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UPDATE More Dorset UK Homes to Receive Superfast Broadband

Monday, June 1st, 2015 (12:02 pm) - Score 545
openreach bt engineers struggle with fttc broadband cabinet

The Superfast Dorset scheme in southern England, which is already working with BT to make faster “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) services available to 97% of local premises by the end of 2016 (95.6% will get “superfast” speeds of 24Mbps+), has today signed a Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract that will push close to universal coverage.

The original project was funded by £12.87m from BT, £9.44m from the local authorities and a further £9.44m from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) budget. The Dorset councils also invested a further £1.3m to make sure the benefits of the network are maximised and encourage uptake.

Since then BTOpenreach has already made the faster service available to 40,000 additional premises (homes and businesses) and upgraded 25 telephone exchanges areas (152 street cabinets have also been built), which might have otherwise been left neglected due to being considered “commercially unviable” for an upgrade by the big operators. Take-up in related areas has also reached 12.9% and continues to rise.

Interestingly the SEP contracts were only designed to help local authorities push superfast broadband (24Mbps+) speeds to 95% by 2017 and Dorset’s existing contract already appears to be heading in that direction, which means that the new deal should push the coverage even closer towards the magic universal level (100%).

Unfortunately we’ll have to wait for the official press release to emerge in order to learn the specific coverage aims for this Phase 2 SEP contract, but in the meantime it has been confirmed that the contract is signed and the BDUK programme will contribute £1,300,821 of public funding towards it (this is almost double the £770,000 that was originally allocated to the contract). The council can be expected to match this figure with funding of its own (total of around £2.6m) and then BT may also contribute.

Overall, including BT’s separately commercial deployments, around 300,000 premises in Dorset should now be able to access a “fibre broadband” service and today’s deal means that this figure will continue to rise until around 2018 or possibly later. The Dorset project, unlike others, also has a fairly useful coverage map.

UPDATE 15th June 2015

It’s now been confirmed that the council has indeed matched the £1.3m from BDUK and on top of that BT will contribute £400,000 (total contract value of £3 million), which will put the service within reach of another 3,000 premises across 50 Dorset communities by early 2018 (e.g. Bloxworth, Glanvilles Wooton, Swyre and Uploders).

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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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