Cornwall was the first area of the UK to embrace the Openreach roll-out and its £132m roll-out programme is a combination of the commercial roll-out and gap funding from the Cornish Council and the EU. Cornwall is also perhaps one of the big reason why other counties went with BT when signing their BDUK contracts, because you can see and touch an existing roll-out in both urban and rural areas.
Back in June 2013 the project reached the 75% properties passed milestone, and now it has hit the 90% mark. This is not the end of the project and coverage of either FTTC or FTTP is likely to reach 95% by the end of the year.
"Superfast Cornwall is proving an outstanding success. It has set the standard for rural areas not only in the UK, but also across the continent. Local authorities and organisations from Europe and even further afield have studied the achievements of the Superfast Cornwall partnership with a view to running their own programmes.
Across the UK, we are now seeing successful broadband partnerships forging ahead with their own plans, but we should not forget the vision and pioneering role played by Cornwall with this exciting project. As well as building excellent fibre broadband coverage for a rural area, the partnership is achieving very strong take-up of the technology by local households and businesses. More than 50 broadband service providers are providing services over the Superfast Cornwall network, thereby ensuring that Cornish customers benefit from highly competitive products and pricing.
It is heartening to hear from Cornish firms how superfast broadband is transforming their businesses, helping to make them more efficient, improve their services to customers and creating high value jobs.BT chief executive Gavin Patterson while on a visit to Cornwall
Take-up is important and with 50,000 actually connected or their order is being processed and 2,000 per month being connected the take-up is running at around 25% (199,000 premises in Cornwall). This is a big jump since last summer when there was 26,000 using the faster services and suggests that public demand is growing for better broadband even if there is a small price premium. We have in the past always asked for details on the FTTP coverage and take-up levels but BT has never volunteered the information, so little point in asking today. We do know that the proportion of FTTP is a lot higher than the rest of the UK and is being rolled out to business park areas.
The claims of 90% coverage seem justified and the presence of FTTP actually makes it harder to determine the level of superfast coverage since it often shares postcodes with FTTC based services. The median download speed for Cornwall at 9 Mbps is just above the lower third of UK counties, and 20% of the speedtest results we see from the County classify as superfast (30 Mbps or better), which with a 25% take-up rate for the FTTC/P services suggests that many who can get the service do get decent speeds.
For those who don't believe FTTP is available in Cornwall, there are numerous postcodes on the St Ives, Penryn and Falmouth exchanges with FTTP available, a small sample being TR26 2LS, TR4 9LD, TR26 1SJ and also some exchange only lines are being given new PSTN cabinets with a fibre twin or in some cases full Fibre to the Premises.
The question now is how much closer to 100% can Cornwall get particularly as the County was allocated some £2.96 million in the funding allocations for 2015 to 2017 by the central Government.