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Next phase of fibre funding may be announced soon
Monday 13 January 2014 10:38:09 by Andrew Ferguson

One of the issues with the BDUK process is that it was having to rely on estimates and vague promises of commercial coverage levels as each project drew up its plans. The way that original £530m of funding was allocated is likely to not be improved as the procurement process for 2015-2017 starts to get underway.

We have known that funding was available for the 2015 to 2017 period for some time and now it seems shortly we can expect more detail on how the next wave of funding (more correctly money shaved off the top of the BBC Licence fee) will be shared out between the various areas of the UK. The problem facing the accountants in control is that the current BDUK projects are far from complete and thus it will not be fully clear which areas will need more money. Of course the pressure for improved broadband is such that campaigners do not want delays, with the end result most likely being another fairly simplistic round of bidding with extensions to existing projects.

Ed Vaizey who is quoted in the Darlington and Stockton Times has announced some interesting figures for the North Yorkshire BDUK project which is set to complete in 2015, namely that of the 95,000 premises that can order from the 370 cabinets deployed by the scheme, around 86,000 (90.5%) can get speeds of 25 Mbps and faster which ties in almost too nicely to the ratios of expected speeds from VDSL2 we published a long time ago.

The big unknown with the next round of broadband investment will be how prepared are county council's to invest another chunk of money, some counties should if their current projects deliver hit the 95% figure and have no interest in further funding. Even if the procurement is opened to more providers, the geographically diverse nature means we are expecting the BT Group to see the majority of the money.

One word of advice to the politicians, be very aware that the volume of complaints from those living in cities that are either outside a Virgin Media footprint and/or blessed by an exchange only telephone line meaning they are unable to get FTTC is increasing. It is looking likely that by 2017 that you are more likely to get a faster connection living in a reasonably sized village than a 15 year old flat in a city.

Comments

Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
"It is looking likely that by 2017 that you are more likely to get a faster connection living in a reasonably sized village than a 15 year old flat in a city." How ironic! Will it then be acceptable for us rural dwellers with unfeasibly large bandwidth to tell these people to stop complaining and to move home because they chose to live where they do and they have a choice?
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
@csimon: As acceptable as it ever was to say that to rural dwellers, yes. Whether you as an individual feel like saying it is entirely your choice. Personally I always felt it was a bit too crass.

I'll continue as I always have: With sympathy and explanation of RoI.
Posted by MCM999 over 3 years ago
Andrew, as one living in central London with a 2+km EO line and no VM, I note and agree with your last para. The number of such lines is significant and an affordable solution needs to be found with the first requirement being that upgrading such lines should have similar access to state funding as those living in rural areas. One thing to remember is that those with EO lines, wherever that might be, never chose to have an EO line. The same cannot always be said of those living half way up a mountain.
Posted by ian72 over 3 years ago
As long as people are commenting based on economic viability then it isn't a question of rural/city - in fact even in the recent past it hasn't been as some people in the middle of London have worse connections than those in the middle of the country.
And whilst people don't choose EO they do choose location and if it happens to be delivered by EO then so be it (and may not be economical to change that)
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
...The number of such lines is significant and an affordable solution needs to be found with the first requirement being that upgrading such lines should have similar access to state funding as those living in rural areas...

That is happening using BDUK money in Staffordshire. The only area in Rugeley (a town) NOT supplied by VM is the area adjacent to the BT Exchange. Those EO lines will now get Fibre. 3% of the rural population have no BB or sub 1Mbps speeds because the project 'can't afford' to provide it. What was the purpose of the BDUK project again?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@PhilCoates is that 3% the current no BB or sub 1 Mbps? Or is that what the project is saying will be the result after it has finished?
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
The original data for the North Yorkshire project suggested that more than 700 cabinets were due to be upgraded, so reaching 370 suggests they are half way through the project.

The county has 380,000 premises, so the 95,000 "affected" properties amounts to 25%.
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
@Andrew. The 3% is the percentage of residents currently with no BB/slow BB and we will NOT be included in the Fibre roll out because of the cost of providing it. The coverage map shows we are all in rural areas.
Posted by mpellatt over 3 years ago
100% agree with the EO line issue. Solutions to this have all been hand waving so far from OpenReach. In the work location, I've been lucky that HyperOptic have recently "lit" the local fibre node, and the building (and our floor) already had fibre blown, so got 100Mbps uncontended for a very very (very) good price. But without that the options would have been 4-pair EFM at around the same price but giving 10-15Mpbs, or bonded DSL, again around the same price - better downstream but less upstream.
Posted by csimon over 3 years ago
@MCM999: No! You have chosen to live where you do therefore you choose to have a line that is EO, in the same way that people who choose to live halfway up a mountain as you put it have seemingly chosen to have a poor line & poor broadband. That was the whole point of my "ironic" comment! *You* can't complain about having an EO line, you have to move to somewhere where there isn't one. (I'm being ironic again...)
Posted by rjohnloader over 3 years ago
I live in N Yorks. Our exchange, Leyburn has just been fibred.Our cabinet's location means the 50 or so properties in the same village as the cabinet will get high speed services, our village with 165 premises, being 3.5km away will not and sub 2meg ADSL will continue thanks to BT's lack of imagination past FTTC
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