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Progress of superfast broadband roll-out across the UK
Saturday 07 May 2016 09:02:42 by Andrew Ferguson

The news a month ago that the UK had hit the 90% target was far from universally popular and it seems the mood in the UK broadband scene is still the eternal doom and gloom picture. Fortunately the roll-outs continue and thus every time we update our coverage tracker the are more premises covered and thus we are doing our monthly review of how things have changed.

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 4th May 2016
(change since 7th April 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
London 95.5% 94.2% (+0.2) 93.9% 68.2% 1.47% 0.2% 1.5%
South East 96.9% 94% (+0.1) 93.4% 49% 0.77% 0.5% 2.6%
East Midlands 96.5% 94.1% (+0.3) 93.7% 56.9% 0% 0.5% 2.7%
North East 95.3% 93.5% (+0.3) 93.1% 51.2% 0.05% 0.3% 2.2%
North West 95.6% 92.8% (+0.3) 92.2% 46.0% 0.49% 0.8% 3.6%
West Midlands 95% 92.7% (+0.3) 92.2% 61.9% 0.08% 0.5% 3.2%
England 94.2% 91.4% (+0.3) 90.8% 53% 1.21% 0.6% 3.9%
United Kingdom 93.6% 90.4% (+0.4) 89.7% 50.2% 1.05% 0.8% 4.6%
East of England 92.4% 88.9% (+0.1) 88.3% 47.9% 0.36% 0.8% 5.2%
South West 92.6% 87.7% (+0.7) 86.7% 43.1% 2.61% 1.2% 6.3%
Wales 92% 87.5% (+0.8) 86.4% 29.3% 0.55% 1% 7.6%
Yorkshire and Humber 89.3% 86.2% (+0.4) 85.5% 48.8% 3.33% (includes KCom Lightstream) 0.7% 6.6%
Scotland 88.8% 84.8% (+0.6) 84.1% 39.5% 0.01% 1.3% 8.3%
Northern Ireland 96.6% 79.8% (+0.3) 78.1% 27.5% 0.13% 6.9% 13.4%

It looks likely that if May delivers a similar volume of new VDSL2 cabinets, FTTP (from both Openreach and KCOM) and new Virgin Media cable areas that the 90% at 30 Mbps and faster target will pass in June and the UK wide target of 95% looks almost certain for a 12 to 15 months time. As the superfast targets fall by the wayside the focus is going to shift more towards the USC and USO figures, which seem fairly stubborn but even before the recent FTTP announcements by Openreach we had picked up an increase in the GEA-FTTP roll-out which is to be expected as more projects enter the end phase of the initial contract and spare cash is used to add more FTTP. Some of the changes we have made to how we track what is going on also mean we are now better at spotting areas where VDSL2 was slow but FTTP has been pushed out to the premises a long way from the cabinet.

To help people understand what the FTTP coverage levels mean and highlight the diversity of FTTP delivery in the UK we have added individual layers for all the postcodes where FTTP is available in the UK to our coverage map, simply toggle the appropriate layers. If there is an FTTP operator missing or postcodes missing feel free to get in touch and also run a speed test to add to the datasets we have.

For those in Scotland our coverage tracker has the two BDUK regions split out from the usual council and constituency areas, so it is now possible to track the speed and coverage improvements in the HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise area) and the Rest of Scotland.

Comments

Posted by jumpmum 7 months ago
Andrew

There are some postcodes that show FTTP and Under 2Mb/10Mb eg on Anglesey around Trefor and around the A55/A4080 Junction. Is this due to partial rollouts across the postcodes or just the difficulty of keeping up with the data?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
Looks like a mistake, most likely at the end of 2015 when marking the area as live for FTTP, and some flags did not get reset. New data run starting today, so will see what it says tomorrow.

No effect on the coverage figures, as they don't use any of the complex caching.
Posted by gerarda 7 months ago
The doom and gloom is because the under 2Mbps figure shows no sign of reducing whilst BDUK money continues to be spent on the minority who want an increase on speeds that are acceptable to the majority of the population
Posted by TheEulerID 7 months ago
@gerarda

Really? As recently as November 2013, Ofcom were reporting that 3% of UK households could only get BB at below 2mbps yet this latest TBB report has an estimate of 0.8%. If true, the % of such houesholds has been reduced by over 70% in about two and a half years.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/7097-superfast-and-fibre-coverage-across-the-uk.html Compare the USC change since last August.

The usual chimes of:
1. Its not enough
2. Its not rolled out fast enough
3. Its not future proof

Of course apply, but that is easily solved, spend more money
Posted by gerarda 7 months ago
@ Andrew The USC has been stuck at 0.8% all this year on your figures, probably because they are trying to fob us off with satellite subsidies.

There would have been more money available if priority had not been given to upgrading areas where 70-80% of people had no interest in being upgraded.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
And now the Government is looking to switch to a demand led scheme for final 5% and USO it is getting beaten up, so which do people want?

Figure has moved but not yet enough to shift the percentage at 1 decimal place. 0.1% is around 30,000 premises
Posted by Blackmamba 7 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
In Surrey the government has been demanding and requesting from the Customer ( rate payers what they want ) and are starting to divert the funds (claw back) to the best cost effective post codes. I am glad to see that TBB maps have identified the post codes that have FTTP.. There are many post codes that are not showing the correct potential on 2 and 10 meg this could be due to data drag. Eg Hiydestile Godalming two new Extra Cabs
Posted by Blackmamba 7 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
If you use the above coverage map you will find many errors 2/10 and you will see that the results TBB are better than they state.
Posted by gerarda 7 months ago
@Andrew The problem is that the whole scheme was misguided, or should I say carefully guided by BT to ensure it ended with an FTTC on which they would have a much greater market share than they did with ADSL.

A demand led scheme for 5% of scattered communities is a nonsense, and the USO is several years away. At this rate my neighbours children will have gone through their entire school career without being able to do their homework at home.
Posted by gerarda 7 months ago
previous post should have read "FTTC solution"
Posted by TheEulerID 7 months ago
@gerarda

BDUK priorities were set by politicians, and their priority was coverage. Tenders were evaluated on that basis. Companies respond to the SoR set out, they don't define them.

In any event, if the priority had be "outside in" then it would have covered vastly fewer properties (especially if set out as deal with all properties below xMbps terms). It would lead to some economically horribly inefficient networks.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
@Gerarda So FTTC was the wrong solution? What was the right solution that would have delivered the 100% everyone wants in the time frame that FTTC has made it to 90%?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
@blackmamba Godalming exchange cab 21 will be appearing in data this week, and cab 28 has been there for a week or two. The map layer is slower to update than the text postcode lookup.

On the MANY postcodes you say are wrong, please do email with the details.
Posted by dazworrall 7 months ago
I worry we've fallen though a gap. New build estate in the centre of Stafford, a few years old (~300 properties + a block of flats, so far - cabinet 95). The older cabinets around us have all been upgraded to FTTC, but the "where and when" just tracker says exploring solutions. Spoke to Superfast Staffordshire (BDUK), they're focussing on the rural areas of the county now, Openreach are a brick wall in terms of comms. If we hit 95% coverage, despite being in what appears to be an optimum location, will we miss out on FTTC because we were built too late to be covered by the BDUK subsidy?
Posted by Blackmamba 7 months ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
Thanks for the above. If you check on Northchaple. Exchange Cab 4 you will find that there are some post codes have fibre and are not showing on your maps the area is fisher street X roads. Customers with long lines. 50 pair route.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
Cab 4 live with FTTP, update once processed in a few days and 1 postcode at the edge of cab 1 area was wrong.
Posted by Blackmamba 7 months ago
Hi Andrews Staff
I would think the missing post codes for fibre will also be in the process for Hascombe Exchange area.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
Missing postcodes? Why not actually tell me the postcode if you know they are missing.

Hascombe cabinet 1 has offered VDSL2 for some time, and the outlying postcodes are still only VDSL2 from checks.

Remember that the UK is much more than Surrey, so cannot devote 100% resources to one county, most people supply a postcode to make it quicker to deal with local issues.
Posted by dazworrall 7 months ago
Andrew are you able to see what's going on (if anything) with Stafford Cabinet 95 (ST16)?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
Not on any plans AFAIK and might have to be commercial if the Virgin Media overlap is high.
Posted by dazworrall 7 months ago
It is yes, lots of Virgin around but not to us sadly. Slow lane then :(
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
Virgin Media have an expansion project so that might be an evenue
Posted by wittgenfrog 7 months ago
This money spent on rural Superfast isn't Charity. It's an INVESTMENT. My phone line is over 50 years old BUT the original investment is most certainly paying dividends. I doubt that rural FTTP\H roll-outs will be any different: larger upfront cost than urban and longer pay-back, but ultimately profit. The huge State subsidies for BT should mean that rural services' payback period is much shorter than otherwise. We effectively pay the same for <2Mb/s as others pay for 30Mb/s or more. Perhaps a pro-rata reduction for us and\or an increase for the favoured few would focus minds a little?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
If talking BT then they get a massive £90 extra per year if you take up an up to 38 Mbps service. On the ADSL2+ that Sky etc sell they make perhaps a couple of pound a year from the broadband, so there is a price differential already.

So if it cost £1,000 to roll-out to that home, that's ten years to pay off that cost even if ignoring any other costs of actually running a service.

If willing to accept 50 year paybacks then almost anything is possible and just a question of how quickly would be you wait for the upgrades to reach you.
Posted by jumpmum 7 months ago
Andrew

Errors on Anglesey are still there today. see first post
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
USC layer has been done, processing the USO map tiles now, i.e. postcode look ups are all done, it just takes time to do the maps and have had a number of FTTH layers to process too.
Posted by WWWombat 7 months ago
@wittgenfrog
Unfortunately, the smaller number of properties that costs can be shared over mean rural payback is longer than non-BDUK: 15 years vs 12 years.

The costs can be considered an investment, sure, but the other side of the coin is the risk: what risk is there that the technology is laid waste before those 15 years are up? What is the chance that 5G does miraculously make fibre unnecessary? What is the chance that B4RN, Sky, Gigaclear, VM add competition?

Sorting the risk is key.
Posted by gerarda 7 months ago
@Andrew - I refer you to http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/474/474vw05.htm for
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
@Gerarda We will see what UK Broadband delivers in Swindon in terms of speed and packages very soon. Not sure the 7km from base station is strictly true, as to do North Swindon they were wanting to deploy 16 masts ideally
Posted by wetherbypond 7 months ago
If you take our cabinets in Surrey a Privately Funded cabinet is very lucrative for Openreach: Example A - the privately gap-funded model:

Say for arguments sake, on our gap-funded scheme Openreach spent around £13,000 of their money (the rest was ours) for a guaranteed 100 residents (at 95% take up rate) to sign up for Infinity style products with ISPs. That equates to a cost to Openreach of only £130 per resident signed up onto fibre services. They'll recoup that in no time. (under 2 years?)...

Posted by wetherbypond 7 months ago
compared with...
Example B - the commercial model:

If they were to get fibre to a cabinet in a town centre (Openreach responsible for the whole cost at a conservative estimate of £13,000 for cab. upgrade) where only 24 premises (20% of the 120 premises ) would take up superfast with an ISP, then that equates to a cost to Openreach for £542 per upgraded premise. That is a four times longer payback period and the uptake is not even guaranteed.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
95% take-up is the exception rather than the rule though. Since if 95% take-up had been shown on lots of BDUK cabinets we'd have seen Openreach sales figures double or more than they are now and the gap funding would have dried up.
Posted by TheEulerID 7 months ago
"If willing to accept 50 year paybacks then almost anything is possible and just a question of how quickly would be you wait for the upgrades to reach you."

You have to take cost of finance into account, which, for 2013/14, Ofcom estimated was 4% for "risk free" BT investments. So if revenue was, say, £50pa after opex, that could never fund more than £1.5k capex, even with infinite payback period.

It's like an interest-only mortgage. You still have limits.
Posted by TheEulerID 7 months ago
@wetherbypond

You simply can't take a single cabinet as a model for the return. It has to be taken over the area as a whole. Even if your cost to OR of £13K was accurate, the only reason that it would be that low is because of the economies of scale of planning a fibre deployment to cover large areas. If it was just one isolated cabinet far from the head exchange, the fibre deployment costs would massively higher.

For that reason, you have to take take-up and costs over an area. You also don't take into account claw-back in your case. Most of that gap funding would disappear at 95%.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
What no-one has raised and this might be closer to the truth, estimates may have put delivering superfast without fail to final 5% at £2 billion (this assumes no satellite used) and there may not be the stomach to spend that much.
Posted by gerarda 7 months ago
Unfortunately we will never know as any alternatives to BT were scuppered before they were costed.
Posted by TheEulerID 7 months ago
As the BSG analysis for full FTTP was around £28bn for (almost) 100% coverage, £2bn for the most expensive 5% is possibly still on the optimistic side, albeit that's full cost, not gap and doesn't allow for use of fixed wireless. In any event it seems the last 5% could have soaked up the considerable majority of the BDUK pot.
Posted by fastman 7 months ago
Posted by wetherbypond 1 day ago

Wetherby - to be clear pay back Gap funded cabs are based on a 15 years payback -- Openreach gain £120 per annum from the service provid3r regardless wheter they are copper or fibre -- so your rationale is fundamentally flawed
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 7 months ago
@gerarda So you dismiss the recent superfast pilots which did not involve BT and the cost data that they will provide?
Posted by Blackmamba 7 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Good Luck to the 100 plus addresses that paid out for their properties to be upgrades from 2 meg to Superfast in Gadalming area (Surrey) on two Cabs this also will affect the wider area due to the fibre ducting that would have provided.
Some of these customers were also on other ports that have be made spare witch others can use this also has increased the value to the properties. The clawback money will be used for others.
Posted by fastman 7 months ago
Posted by gerarda 3 days ago
Unfortunately we will never know as any alternatives to BT were scuppered before they were costed. -- please explain where you are referring to

Posted by fastman 7 months ago
blackmanba -- wrong on all accounts

Cabs 21 / 28 were co funded -- "paid is not the correct phrase", the comment about the fibre ducting wont help anywhere else -- its a bespoke solution
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