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Another broadband extension project goes to BT
Monday 13 April 2015 15:13:18 by Andrew Ferguson

The usual pattern of stealth announcements for superfast broadband contract extensions continues (blame the General Election) with Peterborough and Cambridgeshire signing up with BT for the phase 2 improvements.

The current project is aiming for 90% superfast coverage by the end of 2015, with that original contract signed in March 2013. Our assessment of the current coverage for the councils in the area are as follows:

thinkbroadband calculation of current fibre, superfast and new USO broadband coverage in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough- 13th April 2015
Council Area % fibre based % superfast (>30 Mbps) % cable % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 5 Mbps (new USO) % Under 15 Mbps
Cambridgeshire County (overall) 88.7% 83% 49.6% 1.3% 1.6% 6.8% 13.2%
Peterborough 91.5% 88.8% 73.9% 0% 1.5% 5.9% 9.9%
Cambridgeshire District 96.8% 96.3% 89.8% 0% 0.5% 1.3% 2.4%
East Cambridgeshire District 77% 64.8% 22.7% 0% 2.9% 7.5% 18%
Fenland District 83.2% 77% 24% 0% 1.3% 5.7% 14.6%
Huntingdonshire District 88.7% 83.9% 50.1% 0% 1.7% 6.5% 10.7%
South Cambridgeshire District 82.7% 77.8% 47% 5.6% 1.7% 14.2% 19.9%
Tweak in the Under 5 and 15 Mbps figures took place on 14th April, previous figures had excluded some premises

To reach 95% superfast it is likely that some areas already enabled with FTTC will be revisited to improve the connectivity, which might be if the tech becomes available and power costs are reasonable, otherwise the use of FTTP (which many campaigners would prefer) may start to overlap with FTTC areas where the speed estimates are well below the superfast threshold. This overlapping is very much a function of the political and social media pressure on getting something rolled out as soon as possible.

With a roll-out rate of 200 to 300 cabinets going live across the UK each week, it is hard to envisage a FTTH roll-out of that speed covering maybe 25,000 to 40,000 premises every week. Not impossible, but it would require many more resources (i.e. workers) and the subsequent cost in terms of labour.


Posted by Llety about 1 year ago
"This overlapping is very much a function of the political and social media pressure on getting something rolled out as soon as possible."

Political and social media pressure function differently this side of Offa's Dyke ... as in have little effect.

It there a time limit (the bit I am interested in is Wales) by which Councils must sign up to phase 2?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
In Wales it is not the council but the Welsh Assembly as a whole and the moves started back in Feb

Things are changing e.g. Conwy is just shy of 50% superfast coverage, when 2 weeks ago it was 36% was 0% before Christmas

Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
At the expense of other regions it seems. My exchange started in Sep 2013 and achieved rapid growth immediately but since then has stagnated. My area was slated for Sept 2014, put back to March 2015, now put back again to late summer, yet they still won't guarantee it & say there have been no problems encountered at this location. So why the put backs, considering the fibre is hanging off the poles at the moment?? SFC too eager to start areas for PR purposes but not finish them, diverting resources to make sure exchanges are started according to published schedule.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Should point out our figures only include those areas where service has gone live.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
The benefits of 200 cabs a week is understood. It is even better when you report how cheap it is, not £100k each, not £50k each but less than £25k per cabinet and path, c£16k of subsidy if BT's capital contribution is real, with most of the fibre e-side re-usable.
It is only a barrier to FTTP if we start stacking multiple cabinets in the street. Full cabinets provide an interesting decision point.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Although the problem with reporting how cheap it is demands why more resource could not be found or trained since 2012?
The resource remains an issue, but the budget to pay the resource is already contracted.
I estimate BT has 5,500 FTE but the £1.7bn public funds alone would pay for a further 2,000 if they were available.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@vfm A lot more than 2,000 extra engineers would be needed it they had tried to do FTTH in the same time frame.

62,000 FTTC locations in six years, think how much work it would have been if FTTH to 22 million premises in the same time frame.

Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew FTTH is over 25 years, FTTC is a good interim, it is just the public money available today means more could be paid for if the resource was applied, so a trajectory could be established.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
But people want superfast NOW, not in 23 to 25 years.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
The same equations will come into play over the next decade, where people will want the next step ... a few hundred megabits ... "now" rather than wait 25 years.

That means the same financial questions will be asked, but this time will be the interim measure being considered.

I can't help feel the trajectory that BT have in mind is rather different from the trajectory @VFM has in mind.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Note that might not be such an interim measure though, at least for the majority.

KPN's original requirements on was that it had to offer a viable long-term alternative to FTTH, and not just be a short-term interim.

If the end-result of (or the recently-started celtic-plus) meets those requirements, you'd suspect that it could be positioned similarly for BT.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Openreach are providing the CAbs as quick as possible but then will start to off load them and provide FTTC/P as the demand for speed is requested and in some case will just bypass the Cab all together.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@BM - Is this your guess or industry knowledge? What do you mean by 'off load' and 'bypass'?
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Somerset.
At Wormley area they have bypassed the old cab and running out to the far end 8000 mtrs with fibre overhead and in ducts to the DP,s cabled back to Haslemere this route is not open for service yet. The other is at Elstead this is the same situation this I think is fibred back to Godalming this is not open yet.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat @Andrew the trajectory I am imagining would not be too different if we had transparency on costs.
Fibre overlayed on or through existing infrastructure has proven quicker and cheaper when deploying FTTC and this is now apparrent for d-side upgrades to DPs as well, although the resource implications and time need consideration for the latter.
BV I think is desribing FTTP extension from the AGN into the D-side.

Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Managed well the state aid of £1.7bn and BT's promised £1bn, can fund the c35,000 cabinets for <£1bn leaving the rest for FTTP.
Better if the FTTP was planned and resourced in advance rather than an afterthought.
The myth on costs and the confodentiality agreements deny rural areas, UK economy and BT shareholders the benefit of the latter.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Not sure we should be pushing BT to do FTTP, with BT playing the small step game it means if the costs are as low as people suggest then the commercial competitors should be able to destroy BT.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba - state aid in Surrey on allowable costs suggests those 620 cabinets in Surrey should total no more than c£15.5m less BT's contribution. Anymore than that will be shown to be illegal. This leaves a very big Surrey pot for further transformatiom - any sign of a plan? More coverage or money returned?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew Do not think so - overlay costs versus cost of new build, no comparison possible, either cost or time, ..or wholesale agreements. Hence Fujitsu on the Framework but not bidding. BT's excess modelled costs as per NAO are a reflection of the gap between overlay and new.
PIA does not lead to an asset so difficult to invest in.
Alt-net market capacity is no more than 3-5%.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew small step game means much of the money will need to be returned, or argued over for next decade, denying customers, state and shareholders. The latter is looking likely.
Small step game requires BT denying other counties of the FTTP delivery in rural Cornwall - which is a resource issue.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Have you factored in the around 15,000 premises that got FTTP option in your Surrey analysis?

If there is BDUK or Council money not spent then it is in the council bank account still.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
No I have not seen 15k reported. Is that in form of 1,500 manifolds on poles?

The cost is clearer, what has been paid is not in the public domain.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
I wouldn't say the cost is clearer either.

That Surrey chose to go deeper with superfast coverage than any other county means they've covered more of the properties that are more expensive to cover.

As their contract isn't one of the central framework ones, these (likely) higher costs don't even help the average as calculated by the NAO.

Further, as the NAO average is calculated over ongoing projects, it doesn't yet include the more expensive areas of the counties that are on framework contracts.

Altogether, dangerous to use the NAO average to fuel assumptions over Surrey's costs.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
3% of surrey has access to fttp almost all via project
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Surrey has covered 82k customers with FTTC the other 2k customers with fibre which is not open for service yet thus making 84k see SCC council meeting minute.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Value.
I would have thought Katie/ Lucie would have paid for the cabs but not for the fibre yet because it has not yet been passed over for payment.The take up rate is high in the cabs for the post code at 15 meg and BT will be picking up the bill for the ones under 15 meg unless they can prove other wise.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Blackmamba you are making no sense again. Your implication is that no fttp is available to order as part of the surrey project yet? Whst anout in Godstone for one
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat the NAO average includes the extremes of the H&I costs to September 2014, and here total costs did exceed £100k per cab, about 195 cabs to sept for that area. So the average is not bad to get to 90%. It also includes very high unit costs for Suffolk.
Scottish Audit argued the opposite in so far as planning costs, spine costs were bourne up front so unit costs may fall further.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba - thanks so 2k possibly not 15k for FTTP, is that thus about 200 poles have fibre manifolds, I guess in clusters of 4-5dps? Is there any public reference for this? and a public reference for the payments made?
2k is c2.5% of 82,000, but 15k would be easily affordable given the budget.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Who says @blackmamba is right? They are wrong on the open to service since checker shows WBC FTTP available to order.

Do I need to waste time going and finding more of the live native FTTP locations in Surrey.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@andrew no - we have a range, I am sure the number of FTTP clusters and DPs used will emerge sometime.
Thanks for your efforts.
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