Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire broadband partnership have just announced phase 2 of their broadband improvements with the key aim to get superfast broadband available to 94% of premises.
The phase 1 which is the deliver that is underway already and has enabled 126 cabinets so far is contracted to provide superfast broadband to 91% of premises building on the previous commercial coverage. The new phase 2 announced today with a contract of some £10.6m (Warwickshire County Council - £3.68m, Solihull - £0.38m, BT £2.61m and BDUK £4.06m) is aiming to deliver superfast broadband to another 14,610 premises, with a total of 17,247 connected to a fibre based network. The difference representing those who will not get superfast speeds, but something hopefully better than now but under 30 Mbps.
The current coverage delivered and live for the three areas is a combined 85% (thinkbroadband calculation), which given that phase runs until 2016 gives plenty of time to hit the contracted 91%. The reason Coventry is not adding to the pot of money is we believe that they are actually pretty close to the phase two target already.
The timing of phase 2 is interesting as it is set to start in 2016 but will continue to the summer of 2019, i.e. taking longer than the current project, while serving less premises. This might be because there is more native FTTP involved, or G.fast/FTTrN which involves pushing fibre closer to premises, i.e. more work than the current FTTC heavy roll-out.
The national target is 95% superfast in 2017, but as with the phase 1 projects the BDUK and the Government was happy to let councils negotiate or as some believe roll-over and accept the first offer from BT. This means we will continue to see varying coverage levels and this will continue until someone comes up with the funding to deliver a 100% solution.