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BT Sign £14.57m BDUK Deal to Rollout Superfast Broadband in Warwickshire

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 (9:52 am) - Score 576

The Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has today signed a new state aid supported deal with BT that will see the operators superfast fibre broadband (25Mbps+) services being deployed to cover 91% of local premises by Spring 2016.

The CSW Broadband project, which is a partnership of eight local authorities, more specifically aims to ensure that BT’s fibre coverage is extended to 92% of Coventry, 96% of Solihull and 91% of Warwickshire. It is jointly funded by £5.67 million from BT, £4.45 million from the local councils and a further £4.45 million will come from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office.

As usual the deployment will involve a mix of BT’s up to 80Mbps capable FTTC technology and some coverage of its niche 330Mbps FTTP solution.

Bill Murphy, BT’s MD of Next Generation Access, said:

The Normandy landings marked a turning point in world history so it is fitting that we are signing this contract here at the Lord Leycester Hospital, which is home to many ex-servicemen. In its own small way the launch of fibre broadband marks a historical turning point, albeit a technological one, for this region, bringing a host of economic and social benefits.

The economy of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire has seen considerable change, with the emergence of more knowledge-based businesses and changes to the manufacturing base of the area, which is embracing new technologies and new ways of working These are where future growth will be but only with a world-class communications infrastructure to support them which is where fibre broadband will play a vital role.”

Cllr Alan Cockburn, WCC’s Deputy Leader, said:

This is a major landmark in securing the future competitiveness of our area. We have been working for a long time to get to this stage and, thanks to the information provided to the team by our local broadband champions and by residents and communities we have been able to negotiate the best possible deal.

Good broadband connections are essential to modern life, whether for work, leisure or learning. Our rural businesses need broadband to be able to compete in today’s increasingly global environment, and in a rural area like Warwickshire travelling can often be difficult, so that being able to work or learn from home can make a real difference to the quality of peoples’ lives.”

Overall some 40,000 local homes and businesses are expected to benefit from the extra investment. BTOpenreach will now begin an engineer survey and planning before hopefully being in a position to connect the first premises in “early 2014“.

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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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9 Responses
  1. “The Normandy landings marked a turning point in world history”

    I think all of this free money that BT does not need is going to Mr Murphy’s head! 🙂

    1. JNeuhoff says:

      @wirelesspacman: Agreed. More taxpayer’s money thrown towards BT, and BT will then control and own the new network infrastructure assets, taxpayer’s money will never be paid back, no shares in BTs assets. Essex BDUK has admitted that these public fundings are given away to BT to correct a market failure.

    2. keith says:

      Agree 110% JNeuhoff 🙂

    3. FibreFred says:

      However the infrastructure is run however the returns are paid back it will be the same whoever won, I assume you’d be complaining if Fujitsu had won or Virgin or some other telco ?

    4. keith says:

      Of course just like you would be defending it if another organisation won.

    5. TheFacts says:

      What return does the government see on grants to the Arts?

  2. MikeW says:

    While talking about D-Day, here’s a question about another D – the digital divide. News articles on BDUK announcements usually foster a lot of statements about the digital divide, which set me wondering…

    What do different people mean by the “digital divide”?

    Genuine question, because I’m trying to figure out if the divide is actually getting smaller or bigger. But if it means different things to different people, there’ll never be an answer.

    What measure do people think of when talking about the divide? Speed?

    What is the dividing point? Is it a “faster than X count as have” and “slower than X count as have-not”?

    Does the dividing point change? What is it currently? What should it be in 2015, 2020? What ought it to have been, say, 5 years ago (before iPlayer & catch-up TV)?

    What do you mean when you say the divide is getting larger? That the speed difference is getting bigger? That the absolute speed is getting bigger? That there are more Have’s vs Have-Not’s?

    [Cross posted from the Suffolk article, but turns out to be better-placed here]

    1. MikeW says:

      No takers at all? I’m kinda surprised…

      My belief is that the divide is measured in terms of speed – but it must be reliable speed. If you can’t keep a link working well, you aren’t exactly motivated to use it – it is too frustrating.

      10 years ago, 2Mbps was a luxury. One I was happy to pay for, but was still using in 2006 – which included intensively working from home. Painful when needing to upload, but otherwise it worked admirably – at a time when there was little video around, and few tablet/smartphone devices.

      Apart from video, then, I don’t think a target of 2Mbps is particularly woeful. It would have served as a useful USC minimum up until perhaps 3 or 4 years ago.

      In particular, a stable, reliable 2Mbps is a vast improvement for those who struggle with intermittent 160Kbps. These are worlds apart.

      The onset of video changed that – by which I mean the likes of iPlayer more than Youtube – and added a new dimension in bandwidth. Basic SD access changes the requirements to around 3-4Mbps. For a single-person residence, that may be a reasonable USC at the moment. HD requires more, but should HD be a part of the minimum requirement?

      Where a family is concerned, with multiple devices, and concurrent access requirements, a reliable 4-6Mbps seems a fair minimum target, maybe 8Mbps.

      So, having said that, I think a better USC now would be 4Mbps, and perhaps 8Mbps in the 2015-2016 timeframe that BDUK has become.

      But reliability is an issue, and our search for the cheapest per-month price for broadband means getting problems fixed, in a single visit, can be a nightmare.

      Therefore a USC should include a commitment to maintenance, to recover speeds that ought to be – and not just a bare minimum. As FTTC fibre gets deployed to enable FTTPoD, the maintenance strategy for copper will eventually become replacement by fibre.

    2. MikeW says:

      Having said that, though, I think the EU target of universal 30Mbps isn’t a bad one.

      Therefore, if a county’s local broadband plan is focussed on the 2020 goal, and is taking the BDUK money as a step in that direction rather than the end-goal, then I see the county’s plan as a step in reducing the digital divide.

      The question is where the money is going to come from to fund the post-BDUK aspirations for those counties. That, unfortunately, is going to be a matter for the next government, not this one.

      Warwickshire, by the way, is a county focussed on the 2020 targets.

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