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UPDATE2 BT Expand Superfast Broadband Rollout in Cornwall UK

Friday, Aug 29th, 2014 (2:10 pm) - Score 1,617

The £132m Superfast Cornwall project has announced that another 10 “hard-to-reach” rural communities will be able to receive access to BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network by early 2015, which will be an addition to the existing target of making the service available to 95% of Cornwall (England) and the Isles of Scilly by the end of 2014.

The joint public and private partnership, which is funded by £78.5 million from BT and up to £53.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has also already made FTTC/P services available to more than 90% of the region and around 60,000 customers have subscribed.

As a result the project’s primary target is now within reach and thus BTOpenreach’s focus is beginning to shift towards tackling the final 5% in more remote rural locations.

Ranulf Scarbrough, BT’s Superfast Cornwall Director, said:

We are committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible. We will look at each area in turn to determine the best way to provide fibre broadband. It will be a combination of Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). Our team have worked really hard to meet the needs of businesses and residents and, in reaching these additional communities, are leading the way in Europe with rural fibre broadband infrastructure.

Some of BT’s most senior directors and representatives from many other organisations across the UK and much further afield have paid fact-finding visits to Cornwall to see the pioneering work being carried out here.”

Nigel Ashcroft, Cornwall Development Company, said:

Cornwall has many small villages with up to 100 premises. Some of these villages are in isolated and challenging geographical areas and are difficult to provide fibre to. We are excited that we can make this announcement to bring the additional areas into the plan through our efforts working with BT and the local communities.”

Ashcroft added that he had “not forgotten about the 5% that aren’t included in our current programme” and promised to develop a new project that would look at how to fill-in the remaining areas over the next few years. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see some FTTrN playing its part in that.

It’s also good to see that BT are pushing more Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) into rural locations, although Cornwall does have the operators single biggest deployment of the technology with some 62,000 local homes and businesses able to receive stable speeds of 330Mbps. Proof perhaps that FTTP doesn’t have to be a strictly urban product.

The Cornwall project also seems to be a popular test bed for BT’s latest fibre technologies, such as “ultra light” overhead fibre optic cables and lest we not forget their “hyper-fast10Gbps demo using the XGPON (10G-PON) standard (here).

ISPreview.co.uk separately notes that BT also hopes to conduct a trial of 1Gbps FTTP technology at some point over the next 6 months or so and no doubt Cornwall would make a good place for that, although we understand that they may have other locations in mind too.

UPDATE 30th August 2014

The official update said that the ten new areas were “in addition to those already planned and still being built” and the comments talked about a focus on the last 5%, although after speaking to BTOpenreach we’ve clarified that the new work is taking place within the existing 95% target (i.e. areas that hadn’t yet been planned out at the start of the project).

However Openreach did say that they hadn’t ruled out exceeding 95% and indeed the comments above clearly point to a focus on that area.

UPDATE 12th September2014

The communities are Badgall, Laneast, St Clether and Tregeare, near Bodmin; Nancledra in West Cornwall; and Philleigh, Polhendra, Trethewell, Trewithian and Rosevine on the Roseland peninsula.

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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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