Skip Navigation


Broadband Digital Divide in Suffolk
Wednesday 16 October 2013 19:12:12 by Andrew Ferguson

Plans to increase speeds across the Suffolk Costal District are being drawn up by community leaders in Suffolk, but it is not clear whether this is lobbying action to ensure the distict has every cabinet and Exchange Only line upgraded or a plan to seek new money. The BDUK project to improve speeds across the County is already underway and identifying which areas will benefit. This project has an early estimate of improving on commercial superfast coverage to make a superfast connection (faster than 24 Mbps) available to 85% of premises, there would then be an as yet range of speeds below 24 Mbps.

The local press as ever is following the changes closely and has highlighted a fact that 13% of premises in the Suffolk Coastal District receive less than 2 Mbps. Our own data suggests the situation may actually be worse with 17.8% recording a speed test of 2 Mbps or slower in that part of Suffolk.

  Ipswich District Council Suffolk Coastal District
%'age at 2 Mbps or slower 7.5% 17.8%
%'age at 30 Mbps or faster 32% 14.1%
median download speed (Mbps) 18.4 Mbps 6.7 Mbps
mean download speed (Mbps) 24.2 Mbps 14.1 Mbps
median upload speed (Mbps) 1.9 Mbps 0.76 Mbps
mean upload speed (Mbps) 3.7 Mbps 3.0 Mbps

The small table shows the difference between the more urban parts of a county and rural nicely, it also emphasises the importance of using the median figure from results, as those who do have superfast services in the Suffolk Coastal District are skewing the mean value.

The question really is what sort of difference will the superfast roll-out have and whether residents and businesses will value the extra speed in return for the higher cost of the service. Convincing people to upgrade in cases where significant improves are likely is the hardest job facing councils, and unless people upgrade there is not going to be any major changes to speed test analysis figures.

Comments

Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
To the 17.8% you have to add those cannot take the test because broadband is not available so it could be nearer 20%.

The original plan for Suffolk was to have a county wide fixed wireless overlay to bring a minimum 2mb service to all while the fibre planning was sorted out. This was ruled out by the EU state aid pronouncement resulting in the BT monopoly we have now. The Vice President in charge of the Deepening the Digital Divide Agenda is Neelie Kroes @NeelieKroesEU who no doubt would welcome your congratulations on a job well done.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
So explain how other areas are able to use fixed wireless via council funding?
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Andrew - "So explain how other areas are able to use fixed wireless via council funding?"

Can you list some that have BDUK scheme approval for FWA?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Lincolnshire?
Kent did some before BDUK project.
Allowed for super connected cities too.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
Lincolnshire's wireless was funded by EU regional development funding which I suspect is not available in Suffolk

Ultrafast broadband as in the connected cities is also I believe an exception to the general guidelines.

Incidentally the first target of the EU digital agenda is about to be missed - that of bringing basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Andrew - "Lincolnshire?
Kent did some before BDUK project.
Allowed for super connected cities too."

I am not aware of any companies being contracted INSIDE the BDUK scheme for FWA - do you have any names/areas? I understood ALL BDUK Council contracts so far have been 'awarded' to BT who MAY at some indeterminate time in the future employ FWA?

It is only in the last few weeks that FWA APPEARS to be coming out of the BDUK gloom.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
gerarda - "Incidentally the first target of the EU digital agenda is about to be missed - that of bringing basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013"

Indeed - if we made that 2017 we might achieve it in the UK!
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
Ipswich town has VM cable but it doesn't seem to reflect in the table results too much http://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/PageFiles/858/tlw105-VRB.html
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
In terms of a County contract awarded to a FWA correct, none have been given at county level.

To say there is no investment in fixed wireless via public money is incorrect too.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
What speed is basic broadband?

Before we all perform our daily, UK Broadband is terrible take a look at http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5881-eu-digital-agenda-scorecard-shows-uk-doing-well.html in particularly the households actually with a broadband connection.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 3 years ago
Wasn't FibreWiFi in Essex supported by the local county council?
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
JN - I think a few schemes around the country have been - was it Selling in Kent with 'Bill' (that collapsed?)- but the mention by gerarda is, I think, about Councils 'doing it' inside the BDUK schemes within state aid rules? - "This was ruled out by the EU state aid pronouncement resulting in the BT monopoly we have now."
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
@Mikejp
Care to provide a link that shows that wireless was ruled out of BDUK bids? My understanding is that this was in fact allowed, which I think was confirmed after the pathetic Public Accounts Committee report.
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
JN: yep, and by a couple of districts, and I think too they have a small operation in the Wilford Peninsula part of Suffolk Coastal in Suffolk (supported by PCs). I surmise this support is within the (aggregated) de minimus threshold for EU regs. County Broadband WiFi are in Rendlesham (and in north Essex/south Suffolk might get round this by being supported in kind by the (non-state) Diocese).
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
N_L - Care to provide a link that shows how many WISPS could meet the requirements for 'bidding' on the BDUK scheme? It was never a serious contender for the major BDUK project.

Shall we start with £20million turnover for the preceding 3 years? How many could achieve that?

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
It is perhaps fairer to say that FWA was 'sidelined' in the process due to the mistaken belief (presented by Analysis Mason) that they could only deliver 'about 10mb' plus the nonsense about the need for a 'step change', the laughable "15mb at peak times" decision, the statement that they were 'good for remote areas' and then the 'you must upgrade to fibre' rule which has only just been 'softened' (August 2013, and was not applicable to BT).

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
I cannot see how any WISP could begin to bid for the contracts on offer. They were instead 'encouraged' to consider themselves potential 'sub-contractors' for the major bidders for the hard to reach areas.

Under BDUK guidance LAs were to ignore ANY FWA networks in their OMRs until there was a bit of 'jumping up and down' by WISPS and the maps were re-drawn - Nov 2012, I think, but only to include 'Basic' broadband and ignore the SFB networks thus again ruling them out of the scheme proper.

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
I'm sure one of our 'WISPS' can provide more evidence of the effective 'disuasion'.

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
This guy - http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2013/07/18/how-bduk-bungled-britains-next-gen-broadband-rollout/ - seems to agree. "The European Commission’s 2009 guidelines presumed that Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technologies could not deliver superfast capabilities and therefore could not be subsidised.". Worth a read for the non-believers.

Anyway, why doesn't Andrew get his mate 'Kijoma' to explain why he didn't bid as FWA?
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
'Anyway, why doesn't Andrew get his mate 'Kijoma' to explain why he didn't bid as FWA?'................

Presumably because they did not have a turnover in excess of £20 million for the preceeding 3 years that the rules require.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
You got it in one!
Posted by callmeleroy over 3 years ago
Far too many EO lines in my town in Suffolk, some spitting distance from cabinets. Some on brand new lines.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
As N L is well aware the state Aid rules were drafted on the one hand appear to allow FWA but on the other to effectively rule it out " there is acommitment to upgrade to fibre components when economically viable."
Posted by callmeleroy over 3 years ago
Will thinkbroadband approach bto about eo lines again at some pt. it's been over a year since the 'hope for eo lines' that we're knocking about.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Cabinets are appearing for eo lines in some areas, so it is now down to specifics for an area
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.