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Openreach Community Fibre Broadband Scheme to Reach 60000 Premises

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 (11:28 am) - Score 1,797
openreach fibre broadband fttc cabinet

The Community Fibre Partnerships scheme that Openreach (BT) runs, which offers grants up to £30,000 to help co-fund the cost of upgrading an area to receive their FTTC or FTTP based “fibre broadband” network, expects to have benefited 60,000 UK premises within 12 months (currently 30,000).

The grants are generally made available to smaller or more remote rural UK communities, specifically those that don’t currently have access to an existing “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) network or which are not expected to benefit from a future roll-out of similar technology.

The setup is based around a joint funding arrangement, where Openreach covers up to three quarters of the cost of the new fibre infrastructure (provided the area includes a school) and then the community self-funds the remaining gap. The grants themselves are worth up to a maximum of £30,000 and this comes from a pot of £2 million that has been allocated by the BT Group.

Communities can also reduce their own contribution requirements by making use of government grants or local voucher schemes (e.g. the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme). Some county councils have also setup special funds in order to help provide similar financial support to local communities.

Today Openreach has announced that the 200th community to benefit from this is the rural village of Follifoot near Harrogate (North Yorkshire, England), which is home to around 580 people. Sadly we’ve not been provided with any information about the cost of this deployment, although the operator did rollout a new 76Mbps capable FTTC network to the area and 11 homes have since subscribed.

Derek Richardson, Openreach’s Programme Director (Yorkshire), said:

“This small Yorkshire community has marked a major milestone in the success of a national scheme, which is bringing superfast broadband to some of the UK’s most challenging locations. We know how important fast internet is to communities and are determined to make this exciting technology as widely available as possible.

Whether it’s streaming TV in the home, doing homework online or downloading large files in the office, superfast broadband makes doing anything online faster. With a choice of many broadband providers and the variety of services and prices they offer, the Openreach network provides real choice. It’s great to know that this new internet connection is helping to improve the quality of life for these families.

I’d appeal to any community which isn’t part of any current fibre plans to get in touch with us to see what we can do for them.”

So far the vast majority of deployments under the CFP scheme have involved slower FTTC solutions, although around 10% did opt to go with the usually more expensive “full fibreFTTP service. Of course not everybody will be happy with the idea of having to pay thousands of pounds in order for Openreach to upgrade the local broadband connectivity, which many would today regard as being nearly as important as water or electricity.

The alternative for such communities is to wait and see how the Broadband Delivery UK programme plays out in its quest to reach 98% of UK premises with 24Mbps+ broadband by 2020. Lest we forget about the Government’s proposed 10Mbps+ USO, although not everybody is always prepared to wait several more years while being stuck on stone-age broadband speeds (particularly if they fear that the end result may be an inferior Satellite connection).

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Mark Jackson

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.

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43 Responses
  1. Fastman

    The grants themselves are worth up to a maximum of £30,000 and this comes from a pot of £2 million that has been allocated by the BT Group. Froom community fibre page – where Were enabling communities in the UK not covered by fibre broadband rollout plans to apply for a grant to cover three quarters of the cost of the new fibre infrastructure, up to £30,000, if that new infrastructure serves the local school and is delivered by Openreach. So, for example, if the cost for a so called ‘gap-funded’ solution that serves a school has been quoted as £40,000, the community would pay £10,000 and £30,000 would be funded from the grant. (thet Grant is dependant on a school (or similar) being part of the scheme

    • NGA for all

      Thanks, do you use extra construction charges price list to cost the jobs, or are the costs allocated using the ‘allowable cost list’ used by BDUK? The BT contribution needs to be understood in relation to the cost model used.
      Progress is progress so salut, but integrating this work into BDUK so customers can also benefit from the state aid process and value for money processes would allow the volume to grow.
      It would also allow the FoD product to mature, with a distance based charge for the final drop.

    • Tim

      In my area the local school has fast broadband as part of the BDUK FTTC roll-out, but around 30% of the lines are EO so can’t get FTTC. We investigated the scheme, but no funding was available as it wouldn’t include the school. As the BDUK roll-out created many small pockets of properties (by design!) there aren’t enough properties in any one pocket to make the costs viable (>£5k per property). Now we are included in Gigaclear’s FTTP roll-out we have no hope of any other solution, but that isn’t due for 3 years.

    • NGA for all

      Tim – could you name the school. BT owes Gov some £477m (including early release clawback) which if applied in the planning, or if the fibre extension clauses were enforced the gaps would be filled. Is Gigaclear subsidised or private. If subsidised the taxpayer is in effect paying at least more than once.

    • AndyH

      NGA

      “BT owes Gov some £477m (including early release clawback)”

      No it does not. This is a complete fallacy and you know it.

      “It would also allow the FoD product to mature, with a distance based charge for the final drop.”

      Give it a rest with FoD. It’s a product that you do not understand and it’s not applicable to BDUK deployment.

    • Tim

      My BDUK body is Fastershire. They refused to fund any copper rearrangement where the resulting lines wouldn’t get at least 30Mbps (their interpretation of NGA speeds). So they considered it better to leave people on ADSL for another 5 years than to double or treble their speed. Personally I would have expected to have got around 20Mbps, which would have been a big improvement. BT have recently upgraded the exchange to ADSL2+ without outside funding, which has improved things somewhat. Fastershire seem happy with a Gigaclear roll-out that is due to start in 2020 and should be finished in 3 years. I’m not so happy.

    • NGA for all

      Andy H .. What is a Capital Deferral if it not money owed? It is in BT accounts. Have you no plan to convert this into coverage?
      FoD – what did the CEO of Openreach announce in April 2014? Is FoD no more than a PON extension where Copper gain does not work? How are you trying to define it if it is not this?

  2. Mike R

    Follifoot have had FTTC for around 4 years now. The cabinet also provides coverage for Follifoot School
    https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm?xid=921128&postcodeloc=24434&cabinet=P14

    I can only assume this article relates to a highly unpopulated cabinet and unlikely to have anything to do with a school, unless Openreach are even further behind with their announcements than they are with their “super fast” rollout

  3. Iolo

    Any successes in Wales? It was touted in my community, but was just too expensive.

  4. Graham Long

    The village of Combe Raleigh in Devon was up until last year included in BT Openreach’s commercial FTTC roll out around Honiton, but before the end of the CDS Phase programme BT unilaterally removed Combe Raleigh from their commercial roll out meaning they could not be included in the CDS Phase 1 programme. When Combe Raleigh was removed from BT’s commercial plans it was also after the Phase 2 OMR’s had been completed so Combe Raleigh was not included in the CDS Phase 2 programme either and today they are part of the infamous “final 5%” despite being less than half a mile from Honiton High Street. A few weeks after CDS announced their Phase 2 programme, BT’s Community Fibre Partnership offered to do what BT originally said they would do commercially if the villagers paid them £48,000. BT’s Community Fibre Parnership is nothing more that a BT money making machine and I would advise any community to stay well away from them.

    • New_Londoner

      Graham
      Presumably this “advice” would not come from you as a local Councillor, bearing in mind the issue of willfull misfeasance? In the interest of balance, no doubt you would also highlight the often significant connection charges levied by Gigaclear, far higher pricing for businesses (with no diy connection option), and monthly fees that are higher than the prevailing rates?

    • Prevailing rates are surely only useful if you can get them?

    • Fastman

      hhmm not quite true reflection of the actuals as I undertand it included enabling of PCP 13 and Building a new cabinet much closer to Comble Rayleigh (that’s not even mentioned) and this quote I think was issued close to 12 months ago — enabling pcp 13 would have enabled by any programme would have brought Zero Benefit to Combe Rayleigh

    • TheFacts

      How many properties in centre of Combe Raleigh?

  5. Happy Scott

    Graham you’re wrong. Coombe Raleigh was never in BT’s commercial plans. Following the industry I can see that many communities have willingly gone down this route even when other networks have said they will deploy there

    • Graham Long

      Combe Raleigh was included in BT’s commercial plans around Honiton and I have a map from the CDS website showing just that (before CDS took it down). I cannot post images to this discussion but I would post it if I could)

  6. TheFacts

    Coombe Raleigh is on Honiton cab 13, but too far for FTTC speeds.

  7. MikeW

    Putting the issue of what happened to Coombe Raleigh itself to one side for a moment, the matter does raise a shortcoming in the BDUK process:

    Every mention of SFBB deployments has come tagged with the “plans may change” epithet. BT, VM, Gigaclear – none of them can make a plan set in stone from day 1.

    BDUK phase 1 was ill-designed to cope with such changes. As a whole, not just Devon.

    BDUK phase 2 OMRs came with the notion of areas “at risk”, giving the project tentative approval to step in if a commercial rollout fails. Every other local authority that I’ve looked at has made use of this facility.

    Did Devon not mark this area as “at risk” in their phase 2 OMR? Did something go wrong because of the fracas over the original phase 2 project?

    Does the BDUK OMR mechanism, even with this history, still not have a way to cope with other kinds of errors or omissions?

  8. MikeW

    As for Coombe Raleigh itself…

    It seems to me that I’ve been reading stories about Coombe Raleigh, and the distance from the existing cabinet, for a long time. Certainly since before the most recent OMR happened … so someone should have known to query about whether it was at risk.

    However, would this kind of upgrade EVER have been part of a commercial rollout?

    When I compare with other local authorities, it seems clear that the kind of work needed to upgrade Coombe Raleigh (copper rearrangement, to add an AIO infill cabinet) has been left to the phase 2 upgrades, and paid for with the phase 2 subsidies. Phase 1 tended to include only adding cabinets for EO line upgrades outside the exchange building.

    The only place I’ve seen either kind of “copper rearrangement” upgrade without a subsidy has been in London, as part of the “London Extension Project”.

    That evidence suggests that, in real life, the work to upgrade lines in Coombe Raleigh would only ever has found itself in a phase 2 BDUK project.

    The village originally fell foul of being told it would be upgraded, when the real-life meaning was just that the cabinet would be upgraded (as part of the commercial rollout) … but the cab was too far away.

    If the village continued to believe they were going to be upgraded, then there was a breakdown in what they were being told. This kind of upgrade would just NEVER be done commercially.

    If anyone has let down Coombe Raleigh, I suspect it is a cross between CDS and their locally-elected representatives who have been too interested in creating a fractious atmosphere.

    • Graham Long

      As stated above CDS Phase 1 roll out maps on the CDS website clearly show Combe Raleigh as “BT Commercial Area” (before CDS took them down) – thats not miscommunication. It is fact and BT then put the area back into the intervention are pot AFTER Phase 1 was all but complete and AFTER the Phase 2 OMR was complete leaving the village up the creek without a paddle – That’s how much BT care about their customers.

    • New_Londoner

      @MikeW
      I agree with your analysis about the level of competence (or lack thereof) within the CDS project team. This appears to have been compounded by the politicians, with a distinct lack of leadership from them allowing the officers to avoid being held to account for their failings.

      As a result, the two counties are lagging behind, with residents and businesses paying the price.

    • TheFacts

      @GL – where was CDS where this was happening? I suspect there is nobody there with technical knowledge hence the problems.

      Did the initial maps show full cabinet areas and not take account of distance, CDS should have understood this?

    • NGA for all

      Ofcom’s WLA annex 8 analysis of BT’s fair bet suggests BT Commercial investment was no more than £1.5bn rather then £2.5bn. The reduction in Commercial footprint by BT has been presented to Parliament by the local authority association. It became a feature of phase 2 notifications.
      What is needed is a plan for the remainder of the Capital Deferral, which will grow and grow!
      The question might be is how blind were CDS on the status of BT’s capital contribution when making its decisions? How much more could have been completed under the initial contract? What resource constraints were applied to the Phase 1 CDS contract?

  9. Happy_with_Openreach

    We are a community of 2 villages/75 properties in Somerset. We could not access CDS pot because they excluded Openreach/BT from access to their grants. Ridiculous! Not in Gigaclear plans. But happily Openreach Community Fibre came up with a quote that was equivalent to about £500 per property and with 90% support have signed up to get FTTP. Yes, FTTP for £500 per property!

    • TheFacts

      Where are you?

    • NGA for all

      Good precedent, £500 FTTP from BT Community Broadband, can you provide a post code?

    • Happy_with_Openreach

      BA22 7EE
      Villages of Blackford & Compton Pauncefoot in South Somerset
      anyone have any idea how long it takes to install? Openreach so far indicate as ‘up to a year’. I am hoping for Easter – but maybe thats a bit optimistic?!

    • NGA for all

      Thank you. BT would need to confirm dates. Good to see. Did BT present you with a total cost including their contribution?

    • Happy_with_Openreach

      Openreach only gave us a costing for the gap – so we have no idea of their internal workings!

  10. Fastman

    nga — not a precedent at all as you are well aware but choose not to take any notice of each of these is bespoke based on what needs to be, done, where it is in relation to usable existing network, (duct or direct in ground so new pole route/Duct required) , what what premises are required in the scheme and how many there at (and how they are indviudually served

    • NGA for all

      Well congrats! Your programme appears to be applied differently in different parts of the UK. BT NI seem determined to treat FTTP in-fill as gold dust. Initial quotes designed to put people off. I assume resource is a factor.
      Are you in a position to case study this including the costing. Are you picking fibre up off the A303 or Holton?
      How much has the CDS work contributed in terms of the assets you are now using?
      Are we going to see a proposal on how that Capital Deferral could be converted into coverage?

    • Gadget

      I see many instances of where an authority has converted capital deferral into extended coverage – they are reported regularly here.

    • Happy_with_Openreach

      As far as I know these are the main points:
      1. There is fibre running along the A303 as well as a exchange connection fibre that was run only a couple of years ago between the North Cadbury Exchange & Templecombe Exchange and runs literally through our 2 villages. However (almost unbelievably) there were no junctions left in the road/ducts at that time. Surely would have cost almost nothing? I believe these days they would have a different policy and would leave junctions even if no plan to use them.
      2. So I believe they are installing another new fibre from the North Cadbury Exchange – probably cheaper than trying to joint existing live fibre? First village say 1 or 1.5 miles from exchange and next village a further mile.
      3. Will serve approx 35 houses in each village – most houses in close proximity to each other.
      4. First village needed 2 extra poles as they will not attach fibre to existing high voltage power poles these days. Other village needed no new poles.
      5. Houses will be served as now – replacing overhead or ducted copper with combined fibre/copper.
      6. From what I have seen Openreach are genuinely keen to do these deals. I think they have at last realised that if they are too expensive it will encourage other wireless or fibre solution to come into the area and then they will never get it back?
      7. So our cost about £32k for 75 properties. i.e. £500 per property.
      8. Local Connecting Devon & Somerset had rubbish rules that prevented Openreach being beneficiary of grants/vouchers. Only broadband entity in the country to have such a rule!
      9. Villagers ‘got it’ that FTTP is best solution technically and cost effective with lower monthly costs repaying initial outlay. No cap deals. Future-proofed etc.
      10 We had also looked at Wireless, 4G etc. We were not in Gigaclear plans.
      Hope that helps

    • NGA for all

      H_w_o Thanks, perhaps Fastman can confirm the fibre feed, AGN adjacent to Cadbury Exchange? HOP at Wincanton?
      Gadget – you do know only £130m of the £477m CD is released. CDS have not been overly forthcoming on the status of what is 8-9% of all phase 1 activity. Their evidence to CMS suggests BT has not been forthcoming with the required information.

    • NGA for all

      H_W_0 According this website .Blackford was slated down for a CDS cab in 2016..https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm?xid=943733&cabinets=13696 BT sells this data so it reasonably reliable. I am sure someone will clarify.

    • Gadget

      NGA – codelook is nothing to do with BT and not owned by them

    • TheFacts

      @gadget – codelook uses BT data.

    • Gadget

      But BT do not control how the data is used or how up-to-date Magenta systems’ data is – as has been posted on Thinkbroadband many times! e.g. http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/fibre/t/4572557-re-fttc-yes-by-full-address-no-by-phone-number.html

    • TheFacts

      @gadget – in this case we can be confident on the cabinet location and the distance to Blackford.

  11. Happy_with_Openreach

    Yes, Blackford had the ‘benefit’ of FTTC upgrade in Sept 2016 – we are on Cabinet 3. But being 2.6km away from green cabinet (accordingly to codelook) we had minimal improvement.

    Thats why we looked for alternatives and have moved forward with Openreach FTTP.

    • NGA for all

      H_W_O Thank you, BT provides post code centroids as not to reveal the actual locations, just proximity, but it is BT provided data.

  12. TheFacts

    North Cadbury FTTC cab3 is live in South Cadbury.

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