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BT Confirm North Swindon Fibre Broadband Rollout to 6,500 Premises

Thursday, June 30th, 2016 (4:15 pm) - Score 2,508
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Openreach (BT) has announced that their up to 80Mbps FTTC and 330Mbps FTTP broadband network will be extended to cover 6,500 premises in the Priory Vale part of North Swindon (Wiltshire), which should add further competition for cable operator Virgin Media and wireless ISP UKB Networks.

BT has already deployed their “ultrafast” Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology to around 500 premises in the Haydon Wick (North Swindon) and nearby Taw Hill areas (here), which was part of an initial trial. Today’s news confirms that some 1,000 of the 6,500 extra premises will also be getting access to their FTTP network.

Apparently the building work will start as soon as next month, with the service then becoming available by next Spring 2017.

Kim Mears, Openreach’s MD for Infrastructure, said:

“We’re delighted to be rolling-out fibre to every home and business in Priory Vale.

We’ve already enjoyed a very successful trial of ‘plug-and-play’ FTTP technology and now have decided to carry out further major investment to expand our superfast and ultrafast broadband networks in this area.

Having good fast connectivity to the internet is vital. It helps business to move, act and trade quickly and effectively. It enables schoolchildren to access their homework online, helps provide care for our elderly, as well as offering better access to e-commerce, social media and home entertainment. For all of these things, fast broadband is essential and Priory Vale will now be able to enjoy the benefits.”

Justin Tomlinson MP said:

“This is a fantastic and vital announcement. For years I’ve worked with fellow local residents to push for access to superfast fibre broadband and we know from the successful pilots, demand will be very, very strong. It is a credit to BT that they have worked with us to deliver this solution, a real welcome boost to our local community.”

The move represents another challenge to the local authority’s controversial £1.9m state aid supported Broadband Delivery UK contract with UKB Networks, which is rolling out a “superfast” 24Mbps+ capable 4G fixed wireless network to 19,500 premises (13,000 in rural areas) in much of the same area.

Originally the council claimed that the deal was necessary because neither of the two big operators (BT and Virgin Media) had allegedly showed much interest in upgrading the local fixed line infrastructure, although this was before Virgin went public with their major £3bn Project Lightning expansion last year.

But all of that changed earlier this month when Virgin Media confirmed a commercial plan to expand their network to another 7,000 premises in the town (they already cover around 65,000), which will also be delivered by using DOCSIS over 300Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) lines; this too is due to finish during early 2017.

On top of that we now have today’s announcement from BT, which is another commercial deployment and will place further pressure on the UKB Networks model. It’s just a shame that neither BT nor Virgin seemed able to do all this a few years ago.

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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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47 Responses
  1. Avatar CraigT

    You wait 10 years for any kind of decent internet service … then three come along all at one, offering some kind fit for purpose next generation connectivity – OMFG some it may even be ‘ultrafast’ aka real-fibre-to-the-premises. Real competition seems to work!

    A level playing field for alternative operators and private capital can actually change the status quo in this country …

  2. Avatar DTMark

    So when this was first reported on here – that a wireless network was going to be built, I posited that the residents would still be getting VDSL anyway; BT would fund it themselves. And so it appears.

    Depending on what BT wanted their ‘partner’ at the LA to pay versus what they’ve paid to the wireless operator (which is presumably a lot less) this would seem to be a cheaper way of getting fixed-line to those residents. By paying someone else to put in a network creating competition.

    This is all making the BDUK farce look really very silly. There was never the need to throw taxpayers’ money at solutions. There was always another way.

  3. Avatar wirelesspacman

    “It is a credit to BT that they have worked with us to deliver this solution”

    AKA: It is a credit to BT that, having tried and failed to fleece the county council and/or BDUK out of millions to do what they would have done anyway they are now doing it!

    IF BT really felt that there was no commercial case without competition, then do they REALLY expect us to believe that the presence of (new) competition makes it all suddenly viable???

  4. Avatar fastman

    actually don’t this that area had BDUK also the trial recently around FTTP (trial took place in February) has enabled premises to be deployed in a different way

  5. Avatar Colin

    Well said both DTMark and Wirelesspacman this is another example of BT trying to nab consumers which would had been heading elsewhere.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Consumers of Sky, Talktalk and the 100 other ISPs.

    • Avatar karl

      No in this case VM who Wireless UKB who are heading there first. With BT later to the party slithering like a snake to steal the custom.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Karl
      Actually IIRC BT began delivery first (in Hayden Wick), UK Broadband has some coverage now in parts of Swindon and VM, having announced after the other two, will be delivering additional coverage last. The announcement from BT in this story is of an extension to its previously announced coverage.

      Hope that clears things up for you, noting no childish language was required in doing so!

    • Avatar karl

      try reading the last 3 paragraphs of the news item.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Karl
      I have, unfortunately these three paragraphs do not reference the early announcement from BT covering the Hayden Wick area.

    • Avatar karl

      Feel free to point to BTs actual announcements and notify the staff member here they have the facts wrong in their news item then… Though i doubt you can or will be doing that.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Karl
      Well, how about this item from February?

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/02/bt-trial-exchange-based-fttp-broadband-with-500-homes-in-swindon.html

      There are others on here if you could be bothered to do a simple search.

      Hope that clears things up for you.

    • Avatar Colin

      Different area dunno what that link is spose to show

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Colin
      These are all areas in the borough of Swindon.

    • Avatar karl

      Swindon is 71 miles and you think that makes it the same area???

    • Avatar karl

      Not to mention if a trial in an area = interest in rolling that product out there, then i guess they have wasted a hell of a lot of time with FTTP which never even made it to half the places they trialed it.

  6. Avatar AndyH

    I see the BT trolls are out in force again.

    From what I see, there was an OMR for superfast broadband delivery to Priory Vale back in 2014 – http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/09/swindon-council-agree-deploy-superfast-broadband.html

    I don’t see what BT have done wrong here. Clearly BT submitted their bid for the area before VM announced the deployment of Project Lightening.

    • Avatar wirelesspacman

      The issue here is that BT basically stated in the OMR that the area was uneconomic. There was thus a tender using BDUK etc funds. UKB bid for and won the contract (BT did not even bid as far as I have heard, and VM “threatened” that they would not do anything commercial in an area where BDUK money was being deployed). However, now UKB has started deployment, both BT and VM have miraculously both changed their minds.

    • Avatar karl

      Exactly, and how is it trolling to point out BT are once again trying to pinch customers acting like a spoilt brat that didn’t get its pocket money so now it wants to make life hell for those that did.

    • Avatar Oggy

      It is hilarious, we are told that competition is a good thing but it appears that some are of the opinion that is only the case where BT aren’t involved.

      Openreach doing work here opens it up to many more ISPs than if it was just Virgin and UKB involved.

    • Avatar karl

      “we are told that competition is a good thing”

      Who tells us this?

      “Openreach doing work here opens it up to many more ISPs than if it was just Virgin and UKB involved.”

      Ah right now i got it.

      You mean like a new shopping centre putting small local shops out of business and the national and internal businesses saying “competition is a good thing” right before the small businesses die and the high street becomes a baron waste land.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @wirelesspacman

      “The issue here is that BT basically stated in the OMR that the area was uneconomic. There was thus a tender using BDUK etc funds.”

      I doubt any of us know whether BT even responded to the OMR, let alone what its response contained, ditto all other operators. No company is obliged to respond to an OMR, so comments here on how any operator responded is just speculation.

    • Avatar Oggy

      So you’d prefer a monopoly then Karl?

    • Avatar karl

      Huh what!!! The BT Group of which Openreach are a part and you are endorsing and praising are a monopoly as defined by Ofcom. So no its not me that would sooner have a monopoly its clearly you.

    • Avatar Oggy

      By wanting the availability of as many ISPs as possible offering their services I’m in favour of a monopoly?

      That doesn’t seem to make sense Karl. Do you want to try again?

    • Avatar Colin

      You want them all to depend on 1 network operator… Do you want to try and think first?

    • Avatar karl

      He obviously did not comprehend the shop example either.

    • Avatar Oggy

      No Col, I’m happy for the availability of multiple network providers.

      How many ISPs buy wholesale from Virgin and use their network to offer to to their own customers? How many do it from UKB? How many do the same from Openreach?

      It should be relatively easy for you and Karl to answer the first 2 questions. The 3rd might be a bit more difficult due to the much large number.

    • Avatar karl

      “No Col, I’m happy for the availability of multiple network providers.”

      You do not have that. You have companies selling access (or provision hence them being called ISPs) to a single network provided to them by Openreache.

      As to the 3 questions as explained already VM and UKB are not monopolies that is why they can sell to as many or as few as they like. BT is a monopoly and that is why they do not have that choice. Take it up with Ofcom if unhappy that is their decision and no doubt they know more about it than you. Who you think is a monopoly is irreverent.

    • Avatar Oggy

      “You do not have that. You have companies selling access (or provision hence them being called ISPs) to a single network provided to them by Openreach.”

      In this area Virgin and UKB already operate networks. That means that multiple networks are available Karl and I don’t see an issue with another one which allows many other ISPs to offer their services.

      If the services provided by Virgin and UKB are as good as they will no doubt claim then their existing customers won’t want to leave them.

    • Avatar karl

      “In this area Virgin and UKB already operate networks. That means that multiple networks are available Karl and I don’t see an issue with another one which allows many other ISPs to offer their services.

      If the services provided by Virgin and UKB are as good as they will no doubt claim then their existing customers won’t want to leave them.”

      Rubbish again, see the prior shopping centre example. http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/06/bt-unveils-north-swindon-fibre-broadband-rollout-6500-premises.html#comment-167675

      Quality of product factors little into many people decisions when buying just about anything today and certainly is not the number one driver. Price comes first, if it did not then we would all still have Milkmen and the majority of the country would still buy meat from a local butchers. Instead people now go to the supermarket, not because its better but cheaper.

      BT are no different, they are far from the best ISP in the UK (though no doubt you will try to tell us they are) although they are the biggest. UKB i seriously doubt have the budget to spend on various TV advert campaigns making nonsense claims about wifi and hiring washed up celebs like BT. Virgins top end packages likewise are priced (more realistically IMO) 20+% higher than BTs top FTTC.

      Thats before we even get into the 1.9m of tax payer cash given to UKB only for BT to make a mockery of that and suddenly roll out a product in the same small area they operate. (same goes for VM in that regard although Swindon as a whole rather than small pockets of it was always on their project lightning list).

      You cant have competition on an unlevel playing ground. NO doubt BT will also have some poster campaign or leaflet through the door telling everyone in the area they are better than wireless with no proof whatsoever how good or bad UKBs services are.

      Much in the same manner going full circle back the to the shopping centre example, they make wild claims in adverts about the high quality of their beef, but then end up selling you a load of horse meat. No doubt though thats still a “quality” issue and the big boy in your mind is better or in fair competition with the little guy eh?

      Go learn what a monopoly really is before we continue this nonsense.

    • Avatar Oggy

      Don’t attempt to talk down to me karl.

      I presume that as opposed to “shopping centre” you actually meant “supermarket”? I’ll presume that as if you meant “shopping centre” then these local businesses that you referred to would be able to move into the “shopping centre”.

      I’ve not made any comment on this conversation on how good, or bad, BT Retail are an an ISP because BT Retail have absolutely nothing to do with this conversation. Unfortunately you don’t seem to see that and you are attempting to muddy the waters.

      If people go by price instead of quality then more fool them.

      As for people using a supermarket over a plethora of other shops, it is the convenience factor for most people than takes them there so they can get everything under one roof.

      I want as many people to have the option of as many networks as possible. You, on the other hand, seem to want to limit people in this area to the option of a tiny number of ISPs who can provide fast speeds. You need to ask yourself why you want to limit the number of available ISPs to such a small amount in this area Karl.

    • Avatar karl

      “I presume that as opposed to “shopping centre” you actually meant “supermarket”? I’ll presume that as if you meant “shopping centre” then these local businesses that you referred to would be able to move into the “shopping centre”.”

      NO i meant shopping centre, now you can go look up which conglomerates own many of them. Oh and NO local business do not move into many of them because prices to rent are set deliberately high to keep them away from their retail chain interests which inhabbit them.

      “I’ve not made any comment on this conversation on how good, or bad, BT Retail are an an ISP because BT Retail have absolutely nothing to do with this conversation. Unfortunately you don’t seem to see that and you are attempting to muddy the waters.”

      Not at all, ive simply pointed out BT are a monopoly as defined in law by Ofcom the others you think are monopolies are not.

      “If people go by price instead of quality then more fool them.”

      The planet is full of fools then otherwise budget pound shops, and the likes of Aldi which have sprung up would not be doing so well.

      “As for people using a supermarket over a plethora of other shops, it is the convenience factor for most people than takes them there so they can get everything under one roof.”

      No… That is what it used to be, now people not only want the convenience factor but its got to be cheap also.

      “I want as many people to have the option of as many networks as possible. You, on the other hand, seem to want to limit people in this area to the option of a tiny number of ISPs who can provide fast speeds. You need to ask yourself why you want to limit the number of available ISPs to such a small amount in this area Karl.”

      So if 1000 providers all said tomorrow we will provide area x with broadband as long as BT are not allowed you would still be in favour would you? I do not want to limit people i would want to limit funding to organisations though that deliberately try to go and steal trade and overbuild in areas where BDUK have funded another organisation. I find underhanded business and what is ultimately waste of public finances far more disgusting than as you put it limiting peoples broadband supplier choice. Its not the first time BT have waiting for someone else to start a network build and then turned up and started basically overbuilding in the area either. Choice is not always a good thing, i like food and eating out, i would not want to look through a dictionary thick sized menu though. And thats what BT with its recognised brand rely on.

      Also as pointed out BT coming to the area basically equate to only ONE additional network in that area, it does not matter if you have a choice of 100 ISPs if they are all using the same network supplier if network choice (as you keep saying) rather than provider choice is important. I think and i am not trying to be rude you are confusing network operator with ISPs.

  7. Avatar AndyH

    @ wirelesspacman – You have a source for this? Where did BT state it was uneconomic? This seems to paint a different picture – http://www.swindonconservatives.com/yes-super-fast-broadband-priory-vale/

  8. Avatar fastman

    krl not sure who you are — or whether you were someone else – Probably – but some of your comments / not worth responding to however – customers acting like a spoilt brat that didn’t get its pocket money so now it wants to make life hell for those that did.

    The business has invested somewhere north of 3.5 – 4bm !!!! in Fibre broadband 1!!! in the last 5 years —

    • Avatar Colin

      I think hes referring to the fact BT did nothing for years until a wireless supplier and Virgin showed up.

    • Avatar karl

      Oh no come on lets believe the BT myth peddling machine…. It only took BT 5 years to decide they did want to do the area, its nothing at all with trying to muscle in on others business at all 😉

  9. Avatar fastman

    karl actiually if you read anything of substance and looked around the recent Stuff around FTTP – you will note the number of premises deployed in the the former unebabled exchange of Haydon Wick in a very short timescale — one of the major thing that determines commerciality in any business is how much does it cost to deploy / make / build and what margin can you make on it — if you can deliver / buld it faster and cheaper that fundamentally changes your commercials !!!! whatever business you are in

    • Avatar karl

      Not sure how FTTP comes into this… UKB and VM were here first BT then started, that simple.

  10. Avatar fastman

    why does that not surprise me – VM were not in Haydon Wick

  11. Avatar fastman

    500 premises is 500 premises

  12. Avatar Ameldan

    Can someone please confirm – Is this article actually confirming that fibre broadband is being made available for all users connected to the Haydon Wick exchange?

  13. Avatar Ameldan

    So its possible that Haydon Wick exchange could only allow some customers fibre broadand? I thought once the conversion was made anyone connected could order it.

  14. Avatar Ameldan

    Well, after speaking to an engineer yesterday I do know that cabinet 43 and 44 are now fibre enabled. He said that they will probably be made available for orders early next year.

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