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North Yorkshire UK Targets 97% Superfast Broadband Coverage

Thursday, October 8th, 2020 (11:11 am) - Score 792
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The North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) will next Tuesday vote on a key decision to award the contract for Phase 4 of their Superfast Broadband North Yorkshire (SFNY) project, which is worth £12.5m and predicted to push local “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage up to 97% (currently 92%).

The SFNY project, which via Phase 3 currently aims to cover 94% of premises in the county with superfast broadband by June 2021, is managed on behalf of the County Council by NYnet (the council’s 100% owned broadband company) and is financed by a mixture of funds from the Government (Building Digital UK), European Union, BT (Openreach) and the local authority itself.

As we reported earlier this year (here), SFNY has already completed a new Open Market Review (OMR) to help establish existing and planned (within the next 3 years) coverage of related networks. The consultation identified a significant number of remaining “white NGA” areas (38,038 premises) with inadequate broadband (mostly rural areas).

The new Phase 4 contract will thus help to shrink that gap by “thousands of additional premises“, although it’s expected that the new deal will foster a wider deployment of gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology. Suffice to say, a lot more investment than £12.5m will thus be required the plug the whole gap (this is where the Government’s future £5bn programme will help).

Don Mackenzie, NYCC Executive Member for Access, said:

“Access to high-quality broadband is essential to all aspects of modern life across North Yorkshire, from helping our businesses to flourish, to education, health and the routines of everyday life.

Right now, this is more relevant than ever as more of us need to work, access services or simply keep in touch remotely as we deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The County Council has always been at the forefront of investing in high-quality broadband, resulting in access being available to the vast majority of residents and businesses in the county. Now we are striving to bring this infrastructure to the remotest areas.

This new phase will build on our understanding of the needs of residents and businesses at a local level in some of these remote locations, bringing critical broadband infrastructure to these communities.

It will give people the ability to use existing and future services, such as social, medical and remote care facilities, allowing greater independence as well as enabling communities and businesses to connect and remain competitive, sustainable and prosperous.”

A quick look at the council’s documents for next week’s meeting states that Phase 4 is “anticipated” to increase coverage to between 95% and 97%. Much will of course depend upon the choice of supplier and their rollout plan, as well as whether or not they’re willing to stump-up any of their own private investment as match funding (less likely at this stage).

In terms of funding, some £11.15m has been brought forward from the deployment of the RDPE funding in Phase 3. The County Council also receives “overage” from BT for Phases 1 and 2 (aka – Clawback / Gainshare – public investment returned via BT due to high take-up in upgraded areas). The latest estimate of overage due to the County Council is £29.8m over the next 5 years.

Some £7.8m of that £29.8m was already used to fund an element of the Phase 3 contract and it is proposed that a further £1.35m be used for the Phase 4 procurement to increase the overall funding to £12.5m. “This will leave further overage due to the County Council which will be available to fund either further SFNY activity or for other core council purposes as it is not ring-fenced,” said NYCC. The council previously said that they intended to get as close as possible to 100% coverage.

The most likely candidate to scoop the Phase 4 contract is Openreach, but there of course are other options in today’s market.

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Dave Jones says:

    This is great to see and far more promising than Connecting Cheshire which has not updated its website/twitter feed since August of 2019!

  2. Avatar Dread pirate roberts says:

    If 30mbits is super fast.
    What is 10Gbit ? ultra super duper fast ?

    1. Avatar Ben says:

      I’ve seen Hyperfast come up for >1Gbps speeds a few times so I imagine they will run with that.

  3. Avatar Frank says:

    NYNet have been trenching all the pavements all over North Yorkshire in the last few months – turns out it’s for Council FTTP services only. Why they couldn’t have done it for residential FTTP I don’t know, trench runs past my house but no access for me…

    1. Avatar FS0C13TY says:

      same, they’ve been in Skipton the last two weeks. Here’s hoping we get FTTP by 2025 at least.

  4. Avatar Biobob says:

    Would be nice as the ADSL in my part of North Yorkshire is 1mbs last update was 1998 and of course no fibre. I have to use 4G which is a bit of pain especially when Three keep telling me its not available when I wanted a second sim on my plan with them.

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