Community digging deep to fund two cabinets to improve broadband
Given the commercial roll-out by Openreach was aiming at two thirds of the UK population it was always going to be the case that millions missed out, hence all the time and money spent on the BDUK process, so it is really no surprise to find areas like Bussage and Chalford to the south east of Stroud suffering some cabinets not being enabled via the commercial or BDUK process.
The local press is reporting that residents and businesses in the area are pushing to raise funding to meet Openreach halfway to enable two more cabinets on the Brimscombe exchange, i.e. cabinets 9 and 17. A target of £30,000 is needed to match fund BT for the two cabinets.
The Brimscombe exchange has some cabinets already live via the commercial roll-out and some that are likely to be enabled via the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire BDUK process and other cabinets (10 & 12) with estimated service dates of 31st December 2014 as the commercial finishes. Looking at the specifics of cabinet 9 its foot print fits the common profile for the BDUK projects but seems to have missed out, cabinet 17 is a lot smaller and might be missed for the higher 95% 2017 target. The problem is that for counties with a goal of 90% on a fibre based solution, this 10% left out can mean whole villages or parts of towns/villages will miss it.
If the community can raise the money and improve its broadband speeds within the next six to nine months then they may feel their money has been well spent but there is one advisory since the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire project has previously said that by 2018 all those who need 24 Mbps or faster will have access to it. So it may be that the £30,000 if raised will simply knock a couple of years off the time people would have had to wait, but then the same can be said for the BDUK projects across the UK, since it was almost inevitable that Openreach and other commercial operators would have extended their networks to varying degrees. Though any commercial expansion would be unlikely to have reached 95% of the UK by 2017, maybe by 2020 depending on how the investment environment and general economy fair.