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Margarent Hodge denies PAC has given approval for Connecting Cumbria maps
Saturday 08 March 2014 09:42:28 by Andrew Ferguson

The Connecting Cumbria scheme with its map that was published earlier this week caused a bit of a stir amongst the Internet world as many are unable to spot the difference between this and previous maps other counties have published in terms of the level of detail published. What made this map different was that it claimed to follow the approach approved by the DCMS and more importantly the Public Accounts Committee.

It seems that the published map may not have been approved by the Public Accounts Committee, but was more likely the projects interpretation of what the PAC and DCMS want the counties to publish. Certainly when asked by @RuralChris on twitter on what basis did PAC agree the level of detail in the map Margaret Hodge replied:

"@RuralChris We didn't - thanks for bringing to my attention"

Margaret Hodge MP on twitter

So it is possible that rather than this map being the final coverage guide there may be further revisions if PAC and maybe the DCMS decide that more detail should be released. We have seen the problems of releasing more data i.e. people don't remember the caveats so get very upset when plans change and an area is delayed or missed out due to challenges that did not arise until final planning work was done and conversely there is the more obvious problem that people do not know what is coming to what area they will get angry and upset.

With UK local elections due to take place on 22nd May 2014, and a General Election in 2015, we can expect to see a lot political discussion around the gap funded projects. Of course we will not know whether another bidder would have provided much clearer information and rolled out exactly what people wanted, or whether given the fixed funding pot would have also tried to ensure the most premises covered as BT is doing rather than starting with the hardest to reach 5% and risking running out of money before the coverage targets were hit.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
Margaret Hodge and the PAC did say more information had to be released so that altnets could get on and do the hard bits. This sad map is the same as all the other counties are doing, no detail and it isn't what PAC have told them to do. More time wasting. More misinformation. But Margaret is a woman of grit. Hopefully she'll see it through.
Posted by GrasmereBroadband over 3 years ago
I've sent in an FOI to CCC for Grasmere
Hope it helps get the info required.
Posted by robharvey over 3 years ago
The map published by Cumbria CC is useless. I too have submitted a FOI request to CCC asking them what they have contracted with BT to provide at my postcode area in the village of Storth near Milnthorpe.
Posted by Plankton1066 over 3 years ago
These maps, although totally useless, are more useful than the level of detail so far produced by East Sussex and BT. We've now been told that the rollout around here is ahead of schedule. Just a shame that no schedule was ever published in the first place, so who is to know? This deliberate opacity is shocking given the amount of public money being used.
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
plankton have you actually asked whether you were in the intervention area and whether you are covered and if so what phase you are in - that will tell you if you are covered or what your options are
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
robharvery you need to ask whether you are in the intevention area and if so are you a build phase and if so what phase
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
If this was so important, perhaps the government should have put it in the contract.

You admire the Chair of the PAC, someone that publishes reports either without checking facts or publishing anyway knowing they contain false statement. Someone who *demands* maps with 7 digit postcode detail but does not even know what this is. Someone who shamelessly courts media exposure at any opportunity.

You can tell a lot about people by the company they meet, people they admire!
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
Newby, you certainly can. And at least Margaret Hodge is trying to help get some transparency, unlike a lot of people who try to cover it all up. The fact remains that the whole fttc thing is a total farce, and is not going to help millions who are on long phone lines. end of.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
But you know around 90% of us are within 1km of a cabinet right? You also know £25bn is not on offer to deliver a national FTTP network? And that it is expensive and slow to do so, based on delays with B4RN?

So the fact remains that you criticise people that are doing something at scale and speed, whilst not really offering anything instead. End of.
Posted by Plankton1066 over 3 years ago
@fastman .. I'm in an intervention area, as is the whole of East Sussex that wasn't covered in the commercial FTTC rollout. I am in the am in Phase 2 but the rider on the phase says that not all cabs will be covered in the phase, so I might not be in phase 2. I'm also quite a way from cab so unless additional cabs or FTTP is in the phase or future phase no NGA for me anyway. So in summary like many thousands of people having the BDUK process done to them, I have no clue to my "options" what so ever.
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
plankton - the intervention area is made up of white areas and will not necceserality be all of them -- hence the ask - if you are in Phase 2 i suggest that is either next or corrent phase so if is suggestts pahse 2 (based on your postcode) -- a conversation with BDUK team shoudl advied what is happening - - so har far is your premises from the cab (asumming its covered)
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago
the intervention area is only what was bid on and may not be all of the white areae as some may be covered by other operatos - so you need to check that
Posted by JNeuhoff over 3 years ago
"You also know £25bn is not on offer to deliver a national FTTP network?"

Care to provide us with some genuine sources (other than BT propaganda) on how to come to this figure?
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
Well the Broadband Stakeholder Group would be the best example, although IIRC there were others in same ballpark.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
One that is not based on BT figures.

26.4 million premises in the UK, so if £1000 per property, £26.4 billion.
Posted by TheEulerID over 3 years ago
I'm not quite sure why £25bn (£1K per household) is considered contentious.

The Australian National Network is estimated at AUS $73bn (£40bn over £4k per household) for FTTP. Although pop densities are much lower, much of Oz is still heavily urbanised.
Posted by galacticz00 over 3 years ago
I agree the map is very unhelpful. As someone who lives in the area I've no chance of pinpointing what coverage I'm likely to get. Very poor, BT are laughing all the way to the bank.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
And approaching the £25bn figure from another direction...

Most industry figures reckon that FTTP costs 4-5x as much as FTTC coverage.

The current BT rollout seems to be costing £2.5bn for the commercial portion, £1.5bn for BDUK round 1, and an estimate of just below £1bn for BDUK round 2. That makes near £5bn to cover 80% of the country (5% untouched by NGA, and 15% who will only get VM coverage). Let's say £6bn minimum for full coverage.

That would suggest FTTP would be in the ballpark of £24-30bn.
Posted by FTTH over 3 years ago
"You also know £25bn is not on offer to deliver a national FTTP network?"

25Bn is not on offer as a 'free handout', agreed.
The money was there though.

£3Bn was spent on football rights this year.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
Don't ask the cost of FTTP, ask the cost if we don't do it.

If we needed the money we could do fttp for all instead of a fast train for a few fatcats.

BT will continue to buy content.
In 2020 when everyone wakes up and sees the emperor has no clothes there will be a big shake up.
Posted by Gadget over 3 years ago
@CD I bet you never say that when deciding about new farm equipment! Regardless of the sentiment the money would have to be found from somewhere.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
Completely agree. Of course if we could wean the farmers off the £bns they receive in public subsidy every year through the Common Agricultural Policy then we would have the funds. Just a suggestion.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 3 years ago
Nice try newy but the subsidies are to give you lot cheap food. Course you could always try the good life and grow your own?
The majority of the CAP goes to keep defra running anyway. No public money ever seems to be used sensibly, its all jobs for the boys. Quangos. Silos. Waste.
All we really need is plain old common sense and less hype. Gadget, that is why farmers never have any money, it is all put back into the farm and equipment. They have to have the equipment or go out of business. Which many are doing actually...
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
Actually the CAP is a mechanism to maintain higher prices for farmers, protect them from global competition. It was never about providing us poor taxpayers with cheap food with our money. And even if it did do this, let's not forget using our own money to provide "cheaper" good is hardly rocket science, it's just paying the bill in a different way.

Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago

No industry should have a permanent subsidy, it's about time the farmers learnt to compete, without needing a constant stream of our money to pay their operating costs. I'd rather either have a lower tax Bill or at least see the money used for something worthwhile by either investing in assets or at least in something that can deliver growth. Underwriting operating costs does not do thus, is effectively writing the money off every year.

I wonder which would deliver more jobs in rural areas, continuing with the nonsense that is the CAP or providing fast broadband ......
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