Superfast Surrey project very close to its original target
Oxshott may have seen the obligatory photo opportunity as the Superfast Surrey project celebrated the 500th cabinet going live via the project. More crucially the project has declared that is has made fibre based broadband available to more than 75,500 homes and businesses with the eventual goal of reaching 84,000.
The statistics behind the roll-out are:
- Deploy more than 391 km of fibre cable - this is greater than the distance from Banstead to Blackpool!
- Upgrade more than 30 rural telephone exchanges across the county to fibre broadband which otherwise would not be covered by commercial plans.
- Install more than 600 green street-side cabinets and fibre structures, with 500 cabinets 'live' to date.
This has been achieved with some £33m of funding, from the council, BT and just £1.3m from Westminster. The crude calculation gives a figure of £55,000 per cabinet but this ignores the costs of enabling the handover points in 30 exchanges and there is the cost of the around 5,000 premises that have native GEA-FTTP available (which at standard industry figures could account for £5m of spending).
We have previously given estimates for the potential fibre based coverage in Surrey but now we are very close to completion in Surrey it is possible to say that what has been delivered so far is taking fibre based broadband to 96.9% of households in the County or if you apply the criteria that the connection should be superfast then its 91.8% currently and should improve further as more areas go live. We understand that 15 Mbps is a key delivery speed for the project and the figures improve to 94% at this slower speed, which should be sufficient to run three HD video streams over the connection at the same time.
The two graphs above show fives years of speed test data up until the end of September 2014 and thus go back to emergence of FTTC speeds and also track the various speed upgrades by Virgin Media and even the increasing use of ADSL2+ can be seen by the improvements in upload speeds. While the Surrey project has not given 100% of homes and businesses access to superfast broadband and it never had a contracted aim to do so it is enlightening to look at the percentiles and the bottom 10% in terms of download speed are now faster than the median speed back in November 2008. As take-up increases in particular for the FTTC services we expect the speeds to continue increasing, looking at the national picture for FTTC based connections we see a median speed of 31.7 Mbps, a note of caution for those wanting to take this figure and say FTTC is slow, since the 40/2, 40/10 and 40/20 products are often £5 to £10 per month cheaper at the retail level the median figure is likely to be held back by people watching the size of their utility bills.