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BDUK projects have rolled out 8,500 street cabinets as 1.5 million premises passed
Thursday 13 November 2014 11:28:35 by Andrew Ferguson

The BDUK process is the easy target to attack for those who live in rural areas and still suffer from poor broadband speeds so we are not expecting a good reaction to the news from the DCMS that the 44 projects have in total passed some 1.5 million premises with a service that should deliver superfast speeds if the person orders a service. The figure will obviously be higher if you remove the superfast speed qualifier.

The magic one million figure was announced in August 2014 and using the Ofcom data the DCMS is pleased that the UK average speed has risen from 5.2 Mbps to 18.7 Mbps. This figure is higher than what we recently published for the four nations largely in part due to our use of median speeds in that presentation. Take-up of fibre based services is running at around 26% and thus the upper quartile (top 25%) from our speed test gives a very good idea of what speed those on fibre based services are achieving and which parts of the UK take-up is still behind the overall curve.

Broadband Speeds Across the Four Nations of the UK - October 2014
Nation Download Median Upper Quartile Download Upload Median Upper Quartile Upload
Northern Ireland 13.3 Mbps 34.7 Mbps 1.4 Mbps 7.1 Mbps
England 12.1 Mbps 31.8 Mbps 1 Mbps 5.8 Mbps
Scotland 8.8 Mbps 22.8 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 2.9 Mbps
Wales 6.8 Mbps 19.8 Mbps 0.8 Mbps 2.8 Mbps
Data taken from thinkbroadband speed test

While many see the BDUK process as taking fibre based services to rural areas, the definition of rural is a very subjective one and the perception is not helped by a lot of the wording used by politicians and councils. Our view is that the BDUK process was about getting superfast broadband to 90% of UK households after commercial projects had announced the intention to reach roughly 66% of the UK and given the limited funding it was clear to us that this was always going to mean the cheaper to serve households, which will include areas many consider to be urban. Looking at the rural urban split for our broadband speed tests is revealing (data analysis based around ONS definitions of rural and urban.

So what do the charts tell us, well that speeds are increasing and given that Virgin Media coverage is concentrated in the urban areas of the UK, it shows that the BDUK process is helping to deliver improvements in the other parts of the UK. The most interesting aspect is that Other Urban and Significant Rural areas are trading position quarter after quarter and for those not fully up to speed with how the ONS define the areas have a read of Parliamentary Annex.

If we look at the R80 definition the slowest 10% in October 2014 saw speeds of 1.8 Mbps or below, which was the median speed back in November 2009 and the fastest 10% have risen from 6 Mbps to 40 Mbps in the same period. So while it is still the case that lots of people may have seen no improvements it is clear that things are changing for lots of people and until projects actually target 100% coverage and deliver it we will continue to see complaints.

The six urban and rural definitions and their broadband download median speeds

        (click image for larger size)

Five years of speed tests from rural and urban areas

        (click image for larger size)

Comments

Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Useful to see the rough match between the 26% and the upper quartile speeds.

Doesn't that tell us, approximately, what speed the *worst* of the superfast lines are achieving?

If I had to guess, I'd say there was a fair chunk of Virgin 30Mbps subscribers sat around that point; I don't think VM have upgraded them all to 50 yet, have they?
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
The month median result on each area will be determined by the average % take up rate on theses Cabs. EG 10%-----20%
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
For Oct 2014 Virgin lower quartile is 19 Mbps, median 33.3 Mbps and upper quartile 57.4 Mbps, as per http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/6699-how-fast-is-your-broadband-provider.html
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba are you trying to say that the median is dependent on take-up rates and take-up can only track behind availability.

Yes we know that, hence publishing some quartile data, could have added top 10% too but too many numbers make for large boring tables.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
@Andrew
Surprised at how low VM's lower quartile is (that wasn't in the other report)

Is this because of the rump of subscribers still on ADSL (now acquired by TalkTalk)? Or cable subscribers still on packages at the 10 or 20Mbps points? Or a significant percentage of congestion - combined with the likelihood of people to resort to your speed tester after encountering problems?
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@wwwombat
You are correct. The upper quartile is the worst of the "superfasters" - or at least that part which fits in that quartile. Of course many people will opt for the cheaper 40mbps package, so I don't expect it to top that level for a long time. (Also, somebody connecting at 40mbps is probably not going to reach that full speed on a download test due to overheads).

Maybe it's too much to ask, but a measure of what % is above the "superfast" threshold will be nice. Once the takeup gets a bit higher the upper quartile will tell us rather less.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba

You are correct, but there is the upper quartile figure which will suddenly jump when takeup reaches 25%.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
That is just cable we exclude the ADSL customers, different rDNS so easy to do. So yes people on older cable packages etc

We have %'age at 30 Mbps or better, along with thousands and thousands of other data points too.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi The
Yes I am correct over the median three month (?) result because this figure drags up the lower results in that area plus this also shows what services (speed) being given by the ISP,s and the prosperity of the area.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrews Staff
The Median ( three month) result will float up and down as the customers take up the options and this is helped by good advertising by the SFB teams this I agree will stop when the 100 tie is full or lack of cards.
Posted by Dixinormous over 2 years ago
Or indeed lack of a second cabinet in some cases.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Dix
Could it be that the second cab will not be required when you have the Exesting Cab converted to (FTTC/P/D/ node ) that is what you call future proofing at low cost.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
The Median Month for England quoted 12.1 by Andrews Staff on an average line is aprox 1800--2000 Mtres the low speeds are starting to be removed.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba You misunderstand the English median is all providers, so includes cable.

You cannot make any presumptions over line length from the median value.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrews Staff
I am refering to the 8500 Cabs above which is all providers and it will be the same for the Cabs in Surrey (550- 620).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@blackmamba what you have said still makes no sense. You seem to be suggesting that the 12.1 Mbps figure for England implies a 1800-2000 average line length?

I am saying you cannot make that estimate from the data in this article.
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
I am not surprised that Significant Rural median speeds match those of other Urban as the 50-75% of the Significant Rural premises will be in towns.
Posted by mklinger over 2 years ago
In many areas Exchange only lines have been left untouched as in North Lincolnshire.Also money has been spent in areas which have already had commercial spending. eg. Scunthorpe. Surely that should have been done by BT and not needed BDUK money.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@mklinger The project goal was not the most expensive to serve but those that needed the least gap funding and working out from there. This ensures value for money and increases chance of hitting 90% superfast target within budget.

Plenty of towns have seen BDUK cabinets rolled out.

Blames newspapers with pictures of fields everytime BDUK is covered.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
BT ISP is not interested in a CAB unless it can make a good return quickly on the plant available I expect they did a traffic record on all the Cabs in each exchange area so to get the best returns this is called cherry picking. Under no circumstances the councils should have (invested given money) on Cabs in the . .7 mile radius range of the Exchange.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Who is this "BT ISP" of which you speak? It is Openreach responsible for the cabs, the rollout, and the decision on which cabs to include. The Retail ISP level should have no say; anything else is presumably breaking the arms-length EoI undertakings by BT Group.

If no-one should invest subsidies within 0.7 miles of an exchange, presumably no EO lines would have been touched.

I agree with Andrew. The words look like the English language, but the sentences don't make sense.
Posted by MCM999 over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba. Not cherry picking but straightforward decent business sense. BT, like any well run company is looking for a decent ROI and investing in low or negative return projects is simply bad business practice. Your post is totally illogical and makes no sense.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Plenty of fibre cabinets appearing within 0.7 miles of the exchange as for many exchanges that is where the cabinets are, since exchanges tend to be near middle of towns and villages.

Plus also plenty of EO work being undertaken, not all and amount varies from county to county but is happening.

I suspect its all to do with a perception of the Surrey project and its 15 Mbps coverage goal.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
Blackmanmba -- Pay back on 2.5bn commercial case - i think BDUk is even longer -- ah whats that sound here -- - though not thats why no one else came to the table --
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Fast.
In the BD/UK project the payback starts when the customer is transfered onto the new port that is why I have tried to get them connected ASAP after the Cab is in service then there is a delay of aprox 14 working days. I have tried to give special service on a cab xx Hindhead results are 96/out of 175 over 10 months we did have over the 100 customers requesting SFB at a meeting. Openreach did not give us special service because of this meeting. I was out with Openreach last week who were working on BD/UK Cab and they were moving out of Surrey because there is only a few to do.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
FYI the payback for commercial case is 15 years the BDUK i assume will be the same - there will be some cabs that are better performing and provide clawback faster but the overall payback the the money invested in a BDUK by openreach (pay back) is either later or as i have indicated
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Fast
Thanks for your information but that 15 years will be determined by the standard port charge (today's rate) which is now on all Cabs FTTC.
Posted by gerarda over 2 years ago
@fastman you mean the forecast payback on the commercial rollout is 15 years. Its only 10 years ago were refusing to roll out ADSL as they did not believe they would get a payback, so their forecasting is somewhat suspect.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
Gerads so in the biggest recession ever the busiess invested 2.5bn of its own money to bring fibre broadband to 66% of the UK -- with a payback of 15 years -- dont see anyone else investing like that do you
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi fast and Gerarda
I am concerned that Openreach is throwing money at the problem when the take up is only 16% this country is not in recession when the waiting times to start work is aprox two months and longer.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
commercial programme statered in 2009 --due to take 5 to complete -- completed in early 2014 - playback in 15 years on commercial case -- no public money. BDUK pay back much the same over same period

Gerada -- so what do you think would have happened had that commercial decision not been made ?
Posted by MCM999 over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba What BT does with its money and what ROI it expects is BT's business so there's little point in your making pointless comments or being "concerned". BDUK investment is another thing entirely however how much BT chooses to contribute/invest in BDUK projects is again BT's business and I'm sure dictated by the anticipated ROI.
Posted by otester over 2 years ago
Right next to a BDUK exchange, originally it was never going to get Fiber but mine was, I'm still waiting for mine to be done and the BDUK exchange has just started accepting orders.

:/
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Otester
It looks from your remarks that your line is EO so the chances are high that you will have access to fibre to your home.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
otesters will depend on what speed rest of the exchnage is getting -- if most of the are is poor speed and the EO lines are high ADSL likley thet then EO lines will not be done as that would be a poor use of public money - remembers that answer to the exam qestion for Most BDUK contracts is sub 2 > 24
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Fastman and Others.
There are many exchanges in Surrey who EO lines have access to FTTC which is outside of the Exchange some even have fibre and the have been provided by SCC/BT. The results do now show on thinkbroadbands Map due to the lack of tests the only ones that show are the lower than the three month ( Median/average ) sample.
Posted by otester over 2 years ago
I will be getting it, it just seems BT did a u-turn and did their exchange first for some reason, probably something to do with all that juicy tax payers money up for grabs.

I'm far from being EO, unless EO means Exchange Outlier xD
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
the La has a decison to makes around EO so does it spend money on su b 2 meg and cabs futher afield or doesit do the high copper speeds close to the exchange -- in BDUK contracts those decisions are made by the LA
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Fast
If you are an EO customer the chances for you to be under 2 meg down is very remote.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
While the normal way of things is for EO to be close to the exchange, plenty of exchange areas with clusters at distances where ADSL/ADSL2+ will be slow.

So don't assume if people are on EO they get fast ADSL/ADSL2+ speeds.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
black not as remote as you might think !!!!! waterfront and former indusctial sites and estates built in 1960 / 1970's or brownfield developments
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Fast.
It looks like you are on an Exchange with no cabs on not on 21Cn.
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