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

Tuesday, Apr 15th, 2014 (7:36 am) - Score 781

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

Little Casterton,
Stoke Dry,
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.

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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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