Missed targets and confused messaging in North Yorkshire
Regular readers will be well versed in how the language used to describe broadband targets can be misleading, hence why we have to publish so many speed points when reporting coverage to try and cover all the eventualities.
To date the Superfast North Yorkshire project which was the first project to deliver a BDUK gap funded cabinet at the end of 2012 has been doing relatively well, perhaps a little behind original targets , now the BBC is reporting that the latest target in the county for rural broadband is to be missed.
For those living in working in North Yorkshire once the moment of outrage over this news has passed it should be apparent that the article does not make it crystal clear what the target being missed actually was. Some reading around reveals that there does appear to be a goal of 100% coverage, but this is described in a number of places as 100% high quality broadband which seems to be defined as 10 Mbps and faster - a big departure from the 100% superfast that will pop into most readers heads. Another confusion is any mention of 'by 2017' as in politics this often is a 12 month window, i.e. the public thinks it means by 1 minute past midnight on 1st January 2017, but it often is actually 1 minute to midnight on 31st December 2017.
We suspect one reason why the 100% may be called a high quality target is that fixed wireless has been openly embraced in the area and the coverage map ran by the project while showing VDSL2/FTTP superfast services restricted to their footprints shows fixed wireless as covering very wide areas with no gaps. Now if this was the fenlands with flat topography we'd accept the large polygons, but with the variation in height and shielding effect of trees we are pretty sure there will be gaps. If you are a fixed wireless provider in North Yorkshire and you have your coverage area available in a form we can use please get in touch.
We produced a round up of the North Yorkshire area back in September 2015 and now we are well past phase 1 we have excluded York from this update.
|thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC and Fibre
Broadband Coverage across constituences that comprise North Yorkshire
Coverage figures as of 28th July 2016
(change since of 6th September 2015
|Area||% fibre based||% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
30 Mbps or faster
|% cable||% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 10 Mbps|
|North Yorkshire County (excludes York)||96.2% (+3.8)||86.1% (+5.5)||84.9% (+6.0)||13% (+0.1)||1.53% (+0.45)||4%||9.5%|
|Harrogate and Knaresborough||98.2% (+0.5)||95.2% (+0.9)||94.7% (+1.2)||75.5% (+0.8)||0.26% (+0.26)||0.6%||1.9%|
|Richmond||95.5% (+4.8)||79.7% (+5.7)||78.1% (+6.1)||0.1% (=)||0.22% (+0.1)||6.1%||14.5%|
|Scarborough and Whitby||98.2% (+2.1)||92.7% (+1.9)||92% (+2.4)||0% (=)||0.51% (=)||2.1%||4.5%|
|Selby and Ainsty||97.1% (+4.4)||86.1% (+9.9)||84.6% (+10.4)||0% (=)||4.79% (+1.3)||3.8%||8.1%|
|Skipton and Ripon||94.7% (+4.5)||82.5% (+6.1)||81% (+6.6)||0%||1.5% (+0.37)||4.6%||12.3%|
|Thirsk and Malton||93.3% (+5.9)||79.9% (+8.5)||78.4% (+9.5)||0.1% (=)||2.27% (+0.86)||6.5%||15.8%|
Our figures for 10 Mbps and 2 Mbps do not take into account fixed wireless coverage and while people may wonder how the superfast coverage levels can increase more than the fibre levels in North Yorkshire there are an increasing number of infill cabinets appearing or FTTP clusters for longer lines.
Update Saturday 30th July 2016 Ok we found somewhere that gives a reasonable summary of the targets in North Yorkshire and it looks like nothing has actually been missed yet, just lots of worry about missing targets in the future, since for now only enough money to commit to a below 100% target has been reached. The phase 3 work comprises £7.3m from BDUK, £1m from ERDF and £12m from the council itself.
- Phase 1 & 2 have a target of 91% superfast (over 24 Mbps) by end of June 2017
- Phase 3 to take coverage higher to 95% to 96%
Looking at the amount of FTTP that is starting to appear it is possible that a shift in technology choice is taking place as with other BDUK projects, i.e. as they reach the areas where VDSL2 makes less economic sense in terms of speed delivered full fibre is being used.