One major problem for the county led BDUK projects has been that the Internet is such an in demand adjunct to modern life that the roll-outs cannot happen fast enough, so while Cumbria is celebrating passing the 75% with access to fibre milestone, those who are still waiting on the phase 1 or phase 2 roll-outs will be sure to be very vocal in their displeasure at having to wait.
"Connecting Cumbria has now given an additional 90,000 homes and businesses across the county access to this digital technology. Fibre broadband has the power to transform lives and the economy and, of course, it is essential people know how to get it and understand the benefits it can bring. This series of workshops, each attended by up to 80 people, is showing people and businesses how they can be part of the digital revolution and a new connected community."Kieran Charleson, BT's Regional Partnership Director for the North West
The release makes the bold claim that two thirds of those with access to a fibre based service through the Connecting Cumbria project are seeing average speeds of 50 Mbps or faster - which apparently exceeds the agreed targets at the start of the project. Of course as we know people will doubt any BT figures, we have ran our numbers and arrive at a figure of 55% of those in Cumbria with access to a fibre based connection getting faster than 50 Mbps, our estimate is for all cabinets in the Cumbria not just the project ones and assumes a high level of crosstalk (crosstalk is interference that can increase as more people take-up VDSL2, and should be mitigated once Vectoring is rolled out and we will adjust our sums once this is live across the UK). Some may say the 11% difference suggests BT are wrong, but it only requires a minimal change in the assumptions over crosstalk impact to bridge this gap - we prefer to stick with a worst case scenario for now.
Our own coverage tracking showed the county breaking the 75% fibre based target back at the start of July and with the latest figures from 21st July below we can see the pace of change with each 1% change on the county meaning roughly another 2,500 to 3,000 premises are benefiting.
|thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast Broadband Coverage in
Cumbria and its constituencies - updated 1st July
|Area||% fibre based||% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
30 Mbps or faster
(change since 2nd July)
|% cable||% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 15 Mbps|
|Cumbria County||77.8%||73.6%||72.8% (+1.5)||0.4%||0%||1%||22.2%|
|Barrow and Furness||92.8%||88.8%||87.9% (+0.1)||0%||0%||0.7%||9.8%|
|Carlisle||93%||90%||89.3% (+0.4)||2.1% (*)||0%||1.2%||7.6%|
|Penrith and The Border||54.3%||48.5%||47.4% (+2.2)||0.2%||0%||1.8%||46.8%|
|Westmorland and Lonsdale||73%||67.3%||65.9% (+1.7)||0%||0%||0.7%||26.4%|
* - the cable presence in Carlisle has changed as we've now mapped the SmallWorld network that is now owned by Virgin Media.
Workington constituency has a small amount of FTTP but this does not feature when you show the county result to just 1 decimal place.
Workington looks to be the area with the most progress and this follows a pattern across the UK where work tends to be concentrated in an area for a while and then the focus shifts.
In summary good news for Cumbria but as always there is more work to be done and the questions now will be about what will happen to the final 5% who are outside the scope of the phase 1 and phase 2 projects.