We may have already reported the UK breaking the 90% barrier back in April and now the BDUK team has released its latest figures showing the cumulative number of premises passed by superfast broadband since the first deliveries in December 2012 until March 2016.
|Cumulative to end of:||Premises with superfast broadband service made available||BDUK funding (£)||Number of premises covered per £million of broadband delivery programme expenditure|
IMPORTANT The figures do NOT include premises that may now be on a VDSL2 cabinet but data shows speeds of under 24 Mbps are all that is achievable, also if a cabinet overlaps with commercial coverage (e.g. Virgin Media) then those premises are not included either.
In a period of 3 years and 3 months of delivery the overall scheme has delivered to a volume of premises double the number of households in New Zealand which is midway through its own ten year programme to deliver FTTH to 75% to 80% of premises and even with the pace of roll-out in the UK if the aim was to get to as many people as possible as soon as possible there is a chance the UK model might be working. Of course this does mean that further work will be required in the future once 100 Mbps and Gigabit become the minimum sized connection needed to file a tax return or do your online banking and enjoy some reasonable quality online video.
The level of funding to BT is higher than the figures in this article because individual projects (and in some cases EU money) should be added, a rough estimate is that total funding is edging close to £1 billion.
The levels of clawback which now they have started seem to run at around £20m to £30m per quarter almost suggest that if the Government had waited for a while it might not have needed to fund the roll-out from 90% to 95% as clawback could have achieved the same, the problem would be uncertainty and this would have probably taken longer to hit 95% which is looking achievable for summer 2017. If by 2019/2020 we see take-up rising to the 70 to 80% levels then there will be choices over whether to plough the money back into further roll-outs or put the money back in to the public purse - one wonders if any of the money top sliced from the BBC Licence Fee/Digital Switchover Fund will go back to the Corporation. What we do know is that the cost saving over moving BBC Three online would not have taken place if the BDUK projects had not taken place.