The Greater Manchester Councils of are the latest to sign on the dotted line with BT, in a BDUK project with a total fund of £15m. The key point is that premises in the City of Manchester and the City of Salford are excluded, businesses in those two areas should benefit from the super connected city funding. The other councils which are Stockport, Bolton, Wigan, Bury, Tameside, Oldham, Trafford and Rochdale have all contributed to the partnership and Stockport will operate as the lead authority to reduce the administration costs, i.e. avoid duplication of roles in all the councils.
The project expects to use the £15m to take fibre based broadband to an extra 39,000 homes and businesses on top of the roughly 900,000 premises (both cities are included in this figure) that already have access via the commercial roll-outs. Council Tax data from 2012 indicates the total number of homes is 1,182,892 and the number of homes in the eight councils that are part of the project is 852,492, thus the 39,000 is a small percentage but as no exact percentages have been released it is not clear how close or not this takes coverage in the eight councils to a mythical 100% coverage for fibre based broadband. Our best estimate is that current coverage is around 95.2% (based on Ofcom figures) and thus after the project will be around 99.77%.
"We want to see Greater Manchester become one of the world’s top digital cities by 2020. The eight local authority areas, with their active local business communities, will play a crucial role in this.
Access to fast and reliable broadband is becoming increasingly important for homes and businesses. These proposals would ensure local businesses can make the most of digital technology - boosting the local economy, generating growth, creating jobs and attracting further investment."Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Stockport Council
The £15 million of the project is made up of £4.999 million from the ERDF (aimed at stimulating local business and economic development), £4.6 million from BT, £3 million from the BDUK and £2.5 million from the eight councils. There is no indication of how fibre rich the roll-out will be so far to assume it is FTTC based, but the ERDF funding may allow for some business areas to see native FTTP or subsidised Fibre on Demand (FTTPoD) services.
Our own speed test allows us to look at speeds across these council areas and a quick summary is below:
|Council||Median Download Speeed||Median Upload Speed||%'age under 2 Mbps||%'age 30 Mbps or faster|
|Bolton||16.7 Mbps||1.7 Mbps||5.9%||27.2%|
|Bury||14.0 Mbps||1.1 Mbps||8.7%||25.7%|
|Oldham||15.8 Mbps||1.1 Mbps||10.8%||28.8%|
|Rochdale||15.0 Mbps||1.3 Mbps||12%||25.8%|
|Stockport||15.4 Mbps||1.3 Mbps||6.3%||31.5%|
|Tameside||16.9 Mbps||1.8 Mbps||6.6%||33.2%|
|Trafford||17.6 Mbps||1.9 Mbps||7.1%||30.8%|
|Wigan||19.2 Mbps||1.8 Mbps||5.7%||33.7%|