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Confusion over what Suffolk has signed up for with Superfast Broadband Extension contract
Saturday 01 November 2014 16:05:25 by Andrew Ferguson

The broadband situation in Suffolk is a disaster from some view points and a success for gap funding schemes from other view points. The reality is most likely some where along a sliding scale between these view points that are sometimes defended with the self belief in victory of a Roman gladiator.

Suffolk is the first of the BDUK projects to sign the contract for a Superfast Extension Programme which is part of the Governments ambition to make superfast services available to 95% of premises by the end of 2017. The contract extension is built around £15m from Westminster, £10 million from the County Council and £5 from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Local Growth Fund (the contribution from BT as the commercial partner is unknown at this time) and now the confusion begins, the national Government is working towards 95% superfast, but the contract signed in Suffolk talks of 95% fibre based broadband coverage and unless all 95% are delivered using cable or FTTH the number getting superfast speeds will be lower.

Minutes from a meeting on 14th October 2014 actually add to the confusion, as this appears to declare that the fibre based coverage in the county via commercial projects is 45% and this lines up with Ofcom data from 2012 but we all know that while Openreach is far from perfect they will have delivered more cabinets in Suffolk since then and while the commercial roll-out is almost over, there are still delayed cabinets going live across the country every week.

Update Monday 3rd November 2014 We have had confirmation from the County Council that the new contracted target is 95% of premises at superfast speeds. Which of course aligns with the Westminster led targets. Looking further forward Suffolk is highlighting its aim to have 100% at superfast speeds for 2020.

Suffolk County Council claims that the BDUK project has so far helped 16% of premises in the County and with a contracted target of 85% to be helped in the first phase there is a very long journey ahead if the 45% figure is correct (we believe it is not) but confusion over figures like this and offers such as the council believing the national target for superfast broadband was 85% in the first phase of projects only adds to the level of anger thrown at council members and BT over the state of the projects.

Hopefully once the weekend is over, we will be able to obtain some clarity, previous coverage figures from Suffolk have stood up to scrutiny but the minutes from the meeting do not. Also we hope the Westminster politicians will also have been briefed as we are seeing the usual confusion on whether its 95% at 24 Mbps or faster or 95% on a fibre based.

Comments

Posted by cyberdoyle over 2 years ago
All the internet is fibre based, the exchanges are fed with fibre. Dial up is fibre based. Just because it is extended to a cabinet makes not one iota of difference, its all still copper broadband unless its fibre to the home, and confusion will get even worse as the telcos try to cover it all up with fancy words. And the ASA will do nothing. Ofocm will do nothing. And the digital divide will grow ever wider. And nobody will be held to account.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband. Watchers
I would go for the figure of 95% figure fibre based because I would have thought these Cabs would have a high leval of customers with long lines but it could change once BT releases its figure on its spend. The whole scenario has changed know that the FTTC ports are the same rent in my thinking BT input would be lower.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Cyber.
If you want fibre all the way to your home or work station you can have it if you pay but even when terminated on the NEW FTTC put your hand in your pocket.
Posted by GMAN99 over 2 years ago
Dial up is from the exchange to your home and it's fibre based ? Bringing fibre to a cabinet makes not one iota of difference ?

You really should stick to your area if expertise Chris because it certainly isn't and never will be networks , making comments like that and showing such a blatant lack of understanding can only have a negative effect being someone who is so closely connected to such a good project (b4rn)
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband. Watchers.
I am 100% in favour for the initiative of the (B4M) but you must respect the Power Base of BT the Money and the backing from (Goverment and the EU) if you do not it will fail just keep hitting your own area and get the customers fitted thus keeping your own power base. Good luck I have been trying to help you.
Posted by cooperfarncombe over 2 years ago
@GMAN99 I think you may have missed the point. Since the ASA and Ofcom have allowed BT and Virgin Media to describe their non-fibre to the premises products as "fibre" then it is not surprising that local authorities are confused as to what they are actually spending their taxpayers money on. The pertinent phrase in cyberdole's post is "its all still copper broadband unless its fibre to the home". It is local authorities who should get in some expertise!
Posted by GMAN99 over 2 years ago
Didn't miss the point at all, I'm fully aware of what the ASA has let fly. I'm picking up on her specific points which are completely wrong (again, as its a copy/paste of a previous comment)
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
The urgency with which the Council has addressed the disaster of the first phase is largely because so many notspots and slowspots outside the intervention area were left out of the commercial rollout wrecking SCCs commitment to 100% USC by 2015 and probably the 85% superfast target too

Although we seem to be in a “tails BT win, heads ratepayers lose” situation thanks to BDUK, Suffolk County Council should be congratulated on doing something on behalf of their ratepayers, rather than trying to wriggle out of their responsibilities as councils such as Gloucestershire seem to be doing.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Hi 99 In Surrey there were maney IT Councillers who had been involved with Broadband and had a general overview of the project even not knowing the EU rules . One of the Councilers has Monitered and chased Openreach daily over their progress in Costings and quality of work even their local Office receives updates weekly. I am sure that any Counciller could contact a expert on the provision of Cabs and it's distribution in their area. They are not confused in Surrey over their contract or the advertising.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Gerarda.
At this moment in time (Sunday ) Surrey slow spots are being processed and the target in Surrey has never been 100% but 99.7% stated at the Dorking Metting.
It is not Just Bt ISP who is gaining but ALL ISP,s as it is a leval market.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
@cooperfarncombe
You have to remember that @cyberdoyle's position is that BDUK should have concentrated its money bringing FTTH to the final 5%, rather than bringing FTTC to the first ~25% of the commercially-unviable portion.

As this isn't likely to be a populist agenda across the population as a whole, she's left with a campaign of sloganising, based on a marketing name given to technology.

It is easier for her to get backing from others that way, than by paying attention to what matters - the funding.

My LA certainly isn't confused about what technology they are spending their money on.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
Gerada the 2nd phase OMR are i undertand at a 7 digit postcode rather than 4/5 digit postcode -- in rural areas that difference can mean not getting / Getting a speed from an enabled cabinet -- please note there were no guaranteed speeds in the commercial are only the intervention are -- the latest contracr i undertstand allow spend on sub 15 meg arease in the former commercial and current BDUK contract areas
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
please note there are a number of sub 15 meg areas in both - so i expect the intervention area to have grown -- note till may also include some new build assuming the devlopment had a postcode attached to it
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
BT were pressed by SCC to justify their phase 1 OMR response at a 7 digit postcode level and committed to it. They restated that commitment at a public meeting March 13. In June 13 the govt announced the SEP funding and which point it appears BT decided they would rather someone paid them to complete the job rather than paying for it themselves.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
FYI the OMR response is based on Data provided by LA
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
so if a new devlopment is being constructed and that postcode is not in the LA requirement -- then pretty likely wont be in in the eligible area
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Gerarda
If BT had paid for all the Cabs New FTTC there would not have been an open market thus all ports would have been at a premium thus making less compertion and the market could have crashed. I do agree that Surrey paid over the odds for the 620/Cabs 84000 customers but that was up to the SCC.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Surrey had all the Post Codes and all the (GPS Cab positions with post code) because I told them where to get them.
Posted by cooperfarncombe over 2 years ago
This story was about Suffolk, but since Surrey has been mentioned - Surrey have restricted their ambition stated at the start of the project for almost 100% superfast coverage for all of Surrey. They now provide stats relating only to their intervention area and "fibre coverage". The Superfastsurrey website refers end users who are in the notspots and slowspots in the commercial rollout areas to BT or Virgin Media for assistance! Clearly Surrey are not confused now, but they originally raised expectations that they now try to defend by redefining the meaning of words.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watcher.and wombat
Surrey SCC Openreach is homing in on the long lines (slow spots) under 3.5 meg at a fantastic rate they are hitting areas with fibre overhead not yet fitted because it would give the game away and as the the figure of 75500 they are keeping their power dry.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Suffolk is the subject, Surrey should be dealt with elsewhere to avoid confusing people.

Suffolk site says 90% fibre (85% superfast) for current project and then in council minutes claims this is the NATIONAL target from Westminster and for the extension with have seen some say 95% fibre based and some say 95% superfast. Which is it?

These variations are why people end up arguing in two years time, blaming projects for not delivering.
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
@Fastman I dont see the relevance of either of your last two posts. Could you please explain?
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
they are very relevant -- i understand the new omr covers sub 15 commercial and sub 15 bduk and if there is a new devlopement where the developer has not had discussions about fibre or the post code is not known at time of market test then that development will not be eligible for SEP funding and it will be left a new not spot
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
My original post to which you responded referred to the phase 1 OMR. We will have to hope that BT have taken a less cavalier approach in their phase 2 submission.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Fastman
I think you are conserned that if a new housing estate is built it may not be covered with a post code. I think a new post code will be provided because if there are to many customers on one code a new one is provided by the post office. I am sure this new post code will be in range of a new or old Cab.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
New estates are given new postcodes by the Post Office, but there is no guarantee that it will be in range of a new or old FTTC.

A lot is down to the developer, some engage with Openreach and decent broadband is the result. Others engage with the alternative providers like Virgin Media or IFNL.

Too many people are caught out presuming a new house will have good broadband by default.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
blackmanba most new dvelopments of size wll have a new cab -- high percentage of these will not have FTTC as no postcode exists when market test comes -- there are proabliy quite a few like that is surrey i would guess
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
Other points which should be answered are;
What operational savings were identified in Phase 1 given the generosiity of the milestone payments?
Why para 55 is BT reducing its commercial footprint?
Is the USC funding being being surrendered'?
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba - Surrey over priced, your opinion has changed?
Also Elgin - Are these state aid rates or standard wholesale rates being charged?
@Andrew - Thus applies to all counties including Suffolk.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Value my option has not changed because I stated at the Hindhead meeting that it was overpriced by 10%. Aprox 3m. Just cost the Cabs to the total.
On Elgin I do not know the rates but I do know that they are being loged to the correct accounts.
As I have provided new estate materials and this morning providing material to a single house on their new UG feed which is on a dodgy post code (speed under 15 meg). Surrey Target.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
Blackmamba,
Thanks
Posted by KeithJillings over 2 years ago
I don't know what Surrey or Elgin have to do with Suffolk, unless the aim is to confuse (in which case it's succeeded).
FTTC was originally due in my Suffolk village in March. It arrived two weeks ago - better late than never. From 6 meg/360k to 76 meg/16 meg is a significant improvement, even if I do have to pay extra for the benefit.
And to keep up with the off-topic theme: a friend of mine in Epsom (that's in Surrey!) is most upset because FTTC and FTTP haven't reached there yet.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
And to confuse people further, Epson does have Virgin Media cable, FTTC and a little FTTP, just clearly not in the location where Keiths friend lives.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Keith
Just get your friend in Epson to check his profile or contact Surry Superfast Broadband they will help.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@BlackMamba are you suggesting that just asking will get FTTC rolled out to their property?

Maybe I should ask for superfast broadband then too.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrew staff
If you do not ask and check your profile you will never get FTTC.
Yes I think you should check your options and plot the fibre run for your location.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Obviously if you do not order FTTC they you will never receive it, but based on what Keith said I believe they are saying it is not available to order, i.e. cabinet not enabled and no known plans to enable it. Another option is that they may be too far from the cabinet and the checker is returning no FTTC option.

You are implying anyone can simply ask and you will get FTTC.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Keith's Friend.
I still think you should contact Surrey Superfast Broadband also Surrey NGA register for BT Infinity,check your post code area for customer that may have SFB contact your local Councilor,contact your ISP for their advise.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
BT Infinity being the name of what BT consumer sell, lots of other providers you can get FTTC services from.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
I did state that the person to contact their ISP for advise but register for Infinity with BT they are not sighing a contract. They can buy from any ISP when the FTTC is open after checking the product.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
What does registering for Infinity achieve then? Other than giving them a larger marketing database?
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrew Staff
By registering with Bt for infinity you get two week lead time because you are contacted via E/ Mail from BT ISP when Openreach opens the Cab for service.
In the SCC section there is a two week window this is so all ISP are advised that the Cab is open giving a leval business field. SCC does advertise by post codes on their web/page telling the customers to contact their preferred ISP this is being done to get the best take up rates thus clawback.
Posted by cooperfarncombe over 2 years ago
How can the playing field be level if BT Retail are able to contact their potential VDSL customers two weeks before other ISPs are informed that a cabinet is available for VDSL?
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
copper theyt are not - all cp's get the same info on the same day -- but Cps then have a decison to make and that is do they offer you fibre or not -- A) you with a no fibre CP - they wont offer you fibre (B) you bundle is more profitable to the Cp you are with as a copper product so they wont offer you a a fibre product -- if you register or keep checking the wholesale product at least you know it there and then you can make a choice (i would run the bt Wholesale checker once a week to to check whether its live and no one advised you -
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