The BDUK project for Surrey set an ambitious goal with wording like 'within a whisker of 100% fibre broadband availability back in 2012 when the contract was signed. Now some eighteen months later BT is pleased to announce the project is at the half way point and the latest cabinet to go live is one in Virginia Water (orders accepted from next week).
Including the commercial footprint there are 348 green street cabinets with a FTTC twin in Surrey, but another 272 are to be added by the end of the project in 2014. In terms of installing fibre 391km will have been installed by the completion, bringing fibre out of the exchanges closer to the home where it has hidden for many years.
The coverage figure is described as 99% homes and businesses to have access to a fibre based solution by the end of 2014. The number who will get superfast speeds will be less, and will vary greatly from area to area, since there is no single template that UK towns and villages are constructed from. Looking at Oxted which is just outside the M25, our estimate is that 91% of premises will get a speed of 24 Mbps or faster, and with just one street cabinet left to enable Oxted is almost job done. The remaining cabinet (PCP 10) serves properties around RH8 0DH (De Tillens Lane) and with www.roadworks.org reporting traffic lights and excavations to get power to it then Oxted is very close to completion. Our maps reveal some overlap with Virgin Media, and just a handful of EO lines.
The BT progress report still mentioned FTTP as a solution, and it is possible that parts of Surrey will get native FTTP (i.e. available at same prices for same speeds as FTTC services, but with option of faster speeds), we have asked for hints on which areas. The age old problem of Exchange Only connections (where a line goes directly to the exchange without an intervening cabinet) will obviously have to be solved, and we know for some exchanges in Surrey, new PSTN with fibre twins are appearing in areas to serve these clusters.