BDUK publishes updated take-up figures for superfast broadband projects
The claw back system of the various BDUK projects looks set to release even more money over time if the take-up rates reported by the BDUK team for the projects across the UK continue and given the volume of moans from those who don't have access to a superfast service yet, the suggestion is that any cabinets going live now may see even more rapid take-up than ones installed back in 2013/2014. The difference in 2016 is the amount of online TV viewing driven by changes such as BBC Three moving to be online only and the vast catch-up libraries.
ISPreview has been keeping a tally of the reported take-up rates from the BDUK projects for a while and with the release of the March 2016 take-up figures by the BDUK team today we thought we would see what we deliver in terms of verification of the figures reported. Our observations on take-up are driven by analysing speed tests people have run in a quarter, which while not perfect should provide a good observation mechanism and if there are massive disparities we will then investigate areas more closely (for example we may need to extend the analysed period to 6 months).
|BDUK Project Area - Phase 1 Projects||BDUK Reported Uptake March 2016||thinkbroadband Observed Uptake Q1/2016||thinkbroadband Mean VDSL/FTTC Download Speed Q1/2016|
|Bucks and Herts||29.9%||32.4%||28.4 Mbps|
|Cambridgehire & Peteborough||35.2%||31.9%||27.5 Mbps|
|Central Beds, Bedford and Milton Keynes||29%||30.7%||26.9 Mbps|
|Connecting Devon and Somerset||22.5%||23.3%||27.8 Mbps|
|Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire||32%||29.6%||28.9 Mbps|
|County Durham||21%||28.2%||26.3 Mbps|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||27.2%||28%||27.2 Mbps|
|East Sussex||27.6%||27.8%||28.7 Mbps|
|Greater Manchester||24.7%||28.9%||28.4 Mbps|
|Herefordshire & Gloucestershire||22.9%||22.2%||28.4 Mbps|
|Highlands & Islands||21.6%||21.4%||27.2 Mbps|
|Isle of Wight||19.8%||29.4%||26.3 Mbps|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne||25.7%||28.2%||28.2 Mbps|
|North Lincs & North East Lincs||30.6%||32.6%||27.5 Mbps|
|North Yorkshire||32%||28.4%||28.6 Mbps|
|Northern Ireland||19.3%||21%||25.9 Mbps|
|Rest of Scotland||20.9%||22.9%||27.7 Mbps|
|West Sussex||23.2%||29.9%||29.5 Mbps|
|West Yorkshire||27.7%||24.7%||26.4 Mbps|
|Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire||37.5%||29.5%||27.8 Mbps|
As with any data analysis there is always factors to take into account, e.g. for the BDUK figures take-up can fluctuate depending on whether a project has just delivered lots of new cabinets. For the thinkbroadband observations there is always the possibility that only those with a fast connection have tested their connection or only those with problems are using the speed test, plus many people may only run a speed test when switching provider. One variable that we will work on over the next few months is identifying which chunks of FTTP have been delivered using commercial money and those with BDUK funding, given the low volumes of FTTP delivered this should not make a massive difference to the figures.
The degree of correlation between the official and our observations is encouraging and adds some more data into the debate on whether the BDUK projects are delivering anything and do they represent value for money.