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Funding for bringing Superfast Broadband to the Devon County Council Area is not what it seems. That the vast majority of the Area is in no better position than it was before Funding.

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First interactive UK fixed-line broadband map launched

July 6, 2011

Ofcom has today launched the UK’s first interactive map of fixed broadband, using actual data provided by communications providers about the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

Ofcom is required to submit a report on the UK’s communications infrastructure to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport every three years. As the first stage of meeting our infrastructure duty, Ofcom is publishing the online map, which allows users to zoom in and out of administrative authorities of the UK and provides a range of data to offer a picture of broadband provision in each area.

The map, available at http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/, was compiled using data provided by communications providers and covers 200 administrative authorities. Specifically it covers:

  • availability of superfast broadband (the percentage of addresses which are within the coverage area of superfast broadband networks);

  • average broadband take-up (excluding superfast broadband connections);

  • average actual speeds for ADSL and cable services (excluding superfast broadband) averaged across each area; and

  • the percentage of homes with broadband currently not receiving 2Mbit/s speeds.

  • Each area has been ranked according to a score given for each of the above measures and colour coded with green ranking highest, and red lowest. The four metrics have also been combined to produce an overall view of broadband in different parts of the UK.

UK fixed-line broadband information

Across the UK as a whole, 68 per cent of UK premises have a fixed broadband connection, and the average maximum speed is 7.5Mbit/s (excluding superfast broadband connections).

The City of Brighton & Hove has the highest take-up of fixed broadband services with 80 per cent.

The City of Edinburgh has the fastest average maximum speeds, with 10.1Mbit/s with the City of Bristol just behind with 9.9Mbit/s.

The City of Edinburgh and City of Bristol also have the lowest percentage of people receiving less than 2Mbit/s (4.5 per cent).

Some 58 per cent of addresses are in areas served by a superfast broadband enabled telephone exchange ***or cable network.

Luton, in England, and Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland have the highest percentage of addresses served by a superfast broadband enabled exchange (100 per cent).

Superfast broadband availability across Northern Ireland is very high, with 97 per cent of addresses served by a superfast broadband enabled exchange (although superfast services will not necessarily be available to all addresses). This follows the completion of major investment in superfast broadband by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland, in conjunction with BT. BT has announced plans to bring superfast broadband to 88 per cent of lines in the country by March 2012.

Fourteen per cent of customers who have fixed broadband connections (excluding superfast broadband connections) are currently receiving speeds of less than 2Mbit/s. Some of these customers could improve their speeds by making changes to their in-home telephone wiring and around 6 per cent have the option to switch to a higher speed cable and fibre based broadband service.

More rural areas tend to have lower speeds and a greater proportion of customers who receive speeds less than 2Mbit/s. This is primarily because copper telephone lines tend to be longer in these areas and broadband speeds delivered over these lines reduce with increasing line length.

In addition, the low housing density also makes it more expensive to build new superfast cable and fibre-based networks in these areas.

Assessing the UK’s infrastructure

Ofcom’s first infrastructure report will be submitted to the Secretary of State later this year and Ofcom intends to build on this map and provide additional information.

Ofcom is publishing this map now following a request from Government to provide information on broadband availability, take-up and speeds in the UK.

This data will be useful to local authorities in developing their broadband plans and should help to speed up the delivery of improved broadband infrastructure to UK citizens and consumers.

Ofcom expects to update the maps with new data on an annual basis.

The full report including methodology can be found here.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: “We are now developing a clear picture of the UK’s fixed broadband infrastructure and how it delivers for consumers. We hope that this information will stimulate further rollout of broadband infrastructure and better performance for households and businesses.”


Next steps

footprintsFollowing the success of securing BDUK funding, work is underway to deliver what will be a £100m plus project.

Working with BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK), Somerset and Devon have established a joint project board and are setting up the different elements required to successfully deliver this project.

The three key significant pieces of work, which will run in parallel, will be:

- an open  procurement exercise to secure a supplier (scheduled to start July 2011)

- state aid approval from the EU, via a state aid notification

- demand stimulation to ensure take up and to ensure benefits are realised for businesses and residents

With a due process that we are obliged to follow, the earliest that delivery could start is likely to be early in 2012, notwithstanding any delays along the way. Clearly all efforts will be made to speed the process up. The draft timeline presented to the Project Board on 15th June is reproduced below:

Draft Project Timeline

The full detail and scale of deployment will not be known accurately until the procurement has run it’s course. The basis of our bid was to deliver a fibre service to at least 85% of premises, and to ensure basic broadband to the remaining 15%, across the entire rural area of Devon and Somerset. This ratio may improve as negotiations get underway with suppliers.

© Copyright Devon County Council 2011      Source: Connecting Devon and Somerset 21 June 2011