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County Broadband Bring 1Gbps FTTP Network to Rural Homes in Broughton

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 (12:24 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 572)
broughton_john_henry_group_fttp

Alternative network provider County Broadband has contracted the John Henry Group to deploy a new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network in the rural Cambridgeshire village of Broughton, which has for many years been forced to suffer sub-2Mbps ADSL speeds.

The deployment, which already claims to have gathered initial sign-ups from 60 of the 90 local premises in Broughton and has been funded by private investment, is understood to be a 10 year project and the roll-out phase has already reached School Road (credits to the John Henry Group, who kindly sent us the picture and some other details).

A quick check of local postcodes confirms that the current situation is pretty dire, although Openreach’s (BT) website does perhaps misleadingly suggest that the local street cabinet has been “enabled for Superfast fibre“. In fact that cabinet is situated in Warboys, which is a 3 mile drive away and thus not able to deliver superfast broadband to homes and businesses in Broughton.

Lloyd Felton, MD of County Broadband, said:

“It’s all about matching the company to the market. You have to look at Broughton as a village of approximately 90 houses, it’s a big investment, and quite frankly if you’re a major corporate company you’d probably just look straight past Broughton and look for the higher urban dense areas where you’re going to get a much bigger return on your investment.

You’ve got to look at companies that can take a longer term view of the investment being made. The investment in Broughton is a 10 year project and it’s very hard to raise money for projects like that … our business model is exactly focused in this market.”

Interestingly Lloyd now expects that their development in the village will “without doubt” result in bigger competitors taking a second look at the area and indeed we’ve seen that happen in other locations where altnets have deployed, which often prompts the big boys like BT to make a return.

A quick check of the state aid supported Connecting Cambridgeshire scheme appears to confirm that Openreach already intend to deploy an FTTP service of their own into the village (details). The last update was posted in May 2017, when the same page said, “installation of the fibre network is underway” and at the time the deployment was expected to take between 4-6 weeks.

A waste of tax payers’ money or simply more competition? Whatever your view, it’s clear that residents in one of the country’s rural slowspots are about to benefit from the kind of choice that even those in many urban areas can only dream of. Yesterday’s BBC News (Radio) for Cambridgeshire also carried a short report on the roll-out (here).

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6 Responses
  1. New_Londoner

    Interesting to see County Broadband doing this. An obvious question is what is the capacity of the backhaul? IIRC It has previously proposed 1Gbps capable FTTP connected to a single 100Mbps backhaul circuit – not an ideal network design!

    • CarlT

      Be good to get some kind of citation for their proposing 100Mb to backhaul 1Gb.

      Obviously quite different if the FTTP is ‘capable’ of a certain speed but they aren’t selling it, so a smaller backhaul is perfectly adequate.

    • New_Londoner

      @CarlT
      Fair point if not actually selling a 1Gbps product on the 1Gbps capable network, hadn’t thought of that and too long ago now to check.

  2. Jared

    10 years to pass 90 households? They must be taking really long lunch breaks 🙂

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