Broadband News

More superfast broadband funding unlocked to improve UK broadband landscape

Santa has arrived a little early over at DCMS but best to get this delivery done before the more exciting run with lots of toys, the gift is the news of a £440m windfall of funding for superfast broadband. This is comprised of money from the clawback mechanism and apparently efficiency savings identified by BT. It must be pointed out that the £440m is not new money, but the cumulative total that includes previous clawback money which started with £129 million announced in July 2015.

"Our Broadband Delivery UK programme is giving families and businesses in hard-to-reach areas the fast and reliable internet connections which are increasingly at the heart of modern life.

Strong take-up and robust value-for-money measures mean £440 million will be available for reinvestment where it matters – putting more connections in the ground.

This will benefit around 600,000 extra premises and is a further sign of our commitment to build a country that works for everyone.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley

The increased clawback has been triggered by take-up for the gap funded roll-out rising to some 1.5 million premises and the table of take-up rates show that it is far from uniform. This lack of uniformity is thought to be largely down to factors such as the timescale for delivery via the various projects, but will also reflect different demographics in how keen people are to upgrade to a superfast broadband service, and as set-up fees continue to increase along with the price premium the decision is not always automatic even when people do know something faster and better is available.

Region Take-up Gainshare Allocation
East of England 34.2% £18,900,000
Midlands 30.52% £22,543,498
North East England 29.55% £3,450,000
North West England 29.32% £15,590,000
Northern Ireland 27.41% £2,000,000
Scotland 26.3% £17,843,000
South East England 35.59% £18,405,000
South West England 29.91% £8,827,000
Wales 28.77% £12,780,000
Yorkshire & Humber 31.12% £13,559,000

The gainshare allocation totals £133,807,498 with a UK wide take-up rate of 30.62% and what happens with this and money from efficiency savings is down to the local authority or devolved administration working in conjunction with BT. It is possible for areas that have already set the course for 100% superfast coverage that nothing will change, and thus the money will sit waiting to be paid back at the end of the seven year contract, but we expect the majority of the BDUK projects to make use of the extra money to push coverage further, or change the technology used, for example a business park that was earmarked for VDSL2, might see infill FTTP for the business premises.

So good news, but the devil is in the detail and we will not have that until the New Year and as with previous gainshare news it will probably take some months for projects to make their own individual announcements. So while this announcement is great and shows the Government in a very positive light, the key is how this actually works in practice. One interesting aspect is that the press release talks about 'BT will be releasing £292 million for extra connections with £133m already allocated', which seems to say BT has not released the £292m yet and thus raises the question of when BT will release it. What is interesting is to read our previous clawback announcement a year ago which mentioned the £150m efficiency saving way back then and that every 10% of take-up should deliver £129m of clawback funding.

Prior to this news everyone was relatively hopeful of hitting 96% superfast coverage by 2020, but DCMS is pushing the boat a bit further with the hope that the extra money along with other changes will mean superfast coverage pushes to 97% and thus breaks (or at least means it needs some tweaking) the model that Ofcom announced last week in a good way, as this should mean even less premises will need help to meet the 10 Mbps USO once it finally becomes law in 2020.

Comments

It would be SO nice if you scrapped the meaningless phrase "Superfast Broadband" (which it isn't) in all your news coverage and instead gave 'average expected' figures like, say, "20-80 Mbps download" (or whatever).

We run the risk of running out of superlatives to describe the very ordinary.

  • John_Gray
  • 12 months ago

Will there be any money for London in SE or is it just outside M25?

  • hvis42
  • 12 months ago

I'd assume this is for existing BDUK projects as that's where the money came from.

  • Kebabselector
  • 12 months ago

@hvis42
This is for the existing BDUK areas, excludes London, which already has over 95% of premises able to access download speeds of > 30Mbps.

  • New_Londoner
  • 12 months ago

@John_Gray

Superfast, ultrafast and so on, are not superlatives; just plain, common or garden adjectives.

  • TheEulerID
  • 12 months ago

kebab your gap would now be about 6 - 8k at max -- assuming your community had any appetite to do anything

  • fastman
  • 12 months ago

@John _Gray
Awesome

  • g3rft
  • 12 months ago

@TheEulerID

Oxford English Dictionary:
(usually superlatives) An exaggerated or hyperbolical expression of praise:
‘the critics ran out of superlatives to describe him’

  • John_Gray
  • 12 months ago

@JohnGray
The use of ever-greater superlatives is a feature of a market where speeds get ever higher ... and marketers have to come up with a name to distinguish from the generation before.

Consistency of use of terminology would help the public understand, and should be sought after, not decried.

In this case, the use of "superfast" has taken on a meaning of a threshold speed. It isn't perfectly consistent - some projects use 24Mbps, some use 30Mbps, but the latter is getting more traction now.

I'd rather we continued to use it as the threshold label - which is how it is mostly used now.

  • WWWombat
  • 12 months ago

Isn't the real problem that our idea of what is "very ordinary" changes constantly?

When I first started working in comms, the best stuff was still measured in kbit/s ... for voice. Data was more likely to be described as bps.

Those were very ordinary too, in their day. Yet "very ordinary" kept moving...

300 -> 1200 -> 9600 -> 14400 -> 19200 -> 28k -> 56k -> 512k -> 2M -> 8M -> 24M -> 40M -> 80M -> 330M

Doesn't each leap deserve its own comparative (more accurate than superlative) at the time it comes out?

  • WWWombat
  • 12 months ago

wwwombat, it would, if in fact things changed, but all they are doing is whipping a dying donkey to make it go a bit faster. The correct term is superfarce.

  • cyberdoyle
  • 12 months ago

@John_Gray

Superlatives are the highest quality or degree. SO the fastest, the greatest, the lowest, the tallest, the finest and so on. It's pretty clear that "superfast" or even "untrafast" aren't that. They are (at best) some form of banding of speed class for largely marketing or publicity purposes.
Of course the common misuse of superlative as just some form of quite good gradually worms its way into the language, but it's to be regretted.

  • TheEulerID
  • 12 months ago

@cyberdoyle
Your experience obviously differs from mine.

I have more speed than I know what to do with nowadays. Anything higher would be merely ego-massaging speedtest fodder.

The country is made up of a mix of all sorts of experiences, and for plenty of them, the evolution of the flagellated asinus continues to be enough.

  • WWWombat
  • 12 months ago

Perhaps BT could spend some of it on the 22 houses it left out in our village because they were exchange only lines ( and less than 500m from cabinet). or more could wasted on the expensive and capped wireless service that is rolled out in some areas

  • mklinger
  • 12 months ago

@fastman - still trying, but getting people to commit to giving details is a pain. But at least it's coming down from 18k!

  • Kebabselector
  • 12 months ago

kebas suggest you ask Community fibre partnertship for another quote it might be less that that jut as its aound s 3 month lead time to get a quote and then a 12 month deployment period if you contract suggest waiting to get people to commit is not a good use of time --

  • fastman
  • 12 months ago

mklinger - where in uk are you and are those premises before the cabinet or past the cabinet -- if they are before the cabinet they will not be allowed to be connected to the cabinet as that would increase the ADSL copper line length and that would worsen ADSL -- the upshot would be that you would be forced to move to fibre -- that would be then outsice openreach condition of licence set by Ofcom ans so those premise will reamin as they are

  • fastman
  • 12 months ago

as you would be forcing copper service providers to lose customers and that would not be equivalalent

  • fastman
  • 12 months ago

the wireless service will be nothing to with BT

  • fastman
  • 12 months ago

Rather than the descriptions of the speeds, I find it more annoying to refer to the hybrid system as fibre, which it clearly is not. On a long rural line so not holding my breath for decent speeds anytime soon.

  • brianhe
  • 12 months ago

brianhe -- fibre broadband is a recognised Term (whether you find it annoying or not) and the market understands that term that the real people out there in real land who want a better speed and frankly don't give a hoot hows its delivered) and only what its costs and what it will give them

  • fastman
  • 12 months ago

they might the circa 25m or more that have access to and X million that have purchased it from their chosem provider

  • fastman
  • 12 months ago

Where I find the whole debate and even the governments own call for evidence lacking is the simple statement that any new build, domestic or industrial should be based upon FTTP as a primary solution. Whilst this does not fix the basic rural issues it does tackle any new build in urban or rural areas. Even in rural areas this will force fibre into many locations as new properties are developed and others in a close proximity may benefit. Probably a fanciful notion but would start a debate

  • pug205rally
  • 12 months ago

@pug205rally
The market is starting to move on this. For example, I know Openreach offers FTTP to new sites, free in most cases with 30+ units, now charges a premium to provide copper instead.

  • New_Londoner
  • 12 months ago

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