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Monday, 18 October 2010

Simple acid test for BDUK

We have multiple examples from around the world now of costs for rural FTTH so....

This blog post can be read at

When BDUK get to choose which projects go forward, this should be a very simple way in these times of cuts and best value spending reviews to judge them:

On average, the maximum that rural FTTH to a property should cost is £1000. In the majority of cases it will be under £750.

Therefore, using my now infamous mathematical skills, £230Million divided by £1000 is 230,000 homes. Divided by £750, it is 306,667 homes.

If the proposed projects cannot GUARANTEE to connect up between 230k and 306k homes with FTTH, don't choose them! Or we will be wasting the digital dividend dosh - we only have it the once.

And don't get me started on how much further this digital dividend money would go if we took the VOA right out of the equation and waived all fibre tax / business rates on these projects. That is, as long as the choice of who will deliver these pilots is not made on who can come up with the fanciest tender bid (as possibly was the case in Cornwall?), in which case, we probably won't get any rural FTTH at all.


Cyberdoyle said...

I think it is essential that the projects deliver the fibre to the rural areas, and working with the communities in the spirit of big society cost savings can be made to enable more people to get connected out of the same pipe. Like you say and was said at rheged, we only get one bite at this cherry, and the pilots have to deliver the best bang for the buck.
If any public money is used to prop up the copper cabal it is not serving a useful purpose. It has to be spent on fibre as one of your earlier posts pointed out. I feel very sorry for Cornwall.

Somerset said...

cd - again you are looking at the technology rather than the requirements. If FTTC delivers 40M (60M later) to a high number of people sooner then surely this is a better option.

Does it make sense to roll FTTH where FTTC is easily and quickly installed?

There is no evidence of applications etc. needing over 60M currently, even remote meter reading!

However there remains properties beyond FTTC reach to be sorted and the cost of doing that.

I would be interested in knowing how many communities would have people interested and capable of rolling out fast broadband, I suspect it will need a telco company to do most of the work. Also important is the support arrangements when the community involvement has lost interest or moved elsewhere.

Cybersavvy UK said...

Somerset - SuperHD is just around the corner now and needs a minimum of 320Mbps.

The point with the BDUk projects is that once done, they should be done, not need to be revisited again in x years time. After all, the point is trying to ensure that we discover the issues that face the UK, now and in the near future.

The incumbent and Virgin etc are all learning all the issues surrounding FTTC anyway. Leave the private sector to do that. What the BDUK /digital dividend money should be for is solving the rural issues for next gen, not the current gen, which by definition FTTC must be as the current generation are already doing it!