Broadband News

Extending Superfast Broadband after 2015

The recent industry day event held by DCMS/BDUK to discuss the fate of those likely to be outside the superfast broadband footprint on 7th October has led to predictable coverage and now some of the slides from the meeting are available to help those who did not attend understand better the various moans and groans that have emerged from the meeting.

We blogged about some of the aspects and coverage last week and are struck by the things that have been overlooked in the reporting so far on the meeting.

Projection of slow-spot location accuracy until 2017
Click for larger image

The above slide is very important, as while the big headlines have been that we will not know where the slow-spots will be for many years, the reality that the DCMS is expecting is very different, i.e. that as those projects that started first complete their various phases we will be able to say with increasing certainty where the areas without access to superfast broadband will be located. The slides do touch on the aspect that this 'final 10%' is also not really a final ten per cent but will vary across the project areas.

As with all these sorts of meetings no actual problems got solved, but people got to air their grievances and while meetings like this may appear to be a new side of the BDUK process, they do not sound unlike the sort of thing that was happening back in 2008/2009.

Our blog touched on the 'Minimum 15 Mbps to end users for 90% of the time at peak times' which has caught the attention of some who think this is a watering down of the 30 Mbps superfast specification, but when one considers that in the days of 50:1 type contention ratios. providers budgeted on 50 to 100 Kbps (Kilo bits per second) per user, a baseline peak time performance of 15 Mbps sounds pretty good to most people, the emphasis being this is a minimum expectation, not an average or median. As if by magic the Openreach FTTC products have had a prioritisation rate of 15 Mbps (on 40 Meg service) and 30 Mbps (up to 80 Mbps product) for a good length of time. Of course the key then is whether the wholesalers and retailers purchase capacity to avoid pinch points in other parts of their network.

For the larger providers it is pretty easy to track whether there are congestion issues, and while our previous analysis did not explicitly track this, we do know when speed tests are done and it will not be hard to spot if one provider is showing a worse peak time performance, or whether the actual fibre platform is the issue.


The words "cart" and "horse" spring to mind in relation to this conference and the awarding of the BT contracts.

I also had a rueful laugh at the "technology neutral" bullet point in the state aid slide

  • gerarda
  • over 7 years ago

15 Mbps 90% of the time, how can this be a minimum 10% of the time it will be below 15Mbps? The slides (P9) also talk about 24Mbps being the definition of superfast and then later 30. Is it any wonder that we are so confused and mistrusting.

  • galacticz00
  • over 7 years ago

Galactic - despite the amazing news that we will soon know where the 'without access to superfast broadband will be located', I understand the 15/90 is to be a minimum, but if you read the reports from the meeting, the chairman (DCMS, I think) says this will be assessed by making sure it 'feels like' 15mb - God help us!

The search is now on for new plug-in electronics that 'sense' broadband speed, and presumably either vibrate or flash a light when the speed is right. Lunatics and asylum?

  • mikejp
  • over 7 years ago

Sampling statistics - 15M 90% of the time probably wouldn't bother anyone and may not feel any different to 15M 95% of the time or whatever.

If you pick 4 hrs per night as peak time window that's 24 minutes a day where the speed might be below 15M. First world problem.

Anyone with a brain and the data could have predicted where the 10% are 3 years ago. Long EO lines and ADSL slow/notspots would be a good place to start looking. The BDUK projects don't appear to have this as a priority though, preferring to bring superfast to the masses first. Works for vote sensitive politicians.

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

As you say, herdwick, why we are told we need to wait to find out 'with increasing certainty' where the 10% is defeats many of us.

I take it you intended 240 minutes? The problem with defining this as a 'first world problem' is that 'peak time' is when most in OUR world WANT the performance they expected/bought, not at 0300 in the morning.

  • mikejp
  • over 7 years ago

The issue with 'performance assessment' in la-la-land is that judfggng by this epic 'event', DCMS do not appear to have a clear idea of how 'speed' is actually to be measured, indeed when peak time is, or how the Mad Hatter will determine it all - by 'feel'?

Whoever the chair was that responded with this nonsense should not have been in the seat.

  • mikejp
  • over 7 years ago

For 'judfggng' read 'judging'.....................

  • mikejp
  • over 7 years ago

See my latest information on the Access Broadband Cymru scheme the the news article of 3rd October. It seems the "final 10%" will not be known until after the Superfast Cymru scheme has finished! I would have thought it's dead easy to pinpoint the difficult areas - those that are currently getting less than 2Mbps and especially those that are generally last to get anything, such as ADLS, ADSL Max, ADSL2 etc. Instead, they've rolled out to all the same areas yet again that have already got a decent coverage.

  • csimon
  • over 7 years ago

I guess depends on whether you believe the superfast projects are likely to improve on their target coverage figures, or fail.

Most seem to be expecting to exceed figures announced on contract day, so are avoiding saying with absolute certainty.

Of course an agreement could be reached to exclude an area, but which is less risky? An RCBF project filling in an a small area, or the larger BDUK project failing to expand?

Its all about risk.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 7 years ago

Post a comment

Login Register