Broadband News

BDUK to cease releasing performance indicator data

The ceasing of the Broadband Performance Indicator reports by the DCMS is going to upset some people, but with the bulk of the delivery now over and the increasing complexity of tracking delivery figures even though the volume is decreasing means that stopping publication around March 2018 does make some sense.

There was a consultation that took place towards to the end of 2017, and there was actually no responses to the consultation on stopping the publication of this dataset, thus sealing its fate - admittedly we were not aware of the consultation and suspect the same applies to others.

The performance indicator has tracked on a quarterly basis what the numerous projects have reported in terms of premises and while it never summarised the full spending since only funding from Westminster was counted it did give an idea on what the cost per premises was looking like.

Cumulative to end of:Premises with superfast broadband service made availableBDUK funding (£)Number of premises covered per £million of broadband delivery programme expenditure
December 2012 254 £434,735 584
March 2013 16,638 £6,767,185 2,459
June 2013 38,343 £6,767,185 5,666
September 2013 111,968 £10,347,568 10,821
December 2013 273,731 £14,182,547 19,301
March 2014 508,801 £58,586,408 8,685
June 2014 888,113 £72,437,233 12,260
September 2014 1,383,777 £99,766,011 13,870
December 2014 1,908,725 £252,084,918 7,572
March 2015 2,411,395 301,444,870 7,999
June 2015 2,905,764 £331,828,330 8,757
September 2015 3,311,843 £372,153,178 8,899
December 2015 3,625,369 £406,918,848 8,909
March 2016 3,840,643 £476,742,422 8,056
June 2016 4,021,047 £492,573,929 8,163
September 2016 4,168,739 £497,656,699 8,377
December 2016 4,309,668 £513,598.393 8,391
March 2017 4,426,493 £550,832,876 8,036
June 2017 4,551,226 £563,829,249 8,072
September 2017 4,651,700 £576,975,679 8,062
December 2017 4,772,207 £595,470,286 8,014

We expect the number of premises delivered in the first quarter of 2018 to be substantially lower than what other recent quarters have shown and this is down to so many projects racing towards a 31st December 2017 target date and they are now concentrating on infill cabinets and FTTP deployments or in a procurement phase.

We do track the levels of coverage for the BDUK areas, but the caveats are growing as firms like Gigaclear and Airband build their contracted areas and the tactical deployment of Openreach GEA-FTTP. Additionally there is also the complication that Virgin Media does partially overlap some cabinets in many cases prior to the BDUK enabled roll-outs and in some cases commercial expansion has come to cabinets after a local authority got a cabinet enabled for VDSL2. From our figures for 22nd February we had tracked 6,338,883 premises on what we believe are publically funded cabinets, and the overall superfast coverage was 91.7% over 24 Mbps (down to 90.8% using 30 Mbps and faster definition), this gives a premise count well in excess of the Westminster figure, but once you allow for the 1 million premises of Virgin Media we end up getting close enough that we don't disagree with their figures.

Given the official figures are due to cease and as far as we are aware Ofcom do not release anything trying to identify the BDUK footprint specifically we now plan to add a further metric to our system for the BDUK dataset, i.e. number of premises that have gained superfast broadband excluding those who can also get Virgin Media broadband.

The recent passing of the 95% superfast target was followed by a wave of 'we do not believe it, because my village has nothing like that level of coverage' and looking at a random example like Warwickshire where the urban/rural premises split is 68% urban and 32% rural the superfast coverage figures 99.7% in the urban areas and 89.7% in the rural areas. So yes rural areas are often still lagging behind their urban counterparts and in places like Devon it drops to 80% in the rural areas and the urban/rural split is 47% urban, 53% rural with the urban areas well ahead in the superfast stakes at 98.9%.


Recycling the clawback should cover half the remaining properties. Some project phases are only just starting. The impact of FTTP coverage is only starting to kick in, and performance of Gigaclear and Airband only starting to become measurable.

And the government doesn't yet have a USO scheme designed yet.

This is surely the time that these statistics are needed? Just as the USO will be needed for the tricky, expensive premises ... we need to know how high the costs will be, and for how many.

The way the data is presented might need to change, though.

  • WWWombat
  • 21 days ago

When subtracting VM premises from BDUK coverage, do you only subtract original premises? Or do you also subtract recent Lightning ones too?

The latter group are likely included in official BDUK figures, as VM haven't declared Lightning coverage during OMRs. They'll be classed as NGA-white.

Also do your numbers give you a feel for the progress of the non-Openreach projects? We're used to the regular numbers being provided from Openreach, and so far can correlate against the .gov numbers, and yours. But it is harder to see for the smaller companies.

  • WWWombat
  • 21 days ago

Hi Wombat. In Surrey not many miles from where you lived all results have never tie up even today there are various Post Codes are not showing there full potential but on the other hand the TBB result do indicate a fair results. I just hope I do not get placed on the naughty step.

  • Blackmamba
  • 21 days ago

Design of the USO is not in Governments court but Ofcom.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

@WWWombat Before and after is one of the complications so means more working setting it up, and we don't have dates for all the overlaps, so would still be a caveat involved.

On other projects and FTTP it is all possible, but at end of the day the time and effort into producing existing numbers has yet to show any positive benefit for us.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

Isn't the overbuild of BDUK by Virgin a fairly inevitable consequence of the low initial take up forecast for FTTC and thus the semi urban nature of a lot of the early BDUK coverage?

  • gerarda
  • 20 days ago

@gerarda And that in some areas Virgin Media is going to locations that the statistics say are classed as rural

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

You're probably right.

However, the increase in takeup forecasts, and actual clawback have an impact too.

While the clawback money is calculated as a county-wide lump sum, if it were calculated per-cabinet, it would likely turn a good proportion of those semi-urban "only just needed a subsidy" cabinets into "BDUK in name only" ones.

Which means that VM's lightning is likely overbuilding BDUK-in-name-only.

  • WWWombat
  • 19 days ago

Yes, Ofcom is in charge of designing the USO. But government get an input, and end up being the ones judged on whether it works or not.

  • WWWombat
  • 19 days ago

Andrew, Ofcom are awaiting an instruction from Government, and then this is subject to consultation. The WLA docs Vol 1 have already stated that work in Wales, Scotland and NI will deliver more than the proposed B-USO.

WWWombat we are agreeing again, but even before the clawback there is over a £1bn in the BDUK procurment pipeline, if we add another £200m to the £400m for Scotland in the BDUK spreadsheet, £30m for Essex, although the new £11m for Norfolk looks to be related to the Capital Deferral.

Other counties need to declare.

  • ValueforMoney
  • 17 days ago

And what instruction is it that Ofcom is waiting on, before being able to design the USO system and how it will work.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 17 days ago

Andrew, an outline design post DCMS consultation, taking into account the ambitions of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. It may require some secondary legislation to empower Ofcom.

  • ValueforMoney
  • 16 days ago

So you are saying nothing has happened with regard to the USO since the BT offer was rejected as still waiting on a DCMS consultation.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 14 days ago

I believe that the position we are in at the moment, post Government rejection of the BT offer, is awaiting what DCMS will propose, and then Ofcom oversee. Since phrases like "legal right" were used that implies to me that government legislation will be needed to create, but whatever is envisaged it will need to be workable by both Ofcom as the regulator and the industry as "participants" as well as fulfilling the rhetoric.

  • Gadget
  • 12 days ago

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