The number of privately gap funded VDSL2 cabinets appearing across the UK is increasing as communities make increased use of the BT Community Fibre Partnership Scheme and today a first of its kind scenario has arisen.
Ditcham in Hampshire is the first area to benefit from extra funding of £17,500 from a maximum available of £20,000 towards the cost of bring superfast broadband to an area. This extra funding on top of any gap funding raised by the community itself is only possible by BT subsidising the costs when there is a school in the cabinet area.
"The outstanding contributions from BT and Openreach to get this fibre optic network both designed and installed, whilst offering a very generous grant towards this community project, has ensured that our teachers and pupils can enjoy faster internet access. This will improve the opportunities we are able to offer to our pupils for the commencement of our new academic year."Chris Pickett, Chair of Governors, at Ditcham Park School
There are of course other ways of bringing superfast broadband to a rural area such as the full DIY approach as showcased by B4RN, or operators such as Gigaclear but with varying conditions across the UK no single plan will work everywhere and thus while it is easy to criticise the BT fibre scheme it does offer another avenue to avoid having to wait however many years before an inevitable upgrade does happen.
There is some £2 million of funding from BT for areas which qualify for the school funding, so its a case of acting now rather than waiting a couple of years to see what may or may not happen. While we expect the majority of areas to see VDSL2 from the partnerships if the maths stack up then we believe native FTTP is also available as an option.