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BT Sign £56.6m UK Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Broadband Contract

Monday, December 17th, 2012 (1:38 pm) - Score 755
bt borders broadband deal

BT has today officially signed and detailed the joint £56.6 million Borders Broadband project, which uses public money to help make superfast broadband (24 to 30Mbps+) services reach 90% of homes and businesses in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire by the end of 2016 and 100% by 2018.

It’s claimed that the project will benefit more than 140,000 local homes and businesses and could even boost the local economy by almost £42m a year. Some £18.17m of the funds will come from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office, while £10.1m is expected from Herefordshire Council, £7.5m from Gloucestershire County Council and £20.9 million from BT.

BT states that the majority of homes and businesses covered by this project should ultimately be able to enjoy speeds of 30 Megabits per second or more, with speeds of “up to 80Mbps being typical“. As usual this will be delivered via a mix of the operators up to 80Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) and 330Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technologies, with the last 10% having to put up with speeds of at least 2Mbps until 2018.

Bill Murphy, Managing Director of BT NGA Broadband, said:

It’s great to see Herefordshire and Gloucestershire working in partnership to bring the best possible broadband to their rural communities. We’re delighted to have been awarded the contract and look forward to working together on this exciting project which will provide a powerful, sustainable platform for growth.”

John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council Leader, added:

Today’s announcement will see Herefordshire becoming one of the most fibre-enabled counties in the country, after struggling with slower broadband speeds in the past. This project will really put the county on the map, attracting more businesses to the county, helping existing ones grow and enabling rural properties become less isolated.”

It’s interesting to note that BT’s press release appears to reference two superfast broadband targets, which is perhaps symbolic of the government’s inner turmoil over changing definitions and targets. For example, it starts by saying that the “ultimate aim [is] to provide access to broadband speeds of [24Mbps] or above for all who want it by 2018” and then later mentions that “the aim of the councils’ partnership … is to have a majority of homes and businesses covered by this project able to enjoy speeds of 30Mbps or more“.

In any case BT will now enter a “period of planning” and the first work is then expected to start on the ground during the second half of 2013, which should be completed by the end of 2016. We note that this is somewhat later than the government’s spring 2015 target window for 90% coverage and we further note that the government’s official 90% BDUK figure relates to “people in each local authority area“, while today’s press release talks specifically about 90% of premises and not people.

It’s still excellent news for the area but there seem to be a lot of mixed and potentially conflicting messages being given about the various targets and definitions.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil

    2016-2018 is proved far too late – BT always take it so long, not good enough

  2. At £404 per premise past for mostly FTTC overlay, this must be a new record. Good to see a 100% mentioned, with that sort of budget they could plan a lot of fibre only exchanges.

  3. Avatar Why should we wait?

    Is it always better to upgrade the areas that already have fast broadband? NO!

    Most of the people that apparently benefit from upgrades don’t even use the bandwidth they already have!

    The 10% that have to wait until 2018 no doubt will be expected to pay the same in tax as those who will get the improved services two years earlier. Not really a wise move by politicians if you consider that a much larger proportion of the 10% are more likely to vote!

    Why can’t BT start by upgrading the rural areas and smaller exchanges first for a change, even if it’s only by enough to at least match existing inner city speeds? We’re not asking for much when you consider we have already had years of paying a premium for such a dreadful service.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      “Why can’t BT start by upgrading the rural areas and smaller exchanges first for a change”

      Because there’s little/no money to be made? Just a thought

    • Avatar Why should we wait?

      mark@apexstudio.f9.co.uk or no money to be made”

      Well they’ve made plenty out of me and thousands alike. All of the ISP services are wholesale from BT as our exchange is so old and we get stung an extra £10 a month because of this. I have to pay £25 a month for the privilege of using there antiquated, troublesome, copper lines. They also waste tens of thousands maintaining them! In the last 4 years they have replaced over two thirds of the line that runs from my exchange which is four miles away.

      I honestly cannot think of any other service a messed up a this – Pay more and get less! Their profits are colossal, so surely the right thing to do would be to simply offer everyone the same service, at the same price and offset the loss?

      It’s the same old story, no visionary schemes for a cutting edge network with 100% coverage and fair pricing, just visionary schemes for getting rich!

  4. Avatar RD

    lol BT only have to pay 20m pounds… I thought maggie priviatised them? If so why are BT back taking tax revenue? Just goes to show how much of the UK telecoms industry is a scam.The privitisation of telecoms and power is a really bad idea.Sky rocketing energy bills 10% this year alone coupled by an incompetant national telecoms provider who needs the public to come up with 65% of the money to get access to future fibre broadband.

    Also do BT repay any of this money back? After all once the money is spent the fibre becomes property of BT and part of thier national fibre layout.The problem is most of this fibre is about 50% owned by the taxpayer.So why ia everyones bills not reduced or 50% of the network not taken into goverment hands?

    BT must be laughing all the way to the bank.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Not sure you undertand how BDUK works. The money is used to pay a company to deploy in an area that would otherwise go unserved as it is uneconomic, with the so-called gap funding used to cover the difference between the total cost and economically viable cost. So we pay for the network, we fund the uneconomic cost so that a company, in this case BT, will then use its own money to build a network in an area that it didn’t plan to.

      Why is it incompetent? It’s directors are behaving as they are legally required to on behalf of its shareholders. If they did just go ahead and agree to build in these uneconomic areas without public funds they would then be incompetent, remembering that two thirds of us are seeing upgrades without any public funding.

  5. “lol BT only have to pay 20m pounds”

    If only! All BT will have to do is get its accounts bods to shuffle the numbers around sufficiently “allocating” costs; no need to actually spend any money. BDUK are clearly far tooo dense to be able to work out what it all has cost in reality. Not that they would give a monkeys in any event as all they will be concerned about it prolonging their juicy contractor rates.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Anyone with any experience of accessing public funds (I have) would be aware of the multiple audits you are exposed to, especially if the EU is involved. So I doubt it is just a case of “shuffling the numbers around” as you would very quickly get fund out and have to repay the funds. Quite right too as it’s our money!

    • If only that were true!

      I have many many years of regulatory accounting work for European telecoms regulators and am well aware (a) of the games that get played and (b) of the almost impossible task faced by the regulator (with very few suitably qualified/experienced staff) to get to the bottom of things). Ofcom (nee Oftel), for example, has been trying for decades now to get to grips with BT’s real detailed cost base and has never managed it.

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