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BDUK projects overall progress report
Wednesday 09 April 2014 10:02:24 by Andrew Ferguson

It is being reported that the number of homes passed by superfast broadband under the BDUK scheme in February 2014 was 370,000, though as the DCMS has not released its quarterly update we do not have precise figures.

Critics of the scheme should take note that the figures announced by Ed Vaizey MP refer to superfast broadband and watching him in various meetings the Communications Minister does appear to understand that this means the number of homes that can order a 24 Mbps or faster service.

"We are hitting our targets. Let me explain that we measure superfast broadband homes passed on the basis of those who actually receive it. So it is not about simply putting up a cabinet and saying, “That is delivering superfast broadband to 2,000 homes,” because some of the homes in that cabinet area might be 1 km away and not get such speeds. We audit every quarter, and we estimate that by the end of February we had passed 370,000 homes with superfast broadband. We are well on track to get into seven figures some time this year. We were passing 10,000 homes a week and we are now on track to pass 40,000 homes a week, so the programme is accelerating all the time."

Edward Vaizey MP(The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture)

Elsewhere in this well mannered debate a figure of 400,000 was mentioned as the number of homes passed, this was not qualified with the superfast wording, so may represent the 30,000 who are getting something between 0 and 23.999 Mbps from the FTTC services. There was also a figure given for North Yorkshire which is set to complete its original roll-out later this year, but will continue to meet the latest targets.

"North Yorkshire was the first county in the country to award its roll-out contract. The roll-out has been going at the rate of about 6,000 to 7,000 properties per month, which is a good rate. I checked the latest data and at the end of last week 102,402 properties had been enabled to receive superfast broadband of at least 25 megabits per second.

Just having the capacity, however, is not enough. People have to choose it. Take-up is running at 16.2 %, and rising sharply. Superfast North Yorkshire expects to reach 20% take-up by summer, and 30% by the middle of next year. That is significant as those rates of take-up also trigger clawback elements in the contract, so the roll-out provider—in this case, British Telecom—will have to pay money back to NYnet. It will be able to use that for reinvestment to roll out broadband to remaining properties, perhaps as match funding for Government schemes. The lesson from the roll-out is that the importance really lies in demand stimulation for both residential and business customers."

Andrew Jones MP (Harrogate and Knaresborough, Conservative)

Ed Vaizey also threw some figures out to the small audience in the room such as North Yorkshire has deployed 462 out of its target of 673 cabinets so far, also take-up is highly variable the average being in the 20% area and two cabinets are exceeding 30% take-up.

Cumulative to end of: Premises with superfast broadband service made available BDUK funding (£) Number of premises covered per £million of broadband delivery programme expenditure
December 2012 254 £434,735 584
March 2013 16,638 £6,767,185 2,459
June 2013 38,343 £6,767,185 5,666
September 2013 111,968 £10,347,568 10,821
December 2013 273,731 £14,182,547 19,301
February 2014 370,000 n/a n/a

Once the official figures appear on the DCMS website we will endeavour to update the table, so that a progress record exists away from Government sites, that in the past have had a tendency to move things around and break links over a number of years.


Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
Stupid there seems to be no plan for the final 10%.
As a self-employed computer trouble-shooter, I live 5200 Metres from my enabled cab (Totnes, Cab 9). I can't get FTTC so I'm stuck with 1.7mbps for god knows how long.
70%-80% of people on a cab don’t even want it, and there’s me here who could do with FTTH and frankly would pay £200 per month for it!!
My business will start to suffer quite soon. The balance is all wrong.
The Rollout is being prioritised for homes that already have quite good broadband. Surely it should be the other way around??
Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
Following my last post,I have loads of customers worse off than me. I can just about cope at the moment but I have some Farmers still on dial-up!! Others who get 0.5Mbps and can’t use iPlayer, it’s ridiculous!
I have a great backup product that I am unable to sell to these customers and they are unable to benefit from it.
If I had a fast upload I could do initial backups for my customers on slower connections, but I can’t.
It takes me about 4 hours to download and install updates on 3 freshly reinstalled PCs. This would be 10 mins on fibre. HELLO?? SOMEBODY??
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
An extra £2.96m for Cornwall to help push superfast to 95% for 2017. Halving the final 10%.

If you are a lone property and likely no 4G then satellite if you need higher upload/download as a medium term solution.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
The issue is value for money, do you want to spend £6,000+ to order Fibre on Demand? Or should the Cornish council pay for it?

With limited funding projects might be looking at giving better speeds to 10 other businesses or you?
Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
Well it would be nice if the Cornish council paid for it but I'm in Devon! Hahaha
It would be about £12,000 to get FTTH to just me (about 400 Metres of the 5200 is buried under a field, not ducted) but there are another 20 or so properties (also out of range) on the same line that could be served by another FTTC cab further out. Most of them would get 80Meg, I and about 5 others would get about 30 so that would work.
How would I go about seeing if this was possible though and how do I know if BT have already thought about this. Why doesn't anyone let on as to what's going on?
Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
Would also move the aggregation point closer of course making FTTH cheaper later.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
@ahockings: Properties with quite good broadband will be close to an exchange so likely urban which means a single cabinet can improve the service for more properties.
Conversely properties with poor broadband are likely 'extra urban' so a single cabinet serves fewer premises.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
(Cont'd) BDUK has limited funds so they want to get maximum 'bang for their buck'. That means they want to cover the most premises for the fewest cabinets. Taken with part 1 of my reply there is your answer.

Put another way: There choice is probably 'upgrade a lot of people from adequate to excellent' v. 'upgrade a few people from crap to excellent'.

Which would you chose to do if you were the ones holding the purse strings?
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
Given that this is public money surely the correct choice is to improve the lives of the most people. If you still doubt me how do think the public would feel at the end if 10,000 people who had a rubbish service now have an excellent service but 100,000 people who had a poor service still have a poor service?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
My bad on the county...lack of coffee issue.

The Devon project is well behind the Cornish one which started before BDUK got going.

As others have said its a limited pot of money and down to cold hearted people who will consider value for money, rather than how if affects a single person.

A full FTTC cabinet for 20 homes would be a clear waste, the newer minicabs might be an option, but ideally need 50 to 60 homes.

For now you need to either move or buy a satellite service or pay commercial price to fibre you up.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
Well I've said it before.

EU+BT = Job runs ahead of schedule.
BDUK = Job staggers slowly toward completion.
Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
@andrew Satellite is not an option as I have an EE Signalbox (Femto) that I now would not be without.
4G will be here quite soon and I can get that into my house but it's the usage issue again. I would pay the £50 but 50GB is not enough.
How would I go about getting Openreach out to give me a quote for FTTH? I may be able to get at least 3 others to chip in. Is it also true that FTTH is now £100 per month or more?
Also, do I have to wait for Fibre On Demand to be “available” from my cab?
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago

You always make this argument - limited cash, best bang for the buck, help the majority etc - but the plain fact of it is that BDUK money was there to predominantly help rural BB development. It wasn't intended to supercharge urban lines. Unfortunately the County Councils and BT have changed the premise to aim for 95% County-wide fibre penetration. They are within their rights to do so but in my view, not with the BDUK allocation - council reserves and BT funding yes, BDUK money NO.
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago

You may argue that without BDUK there would be no co-ordinated attempt to improve the infrastructure - probably right - but as the core of the funding was explicitly to improve rural BB its unsurprising those of us affected are less than happy.

I would still argue that with the peripheries sorted, commercial rollouts would inevitably connect up because the pressure from the majority would make it happen.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
I have tried to find clear proof that the £530m was meant to be ONLY spent on rural lines and cannot find PROOF. the original plan, USC for all, but no superfast for JUST rural areas.

90% chat in 2011

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago

Nothing stopping you keeping the slow ADSL for femto use. I run two broadband lines for home working, to provide redundancy.

In terms of FoD pricing you talk to your broadband provider, but most are on hold until the new pricing is announced by BT Wholesale or you source an Ethernet based service.

FoD needs to be available from the cabinet (if selling FTTC then kit is there) it is a case of having staff who can install and maintain it locally.
Posted by fastman over 3 years ago

this might help
Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
@fastman. Thanks. That is helpful.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
On the take-up figure for North Yorkshire...

They're predicting reaching 30% by April 2015, at which point the claw-back will amount to an additional £3.5m that would become available to spend on further coverage.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
'rural' doesn't just mean isolated farms and villages. It means 'in the countryside'. A town of 10,000 people can still be rural.

There is also no reason to think that uplifting a handful of remote users is going to miraculously create a business case for several thousand people in a nearby town. The costs for that town will remain largely the same and all you'll do is *really* annoy a lot of people. The very people who through taxation have probably put more into the pot that the handful of remote users anyway.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
(cont'd)Your belligerent attitude toward me is not going to help either. I'm not involved in BDUK. I don't have any influence. I'm just trying to help you understand the realities of the situation so that you can come to terms with it and make more informed decisions.

It just doesn't make sense for BDUK to spend large amounts of money helping a handful of people when those same monies could be used to help thousands of people.

Sorry but that's the way the world works.
Posted by Plankton1066 over 3 years ago
On the clawback. The cab I'm on is due to get an fttc twin in four weeks. I'm 1050m away so am anticipating 17-22 mbps which will be a boon. The cab servers homes and business that are up to 3km away. Do these people count in the numbers for the take up figures or just people who can get NGA ie 24mbps? Clawback strikes me as important to try and free cash to go beyond the existing cab infrastructure.
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago

I am sorry if I appear to being belligerent towards you - it is not intended. We probably stand on opposite sides of the divide both in terms of our understanding of BDUK was meant to be about and (possibly) our access to BB right now.

Neither of us are likely to change our position so I'm going to try and avoid restating mine in the future.
Posted by mbuckingham over 3 years ago

"There choice is probably 'upgrade a lot of people from adequate to excellent' v. 'upgrade a few people from crap to excellent'."

The last time I checked I pay the same income tax as other people; I pay the same rate of VAT; my council tax is the same as for similar houses. So for the same money I should accept the 0.5Mb I'm getting?
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@AndrueC The government wants to make savings on going digital by default. The BDUK approach is defeating this objective. So the choice is spend money and deny a savings opportunity by upgrading adequate to excellent or spend some money and save some money upgrading inadequate/unavailable to adequate.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
And the level of adequate is considered to be 2 Mbps or faster by those with the money to spend on this.

100% via 2 Mbps USC is still there, but projects are waiting to see how far they can push superfast first.

Of course roll-outs could be faster, by employing more people, thus increasing cost.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
Technically the USC had now been replaced by a "nearly all" and pushed back 5 years, and over 2mbps would represent a stepchange for many even though it is looked on with disdain by those fortunate enough to already have more. There would certainly be a much higher take up than 20% and this would help defray the cost.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
There never was a USO, and there never was a commitment for 2012. That was Labour's pre-election sloganeering, and nothing more. And, as it turns out, was never achievable with the cash they had in mind for the project.

The closest thing to a commitment was the USC, which by definition is indeed "nearly all", of 2Mbps for 2015. And I agree that this is likely to get pushed back by the tranche 2 SEP funding, but it hasn't actually been pushed back yet.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Only people who subscribe are included in the take-up figures.

Whether they actually get superfast speeds or not is a factor not often published in the stats, but I suspect it shouldn't - Openreach's economics only need you to subscribe, so they get the income for the deployment.
Posted by MCM999 over 3 years ago
@mbuckingham "I pay the same rate of VAT; my council tax is the same as for similar houses."
So on that basis let's divide the available money equally across all phone lines and sit back and see no-one seeing any improvement. Or are you suggesting that whilst paying the same taxes you should receive more than your share of the funding? <g> Note I am not in a BDUK area and have NO access to neither FTTC or cable. That's London for you.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
@wwwombat. The 2015 date was pushed back to 2017 towards the end of last year.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
The 2017 date was associated with the second target of 95%, and is associated with the second tranche of funding.

The politicians like to concentrate on that figure nowadays, especially when hyping their achievements.

However, the counties' contracts with BT are all based on the tranche 1 funding, and the phase 1 target - 90% superfast (or whatever they agreed) and the remainder USC. Date still whatever they agreed (2014-2016) but not pushed back to 2017. Yet.

Politician hype for the new 2017 target doesn't override the existing contracts. Yet.

SFNY report to NYCC confirms.
Posted by lmschuffer over 3 years ago
My upgraded cab is at one end of the village, and you've guessed it, I'm at the other, adsl @1.34, vdsl @17, obviously a big improvement but no NGA !.
How do we make OR aware that these are available ?.
Looks like the answer to a thousand prayers.
Posted by realBSG over 3 years ago
Personally I would think that:
"BDUK is responsible for managing the Rural Broadband Programme, whereas local authorities and the devolved administrations are responsible for individual projects, as set out in BDUK’s delivery model. " on the BDUK
web page:
Could be considered definitive "proof" that BDUK is rural focused?
Posted by Lochnagar over 3 years ago
I get 0.31 Mbps download and 0.30 upload, with no improvement expected till March 2016. I don't expect it will be much better then, because I live 6 km from the roadside cabinet. I'm thinking of splashing out on Satellite broadband.
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