Residents and businesses in Shropshire worrying that the BDUK process was just another vapourware project can start to relax slightly as the first areas to see improvements from the project have been announced.
Montford Bridge, Montford, Bicton, Ford, Shrawardine, Pontesbury and Minsterley which is a footprint of some 6,000 premises look set to get access to fibre based broadband (we presume FTTC) with the actual speed received governed by the distance from the green street cabinet. The village of Albrighton and business premises in Harlescott are also mentioned, the separate listing of them suggests this may just be one or two cabinets for these two areas.
Ordering the fibre based services should be possible sometime in early 2014 and further areas will be announced as part of phase one in January, with subsequent phases outlined as 2014 progresses.
The contract for Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) was signed at the start of August 2013, when a figure of 90% getting superfast broadband speeds of faster than 24 Mbps was confirmed. The 93% figure in the council update covers all those who will get connected to a fibre based solution, i.e. it looks like current estimates are that 3% will get below 24 Mbps.
These estimates often buck the national projection that around 10% of lines are so long that VDSL2 will run at under 24 Mbps, but with some careful use of limited FTTP roll-out the projects could reduce the effect of long lines, something that has happened in parts of Cornwall. The key will be for sites like ourselves to keep a keen eye on take-up rates and see what effect this has on national/region/district average speeds.