, working together with industry, Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations to achieve a step-change in broadband, enabling the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in the Europe by 2015."

Extract from HM Treasury

While many are sceptical of the UK meeting the 90% target for 2015, it appears according to this latest document this scepticism may have been heard as they are now saying "on current plans nearly 90 per cent of homes will have access to fixed, superfast broadband by 2015", which is a slight change on previous terminology but the best in Europe target still stands.

The question now is whether this extra spending will mean a whole new round of contracts, or just extensions to the existing ones, and the potential for delays as councils and their BT partner may reassess how far each county could push its level of superfast coverage.

There is the later goal of superfast coverage to reach at least 99% by 2018 through the use of innovative fixed, wireless and mobile broadband solutions, which is interesting but as with many announcements there is little detail of what it means when they say they will work with industry.


Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
> The £250m is crucially described as up to

I thought that wasn't allowed under ASA rules?

Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
99%, 95% or even 90% are just pie in the sky figures for those in London on EO or "not commercially viable" cabinets given there is no BDUK funding to help London get anywhere near matching the figures already proposed in many other areas.
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
"99%, 95% or even 90% are just pie in the sky figures for those in London on EO or "not commercially viable" cabinets"



Scores for London:

Overall Perf: 1
Ave BB Takeup: 1
% receiving <2 Meg: 2
Superfast BB avail: 2
Ave modem sync: 1

Click on the superfast radial and see how much of the UK is not getting anywhere near "2".
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
I coloured the areas that are score less than London for superfast BB:
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
@camiebaz. All of those areas you highlight are potentially covered by BDUK. BT have told me personally that by the end of their commercial rollout they anticipate having nga passing just 80% of London properties. Remember that much of London has no VM access as is the case in ~51% of the country. Note that we are talking here about "superfast" broadband coverage not "up to 2Mbps" of which I agree there is little in London.
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
@camiebaz So, given BT's admitted 80% coverage in London and with many areas not having VM, and also with no BDUK funding how exactly do you think that London will reach or 95% nga access let alone 99%?
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago

My point is that London is not first in the queue for speed upgrades.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
There seems to be confirmation that the £250m is from the £300m announced years ago, and that £50m is retained, unallocated.

Presumably counties that have already announced projects with coverage figures into the mid-nineties won't be part of this funding.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
The timeframe for this £250m is going to coincide with BT's ability to roll out vectoring, which will likely extend the range of the existing FTTC cabinets. I wonder if that will suck in any of the funds.

The timeframe also coincides with the 5 year gap allowing more overhead poles to be used to distribute fibre.
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
@camieabz. I wasn't aware that this article was about who should get nga access first but rather the government's objectives of 90%, 95% or even 99% nga access where there is little chance of 95% let alone 99% unless something is done about funding those areas of London of London where nga access is as much a dream as it is in rural Somerset other than that the shires have access to BDUK funding whereas London has none.
Posted by jumpmum over 4 years ago
The OFCOM map shows Superfast coverage in london at 86.1% in 2012 and we know more areas have had FTTc since( and FTTP in some areas).
This isn't about BTs rollout, but all operators so, 90% in london could be achieved within commercial schemes incl BT, Virgin, Hyperoptic, ANother.
Posted by MCM999 over 4 years ago
As I said in my previous post without additional finance 95% let alone 99% nga access is simply pie in the sky without some funding being provided for London. I am well aware that nga access is not just available from BT hence why I mentioned VM in my previous post. As for Hyperoptic, our development has had a quote for installing fibre and we cannot afford the cost.
Posted by bobdelamare over 4 years ago
If the BBC can send 150+ people to Glastonbury, they are not short of cash. As the iPlayer takes up so much bandwidth on the net, why not a few £million out of the £4billion they take in license fees?
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Maybe they need 150+ people to do the amount of broadcasting from Glastonbury.
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