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Greater Manchester UK Begins BDUK and BT Fibre Broadband Rollout

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 (8:44 am) - Score 1,962
greater manchester uk map

The £15m Get Digital Faster project, which is working with the EU and Broadband Delivery UK office to extend BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to a further 45,000 premises in the Greater Manchester (England) area by March 2016 (900k+ have already been passed), has finally upgraded the first street cabinet in Fowler Street.

Sadly the official press release doesn’t say much more than that, except to include a lot of positive quotes from various politicians and business folk, although we do note that the figure of 45,000 premises has quietly increased from the 39,000 that was initially being touted at the end of last year when the deal was first signed (here).

It’s also important to remember that the programme is mostly focused on improving connectivity in Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. Meanwhile Manchester itself and Salford are not included in the BDUK scheme because they have already received funding through related projects, such as the Urban Broadband Fund’s £150m “Super-Connected Cities” initiative, and BDUK investment isn’t designed to be used in the middle of dense cities.

Elsewhere BDUK has already allocated an additional £450,000 to the programme (here), which the local authorities intend to use in order to help achieve their longer term ambition of coming “as near as possible” to 100% coverage of superfast broadband (24Mbps+) connectivity by around 2020.

Unfortunately this is yet another one of those BDUK schemes where the public are only trickle fed updates about the roll-out. The projects related website is incredibly sparse on information about their deployment plans and we can’t even find a vague coverage map.

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41 Responses
  1. Avatar Andy

    All areas which are already fairly well covered by Virgin Media.. 🙂

    • Avatar MikeW

      Unfortunately, VM seem to be an organisation that is almost entirely uncommitted to expanding anywhere, so there is little chance that they’ll make the change from “fairly well covered” to “completely covered.”

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      EU rules specifically prohibit public subsidy of areas which are either already covered by a private operator, or where there are credible plans exist for them to do so.

      Of course, with products like broadband, a limited degree of geographical overlap is permitted. However, if this was substantial, you can be VM lawyers would be in court as they were in the case of Birmingham where both BT and VM objected to a publicly funded initiative (witness one of yesterday’s stories).

      In good part, it was the time taken to get EU approval over issues like this that delayed the BDUK project as politicians hadn’t allowed for what was involved.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      @Andy yep most of Manchester can get Virgin Media already, another example of BT overlap much like Newcastle a few weeks back

  2. Avatar Andy

    Tell me about it – what’s going to drive BT to expand / improve if their “main competitor” won’t compete?

  3. Avatar fastman2

    openreach will have alrready deployed a substantial of exchanges and cabs as part of 2.5bn commerccial programme which is now practially comeplete

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Really? I keep hearing that from the BT Borg hive on here yet the latest BT adverts only claim 62% coverage.

    • @fastman grateful for the commercial rollout, but BT told their analysts the expenditure was £1.3bn – of which 50% capitalised labour, not the £2.5bn. Fully allocated cost per cab of about £23k each, if the 19m premises past taking c55,000 cabs.
      This is consistent with Belgacom 550m euros on 21,000 cabs for a c86% rollout – no public funds in this number.
      Telecom Austria have reported their incrmental cost per cab at 9-12k euros in urban areas.
      So the ‘rural’ BDUK project of c 30,000 cabs looks to be contracted for £46k subsidy each including take up risk and usc premiums.
      It will be good to have reported what the subsidy is in Manchester and the proportion of overspill of Virgin and how this impacts the subsidy.

    • @Fastman2 – Vodafone highlighted and Ofcom confirmed in the FLAMR 2014 that BT’s capital expenditure did not increase overall during the NGA commercial rollout which is to be admired but also noted for the rural rollout where the funds of £1.2bn in cash plus a possible £450m.
      Given the funds you should restore the FTTP proportion of the ‘mixed economy’ solution.

    • Avatar GNewton

      @NGA for all: You are about the cabinet costs being well too high, and therefore being a significant waste of taxpayer’s money. The situation is similar in Essex with it’s phase-1 rollout. We asked them for details about the individual cabinet deplyment costs, and here is the county’s lame excuse to hide the figures:

      “Where Essex County Council holds costs as part of the project assurance process, these are at a higher level, not broken down by structure.”

      “The costing structure under this programme is commercially sensitive information to BT, release of which into the public domain would be prejudicial to their commercial interests, as it would give an unfair advantage to competitors in future procurements. It would also prejudice Essex County Council’s ability to engage with the wider market in the course of its procurement activities as suppliers would be reluctant to enter into contracts should their strategic costing data be known to the wider market, thus adversely affecting Essex County Council’s ability to achieve the most cost-effective market support for delivering essential services.”

      The situation will be similar in many other counties.

    • @Gnewton Thanks for trying. Given BT has regulated returns on its assets and the £1.2bn is state aid, then this prejudicial to commercial interests is a little thin. The unfair advantage in future procurements is nonsense, given the very existence of the Communications Act is due to BT enduring monopoly in the local loop. SLU providers are more than happy for their indicative costs to be averaged and published. This provides very reliable costs 2/3 of which go to BT for £25k fibre path and cabinet for each rural path.
      These aguements are very thin, given the oppotunity for some of this state aid for rural broadband could be diverted to investment in football rights.
      You can also point to North Yorshire who have published 2 reports confirming in so far as we tell the c£46k subsidy per cabinet.

  4. Avatar fastman2

    NGA what ever you choose to read / or otherhwise — the investment on commerecial is 2.5bn (not all of that will be capex) there are other costs this project has not delivered itself – Business parks do not create VFM from a commerical perspective or good use of public money — which is why the majoroiu of bDUK have not included them

  5. Avatar fastman2

    NGA this sugguesion that rural broadband state aid could be somehow diverted to investment in football is just riduculous – this obsession with cost per cab as being the absolute is fine where all the conditions are the same sy fleet purcahse / stational purchase it not the same where your are network building in real life infrastcuture (My preious role was in bidding so speak with some experience )

    FYI FTTP is Hard Complicated — extensively difficult sspecually if in an area that is not a new build or recent build and you can do a lot more FTTc than FTTP for the same money

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Please explain where the £3.8 is being spend on the Newcastle go digital project when according to some BT fans and TBB that only requires a few cabinets to be done with that money.

      Even if a cabinet were £60,000 that is around than 3x the average cost excluding other things that would be enough for 63 cabinets.

      Where exactly is the money being spent?????? Even being generous it should only be a dozen or two dozen cabinets at the most need doing as the rest was done on the commercial rollout side.

      How exactly does a project to what is so far only 2 more cabinets cost 3.8 million quid??????

    • Avatar FibreFred

      “NGA this sugguesion that rural broadband state aid could be somehow diverted to investment in football is just riduculous”

      Its just the usual haters, if there’s evidence of that let’s see it. If not its just pure BS

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Yeah obviously not diverted to BT sport there is no sport content even on there, again could not even get the rights to every premiership football match next season again.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      “Yeah obviously not diverted to BT sport there is no sport content even on there”

      Your guise is slipping


    • Avatar GNewton

      “there is no sport content even on there”

      Totally agree. Maybe the super-troll now thinks I am part of Raindrops, too, because posters dare to disagree with his beloved BT brainwashing?

    • Avatar Raindrops

      May as well add you to the list he thinks im all these already…
      I only even know/recognise one of those other users. Maybe he can not get his prescription on weekends.

    • @Fastman2 – the only sigmificant variables are new network build and power, which can and should be approved on an exceptional basis and reported accordingly. The network build of more than 1Km needs to be published as enhanced network conditions apply.
      One national audit report and two PAC public hearings and reports say differently.
      Your ex CEO now a Lord – stated ‘comfortably under’ £2.5bn and 18 months ahead of schedule. That is 18 months of capitalised labour less than expected and asscoiated operational savings. BT Group strategy director also promised in public heraings an extra billion of BT capital for rural which now looks like a self certified inkind contribution of £300m in kind.
      Your execes are bonused on free cash and you will know the diffence between the private gap fumding per cabinet and the average public subsidy for the same PCP numbers.
      Less ridiculous but definitely outragious.

    • Avatar Gadget

      For the avoidance of doubt the Newcastle scheme also involves a lot more than cabinet and infrastructure build, as was indicated and linked in the earlier ispreview thread here http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/07/go-digital-newcastle-uk-begins-bt-fibre-broadband-rollout.html

    • @FibreFred haters not so. Subsidies have risen a factor of 3 from rural NI to what is reported in North Yorkshire. That creates a significant risk of breeches in state aid something which will be of concern to shareholders.

      The idiocy of BT’s current approach using confidentiality agreements to hide their excesses will block or delay far greater incentives to transition to fibre access, while policy makers at a local, national and political levels finds ways to counter what is a simple and crude abuse of a monopoly position. Re-read the NAO and two PAC reports for the accumulating evidence. The questions in Parliament will not stop, neither will the reports from bodies like RSA and FSB.

      Internal BT Governance ought to deal with this matter now. Do not expect LA to start really working on this until the work is mostly done.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Yes gadget 97% so obviously building in areas of Newcastle Virgin is already present.

  6. Avatar Raindrops

    No idea what you are talking about…….
    I think you will find thats before any other user in the thread you mentioned said anything about its content.

    Again take your meds.

  7. Avatar fastman2

    Raindrops i have no view around what the amount of area the NEWcastle BDUK scope coverss but i suggest its a lot more tham a few casd it also depends what exchanges that covers as i would assume there will be a number of small exchanges not covefed under commercail and currently unenabled

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Must be a lot of exchanges which need upgrading and cabinets that need installing to spend £3.8 Million. Do you have any breakdown on the areas that will be upgraded and the costs per cabinet and per exchange?

    • Avatar GNewton

      Why don’t you get the exact costing figures from a request under the Freedom of Information Act? After all, it’s your taxpayer’s money, too, being most likely wasted here again by a council.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Ultimately pointless as all BT figures are complete fabrications. Their latest TV adverts claim 62% coverage of “super fast” broadband yet various figures on here from BT say other figures. They do not even know nationally what it is yet alone at local level. They just spoon feed councils some BS figures then take the money and do as they please.

  8. Avatar fastman2

    suggest you see if the area covered in avaialbe — 3,8 is not very much will be lost of snall cabs and exchnages — also depends what area the project covers

    Raindrops — nice Try !!!!

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Cabinet cost is only 20-30k isnt it…… Thats a hell of a lot of cabinets to get to 3.8 Million. Would you like me to do the maths for you AGAIN?

    • @Raindrops, I think the intervention area is 10,000 and the public fuding element is £1.9m. So if the PCP served 200 customers, that’s about 50 cabinets served by existing handover points. So here then BT has a facility to bill about £38,000 each if they can generate the invoices. I am unsure if Newcastle signed for a USC premium.
      Fastman2 – we are a long way from Iwade extensions (10-12k) and Northern Ireland subsidies of £15k. We are a long way from any Openreach based gap funding quote.
      The BT contribution is self certified.
      If there is over-spill on VM areas you would expect the Openreach subsidy model to take the incremental cost below Iwade. But BT are not using Openreach model but likely to be one created by BT Group.
      Not ridiculous but it is outragious.

    • Avatar Gadget

      A reading of the redacted Isle of Wight contract http://www.iwight.com/azservices/documents/2720-Redacted-Contract-and-Schedules.pdf shows the process in place to check matched funding, supplier contribution and other audits, so any figures must have an audit trail back to receipts or timesheets.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      I doubt it is even 50 cabinets worth in newcastle….
      Suggests at least for now it is only 2 cabinets.

      Even using your generous £38,000 for a cabinet and more than generous 50 cabinets (equating to 1.9 Million) that still means there is another £1.9 million to the £3.8 million scheme which i suppose is anyones guess where that is going (deep pockets i suspect).

    • Avatar Gadget

      The go digital project http://www.godigitalnewcastle.co.uk/ also includes connection vouchers and business advice as well, so at £3k/voucher then 200 vouchers is £600k and then 200 x 12 hours business support at say £50/hour to provide is another £120k without even thinking about website design, administration, wages and overheads.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      1) Vouchers are only BETWEEN £200 and £3000 are they not? IE not every voucher is for £3,00 as your poor calculation indicates……
      2) Even if the total for vouchers is £600k (which obviously from the link it is not) and another £120k is business support that still leaves you with around £1.1-1.2 Million unaccounted for.

      As for….
      “without even thinking about website design, administration, wages and overheads.”
      http://www.godigitalnewcastle.co.uk/ via a quick whois is done by Hippo Creative Solutions and hosted by fasthosts. Website design at most a few thousand, domain rental literally only a few quid per month (less than £5). So that leaves out of that lot more than one million quid on wages and admin. Great a 3.8 million pound project and OVER a quarter of it is WAGES??????? Remind me again how this is good value for the tax payer?????????

  9. Avatar fastman2


    if virgin are already there – there can be no pverbuild using BDUK money i have a numbe of communitues where virgin is only otio as when the OMR was ratified ther area was Grey and cannot be built

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Newcastle total coverage for BT Fibre is 97% so unless you are saying Virgin only covers 3% of Newcastle thats wrong also.

  10. Avatar andrew clure

    Is there anywhere where we can actually see what the plans are for the BDUK funding in Greater manchester? I live in Tameside and no one knows (or if they do they are not saying). It seems to be a big secret that only the council leader seems to be aware of (obviously as a mere mortal I don’t stand a chance of getting an answer).

    The village where I live has been enabled for FTTC for several years now but our cab has been left out (unlikely to be done under standard commercial activity). BT say they won’t do it, the council signed the BDUK deal last December but still no news. All I’ve read is that Tameside are to use the money to provide “Fast broadband to small businesses and improve coverage in the town centres”.

    I run my business from home and a fast internet connection would be a huge help, speed at the moment is OK for surfing (around 3Mbps) but it’s very unreliable and with HDTV services going online more and more we’re rapidly getting left behind.

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