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BDUK Superfast Broadband Project Reveals UK Take-up for Q4 2017

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018 (8:49 am) - Score 2,121
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The Government’s £1.6bn+ Broadband Delivery UK project has published its latest take-up data to the end of 2017 (Q4) for the state aid supported roll-out of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) services across the United Kingdom, which sees adoption continue to rise with many areas above 50%.

The figures inside this article reflect the percentage of customers (homes and businesses) that have chosen to sign-up with a superfast broadband network (delivered via FTTC, FTTP or Fixed Wireless), albeit only those in areas which have been upgraded through the publicly funded BDUK programme (i.e. % subscribed of premises passed).

At present this data reflects the first two phases of the programme and not any of the most recent follow-on contracts (there’s no data for those yet).

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 (Technically on-going)

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.). This phase extended superfast broadband services to 95% of premises in time for the end of 2017, although some contracts are on-going until late 2018 and will reach beyond 95%.

Phase One was broadly dominated by Openreach (BT) linked contracts, while the on-going Phase Two contracts have attracted 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 as 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 increase again during 2018 (details here and here). BDUK has estimated that the reinvestment could be enough to boost the UK coverage of fixed line superfast broadband from 95% today to 98% by the end of 2020. We could label this as BDUK Phase 3 but it doesn’t have a clear designation.

BDUK Phase One Take-up (Average %)

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, which can be seen at the bottom of this article. Overall 44.4% of premises have adopted the new service.

NOTE: Some of the counties have divided their deployments into separate 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.

Project Area (BDUK Phase 1) Uptake % (Jun 2017) Uptake % (Sep 2017) Update % (Dec 2017)
Berkshire Councils 47.9 50.1 51.9
Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire 48.4 50.8 53.3
Cambridgeshire, Peterborough 45.5 47.9 49.4
Central Beds, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes 47.1 50.3 52.1
Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Warrington, Halton 45.5 48 50.1
Devon & Somerset (including, Plymouth, Torbay, North Somerset, Bath & NE Somerset) 38.3 41.2 43.7
Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire 46.2 48.9 50.9
Cumbria 40.3 43.3 45.2
Derbyshire 37.3 40.1 42.5
Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole 38.4 41.6 43.7
Durham, Gateshead, Tees Valley and Sunderland 37.3 40.2 42.3
East Riding of Yorkshire 41.9 45.4 46.4
East Sussex, Brighton and Hove 44.2 47.4 49.7
Essex, Southend-On-Sea, Thurrock 44 46.9 48.8
Greater Manchester 32.5 34.3 36.5
Hampshire 42.7 45 47.2
Herefordshire and Gloucestershire 39 42.1 44.2
Isle of Wight 36.2 38.8 41.2
Kent and Medway 42.9 45.9 48
Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen 37 39.4 41.3
Leicestershire 43.9 46.6 48.6
Lincolnshire 43.1 45.9 47.4
Merseyside 31 34 36.2
Newcastle upon Tyne 32.9 36.4 39.4
Norfolk 42.2 45 47
North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire 41.8 44.1 45.9
North Yorkshire 45 49.1 49.4
Northamptonshire 47.6 50.1 52
Northumberland 44.1 46.9 48.1
Nottinghamshire 43.2 45.8 48.4
Oxfordshire 46.9 49.6 51.8
Rutland 55.6 58.2 58
Shropshire 39.6 42.5 44.8
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 39.7 42.2 44.4
Suffolk 44.4 46.7 48.8
Surrey 49.4 51.1 53.2
West Sussex 46.1 48.9 50.6
West Yorkshire 36.8 39.4 41.6
Wiltshire 45.4 48 50.2
South Gloucestershire 48 50.9 53.9
Worcestershire 43.9 46.6 48.6
Devolved Administrations
Highlands and Islands 36.8 39.5 42.1
Northern Ireland 40.9 43.4 51.1
Rest of Scotland 33.1 35.4 37
Wales 37.3 39 40.2

BDUK Phase Two Take-up (Average %)

So far in Phase 2 an overall total of 27% of premises have adopted the new service. Some areas also have several contracts under the Phase 2 programme and we’ve separated their % figures with a comma below. One highlight below is the inclusion of Swindon, which is showing very low take-up (3.6%) and this largely reflects the areas troubled UKBN fixed wireless network (here); it’s also a younger contract than others.

Project Area (BDUK Phase 2) Uptake % (Jun 2017) Uptake % (Sep 2017) Uptake % (Dec 2017)
Berkshire no data no data 8.2 , 2.5
Bedford & Milton Keynes 14.9 20.9 23.9
Black Country 14.8 17.8 21.8
Bucks & Herts 20.3 20.9 17.2
Cambridgeshire no data no data no data
Cheshire 28.9 34.8 36.2
Cornwall 22.1 21.9 21.9
Cumbria 18.3 18 20
Derbyshire 20 23.6 24.4
Devon & Somerset no data 5.7 6.6
Dorset 14.1 13.8 21
Durham 17.2 21.4 22.1
East Riding (Yorkshire) 26 27.2 33.5
East Sussex 26.4 31.9 39.6
Essex 24.4 28.2 30.3 , 15.4
Greater Manchester no data no data no data
Hampshire 23.3 19.3 24.1
Herefordshire & Gloucestershire no data no data 25.2
Kent 23.7 23.9 30.7
Lancashire 23.4 21.2 24.8
Leicestershire 23.7 24.1 24.4
Lincolnshire 21.2 24.1 26
Norfolk 32 33.7 35.2
North Lincolnshire 21.1 25.5 28.3
North Yorkshire 35.4 49 47.4
Northamptonshire 21 26.1 30.7
Northumberland 29.0 32.8 37.6
Nottinghamshire 28.2 30.1 31.9
Oxfordshire no data no data no data
Rutland no data no data no data
Shropshire no data 9.7 13.7
South Gloucestershire 16.8 19.4 23.9
South Yorkshire 21.0 24.5 23.6
Staffordshire 20.7 20.7 30.6
Suffolk 31.7 32.3 35.3
Swindon no data no data 3.6
Telford & Wrekin 23 30.2 32.6
Warwickshire 34.9 37.8 37
West Oxfordshire no data no data no data
West Sussex 23.9 26.8 32.7
West Yorkshire 16.5 20.7 24.4
Wiltshire 22.3 25.4 29
Worcestershire 27.5 33.1 36.1
Devolved Administrations
Highlands and Islands no data no data no data
Northern Ireland 17.6 20.3 20.8
Rest of Scotland no data no data no data
Wales no data 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).

The fear of switching to a different ISP may also obstruct some services. 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, although the scale of this issue is fairly small.

Now, for some context, here’s the latest progress report on related contracts 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 (Dec 2017)
Bedford & Milton Keynes £6,380,000 £7,830,000 52,822 44,555
Berkshire £5,153,017 £4,603,250 43,723 29,754
Black Country £3,780,000 £3,780,000 40,011 35,482
Bucks & Herts £10,837,000 £11,415,000 94,428 71,305
Cambridgeshire £8,250,000 £17,750,000 105,850 99,905
Cheshire £6,461,000 £16,091,055 82,468 76,048
Cornwall £5,960,000 £12,529,786 15,288 7,317
Cumbria £19,959,519 £18,798,000 120,065 115,410
Derbyshire £9,579,550 £9,580,000 103,755 90,326
Devon & Somerset £57,510,245 £39,187,538 344,835 284,144
Dorset £13,741,841 £12,349,470 79,874 74,275
Durham £12,786,267 £11,763,000 112,898 105,607
East Riding (Yorkshire) £10,507,459 £5,193,079 49,510 47,703
East Sussex £13,640,000 £17,000,000 70,040 60,416
Essex £13,299,000 £13,299,000 150,423 98,320
Greater Manchester £3,440,000 £5,923,000 41,363 39,651
Hampshire £15,262,307 £14,180,000 106,434 78,042
Herefordshire & Gloucestershire £31,090,658 £27,246,760 152,367 116,918
Highlands & Islands £50,830,000 £75,600,000 149,730 138,596
Isle of Wight £2,490,000 £2,490,000 17,617 17,649
Kent £17,063,509 £14,998,391 137,881 133,555
Lancashire £14,670,000 £22,540,000 147,334 141,592
Leicestershire £7,968,895 £10,884,647 74,479 66,396
Lincolnshire £16,110,000 £17,910,000 137,949 125,203
Merseyside £5,460,000 £4,374,000 43,905 42,745
Newcastle £970,000 £945,131 6,760 6,697
Norfolk £24,650,000 £24,210,000 202,367 179,519
North Lincolnshire £4,181,242 £1,880,963 29,442 28,131
North Yorkshire £28,160,000 £14,654,726 175,283 165,581
Northamptonshire £9,856,669 £11,009,000 79,349 70,208
Northern Ireland £11,454,000 £21,954,000 66,907 60,181
Northumberland £10,687,867 £11,986,750 49,620 45,910
Nottinghamshire £7,130,000 £8,688,644 66,807 62,489
Oxfordshire £8,184,500 £13,924,500 78,007 73,292
Rest of Scotland £50,000,000 £107,575,000 572,563 548,454
Rutland £1,000,000 £1,670,000 10,004 9,345
Shropshire £19,317,466 £12,722,000 69,711 53,506
South Gloucestershire £3,370,000 £3,521,123 21,616 17,014
South Yorkshire £9,845,000 £10,155,000 95,664 76,325
Staffordshire £9,620,000 £7,440,000 80,937 73,925
Suffolk £26,940,000 £26,677,050 123,434 105,695
Surrey £1,310,000 £19,020,081 76,958 71,216
Swindon £950,000 £950,000 20,138 16,381
Telford & Wrekin £2,157,000 £1,843,000 8,822 7,459
Wales £66,967,000 £156,407,000 728,737 679,736
Warwickshire £15,007,144 £15,007,144 74,301 50,223
West Oxfordshire £1,600,000 £1,556,675 4,788 0
West Sussex £8,011,243 £7,510,000 54,443 49,337
West Yorkshire £11,019,827 £11,175,487 99,913 81,633
Wiltshire £9,270,000 £16,496,000 83,543 70,849
Worcestershire £8,387,032 £11,390,000 66,561 55,074
£712,276,257 £917,685,250 5,421,724 4,799,094

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 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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21 Responses
  1. Guy Cashmore

    Phase 2 in Devon and Somerset, clearly gone very wrong in the areas that are complete (Dartmoor & Exmoor), but nobody from CDS (Connecting Devon & Somerset) or BDUK seems to understand this or care in the slightest about the gross waste of public money.

    • NGA for all

      Weirdly, the contracted phase 1 +2 has gone up by 6k for CDS- interesting to see of this is new rural work or a change in BT’s commercial rollout? But the >24Mbps has reduced by 771 in the three months.

    • Guy Cashmore

      My main gripe is that for a public spend of £4.6m, 6.6% is only 383 connected premises, that’s £12k per connection! https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/06/airband-wins-superfast-broadband-deal-13000-premises-devon-uk.html

    • It’s pointless to be criticising take-up levels during the early life stage of a new deployment. All of the BDUK projects started out their first few quarters with low take-up and now look where the Phase 1’s have gone. So far Phase 2 is following a similar trend, so in 3 years the take-up is likely to be several times higher and perhaps similar to Phase 1 today.

    • Graham Long

      What the low Phase 2 take up rate in Devon & Somerset does demonstrate is the slow pace of the CDS programme which due to two failed procurement attempts wasted two years before awarding 5/6ths of the contract area to Gigaclear in December 2017. However, it took CDS until December 2017 before they signed off on Gigaclear’s roll out shedule and allowed them to start work. The good news is that the Gigaclear website shows that in their five lots the CDS Phase 2 programme will connect 47,800 properties by 2020 but in addition to that Gigaclear will invest commerciall to connect another 43,300 properties making 91,100 properties served with ultrafast broadband in total. To quote the Gigaclear video, “Giagaclear are coming for Devon & Somerset”. See https://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/gigaclear-release-promotional-video/

    • Graham Long

      Correction: 5/6ths of the CDS Phase 2 contracts were awarded to Gigaclear in Dec 2016, but roll out schedule was not approved by CDS until Dec 2017.

    • DevonPaddler

      @GL Clearly your favourite topic but a little offtopic for this post? The only Phase 2 impact in Devon & Somerset is from Airband contact in the national parks which started in 2015. The gigaclear lots have no impact on these statistics at all.

    • Graham Long

      @DevonPaddler: You make my point for me. CDS is one of the slowest county council run Phase 2 programmes in the UK.

    • MikeW

      North Yorkshire’s studies told them there was a reticence in the public to change supplier in such a massive way – ie to lose a BT-based line to an utterly new technology. That, I’m sure, has been one piece of data that has helped them keep choosing BT as a partner … when wireless could have been a contender.

      I suspect that this reluctance plays its part in Airband’s current takeup. And we might see the same thing with Gigaclear.

  2. NGA for all

    Thanks, the phase 1+2 contracted premises has risen by 113k (another counties worth) since last time, does this mean routine change requests to absorb monies available? Some of the individual changes (>9k premises) are the size of subsequent procurements. This is a good thing as long it is the harder to reach areas. Some have gone down, Kent have lost 3k contracted premises. I guess we would need to understand if the new 113k were originally designated BT commercial or in the last 5-10% or a bit of each. 224k >24Mbps is good to see.

  3. AnotherTim

    While the statement regarding BDUK Phase2 says “although some contracts are on-going until late 2018”, the reality is that quite a few builds aren’t due to start until 2019 or 2020. That’s very late 2018…

    • Many of those aren’t strictly Phase 2, they come under follow-on contracts that factor a different framework agreement with the EU and may also have different suppliers.

    • AnotherTim

      I’m not sure what is or isn’t strictly BDUK Phase 2, but in my area Fastershire are calling them Phase 2.

    • Take note that local councils may have many “phases”, which won’t necessarily follow the same naming conventions of BDUK’s phases. It’s best to treat council named “phases” as different.

    • AnotherTim

      Ok, I can accept that, but where do I find out what BDUK phase 2 builds are in the Fastershire area?

    • AnotherTim

      @GrahamLong thanks, but that is where I got the 2019/2020 start dates from, but apparently the Fastershire Phase 2 builds may not be part of BDUK Phase 2. To be fair, the dates have moved forwards 6 months or so since they were first posted so hopefully they will stick to these. However, some people won’t see any improvement in their ADSL speeds for another 2+ years. The contract was approved by Gloucestershire in Nov 2016, so I don’t know where the Fast in Fastershire came from.

  4. CarlT

    West Yorkshire numbers probably took a bit of a hit from Virgin Media’s deployment of what must be at least 50,000 premises by now.

    • Steve Jones

      If so, it’s not obvious from these numbers. For phase 1 BDUK West Oxfordshire saw an increase of 4.8% between June and December which is identical to the median for all authorities in England.

      For those authorities with Phase 2 numbers, the median increase June to December was 7.0% and the West Oxfordshire figure was 7.8%.

      In addition, how many of those VM deployments are in BDUK areas?

    • Andrew Ferguson

      Not had chance to crunch all the numbers but the phase 2 West Yorks project is seeing a large overlap with Virgin Media networks (not sure who got there first), almost double the phase 1 overlap.

      But the DCMS figure makes sense for over 24 Mbps via VDSL2 when allowing for the cable footprint.

    • CarlT

      VM started building in West Yorkshire in 2015. I would guesstimate overlap of 10%+ in Middleton, over a thousand premises.

      VM then went on to build FTTP in market towns, villages and some urban infill, all of which had higher reliance on BDUK coverage than Middleton.

      In our one small corner of the ward about 1700 premises covered by 7 cabinets, of which 4 totalling 400-450 premises were overbuilt by VM.

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