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Wales Moot 3rd Open Market Review of BT Superfast Broadband Plan

Tuesday, Oct 22nd, 2013 (1:36 am) - Score 711

The Welsh Government has warned that it might need to launch a third Open Market Review in order to determine the extent of commercial Superfast Broadband availability, which follows concerns that initial predictions might have underestimated the expected pre-Digital Wales coverage of BT’s FTTC/P services.

The original Digital Wales strategy envisaged a roll-out of 30Mbps+ capable superfast broadband ISP services to reach 100% of the country’s businesses by the middle of 2016 and homes by 2020, while the official deal (here) agreed with BT over one year ago aimed to make speeds of up to 80Mbps (FTTC/P) available to 96% of Welsh premises by the end of 2015.

However if BT’s separate £2.5bn commercial deployment of FTTC and FTTP technology in Wales, which is due to complete in Spring 2014 (overall this will make FTTC/P available to 66% of the UK), turns out to be not as extensive as first predicted then that could potentially mean fewer than 96% would be able to access the hybrid fibre network under Digital Wales come late 2015. Additional funding might then be required to fix the difference.

The Welsh Business Minister, Edwina Hart, is therefore considering a third review. It’s likely that this wouldn’t begin until after the formal completion of BT’s commercial deployment and hopefully it wouldn’t cause any additional delay to the scheme, which is already into the roll-out phase.

Edwina Hart said:

Officials have been advised that BT’s commercial roll-out of Superfast Broadband is nearing completion. In light of this, a formal Open Market Review is under consideration to determine the extent of commercial Superfast Broadband availability. Until that review is complete it is not possible to make any comment on the extent of the commercial roll-out.”

Hart confirmed the development as part of a written response to a question posed by Russell George (AM for Montgomeryshire) whom questioned whether or not BT’s commercial FTTC/P roll-out was going as anticipated. Wales might not be the only part of the United Kingdom with such a problem. Credits to Wispa Limited’s COO, Richard Brown, for bringing this to our attention.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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