When announced in Feb 2013, the UK government goal of delivering Superfast Broadband to 90% of the UK by early 2016 seemed realistic. By their definition, Superfast is an internet connection with speeds in excess of 24Mbps. As this time-related goal has now elapsed, I thought it would be interesting to analyse a cross section of my clients' connectivity to see whether they have access to Superfast in the form of FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) or FTTP (fibre to the premises).
Out of 20 sites for 5 randomly selected nationwide clients, spanning different sectors, I was a little shocked to see that Superfast products are only available to 55% of sites, dropping well short of the targeted 90%.
Out of the 11 sites with FTTC available, 9 had upgraded to Superfast showing a clear desire from UK businesses to increase speeds.
For the 9 sites left behind without FTTC or FTTP available, 2 managed to take advantage of the Connection Voucher Scheme and secured the £3000 grant to install leased lines. Unfortunately, the pool of money ran out before the expected cut-off date, again showing the desire from UK businesses to improve their connectivity infrastructure. Following the success of the scheme in England and Scotland, we have already started helping clients in Wales to apply for the newly launched Access Broadband Cymru Voucher Scheme.
Even for those that do not have funding available, plummeting leased line costs have led many businesses to realise that they no longer have to rely on government led FTTC/FTTP rollouts. The benefits of installing a dedicated circuit, with guaranteed synchronous speeds and a 7 hour guaranteed fix time, now outweigh the monthly rental costs for a high proportion of SMEs.
Even though the government has fallen short of its ambitious target, it is clear to see that the UK connectivity infrastructure has taken a significant leap towards being more competitive with our European counterparts and will continue to do so in the near future.
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is delivering superfast broadband and better mobile connectivity to the nation. The Government is supporting investment to: provide superfast broadband coverage to 90% of the UK by early 2016 and 95% by December 2017 provide access to basic broadband (2Mbps) for all from December 2015 explore options to provide superfast coverage to the hardest to reach parts of the UK encourage the take up of superfast broadband by SMEs to support growth through the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme (now closed)