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5,000 Extra Premises in Wiltshire UK to Get “Fibre Broadband”

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 (1:21 pm) - Score 549

A second £2.8 million extension of the existing Wiltshire Online project has been announced that will see Openreach (BT) roll-out their faster “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to an additional 5,000 homes and businesses in the county. But the 24Mbps+ coverage target remains unclear.

At present around 90% of Wiltshire (England) can already access a “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) network. The local state aid / Broadband Delivery UK backed Wiltshire Online scheme has played a significant role in that by working with Openreach to expand their FTTC/P based network to an additional 83,000 premises in the county.

The on-going effort was given a big boost in September 2015 when the local authority agreed to a £3.86 million extension deal with Openreach (£2.46m from BDUK, £0.5m from Wiltshire Council and £0.9m from BT), which would expand the service to an additional 5,000 premises (here).

However BT has today announced that a further 5,000 premises will soon benefit from what appears to be a second £2.8 million extension deal, with the extra funding coming from clawback in the original contract (i.e. reinvestment of public money following high take-up of FTTC/P).

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council Deputy Leader, said:

“Wiltshire is a great place to do business and having fibre broadband to match means more people can now benefit from the right technology in a fast paced world. We are working hard towards 100 percent coverage across Wiltshire.

I’m delighted that more homes and businesses will now have broadband which will make such a positive difference to people’s business and home lives.”

Richard Leeding, BT’s Programme Manager, said:

“This extension is great news for those communities in Wiltshire not included in the current fibre roll-out programme.

Superfast broadband has a huge impact on the way we live. It helps business to move, act and trade quickly and effectively. It enables school children to access their homework online, as well as offering households better access to e-commerce, essential online services, social media and home entertainment. For all of these things, superfast broadband is a huge boost.”

Sadly the announcement doesn’t offer any indication of time-scale for the latest roll-out, although we suspect that it may form part of the existing Phase 2 contract with BT and if so then the aim will be to complete the extra deployment by the end of 2017.

Similarly we’re unclear as to what level of “superfast broadband” coverage will be delivered at the completion of this latest extension, although they’ll no doubt be aiming for something around the 95% mark as that is what the Government were aiming for under BDUK Phase 2.

Never the less today’s announcement will still leave quite a big gap left to resolve. According to the Wiltshire Council’s latest Public Consultation, some 23,000 premises still need help to access superfast connectivity and this could even reach 33,000 if the premises that are currently marked as being “Under Review” for inclusion into the roll-out cannot be reached.

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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.
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