Feeds

BT wins another HUGE gov-funded rural broadband deal

2016 waiting game for 140k homes, biz in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire

Boost IT visibility and business value

Multi-billion pound telecoms giant BT has landed another broadband government subsidy to lay fibre in the countryside: this time for a £56.6m joint local authority project between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire that won't be completed until 2016. That's a whole year behind Whitehall's 2015 "challenging target".

The fibre-optic deployment with downstream speeds of at least 2Mbit/s in those two counties won't be finished until the end of 2016, BT said, while some locals hoping to access download speeds of at least 24Mbit/s via the network will have to wait until 2018.

Funds have been set aside for the government's £530m Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme for rural areas where BT and Virgin Media failed to find a compelling business case for private investment. The project is supposed to be completed by 2015 - which is the end of the current Parliament.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller, whose department - the Ministry of Fun - is tasked with overseeing the project, has repeatedly said that Whitehall wanted to see faster broadband networks rolled out to 90 per cent of homes and businesses in remote parts of the UK by 2015.

But broadband minister Ed Vaizey has recently confessed that that goal was a "challenging target".

And now BT appears to have confirmed some official slippage to that plan.

The Borders Broadband project, as it's known, will get a £18.17m cash injection from the BDUK funds, a further £10.1m from Herefordshire Council and £7.5m from Gloucestershire County Council. BT said it would toss £20.9m of its own money on the pile to deploy Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) cabling to around 140,000 homes and businesses in the two areas.

The national telco didn't offer a breakdown of how many properties would get FTTP, but the vast majority are likely to be fed fibre only to the streetside cabinet.

BT tried its best not to muddy the message about what appears to be a delay in the department for culture, media and sport's ambitious - or even fanciful - plans "to provide superfast broadband to at least 90 per cent of premises in the UK and to provide universal access to standard broadband with a speed of at least 2Mbps" by 2015.

The company said:

The aim of the councils’ partnership, which is managed by both councils, economic development company GFirst and BDUK, is to have a majority of homes and businesses covered by this project able to enjoy speeds of 30 Mbps or more, with speeds of up to 80Mbps being typical ...

The project also intends to address those premises across both counties receiving a connection of less than 2Mbps by aiming to ensure all areas receive a minimum of 2Mbps by the end of 2016.

BT - which remains the only government preferred bidder to have bagged any BDUK contracts with Fujitsu being the only rival - added that no physical work would be underway in the counties until the second half of 2013 - once planning has been agreed.

The Register asked the DCMS to tell us whether or not it had now fallen behind its goal to outfit Blighty with the "best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015" using a mix of private and public money.

A spokesman at Miller's department claimed that the government's plans remained on track, before adding that some work wouldn't be completed until 2016 due to it being an "aggregate rollout".

He gave El Reg this statement:

The government’s ambition is for the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015. To achieve this, it is our aim to provide superfast broadband to at least 90 per cent of premises in the UK and to provide universal access to standard broadband with a speed of at least 2Mbps.

®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.