BDUK rebrands and three become one
BDUK previously expanded to Broadband Delivery UK and has been overseeing and guiding the superfast roll-outs in areas commercial operators said they would not go in the short to medium term for a number of years. With the rise of full fibre the time has come to rebrand BDUK and its expanded name will be Building Digital UK. The use of the same acronym BDUK is handy as it reduces the costs usually associated with a rebrand.
The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme is set to launch soon and hopefully more detail of what that will entail will appear soon, but with the existing Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) and Superfast Broadband programmes also running the opportunity to has been taken to combine them under an umbrella programme called The UK Fibre Programme.
While detail on the RGC is short at this time we suspect that it will be the scheme that will try to get more full fibre delivered in the areas of the UK that would NOT see any commercial deployment of FTTP by the 2033 100% deadline. The Superfast Broadband contracts generally have a life span of seven years but there are a number of phase 2 and later roll-outs that are FTTP heavy that will continue and if all goes to plan we suspect 2019 may be the last year of gap funded VDSL2 cabinets. The LFFN programme occupies a different sector, which is funding anchor tennant networks with the eventual hope that this will stimulate FTTP roll-outs to the consumer sector in the next few years. The final contracts likely to be running under the old BDUK scheme are the Scottish R100 and Welsh phase 2 contracts, the R100 contract is still crawling through the tender process.
The switch from Broadband to Digital also helps reflect that areas such as the 700 MHz clearance programme fall under the remit of team and while the 700 MHz band is not going to set any speed records with 5G it will allow for wider coverage even if no extra masts are added to the mast network.