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North Yorkshire has £21m to spend on 95% superfast broadband coverage project
Tuesday 08 September 2015 19:34:26 by Andrew Ferguson

The plight of North Yorkshire and those living in the more rural areas is back under the broadband spotlight, the project announced its phase 1 completion in May 2015, and at that time we were seeing coverage at 73% superfast and as the final cabinets have been found and also gone live this has subsequently risen to 80.6% coverage at 24 Mbps (78.9% at 30 Mbps) and fibre based broadband (cable, VDSL2 or FTTP) available to 92.5%. When you include York that was part of the phase 1 project the figure rises to around 82.5% at 24 Mbps or faster.

While many parts of the UK have rushed to announce their phase 2 contract signing to deliver 95% superfast coverage, North Yorkshire has been slower than most and is only just now announcing the amount of public money available and that is some £21 million, £13 million from the local authorities and some £8m as a combined total from the UK and EU Governments. This latest project has the aim of getting superfast coverage up to a level of 95% in line with the rest of the UK projects. If the coverage is sitting at 86% superfast as the project claims this suggests a public subsidy of around £850 to reach the 95% superfast target. If our own 79.5% figure is correct then the subsidy will be round £500 per premise, the reality is likely to sit in between our worst case scenario of how we think cross talk will impact speeds and the projects own hopes. Remember that with York going over to West Yorkshire, the existing superfast coverage in our figures drops from 81.5% to 79.5%.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC and Fibre Broadband Coverage across constituences that comprise North Yorkshire
- figures as of 6th September 2015
Area % fibre based % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% cable % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 15 Mbps
North Yorkshire County (excluding York) 92.5% 80.6% 78.9% 12.9% 1.08% 3.4% 16.6%
Harrogate and Knaresborough 97.7% 94.1% 93.5% 74.7% 0% 0.3% 4%
Richmond 90.7% 74% 72% 0.1% 0.12% 5.1% 23%
Scarborough and Whitby 96.1% 90.8% 89.6% 0% 0.51% 2.2% 8%
Selby and Ainsty 92.7% 76.2% 74.2% 0% 3.49% 3.8% 20.4%
Skipton and Ripon 90.2% 76.4% 74.4% 0% 1.22% 4% 20.1%
Thirsk and Malton 87.4% 71.4% 68.9% 0.1% 1.41% 4.7% 25%
York Central 91.4% 91% 90.6% 54.5% 12.42% 0% 2.8%
York Outer 93.4% 85.8% 83.6% 24.8% 3.25%% 1% 9.3%

York was part of the phase 1 BDUK project, but has shifted to align itself with West Yorkshire for the phase 2 projects. The York figures do not include any coverage from the Sky/TalkTalk UFO project, the FTTP coverage is native FTTP from Openreach.

Update Wednesday 9th September 2015 While most UK authorities and their 95% superfast broadband projects are considered to be phase 2, as North Yorkshire slipped in an interim phase 2 set of work after the phase 1 completed, the Superfast Extension Project (SEP) is actually phase 3 in that area.

Update 10th September 2015, latest coverage information added, as we found a few cabinets and some FTTP that we had previously missed in North Yorkshire, taking the basic 79.5% coverage at 24 Mbps (77.6% at 30 Mbps) up to 80.6% and 78.9% respectively.

Comments

Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
A quick reminder that North Yorkshire has an interim project running too. This is known as phase 2 locally, but is not the full SEP programme announced here.

Phase 1 was for 150k premises, and has indeed completed. Phase 2, for an extra £8m (plus £2m diverted from the USC budget), covers another 10.5k premises (around 3% of the county), and continues running until the end of 2016. It isnt a fast extension... However, cabs are going live.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
One reason for slow progress has been BT's slow progress of a shared power solution for FTTRN. Without this, SFNY are faced with swapping to wireless solutions.

Interesting, then, that Huawei seem to have inadvertently announced a commercial FTTRN rollout.
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/huawei-and-bt-connect-customers-on-uks-first-gfast-trial-300133866.html

If true, SFNY will be happy. The phase 2 project is likely to reach an extra 5k premises.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
I would think that each Cab that goes live would be costed per 100 tie link would be recorded and returned to the budget control as per customer cost window highlighting labour cost inflation.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@BM - can we have that in clear English please.
Posted by adslmax about 1 year ago
why is York was so easy to get FTTP than any other areas?
Posted by RuralWire about 1 year ago
Andrew + WWWombat - This relates to Phase 3 in North Yorkshire - 95% of premises > 25Mbps by 31/12/2018 or 31/12/2019. For the final 5% in North Yorkshire, a mixture of FTTC, ADSL, wireless and satellite to deliver 10-25Mbps to some and 2-10Mbps to others. Satellite to be the interim or long-term solution for those with less than 2Mbps. A Phase 4 might be considered. A report was presented to a meeting of the Executive of NYCC which was held today.
http://democracy.northyorks.gov.uk/FunctionsPage.aspx?dsid=75932&action=GetFileFromDB
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@RuralWire
Yeah - found that, digested, and put a thread in the fibre forum.

Annoying to find out about these meetings 24 hours too late!

Interesting to see the ongoing division at 10 Mbps. Very much matches Ofcom's conclusion.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Interesting that the council report only talks of £10m for phase 3, with £2.64m potentially unlocked with EU funding, plus £7.8m returned through "advance overage" (ie early clawback).

Is that the £21m referred to? It doesn't come to £13m from the local authorities.
Posted by RuralWire about 1 year ago
WWWombat - The £21m figure is from the North Yorkshire County Council press release, which is no more than PR guff. NYCC are presenting the £7.8m recycled funding as new funding. The new funding for Phase 3 is estimated at £12.64m with £4.32m coming from NYCC. A case of "never let the truth get in the way of a good story".
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
The £7.8m is good to see, and the progress is good.
However
1) They have been paying milestones -per premise passed so that £35k plus per cab, no BT capital.
There will be £7k or £8k excess payment for each of the 740 cabs installed.
2) BT capital appears to be subject to a drains up. This is supposed to 20% so another £4-£5k per cab is due back from phase 1.

I cannot see RN or G.Fast working in rural, it will need to be demand led FTT dp with customers paying a connection charge. At least the money will emerge to do quite a bit.

Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@VFM

What "drains up" on BT's contribution? All these contracts are individual to areas and unless you are privy to the exact details of each one you will have no idea how much of the capital cost BT is picking up and how much by the project. Only the auditors have access to that information. (Also bear in mind that capital costs are not just equipment - it's contractors, project management and internally capitalised labour).
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
See para 3.5 references a 'true up' budgetted versus actual. Milestone is based on premise as previously reported. There was no LA (only erdf £5.5m)funding, so it did not matter.
Contractors, BT time sheets, PMO is all included in the NAO work.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Para 3.5 of what?

And where in the published NAO reports can we see an example BT time sheet?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Para 3.5 of the published North Yorks reports http://democracy.northyorks.gov.uk/FunctionsPage.aspx?dsid=75932&action=GetFileFromDB

No example, just confirmation that all billable costs were included in their analysis, including any work in progress. Do ring them.

Do also go through the Cartesian work on cost allocations done for Ofcom. The NGA references are worth pulling out.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew look at Worchestershire, - 237 cabinets in, 900k saving announed, £3m clawback on a project with £12m subsidy for Phase 1, and yet no more that £6m costs could have been billed.
This is actually begining to look where I would expect to be - the first. There is need to leave any gaps in service given the budgets available.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Abdrew and Worchestshire has only 6,000 customers taking FTTC. The Worcs cost per cab is available from the Oxera report. They may send you an unredacted version, or may be able to confirm the general cost. The £6m is a generous estimate.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@VFM

All 3.5 says is that the milestone payments are based on budgeted amounts and that there's a later reconciliation against the actuals. Possibly it was done that way for simplicity or all that reconciliation would have had to be done in "real time" and delayed payments. It really says nothing at all about a "drains up", just what looks like the way the contract was expected to work.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@The EulerID ditto in Wales. It was convenient to invent a proxie costs - £177 per premise passed for Phase 1 NYorks, and >£200 in Wales, but its stunted the plan and the ambition and removed the need for BT's capital contribution at the time of planning thus excluding many.
It may need additional corrections to avoid a challenge on state aid. It says 'True up' which in many ways stronger than 'drains up'.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
So is it good or bad that BT has delivered the coverage for lower costs? Surely that is exceptionally rare in Government infrastructure projects?

My reading is that the initial projects are to be squared up later in the year, rather than BT running off to the Bahamas with lots of cash.

Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew
- Coverage improvements are welcome, but more was possible and is possible.
- NY have paid proxy costs not actual, but lower costs are being found.
- The trip to the Bahamas will have been enjoyed from the bonuses arising from free cash flow.
- The opportunity to get to argue the case so inflated costs can be returned is better than nothing.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Was there any incentive in the contract to exceed the original coverage targets, or was the intention all along to hope that money would be saved and thus added to later phases?

The could have done better, always applies, as even if they did 10% FTTP people would complain why was it not 20%.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@VFM

But more will be delivered through reinvestment. Given the whole deployment is limited by available resource it couldn't really have been sped up. (Accelerating programs by chucking money at them does tends to encourage wasteful behaviour).

As the NAO noted, the downside risk was placed on the supplier so they were incentivised to de-risk by making conservative assumptions. That is, indeed, what happened, but as there's a clawback and reconciliation system public money is protected.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@Andrew

The contracts were tendered on the basis of gap funding for particular coverage levels. However, there is an incentive for achieving economies as the framework contracts allow for reinvestment of savings with the winning bidder (at least for the life of the contract). Hence it is in BT's interests to achieve savings as that way they achieve higher coverage levels with their network.
So it may appear a little indirect, but it does appear to be working.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
It was up to the council to get the customers changed over ASAP as each Cab FTTC/P opened and the fibre provided thus cascading the money down the phases in clawback money.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew The Government is paying £1.7bn to transform the BT rural network and your asking what incentives are there?

Perhaps the question should be, why would anybody in their right minds try to pretend cabinets cost £100k each, or impose confidentiality agreements when the contracts are subject to the same state aid principles.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@The EulerID accepted but the scale of the de-risk was denied.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@TheEuler ID there is also plenty of incentive to avoid a verifiable capital contribution or de-risk by inflate costs to a level no capital contribution would be required or until argued over.
The £129m is too much for clawback and too little capital so more adjustments need to come.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba - BT's capital contribution in Surrey is visible as the bill costs are reduced by some BT contribution.

Surrey is pre-BDUK so they got a better deal.

This reduction is not available in BDUK Framework, so BT capital is not verifiable. Clawback should be on top.

Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
The actual BT contribution (rather than the overall figures) are covered by confidentiality agreements on the BDUK framework agreements as they are based on internal costs (and what BT pays suppliers). That's not the sort of information that BT will want available to competitors (and I'm sure BT's is not free to disclose supplier prices in public).

The auditors will be able to see this, but it will not become public knowledge.

If this had been a fixed price bid, then it could have been much more open. However, BDUK wanted to take advantage of economies that BT might make (or higher takeup).
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi VFM.
Thanks for your reply but many Councilers would not trust me when I said Openreach staff would get there targets on each part of the phases.I was watching at the start of the provision of FTTC in Surrey and as I had the locations of the Cabs and some of the fibre runs and the condition of the ducting and overhead.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@The EulerID - the BT contribution does not yet exist in the process. It is now apparent it is subject to a 'True Up' and this is also referred in the Oxera report.
Do BT's confidentiality agreements trump the need to comply with the state aid principles?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
'The EulerID' CA's can cover the finer points but the Cartesian work reveals under PG953 the 2013/14 costs for cabs, while we can estimate the volume from the application which list cab volumes. GEA Spine and GEA Distribution fibre a little trickier but not too hard given the inconsistent redacting.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
On the £100k that would mean commercial roll-out cost £5 billion, so clear that not ALL cabinets cost that.

Without a brain probe it is impossible to know what Olivia Garfield was thinking, but suffice to say that was most likely figure for a worst case scenario cabinet.

At the end of the day beyond us arguing about costs, the public mainly just seem to want more and it to arrive yesterday.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@VFM

Of course the BDUK is subject to checking for violations of the state aid rules. However, none of the reports so far raise that as a realistic concern. You keep implying what amounts to fraud by stating BT (actual) costs are being exaggerated.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID I am not wishing to imply anything but I am seeking proof of BT capital contibution from the available information, and it can only appear if you dream up a ridiculous cost per cabinet and fibre path, which bear no relation to the cost identified by the NAO compared to those that were relied upon in the first NAO report.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew indeed, but that has little to do with how the project is funded.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@andrew
Yes, the framework contracts do incentivise BT to invest more, by reducing the clawback amounts. That, in turn, incentivises extra coverage to be gained from spreading the subsidy further.

@vfm
Have you spoken to any SFNY, NYCC or Nynet official? What money do they expect to get back from reconciliation? As much as you think?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
You're looking for BT's contribution, but are you looking in the right way?

North Yorkshire is going to be an outlier in statistical terms - relatively expensive compared to the norm.

Yet the NAO didn't include them in their statistical analysis ... leading to thoughts that the NAO reports an anomalously low figure. And they already expect their figures to prove low anyway.

Is it statistically valid to compare the two?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Validity_(statistics)
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat invest more to reduce clawback ..do explain with an example, just use a 1 single cab of 200 premises.

@NYnet there private opinion needs to remain so.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat - H&I and oddly enough Suffolk are statistical outlayers.

NYorks is pre-final Framework which is the excuse for not including. Time was another factor. The cost per premise kept rising through to the final Framework, despite the assurances given to PAC.

BT promised contribution (£10m) in NYorks was the lowest. The history of that needs to be told one day. Although the number itself is more honest than the £800k promised to Rutland or the £40m promised to CDS.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
@VFM

It's inevitable the contribution to the least cost effective areas will be proportionately the lowest. Deployment costs will be higher and revenues lower.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
Nynet do indeed have a private opinion - all I'm asking is if you are privvy to it.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
Indeed there are quite a few outliers, and for different reasons.

SFNY is an outlier because of size, density, and a non-framework contract, with non-framework funding arrangements, non-framework state aid rules, and non-framework financial modelling.

Before you can make statements about what money is due back to SFNY specifically, you have to decide whether the NAO model that you base these statements on is a valid representation of NY reality. Have you done that?

I'm looking for proof of your statistical integrity.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@vfm
<<Invest more to reduce clawback>>
No need for example. Here are the contract terms...

Look at a framework contract, specifically the "Milestone Payments And Claims Procedures" schedule.

Look in the "Investment Ratio" section, and see what happens when actual supplier investment is higher than expected (ie the Outturn Investment Ratio is higher): there is an agreement to consider further deployment, subject to change control. This is what @Andrew was enquiring.
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
In some contracts (eg Norfolk, Oxfordshire), there is also a reference to an impact on the clawback formula in a different section.

In both of those, the clawback formula is redacted.

In Surrey's contract, the clawback formula is visible. In there, one of the factors is "(1 – the higher of (i) the Project Investment Ratio; or (ii) the Outturn Investment Ratio)"

Plain maths tells you that the higher the "Outturn Investment Ratio" (ie the higher the actual investment), the lower the clawback payments that result. QED.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat -The inclusion of Scotland, H&I, Suffolf, Norfolk, Devon Somerset, suggests a resonable correlation.

The flaw is where BT investment is neither visible nor open to scrutiny but self-certifiable, yet any examination of the total costs cannot reveal what BT might be contributing. 'True Up' is a fun phrase. We would benefit from your workings showing a cab with 96 ports serving 200 premises passed costing £25,000.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Can you not truly assess the costs until a project has hit its completion target? i.e. to appease those who want it now you do the easy low hanging fruit first and handle the more complex slower/more expensive to deliver later.

e.g. FTTP and/or EO rearrangement.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew - simple case Rutland, £1.1m under budget, not efficiencies, just pumped up budgets, but no news of where the £800k BT contribution is or the outcome from the reconciliation process. Phase 1 was done ages ago - 48 cabinets.

Yet Rutland complain of BT reducing its commercial footprint.
That is a simple one, why make excuses?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
So BT is scamming the Government and local authorities, if someone was to produce the paperwork showing that am sure it would make for a great Snowden moment.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew - I would settle for some explanation of where BT's capital contribution might be! We do not have one at present,- apart from the £129m claw back, although only £42m of that has been aligned to Counties.
It may emege in the next piece of NAO work, so it is done more formally.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
this is beyond a joke frankly -- the business has invested in excess of 2.5 of its own money or more , has deployed 50, 000 cabs out of its own money over 5 years - has also invested inexcess of 1.lm -- I could fid you some cabs that cost 150,000 if you like !!!!
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
the 1.7 bdum has had to have additional funding form the business - but sonme people make their living on conspiracy theories -- wonder when BDUK will do e a drains up on vouchers to see how many have built new networks by pooling vouchers -- that would be interesting !!!!
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