The pain of statistics means that no matter how good a target for coverage or speed has been set, unless it is really 100% there will be those still missing out. Step forward the villages of Downe, Cudham, Keston and Chelsfield just inside the south east corner of the M25 and part of the London Borough of Bromley rather than Kent.
Local press coverage of a campaign to bring superfast connectivity to the around 3,000 residents tells us that Bromley Council has refused to match fund the £586,000 of funding that has been put on the table by Westminster. While the decision seems harsh, a lot depends on what the council felt it would have to cut back on and coverage for Bromley as a whole is outstanding with 95% able to access a superfast service, and the 1.7% under 15 Mbps seems to pretty much comprise of these villages.
|thinkbroadband calculation of current fibre, superfast and new USO broadband coverage in London Borough of Bromley and the Orpington Constituency - 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|
|Bromley London Borough||95.9%||95%||84.7%||0%||0.6%||1.8%||4.1%|
|Orpington Constituency held by CON||94.6%||92.8%||81.9%||0%||1.1%||3.6%||7%|
The difference between the Bromley council footprint and the Orpington constituency relects better the local picture. The cabinets that are missing out on FTTC appear to be cabinet 42 (Orpington), cabinet 23 (Farnborough), cabs 9 and 22 (Biggin Hill) and cab 6 (Knockholt), they all have a more dispersed set of postcodes connected to them, meaning that while a good number would get superfast from a VDSL2 upgrade, the upgrades would leave significant numbers of premises missing out or only getting marginally faster speeds than the 1 to 5 Mbps that seem possible now. In effect it is easy to see why these cabinets missed out on the commercial roll-out, and even in a phase 1 BDUK project they might have missed out.
As things stand until the Government (which of course may change in a few weeks) provide funding to actually go beyond the 95% figure we will keep hearing from areas like this. One option might be for small and medium businesses in the area to pool their £3,000 connection vouchers and fund the build of a fibre cabinet, or maybe a FTTH/FTTP roll-out. If the estimate of 1,000 businesses affected is correct then plenty of scope to build up a funding scheme away from Bromley council.