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Berkshire lines up for more superfast broadband
Friday 04 October 2013 14:23:03 by Andrew Ferguson

Berkshire is the latest area of the UK to sign a BDUK contract with BT, the project aims to make high speed fibre broadband available to 91.6% of premises in the county in 23 months time. For those in Berkshire the website should provide updates.

The project comprises of £2.03 million from the BDUK, £2.03 million from Berkshire local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership and £4m from BT. Berkshire already has an extensive coverage of superfast broadband under commercial roll-outs which should reach 87% of properties in 2014 (parts of Berkshire were included in the recent Openreach in-fill announcement).

The number of properties expected to benefit from access to fibre broadband (mainly FTTC, but some FTTP too, plus fibre on demand when fully rolled out) is around 18,875, with around 17,000 expected to get speeds of 24 Mbps and faster. This number may seem small, but that is all that is needed to take the area to the target figures. We expect these figures to vary slightly as until the surveying work expected to start in 2014 takes place, many of the figures are just from paper exercises.

For the remaining parts of Berkshire which still have slow or no broadband the aim is to deploy a mixture of technologies to ensure everyone has access to a minimum speed of 2 Mbps. Berkshire comprises of six unitary authorities and looking at the analysis from our speed test you can see that West Berkshire is area that needs the most work and reflects the divide between rural and urban in the county.

Unitary Authority Median Download Speed Median Upload Speed Superfast April 2014 (Commercial) Superfast Sept 2015 (After project)
West Berkshire 7.4 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 65.2% 79.2%
Windsor and Maidenhead 12.9 Mbps 1.6 Mbps 87.8% 92.5%
Reading 17.2 Mbps 1.6 Mbps 93.6% 94.9%
Wokingham 17.4 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 90.4% 93.8%
Bracknell Forest 17.6 Mbps 2 Mbps 94.9% 96.1%
Slough 19.1 Mbps 1.9 Mbps 94.2% 95.4%
Added anticipated coverage data from Superfast Berkshire website

The improvements are expected to be announced in five distinct phases, with the first premises going live in 12 months time.

£8 million to rollout FTTC to 18,875 premises sounds a lot of money, but it works out at £423 per property and this ignores any spending to improve speeds to the basic 2 Mbps USC in the remaining 9% of the County. Rejigging the figures, if around £100 is allocated to each property in the final 9% (around 29,249 properties), that leaves £5 million for the faster 18,875 or £265 per property. These rough calculations reflect the reality that without much higher subsidies from the public purse or a greater commitment from BT dreams of superfast for everyone are some years away.

Update 5:30pmThe Superfast Berkshire website has updated to include some overview maps of the roll-out, and whether an area is part of the superfast intervention area, or in a basic coverage area.

Update Wednesday 9th October: The final calculations were based on a flawed population estimate for Berkshire, which was too large. The result is that there is more money available for the slowest properties (£100 each) if a subsidy of £265 is used to build the fibre network for the 18,875 who will get better speeds. This still means there is a balancing act to be arrived at between improving everyone slightly, or improve to superfast (or very close speeds) and then use less than perfect solutions for other areas in the knowledge more funding is likely post 2015.


Posted by ccxo over 3 years ago
Andrew their is a update on superfast berkshire site and a coverage map listing the 4 phases- titled fibre coveage map.

Slightly disappointed that surverying will not commence till early 2014, coverage looks to be as expeted though their are some exchanges/cabs missed on the first map.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Thanks - obviously too quick off the mark earlier. Added the respective target figures for the six areas too.
Posted by boing_737 over 3 years ago
Personally, living in one of the rural parishes of West Berkshire I feel a bit fobbed off. The 2Mb/s definition of "broadband" is no longer valid for a start, and given that my village is probably only 2KM from the village with the exchange it is poor that we will not get FTTC, yet the "exchange village" will. The farce is that BT are being allowed to dictate the connectivity and are only motivated by profit while rural Britain once again gets a raw deal.
Posted by MCM999 over 3 years ago
@boing_737 It is superfast Berkshire that decide what can and cannot be achieved with the money available and not BT. As for BT being motivated by profit, that's true, but that's the same for every other public company. Remember it is not just not parts of rural Berkshire that won't be getting NGA broadband, the same is true for many in the towns and cities. At least public money via BDUK is available to help in the shires unlike say London where identical commercial criteria apply yet there is no BDUK funding to help enable commercially non-viable PCPs and those with EO lines.
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
Boing is the exchange already enabled (or your expecting to be as part of superfast Barkshire - whats the village by the way
Posted by ccxo over 3 years ago
@boing, this is a very early map and the survey work will not being till early 2014.

Once it beings the deployment map will change, though im suprised with some of the inital target areas.

I have a thread 'superfast berkshire 2' where i have more details about the district etc can discuss further if you would like.

Posted by doowles over 3 years ago
This really only effects West Berkshire. VDSL has been commercially rolled out in the other areas for a while now.
Posted by Mixmaster over 3 years ago
I'm very disappointed as well as my village East Garston is excluded and I'm daily having issues with conferences and downloads.
Posted by Ian48Harry over 3 years ago
@boing_737 Like you I too am in a village not getting fibre. I note that the ADSL rate has recently gone from 1.5MB down / 400kB up to 2.3 down / 500 up justifying them indicating that this is "fast enough". Irony is that in the recent campaign the village had the highest activity level. Fobbed off, more like shafted.
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