It is nice to be able to announce another BDUK project starting to deliver, and today it is Kent with the first cabinet going live in Densole (a few miles north of Folkestone and served by the Hawkinge exchange).
The Kent BDUK project is aiming for 96% of premises in the County having access to a fibre based service by December 2015, with the projection that 91% will manage superfast broadband speeds.
What is interesting is the comments being published about the scale of the improvements that the service will deliver, as our own speed test shows speeds of 6 to 12 Mbps in the village which fits in with an Ofcom average of 7.5 Mbps. So if someone is taking several attempts to receive a PDF that has been sent to them, then there may be other issues with the connection, if these are sent as email attachments the issue may simply be time-outs on the mail server, which a faster connection will avoid of course.
For business use the big difference generally that a superfast connection provides and particularly FTTC services is that upstream speeds are ten to twenty times faster than existing services and if a business is on an old tariff the increase may be as much as forty times.
Allowing almost everyone to order a faster service is worthy, but in terms of take-up the growing evidence base is that people who can already get a speed around the 8 to 10 Mbps mark look at the £5 to £20 premium for an FTTC service and in the face of increasing utility bills decide to remain with their current service. Our un-scientific advice would be that the projects would see faster take-up if they rolled out cabinets in areas with sub 4 Mbps speeds first, and this might trigger claw back mechanisms faster and thus allow the 96% target to become 97% or higher.