The Lincolnshire County Council in England has recently signed a new Phase 3 roll-out contract with Openreach (BT), which aims to help expand the local coverage of 24Mbps+ capable “superfast broadband” (FTTC/P) services towards 97% of premises. Expect more FTTP.
At present around 90% of the county should be able to access a “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) capable network (this reflects a raw “fibre” coverage footprint of roughly 97-98%, when including sub-24Mbps areas) via the Onlincolnshire project, while the on-going Phase 2 Broadband Delivery UK contract with BT should push this up to about 95% by 31st December 2017.
Overall this reflects a public and private investment of £48.3 million (£15.2m from local authorities, £14.3m from BDUK and £18.8m from BT) and at the end of December 2016 some 122,000 addition premises had already been completed (out of 136,000 contracted for Phase 1 + 2).
However the total size of the county’s intervention area (i.e. where upgrade work is needed) has previously been estimated at 150,000 premises (equivalent to half the premises in Lincolnshire), which means that around 14,000 homes and businesses are still missing out on the benefits of faster fixed line broadband connectivity.
The good news is that the local authority has signed a new Phase 3 contract, which actually took place over a month ago but we’ve only just spotted it now. Better late than never.
Phase 3 will provide faster broadband to over 9000 additional premises across the county, of which 97% will be in areas designated ‘Rural’ or ‘Very Rural’.
The timescale for Phase 3 is a start date of Autumn 2017 and a finish date of December 2019. These timescales align to Government aspirations as we attempt to push Superfast broadband coverage up to 97% of the county.
Further tentative details can be found on the project’s website, although it’s specifically noted that Phase 3 will include a “greater percentage” of ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology and “Copper rearrangement” (this usually references the process for tackling Exchange Only Lines), which often makes it more difficult to give exact deployment dates.
Sadly we’ve not been able to find much detail on the investment being used in Phase 3. We should also add that the Onlincolnshire project hasn’t been completely dominated by BT, with Fixed Wireless Access ISP AB Internet also securing a small contract to upgrade a number of areas on the East Coast.