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BDUK publishes latest premises passed and cost information
Friday 18 November 2016 11:08:16 by Andrew Ferguson

The clocks have gone back and the countdown to Christmas is in full flow, which means its the time for all the Q3 2016 updates and one of these is the official premises passed figures from the BDUK team at DCMS.

Cumulative to end of: Premises with superfast broadband service made available BDUK funding (£) Number of premises covered per £million of broadband delivery programme expenditure
December 2012 254 £434,735 584
March 2013 16,638 £6,767,185 2,459
June 2013 38,343 £6,767,185 5,666
September 2013 111,968 £10,347,568 10,821
December 2013 273,731 £14,182,547 19,301
March 2014 508,801 £58,586,408 8,685
June 2014 888,113 £72,437,233 12,260
September 2014 1,383,777 £99,766,011 13,870
December 2014 1,908,725 £252,084,918 7,572
March 2015 2,411,395 301,444,870 7,999
June 2015 2,905,764 £331,828,330 8,757
September 2015 3,311,843 £372,153,178 8,899
December 2015 3,625,369 £406,918,848 8,909
March 2016 3,840,643 £476,742,422 8,056
June 2016 4,021,047 £492,573,929 8,163
September 2016 4,168,739 £497,656,699 8,377

As usual the premises count only includes those premises where superfast broadband at speeds of over 24 Mbps is available (and excludes any that could get an alternative e.g. Virgin Media). We know that many complain that many cabinets run out of capacity and people have to wait to order due to service popularity in some areas and we have looked at this a couple of times in 2016 and the number of premises affected range from 1.5% to 2% at any one time.

The financial totals only include money released by Westminster, the money added by local councils and the devolved administrations (Scotland and Wales) is not accounted for, and similar with money from the European Development Fund. Release of that information would be down to each individual project.

The 4.1 million premises represents 14% of the premises in the UK and to help people visualise what degree of change this has contributed to, we have included several maps showing the levels of change since December 2012 when the first BDUK cabinet went live in North Yorkshire. The levels of change are not purely down to the BDUK phase 1 and phase 2 projects as there have been improvements in commercial coverage too, but the maps show that while for those in the 8% of the UK without a fixed line superfast option nothing has changed for millions of others the picture has improved. (We are aware the maps show just Great Britain - our next bit of work on maps is to show the change per constituency which will then include Northern Ireland).

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Alternate view with numeric labels

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Posted by TheEulerID 2 months ago
I believe that the money is paid to the BDUK local projects, so is not necessarily immediately passed on to the BDUK contractor (which is usually BT of course).
In trying to work out how much money in total has been received by BT, the best source I can find is the BT quarterly reports, albeit even that is complicated by the gain-share/claw back mechanism. It would be nice to have an independent source of what has been paid over and when.
Posted by ValueforMoney 2 months ago
The EurlerID, the gross payments, if you follow that in BT quarterly statements accumulate to £843m to the end of July 2016, and another £28m gross in Q2. Although there is a little messing around trying to net this the gross number reflects the receipts. It is requirement to report it in this manner.
Of the £292m clawback, I have counted £89m re-farmed in subsequent phases.
Posted by ValueforMoney 2 months ago
Given the financial resources available I do not understand why BT do not press on. Phase subsidies available equal £1.17bn and a further £327m of phase subsidies were made available before SA33671 expired.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 2 months ago
BT cannot press on without the go ahead and things like OMR and new tenders.

Phase I and Phase II projects had distinct goals, if met and money left then its over to council/authority to define next intervention, or decide to stop and wait for release of money back to public purse eventually.
Posted by ValueforMoney 2 months ago
Andrew, Under phase 2 let under 33671, some 540k additional premises were let.

Posted by ValueforMoney 2 months ago
Minor correction q2 gross state aid receipt was £34m so accumulated is now £877m

At £34m gross a quarter, the clawback of £292m alone represents over 8 quarters of work at the current rate.
Posted by gerarda 2 months ago
If BDUK have got superfast to 14.1% of premises by the end of September and the total superfast coverage in your update at that date was 91.6% this means commercial coverage is 77.5%, a much higher figure than the 66-70% usually quoted.
Posted by TheEulerID 2 months ago

It's the net amount that BT get that matters. That is after money is returned under claw-backup (and the revised target take-up) as that will be the real figure for gap funding.
Posted by WWWombat 2 months ago
BDUK-central themselves quote that BT+Virgin+others reached 76% of premises commercially. I recall that 9% of that total is Virgin-only, and that the BT portion is 66-67%.

The table listed above represents the properties for which money has been claimed off central government. I tend to assume that there is something of a lag in this number: that the money claim happens sometime after the matching cabs have gone live.

TBB's figure will tend to match the live service, rather than the lagging funding claims.
Posted by gerarda 2 months ago
@wwwombat So the final third was really only a bit less that the final quarter, and only a little more than 50% of that final quarter has been achieved by BDUK.
Posted by AndyCZ 2 months ago
How did you work that out?

DCMS quote c. 29 million premises in the UK. If 76% are covered commercially, that leaves 6.96 million premises. BDUK has completed 4.17 million premises now, so c. 60% of the remaining premises leaving some 2.79 million premises still without superfast broadband access.
Posted by gerarda 2 months ago
The article quotes coverage of 14% out 24% so 58% which is just over half.
Posted by gerarda 2 months ago
If BDUK started at the final third ie 67% and we are now at 91% that would have been 24% out of 33% so almost 3/4 of the non-commercial, quite a big difference to starting from 76%
Posted by AndyCZ 2 months ago
BDUK didn't start at 67% though - the BT commercial program didn't finish until about a year after BDUK started and I cannot comment on VM's rollout at this point. Most contracts will have been tendered during the middle of BT's commercial deployment.

The whole point of BDUK was to enable superfast broadband to those areas where commercial deployment was not economically viable. It was always made clear by the government that the BDUK coverage targets would include the commercial operator deployments as well.
Posted by TheEulerID 2 months ago

It's immaterial what the actual commercial roll-out % was at the time BDUK projects were awarded for the simple reason that the OMR process was designed to eliminate those areas where commercial roll-out was planned. Therefore the base point has to be the commercial roll-out that had been achieved plus the planned level. BDUK was designed to address only those areas for which there weren't credible commercial plans.
Posted by gerarda about 1 month ago
It does however give more support to the argument that an outside in solution was the wrong one as the higher the commercial rollout the higher the proportion of the remainder has been failed. The original 90% target meant only 14% got improved and 10% missed out.
Posted by AndyCZ about 1 month ago
The original BDUK target set that 10% would miss out anyway - so I don't really see your point here. The commercial deployment of various operators is largely irrelevant as the tendering process for BDUK contracts excluded the areas they were going to commercially invest in.

If the government wanted 100% fixed line superfast coverage, then it would have to completely rethink its strategy and investment.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 month ago

The "inside out" route that was taken is simply the inevitable consequence of the government setting the target as the highest coverage possible within the available budget. An "outside in" would have inevitably meant many fewer properties covered at much high cost each. It's also a horribly inefficient way of doing it as it means going to the most difficult to reach places first, bypassing many easier areas and therefore reducing the revenue opportunities. So, "outside in" means fewer properties, much higher cost each and lower revenue (albeit, probably, higher take-up rate).

Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
Your calculations aren't wrong. BDUK is targeting the jump from 76% to 95%, and have got to 92%ish; savings might expand that to 97%ish.

Who said "final third"? I think you'll find it a term from media and commentators, after BT said their plan would get to 67%. Just like "everyone" thought the untouched portion would be exclusively "rural", the same "everyone" thought BT's 67% would fully overlap VM's 48% ... ergo there would be one-third left to do, all "rural", right?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
I'd guess that central BDUK had a rough idea that overlap would be partial, and commercial would reach about three-quarters. After all, they did the initial modelling back in 2010-2011, right?

Even that far back, they had a rough idea that 90% could be reached with the money they had, and that 95% could be reached with a second tranche.

Any thoughts about "outside in" need to be weighed against the fact that "they" already had a reasonable idea of what "inside out" could achieve,
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 month ago
It is also incorrect to suggest commercial roll-outs stopped in 2012, roll-outs have continued to finish off and things like LEP are adding more in London.

Also remember its not just Openreach rolling out, there is Virgin Media, KCom, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and the list goes on...
Posted by gerarda about 1 month ago
I did not suggest commercial rollouts stopped in 2012. the OMRs were designed to eliminate the next 3 years plans from the commercial operators
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 month ago
The implication was there when questioning how could 14% coverage get UK to 90%.

Those quoting the two thirds type figures are just quoting the rough estimates from the era of 2010-2011.

The UK was at 67% in December 2012. London which has had not BDUK work has grown 10% in coverage in that time.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
London's coverage has grown by 10%? That's over 300,000 properties - equivalent to 3 Hulls.
Posted by gerarda about 1 month ago
Take this for an example from South Gloucestershire Council
"It was estimated that the private sector will cover approximately two-thirds of premises with
access to superfast broadband by Summer 2014"

I could pick quite a few more in the same vein. I agree that final third is a short hand but does look like spin compared with the reality of the final quarter
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 month ago
Very few working on broadband in the councils are actually broadband experts, so very likely they've just picked up some snippet from somewhere and used that.

Look at the number of places still using old Ofcom coverage figure of 83% from early 2015.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
Yup. People knew of BT's "two-thirds" target, and VM's refusal to build further. No-one knew of the ultimate combined effect - so even BDUK used quotes around the term. Even the EU says <<the so-called "final third">>

Likewise, Government knew from the outset that they'd budgeted £530m+£300m, but had no idea what could be achieved with those sums.

It was all hopeful guesswork on all sides, even experts. "spin" implies something deliberately underhand to achieve a predetermined outcome. I think that is best described as fanciful thinking.
Posted by JNeuhoff about 1 month ago
@Steve Jones: "So, "outside in" means fewer properties, much higher cost each and lower revenue (albeit, probably, higher take-up rate)."

The revenue is irrelevant for BDUK. The BDUK was about hard to reach areas faster via its gap-funding schemes. Nobody cares about BT shareholders revenues in this context!
Posted by New_Londoner about 1 month ago
However the take up from a much larger number of premises generates additional money for more coverage.

Also, let's be realistic about this, how many politicians would countenance having say 10% of premises not served when they could get the number down to 5% instead? In fact, if you literally started at the most remote premises first, I doubt your budget would even cover 5% and you'd fall foul of the value for money tests too.
Posted by fastman about 1 month ago
@JNeuhoff -- have you now got an FTTC service as I assume you are covered by the Superfast Essex programme -- or are you not value for money ?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 month ago
The South Yorkshire Digital Region suffered because of a lack of revenue ... with the ultimate outcome that service was removed.

In the end, BDUK *do* care about revenue - because they want to the service to continue past the first couple of years.

BDUK aren't going to be able to attract suppliers in later phases if the first phases go bust.
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