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B4RN has 1,000 live ultra-fast premises
Wednesday 27 May 2015 10:02:28 by Andrew Ferguson

Congratulations to B4RN who have now connected 1,000 premises, up from the 800 premises declared as live in February 2015. An updated map of the speed test results from B4RN users is shown below, and while speeds are not always pinned at 940 Mbps or so because of things like Wi-Fi and slower PC when you compare it with speeds for traditional providers in the area you can see the vast difference.

Geographic spread of B4RN speed test results
Click image for full size version.

The project broke its first ground back in March 2012 and according to ISPreview costs are running at £750 to £800 per property, but we are not certain if this includes free labour and the community nature also means costly wayleaves are often obtained for free (someone from B4RN has been in touch to say B4RN never pays for wayleaves) and also without the expensive time of a lawyer or two. While B4RN supporters are often vocal about being ignored by Government and local authority, this may be a blessing as with public money comes many more obligations and red tape.

Ambitious plans appear afoot to continue the network expansion and maybe reach 10,000 premises eventually. As things stand now there are over 300,000 premises that can get a FTTH/FTTP connection in the UK, with providers like Openreach, Hyperoptic, KC, Gigaclear, IFNL leading the pack, none of the more commercial providers appear to be close to the take-up levels of 60 to 70% reported by B4RN, though Gigaclear may be close. The high take-up says a lot about time taken to get communities on board.

If the roll-out of FTTH/FTTP through the CityFibre/Sky/TalkTalk joint venture delivers as promised and we may see 2015 as the turning point for FTTH availability in the UK. Ten years ago LLU was seen as expensive and a premium service until TalkTalk rocked the boat, while B4RN is rocking the boat in the final 1% of the UK it will need the larger providers to create the big waves that really get things going. If FTTH takes off, will that mean the BDUK investment was wasted? On one hand yes it will, on the other it could be said the investment stimulated demand and encouraged much more private money to be invested, only time will tell.


Posted by chris6273 about 1 year ago
Wish I had speeds like this at home!
Posted by mpellatt about 1 year ago
My view won't change if FTTH takes off - BDUK is misuse of public funds. Once BT became the only game in town, the money was primarily bringing forward BT's profits. A wholly inappropriate use of taxpayer's money.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
In assessing BDUK's use of FTTC, according to the NAO update report, premises are being passed at the rate of about 1 million every 6 months, 5,500 per day.

It is inconceivable that more than a fraction of that rate could be achieved using FTTP due to national workforce constraints. (Also, no such thing as an engineer-free visit with FTTP).

Also, BDUK is puts fibre deeper into the network. It's a stepping stone.
Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID. Gigaclear allow a DIY installation. They supply a cable which has to be run from the Gigaclear pot on the property boundary to the router. It just plugs in at both ends. The main and no doubt more popular alternative is to get Boxcom to do the work. The price depends on the work involved.
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
@mpellat: So you'd rather BDUK had been cancelled and no funds provided?
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
That's fine of the FTTP infrastructure install runs to the property boundary. But to do so (rather than leave it to order time) increases the up-front cost of the infrastructure.

The point is that until such time as every house has an ONT in the house, there is work to be done by somebody. It's just the point that it's challenging in terms of the national workforce.

A bit of a back-of-a-fag-packet calculation suggests 5,500 FTTP connections per day would require 25,000+ people seven days a week. Allow for hols 5 day working etc. and that's 40-45,000 full time equivalent.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
mpellatt A wholly inappropriate use of taxpayer's money !!! so the money provided by both goverment and local authorities have had to be matched -actuallay over 20% take up has to be reinvested back into each programme not quite sure how the facts stack up against your assesment
Posted by mpellatt about 1 year ago
It's not about what's been delivered, but whether, once there was no competition, it was good value for money, and whether that could be measured. BT have been dragged screaming and kicking into any degree of transparency over their planned provision, and they, with the support of BDUK, have hid behind claims of commercial confidentiality for far too long - another tactic used far too often where our money is concerned.
The last Select Committee hardly left concerned citizens with their confidence in the programme, or its scrutiny, improved.
Posted by cyberdoyle about 1 year ago
Its not ultrafast, its hyperfast. 1gigabit per second symmetrical for £30 a month with B4RN. Built by the people, for the people. Just think how many more could have been built if the funding had been directed at altnets instead of wasted on obsolete dead end cabinets which only help those close to them go a bit faster.
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
"Built by the people, for the people."

There's only one possible response to that:

or for those with a decent connection:
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
And, CD, will you ever stop spouting drivel in your campaign against copper? Those 'obsolete cabinets' have helped millions of people all over the country to go a lot faster.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
mplellatt your statement have hid behind claims of commercial confidentiality for far too long - another tactic used far too often where our money is concerned So ou nave either chosen to ignore or dont undertatand these are partnership contracts - so there a significant amount of non public money which has had to be matched to the public money and there fore there would be commercial sensititivies around that -- there still seems to be some absurd thoughs that the goverment handed the the money free
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
cd - what would an altnet do with £40k to cover 200 premises?
Posted by RandomJointer about 1 year ago
All great for B4RN. However, at current speed it would take B4RN 200 years to get to the same level of homes passed as Lancashire BDUK build.
Posted by mpellatt about 1 year ago
@fastman - all (arguably) well and good in a fully competitively tendered contract. But that isn't what's happened with BDUK money. Let's not start discussing how we got here in the first place.....
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
pellatt assume you have a background in procurement and biiding of multinationla contracts -- as i have nad have done so for many years -- BDUK is a mix of private and public -- you havd to be be on the framework and then meet the criteria from the framework -- the rules get set and thn you have to play b the rules
Posted by mpellatt about 1 year ago
@fastman - No idea why my professional background is relevant to criticism of BDUK, but since you ask, just one relevant experience is as a member of a Best Value review where serious questions were raised over a major contract - concerns which were dismissed by the authority involved, but came to pass within 2 years. So, yes. I do know of what I speak in VFM over public sector contracts.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 year ago
@mpellatt: The whole BDUK process has been a farce. Most users, except for hardcore BT fans, know that. There is no legal reason why there couldn't have been more transparencies in the various BDUK contracts. The goalposts have been moved several times during the BDUK projects, to the point where it's now mainly only about implementing copper VDSL. The real issues of longterm fibre investment haven't even been resolved, especially not while promoting the near-monopoly position of BT which doesn't need the monies.
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