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UK within 0.8% of the original BDUK phase 1 superfast broadband goal
Sunday 07 February 2016 12:06:25 by Andrew Ferguson

The UK is edging closer to its original BDUK target of 90% superfast broadband across the UK every week and it is looking like the 24 Mbps or faster target will be crossed in March and the EU figure of 30 Mbps another couple of months later. Given the political ambition is 95% superfast coverage by the end of 2017 and as individual projects push on and they are getting to ever more sparsely populated areas in the main the 95% figure may look easy but we are seeing roll-outs slowing in some areas as the premises per cabinet ratio gets worse.

What is interesting is observing the complaints about broadband which are not diminishing even though more people can get superfast broadband but are actually increasing, and this is even allowing for the lobbying that is underway over what Ofcom should and will do with Openreach. We believe that complaints are going to get worse as coverage levels improve, this is because those missed out will be increasingly worried they are in the final 5% which has no firm delivery promises yet.

The changes are not all rural or peri-urban and with the Virgin Media Project Lightning expansion now starting to make an impact and Openreach still delivering some totally commercial cabinets in urban areas it is not all BDUK gap funded improvements.

Superfast Broadband the 30 worst served constituencies of the UK
Thirty Parliamentary Seats with the least superfast broadband coverage

The bottom 30 out of 650 Parliamentary constituencies probably holds few surprises for those living in those areas. The large presence of Hull constituencies is because of KC carrying out a FTTH roll-out which is slower to deliver than superfast coverage, and would be in the bottom half of the 650 constituencies even if you used ultrafast broadband as the ranking metric such is the availability of Virgin Media cable across the UK.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the UK, its nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 7th February 2016
(change since 7th January 2016)
Area % fibre based % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
% Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under proposed 10 Mbps USO
South East 96.6% 93.6% (+1) 93% 48.7% 0.75% 0.5% 2.7%
London 95.2% 93.4% (+0.1) 93.1% 67.8% 1.41% 0.3% 1.8%
East Midlands 95.8% 93% (+0.3) 92.4% 56.6% 0% 0.6% 3.1%
North East 94.6% 92.7% (+0.1) 92.3% 50.9% 0.04% 0.3% 2.5%
West Midlands 94.2% 91.6% (+0.5) 91.1% 61.4% 0.07% 0.5% 3.6%
North West 94.9% 91.6% (+=) 91% 45.6% 0.38% 0.8% 4.1%
England 93.4% 90.3% (+0.5) 89.6% 52.6% 1.12% 0.6% 4.3%
United Kingdom 92.8% 89.2 (+0.5) 88.5% 49.8% 0.97% 0.8% 5.1%
East of England 91.8% 88% (+0.6) 87.2% 47.66% 0.34% 0.8% 5.6%
Wales 90.3% 85.9% (+0.8) 84.7% 29% 0.33% 0.9% 8.4%
South West 90.8% 85.6% (+0.9) 84.6% 42.7% 2.51% 1.1% 7.3%
Yorkshire and Humber 88.4% 85% (+0.6) 84.2% 48.1% 3.01% (includes KC Lightstream) 0.7% 7.2%
Scotland 87.2% 83.2% (+1.1) 82.4% 39.2% <0.01% 1.3% 9%
Northern Ireland 95.7% 78.7% (+1) 77% 27.2% 0.07% 7.2% 14%

The ultrafast column is a new introduction since January and replaces the cable column. The ultrafast figures combine operators like Virgin Media, Openreach FTTP, Gigaclear, Hyperoptic, B4RN, IFNL and other broadband providers who can offer a 100 Mbps or faster connection. The only operators contributing to the levels of fibre based and superfast coverage remains Openreach, KC and Virgin Media with the smaller operators due to be added once the 90% superfast target has been reached.

The big surprise of the month has been the South East region jumping from position three to the top of the table as the best served region for superfast broadband, which is a major achievement though partially helped by the number of enquires from people in the region that meant error checking of the model has closed the gap slightly between the basic something fibre/NGA based is available figure and a service also being available at speeds of 24 Mbps or faster. For the speed freaks London still wins in terms of the availability of ultrafast options and due to FTTH from Vision Fibre Media in the Barbican the small City Of London Borough has higher ultrafast availablility than superfast at this time.

We should highlight that while Westminster is aiming at an overall UK goal of 90% superfast and local authorities were asked to try and contract that coverage, not all of them did, some signed contracts to deliver under 90% and some more. Scotland had an 85% fibre based target and is working now to a 95% fibre based goal and if the current gap between fibre and superfast continues that may deliver 91% superfast coverage. Wales has a target of 96% (FTTC/FTTP based) fibre coverage by the end of 2016 and the 90.3% figure currently suggests they will reach this, with the likely result of being over 90% superfast, the exact figure will depend on how much more FTTP that is the pipeline actually goes live. The Welsh SuperfastCymru target is the one most often misquoted with many saying 96% superfast, which is not impossible but this would require a lot of FTTP coverage, or put another way delivering more FTTP than KC has delivered in the compact Hull area in just ten months rather than a few years.


Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
There is a perverse issue with the roll-out to higher and higher proportions, and that is the remainder feel even more victimised (and reading some posts, victimised is the right word). When you are one of that last few percent left out, and services are increasingly developed for the majority, then I can see how it feels.

That might explain the number and intensity of the complaints. It's notable those without mains gas are not so vociferous.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
I should have said, the far more numerous people without mains gas are not so vociferous.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID (Steve Jones): "perverse issue with the roll-out to higher and higher proportions"

So what do you propose as a solution to this then?
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID Some people are taking it very personally for sure.

I can understand the frustration but have doubts as to how constructive the vociferous complaining is.

As you're aware stories of this nature here and on ISPR always attract a small, yet noisy group with the same comments repeated ad nauseam.
Posted by tombartlett about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID Mains gas is a poor analogy. My oil tank heats my house just fine, whereas my BT line is not fit for purpose.
Posted by GMAN99 about 1 year ago
It's a fair analogy your oil tank is virgin media or another telco.

And the purpose of your bt line is voice I assume you can make and receive calls ok
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
It isn't of, of course, a precise analogy (few are), but it does cost more and it's analogous in terms of it being a utility which is disproportionately more expensive to install in areas with lower population densities.
There are others, like public transport infrastructure.

Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 year ago
@tombartlett. +1 Also I find cooking with a naked flame quite alarming and awkward after my induction hob. I have never heared of a house with oil heating going bang.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Firstly, people should açcept this is a result of economics and accept that there will have to be some form of subsidy and/or a mechanism whereby expensive to reach areas pay closer to the full economic cost. Subsidy could be by public funds, but I prefer a levy on all commercial BB services. That could be used to fund infrastructure in hard-to-reach area and available to any operator.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
If there is to be a USO imposed, then it's going to have to have a sustainable financial model. At the moment it's not obvious how that can be done given that the current model was based on a monopoly phone service, and never envisaged broadband. So this myth that, somehow, the network is regulated (and funded) to provide BB is a nonsense. An MPF line costs the same whether BB is carried or not.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 year ago
@GMAN99 (FibreFred): "And the purpose of your bt line is voice I assume you can make and receive calls ok "

How do you know that? Many people only use the landline for broadband, and it is here where many landlines aren't fit for purpose.

I think tombartlett was talking about a landline-based broadband service.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 year ago
@CarlThomas (Ignition): "but have doubts as to how constructive the vociferous complaining is."

What do you suggest they should do instead in order to get adequate broadband services?
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID And you don't think it's perverse that public money was spent upgrading in areas where the forecast was that 80% considered that they had acceptable broadband whilst deliberately ignoring areas which had the worst broadband service?
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@Andrew The original BDUK target was 90% superfast by local authority area. I suspect we are not within 2 or 3 years of achieving that.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@gererda And as your link the other day showed this was never contracted, and impossible too as some local authorities chose not to take part in phase 1 too.

Plus what is a local authority, Are you saying every Unitary and County Council or is it down to every district council too?
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

That was the priority set by politicians for BDUK.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

But that's exactly what the egulatory price is for. A landline for phone calls. The regulated price never allowed for any upgrade to improve its performance for BB. It's an accident of history. There is simply no premium for that purpose (ironically, long lines are more expensive to install and maintain - they are loss makers even as phone lines).
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@Andrew I was taking issue with your use of "original" rather the watered down target. Going back possibly pre BDUK the aim of course was universal superfast by 2020, which is now replaced by a possible aim of 10Mbps

I think the DCMS definition of local authority in this case was any authority bidding for BDUK funding on the basis of a local broadband plan.
Posted by MCM999 about 1 year ago
@JNeuhoff "What do you suggest they should do instead in order to get adequate broadband services?" There are plenty of options including moving and contributing to a community funded upgrade. Just as there are if I want to a better house, higher salary, better view etc.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@gerarda and pre BDUK means last Labour Government since they created BDUK

So I take it, we can enjoy your reminders until Wales and Scotland hit 90% superfast
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
@JNeuhoff Indeed. Ignition/Ignitionnet. I don't hide :)

Depends. If the complaints have a constructive purpose and are a means to bring pressure to bear all good. If they are nothing more than whining that might be cathartic but does nothing.

I see the scene of people who have no SFBB complaining that they don't want it, and only FTTP will do. That's ridiculous.

What I did with my community seemed to work alright.

Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
I would also mention that when we received the thumbs up for FTTC I was in the process of planning my own wireless network.

People consider this stuff easy, complain that BT have no excuse, and are usually huge fans of B4RN et al. If it is that easy JFDI - Barry Forde / Chris Conder did and have provided world class connectivity.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@CarlThomas We have built our own community broadband network (then shafted by BTs tactics), pressured Councillers and MPs to get meetings with Ministers which revealed the extent of misinformation they had been fed about the state of broadband coverage, but the size of the hole they have dug themselves into needs more than desperation measures like satellite vouchers to get out of, so we have to keep the pressure on
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Gerads so which community network was that ?

Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
throught you were waiting for SEP as your community didn't want to self fund
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
I'm sure posting obsessively in the comments sections here and on ISPR whenever anything related to BDUK or FTTC/P is really ratcheting up the pressure.

The blood pressure.
Posted by ahockings about 1 year ago
The more that get it, the angrier I get, it’s true!
Me and about 20ish other houses here would be relatively easy and cheap to do.
900 metres down a lane off a main road, 5.5Km from FTTC cab.
Main road had fibre blown along it, right past our lane for another village.
A remote node just 150 metres down the lane (where there's a large DP pole and power) would provide full speed for the 15 or so houses there and about 30 meg for me and 5 others. End of the line. No stragglers.
I bet BT didn't leave a fibre there so they could come back and do it later. That would require forward thinking.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@CarlThomas It helps build up the SEO.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
I'm sure the decision makers are really worried about such things.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
They do take some notice - Ed Vaizey has stopped using premises passed for the BDUK rollout for example.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
gerada -- which community network was that network was that then !!!!
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
ahovkings it might be something to do with the where your exchange is fed from from a copper perspective and the rules around increase of copper lengths (cant make line worse to enable VDSL) nd where the fibre for the exchange that passes and the exchange you are connected to are serviced from the same headend !!!! -- the fibre is only arund 1 piece in the jigsaw !!!!! --
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Gerada because I can only think of around 1 and that were we told the funders it was covered under the commercial programme
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
You mean like this one?
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
yes - on the basis of his earlier pronouncements that would have been 4m premises reached
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
So when did that change?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Isn't it worth answering your SEO fodder?

DCMS has been consistently using the "superfast only" figures quarterly since 2012.

Here's the latest on TBB (new one due):

And here's one from two years ago with a Vaizey clarification quote:

All the numbers stay consistent throughout.

I'm not sure what pressure you think you are bringing to bear, but you appear to be wasting your time.
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