Broadband News

Redacted Welsh Broadband Contract Reveals 40% to get 100 Mbps

The issue of FTTC giving variable speeds due to impact of distance on VDSL2 has had a good many critics of the awarding of the BDUK contracts to BT a field day in the last couple of years and some are convinced that speed targets will not be met. Well with the hard work of Richard Brown (@wispame a redacted copy of a BDUK contract is now out in the wild.

"5.3.2 that Broadband Coverage is achieved throughout the Contract Intervention Area by 30th June 2016 and in any event by the Drop Dead Date, as follows:

  1. a minimum of ninety per cent (90%) of all Premises in the Contract Intervention Area are capable of having access to broadband services at a minimum of 30 Mbps PPIR with 2 Mbps CIR;
  2. a minimum of ninety five per cent (95%) of all Premises in the Contract Intervention Area are capable of having access to broadband services at a minimum of 24 Mbps PPIR with 0.5 Mbps CIR; and
  3. a minimum of forty per cent (40%) of all Premises in the Contract Intervention Area are capable of having access to broadband services at a minimum of 100 Mbps PPIR with 10 Mbps CIR."
Extract from Welsh BDUK Contract

The original announcement in July 2012 did not spell things out as clearly as this. For those now wondering what the acronyms mean:

  • PPIR Premises Peak Information Rate - essentially the line connection speed, i.e. speed the VDSL2 modem connects at, and should take into account effects like crosstalk in addition to line length/quality.
  • CIR Committed Information Rate - basically if everyone is online and using their connection this is the minimum speed you will see between the premise and the point of handover (i.e. where the fibre is handed onto the wholesaler/LLU operator).

What is new is the requirement for 40% of premises to have a minimum connection speed of 100 Mbps, some may think this means 40% of the project having FTTP, but the reality is more mundane, we expect by 2016 that vectoring will be in the wold and so VDSL2 could hit this target, though some FTTP is expected. The real key word is CAPABLE in theory once FTTP on Demand is available across the UK every telephone line with a fibre twin at its green cabinet can order a 330 Mbps service.

The CIR figures will look very small, but are not far off what we all work with every day and is still vastly better than the days when Tiscali used to fit a 2 Mbps backhaul line to an exchange and populate it with one hundred 1 Mbps or 0.5 Mbps customers.

The question really is what about those premises in the final few percent of Wales, i.e. those that are most rural, and that is where not just in Wales but across the UK that a lot of the criticism is coming. In theory the Government has waved its hands and said superfast will hit 98% in the 2018 timeframe, but the big question is whether these continued improvements to the superfast coverage are delaying improvements that might bring the most rural parts of the UK up to speeds of 2 Mbps and more.


A nice find!

I don't think that FTTPoD will count as part of the "40% capable of 100Mbps" item, at least not in its current guise. Remember that BDUK also has affordability requirements, and FTTPoD doesn't meet those.

So, I think it *does* imply that vectoring will be included in intervention areas.

  • WWWombat
  • over 7 years ago

Credit really to Richard for his persistence, but does show that the percentages are in the contract and not just PR fluff.

of course if going to be outside the improved areas then people will be upset.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 7 years ago

When is FTTPoD going to finally be open to orders?
Crosstalk has taken me down from initial 57Mbps to 39Mbps… and as the cabinet has only been enabled three months so I'm worried about even more crosstalk coming as it fills up!

  • Chrismb
  • over 7 years ago

Is the low CIR of 2 to allow for wireless / satellite ?

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

If 40% of the intervention area were capable of ordering FTTP off their final DP, and the contract includes what is believed to be c2,500 -3,000 cabs then the subsidies for the first time begin to make sense.

Well done to Richard on the FOI disclosure.

The lack of allowable scrutiny on BT's contribution remains alarming.

Published predicted solution by postcode subject to power costs being agreed would be a welcome boost to transparency.

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 7 years ago

Saundersfoot exchange is not to be upgraded until 2016, 3200 connections , over 400 businesses ., "a representative at BT replies "via a letter from Angela Burns me "do not have access to Openreach line plant records" This in answer to a query that if there is a FOC passing a cabinet on the way to a small primary school why not connect to the cabinet? "The reason.... " "a dedicated fibre link is required to connect specialist equipment in the exchange& street cabinet so sharing a fibre cable is not an option" Is this true or are BT just 'pulling the wool over our eyes'?

  • elegog
  • over 7 years ago

It is true, a dedicated point-to-point fibre is needed, but there's more to it than that.

With deployment of the fibre for that particular FTTC cabinet comes another commitment - that "FTTP on demand" will become available to the area too.

That implies a whole bundle of fibre (or, at minimum, the subducting for it) must be deployed, along with the aggregation node that hold splice trays. And the fibre likely will continue on to other cabinets, forming a spine.

It's the start of a whole new distribution network, and not just a fibre.

  • WWWombat
  • over 7 years ago

@wwwombat @ellegog

Is this not part of the problem? School must have say an EAD, when not really, they could use (say) one of the 23 spare fibres not used by the cabinet.

How large are these splice trays? Sudsidies will be spent on cabs serving c200 users, so the design/cost should alter to meet the need.

I would like to see a comparison of fibre delivered to multiple manifolds compared with a cabinet especially where the power companies are wishing more than a £1,000 for the works?

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 7 years ago

If we ever end up with an access network with combined architecture, then I agree - it would be the EAD product that spurs off from a local GEA access node, probably an aggregation node but I guess lower-speed products could go through a GPON splitter node too.

But there would be maintenance risks for allowing the 2 product sides mixing freely. I guess only Openreach would know how manageable it would be.

Mr Saffron has some photos of the GEA hardware somewhere...

  • WWWombat
  • over 7 years ago

Mr Saffron's photos:

The first few photos show an object that is ever a splitter node or an aggregation node. I think it is the former, given the rest of the equipment on display, but the two pods are very similar.

The first photo shows the pod, on the lefty, with the cover on. The subsequent photos show it with the cover removed and the array of splice trays visible.

  • WWWombat
  • over 7 years ago

Photo 28 shows the distribution architecture of the GEA fibre rollout. There is a similar picture for FTTC, showing the fibre for a cabinet connecting back to the aggregation node, and everything higher in the network being identical.

  • WWWombat
  • over 7 years ago

As Superfast Cymru is not part of the BDUK procurement, it is important to define the "Intervention Area" that will get 100Mbp. Does this include the cities and towns where BT has already run fibre, hence the "acceptance" by WAG that BT has already contributed £195m of the headlined £425m value of the project?
BTW, if anyone would like to read the readacted contract in its entirety, please look here (

  • Br0kenTeleph0n3
  • over 7 years ago

'Superfast Cymru is not part of the BDUK procurement'.

The project in Wales is based around some £220m from BT, £90m from the EU and the rest being a mixture of Welsh money and BDUK funding, the total fund being £425m

  • Somerset
  • over 7 years ago

So are you suggesting that BT will only be contributing £25M and the project fund is actually £230M?

  • Somerset
  • over 7 years ago

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