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Rutland Target 15 New Areas as First BDUK Fibre Broadband Rollout Completes

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 (7:36 am) - Score 781
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The Rutland County Council in England appears to have almost completed the local £3m roll-out of BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network, which would make it one of the first Broadband Delivery UK supported schemes to cross the finish line. Now another 15 villages are being targeted as part of a £180,000 extension programme.

The original BDUK Local Broadband Plan contract for Rutland, which aimed to make BT’s FTTC/P network available to 90% of the county by the end of 2013, was one of the first to be signed in May 2012 (here). At the time BT contributed £800,000 to the project, with £2.2m coming from the council and £710,000 from BDUK.

Now the latest update from the Digital Rutland programme has revealed that all 10 local telephone exchanges in Rutland have been upgraded “meaning the majority of the 17,000 homes and businesses within the county now have access to high-speed fibre broadband” (note: this includes efforts from BT’s commercial FTTC footprint).

ISPreview.co.uk understands that most of the work was completed by the end of 2013 as planned, although some 400-500 homes and business in more remote rural locations (e.g. Glaston, Whitwell, Barrow & Teigh) needed additional work and that this meant continuing the roll-out for a little longer into 2014.

But no sooner than the original target had been all but met and now RCC are having to consider another 15 villages for inclusion after BDUK allocated a further £180,000 (this will need to be match funded by the council and BT) in February 2014 to the county (here), which formed part of the extra £250m budget that has been set aside to help 95% of the United Kingdom access a fixed line superfast broadband (25Mbps+) service by 2017.

Councillor Terry King, Deputy Leader of RCC, said:

We are appealing to people living in the areas identified to let us know their current broadband speed. The Digital Rutland project needs to have this information to help determine if there is anything we can do in a particular area using the extra broadband funding available.

Digital Rutland has so far been unable to upgrade the broadband network in areas where a commercial service is already in place. However, this funding makes it possible for us to revisit these areas if existing fibre broadband services are not delivering speeds greater than 24Mbps.”

We assume the choice of wording for that last paragraph is a general reference to infill (going back to extend coverage or improve speeds in existing areas), although equally it might apply to some of the earlier non-BT areas covered by Rutland Telecom’s (Gigaclear) Sub Loop Unbundled (SLU) FTTC network around 4 years ago (e.g. the village of Essendine from RT’s deployment is on the list and has had problems in the past).

The 15 Villages

Barnsdale,
Belmesthorpe,
Braunston,
Brooke,
Burley,
Egleton,
Essendine,
Hambleton,
Little Casterton,
Lyddington,
Ryhall,
Stoke Dry,
Tickencote,
Tinwell
Thorpe by Water

It’s worth pointing out that the Digital Rutland project has always held an ambition to achieve a wider coverage target of around 97%, although this has not yet formed part of a concrete plan. Meanwhile it will be interesting to see whether or not RCC decides to encroach upon the FTTC deployments of Rutland Telecom, which could prove highly controversial.

The state aid rules do allow it so long as there’s a clear step change improvement beyond what already exists. This is partly why the council needs local feedback because they’d probably only have access to data from BT and not Rutland Telecom.

Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    What a farce! can’t you see through this? “However, this funding makes it possible for us to revisit these areas if existing fibre broadband services are not delivering speeds greater than 24Mbps.”
    If it was fibre broadband it would just work. It just proves that it isn’t fibre broadband and they have shot themselves in the foot here in their quest to grab all the funding.
    When is everyone gonna wake up to the fact that FTTC is COPPER broadband and can’t deliver a fit for purpose service for everyone?
    Every single county is going to have this problem. All the exchange only lines will be sub 20Mbps too. Its a superfarce.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Why will EO lines be sub 20M when cabinets are installed outside exchanges? When are you going to come out and say the government should fund full FTTP?

    2. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Chris
      Quote “If it was fibre broadband it would just work”

      The problem is, if it were FTTP it would cost far more and would take far longer to install. You forgot to mention those two points. 😉

    3. Avatar Matthew Williams says:

      @TheFacts

      For quite a few exchange only lines wouldn’t it simply be cheaper to make them FTTP? Would certainly future proof them plus some places on Exchange only lines might not have the space for the FTTC Cabinet anyway?

    4. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      I’d speculate that most people who care are already quite aware. We have, after all, been told enough times.

    5. Avatar MikeW says:

      “What a farce! can’t you see through this?”

      I most certainly can.

      I see a rollout that is costing the public purse less than one-tenth of what you are demanding. Granted people get less than you would like, but it is in line with what they need.

      With such a rollout, it is to be expected that a future rollout will take place when people need more. And the kicker is that, because those people need more, they’ll be willing to pay more. As FTTP becomes more commercially viable, so less of that rollout will need to be funded by the taxpayer.

      A double win, if you ask me.

      In fact, it’s a triple win, because the current rollout happens 5x faster too.

      What we need to see through is people demanding a rollout that virtually no-one needs, and certainly no-one wants to pay for.

  2. Avatar NGA for all says:

    Congrats on congress. Given the smallness of Rutland c17k premises and 30-40 cabinets installed it should be interesting to get a take on the subsidy levels.
    PAC were promised Northern Ireland +12.5%.
    It will be interesting to see whether Peterborough POSI was used as the handover point or whether BT built another and determine who paid for what?
    NO efficiency gains were referenced in the reporting.
    If the public subsidy paid was £170 per premised passed then it is consistent with the number reported in North Yorkshire at £176 per premise past which contrast with the c£70 subsidy paid outside Greater Belfast to reach more than their original target. Cost of getting power and extensive new duct are the only big variables so the variances will be easy to report on.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      @NFA
      Mark’s website has lost my previous comment comparing North Yorkshire to Northern Ireland, but I think you still need to take more care when you compare the two…

      1) Comparable population density
      North Yorkshire is only comparable with the most sparse parts of Northern Ireland, and not just the generic “outside Belfast” part. I recall mentioning Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh; the remaining 3 counties in NI have 3.5 times the population of the comparable counties, and Belfast is only a small portion of that:

      – Fermanagh + Tyrone + Armagh: 400k people
      – Londonderry + Down + Antrim: 1.4m, of which 280k are in Belfast.

      Land area & population density are only comparable in part; the “hockeystick” shape of the cost-per-property graph mean you *need* to compare North Yorkshire with the costliest 20% of Northern Ireland. Using the denser “outside Belfast” area doesn’t cut the mustard.

      2) Comparable coverage targets
      When comparing the two, you must also compare the depth to which the project is aiming to go (or was aiming to go).

      SFNY is targeting 90% of NY with superfast speeds, and to do so has to go for the sparsest cabinets as well as the most dense.

      The DETI project in NI pre-dated the generic BDUK targets, and was fundamentally focussed on businesses. I think it met those business targets, it has not achieved anything close to a coverage of 90% superfast that the UK projects aim at.

      The most recent public consultation for the new DETI superfast project puts 138k premises within the NGA intervention area, without counting anything inside Belfast or Londonderry cities. This is equivalent to a population of 331k, which is 18% of the total NI population, or 22% of the population outside Belfast and Londonderry.

      If the original NI project only managed to get to 78% coverage of the “outside Belfast” areas, you can bet it picked easy target cabinets.

      Again, the “hockeystick” shape to the cost-per-property graph means you are comparing “harder” coverage in North Yorkshire against “easier” coverage in Northern Ireland.

      Combining (1) and (2) means that you are comparing different places on the “hockeystick” – and that makes for very significant differences to the costs.

      3) The £176 subsidy per property figure is incorrect too, though I only realised this recently.

      The most recent report to NYCC shows that £26.5m is the subsidy for broadband, to achieve superfast speeds for 150k premises in the intervention area. However, we missed the fact that £5m of the budget is due to be used to provide 2Mbps USC coverage to the remaining 45k premises.

      £21.5m for 150k premises amounts to £143 per property instead.

  3. Avatar NGA for all says:

    @MikeW
    Thanks, Can you or BT publish these? £176 is what can be gleaned from what NYCC have reported and £176 per premise past is referenced in their reporting of the first 399 cabinets. NI has come from BT presentations and DETI press releases, and yes a further £21k each was paid for 90 more remote cabinets. So how many cabinets installed in Rutland serving how many customers? Was a handover point installed,if so how much or was the POSI in Peterborough used.
    All it means is that the money can go further.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      On North Yorkshire:
      All my info is from the public domain.

      For the NYCC report, see the executive committee section here:
      http://democracy.northyorks.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=18

      Select the meeting for 18th March, and look at document 5.

      For phase 1:
      Section 3.1.1 shows the £26.5m
      Section 3.1.3 shows the 150k in the IA getting SF speeds
      Section 3.1.4 shows the 45k getting USC speeds, and the £5m budget for it

      Section 3.4.3 shows an example clawback fund. The £3.5m for 30% take-up would be a 15% reduction in subsidy per property.

      For phase 2:
      Section 4.2.1 shows the £5m being reduced to £3m if the phase 2 funding is used to extend coverage of SFBB with BT. This section gives a hint for the phase 2 subsidy per property.
      Section 4.2.1 also shows that, with phase 2 funding, 97% of the IA would be connected to a fibre cabinet (though less get SF speeds). That means there wouldn’t be many cabinets left to do – to get coverage higher would need work to take place deeper in the network than the PCP’s, such as using FTTRN.
      Section 4.2.2 and 4.2.4 give additional premises that could be covered by use of FTTRN, within the phase 2 budget.

      I remember that my previous post worked out a lot of average number of premises per cabinet, based on section 3.2.1 and 4.2.1. Annoying that it went.

      On Rutland:
      Sorry – I know nothing about Rutland.

      On my use of the term “Hockeystick”
      The term “hockeystick” really comes from graphs on climate change, to describe how dramatic the change in climate becomes, for only small increases in CO2.

      However, when I read an article on the cost-per-premise for rural fibre in Australia, I saw the same kind of graph there.

      http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2013/01/31/3680486.htm

      I intuitively feel that there is the same “hockeystick” graph in play for almost any kind of rural rollout, including our FTTC rollout. The final few % (above 90%) are going to be dramatically more expensive than even the ones around the 80th percentile.

      If the UK has an equivalent hockeystick graph for FTTC, then I reckon the 90th percentile of North Yorkshire probably sits around the 95-97th percentile of the UK graph – ie very expensive. Meanwhile the 90th percentile of Surrey probably sits in the 80’s of the full UK graph – so is a cheap to cover.

      On Northern Ireland:
      Presumably the “extra £2m spent on 90 cabinets” was the last subsidy, so would be the one that took coverage of SF speeds up to 78%, and fibre connectivity up to 89%.

      North Yorkshire’s phase 2 funding deals with the county at the 90% SF level. IIRC, I estimated (in the lost post) that would fund around 110 cabinets – so would be £8m spent on 110 cabinets, at £700 per premise.

      It is a dramatic difference in subsidy, but the hockeystick picture helps explain the difference.

  4. Avatar NGA for all says:

    @Mie W – Appendix shows the £176 per premise past, and the 399 cabinets covering 107k presmises translates to a average subsidy of circa £47k – less the possibility of clawback.
    So we are arguing over a slope of the hockey stick where the significant contributions to that slope are the costs of power and new build of duct, which should be easy to report on.
    Rutland from the available information, includes Oakham suggests £2,9m subsidy, covering 17,000 premises and 40 villages referenced. If it is 40cabs without a handover point then the hockey stick may be non-linear.
    Your could also have two models, an Openreach model which pre-dated BDUK and a BT group model for public funding. The Openreach model outputs appear consistent with a hockey stick, the BT Group inspired model looks to absorb wnatever money is available.
    Neither Rutland nor North Yorks are reporting efficiency gains.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      The appendix is right with £176 per property, provided your definition is “total subsidy divided by number of houses with SF speeds.” In this project, we know some of the budget is used for USC properties, but they are glossed over in that definition.

      But to use the £176 when comparing with other projects, you need to compare with projects that *also* use some of their budget for USC rollout.

      Unfortunately, you always use the £176 with a comparison of Northern Ireland’s 1st project… and that project didn’t have a USC component within the budget. That makes it an apples vs pears comparison.

      It is fair to compare with Rutland, provided Rutland has finished the USC portion of their rollout. No mention of that in the story though…

    2. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @MikeW – We do not know if the £5m needs to be spent as the FTTC deployment may mean 2Mbps can statistically be met where cabinets have been deployed.
      On NI what we do know is that for £12k subsidy an FTTC cabinet cab be deployed in Fermanagh, Tyrone and South Armagh. They are others more remote where £21k subsidy was paid.
      Perhaps the £5m gets returned if it is not used but as we speak NY are paying an average £47k subsidy per cabinet and some of these are large towns.
      I have separate written record of BT MDs claiming economies of scale into early 90% coverage reflecting reusable infrastructure.
      This is state aid and should reflect incremental cost and so anything above the NI rates +12.5% as indicated to PAC should be easily visible exceptional items, power and fresh digs for duct. Effciencies and there should be many mean more fibre access and a more efficient BT network. This is win win. The decision to price to win one bid on a National Framework as indicated on feb 28th to the BBC is all the evidence needed to force models to be reset to benefit rural customers and ultimately BT shareholders. This will cost BT middle managers and their bonuses based on billed revenue, but not BT Shareholders who like rural users would benefit from a more efficient network.

  5. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    Public subsidy for cabinets is generally a good thing.

    What we do not know is the unknown, let me explain. How much money will return to the public purse through use of FTTC infrastructure? How much fuel will be saved? What new small businesses will spring up? How many more small support people will crop up?

    We should look at this as a good future investment for the economy and I would rather see the money invested in FTTC then some of the other shit that our money is wasted on!

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      I agree, so we are arguing over how much subsidy given c£12k was enough in rural Northern Ireland for a single cabinet and this has expanded to an average £47k for the same components for a similar geography in mainland UK. The variation in subsidy should only arise from the cost of power and the amount of new duct. This will vary greatly once you get above 90% but not before then.

      The extra money could be spent on going further or begining the transition to FTTP in some locations.

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