The realities of the BDUK process is starting to be obvious for those areas that had that not previously grasped the decimation that a national 90% superfast target would result in. The other reality is that with the constant pressure from committees and campaigners to delivery value for money on every pound of public money spent, the biggest bang per buck is often the result, rather than the most deserving needy being helped.
The anger surfaced at a meeting in the Horton village hall in South Gloucestershire which was attended by the local MP and it appears the BT representatives were told to be more open. What is interesting is observing the vastly differing approaches across the UK, with some areas tweeting photos of the new cabinets and names of the roads as cabinets go live and a sliding scale down to the councils who are keeping the plans locked in a dusty basement.
Suffice to say that the South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire project is delivering cabinets, and some 19,755 premises were declared passed back in August 2014 by the DCMS.
Looking at our speed test results there has been significant changes in the median speeds across the two unitary authorities involved, with South Gloucestershire going from 9.7 Mbps in Q1/2013 to 26 Mbps in Q2/2014 and Wiltshire showing an improvement but not to the same scale, 6.2 Mbps rising to 9.9 Mbps.
In terms of superfast coverage across the areas we estimate the following based on live services that are available.
|Unitary Authority||Superfast cable & FTTC (30 Mbps and faster)||Superfast FTTC Only||Cable coverage|
The table above shows that it is Wiltshire where the majority of the work to reach the projects own goal of 91% with access to a superfast broadband service is needed. Even if this goal is reached this would still leave some 27,000 without a superfast service, and while half of those may still be fibre based with a speed below the superfast threshold, there will still be 1,000's that see no improvement.
Suffice to say the reality of funding and ambition that never set out to reach a 100% coverage target, other than the 2 Mbps USC which in theory the EU has said is already met with satellite provision across Europe.