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North Lincolnshire UK Begins Phase 2 BT Fibre Broadband Rollout

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 (11:06 am) - Score 762

The Northern Lincs Broadband project in England today announced that the rural village of Appleby has become one of the first to benefit from their new Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract with BT, which will expand “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) to an additional 3,400 premises.

The original contract has already put related services within reach of around 92.5% of local homes and businesses, although this figure falls to a shade below 90% for those able to receive 24Mbps+ “superfast” speeds. Overall some 31,000 additional premises have benefitted, most of which might otherwise have been left neglected by the private sector.

By comparison the second contract, which was signed last March 2015, initially touted a £1.99m investment and planned to extend “fibre broadband” coverage to 97.3% of Northern Lincolnshire by March 2017 via 76 new street cabinets.

Shortly after that a further pot of £3.1m was secured (includes “savings” made during the first contract), which they said would “take superfast to over 99% of the area“. But today’s update indicates that the completion of phase two has also been pushed back into 2018.

Rob Waltham, Deputy Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said:

“North Lincolnshire Council is leading the way in providing high speed broadband. Working with BT, we have already made the technology available to more than 31,000 premises in Northern Lincolnshire, including more than 4,000 businesses. And phase two is on track and progressing well.

We fully expect to reach 99 per cent of premises in Northern Lincolnshire by 2018, taking us beyond the government’s national target of 95 per cent.”

An interactive roll-out map can be found on the project’s website (here) and some of the first communities to benefit from the extension include Bonby, Whitton, Roxby, Eastoft, Garthorpe and Fockerby, Westwoodside, Epworth, Kirton in Lindsey and North Killingholme.

It’s worth pointing out that Quickline also have a fixed wireless broadband network covering some bits of the same areas (here), which was itself partly funded through an earlier Broadband Delivery UK Market Test Pilot. However if we recall correctly the Quickline pilot is focused on being offered into specific areas that won’t be served via the BT linked Phase 1 + 2.

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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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9 Responses
  1. Avatar NGA for all says:

    At a budget of £588 per premise passed, would it be cheaper to do FTTP for the initial amount of demand? FoD or FTTPdp is likely to be needed as well so at what point does the cabinet make no sense?
    If the underspends, clawback and BT capital are all beginning to emerge, then you can prepare for a full transition in the most difficult to serve areas.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      Perhaps you aren’t aware that, in areas where FTTC becomes more expensive than the norm, FTTP also becomes more expensive than the norm too?

      If the BSG report is to be believed, FTTP costs grow (relative to the FTTP norm) at a slightly higher rate than FTTC costs grow (relative to the FTTC norm). The worst geotypes cost around 4x the best geotypes for FTTC, while the worst cost around 5x the best for FTTP.

      Whatever money emerges from clawback and underspend will be ploughed back as additional coverage. It won’t be used to target an FTTP technology for the sake of the name.

    2. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @mikeW is that the BSG 2008/9 report? Sure, but a £40k cab passing 50 customers makes little sense if the same £40k could bring FTTP of the first 25-30 customers.
      BSG report if re-written – would report FTTC at £2.5bn not £5bn and FTTP closer to a £15bn extension to the FTTC investment.
      Sure there will be outriders at £3k a premise but there is great deal of rural FTTP being done at less than £1k per premise on the initial pass.
      As phase 1 BDUK has proved it much cheaper than originally portrayed. This may breakdown at some point but the BT capital in my opinion is yet to be inserted in any meaningful way into this process.

    3. Avatar MikeW says:

      The problem with spending £40k on FTTP is that you’re not likely to get to 25 homes. And however few you reach, you do nothing whatsoever for the other 25+.

      An FTTC cab is likely to give SF speeds to 35+, and USO speeds to almost all of the rest.

      The rules of the programme seek to maximise the number getting SF speeds, don’t forget that. This rule pretty much compels the choice of FTTC in any one location. Or forces the selection of FTTC in location X over FTTP in location Y because X gets more properties per £. Exceptions will be rare.

      All your words asking for more FTTP founder on that rule. It is a programme of catchup, not one of foresight.

      It doesn’t matter whether the BSG report is rewritten, or the BDUK cost basis changes… FTTC will still be favoured by several multiples. Things can only change when costs reach near parity while still reaching nigh on every property.

      It really doesn’t matter how nice it would be to do better.

    4. Avatar SB84 says:

      FTTP would not have been VFM to rollout, this is the reason many projects which originally had FTTP within them, have descoped it.

    5. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @MikeW – good analysis, but if you create a FTTP cluster of 25, how much to add the next? It does not take much to define a hamlet ‘FTTP’ ready even if it means a £200 connection fee would permit the FTTP cluster to grow.
      The cabinet is not a finishing point, but a beginning!

  2. Avatar SB84 says:

    MikeW’s analysis hits the nail firmly on the head.

    It would of course be better to have FTTP for all, but the project and others elsewhere would be far short of their superfast targets if FTTP had been rolled out as it would reach only a fraction of the premises a FTTC solution would.

    Of course FTTC is inferior to FTTP, and long line issues mean the connectivity wanes after a certain distance, but the overwhelming majority it is a good solution.

    And in the OMR responses, where any premise was ‘upgraded’ to FTTC but was unable to get 15 Meg through contract 1 upgrades, these premises were reclassified as white and re-joined the intervention area. Obviously delivering a superfast solution is not easy or quick but it does bring them back in line for a solution.

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      SB84 MikeW is of course entirely rationale, but this is a once in a 50 year project where the boundaries where they can need to pushed and fibre is taken deeper than imagined. It already is which is why we can have this discussion.

      I think a ‘fibre on demand’ product for 10-20 rural customers willing to pay a connection charge of X, would provide some elbow room on whether a cabinet gets installed or not.

      Availability is defined by an ability to place an order. Perhaps productising the community broadband offer using a fibre on demand order process would gets things going.

    2. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @SB84 – your last paragraph is a shocker. This was original remit of Fibre on Demand before the price change.

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