Broadband News

13,950 more ultrafast premises for Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire in new £28m deal

A new deal worth some £28 million has been announced for the areas of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire and the key headline is that this is set to deliver 15,500 premises with superfast speeds, but more importantly almost 90% (~13,950 premises) will be delivered using FTTP those offer ultrafast speeds.

This third contract in the CSW BDUK project area comprises £4.8m from the three local authorities, £7.2m from BDUK, £2m from ERDF, £1m from the CWLEP and £13m from BT Group. No one knows where the premises that will benefit are located, but updates should appear on www.cswbroadband.org.uk with the first locations announcing in the next month or so and actual delivery work should allow the first premises to order in around 12 months and complete by the end of 2019.

The press release on the BT website does mention Gigabit download speeds for the FTTP, but since as yet its not available to order at the retail level for consumers we are holding back from describing Openreach FTTP as Gigabit broadband. The claim of 98% of the combined local authorities will have access to a superfast service by the end of project does look possible once you allow for the outstanding cabinets from phase II to go live and the extra work of this deal (our figures suggest it will be 98.1% with access to superfast by the end 2019).

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire and delivery via its BDUK project phases to date.
data 12th September 2017
Area% fibre based
VDSL2 or
FTTP or
Cable
% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
% Openreach FTTP% Under 2 Mbps download% Under 10 Mbps download
Combined CSW Area 96.7% 94.2% 93.8% 63.8% 0.3% 0.6% 2.3%
480,282 Premises 464,502 452,653 450,783 306,645 1,593 2,778 10,992
Coventry 95.4% 95% 94.8% 70.3% 0.25% 0% 0.8%
Solihull 97.1% 95.7% 95.6% 82.1% 0.05% 0.3% 1.5%
Warwickshire 97.3% 93.3% 92.7% 53.6% 0.48% 1% 3.4%
BDUK CSW Phase I
51,508 premises
100% 90.7% 89.6% 16.3% 0% 2.2% 4.9%
Extension Project CSW Phase II
14,055 premises
81.3% 68.3% 66.8% 8.3% 0% 3% 13.7%

Due to time constraints we have not attempted to identify which of the 1,593 premises of Openreach FTTP already delivered are down to the BDUK project in the area, hence the 0% in those columns. In case its not obvious the fact that the SEP project fibre figure is 81.3% indicates that there are cabinets that appear to be in the build phase but are not live yet so this should increase to 100% once the VDSL2 cabinets are all live, it is also possible that new cabinets we do not know about may appear thus the 14,055 premise count will increase too.

The 15,500 premises in this new deal amount to 3.2% of premises in the project area and this combined with the extra premises expected in phase II take the total to the 98% we mentioned earlier in this piece and fingers crossed we will also find some more FTTP delivered via the phase II project or maybe even new build premises that get FTTP via commercial arrangements.

Comments

I wonder how much of that public funding is really gainshare money? My calculations from BT's published accounts are that of the roughly £1.038bn gross capital grants received by between 2012 and June 2017, £431m is recognised as a liability (deferred) meaning a net grant receipt of £607m. Unfortunately there's as it's only presented as a summary, and funds start to get moved back to the grant line as it is reinvested, it's tricky to say just what percentage of the original phase 1 public funds is returned. However, 40% strikes me as a reasonable average for a typical BDUK local project.

  • TheEulerID
  • 7 days ago

Interestingly the 13950 premises covered by the new scheme is greater than the 10992 premises under 10Mb so this figure should be very small (close to zero) once this is delivered. Makes you wonder if this is actually a target for the scheme!

  • jumpmum
  • 7 days ago

My guess is the BDUK money is gainshare/efficiency money, and on the LA's hard to guess but a good chunk at least.

The ERDF money may well mean we see a good number of all important business parks upgraded to FTTP and if the studies of the return to the economy of FTTP being used by business are true even if councils are spending money they should see an improvement in receipts from things like business rates as firms grow and expand, take on more staff, and maybe even let more work from home.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 7 days ago

I should add it suits politicians to present gainshare reinvestment as new public money (also hidden is BT's capital contribution to phase 1 is effectively higher).

New contracts seem to be based on a 39%, not 20% takeup figure, or about 2,700 "extra" customers for GEA-FTTP over 20% modelling. At about £90 per year, over 10 years that's about £2.4m incremental revenue for OR, which might go some way towards what looks like a notably higher BT contribution. Or perhaps the gainshare money has been counted as BT contribution? All rather opaque.

  • TheEulerID
  • 7 days ago

Some projects do declare reinvestment, so why the differences in the language used? Same BT throughout surely.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 7 days ago

Lots of other BDUK projects could learn a thing or two from CSW's mapping! CSW's information and monitoring is streets ahead - fills you with confidence they actually know what they are doing and can actually communicate with their suppliers!

  • SLAMDUNC
  • 7 days ago

There is no gainshare used in this contract.

  • crpage
  • 7 days ago

@crpage

That's interesting. In that case BT don't have to consider giving money back to the project should take-up be much higher (and it surely will be higher than 39% over time). In that case they might have been a bit more generous with their modelling knowing if they hit (say) 75% then any benefit will accrue to them alone.

  • TheEulerID
  • 7 days ago

Do I remember rightly - wasn't contract 3 done in multiple lots? And under the new state aid rules from the EU?

If so, is this the full result, or only part of it?

In any event, this seems a fairly impressive deal for CSW.

  • WWWombat
  • 7 days ago

After a bit of investigating, it seems that CSW did indeed put the ITT out in 3 lots. The overall amount was for £20m, but the amounts for the 3 lots were £6m for North Warwicks, £4m for Coventry+Solihull, and £5m for South Warwicks. Not sure about the final £5m.

The ITT also looks to be for the new 2016 rules, so also targets 30Mbps.

  • WWWombat
  • 7 days ago

Interesting - much closer to the sort of deal that Gigaclear did then in CDS in terms of the ratio of investment. I wonder if OR feel the need to be a bit more aggressive in such bids to ward off the competition and, presumably, count towards their 2m or is it 10m FTTP target?

  • TheEulerID
  • 7 days ago

Also ... if Gainshare was spent in one of the phases of contract 2, then presumably it was done under the old BDUK rules.

  • WWWombat
  • 7 days ago

@WWWombat

One of the possibilities with Gainshare money is that the local authorities know that it will be returned as cash at the end of the contract term. They could effectively use this money by borrowing knowing that, in time, the will have the Gainshare cash to replenish the coffers.

Not my idea by the way - it was on one of the recent TBB news items. It provides a way for local projects to effectively use that Gainshare money immediately outside of the BDUK framework and put out new ITTs.

  • TheEulerID
  • 6 days ago

Just to be clear, none of the £28m is gainshare this is all additional funding. This contract, Contract 3, does have a standard gainshare clause.

  • crpage
  • 6 days ago

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