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Government Re-brands UK Broadband and Full Fibre Programmes

Monday, May 13th, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 5,940
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The Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has decided that it has too many different named broadband and “full fibre” programmes and as a result they’ve today opted to simplify by aligning all of them under just two overarching programmes – ‘The UK Fibre Programme‘ and ‘Building Digital UK‘.

At present the Broadband Delivery UK programme is still the primary container for many of these projects and is thus probably the most familiar to our readership (it’s been around since 2010/11, predominantly helping to bring “superfast broadband” speeds of 24Mbps+ to 96% of premises and rising).

Alongside that there will soon be three programmes that have now adopted a more specific focus toward helping to foster the national availability of Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband and Dark Fibre networks (e.g. Local Full Fibre Networks [LFFN] / Gigabit Vouchers, Superfast Broadband and the forthcoming Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programmes).

Under the change all three of the “full fibre” centric programmes mentioned above (recent contracts under ‘Superfast Broadband’ are all full fibre dominated) will from today simply be referred to as The UK Fibre Programme, while a long planned re-brand of Broadband Delivery UK means that it in turn will become Building Digital UK.

As a result DCMS will have a simpler more relevant message that is about Building Digital UK with the UK Fibre Programme and 700MHz Clearance (4G/5G related). Practically speaking nothing else changes.

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22 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris

    This is all great but, why is it we have full fibre (FTTP) to new builds with the capability of 1Gbps and above but we are only seeing 300Mbps and below from BT openreach when slower hybrid solutions are giving us faster speeds.

    • Not all FTTP to new builds gives a Gigabit yet. Networks deployed by GTC / OFNL and some others also cap at about 300Mbps. This stems from a mix of the usual issues around technology, demand vs need and cost / capacity.

      Openreach (BT) do actually have 500Mbps and 1Gbps tiers but they’re very expensive compared to what alternative network providers are offering and not a lot of ISPs sell those plans:

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/05/isp-cerberus-networks-launch-uk-1gbps-openreach-fttp-packages.html

    • Avatar CarlT

      Unless you’re in an area served by Openreach’s ECI equipment in which case 330 is the highest you can go, with no current plans to upgrade anything.

    • True that, although I thought that only applied to their older deployments and not the stuff since a year or so ago.

    • Avatar CarlT

      If you’re connected to a segment fed by ECI you’re getting ECI. As I shared with you in private properties built in the past 6 months and properties being built this year are getting ECI, meaning 330/50 limit.

      It remains astonishing that Openreach appear to have specified this equipment to only require 1Gb backhauls. ECI didn’t pull a fast one on Openreach from what I can gather – Openreach got what they paid for and it was OLTs that had GPON and GigE ports, no line cards with 10G. 2.4G ports facing customers, 1G ports out of the back end, potentially aggregating together every 2.4G port serving customers. Insanity.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @CarlT – what do the network stats show on port utilisation?

    • Avatar CarlT

      Port utilisation on either the GPON or CableLink irrelevant. When CableLinks saturate operators buy more of them and split the customer base across them.

      Can’t offer a single customer 50% or 100% of bandwidth intended to aggregate a whole bunch of them either way without causing issues.

  2. Avatar joe faircloth

    Hilarious – us lesser citizens living in rural locations, in our case one mile from the main fiber feed to Mid-Wales are the forgotten ones on 3 meg with some people still on zero or dial up speeds. We really feel for these folks who are only on 300meg, must be so frustrating.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      I wouldn’t worry about their plight too much – I expect they will get upgraded before you do!

    • Avatar CarlT

      Okay. We also have a mainline train station nearby, more bus services, more shops, etc. Kinda what happens when there are 750,000 people in a relatively small area.

      We don’t have anything other than buses for mass transit though, no metro, no tram.

      Point being cities and rural areas are quite different things and, actually, a higher proportion of the most rural areas have full fibre than urban ones – thanks largely to the taxpayer.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      I’d argue that the taxpayers in rural areas should expect something in return for their taxes – and as we don’t get bus services, libraries, etc. having disproportionately expensive broadband is justified. There is still a small minority with FTTP as an option though. And to balance FTTP availability, in my constituency 14% are below USO.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Not really. What services are provided cost a ton more. Urban areas subsidise rural ones purely in cash terms as far as taxes go. With that in mind expecting the taxpayer to fund disproportionately expensive broadband on top of the subsidies from people paying the same line rental regardless of line cost doesn’t really work.

      Hopefully the various public schemes will continue to expand in reach however whether it’s an entitlement or not is debatable.

      There are a bunch of rural properties with far superior connectivity to almost everyone in this city right up until a few months back when Fibre First started.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      You are right that some services do cost more to provide in rural areas. However, many cost more to consumers too – including broadband. For example toob recently announced 900Mbps business broadband for £60pm (in an urban area), while Gigaclear charge £100pm for their 100Mbps business broadband – their 900Mbps business broadband costs an eye watering £600pm.
      The difference in costs isn’t that different – rural soft digs are an order of magnitude cheaper than hard digs in urban areas – and certainly don’t justify an order of magnitude difference in monthly price (oh, and a significant installation cost).
      Also the economic benefit of better broadband in rural areas is probably greater – there are far proportionately far more home base workers and businesses in rural areas that would benefit from better broadband.

  3. Avatar David

    Another fudge from DCMS – makes blurring the lines and distinguishing between “proper fibre” and other hybrid solutions much more challenging for the average punter… another step toward mediocrity?

  4. Avatar Ahmed

    Hi Mark,

    Really appreciate all your news & reports.

    Where did you find this news. I tried looking on the DCMS website for an announcement and have had a google but can’t find any announcements.

    Thanks,

  5. Avatar Brian

    I don’t care what they call themselves provided we have an end to false information and false promises, and something actually happens to upgrade those on the lower speeds. Constituency figures are 14% below USO, 5% below 2Mbps.

  6. Avatar chris conder

    CarlIT, I wish you would stop saying that urban subsidises rural. The rural areas could keep all the food and water and stop transporting electricity etc to you if that was the case. The rurals pay taxes too, but don’t get half the perks the urban folk get. They don’t mind that, but when a company is claiming subsidies for delivering a service and making billions in profit then they should actually deliver the service they are charging for. IMHO.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      CarlT is correct that taxes are spent in many areas in different proportions compared to taxes raised (mainly because London generates a lot of taxes). However, expenditure per capita isn’t even, and rural areas lose out in that comparison – London spends £12.8k per capita, while the South West (my area) only has £11.3k, even though the cost of providing services may be higher. I don’t believe taxes should be spent in exact correlation to whwre they are raised – I don’t use many services that I am happy to pay for as they provide a benefit to the community as a whole. Of course not everyone shares that view.

  7. Avatar JPM

    It often surprises me to read of figures such as 96% to have speeds over 24+mobs, since I’m someone that lives 3 miles from the centre of St Albans (just both of London) – so hardly in the sticks – and the maximum speed to our property is a mere 6mbps, ON FIBRE! The usual excuses are dished out, that we’re too far from the exchange etc. Despite the nearest cabinet being less than one mile away and serving a relatively small number of houses (about 300). Our neighbours are in the same predicament. Either we just happen to be in the ignored and forgotten 4%, or the Government’s so-called scheme is ineffective to those with truly dire speeds, such as us. My thoughts are that BT doesn’t give a damn about ‘rural’ locations – I stress again, not that we are in one – and there’s little interest from anyone other than home owners to do anything about it.

  8. Avatar GNewton

    @JPM: “the maximum speed to our property is a mere 6mbps, ON FIBRE!”

    Are you sure you are on a fibre broadband? Or is it a VDSL line?

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