Skip Navigation

Is the Devon and Somerset 95% target for 2017 in trouble?
Monday 23 June 2014 14:47:07 by Andrew Ferguson

Once more we are back in Devon and Somerset talking about problems, Bath and North East Somerset council played around with being part of the original 90% superfast broadband project, eventually joining the party, but there are doubts about whether the combined projected across the two counties of Devon and Somerset will be able to find the match funding to benefit from £22.75 million of extra funding to push superfast broadband coverage to 95% by the end of 2017.

The Western Morning News covered this problem at the weekend highlighting the problems the authorities involved are having in finding the match funding and are to make an appeal for a deadline extension as they delve deeply to try and find the funds. To some extent one can understand a cautious approach from those in public office since they are yet to see the real benefits from the £20m they put into the existing £94 million project (£41m BT, £32m BDUK). The CDS project has delivered its first cabinets, but there is a long hill to climb to reach the 91% with 24 Mbps or faster broadband by the end of 2016.

If the central Government was to let a large project fall by the wayside and refuse the cash if the deadline is not met, then it is expected that the cash would be re-allocated to other parts of the UK and the further improvements hopefully meaning a national 95% target is reached. For Devon and Somerset it could prove to be commercial suicide, as on one side they have Cornwall which is well organised on the funding and broadband project front and Somerset could easily lose lots of digital economy business to Bristol.

The scale of the task is revealed when we look at what would be possible in the four main authorities that form Devon and Somerset. These projections as usual take existing cable coverage and add our own projected speeds if every Openreach street cabinet was to be FTTC enabled. estimate of superfast coverage in Devon and Somerset, based on the assumption every green street cabinet offers FTTC and/or cable broadband.
Authority % at 30 Mbps or faster % at 24 Mbps or faster % cable present % Exchange Only lines % needing extra USC help
Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority 89% 93% 35% 8% 1.4%
City of Plymouth Unitary Authority 97% 97.5% 90% 4.5% 0.8%
Devon County 74.5% 80% 16.5% 14% 5%
North Somerset Unitary Authority 81.2% 84.5% 21.4% 13% 3.3%
Somerset County 73% 79.5% 4.8% 12% 3%
Torbay Unitary Authority 92% 93.5% 43.6% 3.7% 0.5%
NOTE: USC figures refers to lines where cable is not available and both the ADSL2+ and VDSL2 speed we project is at 2 Mbps or slower.

These figures show that really the only way the project can hit the 91% with 24 Mbps or better figure is to (a) convert some Exchange Only lines by adding a green street cabinet or (b) deploy FTTP as the superfast option where it makes sense on the value for money scale.

Unfortunately for the residents of the rural parts of both counties work on EO lines and FTTP deployments tends to be in the later phases of the BDUK projects, so may not be until 2016. While it is easy to criticise over the lack of information from the projects one can understand the reluctance at times and central Government is not helping by announcing extra rounds of funding which if they had been included in the original funding splits of 2011 would probably have meant more projects planned for very close to 100% coverage at superfast speeds rather the current rationing where it is not about making those who complain loudest happy or technical excellence, but about ensuring the most bang per buck within the remit handed down from Westminster.

Update 9pm Have added Torbay Unitary Authority that we had missed from the projected coverage list earlier. North Somerset was missing from the list so also added.


Posted by EnglishRob over 3 years ago
You seem to have missed out Torbay, it's also a unitary authority like Plymouth.

Posted by ValueforMoney over 3 years ago
With a subsidy of >£165 per premise past they should need no more money.
A great many cabinets should be self funding. Those in Totnes, Barnestaple, to name two of many should need no gap funding.
Perhaps they can quickly refarm the clawback, or BT can 'surrender' the USC premium and take up premiums.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Torbay is no longer missing :-)
Posted by Storm_Force over 3 years ago
For info EO lines are not being left to the later phases, the first EO cab as part of CDAS is due to go live in the next few weeks.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Cool - any idea which exchange?
Posted by bill01803 over 3 years ago
I contacted CDAS regarding plans for EO lines on the Ipplepen exchange and was told there was no current plans to upgrade them
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
If the indications are correct Ipplepen will see all its cabinets enabled and maybe FTTP for cab 5, and post possibly some of the EO lines. But until its all built I would not bank on it.
Posted by radiomarko over 3 years ago
I don't believe it... I was told ( by my mole in OR - you can't get that info from CDS) my cab is on an infill list for 2015.... sounds like I'm going to be on a slow island of DSL in a FTTC sea for even longer. Bah humbug!
Posted by Mike_IG over 3 years ago
Exminster exchange has had the PCP put in (cab7) but apparently they forgot to order the DSLAM so there is a delay.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
The fibre cabinets come with the DSLAM pre-installed, i.e. the electronics is all inside when it is taken out of the shipping box and attached to the plinth.

Are you perhaps referring to the handover node kit at the exchange?
Posted by Mike_IG over 3 years ago
Sorry I seem to have cut out part of the previous message, basically the Fibre cabinet order was missed/delayed so there is a slight delay but other than that it's pretty much done (obviously can't do the parts that require both cabinets there)
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
A cabinet is planned for outside Crowcombe exchange. Distance to any users could be interesting.
Posted by neils58 over 3 years ago
Spaxton exchange looks to be getting a cab installed at the exchange, popped up on as PCP4, they've not done the DSLAM yet but there's been trenching work.

I'm on PCP3 which looks to be the only one not being done (given the geography its understandable, it covers a wide area, with most properties at least 2 miles away) The exchange is listed as FTTP/C though and given all the other areas including EO lines will be covered by FTTC I've got my fingers crossed.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
Lots of cabinets going into Minehead in September that CDS don't know about.
Posted by ahockings over 3 years ago
Ipplepen is an interesting one. It has two long distance cabs (3 & 4 I think) in Denbury and Broadhempston. Both have atrocious ADSL currently.
I know the Denbury one is being installed right now.
I have customers in both villages and they are quite beside themselves with excitement!! haha
Both cabs are right in the heart of each village so people are going to go from 0.5 - 1Mbps to 80Mbps.
I have a business customer in Denbury who is really struggling. He's 1.2 miles from the cab but that should be good enough for 15 - 20 meg!
Posted by bill01803 over 3 years ago
FYI in Ipplepen cab1 is top of Foredown Road,2 is Denbury, 3 is Croft Road, 4 is Broadhempston, 5 is a mystery and 6 is Biltor Road
Posted by jchannon over 3 years ago
Can any of you informed people let me know if you have any info on the North Cadbury exchange please?
Posted by Frederik over 3 years ago
I wonder if anyone knows if and when TIMSBURY echange (SSTIM) just 9 miles from Bath (BANES) is likely to be fibred up. I asked CD&S but not reply!

Thanks lots
Posted by trav743 over 3 years ago
I live in West Ogwell and presently get 0.54Mbps only a mile from Denbury but on a different exchange. Our cabinet (40)on Ogwell Green was due to be fibred 2 years ago. Like Frederik I would be grateful for any information as to when this is likely to happen please.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.