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Surrey UK Celebrates Completion of Local Fibre Broadband Rollout

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 (3:02 pm) - Score 752
fibre broadband is here cabinet

The £35m+ Superfast Surrey project in England has announced the completion of its main deployment phase, which means that an additional 82,000 homes and businesses in the county can now gain access to BTOpenreach’s “high-speed fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network; albeit a few months later than originally planned (end of 2014).

Admittedly the Surrey scheme is less clear when it comes to clarifying what proportion will get access to “superfast” speeds (24Mbps+), although their website states that locals will be able to access “speeds in excess of 15Mbps” alongside a promise that completion of the programme, in conjunction with commercial rollouts, means that “99% of the homes and businesses in the county will be covered by a fibre broadband network“.

Highlights from the Surrey Deployment

· Around 250 miles of fibre optic cable have been laid.

· Upgraded more than 30 rural telephone exchanges across the county to high speed fibre broadband.

· Installed more than 600 green road-side street cabinets and fibre structures.

· Helped Surrey record the second highest take-up of fibre broadband in the country (this was recorded HERE as an impressive 23.6% uptake in BDUK enabled areas).

It’s worth pointing out that Surrey wasn’t allocated any additional funding as part of the Government’s recent Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) based Superfast Extension Programme (here), which suggests that their local “superfast” coverage must be close to or above the nationally required target of 95%.

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

We have been working hard to get to this tremendous milestone achievement, which has seen the communications landscape completely transformed, on time and on budget, and we are keen to do even more.

This project is boosting the local economy and helping to create and protect local jobs. Thanks to high-speed fibre broadband, companies like Yubico, can run its international operations from a 400 year-old house in one of Surrey’s oldest villages as easily as if in a high tech business park.”

Peter Martin, Surrey County Council Deputy Leader, said:

This roll out has been delivered at an amazing rate of nearly 200 homes and businesses per working day, transforming lives across the county, and making Surrey the best connected county in Britain.

Whilst celebrating this achievement, I recognise that there is still work to do to reach those remaining premises located in the more technically challenging and harder to reach places of the county. This is not, therefore, the end of the story and as a council we would like to do more.

To understand the full scope of the remaining challenge, we intend to run a further investigation known as an Open Market Review (OMR). The results will enable us to identify how to prioritise the use of any remaining funds to address issues of broadband coverage and speed across the county.”

As usual the vast majority of BT’s deployment in Surrey has been conducted using their ‘up to’ 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service, although it should be said that a few smaller areas have also benefitted from the operators 330Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) lines.

The deployments in Rutland and Cornwall have technically also reached a similar stage of completion, although more funding may be allocated to both of those in the very near future. It’s very good news to see such projects reach this stage, although we won’t be truly happy until superfast speeds reach nearly 100% right across the United Kingdom (Satellite excluded).

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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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16 Responses
  1. Paul

    “Helped Surrey record the second highest take-up of fibre broadband in the country (this was recorded HERE as an impressive 23.6% uptake in BDUK enabled areas).”

    Im shocked how poor take up is in some of the areas mentioned at that link. Surrey has done well though, shame its not consistent in other areas.

    • Steve Jones

      Many of the projects started much later than Surrey, and there’s always a lag so they might well catch up.

      One interesting thing is whether the Surrey BDUK projects has any unspent funding and what might happen to any clawback money that’s due from BT. If take-up is already 23.6%, then it can be assumed it will increase by a lot more over the 7 year life of the project and that might well release a significant amount of money. What might happen to that?

  2. GNewton

    There is nothing the celebrate here, there should have been fibre broadband ten years ago. Also, Surrey, for the most part, hasn’t even done fibre broadband in the first place, it’s mostly copper VDSL, nothing to brag about. Shame on BT!

    • Steve Jones

      You are a miserable soul aren’t you? There are about 450,000 premises in Surrey. If this had been done with FTTP it would have taken a decade or more and cost around half a billion pounds. As it is, the FTTC rollout (commercial and BDUK) has taken about one-third of that time and cost a fraction of the amount. As it is, there would have been previous little chance of getting a return on a full FTTP deployment. That’s especially the case when much of the county is covered by VM too.

      Just because people want something, it doesn’t mean there’s a viable market for it.

    • nga for all

      600 cabinets and e-side fibre is good progress. The NAO average total cost of £23K suggests only £14m of surreys contribution of £21-3m has been spent. The 3-4% of Fttp can grow and grow. A full report would be worth celebrating even more.

    • FibreFred

      “Just because people want something”

      Should read

      “Just because (some) people want something, ”

      That (some) being a minority that visit websites like this one

    • AndyH

      He’s a troll – ignore him.

    • Paul

      Excellent figure work NGA for all, it will be interesting in how the several million left will be put to use.

    • MikeW

      @nfa
      Disagree.

      Surrey went for a very high percentage coverage, so have included almost all of their difficult properties.

      Meanwhile the NAO average is not only calculated from counties aiming at a much lower percentage coverage (so they aren’t even targeting their difficult, expensive, properties), but is calculated from mid-rollout when the cheapest properties are being targeted.

      A double fail on statistics there, then.

    • Paul

      Actually that 23k as an average sounds more than generous per cabinet based on prior already invoices to both ISLIP and Iwade.
      https://br0kent3l3ph0n3.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/dcms-sacks-bduk-whistleblower-over-bt-nga-price-leak/
      “His analysis records that the average price of upgrading a street cabinet and running fibre to it in Phase 4 of Northern Ireland’s roll-out was just over £13,000. This corresponds closely to the price paid by the Kent village of Iwade for a single FTTC cabinet in what BT claimed was a commercially unviable location. Iwade’s final cabinet went live in March 2011, and Iwade parish council finance committee minutes dated 28 March 2012 report, “The long awaited invoice for £12,677 from Openreach B.T. for the installation of a broadband cabinet arrived and was paid in January, 2012.”

      That amount is also in the ballpark of estimates provided by Cumbrian MP Rory Stewart to the HoL broadband investigation. Stewart said, “We can drop the amount of money that it is going to cost the taxpayer from hundreds of thousands down to £17,000.”
      As just a little snippet of EVIDENCE of actual billed for amounts.

    • GNewton

      @Paul: Unfortunately, the so-called Commercial Confidentialty clauses has prevented FoI requests about cabinet costs being answered in many cases. But we have a lot of evidence about highly inflated costs of VDSL implementation in Essex. The taxpayers are truly ripped off here by BT!

    • MikeW

      Paul,

      That’s something of a tautology using Ian’s blog about Mike to justify a post by … well, you can guess who.

    • Paul

      Who is ever responsible for that blog it is it is FACTS.

      You can freely look up the invoicing bill quoted for iwade on the iwade village website, right here…
      http://www.iwadevillage.co.uk/ParishCouncilFinanceMinutes28thMarch2012.pdf
      Quote top of page 2 (again) “The long awaited invoice for £12,677 from Openreach B.T. for the installation of a broadband cabinet arrived and was paid in January, 2012.” EXACTLY as quoted on that blog.

      So whomever is responsible for the blog post i pointed to is 100% accurate. Unless you are saying the iwage village website and the parish council minutes of a meeting are a lie also, because you doubt the REAL figures?

  3. There is quite an impressive amount of FTTP deployments, a significant one being in and around Alfold.

    I’m still on 10mbps over VDSL2, so it’ll be interesting to see how they solve it. Everyone on my Copper DP is predicted the same speed, the copper DP south has predictions of around 20mbps, so is above he min and the DP north has FTTP.

  4. Andy Crossley

    Lies, damned lies and statistics. I live in Surrey and have “benefited from the superfast FTTP” – I can now download at 7Mbps! Wow!
    Yes I’m on fibre, but so far away from the nearest cabinet that it’s barely any better than ADSL2. I suspect there’s a lot of people living and working in Surrey in similar situations – a lot of Surrey is small villages spread out where BT have their cabinets every mile or two. If Surrey have done a good job then let’s see the statistic for the percentage of homes that can now access fibre at 24Mbps+.
    Yes it is progress, but frustrating when you’re living on the wrong part of the street.

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