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National Broadband Delivery UK Scheme Passes 273,731 with BT Fibre

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 (1:13 pm) - Score 472

The Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, which hopes to make superfast fixed line broadband speeds of 25Mbps+ available to 95% of the population by 2017, claims to have successfully passed 273,731 premises on 31st Dec 2013 with BT’s FTTC/P network (estimated to now be sitting at 300,000).

The coverage represents additional homes and businesses, supported by public funding, that otherwise wouldn’t have been upgraded as part of BT’s separate £2.5bn commercial roll-out to 66% of the United Kingdom by Spring 2014. It’s noted that the total also includes the installation of approximately 1000 new street cabinets (note: 100k of the 300k premises total also come from upgrades in Wales).

Otherwise there’s not an awful lot new about today’s announcement, which once more reminds us that BDUK and BT’s deployment is expected to start passing 40,000 additional homes and businesses per week during summer 2014 (here). At present the roll-out is running at 10,000 premises per week and should hit 25,000 in spring 2014. But it was confirmed that £14,182,547 of BDUK funding has now been spent to achieve the latest total.

Maria Miller, Culture Secretary, said:

Having superfast broadband is really important to people up and down the country whether they need it for work or simply to download music or films. These figures prove that there is now a real momentum with thousands of homes and businesses now getting access each week. This is part of our long term economic plan and broadband will be instrumental in driving growth and boosting local economies throughout the UK.”

The progress is keeping a good pace and so far most of BDUK’s first batch of allocated funding of £530m has been used to reflect their original goal of 90% coverage by the end of 2015, which contrary to some reports still looks likely to be achievable (BDUK myths).

Meanwhile another £250m has already been allocated to push that coverage up to 95% and the Government are promising to reveal more about their plans for this very soon. But we expect most of this to end up in BT’s pocket and would be surprised if BDUK actually did something radically different.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar Richard

    Connected or passed…?

    Not really the same, and passed is a bit like the bus not stopping when you are standing in the rain….

  2. You’re right, corrected title.

  3. Avatar FibreFred

    Passed is always a problem, it should just be “available to order” as some people read it different and just think it means that a bit of fibre passes by their street but they aren’t able to order the service.

    • Avatar MikeW

      I know what you mean and agree: when by “passed” we mean that fibre-based broadband is available to order, we should say that.

      This document, however, is tighter than that – they very much define the statistics to mean that the fibre-based broadband is available to order to those 273,731 premises, and that superfast speeds are available.

      Previous statistics suggest there may be an extra 5,000-10,000 premises that can get better speeds from this fibre-based broadband but not yet get superfast speeds.

    • Avatar Gerarda

      MikeW It would be could to know definitely that the BDUK show only those able to order and get 24mb plus. I trolled a twitter exchange with Bill Murphy who refused to answer any direct questions on this.

      Perhaps Mark could phone the guy at the BDUK and ask him how he got the breakdown between superfast and slower?

  4. Avatar GNewton

    To throw in some more figures:

    Under the BDUK projects some 320,000 premises now have access to a fibre based service and 19,000 have actually ordered a service (see4 http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/6264-sean-williams-from-bt-faces-public-accounts-committee-again.html).

    Now this represents a very small takeup. So was it really worth wasting so much taxpayer’s money to a monopoly telecom company? Couldn’t a free market have done a much better job eventually? At the most, the BDUK should have only provided money as investment for future ROI, and not give taxpayer’s money away to a single company for questionable results.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      To know the answer to that one GNewton we need to understand why they have not signed up. If for example they are already happy with their speeds a free market wouldn’t make any difference to that either, nor would providing FTTP (just more money wasted)

      Its still early days, people always bleat on about how we need more speed, maybe people are happy with what they have for now in these areas.

      I don’t think its a single answer but we need to understand why they haven’t signed up yet.

      The single company issue is BDUK’s fault.. one of many of their faults (not allowing wireless being another)

    • Avatar MikeW

      A small takeup so far, but still better than the first year of the commercial rollout.

      Thankfully the sane people know that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Takeup will grow and grow, and will probably get into figures that require clawback.

      In fact, the growth is even better than it looks. Only 254 of these cabinets have been stood for a year; only 38,000 have been available for 6 months. 80% of the cabinets have been around for fewer than 6 months.

      If you look at the takeup numbers, you realise that takeup has doubled every 3 months of the year.

      I wish I ran a business that doubled its customers every 3 months…

    • Avatar TheManStan

      I would say low take up suggest that the market would not have had any interest at all. The gap funding provided by BDUK provides the seed funding that allows the roll-out to take place, in it’s absence what incentive is there?

      As for a single company all the other bidders withdrew, the conditions associated with the BDUK funds are actually quite onerous. In that the there are no up front funds provided, the provider has to use their own funds then subsequently claim the monies back. Not many companies have access to the credit facilities that would allow them to roll-out infrastructure in such a fashion. Just Fujitsu and BT, Fujitsu having more money by far than BT.

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