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August 18, 2014

Wales 96% fibre coverage by Spring 2016

190,000 homes in Wales can now access superfast fibre optic broadband due to the Superfast Cymru programme which has helped to fund fibre broadband to areas not commercially covered.

The Welsh Government have targeted there to be 96% of Wales to be covered with 80Mb broadband speeds by Spring 2016.

Ken Skates, the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, said:

Superfast Cymru is one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind, bringing fast fibre broadband to areas which otherwise would not receive it.  I am pleased today to be able to announce the next phase of this programme, which shows how more and more communities are set to benefit.

By the time Superfast Cymru is completed in 2016 Wales will be one of the most connected countries in the world.  It is a huge undertaking with 3,000 green roadside cabinets to be installed and around 17,500kms of optical fibre cable to be laid.
The Superfast Cymru programme has been funded by the Welsh Government, the UK Government and the European Union to the tune of £205 million. On top of this BT is investing a further £220 million into helping rollout fibre optic broadband to areas in Wales that were not covered by its own commercial rollout.

- Filed under: Fibre broadband
- Tags: Superfast Cymru Project
Author: Mark @ 10:42 am

April 16, 2014

Sky & TalkTalk to create 1000Mb fibre network in York

Sky & TalkTalk are to join up to create a fibre optic network in York that will be bring internet speeds 3 up to times faster than will be delivered by BT’s fibre optic network.

The deal also involves a third company, CityFibre, who are a specialist with fibre optic projects. The deal consists of BSkyB & TalkTalk both investing £5 million each and CityFibre claiming it’s third of the new company with a central ring of fibre optics that they have already got installed in York.
The joint venture network will install full Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) which will bring the fastest speeds to customers and will mean that the new network will aim to be able to offer broadband speeds of 1Gb (or 1,000Mb) which is currently over 3 times faster than is on offer from BT’s top package which offers speeds of 300Mb.
BT’s top speeds of 300Mb are available where BT have installed FTTP, however across most of the country BT have only installed Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) and for the remaining way from the streetside cabinet they use the existing copper wire to connect to houses, this way means that users are not getting a full fibre optic connection.

CityFibre agreed a deal a few years ago with Fujitsu to create a 64 mile fibre ring around the City of York and it is this that they will be building on to base this first joint venture network on.

It is expected that the first customers will be able to be connected to the Sky/TalkTalk/CityFibre network during 2015.

It is not only York who are to benefit from the trio investing in a new fibre network, there is set to be a further 2 cities also chosen where they will roll out to as well in due course.

- Filed under: Fibre broadband
- Tags: CityFibre, Fibre optic broadband York, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, York
Author: Mark @ 8:40 am

April 2, 2014

BT in monopoly position over rural broadband contracts

BT have been left in a monopoly position over the rollout of rural broadband across the country that has been part funded by £1.2 billion of public funds according to  a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme was set up by the government to help fund the rollout of fibre optic broadband to rural areas where it was not financially viable for BT, Virgin Media or other providers to roll out to with just their own money. The £1.2 billion BDUK pot of money to help with the roll out to these rural areas has in effect just been sent in the direction of BT as they are the only provider to have won any contracts.

The report by PAC initially raised concerns over the way the contracts were being awarded back in 2013, at this point 26 contracts for BDUK schemes had been awarded to BT, since then the other 18 contracts that have been put out to tender have also gone in the direction of BT too. Initially there were nine suppliers who were looking to bid for the BDUK funds but most of these dropped out and left the only real remaining one as Fujitsu, however they themselves had pretty much given up too which left BT to clear up all the contracts.

Another issue is the secrecy surrounding the contracts, BT stipulated that there was non-discloser agreements in place so councils could not talk to each other to see if they were receiving a good deal or not, this then makes it likely that more tax payers money will have gone to BT than perhaps needed to if there had been more openness surrounding existing contracts in place.

The other issue raised by PAC was that the broadband maps lacked detail which made it hard for other organisations to see where exactly BT would be rolling their fibre network out to and this hindered other schemes coming in to potentially fill in the gaps or offer faster speeds. They have said that the government needs to work with local organisations to make these broadband maps able to be searched down to post codes to help make it clearer where exactly will and won’t be covered.

- Filed under: Fibre broadband,News
- Tags: BDUK, Broadband Delivery UK, BT Broadband, BT monopoly
Author: Mark @ 10:14 am

February 27, 2014

£250m rural broadband fund dished out

The £250 million extra funding by the government for superfast broadband in rural areas has finally been divvied up between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The extra £250m which was announced by the government last year is on top of the £1.2 billion already to be given out by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project which was set up to fund the roll out of superfast broadband to more rural areas that the likes of BT & Virgin Media themselves wouldn’t roll out too on their own because of it not being financially viable to do so.

The £250m is to be split up as follows:

  • England £184.34m
  • Scotland £20.99m
  • Wales £12.11m
  • Northern Ireland £7.24m

The extra funding is being spent to help make sure that the government meets their target of reaching 95% of UK homes with superfast broadband by 2017. Superfast broadband is classed as broadband that works at 24Mb or above. A further fund of £10m has also been set up to look at connecting the final 5% with other technologies that the standard fibre optic network isn’t suitable for. This fund is due to open on the 17th March 2014 for any potential technologies that can be piloted via this scheme.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary said:

Superfast broadband will benefit everyone whether they need it at work or to do to homework or simply to download music or films, thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it’s helping people with everyday tasks. We want to make sure that Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband and with this extra £250m that we are investing we will help ensure communities around the UK aren’t left behind in a digital slow lane.

In previous reports and studies the government believe that for every £1 invested in the BDUK scheme that £20 will be delivered back to the UK economy by 2014. Along with this there is also expected to be many tens of thousands of new jobs created because of this in rural areas.

- Filed under: Fibre broadband,News
- Tags: BDUK, Rural broadband, £250m rural broadband fund
Author: Mark @ 11:02 am

January 24, 2014

BT to spend further £50m on fibre broadband for cities

At least another 400,000 premises in cities are set to get upgraded to fibre optic broadband as BT is to invest a further £50 million into its own commercial roll out of fibre optic broadband.

More than 30 cities across the UK will benefit from the extra investment that will target the areas that have not originally been targeted due to either not being originally deemed commercially viable at the beginning or due to local planning restrictions that stopped the deployment. Along with these areas there will be the deployment of fibre cabinets to apartment blocks and other multi-dwelling units and also the laying of Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) on some new build sites in the cities.

In total BT are spending over £3 billion of the deployment of fibre optic broadband, £2.5 billion on its own commercial rollout which once complete will cover around 19 million UK premises, plus then further investment to roll out with rural fibre optic broadband schemes such as those organised through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project.

Mike Galvin, MD Network Investment at BT Openreach, said:

Our fibre programme is going extremely well with our engineers connecting homes and businesses across the UK. Some city areas have proved challenging in the past but we are returning to those and will pass hundreds of thousands of additional premises with fibre.


January 15, 2014

£10 million to reach final 5% with superfast broadband

A £10 million fund from the government to help get superfast broadband to the predicted 5% of the country that will not be covered by the existing Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funded programme has had more details revealed about it today.

The fund was originally announced in December by The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and today they have released a few more details as to who they want to bid for the funds. They are after companies who can offer alternative technology to help reach those in the final 5% of premises that will still need connecting. The potential technologies that will be looked at may include 4G, fibre direct to premises, improved fibre to the cabinet and extending it further down the network and also satellite.

Maria Miller, Secretary for State and Culture, Media and Sport, said:

If we want to ensure that that all communities can benefit then we need to think imaginatively about alternative technology, and the pilots enabled by the £10m fund will be instrumental in helping us overcome the challenges of reaching the final 5% of premises.

Currently the UK has a target of 95% coverage of premises with superfast broadband by the end of 2017, much of this has been done by BT & Virgin Media with their own fibre optic networks, however for the areas that BT & Virgin didn’t deem financially viable to roll out their networks to there has been a £1.1bn fund from the government to help extend the superfast broadband network to cover 95% of the UK. On the whole it is BT who has won the contracts for the government funds along with local councils having to match some funding too.

Chris Townsend has become the new Broadband Chief Executive, he was one of the people beind the London 2012 Olympic Games and will take on being in charge of the Broadband Delivery UK programme which also includes the extra £10 million for the remaining 5%.

Mr Townsend, said:

Ensuring that broadband can reach businesses and consumers across the country is one of the most important policies in Government. Faster connections will improve the way people live, work and spend their leisure time. I look forward to starting my new role as chief executive of BDUK and building on the good work being done to get superfast broadband to people all over the UK.



January 14, 2014

BT announce new man to oversee fibre broadband rollout

BT has named the former head of HSBC UK, Joe Garner, as the new CEO of BT Openreach, the division of BT that is responsible for the roll out of fibre optic broadband.

New BT CEO Joe GarnerBT’s current CEO, Liv Garfield, is due to step down mid-February to take over at Severn Trent, the water company and this left the position available for Joe Garner who left his previous role as head of HSBC UK in 2012 and in other jobs before that he has worked for Dixons and Procter & Gamble. BT will have looked at some of his previous jobs and positions and seen that he is a man who can perform well in highly regulated areas and succeed. BT were keen to point out that Mr Garner was in charge at HSBC through the financial crisis and that he helped lead the bank to be No.1 bank for service in First Direct and that while he was at HSBC in the UK he achieved the best long-term record on customer complaints amongst the major banks as well as industry-beating levels of employee engagement.

Mr Garner, said:

I am thrilled to be joining Openreach at such a critical moment – a moment when technology is redefining how our society communicates. The massive investment that Openreach is making in the UK’s high speed internet infrastructure is something of a revolution that will greatly benefit people and businesses in this country. I am grateful to my predecessor and the engineers who have already delivered so much. It is my ambition to build on this work and I intend to focus on customer service, continued innovation and maintaining fair and equal access for all.

The big target for Mr Garner will be to make sure he keeps meeting the UK targets for roll out of fibre optic broadband across the UK with the current target of 95% coverage across the UK with fibre optic broadband by the end of 2017.

- Filed under: Fibre broadband,News
- Tags: BT CEO, BT Openreach, Joe Garner, new boss at BT
Author: Mark @ 10:22 am

January 9, 2014

100,000 homes in Wales able to get superfast broadband

100,000 homes and businesses in Wales can now access superfast fibre optic broadband as the Superfast Cymru Project continues to help with the funding of the next generation broadband.

The Superfast Cymru Project is the scheme that the UK Government have put £57m in to to help fund the deployment and roll out of fibre optic broadband to areas of Wales where BT and Virgin Media themselves wouldn’t have covered by themselves. It is much the same as the BDUK Project (Broadband Delivery UK) that has a large pot of money that is being used to help with rolling out superfast broadband across the UK.

What is usually required for funding to be given to an area is for the local council and also BT to also dip into their pockets to help fund the rollout to the specified areas. The original target had been for 100,000 homes and businesses to have been connected by the end of 2013, so with us only being 9 days over that target we don’t think that was a bad estimate. The longer term target now is to reach 96% of homes and businesses in Wales by the end of 2015 and in total it should see around an extra 690,000 properties able to connect to superfast broadband that would have been left without otherwise.

The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, said:

It’s brilliant news that more than 100,000 Welsh homes and businesses are already gaining real social and commercial advantages as a result of the nationwide rollout.

The contribution that the Governments’ delivery of superfast broadband by 2017 will make to the economic growth of the nation cannot be underestimated.”


December 18, 2013

Fibre broadband “Super Switch On Day”

Today is “Super Switch On Day” when it comes to fibre optic broadband in rural areas as 5,000 homes  were turned on to be able to receive fibre optic broadband this morning.

The 5,000 premises cover homes and businesses across Cheshire, the Cotswolds, Hampshire, Kent, Medway, Shropshire, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire that will have their new green street side boxes set live today according to the Telegraph newspaper.
Much of the money that has been invested to reach parts of these areas is from the government and local councils as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project, with BT covering the extra funds. It is these areas that BT themselves wouldn’t roll out their fibre optic broadband too with just their own investment as they said it didn’t make financial sense for them to do so.

It is now estimated that more than 200,000 premises are connected to a fibre optic enabled cabinet as part of the BDUK scheme.

Initially the UK government had planned to have 90% of the UK with connections to fibre optic broadband by the end of 2015, however this target isn’t going to be met and the revised target is to reach 95% by the end of 2017.

- Filed under: Fibre broadband
- Tags: BDUK, Fibre optic broadband, Super Switch On Day
Author: Mark @ 12:29 pm

November 19, 2013

Government claim fibre broadband spending will return £20 for every £1 spent

The government have defended their £1.2 billion investment of tax payers money to help with the roll out of next generation fibre optic broadband claiming it will return £20 to the UK economy by 2024 for every £1 it is investing, even though many claim that it is once again helping BT become a monopoly broadband provider since they are the only company to win any of the public funds and are the only company left in the bidding process for the remaining funds.

However, the government say that for every £1 that they are investing in the broadband deployment the UK economy will benefit by £20 by 2024. The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme was set up to help distribute the government funds to the various areas where fibre optic broadband roll out was needed but would not be covered by BT Broadband or Virgin Media with their own funding because they were not deemed to be financially beneficial to the companies to do so.
Originally the government put £530m in the pot with local authorities who bid for funding expecting to match this amount for each of their own individual schemes, a further £250m is to be put into the pot after 2015.

These findings were made in a government commissioned “UK Broadband Impact Study – Impact Report” and other benefits that were detailed were that households could save £45m per year by 2024 with more people being able to remote work from home and that by 2014 that it would help with the creation of 11,000 jobs and a net increase in jobs of 20,000 by 2024.

Some will wonder if BT really needed the extra funding in light of their recent high spending on rights for both Premiership football which has cost them £738 million for 38 live games per season for 3 seasons and their 3 years of exclusive UK rights to the Champions League football from 2015 which is to cost them £900m.

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