Broadband News

£3 million of public money to boost ultrafast coverage in Wiltshire

Wiltshire County Council has announced that in its latest round of broadband procurement two contracts have been awarded and importantly the services delivered will be ultrafast (i.e. 100 Mbps and faster). In the north of the county Gigaclear has a contract to deliver 5,800 premises using their Gigabit FTTH network and the southern part has gone to BT which is also contracted to deliver an ultrafast service.

Thousands upon thousands of premises are seeing the benefits of an improved broadband service thanks to our programme, and we're delighted even more will do so soon. We're pleased to be working with both Gigaclear and BT to provide this next phase of work which will have a positive impact for householders and businesses alike. We are committed to providing an improved broadband service to as much as of the county as possible and will continue to look at all opportunities to help us achieve this.

John Thomson - Wiltshire Council cabinet member for broadband

The public funding of £3 million comprises £1 million raised by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and £2 million from Broadband Deliver UK and is addition to the various phase I roll-outs and superfast extension projects previously announced. Each contract winner will have been expected to add their own funding towards the roll-out, i.e. the principle of gap funding continues.

thinkbroadband calculation of across Wiltshire Constituencies
figures 15th June 2017
Area% fibre based% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
% Virgin Media Cable% Openreach FTTP% Under 2 Mbps USC% Under proposed 10 Mbps USO
Wiltshire County Council
Excluding North and South Swindon
97.2% 89.7% 88.3% 35.7% 35.2% 0.27% 1.5% 4.7%
213,353 Premises 207,379 191,377 188,390 76,167 75,100 576 3,200 10,027
Chippenham Constituency 96.7% 94% 92.9% 23.3% 22.2% 0% 0.1% 1.2%
Devizes Constituency 97.1% 87.4% 85.6% 20.3% 20.2% 0% 2.1% 6.1%
North Swindon Constituency 90.2% 89.7% 89.6% 71.9% 70% 2.42% 0.1% 2.4%
North Wiltshire Constituency 95.7% 81.6% 79.4% 13.6% 13.3% 0% 2.9% 8.2%
Salisbury Constituency 97.9% 92.8% 92% 58.4% 58.4% 0.73% 1% 2.7%
South Swindon Constituency 90.6% 90.1% 90.1% 84.7% 82.5% 0.77% 0.3% 2.3%
South West Wiltshire Constituency 97.1% 90.4% 89.4% 58.7% 58.7% 0% 1.4% 5.1%

The coverage table above does include the North and South Swindon constituencies, just in case at the very edges some areas may fall within the remit of these contracts, the coverage figures for Wiltshire only includes those premises identified as part of the council rather than the ceremonial county. Swindon as its own unitary authority is funding its own roll-outs outside the BDUK framework having initially opted out of the BDUK process in its first phase.

The 5,800 premises in the Gigaclear area represent around an additional 2.5 to 3% of coverage for Wiltshire and with additional premises from the BT contract if the existing projects deliver superfast as expected it seems likely that the county will push past 95% superfast coverage and at the same time boost ultrafast availability. The SEP contract with BT is still delivering VDSL2 with a recent addition being cabinet 7 near the A4/Box Hill on the Box exchange and with the high levels of coverage when you ignore range performance issues we expect to see plenty more infill solutions and its possible some of the areas covered via these new contracts will also provide infill. Performing infill with a later contract does not mean money has been spent twice as the BDUK framework means public money should only be used to pay for premises that were uplifted to superfast and beyond.

Update Saturday 17th June: Have added the premise figures for Wiltshire, but note as with the percentages that this excludes Swindon Unitary Authority which are tracking as comprising 96,725 premises. This is important to note since the BT statement in the council press release talks of 277,000 with access to superfast including commercial and clearly includes Swindon itself and when we add the superfast premises of Swindon and Wiltshire together we get 278,816 premises with the option of a superfast connection over 24 Mbps.

Comments

Presumably, the BDUK portion of the funding is a part of the extra £10 million that the government allocated to the South-West for ultrafast services, rather than standard BDUK funds. So it doesn't necessarily follow all the standard BDUK project rules either.

As the target is for ultrafast services, is there any requirement to not overbuild places with superfast services? You'd imagine that Gigaclear would choose places that BT haven't enabled, but will BT overbuild its own previous rollout? Or VM's network?

  • WWWombat
  • 2 months ago

A couple of questions on footprint and tech mix have been asked of BT.

Overbuild of Virgin Media which is ultrafast would not be allowed for sure and G.fast in usual configuration benefits only the fast VDSL2 people so unlikely.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 2 months ago

@Andrew:

Can you publish the answers here? Contrast this with the fact that BDUK continues to refuse to even consider State Aid for B4RN-style fibre-based schemes in rural communities where there is complete market failure because a business case doesn't support a profit element for commercial schemes.

  • GraceCourt
  • 2 months ago

Answers? If a response comes back (and its with council currently) then yes they will get published.

State aid on community schemes is a procurement rules exercise, the RCBF was one attempt, then some pilots and now a number of lots of BDUK extension work have gone to alternates beyond the BT and Gigaclear realms.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 2 months ago

using "% fibre based" if its Not actually fibre based ?

  • leexgx
  • 2 months ago

It takes a while to get a response from WCC and I am a resident in an area included in the Gigaclear rollout in North Wilts.

  • godsell4
  • about 1 month ago

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