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Surrey UK Sees BT FTTP Broadband as Local Rollout Project Nears Completion

Monday, October 20th, 2014 (8:53 am) - Score 13,788

Sometimes the most advanced and interesting developments happen towards the end of a roll-out and that appears to be the case in Surrey (England), where one of our readers has spotted an ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) rollout finally taking place in the tiny village area of Hascombe.

The local £35m+ Superfast Surrey project looks set to join a separate scheme in Rutland (here) as becoming one of the country’s first Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) style programmes to reach completion by the end of this year, when it’s stated goal of achieving 99% BTfibre broadband” (FTTC/P) coverage is due to be achieved (note: the project’s website promises that locals will be able to access “speeds in excess of 15Mbps“).

It’s unclear precisely how many of that 99% will also receive “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) speeds, although we’d predict it to be around the required 95% mark because Surrey wasn’t allocated any additional funding as part of the Government’s recent Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) based Superfast Extension Programme (here).

In terms of progress, the Surrey scheme managed to reach an additional 42,000 local premises (half-way point) during March 2014 and in August 2014 it was reported that this had increased to 68,858. At that rate the end goal of helping an additional 80,000+ homes and business to access “fibre broadband” (99%) should be achieved on schedule.

However, as we said in the opening, sometimes some of the most interesting developments happen towards the end of a deployment. In this case one of our readers has been posting about an interesting development in the tiny community of Hascombe, which is home to just 307 people. Despite this Hascombe has its own mini BT telephone exchange, which until recently was only able to deliver basic ADSLMax (up to 8Mbps) broadband services.

But lately this situation has begun to change as BTOpenreach engineers have flocked to the area in an effort to run new fibre optic cables across local telegraph poles. A closer inspection of the labels on a fibre distribution point (dp), which is attached to one of the poles, clearly mentions FTTP (i.e. 330Mbps capable).

A spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk that they couldn’t give any more details beyond what was already known, although they agreed that the deployment was FTTP. Indeed a quick search of the local exchange confirms that both FTTC and FTTP were set to be rolled out in the area by the end of September, although clearly the work is still on-going (currently nearing completion by the looks of it).

The ability to order FTTC and FTTP will afford a significant boost to locals, many of which have until recently been more use to average sync speeds of around 5Mbps. But Hascombe is by no means the only community getting FTTP broadband from BT and we’ve recently covered many similar reports from across the country. Openreach’s own list of “coming soon” areas (here) also includes quite a few locations, many of them rural, with FTTP on the schedule.

More often than not it can make more economic sense for BT to roll-out their slower ‘up to’ 80Mbps FTTC product, although this rule doesn’t follow the same for every area and we’re seeing a lot more locations where FTTP has become a viable solution; especially locations that make use of existing telegraph poles instead of underground wiring.

It’s worth remembering that the original Surrey procurement was underway some time before the BDUK framework was put in place and BT also had some competition in the procurement phase from Briskona Ltd and ETDE, which is why it’s able to complete so much earlier than other programmes where the end-date is still between 1-2 years away.

However the Government is expected to announce a third round of BDUK funding at the end of this year and we’d predict that Surrey may receive a fresh allocation in order to help it achieve 100% coverage of 24-30Mbps+ speeds by around 2020.

UPDATE 21st October 2014

A new update from BT today reveals that the service is now available to 75,500 homes and businesses across the county and has also installed its 500th street cabinet.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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