Superfast Dorset has announced its phase 3 area, comprising the exchanges Blandford, Bourton, Child Okeford, Fontmell Magna, Gillingham, Hazelbury Bryan, Marnhull, Milton Abbas, Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton and should benefit some 9,000 homes and businesses. Alas while the press release indicates a map of phase 3, the map on the Dorset website was last updated on 22nd September and no new page for phase 3 has appeared (there are dedicated pages for phase 1 and 2), we presume this will appear in the next couple of days.
|Broadband speeds in Dorset as measured by thinkbroadband|
|Area||Median Download||Top Quartile|
|Dorset - Q1/2013||6.4 Mbps||11 Mbps|
|Dorset - Q3/2014||8.2 Mbps||19 Mbps|
|Bournemouth - Q1/2013||11.9 Mbps||34 Mbps|
|Bournemouth - Q3/2014||17.3 Mbps||40 Mbps|
|Poole - Q1/2013||13.6 Mbps||31 Mbps|
|Poole - Q3/2014||23.2 Mbps||47 Mbps|
|Dorchester & Weymouth Q3/2014||10.5 Mbps||23.6 Mbps|
|West Bexington, Abbotsbury, Portesham, Langton Herring, Martinstown and Winterbourne Abbas - Q3/2014||5.5 Mbps||5.9 Mbps|
The speed tests show an improvement across the County, but this will mainly be due to the increased take-up on the commercial footprint, which is much larger than the current delivered footprint. The press release suggests 270,000 homes and businesses have access to fibre based broadband commercial or via the project and to date the BDUK project has enabled cabinets serving some 18,000 properties and a further 12,000 are expected by Christmas 2014.
When cross checking the figures, an interesting oddity has cropped up, in the 2011 Office of National Statistics lists 180,000 households in the county. Of course there are business premises to add this, which generally adds 20% of premises to each county. The disparity is because Poole (63,530 households) and Bournemouth (82,374 households) are most likely included in the 270,000 figure reported by the project. The 95.6% with superfast (>24 Mbps) goal is across the combined Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth footprint.
Our speed test results show the difference between the most populated areas of the county and the smaller villages, the real goal for all the projects now and not just Dorset is encouraging take-up so that in the areas where improved services are available people make use of it, and statistics like ours can then reflect this. It is easy to complain about the rural/urban divide but if that is all anyone does, then it creates pessimism that may result in people who think they cannot get a better service when one is actually available, and even if this is not at superfast speeds, people jumping from 2 Mbps to 10 Mbps or faster will notice a real difference in browsing and video streaming.