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UPDATE BT Hails Strong Uptake of Superfast Broadband in Cornwall UK

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 (12:01 pm) - Score 527
superfast cornwall

Telecoms giant BT has today reported that their joint £132m Superfast Cornwall project with the EU, which has already deployed the operators “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to cover around 95% of local premises (including the Isles of Scilly), has seen strong uptake by local premises with 60,000 subscribers choosing to adopt it.

At the last count in April 2014 the project had helped 210,000 premises (roughly 90% coverage) to receive the service and over 50,000 had subscribed, which means that uptake has been hovering around the 25% mark. On top of that some 62,000 of those premises were reachable by BT’s ultrafast 330Mbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

Sadly we don’t currently have the latest premises passed figure for Cornwall (awaiting a reply from BT), although given past and present progress we’d assume that the above uptake figure to still be a fairly good indication.

The Superfast Cornwall team have also surveyed 2,200 local businesses, specifically those that can access the new network, and this reveals that 43% of those were now using “fibre broadband” from a range of ISPs.

Nigel Ashcroft, Programme Director of Superfast Cornwall, said:

I’m thrilled to see that the take up by businesses is high. The roll out of fibre broadband across Cornwall is a game changer for businesses, it gives them an opportunity to become global players. Cornwall has better coverage than some cities in the EU and this research shows that our businesses are truly in the mind-set to capitalise on this opportunity.”

But the work won’t stop at 95% coverage and a report published in January 2015 revealed that approximately 38,000 premises are still expected to be below the “super-fast” 30Mbps+ capable level, of which an estimated 13,000 are also beyond the current “fibre footprint“.

Shortly after that it was confirmed that additional investment would be supplied (here and here) to bring “fibre-based superfast broadband within reach of 99% of businesses and families across the Duchy,” said Dan Rogerson, a North Cornwall MP.

The preliminary plan suggested that the follow-on programme would commence in July 2015 and aim to complete by March 2019, which is anticipated to cost around £18.747m using a mix of public and private funding sources. You can probably guess which operator will do the delivery.

UPDATE 18th March 2015

BT’s reply came in a little too late for us to post yesterday, but we understand that the premises passed figure is now 237,000.

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Mark Jackson
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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5 Responses
  1. Avatar Ben

    That’s just under 30% FTTP coverage, very good effort.

    I’m sure the correlation between good FTTP coverage and high uptake is mostly a coincidence but it surely makes some difference.

    The cabinet for our village is around 1.5km away which means (assuming 0.5mm gauge copper) most will see speeds of around 12-15Mbps while some may not even sync at all. That makes it extremely hard to justify and will likely result in horrendous uptake, nobody is going to pay an extra £10-15 /month just for a small increase in bandwidth. Offer everyone a guaranteed 80/20 or 330/30 and then it becomes a lot easier to justify.

    They also have a proper website which is actually useful, more than can be said for most BDUK projects.

  2. This is great progress. To complete the picture some visibility of the costs and an update on contributions are needed.

    If they have passed 230,000 premises and installed 1200 cabinets and the NAO are seeing average total costs of £23k including PMO, core network and BT is paying half, then this is c£27.5m for FTTC from the £132m

    62,000 reachable by FTTP!. Is £800 per reachable premise reasonable giving another £49m although e-side build will be covered by the FTTC build. Is reachable a manifold on a pole, or fibre dp, leaving the final drop cost to the customer? It would be good to get a d-side (aggregation node to DP) indicative cost per reachable customer.

    It would be good to see a financial summary on the how much of the £132m spent is veifiable.

    Cornwall CC deserve full credit and indeed BT if their contribution can be independently verified and reported.

  3. Avatar PeterM

    A question to those who can do the sums –
    How close is this project to being commercially viable? In other words could BT justify a project like this to their shareholders as part of the commercial roll out?

    • Avatar nga for all

      The generosity of the cost recovery on a hypothetical pst network suggests that if 50:50 could be verified few would argue.
      If the Fttp cost and experience could be exposed then much more Fttp could squeezed from Bduk funding. That would have good long term benefits for the UK and Openreach.

  4. Avatar Paul

    Excellent figure work as always NGA for all

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