The ceasing of the Broadband Performance Indicator reports by the DCMS is going to upset some people, but with the bulk of the delivery now over and the increasing complexity of tracking delivery figures even though the volume is decreasing means that stopping publication around March 2018 does make some sense. There was a consultation that took place towards to the end of 2017, and there was actually no responses to the consultation on stopping the publication of this dataset, thus sealing its fate – admittedly we were not aware of the consultation and suspect the same applies to others. The performance indicator has tracked on a quarterly basis what the numerous projects have reported in terms of premises and while it never summarised the full spending since only funding from Westminster was counted it did give an idea on what the cost per premises was looking like.
We expect the number of premises delivered in the first quarter of 2018 to be substantially lower than what other recent quarters have shown and this is down to so many projects racing towards a 31st December 2017 target date and they are now concentrating on infill cabinets and FTTP deployments or in a procurement phase.
We do track the levels of coverage for the BDUK areas, but the caveats are growing as firms like Gigaclear and Airband build their contracted areas and the tactical deployment of Openreach GEA-FTTP. Additionally there is also the complication that Virgin Media does partially overlap some cabinets in many cases prior to the BDUK enabled roll-outs and in some cases commercial expansion has come to cabinets after a local authority got a cabinet enabled for VDSL2. From our figures for 22nd February we had tracked 6,338,883 premises on what we believe are publically funded cabinets, and the overall superfast coverage was 91.7% over 24 Mbps (down to 90.8% using 30 Mbps and faster definition), this gives a premise count well in excess of the Westminster figure, but once you allow for the 1 million premises of Virgin Media we end up getting close enough that we don’t disagree with their figures.
Given the official figures are due to cease and as far as we are aware Ofcom do not release anything trying to identify the BDUK footprint specifically we now plan to add a further metric to our system for the BDUK dataset, i.e. number of premises that have gained superfast broadband excluding those who can also get Virgin Media broadband.
The recent passing of the 95% superfast target was followed by a wave of ‘we do not believe it, because my village has nothing like that level of coverage’ and looking at a random example like Warwickshire where the urban/rural premises split is 68% urban and 32% rural the superfast coverage figures 99.7% in the urban areas and 89.7% in the rural areas.
So yes rural areas are often still lagging behind their urban counterparts and in places like Devon it drops to 80% in the rural areas and the urban/rural split is 47% urban, 53% rural with the urban areas well ahead in the superfast stakes at 98.9%.
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Coventry-based ISP Syscomm has introduced a new range of fully managed symmetrical 100Mbps to 1Gbps capable “full fibre” ultrafast broadband packages for businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire, which are available from GBP200 +vat per month and go up to GBP550 for the Gigabit service. The new services offer dedicated bandwidth (flexible bandwidth management), unlimited usage, a 24/7 Service Level Agreement (SLA), Static IP address and subsidised installation for those able to harness the government’s GBP2m Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme (i.e. up to GBP3,000 per business).
Chris Tyler, CEO of Syscomm, said: “Gigabit is a step change for business and unlocks full access to the current and emerging Cloud technologies that will shape the future workplace.
Early adopters have a head start on innovation, taking technology and bandwidth constraints out of the equation. As a local Coventry ISP, we have been working hard to change the norm and build our next-generation network ready to flip the conversation from 10’s of Megabits of congested, unreliable bandwidth, to 100’s or 1000’s of Megabits of guaranteed, unlimited, business-class throughput. Being named UK City of Culture for 2021 further validates our reputation as one of the most creative, and technologically innovative areas in the country, and access to ultrafast broadband will help the region to maintain its edge in an increasingly digital world.
We are increasing our fibre footprint across the region and are offering a range of complimentary Network, Cloud and Hosted services to give our Customers ultrafast access to the Internet technologies that facilitate innovation and growth.”
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More than 60 GP surgeries and community services in Coventry and Rugby are to be connected to ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband over CityFibre’s Gigabit City network through local system integrator Pinacl Solutions.
The shared network is set to go live in May 2018 and will help transform the digital capabilities of local healthcare services, enabling instant, buffer-free access to patient records and systems, public Wi-Fi, and other digital services such as NHS Choices (now NHS.UK), as well as providing a foundation for new innovations, such as virtual doctor’s appointments and telecare. NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical director Steve Allen, said: “Working with our IT providers at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, the CCG is at the forefront of gigabit tech in the UK. “Enabling GP practice access to a local fibre network will provide instant access to online services, while improving the experience of patients visiting the practice.”
“As NHS Digital roll out the Health and Social Care Network [HSCN] set to replace N3, the national broadband network for the English NHS, it is vital that all underlying infrastructure is upgraded to full-fibre,” added CityFibre senior business development manager Martin Kemp. “This will not only drive cost savings through the removal of multiple connections into the same site, it will give the NHS the reliability, capacity and internet speeds it needs to transform services in the digital age.” Full-fibre connectivity has been high on the NHS’ digital agenda as a means to improve productivity and innovation, and generate efficiency and cost savings for some time.
A 2016 report from the European Commission estimated that two million doctors across Europe could benefit directly from its objective to provide ultrafast broadband services to main public sector providers by 2025.
Coventry became one of CityFibre’s Gigabit Cities in 2014 when Coventry City Council sold off a 140km fibre network – the Coventry Core – that it had built for itself by services provider Optilan in 2007 because it could not afford to expand it.
Since then, CityFibre has grown the service substantially in line with its Well Planned City model and the network now hosts more than 400 public sector sites and hundreds of local businesses around the city.
- ^ fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband (www.computerweekly.com)
- ^ partners (www.techtarget.com)
- ^ public Wi-Fi (www.computerweekly.com)
- ^ now NHS.UK (www.computerweekly.com)
- ^ NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (www.coventryrugbyccg.nhs.uk)
- ^ Health and Social Care Network (www.computerweekly.com)
- ^ in 2014 (www.computerweekly.com)
- ^ in 2007 (www.computerweekly.com)
- ^ its Well Planned City model (www.computerweekly.com)