Broadband News

£17.9m to take Norfolk to 90% fibre based broadband in phase 2

Mixed reaction to the news of BT winning a £17.9m contract for phase 2 of better broadband in Norfolk. The original project only aimed for 80% of the county to get access to a superfast broadband service and it appears this next wave of spending is aiming to push coverage to 90% with a fibre based service. The question the County Council may have to answer from the BDUK now, is why only 90% fibre when the centrally driven aim is 95% at superfast speeds.

The new £17.9m contract is meant to help around 25,000 homes and businesses and the money includes £5.9m from BT, £6m from Westminster, £5m from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. This means the gap funding is running at £480 per property, though this is not likely to be uniform in practice.

In terms of the current project, there is still a fair bit of work to do as we believe superfast coverage is sitting at two thirds of the counties premises, with fibre based broadband (i.e. including those not superfast) at 74%.

So while it is good news for some and the areas likely to benefit may be able to find out some more detail in the spring, the targets still mean a lottery in terms of where to move in Norfolk.


Why not more than 90% yet?

I think the 95% is an easy target using (mostly) FTTC for counties with denser populations.

For counties with sparser populations, the (mostly) FTTC option peters out at 90%ish - leaving just FTTP. The money available just doesn't buy enough coverage when the only solution (from BT) is FTTP, and FTTRN hasn't proved viable yet.

Such counties need a viable FTTRN solution from BT, or need to be looking at other suppliers. Both of these options force a county to stop spending with BT, either to pause or to start new contracts.

  • WWWombat
  • over 6 years ago

I suspect Norfolk is just such a county, and looks to have stopped some of their spending.

North Yorkshire reported these issues in November, and put their SEP decision on hold - to wait for progress on FTTRN or Wireless.

For the country as a whole, BDUK are running the "innovation fund" pilots to choose the technology for coverage of the 95-98% areas.

It shouldn't be a surprise that, when we look at the sparsely-populated counties in detail, they start to encounter these difficulties when the local coverage is nearer 90%.

  • WWWombat
  • over 6 years ago

@wwwombat - BT appear resourced to do c40k passes with 160-180 cabs a week, yet invoice amounts which in q2 replaced their own peak expenditure during commercial rollout.

So not resourced, and there will a bundle of cash building up in BT;s accounts. USC pemiums collected but sit there, significant savings referenced at EFRA on Dec 10th - milestone payments bear no relationship to costs, and clawback on partially equipped cabinets were the milestones based on homes passed.

The cash will be sitting in the accounts to support a futher 1500 apprentices. A real shame.

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 6 years ago


The problem with stopping is that Councils have given their ratepayers a commitment to provide the 2mbps USC by 2015. The contracts have generally left the hardest to reach and probably worst notspots and slowspots to last and to delay those would be politically difficult.

  • gerarda
  • over 6 years ago

What, more contracts, why BT why, so now we have to wait several more years for you to finish off what you partially started back in 2011 just to complete the BDUK funded contracts.

  • PaulKirby
  • over 6 years ago

Living in Norfolk I'm glad they are investing further to the 90% mark. It isn't easy to get to that level due to the vast number of small villages in the county even my larger village of long stratton is only just having the preliminary works carried our for fttc. On a side on I read the entire bbfn news release on it does mention the 95% target below is taken from the release

  • adwol48
  • over 6 years ago

In addition to the latest £17.9 million deal, another £6.4 million has been committed to help Norfolk contribute to the Government’s national target of making high-speed broadband available to 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2017.

  • adwol48
  • over 6 years ago

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