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“Fibre Broadband” Set to Cover 3,000 Extra Premises in Merseyside

Monday, February 6th, 2017 (10:19 am) - Score 581
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The joint Merseyside Connected project with Openreach (BT) has today announced that an additional 3,000 homes and businesses in the region will be put within reach of an FTTC/P based “fibre broadband” network by the end of 2018, which is thanks to a £2 million reinvestment (clawback) boost.

The original contract, which was supported by £5.46m from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, £6m from BT and £4.4m from Europe (ERDF), already claims to have helped make faster “fibre broadband” services available to nearly 98% of local premises (i.e. around 90% within reach of “superfast” 24Mbps+ speeds). The project also reflects a partnership of five councils led by Liverpool City Council.

As a result of this work an additional 60,000 premises (via 495 new street cabinets) have so far been put within reach of the faster connectivity and today’s announcement reveals that local take-up in related areas has now hit 25%+, which under the contract means that BT must return £2 million (gainshare / clawback) of the original public investment in order to help further improve coverage.

Councillor Gary Millar, Assistant Mayor, said:

“Under its initial contract with BT, the Merseyside Connected programme receives a refund if take-up reaches a certain point. As this has been achieved, the money will be used to extend the network to areas previously outside the planned coverage area which is great news.

Investing public money in fibre broadband helps sustain our rural communities and maintains Merseyside’s competitive edge as a business destination. It also allows homeowners to do things that need a faster internet connection like accessing skills and learning, entertainment and other social connections.”

Tony Morgan, BT’s Programme Director, said:

“BT is committed to rolling out this transformational technology as far as possible and already, more than 97 per cent of homes and businesses across the county are now able to access fibre broadband.”

The extended roll-out is due to start this year and looks set to benefit areas including Knowsley Business Park, Liverpool and Sefton Docks, Birkenhead Waterfront, Wirral Waters, Wirral International Business Park, Haydock, Bootle Office Quarter, Stonebridge Cross and Edge Lane.

As usual there is a slight sting in the tail of the stated 3,000 figure because only 1,700 of those will actually be put within reach of 24Mbps+ (“superfast“) speeds and the remaining premises will get below that figure. We also noted that the project’s website has stopped loading.

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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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10 Responses
  1. Avatar Watchingtheflow...ofthecashcow

    So BT are using £2m of public funding to deliver superfast services to 1,700 homes? So that is £1,200 of public funding per home? Is this genuinely good value in the densely populated areas that are listed in the press release? Surely there are better value solutions available into these areas as they look like business parks or industrial areas that could easily have alternate solutions. Is this simply BT using the underspend or clawback to do what they want to do rather that actually getting good value coverage figures?

    • You can’t completely ignore the other 1,300 premises in that. Granted they might get below the 24Mbps level, but there should still be a fair improvement for most of those properties. Mind you it does rather depend upon how big the improvement is vs existing services.

  2. Avatar Watchingtheflow...ofthecashcow

    Agreed but how many of these premises could get service from other suppliers or why should public funding be used to deliver something that is not what the customer (either Merseyside Connected or BDUK) want? This is less about the 1,300 that are getting the casual benefits of long line VDSL and more about using claw back funding to deliver something that is not spec’d! Imagine the conversation:-
    “Can you build HS2 to Liverpool for £2m?”
    “No, but we can get half way there and build you a slow speed branch line to Wrexham?”
    “But we don’t want a line to Wrexham?”
    “Nevermind, we will build it anyway as you’re paying!”

    • Avatar MikeW

      For MC, BDUK and BT, it is an extension envisaged within the original contract, so is bound by those terms … same IA, same value-for-money requirement. It is up to BT to figure out which properties represent the best value for money.

      That also means no other bidder gets a chance. But it would probably cost something approaching the £2m for Merseyside to run a new OMR and a new tender to be able to bring someone in. Not much point in that.

  3. Avatar alan

    “As usual there is a slight sting in the tail of the stated 3,000 figure because only 1,700 of those will actually be put within reach of 24Mbps+ (“superfast“) speeds and the remaining premises will get below that figure.”

    Laughable if it was not so pathetic. Surely if its a mix and match of FTTC and FTTP everyone should easily be able to have 24+Mb.

  4. Avatar Bob

    This is where rolling out BDUK regionally is ridiculous… because 98% is covered already in Merseyside then all that remains are the really hard to reach places which is why I assume the cost is £1200 per home. Money would be better spent using this to get other areas up to 98% rather than trying to go much further in Liverpool.

    Also as watching the flow states it looks like the are a lot of business parks so a lot of them could already have private lines so this could be a complete waste of money…

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