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Superfast broadband for most of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Sunday 19 July 2015 15:01:46 by Andrew Ferguson

There are not many more challenging places to run fixed infrastructure to than Holy Island in Northumberland, until recently the exchange on the island only offered an IPStream Max ADSL service, but with the addition of a fibre cabinet outside the exchange the majority of the lines on the island are now able to order a FTTC based service, and any others can benefit from ADSL2+ now being available.

"It has made a massive difference. We’ve gone from a speed of half a megabit per second to about 37.

We provide free wi-fi throughout the hotel because these days people expect to be able to stay connected, however far away they are from everything. Before, the wi-fi hardly worked at all. In one particular guest room, people had to sit on the end of the bed near the door to get a connection. If too many guests were using it at the same time, it meant there wasn’t enough bandwidth for me to get online and deal with the hotel’s admin and correspondence. I’d end up having to switch off the wi-fi just so I’d have enough bandwidth to send an email! Now everything is champion. Returning guests have already commented on how much better the broadband is.

Sean Atkinson, from the Lindisfarne Hotel

We looked up the Hotel postcode TD15 2SQ and it is pretty much across the road from the exchange so would have expected more 0.5 Mbps from ADSL, and the reported speed suggests they may have ordered a 40/10 service rather than the 80/20 which is estimated to provide 57.8 to 80 Mbps connection speeds.

The cabinet is around 14km from Berwick and the new fibre involved clearing 90 blockages and working on the A1 with a team of 11 engineering staff. As far as we can tell the majority of premises on the island can now get superfast broadband but there are still some postcodes showing up as exchange only that are close to the exchange, we have sent out an enquiry to find out if network rearrangement will resolve those in the near future.

Comments

Posted by jchamier about 1 year ago
Was the local exchange enabled for ADSL or was ADSL from a further away exchange? would explain why only 0.5 mbps?
Posted by Marygate about 1 year ago
Yes,there may be a fibre cable to the island, but not everybody can get it. The exchange is 40m from my premises and we cannot be connected! Crazy. A fortune has been spent to get it here, but not everybody who wants to connect can connect.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@jchamier believe it was enabled for ADSL.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@Marygate We did notice this and cover it in the final paragraph, am hoping that there is some further network work to be done to resolve those areas near the exchange at least.
Posted by burninglight about 1 year ago
The Island's had broadband for about three years. At first we got 8mb down and then after three months it cut to 2mb down, 512 up. After a lot of conversations including with the NE BT area manager, a technician found that although the DSLAMs had been fully installed the connection to them was disabled during routine maintenance. Up until the fibre we've been getting 7.98mb down, 512up. Since the fibre went live (we were 2nd to be enabled on the island) we get 78.03 down, 19.53 up.
Posted by burninglight about 1 year ago
2nd part
It's fantastic. As someone who previously paid for Aramiska Satellite broadband this is a dream. Problem on the Island is a lot of the telephone cabling to the houses need replacing or installing.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
It is great to see, once in a gerneration upgrade, a £50k plus cost, but it is a one off.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@valueformoney how did you determine that £50k figure? Guesswork or worked figures?
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Given that this involved clearing 90 blockages and involved a team of 11, I doubt very much it cost just £50k.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
I may be very cynical but would all this investment really have been made for an isolated community of 180 people [2011 census] if BT hadn't been able to milk the publicity?
Still, its great news for the local residents.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@chilting A lot depends on the relationship between BT and the local project and what direction and other factors apply. This varies a lot from project to project it seems.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
It's probably true to say there's some good publicity for both the local project and BT on a relatively newsworthy subject like this. Frustrating for those in unserviced areas not connected with an iconic location.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
I guess its up to other residents in unserviced areas of Northumberland to use this scheme as a benchmark of what can be achieved and to pressurize their local project into extending coverage to more remote locations.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Euler ID @Andrew £50k plus.. but Northumberland total average will still below £25k, allowing a great number of these. More will be possible if BT capital contribution was verifiable.
In this case BT should pay the first 180x50= £9,000.
I assume only some of the 90 blockages will be unique to this one installation. Where is the handover point?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@valueformoney given you are asking for handover point location, suggests a figure picked out of the air - it is in Berwick Upon Tweed
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@VFM - what do you believe a typical one day cost for clearing a blockage is?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@somerset ..one blockage, one day?
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
There's an Openreach price list for clearing blockages (among other things) on the attached link. Of course it may actually cost a bit less than that, especially if there's a number to do on one run, but it gives a clue. (I'm not sure what initial and subsequent visits are about).

However, if the lower figure of about £300 per blockage applies, clearing those 90 blockages is about £28K alone.

https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/pricing/loadProductPriceDetails.do?data=%2BDv%2Bc9B8jITi5t3ObgmQQkgPp7N1FyAmTcwlXCnmJclZ6rNZujnCs99NbIKJZPD9hXYmiijxH6wrCQm97GZMyQ%3D%3D
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@TheEulrer @Somerset I had budget of £500 per intervention, but £28k would be good, cab and its installtion should be no more than £8k depending on power. So there is fibre to drawn and connected the required distance, but it is coming down adjacent to the A1 with 4-5 other communities to serve on the way. The cost would be actual rather the regulated list price so we get more that way.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
"More will be possible if BT capital contribution was verifiable."

So the mere act of BT making numbers available to the public, to you, magically makes those numbers smaller?

That making the (same) figures of actual expenditure available only to LA and BDUK auditors means they will be artificially inflated? Unconditionally?

That's quite an accusation of fraud you're making.
Posted by AndyCZ about 1 year ago
VFM - In your calculations, how much did you for temporary traffic restriction permits?
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@VFM Typical time to clear a blockage and cost?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@AndyCZ @Somerset, we have aggregate data from the NAO report in January 2015, and MPs are begining to quote from a redacted table from the Oxera report on total average cabinet costs.
That is all that is needed for now.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat - If the BT capital contribution was available to the counties at the planning stage a greater coverage could have been planned.

The existence of excess modelled costs, or bad budgets would have prevented a more ambitious plan being agreed.

The actual numbers have taken some two years to emerge, see the first NAO report where Atkins complained of insufficient information. Even the second report states more analysis is needed, hence BDUK unsure if economic price is yet being achieved.
Posted by AndyCZ about 1 year ago
VFM - Those figures are for the average cabinet costs as of Sep 2014. Do you have more up to date numbers? Do your calculations take into account the market share threshold rebates?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@AndyCZ take up claw back not counted, this will be comparatively small compared to 1) BT capital contribution based on the intervention if it is independently verifiable, and 2)impact of the original excess costs or bad budgetting.
I think Oxera reported was later than Sept 2014, and you own MDs have boasted on twitter of economies of scale up to 90% coverage, given the homogenous nature of the network to that point.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
AndyCZ, sure it will get more difficult, but if you passed 15,000 cabinets (of approx 30k) and the average is miles below the 'bad budget' and BT's capital contribution is yet to be accessed, it shows how much can be done if the resource was available.
Things mat get clearer when the new state aid measure is announced.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
I just scrubbed my answer to you because it became too insulting.

Shakes head at the scale of logic failure going on here...
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat @AndyCZ sorry that was rubbish, 15k cabinets installed by the end of July of the 30k cabinets needed, and the total average cost is well below the bad budget or the budgets with excess modelled costs.
Those 30k are unlikely to exceed the £900k subsidy before BT's capital contribution.
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