Broadband News

13,500 more superfast broadband premises for Berkshire with new contracts

The extension contracts are coming thick and fast now that the purdah period is well behind us and negotiations over how cost savings and gain-share will be used at the many BDUK local authority projects across the UK lead to signed contracts.

Berkshire is the latest county to announce extension work, this time covering 13,500 premises with Gigaclear signed up to deliver 6,100 premises in rural areas and BT some 7,400 premises in the more urban areas with a delivery timeframe of during the next two years. The Gigaclear footprint will be their usual full fibre service and while the BT contract will deliver superfast broadband we don't know as yet how much of this will be full fibre GEA-FTTP, but we suspect there will be some more as there is already some across the six councils comprising Berkshire.

Our analysis of what has been delivered already via BT, Gigaclear and CallFlow shows that 95.8% of the county has access to superfast broadband at speeds of 30 Mbps or faster, and adding another 13,500 premises brings this up to the 99.5% figure from the press release. For those chasing the money, we don't know the value of the latest contracts, but £40 million will have been invested in total with £29.3 million from the commercial partners, £5.5m from the councils and Thames Valley LEP and £5.2 million from the central BDUK fund.

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast Broadband Coverage for Berkshire and its component councils as of 25th July 2017
Area% fibre based% superfast
Over 24 Mbps
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast% Openreach FTTP% Under 2 Mbps
% Under 10 Mbps
Berkshire Combined Area 97.9% 96.3% 95.8% 71% 0.49% 0.2% 0.7%
369,128 Premises 361,235 355,391 353,799 262,059 1,804 596 2,627
Bracknell Forest 98.6% 95.9% 95.4% 61.2% 0 0.3% 1.2%
49416 Premises 48,724 47,390 47,142 30,243 0 148 593
Reading 98.3% 98.3% 98.3% 89% 0 0% 0.1%
68,138 Premises 66,979 66,979 66,979 60,642 0 0 68
Slough 98.5% 97.7% 97.5% 84.4% 0.13% 0% 0.4%
55,469 Premises 54,637 54,193 54,082 46,815 72 0 222
West Berkshire 98.4% 97.9% 97.5% 68.4% 0.86% 0.1 0.3%
67,413 Premises 66,334 65,997 65,727 46,110 580 67 202
Windsor and Maidenhead 97.3% 94.3% 93.5% 55.9% 0.64% 0.5% 1.3%

62.972 Premises

61,272 59,382 58,878 35,201 403 314 819
Wokingham 96.3% 93.5% 92.8% 65.5% 1.14% 0.1% 1.1%
65,720 Premises 63,288 61,448 60,988 43,047 749 66 723

We have not included the BDUK footprint figures, as the tracking there is concentrated on Openreach VDSL2 cabinets, and with the variations due to overlaps with Virgin Media, plus CallFlow and Gigaclear delivering via their existing contracts the figures would have reflected the contribution fairly from those partners. The superfast and ultrafast columns for the council areas of course do include the input from the myriad of operators both gap-funded and commercial which means Hyperoptic is adding to the ultrafast footprint.

The remaining 0.5% which amounts to around 2,000 premises will hopefully also see superfast speeds in time, as there is still scope for future project extensions or good old commercial roll-out to carry out the in-fill and push all the council areas towards the 100% figure and just maybe mean that no premises are left below the USO threshold by the time 2020 arrives.

Mark over at ISPreview has chased the council for some figures, while we were busy getting our figures together and has updated with a breakdown for the latest contracts, namely BT is adding £5.46m with £1.39m of public money and Gigaclear some £5.74m and £2.56m of public money in their respective contracts. The premise counts from the contracts are for those where gap-funding will be used, but some commercial overbuild is also expected, which means that some premises that are already superfast may see ultrafast options appear but no public money will be used to achieve this.


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