While it will be possible for many to dispute the news that there appears to be over 1 million premises that can order a superfast broadband service because of the BDUK projects the Government is confident enough in the figures to announce the milestone passed.
"More than a million homes and businesses have now benefitted as a result of Government’s investment in superfast broadband.
It is totally transforming the way we live and work. You can download feature length films faster, chatting online with family and friends around the world using VOIP is more reliable and households can go online simultaneously without the connection slowing down or dropping out.
For Businesses, superfast speeds are boosting profits through increased sales, reduced overheads and accessing markets abroad for the first time."Culture Secretary Sajid Javid
The press release from the DCMS detailing this major milestone makes it clear that the Government has given up talking about the original 90% with access to superfast broadband by May 2015 target and is now trying to ensure we all focus on the 2017 target of 95% superfast coverage. While the politicians believe the 95% target is almost guaranteed we are a little less sure, since contracts are not signed in many cases and some councils are unsure about the further investment needed. So we will keep an eye on the progress of the extension projects and also what is the result as the existing 90% contracts declare job done. The Government is now focussed on the more sexy innovative projects designed to provide a test-bed for the final 5%
For those who cannot believe that the BDUK process has delivered cabinets covering over 1 million premises the figures are below with the total standing at 1,124,101 premises.
|Project Area||Superfast + Fibre premises delivered by end July 14 (data provided by Local Authorities and BT)||Superfast Target||Project Area||Superfast + Fibre premises delivered by end July 14 (data provided by Local Authorities and BT)||Superfast Target|
|Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes||1,038||90% superfast||Berkshire||755||90% superfast|
|Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire||8,931||90%||Cambridgeshire||29,776||90% superfast|
|Cheshire||31,760||96% fibre||Cumbria||38,965||93% superfast|
|Derbyshire||5,743||95% fibre (99% superfast by 2017)||Devon and Somerset||55,694||90% superfast|
|Dorset||9,316||97% fibre (95.6% superfast)||Durham||13,173||94% superfast|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||1,525||42,000 premises||East Sussex||8,122||99% fibre (96% superfast)|
|Essex||3,671||87% fibre||Greater Manchester||508||39,000 premises (our estimate 99% superfast)|
|Hampshire||14,316||90% superfast||Herefordshire & Gloucestershire||31,879||90% fibre (by 2018 all who need it to have 24 Mbps option)|
|Highlands and Islands||14,524||84% fibre||Isle of Wight||0||99% fibre (97% superfast)|
|Kent||36,121||91% superfast||Merseyside||11,253||98% fibre (89% of the 43,000 will be superfast)|
|Lancashire||64,190||97% fibre||Leicestershire||585||96% fibre|
|Lincolnshire||34,143||88% superfast||Newcastle||1,828||97% superfast|
|Norfolk||73,985||80% superfast||North and North East Lincolnshire||9,662||92.5% superfast|
|North Yorkshire||133,000||90% superfast by end of 2014||Northamptonshire||20,377||90% superfast (expanding to all premises by end of 2017)|
|Northern Ireland||3,231||45,000 premises (our estimate is close to 100%)||Northumberland||17,598||95% fibre (91% superfast)|
|Nottinghamshire||1,731||95% fibre||Oxfordshire||9,131||90% fibre|
|Rest of Scotland||42,675||96% fibre by end of 2017||Rutland||9,000||97% fibre|
|Shropshire||18,314||93% superfast||Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire||19,755||91% superfast|
|Staffordshire||10,399||97% fibre||Suffolk||44,194||90% fibre (85% superfast)|
|Surrey||68,858||99% fibre||Wales||190,393||96% fibre|
|Warwickshire||12,226||93% fibre (91% superfast)||West Sussex||9,980||90% fibre|
|West Yorkshire||10,368||97% fibre||Worcestershire||1,408||90% fibre|
NOTES: Fibre refers to fibre based broadband, largely FTTC, but some projects do plan some FTTP in their roll-outs e.g. Wales, Surrey and others. Superfast coverage will be a smaller subset of the fibre based coverage and most projects appear to be using 24 Mbps as a definition still on their websites. The percentage figures we have sourced from the projects websites and our news archive refer to currently signed BDUK projects (unless otherwise stated) and are likely to be improved on once each authority announces details of its superfast extension scheme.
While the DCMS figures are not totally clear on whether the 1.1 million is superfast premises or not, even if the figure is for all premises connected to a cabinet the performance of VDSL2 is such that it is pretty safe to say one million premises now have superfast broadband available as an option due to the Government funding.
While the BDUK process is all too often referred to as the rural programme, for many projects the roll-out has been infill in edge of town scenarios, or a few cabinets in larger villages and not the picture of rural life that usually involves a pretty girl running through a field using a laptop in broadband articles.
North Yorkshire will be the first area to meet its original targets, and the scale of the job in Wales is clear when some 190,393 premises have been covered by the project but the coverage is still somewhere just above 58% (the 58% Ofcom figure is out of date compared to this end of July 2014 data from the project).
So congratulations to all those doing the hard work on the ground and keep going, there is still lots more to do and a fairly short time frame if targets and contractual deadlines are to be met.