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6200 Extra Staffordshire Premises to Get “Fibre Broadband” Under BT Deal

Monday, December 12th, 2016 (1:37 pm) - Score 671

The Superfast Staffordshire project in the West Midlands of England has signed a new £5.1 million deal with BTOpenreach, which will expand the local coverage of their “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to an additional 6,200 homes and businesses.

At present the Staffordshire County Council already hopes that their joint project with BT, which is supported by the Government’s national Broadband Delivery UK programme, will expand the coverage of “fibre broadband” to 97% of local premises by the end of 2017 (note: this equates to 95% being able to access “superfast” speeds of 24Mbps+).

Significant progress has already been made and in February 2016 we were informed that 90% of premises in the county could now order a superfast broadband (24Mbps+) service (here). Since then the level of 24Mbps+ capable coverage has risen to 93% and overall some 90,000 premises have benefited from the programme (465,000 if you include the separate commercial deployments).

The good news is that another contract has just been signed, which will follow on from the current goal and aims to add an additional 6,200 premises to the total via upgrades or infill around 40 additional communities (initial details below). All of this should push the coverage goal for “superfast broadband” up slightly from 95% in 2017 to 96% by the end of 2018.

Cllr ark Winnington, Staffordshire Economic Growth Leader, said:

“The Superfast Staffordshire programme has made a huge difference to people and businesses across the county in 2016. They are better connected and able to access greater opportunities. As we head into 2017, these expansion plans are great news for some of our most rural communities.

However, we recognise there is still more work to be done to enable the final four per cent of premises to benefit. That’s why we have launched a funding support programme to compliment the BT Community Fibre Partnership scheme. This allows Superfast Staffordshire to co-invest along with communities that are seeking to undertake a co-funded project. We want to hear from communities who are interested in following in the footsteps of Cotwalton – the first to pilot this approach with us.”

Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for the West Midlands, said:

“Around 472,000 households and businesses across the county can now access superfast fibre broadband as a result of Superfast Staffordshire and additional private sector investment by companies like BT.

Whether you’re working from home, doing homework or online shopping, everything is easier and faster with fibre broadband.”

The original contract had a total value of £27 million (£7.44m from the council, £7.44m from BDUK and £12.47m from BT), while the new contract is valued at £5.1 million; this includes £2.4m from BT clawback in the Phase 1 contract (due to high take-up that has now reached 30% in the county), plus £1.6m from unallocated funding combined with cost efficiency savings during contract 1 and an additional £1.4m Capex from BT.

This may be the last direct extension contract for Staffordshire, with BT hinting that future expansion work in the county (i.e. beyond the 96% “superfast” mark) is likely to involve a mix of their co-funded Community Fibre Partnerships (so far 95 communities or 18,000 UK premises have benefited from these) and alternative network technologies / providers. This is one of the reasons why the Government has been improving its support for altnets.

The upgrade work for this next contract will take place during 2017 and the first half of 2018, with the following areas expected to benefit.

Staffordshire Fibre Coverage (Areas for the 6,200 Extra Premises)
Alsagers Bank
Baldwin’s Gate
Heritage Park
Church Leigh
Lower Leigh
Halfpenny Green
Gospel Ash
Codsall Wood
Prospect Village

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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. Steve Jones says:

    In reality the claw-back money is public money too, so that amounts to £4m of public money in this contract, which means gap funding per premises passed of £645.

    The original contract had £14.88m of gap funding. As there was £2.4m of clawback and £1.6m of savings, that means the actual gap funding for phase 1 was £10.88m for 90,000 properties. That means £121 per premises passed (originally £165 before clawback and savings). Or, put another way, £403 per premises that have taken it up. That will surely go down as takeup increases.

    This new contract increases gap funding to £645 per premises and, presumably, is a reflection on the much higher costs of this new batch and, I assume, might reflect some FTTP. However, I see that some pure fibre projects have been receiving gap funding up to about £1.7k per premises passed, so it surely still includes a lot of FTTC.

    It is nice to see these figures crystalised as I’m only to familiar with a certain individual claiming that there’s a huge amount of missing BT capex still to be received. I for one think this is how it was anticipated the BDUL projects and their re-investment funds would be used (if the local project decided so to do).

    nb. premises is the singular of premises. I notice some people think it’s premise, quite a different word…

    1. NGA for all says:

      Steve, overall it is a huge engineering achievement. BT looks to have invested in more than 850 cabinets without subsidy, and the subsidised ones which all done will exceed 520.

      It is good the numbers are crystallising and the sum paid approximates £121 per premise passed. I remain of the view that BT capital of about £70 per premise(s) passed is owed, and this is part of the £358m. The clawback so far is from the £127m not the £292m now in BT accounts so there is much more to come back.

      The difference in our view is that of a total average cost of allowable costs of circa £28,000 as BT used at CMS and in excess of £40k as I think must be your view.

      So called ‘other’ costs will be miniscule given BT had already constructed its GEA network for more than 850 cabs in the area.

      We need to understand if there an investment account with the capital owed, given the subsidy budgets permitted all invoices presented to be paid without the need in my opinion for BT capital.

      I hope more FTTP can planned for all the business parks and SME’s with the monies owed.

      Either way it should be easy to resolve but there is much to celebrate and build upon.

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