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Cheshire UK Secures GBP3.4m Clawback Boost for Better Broadband

Friday, November 13th, 2015 (7:50 am) - Score 404

The county of Cheshire in England, specifically the Connecting Cheshire project that is working to deploy “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) services to reach the vast majority of the region by summer 2017, has confirmed that clawback from BT will return £3.4m to help further boost coverage.

At present the existing scheme consists of two primary phases. The first phase is working to extend the faster network to “around” 96% of local premises across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington by the end of 2015 (note: this is now likely to complete during early spring 2016). The second phase (here) will then extend to an additional 10,000 premises by summer 2017 (98% coverage).

The good news is that some additional funding for a future phase three deployment, which will be used to close any remaining gaps, has now surfaced thanks to £3.4 million being secured through Clawback (gain share). The clawback mechanism in related Broadband Delivery UK contracts requires BTOpenreach to return part of the investment when take-up of the new service passes beyond the 20% mark and this is said to be worth up to £129m across the United Kingdom (£157m in BT’s Q2 quarterly results).

Many of the Government’s BDUK projects have already confirmed their clawback levels and so Cheshire is a bit late to the party, but that’s normal as all of the contracts are running at different stages and in any case the Government has yet to announce their own commitment for Phase 3.

Steve Edwards, BT Group Director for NGA, said:

The fibre broadband roll-out is a real success story, and we’re delighted to be able to share that success with Cheshire by making £3.4 million available to help connect some of the hardest to reach homes and businesses. The open network being rolled out brings real choice to communities, who are able to choose from a wide range of internet service providers, and this is helping to drive take-up which is key to the programme’s future.”

David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, said:

This is great news for Cheshire and a reflection of how many homes and businesses are upgrading to faster broadband; this additional investment will allow us to reach further towards 100 per cent fibre coverage, particularly in our rural areas, where the lowest speeds are most prevalent.

It’s good to see the local authority talking about reaching 100% “fibre coverage” as many other BDUK schemes seem more comfortable to leave the final 1% or so at the mercy of inferior Satellite services, although there does remain an important question mark over what proportion of that 100% will actually be able to receive “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) speeds.

No doubt Cheshire will be in a better position to talk about Phase 3 later next year, after the Government have clarified their plans for the final 5%.

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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.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Jono says:

    My cab went live few weeks ago, went from 2mbit to 80mbit. Shame I had to wait so long but its made such a difference.

  2. Paper Boy says:

    Bro-in-law will be pleased – he’s less than a mile from downtown E. Port – I think his is the only cabinet on the exchange not done (because it was built after the programme was started – makes you wonder why BT didn’t do it as they installed the cabinet, but it is BT we’re talking about here)

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