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Q3 2017 Take-up Progress of the BDUK Superfast Broadband Rollout

Thursday, February 8th, 2018 (5:11 pm) - Score 817
united kingdom

The Government’s Broadband Delivery UK scheme has today published its latest Q3 2017 take-up data for the state aid supported roll-out of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) services across the United Kingdom, which sees adoption continue to climb above an average of around 40%.

The figures in this article reflect % customer (premises) take-up of FTTC broadband networks (plus a small number of FTTP and Fixed Wireless services) in areas that have been upgraded through the publicly funded BDUK programme (i.e. % subscribed of premises passed by BDUK supported networks). At present the data only reflects the first two phases of this programme and not any of the most recent or future contracts.

BDUK Phases 1 (Completed Spring 2016)

Supported by £530m of public money via the Government (mostly extracted from a small slice of the BBC TV Licence fee), as well as significant match funding from local authorities and the EU. The public funding is then roughly matched by BT’s private investment. Overall it helped to extend “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) services to cover 90% of homes and businesses in the United Kingdom.

BDUK Phase 2 (Completed December 2017)

Supported by £250m of public money via the Government, as well as match funding from local authorities, Local Growth Deals and private investment from suppliers (e.g. BT, Gigaclear, Airband, Call Flow etc.). The aim is to extend 24Mbps+ capable broadband services to cover 95% of homes and businesses by the end of 2017, although some contracts are on-going into 2018 and will reach beyond 95%.

Phase One was broadly dominated by Openreach (BT) linked contracts and this has now completed. Meanwhile the on-going Phase Two contracts have seen a mix of extension deals with BT and several alternative network providers, as well as some limited use of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology.

Crucially the BDUK contracts include a clawback (gainshare) clause, which requires the suppliers (e.g. BT) to return part of the public investment when customer adoption of the new service passes beyond the 20% mark in related areas. The funding can then be reinvested to further improve coverage and speeds via future contracts. Efficiency savings from earlier phases can also be reinvested.

So far it looks as if a total of £737 million will be returned via both clawback (£527m) and efficiency savings (£210m), which may rise again during 2018 (more details here and here). BDUK has estimated that the reinvestment could be enough to boost the UK coverage of fixed line superfast broadband networks from 95% today to 98% by the end of around 2020.

The following table breaks the take-up data down by each BDUK local authority (project area), although for the proper context these percentages should ideally be considered alongside the most recent premises passed (network coverage) data (see bottom).

NOTE: Some of the counties have divided their deployments into separate projects / contracts. For example, Phase One in Shropshire doesn’t include the ‘Telford and Wrekin‘ area because that is part of a separate Phase Two contract inside the same county. On top of that the contracts were all signed at different times and so are at different stages of development.

BDUK Phase One Take-up (Average %)

Project Area (BDUK PHASE 1) Uptake % (Mar 2017) Uptake % (Jun 2017) Uptake % (Sep 2017)
Berkshire Councils 46 47.9 50.1
Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire 45.8 48.4 50.8
Cambridgeshire, Peterborough 43.3 45.5 47.9
Central Beds, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes 43.8 47.1 50.3
Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Warrington, Halton 42.9 45.5 48
Devon & Somerset (including, Plymouth, Torbay, North Somerset, Bath & NE Somerset) 35.4 38.3 41.2
Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire 43.6 46.2 48.9
Cumbria 38.1 40.3 43.3
Derbyshire 34.5 37.3 40.1
Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole 35.8 38.4 41.6
Durham, Gateshead, Tees Valley and Sunderland 34.8 37.3 40.2
East Riding of Yorkshire 39.5 41.9 45.4
East Sussex, Brighton and Hove 41.9 44.2 47.4
Essex, Southend-On-Sea, Thurrock 40.8 44 46.9
Greater Manchester 30.1 32.5 34.3
Hampshire 40.2 42.7 45
Herefordshire and Gloucestershire 35.8 39 42.1
Isle of Wight 33.4 36.2 38.8
Kent and Medway 40.3 42.9 45.9
Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen 34.8 37 39.4
Leicestershire 40.9 43.9 46.6
Lincolnshire 41 43.1 45.9
Merseyside 28.6 31 34
Newcastle upon Tyne 30.8 32.9 36.4
Norfolk 40.2 42.2 45
North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire 39.8 41.8 44.1
North Yorkshire 43.9 45 49.1
Northamptonshire 45.3 47.6 50.1
Northumberland 42 44.1 46.9
Nottinghamshire 40.6 43.2 45.8
Oxfordshire 44.4 46.9 49.6
Rutland 54.5 55.6 58.2
Shropshire 37.1 39.6 42.5
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 37.1 39.7 42.2
Suffolk 42.3 44.4 46.7
Surrey 47.4 49.4 51.1
West Sussex 43.6 46.1 48.9
West Yorkshire 34.5 36.8 39.4
Wiltshire 43.5 45.4 48
South Gloucestershire 43.5 48 50.9
Worcestershire 40.6 43.9 46.6
Devolved Administrations
Highlands and Islands 33.5 36.8 39.5
Northern Ireland 37.3 40.9 43.4
Rest of Scotland 31.3 33.1 35.4
Wales 34.3 37.3 39

BDUK Phase Two Take-up (Average %)

Project Area (BDUK Phase 2) Uptake % (Jun 2017) Uptake % (Sep 2017)
Bedford & Milton Keynes 14.9 20.9
Black Country 14.8 17.8
Bucks & Herts 20.3 20.9
Cheshire 28.9 34.8
Cornwall 22.1 21.9
Cumbria 18.3 18
Derbyshire 20 23.6
Devon & Somerset no data 5.7
Dorset 14.1 13.8
Durham 17.2 21.4
East Riding (Yorkshire) 26 27.2
East Sussex 26.4 31.9
Essex 24.4 28.2
Hampshire 23.3 19.3
Kent 23.7 23.9
Lancashire 23.4 21.2
Leicestershire 23.7 24.1
Lincolnshire 21.2 24.1
Norfolk 32 33.7
North Lincolnshire 21.1 25.5
North Yorkshire 35.4 49
Northamptonshire 21 26.1
Northumberland 29.0 32.8
Nottinghamshire 28.2 30.1
Shropshire no data 9.7
South Gloucestershire 16.8 19.4
South Yorkshire 21.0 24.5
Staffordshire 20.7 20.7
Suffolk 31.7 32.3
Telford & Wrekin 23 30.2
Warwickshire 34.9 37.8
West Sussex 23.9 26.8
West Yorkshire 16.5 20.7
Wiltshire 22.3 25.4
Worcestershire 27.5 33.1
Devolved Administrations
Highlands and Islands no data no data
Northern Ireland 17.6 20.3
Rest of Scotland no data no data
Wales no data no data

IMPORTANT: Take-up is a dynamically scaled measurement, which means that at certain stages of the scheme it may go up or even down depending upon the pace of deployment (i.e. premises passed in any given time-scale), although over time the take-up should only rise.

Explained another way, earlier phases of the roll-out were easier and faster to deploy, so you could expect to see a bit of a yo-yo movement with the take-up % sometimes falling if lots of new areas were suddenly covered. Some contracts are also younger than others and will thus take time to catch-up. However BDUK’s roll-out pace is slowing as it reaches tricky rural areas (Phase 2), which will give take-up a chance to climb.

A number of other factors can also impact take-up, such as the higher prices for related “fibre” services, as well as customers being locked into long contracts with their existing ISP (they can’t upgrade immediately) and a lack of general awareness (locals don’t always know that the faster service exists) or interest in the new connectivity (if you have a decent ADSL2+ speed and only basic needs then you might feel less inclined to upgrade).

In other cases the new service may run out of capacity (i.e. demand is higher than expected), which means that people who want to upgrade are prevented from doing so until Openreach resolves the problem. However the scale of this issue is fairly small.

Now, for some context, here’s the latest progress report on related contacts for the same period.

Funding and Premises Passed Progress (BDUK Phase 1 + 2)

Total BDUK Funding Total Local Body Funding (Councils etc.) Total Contracted Premises Delivered to Date (Sep 2017)
Bedford & Milton Keynes £6,380,000 £7,830,000 52,822 42,947
Berkshire £5,153,017 £4,603,250 46,606 25,176
Black Country £3,780,000 £3,780,000 40,011 34,663
Bucks & Herts £10,837,000 £11,415,000 94,599 67,804
Cambridgeshire £8,250,000 £17,750,000 105,850 98,862
Cheshire £6,461,000 £16,091,293 82,468 75,751
Cornwall £5,960,000 £12,529,786 15,288 5,390
Cumbria £19,959,519 £18,798,000 120,065 113,846
Derbyshire £9,579,550 £9,580,000 94,386 88,089
Devon & Somerset £57,510,245 £39,187,538 344,835 284,144
Dorset £13,741,841 £12,349,470 79,874 73,665
Durham £12,786,267 £11,763,000 112,898 103,048
East Riding (Yorkshire) £10,507,459 £5,193,079 49,510 47,035
East Sussex £13,640,000 £17,000,000 62,818 60,045
Essex £13,299,000 £13,299,000 150,423 96,061
Greater Manchester £3,440,000 £5,923,000 41,363 39,286
Hampshire £15,262,307 £14,180,000 106,434 74,869
Herefordshire & Gloucestershire £31,090,658 £27,246,760 152,367 116,916
Highlands & Islands £50,830,000 £75,600,000 138,861 137,560
Isle of Wight £2,490,000 £2,490,000 17,617 17,649
Kent £17,063,509 £14,998,391 141,088 132,263
Lancashire £14,670,000 £22,540,000 147,333 140,395
Leicestershire £7,968,895 £10,884,647 74,479 63,893
Lincolnshire £16,110,000 £17,910,000 137,949 124,138
Merseyside £5,460,000 £4,374,000 43,905 42,646
Newcastle £970,000 £945,131 6,760 6,697
Norfolk £24,650,000 £24,210,000 202,367 176,628
North Lincolnshire £4,181,242 £1,880,963 29,442 27,929
North Yorkshire £28,160,000 £14,654,726 175,283 165,581
Northamptonshire £9,856,669 £11,009,000 80,182 69,302
Northern Ireland £11,453,615 £21,953,615 66,912 50,130
Northumberland £10,687,867 £11,986,750 49,620 45,659
Nottinghamshire £7,130,000 £8,688,644 66,807 61,157
Oxfordshire £8,184,500 £13,924,500 78,007 73,267
Rest of Scotland £50,000,000 £107,575,000 572,563 520,002
Rutland £1,000,000 £1,430,088 10,004 9,345
Shropshire £19,317,466 £12,722,000 69,711 52,983
South Gloucestershire £3,370,000 £3,521,123 21,616 16,636
South Yorkshire £9,845,000 £10,155,000 95,664 61,098
Staffordshire £9,620,000 £7,440,000 80,937 73,919
Suffolk £26,940,000 £26,677,050 123,434 103,708
Surrey £1,310,000 £19,020,081 76,958 71,183
Swindon £950,000 £950,000 20,138 8,649
Telford & Wrekin £2,157,000 £1,843,000 8,822 6,952
Wales £66,966,573 £156,406,573 728,737 661,187
Warwickshire £15,007,144 £15,007,144 74,301 48,981
West Oxfordshire £1,600,000 £1,500,000 4,653 0
West Sussex £8,011,243 £7,510,000 54,443 48,688
West Yorkshire £11,019,827 £11,175,487 99,913 80,193
Wiltshire £9,270,000 £16,496,000 83,543 69,759
Worcestershire £8,387,032 £11,390,000 66,561 53,444
£712,275,445 £917,388,089 5,401,227 4,669,218

The above figures only include 24Mbps+ capable premises in BDUK intervention areas.

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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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8 Responses
  1. Moses Jonson

    Nice to see the rest our nations get connected, obvs london isn’t on there because it already has massive amount of superfast/ultrafast connections already.

    • Sunil Sood

      London is not on listed as it was specifically excluded from BDUK which means there are still a lot of people living there still without 24MB+ options and/or still on exchange only lines.

  2. Graham Long

    The Phase 2 take up rate in Devon & Somerset demonstrates the mess the Connecting Devon & Somerset programme got into after BT demanded the contract on an exclusive basis and were then not prepared to make the necessary investment. That created a 2 year delay with the consequence that CDS only approved the Phase 2 contracts in December 2017 (rather than completing the roll out in December 2017). The silver lining however is that 5 of the 6 contracts went to Gigaclear who are investing £44M of their own in the programme and will connect 80,000 properties with symmetric 1,000Mbps fibre by the end of 2020.

    • AnotherTim

      I’m envious of the Gigaclear roll-out schedule for Devon & Somerset – the contract was awarded a year after Fastershire’s phase 2 lots, but most of the Devon & Somerset build is due to be completed before most of Fastershire’s builds start.

  3. Devon Paddler

    Actually the Devon & Somerset Phase2 takeup figure is a reflection of the dire Dartmoor & Exmoor Airband contract

    Over half of those 300 connections will be freebies for hosting a mast or providing power

    Not sure the future of lot4 contact for west & north devon looks rosy!

  4. Guy Cashmore

    BDUK Phase 2 installation has not even started here in West Devon.

    Connecting Devon and Somerset who are running the BDUK program are totally and utterly useless, the masters of obfuscation. They have given the contract for 13,000 premises to Airband, together with £7m of subsidy.

    Airband Community Internet Ltd only had £6,989 in the bank according to it latest published accounts. Make you own mind up.

    11% of premises still can’t get 10 Mbps here according to Thinkbroadband, says it all..

  5. There are a whole herd of elephants in the room here, the most obvious being that:
    – BT declares service by postcode area and by number of properties passed, not served. This means that many rural areas are no better off than they were before – it doesn’t matter if the fibre passes right past your house: if the cabinet is a km or more away, you’re out of luck.
    – BT’s build is done on the basis of a 20% uptake, so as soon as demand in an area exceeds that, the cabinets are out of capacity.
    – FTTC is range-limited: if you’re more than about 1.1km from a cabinet, you won’t get the ‘superfast’ speeds (30Mb/s) that the government predicates its figures on.
    – FTTC is not upgradeable: technologies such as G.Fast and XG.Fast are smoke and mirrors services that might give a benefit to properties that practically sit atop the cabinet.

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