Derbyshire County Council is the latest county to sign on the dotted line for its BDUK project, which should allow planning to start and more information on coverage appear at a later date. The project is aiming to complete by 2016, and has the aim of delivering a mainly FTTC based service to 95% of homes in the county.
"Today’s contract signing is without doubt the most important step of the Digital Derbyshire project so far. Residents and businesses have told us in their thousands that they want a better broadband service in Derbyshire – we’ve listened and are making it happen.
A fast and reliable broadband service is as important as good road and rail links for businesses in the modern day and that’s why we’ve made it one of our priorities. It’s vital that our businesses – including those in rural locations – are at least on a level playing field with other areas of the UK and further afield to be able to maintain and create jobs in a thriving Derbyshire economy."Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Anne Western
Those not connected to a fibre based connection should see a minimum speed of 2 Mbps as the project is aiming to see the final 5% get an uplift in speed to 2 Mbps and better where possible.
We have avoided the use of the word superfast so far, as the press release does not give a breakdown of the percentage that will be get superfast speeds (whether that be >24 Mbps or >30 Mbps). Based on announcements from other counties we would expect the percentage able to get superfast type speeds to be in the 91 to 92% area. We are aware that Ed Vaizey said "This is brilliant news for Derbyshire homes and businesses and will see 95 per cent of the county able to access superfast speeds by the end of 2016.", but without confirmation from BT or the council themselves we suspect the ministers comments may be not unlike previous USO/USC mix-ups.
The project is set to benefit some 88,000 premises (there are around 245,000 households in Derbyshire). Our own speed test data for the county gives a median download speed of 8.8 Mbps and an upload of 0.9 Mbps, with 25% currently seeing speeds exceeding 25 Mbps (down) and 2.8 Mbps (up).
Funding wise, the project is built up of £7.4m from the BDUK, £4.9m County Council, £2.5m from EU ERDF and £12.87m from BT. While FTTC is the main technology an unknown amount of FTTP will be deployed, and fibre on demand will be available in FTTC areas. Hopefully once roll-out starts in 2014 we will have more information on technologies for each area.