The joint project between Lincolnshire and BT has announced the end of the first phase of its roll-out project and is claiming more than 90% of homes and businesses are able to access superfast broadband in the county.
Our figures 24 hours ago indicated that we believed 87.3% of premises in the county had access to a superfast service of over 24 Mbps download speed, and searching for new cabinets unveiled a small amount of native FTTP, a couple of new VDSL2 cabinets, Exchange Only Line (EOL) upgrades and additionally corrections affecting 1,500 premises (Lincolnshire comprises over 300,000 premises to give an idea of the scale involved) and this has raised the coverage level to 88.2%.
This means based on the original target of 88% superfast announced for the project, it seems the goal has been met, but still shy of the 90% in the BT press release. One possibility is that our pessimism on the range of VDSL2 and the impact that cross talk will have may explain the gap and better to under estimate performance, something that the public, Which! and MP's are actively campaigning for.
|thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast,
USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across Lincolnshire and its
Data from 27th April 2016
(change singe 10th November 2015)
Percentage is based around the number of homes and businesses able to access a service according to the column title. The difference between the fibre based figure and the superfast figures show how distance impacts VDSL2 speeds.
|Area||% fibre based||% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
30 Mbps or faster
|% Ultrafast||% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 10 Mbps USO|
|Lincolnshire County||96.3% (+3.7)||88.2% (+5.3)||86.9%||24.4%||0.01%||2.5%||7.2%|
|Boston and Skegness||92.7% (+2.5)||85.3% (+6.2)||84.1%||0%||0%||1.7%||9.1%|
|Gainsborough||97% (+3.6)||85.2% (+5.9)||83.1%||12.1%||0.04%||4.3%||10.1%|
|Grantham and Stamford||96.3% (+4.3)||91.9% (+5.6)||91.1%||35.7%||0%||1.2%||6%|
|Lincoln||99.3% (+0.2)||99.1% (+0.7)||99%||89.1%||0%||0.1%||0.1%|
|Louth and Horncastle||94% (+6.2)||79.9% (+5.9)||78%||3.6%||0%||4.8%||12.9%|
|Sleaford and North Hykeham||98% (+4)||88.9% (+7.1)||88.1%||24.3%||0%||3.3%||7.4%|
|South Holland and The Deepings||96.7% (+5.2)||85.9% (+5.9)||84%||0.4%||0%||2.1%||6.7%|
For those looking at the change figures in brackets, there may be some who wonder how the superfast coverage in six months can jump more than the level of fibre based services, this is because the model we have created over the last few years is far from static and is being refined all the time, or put another way as we see take-up and speed tests on the various cabinets it helps us to identify cabinets where the automatic model may have the cabinet in the wrong place and therefore require a manual search on Street View. Some of this refinement is needed as exchange only lines receive a new cabinet offering VDSL2, or are re-engineered to connect to an existing cabinet in some cases. Once you know that there are over 75,000 cabinets enabled for a VDSL2 service across the UK the scale of the challenge becomes apparent. Our original aim with the coverage information was to ensure that someone was keeping a cold hard eye on what was being delivered, rather than just relying on the PR machines of BT, Ofcom and the Government.
So what about those who have missed out in Lincolnshire so far? Well phase 2 is looking to extend superfast coverage to 95% by the end of 2017 and the county already has widespread availability of fixed wireless services, which hopefully means not too many people will need to fall back to the worst case situation of applying for a USC voucher and ordering satellite broadband.
Hopefully more Fibre to the Home will feature in the phase 2 project, but this is often a case of balancing the cost and speed of roll-out against the various targets. Its a little like buying your first car, you don't save up for 15 years to buy your perfect car that you will keep for a decade but for most people it is a case of finding something that will meet your transport needs and is within your budget and should run for a couple of years.