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A Little More FTTP Broadband in Wales After BT Contract Tweak

Monday, September 16th, 2019 (7:51 am) - Score 3,195

The Welsh Government (WG) has quietly made a small but important change to LOT 1 (North West Wales) of their £22.5m Phase 2 “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) roll-out contract with BT (Openreach), which so far as we can tell appears to replace the hybrid fibre FTTC deployment areas with ultrafast “full fibreFTTP.

As a quick recap, the Phase 2 successor contract with BT aimed to provide an additional 26,000 premises across Wales with access to “fast reliable broadband” by March 2021 (details) and the vast majority of that would come from Openreach’s Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

However the contract also included a small amount of the operator’s slower (up to 80Mbps) and less reliable hybrid Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology under LOT 1, which at the last count (here) reflected some 363 premises in Ceredigion, 185 in Conwy, 55 in Denbighshire, 633 in Gwynedd and 84 on the Isle of Anglesey (total of 1,320 premises).

NOTE: Total public funding applied to LOT 1 was £6,583,064 to help cover 5,740 extra premises.

The good news, as spotted by one of our readers (thanks Steve), is that the WG ministers for Economy and Transport (Ken Skates AM and Lee Waters AM) last week agreed “additional funding for a technology change from [FTTC] to [FTTP]” in LOT 1.

Sadly we aren’t told how much the additional capital grant award for this change is worth, although it means that Openreach will now deploy FTTP instead of FTTC technology to 1,339 premises. “This technology change will also extend FTTP deployment to an additional 171 premises,” said the Welsh Government. In other words, 100% of the Phase 2 contract now appears to reflect full fibre coverage.

UPDATE 18th Sept 2019

Russell George AM managed to get an update on the FTTP deployment for LOT 1, which is now expected to cover a total of 5,911 properties.

CEREDIGION 1098 Premises
CONWY 1156 Premises
GWYNEDD 2261 Premises

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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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12 Responses
  1. Matthew says:

    That is very good news absolutely FTTC should not be used for any new contracts. How it’s looking lately there is going be an interesting divide Urban areas FTTP Semi Rural FTTC and Deep Rural FTTP.

    1. CarlT says:

      You mean a really weird divide as the market invests in suburban, the public sector throws huge subsidies at the most rural areas and those in between from suburbs to less rural are left out?

  2. NGA for all says:

    The procurement process does not appear to consider the amount of monies owed and the need to include another 50,000 premises to conclude all works in Wales.

    Any new ‘grants’ can only be turning over the monies owed from clawback and any of the outstanding BT capital contributions.

    1. CarlT says:

      What outstanding BT capital contributions?

      As far as I’m aware they’ve spent what contracts required of them which, in some cases, meant zero Openreach CapEx just OpEx. These contracts did not as far as I’m aware mandate Openreach CapEx just a spend throughout the life of the asset.

      Obviously if it is that simple the court case is years overdue: crowd fund it

  3. A_Builder says:

    “Urban areas FTTP Semi Rural FTTC and Deep Rural FTTP”

    That is a pretty sensible analysis.

    The deep distant stuff can only be done by FTTP or microwave and rally the microwave needs pretty deep fibre to support it. As well as the ongoing costs of powering the links.

    Dense urban is commerically viable.

    Semi rural has been done by BDUK funding with dominantly FTTC.

    The gain-share should now be spend doing the last tiny, and expensive, bit of ultra rural. This will be a good investment for UK PLC as other tech can be hung on the full fibre network.

    Also removing a long copper lines will reduce OR’s OPEX spend and that can be moved to FTTP CAPEX.

    The EO thing – OR will have to fix this with FTTP in order to do the POTS switch off so commercially they must solve it. As POTS switch off is essential for OR’s financial sanity.

  4. J R Shufflebottom says:

    I have Fibre to the Premises. It’s good, fairly reliable and fast. Unfortunately, I am limited to BT as my ISP, as non of the other companies seem to deem it profitable to pay Open Reach to use the system, which leaves BT in it’s usual monopolistic situation. Surely there is something wrong with the legal bits here, as it is anti-competetive.
    Although expensive, I’m not looking to change because of price. I just don’t like the arrogance of BT. Any suggestions?

    1. Alex says:

      There are other companies selling FTTP using Openreach’s network (see here: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fttp-providers) so you are not “limited BT”. Sky has also signalled its intention to sell FTTP in the near future.

    2. Alex says:

      Don’t see how it’s “anti-competitive” either? Others can choose to build their own networks if they want to, whilst Openreach is regulated and offers the same prices for wholesale FTTP to every retailer BT/Sky/TalkTalk whoever.

  5. Anonymous says:

    They all gargabe. If government invest more money into ths. It would be different. Just like other countries do.

    1. CarlT says:

      The government has no money of its own to invest.

  6. John W says:

    Where does a beginner to Lot 1 (on Anglesey) and Openreach/WAG start with all this subsidised stuff? Do I start at https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/08/consumer-isp-choices-on-openreachs-uk-fttp-broadband-network.html ?

    Context: I’m an amateur helping out on a site with 30+ apartments, currently served by VDSL and ADSL that nearly work OK much of the time.

    Earlier this year an OpenReach man came round with a wayleave form to sign, as preparation for the fibre rollout (this site is an easy win for OpenReach in Lot 1 ‘premises passed’ terms).

    The groundworks etc were supposed to be happening around now and more details would also be known by now, e.g. what services would be available, how they’d be orderable, etc. Nothing’s been heard, and there’s no obvious place to ask.

    Any ideas? (I’m hoping it’s more sensible than Exchange Activate was, back in the day…).

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