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BT Picked as Preferred Supplier for UK Isle of Wight Fibre Broadband Rollout

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 (8:10 am) - Score 961
isle of wight uk

Despite concerns the Isle of Wight Council (IWC) in Southern England has now voted to approve BT as the “preferred supplier” for their local £7.6 million rollout of superfast broadband (FTTC/P), which should bring better Internet access to areas that have suffered due to a lack of investment.

The investment is intended to help around 20,000 premises where there’s either poor broadband connectivity or no commercial plans for a future upgrade to faster services, although the recommendation (5 cabinet members in favour and 3 abstained) might still have to be debated by the full council.

The project, which expects to complete its rollout around September 2015, will be funded by £3.09 million from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office, another £3.09 million from the local council and just £1.56 million will come from BT. The lower level of investment from BT allegedly reflects the limited number of premises in the project compared with other BDUK schemes.

Apparently the project is also based around a 20% take-up rate once the deployment is complete, which appears to include a clawback clause for the council should take-up exceed 20% in the 7 years following BT’s rollout (i.e. £375k would come back to the council for every 5% of take-up over the original 20%).

In addition a report from ON THE Wight states that an amendment to the policy was tabled, which will insist that 87% of homes and businesses in the intervention area receive a minimum download speed of 30Mbps and that 96% of the islands premises should benefit from a minimum of 24Mbps. By comparison the original design called for 99% to be covered by “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P), with 90% of premises in the “intervention area” being told to merely expect a download speed boost of 10Mbps+ above whatever they currently get.

The vote, which had originally been due to take place a month ago, was initially delayed due to competition fears and concern that BT’s contribution would only equate to about 24% of the total cost.. among other things (here); some of these issues were finally resolved last week (here), although local operator WightFibre (WightCable) remain bitterly opposed and have previously accused the IWC of being “biased in favour of BT”.

As usual we’ll have to wait a few months before the contract is signed and only then can we be 100% sure of the final funding, coverage and speed expectations. This assumes that BT will be happy to accept some or all of the recent changes.

Leave a Comment
12 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris Conder

    And another one bites the dust. What a shame that councillors can’t see further than the quick FTTC fix for a few and ignore home grown fibre alternatives. History will remember them.

  2. Avatar Wiber - High Point Infrastructure

    For the sale of clarity and factualy detail :

    1. The ‘clawback’ mentioned does not actually work in the way that readers are led to believe. The fact is that an amount of £375k is ‘put aside’ for every 5% takup by consumers of ‘superfast’ beyond the 20% target. This amount does not ‘come back to the council’ as reported, in fact it REMAINS IN BT’S BANK ACCOUNT and can only be spent on BT equipment to further improve BT’s infrastructure. ONLY IF BT CAN THINK OF NOTHING TO SPEND THE MONEY ON DOES IT LEAVE BT’S BANK ACCOUNT and then only 50% of it goes to Isle of Wight Council – the other 50% goes to central government/BDUK. It is impossible to imagine a scenario where BT can suggest nothing to spend the money on and therefore it is disingenuous and misleading to suggest that there is any chance of £375k – or any part thereof, being recived by the council due to this project.

    2. There are local providers that have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in providing genuine superfast speeds into the vast majority of the proposed intervention area. These speeds have been available and in popular and common use by satisfied homes and businesses for years. The Open Market Review (OMR) and Public Consultation (PC) processes that were ‘supposed’ to identify existng service provision were designed and implemented devicively so that existing popular local providers could be excluded and their coverage ignored. Local providers sumbitted extremely detailed responses to the OMR within the very short time frames given but despite this, IWC officers stated to elected councillors and the public that local providers had failed to demonstrate existing coverage. This is disgusting, disingenuous and misleading – a scandal of the highest order where public and elected councillors have been misled and misinformed by council officers. Local providers sumbitted far more detail to the OMR than BT have had to submit to qualify for public subsidy – and local providers were not asking for any public subsidy – they were simply asking that they should not be overbuilt with publicly subsidised BT networks.

    3. The use of the term ‘Fibre Broadband’ is misleading and disingenuous because 100% of premises in the proposed intervention area will receive services through old/existing copper (or aluminium) phone lines. This project is in no way capable of delivering ‘Fibre Broadband’ nor was it designed to deliver ‘Fibre Broadband’. The proposed project is for copper based VDSL technology – not ‘Fibre Broadband’. This is another example of misleading and disingenuous ‘misinformation’ that is leading readers and observers to get the wrong idea about what’s being proposed. This is a copper phone line project not a ‘Fibre Broadband’ project.

    • Avatar JNeuhoff

      @Wiber – High Point Infrastructure: Interesting! So could you take legal actions against the BDUK process? If what you said is true it would seem to be in violation of EU competition laws somehow, wouldn’t it?

    • Avatar JNeuhoff

      Also, just wondering, is the clawback clause the same for all BDUK areas, or are they different for other counties?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Oh god.. he’s back

    • Avatar Gadget

      Can we just ask for a link to this “factual detail”?

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Wiber
      If you’re an operator you’d know the ASA agreed cable and FTTC could be referred to as fibre broadband in a ruling some while ago now.

      Having read your comments I looked up details of one of the fixed wireless providers on the island, a company called Click4Internet, to see how it compared to the mainstream FTTC services.

      The best consumer product seems to be a 30/10 offering with various usage caps and no unlimited option. A losing monthly limit of 80GB costs £98 per month inc VAT. There is a business product which is more competitive on speed with FTTC, running at 50/20. However the lowest usage cap costs £958.80 per month!

      Are these the highest prices being charged for terrestrial broadband in the UK? No wonder local providers are not keen to see decent competition if they can charge these sorts of prices!

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      PS the small prints says that if you exceed your monthly usage allowance on the consumer service, the service will be “interrupted” until you buy more capacity. Both business and consumer contracts have a minimum 2 year term, rolling 12 month renewal. Didn’t Ofcom rule against rolling renewals?

    • Avatar JNeuhoff

      @FibreFred: “Oh god.. he’s back”

      Do you have anything constructive to contribute to this forum thread?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      JNeuhoff, sorry I should have been more clear that wasn’t aimed at you it was at the original poster, which looks very similar to a regular poster who continues to reinvent himself

  3. Avatar Michael

    It would be interesting to know whether the 30Mbps speed is a line rate minimum under all conditions over the life of the contract, given that as take up increases on FFTC/VDSL2 the real line rate may drop, or whether the rate only has to be present at time of initial install ?
    Also I guess there are no minimum upload speeds being declared, which means the sustainability for the future may not be as long as desired if we become more of a nation of prosumers in residential and business mode.

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