Broadband News

Nearly all of Milton Keynes to get Vodafone Fibre to the Premises

MIlton Keynes is a city that already has the metro fibre services from CityFibre meaning that businesses can order full fibre connectivity and thus adds to the choice of existing Ethernet and leased line services but today the bigs news is that the Vodafone and CityFibre partnership that is targetting the consumer market with fibre to the home (full fibre) is go.

With population and employment growth and high levels of productivity, Milton Keynes has been identified by the Centre for Cities as one of five Fast Growth Cities in the UK, with significant potential for the future. Vodafone and CityFibre are committed to helping the city, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, to meet this potential through the provision of a future-proofed digital network on a par with the best connected cities in the world.

CityFibre will start construction of the new FTTP network in Milton Keynes in March this year. This will be an extension of its existing 160km full fibre network in the city. CityFibre will use modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly and minimise disruption. Once completed, nearly every business and home in Milton Keynes will have FTTP access.

Milton Keynes is no stranger to full fibre since 13.4% of premises already have access to the wholesale Openreach GEA-FTTP services and while there are still some roughly 2,000 premises with sub USO standard broadband access the superfast services are available to 97.9% of premises. So the majority of people will already have access to decent speeds and thus this is a test of how many want the faster speeds or want to ditch BT, TalkTalk, Sky in favour of Vodafone.

The cost is largely irrelevant as this is private money but they are saying an initial investment of at least £40m and with their already being a 160km full fibre ring serving the business community a good deal of the core work is already done. If the £40m is all that gets spent then it suggests a cost of £360 to £400 pre property will be spent. NOTE: The simple divisor route suggests £359 but as the press release is not saying ALL premises but NEARLY ALL then a lot hinges on how many are missed out and the number of businesses present in our overall premises count.

We really do hope for the sanity of residents that those stuck with just ADSL2+ options and slow speeds will be some of the first to see the roll-out down their street.

In terms giving the city a head start over its competitors, Kingston Upon Hull is leading the pack with 71.7% full fibre coverage, if you use the gold standard measure of full fibre connectivity but KCOM has already announced the plan to go to 100%. East Riding of Yorkshire at 36.8% is the next most full fibre local authority again done to KCOM and the third place entry will surprise some as with 33.4% there is the small City of London authority. Of course if you don't care what the delivery medium is then you can include DOCSIS cable in addition to full fibre services and with places like Watford at 95.2% and Portsmouth 94.8% coverage for services with 100 Mbps and faster download speeds.

For those who cannot wait there is a pre-registration site that Vodafone is running at https://www.vodafone.co.uk/broadband/ultrafast but it is not inspiring confidence that on the day of the big launch the site has a simple message saying they are making a few tweaks, the tweak message has been present since we started the day at 9am and as we write at 10am is still present.

Update 10:25am Of course just after publishing the news article, the ultrafast broadband registration site is now up and running. The current provider list is interesting as it only features Virgin Media, Sky

As a helper for any people who write broadband press releases, talking about downloading a set of CT scan images at 2 Gigabyte in size means nothing to consumers, and hospitals should not be on a residential broadband network but full business grade services with diverse routing off-site etc. Alternatives that the public will understand readily are the ability to stream multiple HD or UHD films and at the same time able to stream video from someone playing a video game and broadcasting to a service like twitch. The other angle is the size of all the patches for the games that parents buy their kids (or themselves) and avoiding the screams as they wait for the game to let them play as it wants to download another 5GB to 10GB of updates, or worse they've bought a digital download where 100GB downloads are not uncommon today.

Selling full fibre to the public if they are already enjoying speeds of 30 to 40 Mbps and their video experience is buffer free is going to be interesting, so we may start to see rather than a focus on speed more talk about reliability i.e. no more 30 second to 2 minute outages during a resync. Though with so many people using Wi-Fi exclusively any operator pushing full fibre on reliability grounds will need to ensure they have the worlds best router and Wi-Fi diagnostics and also plan capacity in such a way that the dreaded buffering symbol never shows up. The low price of consumer broadband and thus the shared capacity nature in the backhaul and interlink networks means that ensuring people don't see the buffering symbol is very complex and expensive.

Comments

That's interesting, IIRC MK is somehow tied in with Bedfordshire BDUK, and was only a couple of years ago one of the worst towns for speed due to ali lines running in strange ways around the grid layout. AFAIK there has been some large investments to get decent FTTC across most of the town. Now suddenly it's deemed suitable for a commercial rollout of FTTP. Maybe I'm being too cynical by thinking that now it seems public funded finances may be coming to an end commercial firms are realising they will only get customers by investing there own money.

  • burble
  • 4 months ago

@ burble - Milton Keynes has had large amounts of FTTP as it one was on the original Openreach trial areas in 2009. Now there are a large numbers of new developments which also have been expanded with FTTP.

  • AndyCZ
  • 4 months ago

One of the original problems with ADSL in Milton Keynes was that much of the area was delivered through Fibre TPON rather than copper - they had to overlay the fibre network with copper. Milton Keynes fought for years to get ADSL because of the problem with BT not being able to run broadband over the fibre. Presumably the old TPON fibre is not suitable for FTTP? If so then it does question the statements we always see about fibre being future proof.

  • ian72
  • 4 months ago

A quick search and it seems my memory is quite good.
http://www.mkbag.org/what-s-the-issue-in-mk

  • burble
  • 4 months ago

@ burble - That article is over 7 years old.

Large parts of Milton Keynes were upgraded to FTTP back in 2009/10 as part of the original trial. One of the reasons BT wanted to do the trial there was because they were aware of the state of ducting for most parts because of their old CATV network which shared the same ducting.

  • AndyCZ
  • 4 months ago

@AndyCZ, yes it's an old article, but it shows my original post was correct. MK is in partnership with Central Beds and Bedford Borough for BDUK funding, AFAIK it is this that has funded most of the upgrading of internet in area.
My point is that nobody was interested in a commercial roll out of fibre when BDUK funding was available, now it is dwindling and seemingly not to be replaced, suddenly a commercial roll out is coming. For those of us that have been poorly served by BDUK it is slightly annoying that funds should go to an area that seems worthy of a commercial roll out.

  • burble
  • 4 months ago

The issue with MK was the same as everywhere else in the UK. BT get far less extra cash for deploying new networks, and due to the cabinet lottery areas get left behind that would've seemed obvious candidates.

Virgin Media have cabled a bunch of areas near here that required BDUK funding to get FTTC to them.

When BT are allowed to keep their FTTP to themselves and remove copper then the situation is comparable.

  • CarlThomas
  • 4 months ago

The issue with MK was the same as everywhere else in the UK. BT get far less extra cash for deploying new networks, and due to the cabinet lottery areas get left behind that would've seemed obvious candidates.

Virgin Media have cabled a bunch of areas near here that required BDUK funding to get FTTC to them.

When BT are allowed to keep their FTTP to themselves and remove copper then the situation is comparable.

  • CarlThomas
  • 4 months ago

@Burble You are being told, so you can update your AFAIK that the BDUK project has funded most of the upgrading in the area...

66 out of 417 cabinets are attributed to funding from the BDUK Beds and MK project, so while around you it may seem that this is the case, across the whole of Milton Keynes it is just 15% of cabinets.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 4 months ago

Doubt that? Then another way of looking at it, December 2012 72.7% superfast coverage, now 97.8%. First BDUK cab anywhere in UK was December 2012 in North Yorkshire.

Imagine in 2013 BDUK saying, oh we aren't doing anything in Milton Keynes as someone is planning rollout in 2018, with a possible finish in 2021. I doubt that would have got a positive reaction from residents.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 4 months ago

Andrew, if you have the actual figures as opposed to those inferred in the councils 'propaganda' of a few years back, then why would I doubt it.
As per you piece, the details are not known, but I suspect the FTTP will duplicate the present area which now has 'superfast', it is interesting that a company would think it commercially viable to create a second choice when some of those areas might have been deemed needing BDUK funding just a short time ago.

  • burble
  • 4 months ago

https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/milton-keynes,E06000042 is not generated from anything provided by the council.

Click the history button to see the chart of coverage over time.

With 97.8% superfast and a declaration of nearly 100% then the CityFIbre can do nothing but reproduce the roll-out

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 4 months ago

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