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Government Predicting 97% UK Superfast Broadband Cover by 2020

Friday, March 8th, 2019 (8:44 am) - Score 3,415

The latest forecast from the Government’s £1.8bn Broadband Delivery UK programme appears to now be predicting that fixed “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) capable ISP networks will cover 97% of premises by March 2020, which is slightly down on some previous 98%+ remarks (not official targets).

At present around 76% of homes and businesses have been reached with “superfast” connectivity via purely commercial investment (mostly via Openreach’s FTTC and Virgin Media’s cable DOCSIS network), while the BDUK programme has largely been used since 2012 to help significantly extend this into less economically viable areas (rural, suburban, smaller towns etc.) via a mix of public and private funding.

The last official BDUK Phase 2 target of 95% (national average) coverage was achieved in time for the end of 2017 (supported by various operators such as Openreach (BT), Gigaclear, Airband etc.), although many of the contracts are on-going until c.2020 and if approved then some may run even longer in order to maximise the use of gainshare funding.

NOTE: The most recently signed contracts tend to adopt FTTP in order to reflect the Government’s new strategy (nationwide full fibre by 2033).

The BDUK contracts all included a clawback (gainshare) clause, which requires the suppliers to return part of the public investment as customer adoption of the new service rises. The funding can then be reinvested to further improve network coverage and speeds via future deals. Efficiency savings from earlier contracts can also be reinvested.

So far it looks as if a total of around £721m could in theory be returned via clawback from BT and £210m (Jan 2018 figure) from efficiency savings, which may rise again in 2019 (details here and here). As a result the latest official forecast from BDUK now suggests that we could see superfast coverage hit 97% by March 2020. Remember this is not an official target and is subject to change.

bduk impact march 2019

The result means that the remaining 3% of premises would have to be tackled through the Government’s new Universal Service Obligation (USO), which from the end of this year will make it possible for those in slow speed areas to request a broadband speed of at least 10Mbps (many will get much faster than this) from either BT (Openreach) or KCOM. Come 2020 this is estimated to affect approximately 600,000 premises.

One catch to this is that those requesting a USO may have to wait up to 12 months before it’s delivered (assuming the operators aren’t swamped with requests early-on as that could create problems). Most people will see broadband via FTTC (VDSL2) or FTTPfull fibre” fixed line broadband technologies, but 4G fixed wireless solutions are also a possibility.

We are currently still awaiting the final USO details from Ofcom. Meanwhile DCMS has said that they still hope to push beyond 97% towards 98%.

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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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74 Responses
  1. Avatar Justin Leese says:

    Hi Mark – this is unchanged from previous statements (and this is a slide we’ve used at many external events) you’re spot on when you say that 98-99% is not a committed target so what we’ve always said is that “we are aiming for 97% by March 2020 but hope to push beyond this towards 98%” I suspect we will but this is quite dependant on procurement which is underway where it will be a while before we have contractual commitments in place (e.g. R100 and Stratum). Regards, Justin

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      For me it’s the first time I’ve seen a specific dated figure put down, previously the charts were a little more ambiguous. In the past I was told that the hope was to do “at least” 98% by 2020, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to get there so we’ll see.

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/wp-content/gallery/2017-uk-internet-statistics/bduk_impact_may_2017.png

    2. Avatar Joe says:

      Given all the work in the pipeline I can’t see how they won’t hit 98% even before USO.

    3. Avatar Joe says:

      Part of the problem is – as i’m sure you’re acutely aware so many different lmedium/small rollouts are ongoing now that its getting very hard to track progress (as compared to the old days of just Bt/VM)

  2. Avatar AreYouSure says:

    It is outright wrong for the government to say that the final 3% will be covered by the USO. Not everyone’s broadband can be uplifted to 24+ with the £3,400 spend limit even with properties pooling this money.

    1. Avatar Joe says:

      They haven’t said everyone will get the speed. But the numbers that fail will be tiny.

    2. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @AreYouSure
      Some people will almost certainly have to contribute towards the USO cost, on top of the maximum funding. That seems fair to me as I don’t believe the taxpayer (the rest of us) should have an unlimited liability to fund connections to remote premises.

    3. Avatar NGA for all says:

      THat graph might need to be re-drawn, with the B-USO drawn along the bottom, as B-USO quantitatively will be bigger problem in urban. I have written up an opinion here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/broadband-delivery-ukbduk-just-seven-english-county-contracts-kiely/ but there is separate blogs on an B-USO amendment and a quantification of the urban B-USO challenge.

      Project Stratum (NI) should deliver a near full fibre province which will be BDUK biggest achievement in terms of driving full fibre and it is the most rural areas – only 90,000 premises to address with a generous budget. That pushes the B-USO date in NI to 2024 or must do. The same will now happen elsewhere. NI can happen as the resources are there, whether or how BT steps forward remains to be seen. Scotland will be interesting. Wales need to contract some more.

      New_Londoner I cannot see Vodafone and CityFibre contributing to a B-USO to help BT deliver the B-USO in Greater London – 108k premises < 10Mbps, 140K <30Mbps, can you?

    4. Avatar Brian says:

      One problem with taking about USO is what people consider remote premises, I’ve been told I’m considered as very remote, at 2.5miles from the exchange.

    5. Avatar Joe says:

      2.5 miles is a long way compared to most but its not remote in the way most people might think. But then almost any explanation based on local cost factors is difficult to express. so the Urban/semi urban rural extra rural is a useful (ish) shorthand.

    6. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – how do you calculate the 1.1M VM overbuild and what is the issue?

    7. Avatar NGA for all says:

      The FCATS .. it is a Thinkbroadband number reported sometime ago autum 2018 or 17. We will need to see a £85m correction for it sometime.

    8. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA- how do you know this has not been included in the calculations? Is this where an FTTC cabinet area includes some VM served properties/

    9. Avatar NGA for all says:

      The Facts.. If the 1.1m has not been reported, then the impact is not reported in the unit cost per premise passed. Neither has BT reported a cost reduction in their representations to the CMS Select Committee in 2016.

    10. Avatar AreYouSure says:

      @New_Londoner

      The government spends far less on remote properties via services they provide. So spending a little more on providing broadband won’t be too hard.

    11. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @AreYouSure
      So where do you draw the line? How much is too much subsidy? Should the limit be £3,400 per property, £5,000, £10,000? Or should it be unlimited?

      I believe that there has to be a limit to ensure a degree of value for money for taxpayers as there are plenty of other calls on limited funding (schools, hospitals etc). The proposed limit of £3,400 seems reasonable, with the occupiers making up any shortfall, hopefully incentivising them to consider options such as self dig etc where applicable.

      @NGA
      As for urban USO, when factoring in fixed wireless this is easily fixed in almost all cases, and at relatively little cost per premise.

    12. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – we have been here before. If the funding is based on properties in postcodes the fact that a FTTC area covers some VM properties will be taken into account. Overbuild is really the wrong term as there is no actual build to individual properties. BDUK will fund cards to cover the non VM properties.

      Is this where you are again just speculating with no hard evidence?

    13. Avatar NGA for all says:

      New_Londoner Your planning to use 4g to fix fixed line broadband in urban areas?

    14. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Facts , apart from Wales funding is not based on properties. Costs are presented and bills paid. Unless there is an express reduction visible on the invoice, the costs get paid. The report on state aid tried to suggest overbuild as incidental and referenced no specific allowance. That report appeared to be rejected by EU as a new state aid measure was needed.

    15. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – how would funding/payment work for a cabinet area with 300 properties where 100 are covered by VM?

    16. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Facts, 300 premises in urban would not have needed any subsidy. The fact it has happened in as much as 1/5 of the Phase 1 build demonstrates the level to which commercial confidentiality has been abused, and why work now need to continue.

      Hypothetically if 100 of 300 hard to reach premises were overbuilt, then a third of the direct costs would have deducted from the bill, c£9 off a £27k bill. Then we deduct BT’s capital payment (200x£80 -£16k), and you see no subsidy was needed.

    17. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – do you have a link to confirm that what you have stated is correct?

    18. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Facts the TB reference to the overbuild is in the Vf submission to Ofcom in 2018 or search on TB

      How do your explain everything county reporting ‘savings’ ‘clawback’ and the undisclosed amounts on capital?

      I was responding to the example you provided. 1/3 is easy 100 of 300. The £80 is the £358m NAO divided by the phase 1 contracted of c4.5m -also in the first NAO report. The c£27k is the BT phase1 average cost provided to the CMS Select Committee in 2016 – written evidence.

    19. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – is this the Vodafone report you wrote? Dividing one number by another does not work for every example.

      For a cabinet that results in an overbuild is it as simple as dividing by eg. 2/3? Would BDUK/LA not fund whole cost excluding any cards required for the overbuild?

    20. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Facts – you can order a DSLAM card for $500. Out of £27,000 it is small beer.

      Your example was a good one.

    21. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Facts Vodafone uses the public record of evidence I have attempted to compile. They have a commercial goal but BT is free to produce a counterfactual. They wrote the report, I was consulted on the public record which is mostly BT information and corrections to it.

      The ICBAN library used the same evidence and has after several attempts led to the Project Stratum funding. http://icban.com/broadband-telecoms/

      This is my own effort, an work in progress to introduce a new law where commercial confidentiality in public procurement is set aside, if misrepresentations are relied upon at Select Committee inquiries. Do not hold your breath but post Brexit it may come. http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/public-administration-and-constitutional-affairs-committee/the-governments-management-of-major-projects/written/92899.html

  3. Avatar NGA for all says:

    It would be more informed if at this point we switch to numbers and patches. The gaps in rural England for >24Mps is about 400k, while Greater London has a gap of 140k premises. Much of that rural is contracted, but 7 counties Kent, Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Cornwall, Norfolk, North Yorkshire and Northumberland – a total of more than 61,000 to do.

    There is a big upside for BDUK and the UK if they finish rural with as much FTTP as possible. The money is there to do it but the ‘spend-by’ dates need changing and the B-USO needs amending to allow BDUK to finish.

    I would question the 76% by BT. I think this is passed and you need to reduce by 10-11% – hence the gaps in cities. BDUK is 5.5m + 1.1m overbuild of VM. Openreach working system size is only 26.6m

    The talk of ‘savings’ is nonsense, these are the excesses identified in 2012 and intended to complete works including extensive in-fill. A bit more scrutiny on BT;s capital contributions and there would be no hesitation in completing the rural works.

    I am not the B-USO is intended to fix Greater London, Manchester, Leeds etc..The magic of competitive markets should deliver here.

    1. Avatar Gary HILTON says:

      @ New Londoner, If that’s your attitude then I resent MY taxes and all of those who have not benefitted from the rollout, having been used to fund other peoples FTTC.

      I’m not remote, I’m out of town on a road littered with houses but all spread along the route, but as there is no cluster or ‘centre’ we cant have an FTTC cabinet, apparently we’re hard to reach, yet we are not, Certainly not as hard to reach as laying a subsea line to Orkney.

      Circa 900 million in funding left over/clawed back and yet people seem to feel its fine for those that have seen no benefit from the spending should be grateful for the chance to get a USO subsidy and pay the rest.

      There are hundreds of thousands of people out with commercially attractive areas, They don’t all live 20 miles out into the wilderness like hermits, Frankly I’m sick and tired of how the currently unimproved are basically marginalised by statements from gov, Openreach and sadly the broadband media sites as if we are some impossible dream, if only the streets were paved with gold we could afford to connect them.

      Sure connectivity is massively improved from where we as a country were, but we’re a long way from fair and reasonable for all.

    2. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Gary, you may have put that in the wrong place, but to add to your question, we are still lacking public data on BT’s capital contribution to the BDUK builds, how much and when was it committed, how much is owed and why was not used to go further? We need to see about £500m contribution to allowable costs to make the BDUK process legal.

      Ofcom fully briefed but nothing yet.

    3. Avatar CarlT says:

      You’ve been writing about BT’s capital contributions to BDUK since at least 2016, Mike.

      This really should’ve been plenty of time for this to have shown some fire with that smoke or at very least some more solid evidence.

      Unclear what BDUK has to do with Ofcom.

      BT were contracted to cover certain proportions of areas. Where there were underspends coverage was increased. Clawback funding usage is at the discretion of the local authority as you well know – BT can’t simply start doing their own thing with funds that aren’t theirs.

      If this is all so self-evident, if you believe the evidence is so clear, and if you believe that the BDUK process was illegal this should be pursued in the courts, not via the occasional blog post.

      Googling ‘BDUK capital contribution’ provides some interesting matches. I do note some fundamental flaws in a precursory read, though.

      ‘BT is free to remove copper where 100% of customers can order an equivalent service based on Fibre, subject to the appropriate customer and industry consultations. ‘

      No, they aren’t.

      ‘While BT has pricing freedoms for FTTP, the underlying costs for new FTTP services is modelled as
      the similar to a copper access network. It is likely to have a lower LRIC because it has fewer active
      components. ‘

      No, it doesn’t as many of the savings come from being able to retire the copper entirely, which they can’t do. They are not permitted to charge less in greenfield FTTP sites.

      The savings come from things like being able to retire exchange / central office buildings, power saving as no need to feed a bunch of copper lines their dialing tone, the lower maintenance costs of the FTTP network itself as it doesn’t corrode or degrade, etc.

      In terms of active components Openreach provide none on an MPF LLU service. Via FTTP there are active components either side of the FTTP link, and if FVA is being provided further complexity is added. FTTC has 2 x Openreach provided active components, one of which is actually shared with the FTTP service.

    4. Avatar NGA for all says:

      CarlT I have summarised the failed attempts at identifying BT’s capital contribution here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/contracted-incurred-forecasted-committed-diminishedso-mike-kiely/ The matter remains outstanding but should be resolved soon. There is a further blog on a recent poor attempt by Audit Scotland.

      On the other points, at a point in time you have a point, but if you take Openreach consultations on the Fibre investment and creating the conditions for switch off, then the savings operational and capital seem reasonably well described. Moving from 5,600 exchanges to 1,300 hops is just one example.

    5. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Gary HILTON
      The decision on whether to spend any of the gainshare money lies with your local council. I suspect at least some have other priorities for the money but that’s between them and their voters.

      I see no reason why there shouldn’t be a cap on the subsidy per property, just as is the case with many other services. Have you looked at 4G, using an external aerial if necessary? Last time I checked it only cost £100 to have an aerial fitted by EE, which is well within the proposed USO limit.

      @NGA
      Sorry Mike but, if your analysis held water, the many authorities that you’ve lobbied over the years would have acted by now. Many of us have pointed out numerous flaws in your analysis, the lack of action suggests that the authorities agree with our views.

    6. Avatar NGA for all says:

      New-Londoner Some did make their views clear to the CMS SC Inquiry into Broadband in 2016 which will have contributed to Parliaments call for Openreach to be split. Matt Hancock also reversed Ed Vaisey’s evidence to the same inquiry through WPQ’s in 2017. LGA have a slide pack documenting the reductions in BT’s commercial footprint.

      I hope for BT shareholders and customers sake, the monies intended for rural can spent to stretch fibre as far as possible. This will in spite of BT Group and with great credit to their engineers and supply chain.

  4. Avatar alan says:

    “Virgin on Openreach”

    When did that happen??

  5. Avatar Colin says:

    So iam end of line in the 3% that won’t be get

    1. Avatar Joe says:

      3% is not the final total we’ve been forecasting 98%+ so some time time will be hit >2021. SO its somewhere in the 1> but less than 2% that will actually need USO to solve their BB speed. Gieven where 4G/wireless is reaching on the forcasts that will catch much of it.

  6. Avatar AreYouSure says:

    @New_Londoner

    Totally disagree with you.

    So its OK for some families to have 10+ kids that the government pay to school but if you live more remotely and use very little public services (not even street lights) you’re on your own with regards to broadband.

    1. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      The Government have not committed to broadband being an essential service and do not specify technology. The same for mains water and electricity.

      The proposed B-USO is hardly universal as its current 10Mbps, exclusions and capped at £3,400. They also know that if the subsidy was higher it would restrict further growth of the independent ISPs particularly the WIFI ones.

      Politicians only promise what they know will already happen, are interested only in the headline numbers and where money is concerned they don’t actually want to spend it. My view is they are not helping universal broadband in the UK and are actually doing the opposite in many ways. It will be interesting what they will do with the next review of the USO requirement as they have stated that this will be when 75% of the UK premises subscribe to 30Mbps (or greater) packages. This can’t be that far off as ISPs are dropping the lower cost products and the price setter BT now charges almost the same for ADSL and FTTC. But even here the government will hope that WISP speeds, 4G/5G and FTTP will have spread further so that they always claim they are doing something when actually they are not (regardless of party).

    2. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @AreYouSure
      So you’d have no cap on the subsidy? That seems like madness to me, a recipe to waste money rather than encouraging the small minority (probably under 1%) to consider fixed wireless, 4G and, as a last resort, satellite. I know satellite has its limitations, but it’s fine as a way to connect for basic services – and better than spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds on each of the final percent or so of premises.

    3. Avatar AreYouSure says:

      @New_Londoner

      So what broadband speed do you get? I suspect its going to be good.

      Easy for those who have good broadband to down play those who don’t!!!

      Maybe broadband providers should have charged EVERYONE thousands of pounds for their broadband provision (regardless of distance from exchange), would have liked to see your reaction then.

    4. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      Once upon a time we had a universal telephony commitment. There was still a cap but it really only applied on excessive numbers of overhead spans and the amount was relatively generous to provide a copper pair significant distances. Then we built the majority of our broadband on the back of the telephony system and thanks to BT retaining national pricing there remained an element of cross subsidy.

      Now all has changed with very limited public funds supporting roll-outs in rural and government grants going to artificially introduce competition, broadband prices rising in real terms for low incomes and an overbuild of capacity for half the country’s premises. Rural doesn’t get an effective broadband provision whilst urban pay more due to multiple networks and a shared market.

      We could have solutions like a broadband speed tax and distribute it as a universal subsidy to providers are willing to invest. But I don’t see that happening now we have had decades of market driven and it’s simply got more and more complex. Why should any commercial company, large or small, invest without a return.

      Sorry but it’s everyone for themselves in this broadband post code lottery (fixed or mobile)

    5. Avatar Brian says:

      The telephone USO is not very good either, 15 years ago we had to add £1000 to the install for 650m from the existing line, and that was only that low due to self installing the cable for almost its entire length. Much of the cost was BT charging £7/m for cable that I later found could be for 70p/m. At the time of the install there was no reliable mobile signal on any network.

    6. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      @Brian
      I was referring to the original USO in Post Office Telephone days when public service was still evident. Since privatisation it was funded by BT and Kingston as the obligations were not considered to represent an unfair burden on them. Continued scrutiny and interference by the regulator in pricing resulted inevitably in internal BT processes of full cost recovery in every case which included central overheads and subcontracting.

      It is not clear to me how Ofcom are going to fund this B-USO and future reviews of it if the Alnets continue to take market share in urban.

    7. Avatar NGA for all says:

      New_Londoner This subsidy cap is worthy of some attention. Most of BDUK phase costs will be repaid in full so the average cost will be found to be zero. This is central to halting the BT Gambit.

      Here’s the thing, if we add all the phases the average cost will be still be cheap, not more than unit costs charged in Wales.

      Your BT Group (I think) and your arguing against fixing the rural network using subsidies which are now owed by BT. Yes, incremental costs will be high in places but the average is fantastically low comparatively. Can you explain? You are arguing against the interests of BT shareholders, customers and engineers.

  7. Avatar GeorgeV says:

    Calling this superfast is a cheat. 24Mbps is at the bottom of decent but far from superfast. And nobody mentions upload speed what is essential for VOIP.

    1. Avatar Joe says:

      Voip can run @ 30kbps. Its not a big issue.

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      A landline quality voice call requires 64kbps.

    3. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      Unfortunately not all VoIP is the same. Yes 64kbps was always the minimum agreed sampling rate for the voice frequency range. Hence why the PSTN replacement needs to be Clearmode capable and it would be nice to see all VoIP providers come into line.

  8. Avatar sam says:

    Absolute shambles this openreach crappy network run by idiots

    1. Avatar AreYouSure says:

      What makes you say that?

    2. Avatar BT Suck says:

      Im sure, I have 4Mbit – absolute shambles

  9. Avatar Gary HILTON says:

    Again mention of 4g for rural, its I’m in Scotland and pretty much the masts follow the main roads, the fttc follows the main roads and thus the new fibre follows the main roads, trouble is theres an awful, lot of properties outwith the reach of 4g, fttc etc in the spaces between those main roads, Its not difficult to see the scale of the rural problem if you just look at the coverage maps on think broadband Its like living in the Bermuda triangle of broadband, minor roads criss crossing through a wasteland of shitty adsl.

  10. Avatar Gary HILTON says:

    The saddest bit really is that the high cost of getting fibre to lots of rural areas now is the poor forward thinking regarding the fibre laid to provide fttc. I looked at fttpod but the realioty is all that new fibre does me little good as I cant connect to it locally close to one of the two fttc cabs, the AG is massively further away back to the exchange, not exactly ‘expanding the network closer to you.

    Yes the subsidised rollout achieved a huge improvement for many, but also left a new build network unfit really for logical cost effective expansion beyond that.

    1. Avatar gerarda says:

      Unfortunately the cost and downsides of the decision in 2011 to go first for the low hanging fruit with a distance limited technology is now becoming apparent.

    2. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @Gerarda, the limitations of FTTC were understood, hence the budgets (all those savings!(excess costs), underspends, capital owed and clawback) allowed for c12% of premises needing FTTP in-fill. This needs delivering.

      Apart from BT Group being permitted to game the issue, the fundamental issue was and is resource. The monies remain of the appetite is there to finish the job.

      ‘Spend-by’ dates need extending beyond 2021, FoD needs full productising and used by Openreach retail partners not this wholesale nonsense. Ofcom also need fully define ‘reasonable request’ for full fibre services.

    3. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      12% of what? That is over 3 million premises if talking about the UK

      As for your ‘needs delivering’ you are talking as if none of the BDUK project areas are delivering FTTP, which is not the case.

      Sorry to say this, but your arguments have remained the same for many years now, when what is happening in the real world is changing.

    4. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @ANdrew 12% of the then estimated intervention area, about 6m lines – 720k in-fill. I think about 150k-200k have been done which is good, but the budget is there to do more, but the spend-by dates will need to change beyond 2021.

      The arguments are consistent and will remain so. The world that was the BT Gambit has changed and will need to change again. What does not change is the amount of in-fill needed?

    5. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @NGA
      Mike, simply restating arguments that have been shown to be deeply flawed previously doesn’t make them right. Your many basic misinterpretations of the facts have been explained numerous times yet you persist in repeating the same erroneous points.

      I won’t go over old ground again, just urge others to treat your comments with an enormous pinch of salt – anyone interested can search on here or Think Broadband.

    6. Avatar NGA for all says:

      New_Londoner .. The matters raised are outstanding and need dealing with. TB have stated they are not interested in the costs and BT’s capital. You can sledge and dismiss but the matters need to be dealt with eventually.

    7. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      @NGAForAll Stop making things up about others, or as some would say lying or spreading fake news.

      We do care about costs and capital, but can only focus on what we have information about, so until the day someone dumps many bags of invoices outside the office we cannot offer anything on costs beyond the occasional summaries e.g. when projects declare a new phase or completion what was delivered for the original budget. Also who is going to pay for the staff to do the full audit which you seem to want?

      We are seeing numerous BDUK projects delivering FTTP in phase 1, 2 and 3 projects.

      Reality is this, if a BDUK project delivers a contracted target under budget or gainshare notionally returns money, the decision on building more is one for the local authority to make. Some are doing this, some are taking their time deciding or have used some of the money but not all.

    8. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Andrew.. There is plenty of evidence available but you choose not to comment. You have BT’s written evidence to CMS Select Committee inquiry for Phase 1. It is definitive. You are of course free to sledge those who try.

      ..under budget?.. there is such thing as long as there is more work to do and in-fill to conduct.

      …local authority decision.. not as simple as that…re-read the evidence the 2013 proceedings. There is a commitment from both sides to go as far as possible. You can ignore it of course. But I do not know why folk get used to denying the potential available to the rural economy.

      It is successful, there is just this enormous upside we should mot ignore.

    9. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @NGA
      Andrew has summarised the situation as I see it too.

    10. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      So if I am ignoring all the evidence, send me just one of the invoices you have clearly received to let you determine the exact costings involved. In the meantime I will continue to do what I do and track what everyone is delivering, and this increasingly includes overbuild of older BDUK cabinets. Of course if I was to embark down an audit for the many invoices its likely this tracking would fall behind schedule, in an ideal world there would be a body full of accountants paid to do exactly this sort of audit.

      Yes am sure councils and BT want to go further, but there are decision points, hence the various contracts that get signed referencing gainshare and savings, there is NO AUTOMATIC CONTINUATION OF A BDUK PROJECT BEYOND THE CONTRACTED TARGET. It needs parties to agree to go further, some for phase II chose to go with someone else.

      There is in no sense any denial by me that better broadband in rural areas will not help their economy, so I suggest you stop doing things such as suggesting I am.

    11. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Yes, you have ignored the evidence available to be analysed which is in the public domain. Invoices details are confidential and I was offered them but never took them, they are not my property, which is why a public record needs to built over time any wrongs corrected over time.

      Decisions points are not to be treated as stopping points.

      Your analysis is very good but you have not applied yourself to the financials of the project. Your are not in denial. You have chosen to avoid the matter, a bit like Ofcom and been ‘sledgy’ to anyone attempting to do so. Your better than this.

      Ofcom have duties to ensure the state aid measures are fully complied with and the gap funding is not abused.

    12. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @NGA
      Mike, your above post highlights yet another fundamental misunderstanding of the facts:

      “Ofcom have duties to ensure the state aid measures are fully complied with and the gap funding is not abused”.

      It doesn’t, BDUK is the designated competent body in the UK for this, not Ofcom. Surely you ought to know this having previously worked for BDUK?!

    13. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      Clearly I am blind then, so please link or copy an extract showing

      a) The range of costs for installing and commissioning a VDSL2 cabinet
      b) The range of costs for installing FTTP
      c) The range of costs involved in live to live migration with VDSL2 infill
      d) The range of costs for adding VDSL2 to EO areas

      I am able to do estimates on what original budget was for a project and the number of cabinets and hence premises delivered to get a simplistic average cost per cabinet, and that is what I have found when I have read the evidence in the past, hence not putting a lot of weight behind it, since to do what I am being badgered to do requires a lot more information.

      The lack of information to allow for break downs of the four points I made is why we have focussed on the number of premises helped and when projects have made declarations about premises passed or announce another phase have looked at the costs too.

      The result of all this is yes most projects are continuing and delivering more.

    14. Avatar NGA for all says:

      New_Londoner While BDUK state aid has the primary responsibility, Ofcom also responsibilities outlined in SA33671 para 29 bullet point 5 & 6 makes specific reference cost, prices and dispute resolution.

      There is plenty of room for them to come good.

    15. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      And points 5 and 6 are

      “5) advising BDUK on the appropriateness of the wholesale
      benchmark pricing points and pricing policy proposed by suppliers and advising BDUK
      when it is required to resolve disputes between the local body and suppliers. Ofcom will
      provide (6) a dispute resolution between access seeker and the subsidized operator: if the
      third party operator is dissatisfied with the outcome of that process and/or cannot reach
      agreement with the network operator then the third party operator could approach Ofcom at
      that point and will investigate the claims accordingly.”

      With the talk of wholesale pricing points, I take (5) to mean the pricing the operator winning a contract offers something that Ofcom does TAKE a position on already and (6) seems to be dispute resolution.

      So where do those points actually say that Ofcom MUST audit the costs of delivery under the BDUK projects?

    16. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Andrew, the available evidence and references are already published, you can read and reach you own conclusions, but you do not have too. There is no perfect information but there is enough if you choose to look. You’ve not needed it before to reach an informed view.

      On Ofcom .. those clauses permit Ofcom to act if it chooses to do so. Evidence of them nearly doing so are in the 2017 Cartesian cost models, wherework sheets have been readied to model BDUK activity but this then did not happen. You download those from amidst the WBA docs.

    17. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      I have read the documents and reviewed it, and in some cases a number of hours have been spent repeating this based on your repeated insistence and what I find are generalised statements by and large that will not allow to do much beyond what I am already capable of doing with the data I already have.

      None of the generalisations tell me how much costs varied for a particular cabinet, and yes I could model all this but beyond satisfying you there seems to be no benefit. The cost in time of this modelling is not going to be small either, if you want to commission us then am sure can give you a quote.

      In summary – projects are continuing to recycle funding and more rural FTTP is being delivered as a result. Can more be done, yes and it will be done and can say that for sure as am finding more every day.

      The problem I have with you, is that your statements to the lay person read like nothing is being done and no projects are delivering at this time.

    18. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Your mis-reading my statements. My statements show the potential for more. In this case there is reason to stop at 97%, given the monies available and the original intent to do as much as possible.

      My grumpiness at times was calibrating projects on costs pumped to high heaven which by definition would dent the ambition and deny some the service upgrades intended. The consequences of this are still being unwound and the unknown status of BT’s capital is a sympton. Their is unfinished work on full produstising fod and defining reasonable request for FTTP so fibre services can be ordered from ordered from spare resources already funded.

      What is wrong with going for the upside?

    19. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      Nothing wrong, other than your statements read to those without in-depth knowledge of the subject as if NOTHING has happened in terms of use of gainshare and cost savings.

      The idea you have had a Damascus revelation with the gainshare stuff is bluster, since to anyone who read the original plans it was clear that as take-up increased there would be a point at which a large lump of the public money would be available for doing more or being returned to the public purse.

    20. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @NGA – As in ‘We will need to see a £85m correction for it sometime.’

      Who is this ‘we’ and how will we see any correction? How do you come up with £85m are what documents are published about this. I hope it’s not another of your numbers divided by another!

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