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|
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.