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UPDATE2 BT Expand Superfast Broadband Rollout in Cornwall UK

Friday, August 29th, 2014 (2:10 pm) - Score 1,615
fibre broadband rural bt openreach rollout

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.

Leave a Comment
26 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones

    It would be interesting to know how much money is left in the pot and if there’s anything from claw-back.

  2. In the UK I suspect there’s more consumer priced FTTH in market towns, semi-rural and very rural areas than there is in genuinely urban ones.

    I may be wrong though it’s a pretty close-run thing. 40%+ of Openreach’s FTTH is in Cornwall, of the remainder at least some is in rural areas funded by BDUK. It would seem reasonable to assume that by the time BDUK is finished the majority of the FTTH in the UK will be subsidised by the taxpayer or in rural areas.

    The sums change a bit when you go to FTTP as Hyperoptic come into the frame.

    Cheers Ofcom.

  3. It is good to see and it shows it is cheaper and easier than the budgets set, even where BT has a free hand to bill what it thinks it can get away it.

    Cornwall deserves huge credit for dragging FTTH out of BT.

    They will have proven FTTH will be cheaper to deploy in some rural hanlets than pay the cost of powering a FTTC cab. Once in FTTH will have a lower cost to maintain.

    It is hard to understand why subsidised cabs are appearing in business parks where duct is available for FTTP.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Unfortunately it appears it is not enough for them to stop messing around with this FTTrn/FTTdp nonsense.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      Dragged out? Might it just be that this was the sensible engineering decision reached by network engineers and project managers with the finance available? Yes, it may well be that for the more remote locations FTTP solutions are the most cost effective choice, but that’s hardly incompatible with FTTC being a more cost effective in other circumstances. This is all a matter of money and (eventually) generating a self-sustaining market. If money was not object then life would be so much easier.

      As for the business parks, then if there’s a cabinet available, then FoD will be available. In such circumstances it’s a business, not consumer market.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      If money is an issue why are they bothering with FTTrn for such a small amount of premises at all? This is the same BT that basically scrapped their FTTH rollout, even the bits that apparently should had been budgetted for well in advance.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @RAINDROPS

      What BT scrapped was revise the market penetration figure for FTTH via FoD following the commercial trials. Basically the costs of work involved (per premises) were very high which meant the take-up was going to be low. Hence the targets (which were aspirational, rather than any firm commitment) were revised to reflect reality. That’s what happens when somebody subjects optimistic PR announcements subjects them to the reality.

      As for FTTrn vs fibre, then the trials haven’t been run yet to know what the relative costs will be. For all we know, the most cost-effective solution will depend on specific circumstances. Indeed, I’d be surprised if there was a single answer.

      Of course, if there was a 100% swapout, then cost per premises would be considerably lower than those for FoD, but as the funds available (from commercial and public money) are around 20% of what is required for such an exercise (and that’s optimistic), it simply isn’t going to happen under anything like the current regulatory regime.

      Should you care to do the research, then there are plenty of papers out there which investigate the difficulties of implementing a fibre infrastructure when it’s competing with a copper network with largely sunk costs. The US decided to deal with this by not regulating any new fibre networks (at least for a significant period), including those implemented by incumbents. For good, or bad, neither the UK or EU regulatory rules allow for this for incumbents.

    • BT made noises about FTTP being 20-25% of the commercial rollout. Native FTTP, not FTTPoD.

      FTTPoD was never intended to be a mass market product, and BT releasing it with a 330/30 variant only ensured this.

      That FTTP target was pared back to zero a while ago. Profile 17a VDSL was, it was decided, going to be adequate, so here we are with FTTP coverage, outside of taxpayer co-funded areas, closer to 0.25% than 25%.

      BT have withdrawn copper precisely nowhere on a commercial basis. On a trial basis they may have begun to do so in Deddington however last I checked premises there still had copper next to the fibre.

      The UK/EU have ensured fibre can’t compete through regulation.

      Essentially some are denied what would’ve been a more commercially viable FTTP deployment so that Sky can bundle ADSL in with TV for free.

      When some research is done it becomes clear who is really more attached to copper – the LLU operators.

    • @Steve Jones

      Thank you for the insight – very helpful. It would cost nobody anything to declare a 25 year transiiton plan. (26 millions lines)

      Cost recovery on PST (FLAM) could be adjusted and corrected severak times to accommodate changes given their is already plenty of business lines and Ofcom count FTTH with an ATA for telephony (150,000 lines) as an analogue line for cost recovery purposes. Strange but true part of the product definition. So if someone calls it politically, it could happen without too any trauma.

      Cornwall and indeed BDUK giving the fibre congregation in BT ( and it will feel like a church group as opposed to an engineering discussion) ample opportunity to make the case.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      “BT made noises about FTTP being 20-25% of the commercial rollout. Native FTTP, not FTTPoD.”

      Exactly i have no idea why BT workers here have problems remembering what their companies prior claims and hot air was.

    • Avatar fastman2

      business parrk will nrmally not be covered by Either commercial or BDUK plans, — any that are covered under bduk are likley tp represent poor value for money for local authority and culd have coverage implcations

    • Avatar Raindrops

      LMAO who paid for FTTC on a business park near me then if it was not the BDUK or part of the commercial rollout?

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Raindrops

      FYI I’m not a BT employee. OK I now see that it was for the standard FTTP product, but the conclusion that the change to a target (not a commitment) was due to cost issues and that more coverage could be achieved with FTTC for.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      So what you are saying now is not only did BT not understand the cost implications of 25% coverage with FTTH but in addition 25% never was a commitment but just a target. Explain to me what a target figure is in the world of BT?

      Thank christ they are not taking exams or trying to hit anything because they seem to miss target goals quite a bit.

      Was it just an aspirational goal that they will never reach? Daydream? Complete FUD of a rollout?

      Is their 2.5 billion claimed spend also just a “target” and complete bogus nonsense also? If it is not how did they still reach 2.5 billion by removing 25% (thats one quarter BTW) of the FTTH coverage and replacing it with FTTC especially when BT on here love to tell everyone FTTC is cheaper.

      It amazes me not only do BT press releases end up equalling utter drivel, because none of the figures they quote are REAL, but then we have blinkered BT mob come on here to defend the made up figures.

      Thank christ they are not in any actual industry where a quote for anything actually has to resemble and be reasonably close to actual cost of a job. They sure as hell would end up in court a lot.

      BT do not move goal posts……. They just have no goals to begin with.

    • Avatar No Clue

      What BT promise and what figures they quote are often as far from the truth and reality as you can get. It is nice for the employees to confirm it though.

  4. Avatar fastman2

    raindropes — that was before the true cost of deploying FTTP at scale was undersatood, FTTP is horrible unless is new build where you can d it before any occupancy and the uphsot is you can d a lot more FTTc that FTTp so a significant of smaller /exchanges in 4000/5000 THP rnage weere able to be covered commericial that were never going to be commerciial, – the money is the same it is just the the mix is very different, and intervention areas in BDUK are smaller because tht declsiion than they might have been without that

    • You could maybe answer me a couple of questions here.

      If the original plan was 2/3rds commercial and dropping the FTTP meant more coverage, why wasn’t the coverage target revised upwards?

      Is Cornwall considered ‘commercial’ despite being co-funded, or is there a breakdown of commercial and non-commercial? Trying to work out what level of subsidy was required for Cornwall, population 536,000, to have 40% of the entire country’s Openreach FTTP has proven tricky.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      “raindropes — that was before the true cost of deploying FTTP at scale was undersatood”

      If the cost was not understood why would you (or rather BT in general) claim you are going to do a certain percent coverage with FTTH/P before knowing the true cost?

      Surely any sensible person understands the costs first then says how much they can afford…… NOT claim a coverage percent and then blame money as the issue.

      Thank everything holy BT are not a bank if that is the genius they have in charge of the finances.

      Lets hope they know the costs of FTTrn and FTTdp this time around before they decide to announce a coverage figure for that and ultimately disappoint AGAIN.

  5. Avatar fastman2

    Raindrops as already stated FTTP suabstanally more expensive to deploy than FTTC massive challenges at inididual premises level, i cannot see think there will be not be any widespead deployment of FTTP any time soon (5 years ?)

    yu basincally have to suvey each invidivual premises to see if you can get to temermincaiton equipment outside the house or from the manifold to the premise,

    • Avatar Raindrops

      You do not seem to comprehend the questions. Yes FTTP is more expensive, nobody is denying that. I and others are asking why did BT claim a coverage figure before knowing the costs and then obviously not be able to meet that coverage figure.

      It is not hard to comprehend, you find out how much something costs before you decree to the world you are going to buy it, unless you are BT obviously who just make idle promises.

      FTTrn and FTTdp will cost more than FTTC, has BT this time around calculated the costs before they roll that product out, or will it be another mystical white elephant?

    • Avatar Gadget

      It appears it was never a target but an aspiration –

      A BTOpenreach Spokeswoman told ISPreview.co.uk:

      “This figure was provided many years ago and was always an estimate as opposed to a firm target. It is far less relevant today given we’ve doubled the speeds available via FTTC”

      taken from this article http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/04/bt-abandons-native-uk-fttp-broadband-rollout-for-fttpod-and-fttc.html

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Oh i see so in future we know any figure BT care to spout is utter crap which will be redacted later when they can not reach it…. Thats what i thought.

  6. Avatar four_eyes

    The BT cowboys at so called work wonder how long it lasts before problems as the vdsl is rubbish .

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Why is VDSL “rubbish”? It’s pretty short-sighted to condemn a technology in every possible situation like that, especially without any explanation whatsoever.

    • Avatar Raindrops

      Slow, expensive, unreliable, uses old technology, still creates a digital divide of some being slow some being fast, its BT. I imagine those are some of the quatumdomzillion reasons its rubbish.

  7. Avatar four_eyes

    @raindrops yes exactly what you say paying more money for old technology what has been paid over and over for and unreliable services from the BT cowboys and there ridiculous prices and isp’s “shocking” want rid of BT and there shoddy work.

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