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BDUK Consults on Gigabit Broadband Coverage in Cornwall UK

Friday, July 16th, 2021 (8:26 am) - Score 576
Cornwall-UK-OMR-Gigabit-Broadband-Map-2021

The UK Government has just launched another Public Review, this time for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in South West England, which aims to identify any existing or planned commercial coverage of gigabit broadband ISP networks. The review will help to establish the areas where public investment may be needed to deploy the service.

At present the Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit programme aims to ensure that at least 85%+ of UK premises can access a gigabit-capable connection by the end of 2025 (here). The effort for this will primarily be targeted at the final 20% of premises (i.e. the hardest to reach rural and some sub-urban areas), where commercial investment models tend to fail.

NOTE: Commercial rollouts alone could push gigabit coverage to c.60% of UK premises by the end of 2021 and c.80% by the end of 2025. The current UK figure is 42% (here).

In England the new programme will be much more centrally managed than the original Superfast Broadband (SFBB) scheme and that explains why the consultation for the south coast county of Cornwall is being run by Building Digital UK (BDUK), rather than the local authority. In any case, the first step is in identifying precisely which areas are not currently expected to benefit from gigabit speeds under existing deployments, or any plans for the next 3 years.

On this front, it’s noted that an Open Market Review (OMR) was recently conducting in the area, which indicated that planned commercial coverage for gigabit-capable broadband would reach approximately 96,019 premises within the next 3 years, but that would leave the remaining 206,622 premises without access to gigabit-capable broadband (so-called ‘white‘ and ‘under review‘ premises).

The new consultation, which will be open to responses from the public and stakeholders until 16th August 2021, seeks to validate the outcome of the aforementioned OMR in order to confirm the eligibility of related premises for government subsidy.

Readers may recall that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have already been announced as being among the first areas (Phase 1a) expected to benefit from Project Gigabit (here and here), which suggested that 40,000 to 60,000 premises in East Cornwall (including Launceston, Callington and Looe) and 30,000 to 50,000 premises in West Cornwall (including in Cambourne-Pool-Redruth and Penzance and the Isles of Scilly) could benefit.

The new Public Review also includes a map to help visualise areas that may be in need of intervention (public support) under the new project, which is fairly basic but we’ve pasted it below.

Cornwall-UK-OMR-Gigabit-Broadband-Map-2021

Assuming all goes to plan then the first contracts for this could be awarded by early 2022, but such things can be complicated, and we wouldn’t rule out delays. The Government have also forewarned that they consider the final 0.3% of premises “could be prohibitively expensive to reach” via even their gigabit programme (i.e. the same sort of area as their 10Mbps USO was supposed to fix and that has suffered problems). A separate consultation is currently considering how to tackle those.

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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.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. NGA for all says:

    The 15,000 premises who have not received an upgrade in the last decade are not prioritised, but PAC and Parliament keep being told they are.

    The BT 6.2m premise promise will overbuild all the subsidised FTTC at BT’s expense with full fibre.

    I am struggling to see the business case to overbuild FTTC while ignoring those still being waiting for a fix.

  2. Barney says:

    Does anyone know when they expect the publish the results of the consultation process for the other areas, such as Hampshire?

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