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BDUK Confirm Extra 3.62m UK Premises Can Get Superfast Broadband

Thursday, February 18th, 2016 (10:21 am) - Score 735

The Government’s Broadband Deliver UK programme has today published its latest quarterly performance report to the end of 2015, which reveals a bit more detail about the project’s progress. Overall 3,625,369 extra premises have now benefited and can order superfast broadband, with £406,918,848 of BDUK funding spent.

The premises passed figure isn’t especially big news because the Government already announced a headline of 3.5 million at the tail end of last year (here) and the next major BDUK progress announcement might not occur until around March / April 2016, which is roughly when we’re expecting the first 90% UK coverage target for superfast broadband (24Mbps+) availability to be hit.

In the meantime we do at least have the latest performance update, which offers some additional context to those figures. Take note that the following figures exclude other major sources of public funding (councils, EU etc.) and BT / telecoms based investment, thus at present it’s only reflective of the first £530m that was allocated by the Government to BDUK Phase 1 (90% target); most of that was extracted from the BBC TV Licence Fee.

The premises passed figure used below also only reflects those able to receive superfast speeds of greater than 24Mbps. Sadly the Government do not provide an additional column in order to show the overall premises passed total, such as to include those premises receiving sub-24Mbps speeds via the new infrastructure.

bduk_broadband_performance_q4_2015

Broadly speaking the project’s progress has been reasonably good, although we note that the number of additional premises passed (coverage) in Q4 2015 comes out as +313,526, which is lower than the +406,079 added in Q3 2015.

However this does not come as a surprise because we always expected that the progress would slow down as BT’s engineers (Openreach) started to focus on connecting smaller and more rural communities, which cost more to tackle and take longer to connect.

It’s also important to note that the headline figures here are said to be cash based (i.e. when grants are made or budgets transferred). However on an accruals basis, which matches costs incurred to the timing of delivery, cumulative BDUK expenditure to end-December 2015 has been estimated as £442,599,025 and that equates to 8,191 premises covered per £million of BDUK expenditure (expenditure is higher for this because the work is said to have been delivered in advance of payment).

Separately we’ve also managed to extract a rough regional breakdown of what today’s total means for different parts of the United Kingdom; although this uses a slightly older data set than the table above and so the total will be lower than 3.625m.

Rough Regional Breakdown (Premises Passed)
North East England: More than 113,000
Yorkshire and the Humber: Almost 440,000
North West England: More than 360,000
Midlands: More than 490,000
South East England: Almost 450,000
South West England: More than 290,000
East of England: Almost 460,000

Devolved Administrations:
Scotland: Around 500,000
Northern Ireland: Around 20,000
Wales: Around 500,000

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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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8 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones

    Interesting to compare this with the Australian NBN project. It bears some comparisons (as it’s a mixture of VDSL & FTTP, although there is also fixed wireless and satellite thrown in). The produce a weekly progress report. Over roughly the same period they report about 1.7m premises for fixed & wireless (but not satellite), of which about 20% are wireless. Around 13% are new build.

    http://www.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco2/documents/nbn-rollout-metrics-110216.pdf

    http://www.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco2/documents/nbn-half-year-financial-results-2016-report.pdf

    Looking at the latest financial report, capex in the last 6 months was around 2.1bn $AUS (which is a significant increase), or rather more than £1bn. It’s not possible to make direct comparisons with BDUK funding as the NBN is set up rather like what a separated Openreach might look like if it was non-profit making state-owned organisation like NetWork Rail.

    There are some interesting figures in that it looks like the cost per premises for FTTP on “brownfield” sites is about 4,400 $AUS (£2,200), 2,700 $AUS (£1,350) for “greenfield” and 2,300 $AUD for FTTN (£1,150). It’s unclear to me how many nodes they are enabling for hybrid, but I have a suspicion that they probably have rather fewer lines per cabinet/node than in the Openreach network due to the nature of their urban development. I also think it very likely that they’ve placed nodes with an eye to g.fast (which they have been trialing), which might make that relatively high cost per premises more understandable.

    • Avatar MikeW

      Nice docs.

      It is probably not fair to look at the 1.7 million over the full life of NBNCo. V1 was going off the rails, and the political football has been kicked around somewhat.

      More recently, we can see their coverage rose by 700k over the last 3 quarters of 2015, or 230k per quarter. That compares with an average of 400k per quarter here (qualified, as being only those meeting the superfast threshold).

      Through the commercial rollout, we were averaging 1 million premises per quarter (unqualified), so the speed of rollout is definitely being affected by reduced density.

    • Avatar gerarda

      Looking at Suffolk’s SEP, the completion date of which has been put back from 2017/early 2108 to 2019 in the little over a year since the contract was signed, the speed of the rollout is set to fall much more.

    • Worth considering that some SEP contracts may balance against that by virtue of having been moved forward a year from their provisional dates.

    • Avatar gerarda

      @Mark – which ones are those?

  2. Avatar Al

    Whilst progress has been made, many of those left still have the same connection they had a decade ago. Whilst others have seen 2 speed increases to ADSL2+ and FTTC/P.

    This was the failure of the BDUK project to target coverage first rather than speed, had sped been targetted first surely we would have seen the reverse of this with slow progress to begin with instead of at the end.

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