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Superfast Broadband Coming to 3,000 Extra Worcestershire UK Premises

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 (7:55 am) - Score 495
worcestershire uk broadband

The Superfast Worcestershire (England) project with BT (Openreach), which is currently working to make “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) services available to “more than” 95% of the county in 2017, has announced that an extra 3,000 premises will benefit from a £3.7 million expansion.

At present around 92% of local homes and businesses in Worcestershire have already been put within reach of a “superfast” (FTTC/P) network, which reflects a raw “fibre” footprint of 96% when including sub-24Mbps areas. As part of that the above programme has helped to expand related FTTC/P networks to an additional 62,579 premises (51,500 if only counting those able to receive 24Mbps+) with support from public investment.

The good news is that an additional 3,000 premises have now been added to the future roll-out plan via a £3.7 million expansion. Most of this is actually reinvestment from the first phase of deployment, which requires BT to return some of the public money as a result of high take-up (gainshare / clawback), plus any efficiency savings. Take-up of the service in related areas has already reached 40%.

We should point out that BT also claims to have invested some of its own private money into this latest expansion, although they don’t state a specific figure. The upgrade work is expected to begin in 2017 (probably around when the existing contract completes) and will then take approximately 18 months to finish.

Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for Worcestershire, said:

“Around 248,000 households and businesses across the county can now access superfast fibre broadband as a result of Superfast Worcestershire and private sector investment by companies like BT – and we are determined to go further. BT is committed to making superfast broadband as widely available as possible.

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

Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, said:

“The Superfast Worcestershire partnership has made a huge difference to people and businesses across the county. They are better connected and able to access greater opportunities. Now, the partnership is taking superfast coverage even further than we had originally envisaged. This latest announcement shows the commitment of the partnership to ensuring that Worcestershire is connected. It is great news that more people will be able to benefit from the new communications technology that is often taken for granted by those who already have access to superfast speeds.”

The coverage map on the project’s website has already been updated with Openreach’s tentative roll-out plan for the latest expansion, which should include parts of Wickhamford, Throckmorton, Wick, Heightington, Teme Valley including Eardiston and Stockton on Teme, Holt Fleet, Shelsley Beauchamp and Berrow Green.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones

    That’s quite a steep contribution at over £1.2k per household.

    • Avatar MikeW

      Going from 96% to 97% is an expensive business…

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      Gigaclear are doing it for rather less, but with a lot more private investment. Presumably this is down to a different commercial model (like not fragmenting revenue with retail operators) and the willingness to take more risks. It will be interesting to see if it works out for them,. Unfortunately their accounts don’t seem to be available any more. I seem to recall when they were they were burning through a lot of cash, which is what you’d expect at this stage.

      In any event, and increasingly expensive job to cover the outliers. I wonder just where we would be if those who favoured the “outside in” approach had won out. Presumably we’d have something like 1m premises, and not 4.3m premises passed. The revenues would have been much lower, with much less gainshare money for reinvestment/

    • Avatar NGA for all

      Steve, Inside out is fine but the reporting is poor. 4.3m (28,000 cabinets) of >24Mbps translates into over 6m premises connected to these cabinets (count on BT Wholesale stats (DEC 2016), but there is a significant overbuild and TBB have reported that there is 533k more passed who cannot get the nominal 24Mbps.

      There are also another 7,500 cabinets/engineering areas in progress which will add to the achievement and much of this is likely to be FTTP. This needs to be understood and applauded.

      Better still there already looks to be 300k of FTTP within this, which is proportionally a big number and it can grow significantly.

      There is also now a £325m (and counting) Capital Deferral in BT’s accounts, against £922m state aid receipts (DEC 2016), which if converted into FTTP rural would have a significant impact on the UK’s ambition.

      If the story was fully told, then the full potential would be understood. It was within and remains within BT’s gift to present a more ambitious plan rather treating BDUK like a NHS contract.

      The future position of FoD is critical for UK in-fill, the final definition of the BUSO and the absorption of capital deferrals which need to continue to grow. It may be necessary to convert the Capital Deferral into a B USO fund given its final scale.

      Quoting 4.3m >24Mbps understates the total amount subsidised (6m passed) including VM overbuild but it also ignores the in-fill now needed – 533k (TBB). It does not lessen the engineering achievement by seeking to state it more accurately, but it ought to help keeping the monies in place so more can be done.

      Less palatable but relevant is the number of commercial cabinets and premises passed. That once again will reinforce the view that the capital deferral will need to keep growing as a significant amount of the 6m passed were in large urban exchanges (1.8m) and these monies need to be returned if not yet counted in the £325m. These are a good test for the application of the gap funding principle.

      Inside out is good as long as the in-fill is completed and those excluded are not set aside and forgotten.

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