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Superfast final 5% set to be final 3% as over £200m clawback confirmed
Tuesday 17 May 2016 09:16:09 by Andrew Ferguson

The Telegraph has published an article written by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for the Digital Economy that puts the Government on record as saying the clawback money from the existing BT contracts will be used to push beyond the existing 95% superfast coverage target by the end of 2017 target.

We believe that at this time the actual money available (and some projects have already allocated and announced their intentions since the first clawback figures in July 2015) is some £229m and this should increase is take-up continues in the various BDUK project areas BT has the contract for and with Gigaclear and CallFlow working on phase II projects now we might even see clawback mechanisms kick-in from them too.

We were already expecting to see coverage reaching around 96% and with the extra clawback amounts quietly released in the last couple of quarters 97% should be no great surprise, but given the degree of negative news coverage on the superfast coverage figures the Government and all broadband providers need to do their part to ensure that people do not just see the negative press and thus not bother to see if they can upgrade. The final figures will be difficult to predict as a lot depends on how far the Virgin Media Project Lightning goes and the success the KCOM Lightstream roll-out and smaller projects like the UK Broadband 4G Fixed Wireless for North Swindon which is set to launch (no price details yet even though just days from launch), plus other initiatives led by district councils and communities themselves.


Posted by TheEulerID 5 months ago
I doubt this will satisfy many of the objectors, and there are those in the final 3% who will probably feel even more left out.

What I think will help a lot is if we can see some firm plans over what the USO will cover and how much that will leave. 10Mbps may not sound a lot, but it would be transform the experience of some, like the hamlet where by brother lives, which sees less than 1mbps.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 5 months ago
@TheEulerID and as the USO is old school legally binding it will move at the pace of the legal world. So more detail in the summer but maybe then further consultations and thus nothing firm for many months.
Posted by WWWombat 5 months ago
Really glad to see that they're looking at ways for the whole community to engage a solution, and not just one household at a time.

Sad to see that the next phase of the government's consultation is only going to start after they hear from Ofcom on the results of /their/ consultation ... only due at the end of the year.

And "proper" indication that the satellite voucher scheme is also a wireless one.

I still think the total clawback, from 5 quarterly reports, now totals £258m. Than again, I've been tracking the numbers from the quarterly reports for the last 2 years.
Posted by TheEulerID 5 months ago
It is not just the clawback (or gainshare) amounts, but there is also a considerable amount of underspend to date due to economies in things like project management and use of cheaper technologies (like wider use of FTTC and less of FTTP than anticipated).
I'm sure that OR will be stepping on the "gas pedal" as hard as the more network investment under BDUK, the more it entrenches them.
Posted by godsell4 5 months ago
The response to the USO Consultation is published now, coincidence that the Telegraph article comes out at the same time?
Posted by Blackmamba 5 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers
In Surrey with TBB results showing 96.1% at (24) with Cabs standing not open yet and clawback money still being claimed and locations that can be hit with fibre that is in the ground and they have not even spent the OMR money it is starting to look like they will hit the 99.7% at 15 meg.
Posted by CarlThomas 5 months ago
I'm definitely moving to Surrey then. Oh wait, I quite like not having to pay obscene amounts for housing. :)
Posted by gerarda 5 months ago
Much of the 3% not covered will be premises too far from an FTTC cabinet to get a service. I dont see how a community solution would work for theses.
Posted by godsell4 5 months ago
many people who are on FTTC that do not get 24Mb or better, even these are in final 3% too, I would guestimate 10% (maybe as high as 20%) on my cab get nothing at all or less than 24Mb from our BDUK funded cabinet
Posted by CarlThomas 5 months ago
I can't see that 'many' who are on FTTC do not get 24Mb or better.

On the cabinet I'm on exactly no-one gets less than 24Mb.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 5 months ago
Varies from area to area and our stats over on lets people see this gap of VDSL2 but sub 24 Mbps.
Posted by WWWombat 5 months ago
The current summary on '/local' for the UK says
- 90.5% fibre > 24Mbps
- 3.2% fibre < 24Mbps
- 6.3% non-fibre

If they're going to add another ~ 6% of gap (">24 Mbps") coverage, they're going to have to attack the problem for both groups - those not connected at all yet, and those which are connected but too far away.

Right now, "/local" only tells us the gap figure as a snapshot right now, we can't see how it has developed historically. Presumably it has only ever grown ... so it'll be interesting to see if it shrinks over the next 2-3 years.
Posted by WWWombat 5 months ago
OK, as a quirk, you can see the gap in the "history" graph for the UK total figures, but all the sub-groupings show a different gap (the sub-30Mbps gap).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 5 months ago
History graph is present for all the areas we show, and only 'fibre' and 30 Mbps is usually plotted on graph to avoid crowding of lines.

Some areas are closing the 'fibre' gap and some of the roll-out we are seeing is two cabinets going live to cover the area of one old cabinet. Plus some projects are delivering reasonable amounts of FTTP.

So yes 95% superfast will probably mean 'fibre' figure in the 98% region and remember that a good few will be sat in the 10 to 23.9 Mbps region. So USO needs might fall to under 1%.
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