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Hampshire council leader concerned over BT performance
Monday 28 September 2015 11:14:25 by Andrew Ferguson

The pressure is continuing to build on BT over its broadband performance particularly with regard to the rural areas of the UK, and the leader of Hampshire County Council has expressed his concerns on a letter in the Financial Times.

We last published a round-up for Hampshire two months ago in July and have the latest figures below, the code reality seems to be that the BDUK/BT/Hampshire project is creeping towards its target of 90% availability of superfast broadband and here in lies the difficulty and maybe one of the many reasons why BT was the only firm left standing to accept the poisoned chalice. The original Government target of 90% always meant that nationally roughly half the areas defined as rural would not seen any help under the project, alas with the majority of the press featuring people stood in a field with a laptop in their accompanying photos the impression that the BDUK scheme was a pure rural project became embedded. Alas value for money as a key driver and tight deadlines has meant BT and the councils themselves have been happy to deliver to areas needing the least gap funding rather than those that need the most. The arguments over exactly what technology is being used has also clouded things, when by and large the most often asked question is when will I see any improvement.

thinkbroadband calculation of current fibre, superfast and USC broadband coverage in Hampshire and its Parliamentary Constituencies - 27th September 2015 (change since July 2015)
Council Area % fibre based % superfast
>24 Mbps
(change since 28/7/15)
% superfast
>30 Mbps
% cable % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 15 Mbps
Hampshire County
Excludes Portsmouth and Southampton
90.9% 88.2% (+2.1) 86.4% 55.2% 0.15% 0.6% 8.9%
Portsmouth (City) 98.8% 98.6% (=) 98.6% 92.1% 0% 0% 0.9%
Southampton (City) 95.8% 95.4% (+0.3) 95.4% 79.1% 0% 0% 2.1%
Aldershot 98.2% 97.2% (=) 97% 89.5% 0% 0.3% 1.9%
Basingstoke 94% 91.6% (+1.8) 90.8% 59.9% 0% 0.3% 6.6%
East Hampshire 86.6% 78.3% (+0.4) 76.4% 18% 0% 1.3% 14.3%
Eastleigh 95.4% 94.3% (=) 94% 62.3% 0% 0.2% 2.7%
Fareham 96.5% 95.5% (=) 94.9% 84.1% 0% 0% 3.6%
Gosport 97.8% 97% (+0.6) 96.7% 88% 0% 0% 1.9%
Havant 98.7% 98.4% (=) 98.2% 86.9% 0% 0.2% 1.1%
Meon Valley 85.7% 81.5% (+0.8) 80.1% 56.2% 0% 0.7% 14.7%
New Forest East 87.3% 81.7% (+2.5) 80.6% 24.8% 0% 0.9% 11.1%
New Forest West 87.2% 78.3% (+0.2) 76.6% 0% 0% 1.2% 13.6%
North East Hampshire 91.6% 84.1% (+2.6) 82.9% 51.4% 0% 0.8% 11.4%
North West Hampshire 83.2% 77.5% (+0.9) 76.1% 38.2% 1.92% 1.1% 17.3%
Portsmouth North 98.6% 98.4% (=) 98.4% 90.8% 0% 0% 1%
Portsmouth South 99% 98.8% (=) 98.8% 93.1% 0% 0% 0.9%
Romsey and Southampton North 81.6% 77% (+2.5) 76.7% 54.8% 0% 1.5% 17%
Southampton Itchen 94.4% 94% (+0.5) 94% 74.7% 0% 0% 3.2%
Southampton Test 96.9% 96.8% (=) 96.7% 83.6% 0% 0% 0.9%
Winchester 87.4% 84.9% (+0.7) 84.3% 58.4% 0% 0.5% 9.0%

Note: Interesting that the change in the superfast coverage of the City of Southampton and also Gosport has reduced the USC coverage to very close to zero (i.e. below 0.1%). Proportional reductions in the number getting under 2 Mbps also seem to be happening in other areas, suggesting a good number are going from under 2 Mbps to having speeds of 24 Mbps to 76 Mbps becoming available.

Hampshire is not doomed to suffer from a BT roll-out forever, it has an alt-net operating in the form of CallFlowSolutions in a £1.2 million pilot to bring superfast broadband to some 1,500 premises using a mixture of wireless, FTTH and FTTC and we are already seeing some live customers running speed tests. The service is priced at £22.50+VAT per month for an up to 30 Mbps service with 40GB usage allowance, or £26.99+VAT for 200GB (extra usage 17p+VAT per GB) plus voice line rental from any WLR provider.

The political goal nationally of 90% superfast availability in 2015, has already missed the desirable May 2015 General Election date and with three months left while it may be possible to get 24 Mbps available to 90% of UK premises it is looking like this is creeping towards a Jan/Feb 2016 date. It is possible that there is a large wave of new cabinets and FTTP on the way in areas like Wales and Scotland and with the amount of Exchange Only lines changing over to be connected via cabinets this is not impossible.

All we can guarantee is that until 100% coverage at superfast speeds is delivered we will see people complaining and even then we are sure that as 100 Mbps (ultrafast) becomes seen as the desirable speed point the complaints will continue to roll in.


Posted by trolleybus about 1 year ago
Rural also means in town locations especially business parks where with a quarter of mile in any direction FTTC is available. Example GU34 2NQ. Try supporting a dozen users on just 15Mbps down With ADSL2.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Glad to see North East Hants has moved by 2.6 over the time frame as more Cabs come into service. The showing of nil for fibre to the home is a bit disappointing.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Unfortunately it's behind a firewall, but is the complaint that BT is failing to deliver to the contractual requirements and the objectives set by the politicians in the first place? Or is this a recognition by those politicians that they ought to have thought through the (obvious) implications more thoroughly in the first place?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID maybe there was a hope BT might exceed the contract by a large margin, either delivery speed or coverage.

But most likely the realisation of what 90% and 95% coverage means on the ground.

With the CallFlow solution scaling up it will be interesting to compare as time goes on.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
I assume that if the claw-back money is reinvested, it will (in most areas at least) exceed the original objectives, at least in some part. However, I can't see it accelerating the roll-out greatly due to resourcing constraints (which people tend to forget).
In any event, it's concerning that politicians aren't able to think through the implications of their own policies and objectives. It wasn't difficult...
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
Does Minstead come under the New Forest East because there is a Cab working in the village but all speed tests are showing low.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Yes its in New Forest East use postcode look up on to check

Speed tests need people to buy service and also enter a postcode when testing.
Posted by olicuk about 1 year ago
We've been campaigning to get OR to complete promised Commercial deployment in Hants. Despite some of these cabinet areas having more connected properties & lower existing ADSL speeds than BDUK funded areas, BDUK was being prioritised. Have managed some success after heavy campaigning and a recent meeting with OR, but HCC disappointingly very disinterested in this pool.
Posted by leexgx about 1 year ago
be nice to call FTTC Near fibre instead of fibre (as FTTC is still distance based) when deployed is norm close to the house so could be classed as fibre as can norm do above 100-200mb under normal set-ups
Posted by leexgx about 1 year ago

ADSL and FTTC is a dedicated link per phone line so its not 15mb between 20 people each person on that street will get around 10-17mb on ADSL assuming 15mb is the speed your gettin gon ADSL

on FTTC can be from 5-80mb depending where the FTTC cab is (if you can see it from your hose most of the time max speed if your paying for it)
Posted by leexgx about 1 year ago
can you please move the broadband availability map to the right side of your site as i keep clicking on it when i want the home page
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi trolley.
I used to do that Exchange area Alton at odd times so check the customers numbers and you may find that there are higher speeds available good hunting.
Posted by trolleybus about 1 year ago
In reply to Blackmamba - Cab 31 has no FTTC, and probably never likely to upgraded, so we are stuck with WBC ADSL 2+ which delivers around 15Mbps down. So what service would give us higher speeds apart from shelling out for gap funding or a leased line?
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
oli, there are massive penalties for BDUK so they will always be priority

Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi trolley.
I would think if you are getting 15 meg down you could be last in the queue there is one Cab 17 at Hindhead on the X roads in the same status and that one is likely to go all fibre. Watch the status of the Exchange Alton for fibre P on Openreach Where and when.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Exchange level status is useless. As for cab 17, is this some secret upgrade plan that you have access to, or guessing?

If a proper plan, then care to share what will happen to cabs 10, 32, 34 and 36 too?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
The original complaint is a letter in the FT by Roy Perry, and in response to recent opinions on Openreach. He asks for both government and BT to recognise the urgency of delivering rural broadband ... but makes little specific complaint about BT or Openreach directly.

There is a masked complaint about the BDUK process overall, with reference to signing up to the only scheme on offer, and wondering whether it delivers maximum value.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
The most contentious point is this: "The current figure of 95 per cent as a target is only an average across England but that number is rarely being achieved for rural residents and businesses."

It shouldn't be a surprise about what is being achieved ... as we're still midway through the 90% projects, and haven't started most 95% projects.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi trolley.
Checked today and Alton and Bordon Exchange area 0420 code are showing Fibre on Demand changed on Openreach where and when new update. I will leave you to check your Cabs.
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