In some counties the work of the local Broadband Champions was largely ignored, but Warwickshire is highlighting that the work from the champions made in helping to secure a further £1,422,264 of funding. After initial modelling work by BT which was received by Warwickshire at the end of October, the extra spending should bring faster broadband to another 6,480 premises and is now awaiting State Aid Approval via the BDUK.
The Warwickshire newsletter for November 2013, is interesting reading and raises the fate of RCBF projects in the county, namely that they cannot receive their funding until the superfast areas have been defined and also that spending under the RCBF scheme has to be complete, i.e. invoiced and paid for by March 2015. Which is a very tight deadline for any project that may still only exist on paper or in the dreams of a few key people. It is interesting to see also that the Warwickshire project is worried that setting aside an area for an RCBF scheme may mean it is then excluded from the additional £250m that has been announced by Westminster for 2015 to 2017.
The FAQ area of the newsletter covers the very confusing aspect of the Warwickshire maps in that there are no roads or place names to help people judge where they stand and this is described as being partly down to the mismatch between postcodes and the way telecoms networks are deployed and the biggest reason would seem to be the worry that by displaying precise data people may get the impression that plans are set in stone.
"Can’t you at least put roads onto the Map?
The problem we have is in trying to manage expectations. Quite clearly, with telecoms infrastructure being based on historical (and sometimes very lengthy) routings the postcodes actually bear very little relevance to where the services will eventually be offered. Therefore if we were to put roads etc onto the maps we would very quickly have people wanting to know why their property was on the edge of a designation and what that means. Equally, we could have people who are clearly marked as under investigation and where, for one reason or another, it is actually not possible to upgrade the local cabinet or there may be issues with the copper network, both of which would prevent the delivery of superfast broadband.
That is why, until the survey results for each area are known, we describing them as 'under investigation' and why the maps are not more detailed. As soon as we have any information to share we will be making it publicly available – clearly it is in our interests to get the information out as quickly as possible and we are endeavouring to do just that.
The maps on the website are therefore not intended to show specific locations but to give an indication of the overall coverage in terms of awaiting further funding, under investigation and commercial rollout.FAQ from Warwickshire newsletter
So assuming approval is given for the extra 6,480 premises this should raise superfast coverage to 91%, with 93% of the County with access to a fibre based service. The fate of the remaining 7% dependent on how spending goes in the main project areas, and what other funding appears, but there is a commitment to bring 2 Mbps to these areas.
Update 9:30am 26th November: We have put together a layered map to help people understand the Warwickshire map and get a slightly better idea of the various areas covered. The base layer is a map of the towns and major roads, with postcodes plotted to show speeds and how rural different areas are.