Broadband News

Next 15 areas of Lancashire to benefit from BDUK project announced

A joint announcement from Lancashire County Council and BT has released the names of the next fifteen areas of Lancashire that will benefit from the gap funded project.

Belmont village near Blackburn; Eccleston, Croston, and Mawdesley in Chorley; White Hills Business Park in Fylde; Barnoldswick in Pendle; Bolton by Bowland, West Bradford and Ribchester in Ribble Valley; Shawforth and Whitworth in Rossendale; and Knott End, Hambleton, St Michaels and Preesall in Wyre.

15 areas to see fibre based services rolled out

The press release figure of 480,000 homes and businesses across Lancashire with access to high-speed fibre includes the commercial footprint from Openreach (and we presume Virgin Media and others) since Lancashire in the 2011 Census had 618,000 households spread over 14 authorities. The disparity to this figure and the 675,000 target figure on the Superfast Lancashire website is down to the number of businesses in the county.

There seems to be some good news for those who have not believed the news that Exchange Only lines are being addressed in these roll-outs (maybe not all EO lines, but at least some), Belmont to the south of Blackburn appears to be an exchange with just Exchange Only lines currently, so either they are getting a new PSTN cabinets with a fibre twin, or more unlikely FTTP for the around 250 properties on the exchange. Eccleston currently has no FTTC available at all, and if the project does enable all the existing cabinets we estimate that coverage at superfast speeds will be around 88% of premises. Croston shows the variability you can get from place to place, as we estimate superfast coverage would drop to 70%, but if Exchange Only improvements are carried out then the national 90% superfast target or better is possible.

Infill work will also take place in Accrington, Blackpool and Burnley. Burnley already has a mixture of commercial cabinets and BDUK gap funded ones, generally the BDUK funded cabinets appear to be the smaller ones, with the odd exception. We don't know if the infill will mean every cabinet gets enabled, so still a case of keeping an eye on availability checkers. If we ignore Virgin Media availability and assume all the cabinets in Burnley get enabled our fairly pessimistic prediction would be 92% connecting at 24 Mbps or faster (33% managing connections of 60 Mbps or better).


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