Worcestershire announces next areas to benefit as superfast roll-out continues
The reality of the BDUK roll-outs is that many people just want to know when better broadband will arrive and have little care for whether what they can buy now will last for several decades as they often just want something that makes video streaming more reliable or in some cases possible for the first time.
Worcestershire who signed their SEP (Superfast Extension Programme) in 2015 before the EU State Aid approval expired has now announced the areas that should benefit some 8,000 premises and take fibre based coverage to 95% by Autumn 2017 (the superfast coverage level is going to be lower due to VDSL2 distance limitations).
Arley, Cotheridge and Spetchley will get access to a fibre based service (FTTC or FTTP) for the first time.
Ashton-under-Hill, Badsey, Belbroughton, Broadway, Bishampton, Blakedown, Chaddesley Corbett, Clows Top, Great Witley, Hallow, Hartlebury, Harvington, Kidderminster, Ombersley, Peopleton, Pershore, Rock, Wolverley and Worcester will see infill work and based on what we see elsewhere in the UK, this may mean extra VDSL2 cabinets or even FTTP for premises too far from an existing live cabinet to benefit.Initial detail for Worcestershire Superfast Extension Programme
"Our roll-out of superfast broadband has already reached an extra 3.5 million premises so far, and around 50,000 in Worcestershire alone. We're on track to reach 95 per cent of the country by 2017, and I'm delighted that the extra funding means another 8,000 homes and businesses in Worcestershire will be able to access superfast speeds.Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister
We looked at the coverage in Worcestershire back in October and the county has sailed through the 90% FTTC/FTTP/cable based target now, and we are today looking at the coverage based on the constituencies in the county.
|thinkbroadband calculation of
USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage for Worcestershire and its component
Figures 28th January 2016
|Area||% fibre based
FTTC, FTTP, Cable
> 24 Mbps
>= 30 Mbps
>= 100 Mbps
|% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 10 Mbps USO|
The critics of the BDUK process are very vocal about which areas were chosen to benefit from the roll-out, with a consistent call for an outside in approach, i.e. start in the least populated areas in the hope that commercial roll-outs will meet half way and 100% coverage be achieved with less public intervention. So we are showing one of the component districts in Worcestershire and the level of superfast broadband at 30 Mbps or faster, the district covers over 50,000 premises and the raw figures are 77.4% with access to 24 Mbps or faster, 75.1% with access to 30 Mbps, a little FTTP at 0.03% and 3% at under 2 Mbps, 13.8% under proposed 10 Mbps USO.
The blue grey area is one of the areas with no superfast coverage, and also no fibre based broadband coverage and was highlighted to show difficulty if the projects had addressed the hardest areas first, the area which is the smallest area defined by the ONS in the census data output data comprises some 37 postcodes covering 200 premises in a roughly 4km by 3km area. Trying to cover areas like this with VDSL2 means lots of cabinets at a high cost or using more labour intensive FTTP with its attendant labour costs and longer time scales. Or put more plainly the choice would have been help 5% to 10% of premises and leave 20% waiting or cover the 20% and hope to find money to deal with the others later. Some counties have gone deeper towards a 100% goal and differences in delivery even when the phase 1 projects had a consistent BT behind them suggest that councils have actually had a degree of input to the direction and scope of the projects.
The Worcestershire project is doing a good job of providing information to those in the area, as they have a dedicated cabinet status page with detail of the 298 cabinets that are live and how many premises this affected (the homes passed is updated on a quarterly basis).