Elberton back in the news as chase for faster broadband continues
The problem of mapping and how councils approach the rules governing how intervention areas should be defined will vary from County to County, and it is not always clear whether guidance from the BDUK is forthcoming, or in some cases accepted.
Elberton has been in our news before, and there is little change. The village is still marked as covered by a commercial NGA service and thus excluded from the intervention area of the Gloucestershire project. Our original digging confirmed the commercially enabled cabinet was 2.4 miles away in Alveston, what is new are some comments in the local press by the Council. Our fibre broadband guide features a range table, which at 1500 metres (~1 mile) shows an expected speed of 15 Mbps, our guess for 2.4 miles is a speed down in the 5 Mbps area.
"Because Elberton is served by a street cabinet which is part of BT's commercial roll-out, it is not eligible for any government or council funded investment. This is a large and complex project which is making good progress. We will be making a further announcement about the next communities to benefit later this month."Quote in Gazette from South Gloucestershire Council
Maybe we have it all wrong, but while mapping by cabinet is an easy task for BT and the councils if BT is sharing the data, projects should look deeper into the speeds that people can get e.g. if a cabinet is one mile from its closest property (an extreme example but there might be a few in the UK) then little point in enabling it. Intervention decisions should be based on the likely speed for a postcode at least, and a solution considered.
There are two solutions for the people of Elberton if they stick with BT, a sub-cabinet which may still have distance issues for some, or a FTTP deployment.
At the end of the day the project in Gloucestershire is looking at 94% with superfast broadband, and while £35.6 million for the project looks a lot of money divided by 104,000 premises it is not much (£342 each), and the harsh reality may really be the cost of deploying superfast to Elberton is beyond the levels the council (and BT commercially) is willing to spend.