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BT Details its Superfast Broadband ISP Roll Out Plan for Cumbria UK

Thursday, November 29th, 2012 (1:44 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 2,188)
cumbria broadband map uk

The joint BT and Cumbria (England) project, which is seeking to ensure that more than 93% of local people can access a superfast broadband service by the end of 2015 (the last 7% have been promised speeds of at least 2Mbps), has today released more details about their £50.8m plan and targets.

The Connecting Cumbria contract, which was effectively confirmed two months ago but only signed today at Ullswater, will see BT contribute £15m, the BDUK office will hand over £17.1m and £13.7m is to come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A further £5m will also arrive via the Performance Reward Grant (PRG) from all councils in Cumbria. Separately £2.5m is to come from ERDF and PRG to help advertise the new services.

BTOpenreach is now expected to begin work on the ground, with telecoms engineers surveying locations around the county and analysing the best way to roll out the network. This stage should be completed within 3 months and the full Cumbrian roll-out plan will then be announced during the spring of 2013.

Cllr Elizabeth Mallinson said:

Although we’re still awaiting the final green light from Government, signing this contract is a clear message that Cumbria is ready for action. We are really pleased with the significant investment that is going into superfast broadband infrastructure in Cumbria which includes funding from both the public and private sectors.

We’re all desperately eager to roll our sleeves up and begin the task of actually delivering superfast broadband to people who simply would not have got it without the intervention of the government and county council. We have a tremendously exciting three years ahead of us, but I would ask people to be patient and allow us to deliver this huge programme in a strategic way which is in the best interests of the county as a whole.”

Bill Murphy, Managing Director of BT NGA, added:

The project is incredibly important for Cumbria and BT is proud to be a part of it. Cumbria’s scattered population combined with its comparatively large size and challenging geography, means that small business plays a pivotal role in the county’s economy and the rollout of fibre broadband will act as an economic driver for those rural businesses.

The statistics show that in Cumbria, something like 7,000 businesses operate from villages, hamlets and isolated properties, which is why BT is committed to helping push fibre to those that are hardest to reach, offering a helping hand to the small community projects where residents are helping to build their own superfast connections.”

As usual BT will use its dominant up to 80Mbps capable FTTC technology for most of the effort, although “certain areas” can expect to benefit from its “ultra-fast” fibre optic FTTP technology that offers speeds of up to 330Mbps. It’s worth pointing out that FTTC lines will soon be able to order FTTP-On-Demand (spring 2013), although the installation for that is expected to be colossally expensive.

According to Ofcom, Cumbria’s average internet download “sync” speed is currently 7.1Mbps and 18.8% of the local population receive less than 2Mbps (Megabits per second).

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4 Responses
  1. Michael

    Mark,
    You may wish to note that in the past 2 weeks BT Press Releases now contain the paragraph –

    “Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. FTTC offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps and could deliver even faster speeds in the future”

    Presumably this “faster speeds” reference is a trail for Vectoring being enabled next year as they recently changed the Supplier Information Note (SIN)to mandate Vectoring Ready CPE from now on

  2. We’ve covered vectoring and other possible VDSL upgrades quite a bit over the past few months. Most of us expect another speed boost to 100Mbps+ or so next year, although this may not necessarily involve vectoring.

  3. 93% NGA for Cumbria with a £15m contribution from BT in the white areas provides an interesting contrast with similar sized Cornwall (premises and exchange numbers) where the county wide project is c£120m (£60m each) for 85% NGA. It must mean BT will spend another £45m in Cumbria non-white areas so the numbers stay aligned. Either that or costs are dropping significantly which means the 90% target can be beaten consistently.

    With only £15m contribution from BT, it suggests Ofcom/EU should be able to force through good access conditions to duct for Mobile operators for 4G transmission upgrades, and access for communities like Fibre Garden wishing to do P2P FTTP.

    Shame Fujitsu did not show up in Herefordshire/Gloucester they got BT’s the no-competition 85% coverage offer.

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