Work to take superfast broadband to 95% of Swindon to start Summer 2015
Swindon is one of those areas that opted out of the original BDUK process but it looks like the 95% superfast target for 2017 has attracted the councils attention, no doubt helped by the continued complaints of slow speeds from new build areas such as Priory Vale (located to the North of the Orbital Shopping Park).
The local authority finished taking submissions to its Open Market Review at the end of August and is indicating procurement will complete by February 2015 with actual deployment starting in the summer of 2015 with the aim of finishing for 2017.
The local press coverage highlights a myth that has built up and the wording used by DCMS and many others helps to keep the myth going that the BDUK processes are just about rural areas, when the reality is that any area that go awarded central funding and followed the procurement process was able to take part, be they urban, semi-urban or rural. Some £3 million (half from Westminster and half from Swindon Council) is available as the public funding, and the council are going to be hard to bargain with since they walked away from the original BDUK process because they felt the level of private investment on the table was too low.
It is interesting to look at our broadband maps for the area and a good many properties in Priory Vale are able to get fairly good ADSL2+ speeds, but with the Virgin Media network ending at the very edge of the most recent builds and the hi-tech nature of many of Swindon residents means superfast speeds to allow multiple activities at the same time will be high on the want list. The results across the Swindon Unitary Authority are a median download 19.3 Mbps, and an upload of 2.7 Mbps, with 10% recording speeds above 77 Mbps, and at the other end 10% are getting 3.1 Mbps or slower.
One potential difficulty is that the modern planning style of intricate curved roads lead to longer line lengths and if FTTC is deployed will mean good cabinet placement is crucial to secure high speeds and for cable and FTTH/P deployments may increase costs as more cabling is needed.