DCMS BDUK take-up figures for March 2017 available
Hindsight is a wonderful tool so its easy to say the BDUK process should have anticipated the current levels of superfast broadband take-up and thus ensured a better split between FTTP and VDSL2 in the phase one roll-outs, but the gainshare (clawback) clause as a mechanism is working well and is allowing projects to deliver new batches of roll-out. What happens to this deferred money is not solely down to the commercial contractor (usually BT) but the local authority who signed the original contract will have a major input, hence the variations from county to county on what the extra investment is planning to deliver.
BDUK working from Westminster collect all the regional projects data together and have updated their spreadsheet columns to show the take-up as of March 2017, as in the past when covering the BDUK update we have added our take-up estimate for the various project areas. The time periods don't match, since we are reporting our Q2 2017 estimate and the BDUK figures should have much more data available to them, but our data does provide a useful checks and balances facility. The full Google Doc that the BDUK team updates also includes figures on the funding for the various areas and premises covered so for those that want to do more maths feel free to have a go.
|Council/BDUK project area||BDUK reported take-up March 2017||thinkbroadband take-up measured at end of June 2017|
|BDUK Phase 1 Projects|
|Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire||45.8%||42.7%|
|Central Beds, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes||43.8%||41.4%|
|Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Warrington, Halton||42.9%||37.2%|
|Devon & Somerset (including, Plymouth, Torbay, North Somerset, Bath & NE Somerset)||35.4%||34.7%|
|Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire||43.6%||39.6%|
|Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole||35.8%||40.2%|
|Durham, Gateshead, Tees Valley and Sunderland||34.8%||37.5%|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||39.5%||34.5%|
|East Sussex, Brighton and Hove||41.9%||37.4%|
|Essex, Southend-On-Sea, Thurrock||40.8%||39.6%|
|Herefordshire and Gloucestershire||35.8%||36.4%|
|Isle of Wight||33.4%||34.7%|
|Kent and Medway||40.3%||36.3%|
|Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen||34.8%||37.7%|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||30.8%||36.8%|
|North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire||39.8%||40.1%|
|Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent||37.1%||40.2%|
|Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire||43.5%||34.3%|
|Highlands and Islands||33.5%||34.5%|
|Rest of Scotland||31.3%||34.8%|
|BDUK Phase 2 Projects|
|Black Country||12.3%||32.9% (*)|
|Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire||16.1%||21.8%|
|Central Beds, Bedford Borough, Luton, Milton Keynes||9.4%||N/A|
|Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Warrington, Halton||27.7%||25.6%|
|Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole||5.1%||N/A|
|Durham (including North and South Tyneside)||13.9%||29.6%|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||21.2%||25%|
|East Sussex, Brighton and Hove||7.4%||39% (*)|
|Essex, Southend-On-Sea, Thurrock||20.4%||23.7%|
|Kent and Medway||22%||20.4%|
|Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen||19.4%||24%|
|North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire||17.1%||34.4%|
|South Gloucestershire||17.8%||34.3% (*)|
|Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent||12%||34.7 (*)|
|Telford & Wrekin||27%||31.8%|
|Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry||30.1%||29.4%|
|West Sussex||12.5%||20.5% (*)|
(*) indicates that the footprint is very small and thus differences due to how we are calculating take-up can be much larger, as projects deliver to a wider area in this phase we should track closer to the official figures. In some cases the phase two projects still have footprints under 1,000 premises.
N/A entries are where we have not tracked the premises delivered through that project phase at this time, the cabinets will feature in our overall coverage analysis but allocating them to the project phases is not an additional layer of work and thus given less priority than our primary coverage and speed test analysis work.
It could be said that our analysis is a waste of time, since we have official figures, but by comparing the results from our methodology it allows people to compare the variance we see and thus if we start to do similar tracking for projects that are not covered by the BDUK e.g. a new full fibre entrant who may not be releasing take-up figures of their own or massaging things to present a rosier than reality picture. Additionally in the political world things change quickly and we may not have the official figures in the future.
In some areas where BDUK projects have previously funded a VDSL2 cabinet, the revitalised commercial roll-outs are sometimes rolling out, so for example if the Virgin Media Project Lightning delivers on its promises we might see take-up in some BDUK areas shrink and similar for any full fibre roll-outs. The appeal of full fibre services versus VDSL2/FTTC based services amongst the general population is something that will very much determine how much full fibre investment goes on in the UK.