Telford and Wrekin has been seen as a little odd over its decision to opt out of the BDUK project and not contribute any funding to the BDUK project for the County. This week also saw a local campaigner meet a cross-party group in the House of Commons to raise concerns that the project was only improving speeds in areas that were already fast enough.
Telford and Wrekin is not a place you would put at the forefront of broadband speeds in the UK, but with widespread Virgin Media coverage and extensive FTTC coverage combined with what looks to be good take-up the area features very good speeds.
|Area||Median Download||Median Upload||%'age < 2 Mbps||%'age Superfast||Fastest 10%|
|Telford and Wrekin||19.6 Mbps||1.8 Mbps||8.3%||37.2%||> 69.9 Mbps|
|Rest of Shropshire||5.6 Mbps||0.6 Mbps||21.3%||7.5%||> 23 Mbps|
Looking at the initial areas announced by the project in Shropshire, only Minsterley has reasonable speeds of 10 to 16 Mbps due to vicinity of the telephone exchange. The other areas Montford Bridge, Montford, Bicton, Ford, Shrawardine, Pontesbury all seem to return speed test results in the 1 to 2 Mbps region.
The problem may simply be that people are seeing the roll-out start and with it being a FTTC based roll-out, there are exchanges that serve as fibre handover nodes, and these will not be located in the picture postcard rural hamlet; add to this the way fibre backbones are built i.e. radiate out from the major centres of population.
The majority of problems with the BDUK projects are that the reality of what the target coverage figures actually mean (93% coverage for superfast speeds in Shropshire). Essentially that there will be parts of each county that may not see major boosts in speed. The projects are playing the game where they hope to complete the major areas within budget in the hope they are do a better job in the most rural areas. Given the relative lack of funding for broadband compared to size of the task this is to be expected.