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UPDATE Superfast Broadband Delivery UK Rollout Reaches 1.5m Premises

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 (7:59 am) - Score 899
openreach engineer stuck in a duct

The Government’s national Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, which aims to make fixed line superfast broadband (24Mbps+) connections available to 95% of people in the United Kingdom by 2017, has now helped more than 1.5 million homes and businesses to gain access to the service (up by +500K since August 2014). Superfast connections can now allegedly be taken by 80% of the UK.

The £1.7 billion project (this figure excludes any related investment from primary supplier BT and Europe) is designed to help upgrade areas that might otherwise have struggled to receive a superfast connection due to being considered not commercially viable (i.e. too expensive) for the faster connectivity.

As a result of all this the BDUK deployments, which have been almost entirely conducted by the national telecoms operator, BT (via BTOpenreach), have predominantly tended to focus on sub-urban and rural locations. Most of this additional coverage was achieved by using the operators ‘up to’ 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service, with a little 330Mbps FTTP.

Trials of newer solutions like FTTM/W (Microwave) and FTTrN are also taking place in a smaller number of areas and could benefit more people in the future.

Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary, said:

I’m delighted that the project has now reached more than 1.5 million homes and businesses, giving people much faster and reliable connections. We know how important superfast broadband is to everyone, which is exactly why we are investing £1.7bn in this remarkable project. Our transformation of the UK’s digital landscape is progressing at an incredible rate and delivering a tremendous boost to the nation’s economy as part of the Government’s long term economic plan.”

Bill Murphy, MD of BT’s Next Generation Access Division, said:

Reaching one and a half million premises ahead of schedule is a fantastic achievement, but there’s still more to do. The fibre broadband rollout is bringing really positive social and economic benefits to people all over the UK, and this programme is a great example of successful partnership between the private sector, local and national government.

BT is investing more than £3 billion of our shareholders money to plan, design and build a national network that reaches as many homes and businesses as possible. We have already reached 21 million premises and our engineers will continue working flat-out to get this technology to some of Britain’s hardest to reach communities.”

According to the Government’s press release, some 26% of all UK connections are now classified as “superfast” (up from just 6% two years ago – Ofcom data) and 40,000 additional premises are being added to the new network every week. As part of this effort BT has rolled out more than 25,000km of fibre-optic cabling and activated 8,500 Street Cabinets.

However it must be remembered that the vast majority of the total coverage for superfast connectivity was achieved through commercial investment from operators like BT and Virgin Media, with some altnet providers like Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and Cityfibre etc. also playing a smaller part.

BDUK Figures – Premises Passed by Region (30th September 2014)

NORTH EAST ENGLAND
DURHAM 23,158
NORTHUMBERLAND 25,432*
NEWCASTLE 1,978

YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER
NYNET 141,133
EAST RIDING OF YORKS 12,843
WEST YORKSHIRE 23,582
NORTH LINCS 15,138

NORTH WEST ENGLAND
CUMBRIA 54,126*
CHESHIRE 44,230*
MANCHESTER 4769*
LIVERPOOL MERSEYSIDE 19,177
LANCS 94,746*

EAST MIDLANDS
LINCOLNSHIRE 57,280*
DERBYSHIRE 12,787
LEICESTER 8625
RUTLAND 9416
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE 11,088
NORTHANTS 28,167
STAFFORDSHIRE 18,140
SHROPSHIRE 20,041
WORCESTERSHIRE 9259*
CSW 16,145

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
KENT 53,621*
SURREY 73,919
BERKSHIRE 3281
EAST SUSSEX 17,640
WEST SUSSEX 17,179
OXFORDSHIRE 20,000*
ISLE OF WIGHT 1605
HAMPSHIRE 21,400

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
GWB 24,516
DORSET 15,500*
CDS 80,000*
H&G 34,893

EAST ANGLIA
SUFFOLK 59,905*
NORFOLK 100,000*
BEDFORDSHIRE AND MILTON KEYNES 4831
CAMBRIDGESHIRE 39,104
ESSEX 9600
BUCKS&HERTS 14140

DEVOLVED NATIONS
SCOTLAND 150,000
NORTHERN IRELAND 8132
WALES 276,320

* As of end October 2014

UPDATE 1:19pm

The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme has just released some additional data, which reports that 13,870 premises are being covered per £million of BDUK expenditure up to the end of September 2014 (note: the 1.5m figure above is higher because it also includes data from the later month of October 2014).

The headline figures here are cash based (i.e. when grants are made or budgets transferred). At the end of September an additional £8,931,582 of claims were in process and waiting approval. This would increase the cumulative BDUK expenditure to £108,697,593 which would equate to 12,731 premises covered per £million of broadband delivery programme expenditure.

bduk_september_2014_data

As usual the figure above represents “superfast” (25Mbps+) premises, as opposed to an overall total of those merely reached by a Next Generation Access (NGA) capable “fibre broadband” network. In other words, the premises that are only predicted to get sub-24Mbps speeds aren’t included (we wish there was also a table to show the split).

The intention is to publish the next batch of data (up the end of December 2014) during February 2015.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. Like the Tour deFrance it is a wonderful project, must be allowed to run, but there is Omerta on the subsidies. £3bn? – the BT commercial deployment costs dropped from £2.5bn to c£1.3bn as presented to BT analysts, c60% of which is capitalised labour, the highest capitalisation rate in Europe.
    The BT rural investment is c£350m of self certified investment!
    With £1.2bn of cash subsidies available there should be a significant amount of FTTP possible but it does not look as if the future proofing refenenced in the NAO report is going in.

  2. Patrick Cosgrove

    It’s a bit like saying 50 million people are rail passengers because they live near (are ‘passed’ by) a railway station. Will the unit cost per home passed ever be set beside the unit per home connected in the ‘not so rural, rural programme? I very much doubt it.

  3. gerarda

    It would be more useful if that data also included numbers for the premises which after the investment in the cabinet still got less that 2mbps and those were likely to get between 2and 24 mbps.

    • fastman2

      Gerada

      The answer to the exam quesion is > 24 m/bps and that the number which is the answer, of course there will be others who benefit but that an answer to an unasked question

  4. Bob

    BT is planning to scrap its Wholesale unit and fold the multi-billion-pound business into Openreach, the monopoly division that controls Britain’s national telecoms infrastructure, in a move that will concern rivals who already fear its power.

    The group has appealed to Ofcom, the communications regulator, for permission for BT Wholesale, which reported sales of £2.4bn last year, to be subsumed by Openreach

  5. Mark, – is it possible to add Local Authority + EU expenditure.

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