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One in three premises on Isles of Scilly using fibre broadband
Tuesday 12 May 2015 13:11:14 by Andrew Ferguson

For some years the Isles of Scilly had a basic up to 8 Mbps ADSL service that relied on a wireless backhaul link, but after the upgrades as part of the Superfast Cornwall project the islands can lay claim to being on the best connected archipelagos in the world.

"In percentage terms, the take up of high-speed fibre broadband on the isles of Scilly is already amongst the highest for any local authority area in the UK. This is an astonishing achievement when you consider the relatively short time – just six months - it has been available on Scilly.

Superfast broadband is providing a major boost for an area famed for its beauty and remoteness. This exciting technology is undoubtedly one of the most important investments undertaken this century for a community in a unique Atlantic location, which relies on its links with the outside world. Whatever the weather or the conditions, local businesses are able to rely on high-speed broadband to work more efficiently and find new customers, whilst households benefit from improved learning and entertainment opportunities.

Ranulf Scarbrough, Superfast Cornwall programme director for BT

The current statistics for the Isles of Scilly show that in Q1/2015 the average download speed was 26.8 Mbps and with the news today that take up within the first six months of the FTTC services being available is running at around 1 in 3 premises, thus making a massive difference the 2,200 residents and businesses on the islands. On St Agnes 21 out of 24 premises have upgraded.

The degree of improvement is clear by looking at speed results, back in August 2014 download speeds at a variable 2.5 Mbps was considered good, jump forward to December 2014 and even though someone has not upgraded to VDSL2 yet, much better speed tests appear, with a steady 6.6 Mbps download. Now for those that have ordered a FTTC based service results of 75 Mbps down and 18 Mbps up are possible. Of course not everyone gets the fastest speeds and one of slower upgraded results is 17.5 down, 8 Mbps up.

The issue of take-up and where people are willing to actually upgrade rather than just say they will is something of a magic formula, and explains why take-up is so variable, but as video and music streaming services become more common we expect take-up to accelerate. 2016 is the tenth anniversary of when TalkTalk made its unbundling push that massively helped to drive take up of ADSL and ADSL2+ services. Now that coverage levels of fibre based services are at decent levels and increasing weekly and with prices that are lower than ever before we expect to see take-up rates increase and maybe in a few years look at turning of ADSL/ADSL2+ services.

Comments

Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Great but why the switch from FTTP?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
?What switch from FTTP?
Posted by ahockings about 1 year ago
Are you getting mixed up with Jersey?
Posted by PhilCoates about 1 year ago
Bill Broadband on Twitter tells me Scilly is a 'huge metro area'. Does anyone know why BT needed extra funds to enable fibre there, given that the cable they used was already there and just re-provisioned?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
A slight over simplification to say an undersea fibre that had to be cut and diverted was just a re-provision. Which actual tweet labelled Scilly as a huge metro area?
Posted by PhilCoates about 1 year ago
One that he retweeted from Superfast Cornwall and I responded to. He replied with that quote. Hasn't replied to my identical question though.
Posted by PhilCoates about 1 year ago
Andrew I have DM'd you the tweet.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew I had read somewhere that was the original ambition. Do it once, the budget was available.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
ahockings - No, - why spend £xxxxk diverting a fibre and then not then not attempt a transition to FTTP in such a small place, when Cornwall is the only place getting 20% FTTP out of BT.
Posted by burble about 1 year ago
So here we go again, a whole load of t'internet spouting, if any of you had any experience of the Scilly's you would know FTTP is not very practical outside St Mary's and very few would be interested in paying for it.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
FTTP is generally 5 -6 x FTTC to deploy and 4 x 5 the cost for a service and circa 80% les choice in terms of service providers

no busienss case for widespread FFTP only in Greenfield Sites where you can not employ copper
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Fastman and 'Burble - so there is a business case for a £2-£4m charge for a submarine cable because you had one, but not FTTP.
Set us right with some numbers on this.
Has St Mary's received P? - More information on what's been delivered.
Posted by blfamily about 1 year ago
wonders how many fibre cabs their are on the Islands?
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Just because it was necessary to spend millions on getting an undersea fibre connection to the isles of Scilly does not automatically mean that there's justification in spending another large sum of money on FTTP rather than FTTC. Where's the financial case on either economic or social grounds? It's not as if FTTP is prevented in the future. FTTC will have driven finre deeper into the network.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/6718-fibre-based-broadband-celebrated-on-isles-of-scilly.html

11 cabinets.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@VFM - 'attempt a transition to FTTP'. Please explain.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Somerset -My opinion! so five islands, 4 with no more than 40-90 homes each, so your £25k cab for 20% uptake is already nuts.
Pushing fibre onto DP and manifold looks more labour but less cost.
Even with cabs you will need to come back.
St Mary's -800 c premises -
Happy to be wrong but looks an opportunity missed to plan removal of legacy costs.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Surely that argument applies to every location in the UK.

Labour costs and time scales, and unless they forced people to FVA AND FTTP it would not remove legacy costs.

Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Most of the population on the islands live in Hugh Town on St Marys. Hugh Town is a fairly compact large village. I would guess that everyone in Hugh Town will get superfast broadband at a very good speed.
With 11 cabinets on the islands it is likely that all the population will get decent superfast broadband because the land mass is so small. I doubt even the locals would say that they need FTTP.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew - it is more so if you have a low number of DPs.
A chilting - 11 or 6 cabinets - where the numbers are small, FTTP can be cheaper to provide but also provide lower long term cost.
But I am sure it will work fine, but it lools more subsidy chasing than future proofing for same funds.
Interesting to cost - provisioning fibre to c120 Dps - versus 6-11 cabinets.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
So come on then show us the spreadsheet of the costs, be interesting to see something where its itemised and can be verified.

120 DP is just the cost of 120 cabinets, without the power and cabinet electronics costs.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
I will have a look tonight at some OS, but it will be in the context of already having built and paid for a future proof backhaul solution (once) and where the next upgrade is unlikely for a signficant time.
But you may have already read this http://www.analysysmason.com/Research/Content/Comments/FTTH-rural-areas-Apr2014-RDTW0/
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@ValueforMoney
I think if you had visited the Scilly Isles you would realize that FTTP is a non starter. The islands don't provide a typical costing example for comparing FTTC and FTTP. They do however provide a wonderful holiday destination!
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@VFM

There is surely more than a hint of irony in somebody with your forum handle recommending the reading of a 3 page PDF dowloadable for the princely sum of $499.

That's unless you just mean the bait-line of reaching "the most challenging" properties for 500 Euros. Given even B4RN don't get near that, one wonders about the evidence in those 3 pages.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
TheEulerID indeed - VFM has 3 dimensions, the first is NAO /BDUK switch from standard unit charges to actuals and the Jan report now at least confirms actual cost. The second is verifiable proof BT is paying its protportion of capital .. which is not clear, and third is efficient design - where a proportion of FTTP will show it is also cheaper than expected.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
..efficient design is paying once..
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
.. efficient design.. is probably allowing Openreach /NICC working to a plan free of anybody trying to earn a quick buck. It needs to be written down and it may change, but there is a rule book.
Apologies to anybody from BT goup, but your a total liability to BT and the UK Digital Economy in this instance.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
What was/is the role of BDUK and expensive consultants in this project to understand costs?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
"efficient design"
But the 5x factor that applies to the speed of rollout is a huge negative efficiency.

BT have reached about 80% of FTTx. If they just focussed on FTTP, we'd be at less than 20%. A lot of happiness in the twitterati, but a lot of grumpiness amongst subscribers (likely me included). It would also amount to a lot of lost income.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
That higher income, arriving faster, is worth a lot.

One recent report (can't remember who) calculated that the (discounted) cost of doing FTTdp/G.Fast now, and FTTP in 2023 was the same as doing FTTP now.

There's more than one way of looking at efficiency.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
On the other two prongs...

It is good to see you accept that the costs are now actual rather than standardised. You've been told this long before Jan, but even the NAO report took months to convince you.

As for verifiable contributions by BT, you are probably right. But that doesn't mean it has to be *you* that gets to see them to perform that verification.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat
Given it took the NAO until Jan 2015 and this still excludes the first 8 contracts, then yes it took time.
BT verifiable contribution could be referenced fully and unambiguously in BT's accounts.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat - If BT tries to portray cabinet costs for commercial areas as £50k each - £2.5bn/50k cabs as per the application for unmetered power, then propaganda informs or even blocks future upgrades.
Fag packet on the DPs suggests and assuming poles/ducts in reasonable shape, you could complete 40-45 DPs, but access to the publicly funded surveys we could so much better.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat - excess modelled costs and whether BT is contributing what it promised/contracted must of itself prevent a more comprehensive plan which will impact the opportunities for cost transformation in rural.
I do not need to see anything, but there should be enough in the public domain to know executives are not misleading institutions of Government. The £2.5bn is misleading as is the £1bn matched funding.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@VFM - What was/is the role of BDUK and expensive consultants in this project to understand costs?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat - 5 times X is important. Where X was £5bn, then having a break until after 2023 gets traction. Where X = £3bn, or even £2.5bn, then as a contry why would you deny your businesses/economy that potential, given FTTC was funded from existing capital and cost recovery envelopes.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
1. NAO might have only cottoned on in January, but we'd been told about the nature of payments long before that. That you chose to ignore DCMS/BT is significant there.
2. BT's contribution could be reported that way. But I bet it isn't - it'd be too close to telling competitors your secrets.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
3. Got a link for the metering application? I've only seen old ones
4. Excess budget costs do indeed hinder a better plan. Good to see change in SEP projects, but do want to know what LA's plan to do if they get unspent funds.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
5. 5 times X is indeed critical ;)

My point wasn't about 5x cost (though that is significant). My point was all about 5x time ... and the extended period that this would cause the digital divide to exist.

Pretend it is 2009. In a world where gigabit is not needed by most residents and most SME's, but 30-50Mb will make a serious difference ... do you choose to spend the next 7 years deploying 30-50Mb as widespread as possible? Or do you choose to deploy gigabit to a narrow 20%?

As a country, why would you opt for the latter?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
5 contd.
To me, efficient design is about delivering what people need, as they need it, and as they will pay for it.

FTTP fails that test by over-delivering. If over-delivering had no negative consequence, then that is fine - go for it. But 5x time is a severe negative consequence.

Same principle applies to deciding G.Fast vs FTTP. Could be the same answer ... or it could be the opposite answer this time.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
And remember 1G is not some calculated requirement but just the speed of the kit you can buy now.
Posted by burble about 1 year ago
BTW of the five inhabited islands three have fibre laid to them, the other two don't, they have a microwave link.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Somerset - understaning costs? In securing most for the money in terms of rollout to the most rural then cost is basic input.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Wwwwombat - time or in this case resource, capability and appetite should not be ignored.
..P.. is a 25 plan to be delivered in 15, but the funds available would permit a signficant start in difficult territory. It does not exclude anything else, but the scale of funds relative to the cost of FTTC means significant work canb occur or BT hand the money back.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat .First NAO report, suggested DCMS were happy to try and justify £1.2bn/c28,000 cabs as VFM on the basis of CVA's.
Second NAO report - clause 3.10 i think now stated they were unncertain as to whether they were as yet getting an economic price.
BT's capital contribution may need in my opinion a state aid investigation to secure the monies promised.
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