So, while I’m on my hobby horse, one other thing to mention. The deployment of “Super Fast Broadband”.
There’s a government target of 90% of all UK households to have Super Fast Broadband by the end of 2015. Super Fast means in excess of 24Mbps. Well at least there was. According to this piece by PCPro magazine, that’s increased to 95% by 2017 and is now 99% by 2018. Although they’ve now allowed that to be achieved by wireless too.
Trawl the internet and you’ll find countless stories detailing how we’re falling behind on these targets, here are just some:-
- The Independent – No UK cities meet government’s superfast broadband target
- ISPReview – UK Government Denies Superfast Broadband Targets Slipping to 2016
- BBC Technology – Superfast broadband – are we getting there?
There are plenty more too if you want to take a look, but I think the last article by Rory Cellan-Jones sums things up rather nicely.
So where’s it going wrong? Well take my local exchange for example. Churchtown in Southport. If you go onto any ISP’s site and do an availability check to see if Fibre to the Cabinet is available (read Super Fast Broadband) from this exchange, you’ll get a resounding yes. In fact check it from the horse’s mouth, BT Openreach. This link downloads the latest list of exchanges that are “accepting orders”, you’ll find Churchtown on there. However using information provided by the excellent site at Code Lock, you’ll see that the exchange appears to have 43 cabinets feeding into it. Of those 43, 12 have not been provisioned for FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet). If you look at the details of these 12, there are two common themes that crop up. One, is that they all “serve” a far lower number of postcodes than those that have been enabled, and two, that even where the number of postcodes served is relatively high, local knowledge tells me (looking at the “coverage” maps of each cabinet), that the populus in those postcodes won’t be very high.
What does this mean? I can only assume, that in an effort to get to the target levels BT Openreach are prioritising solely based on how quickly they can ramp up availability. I guess a sort of 80/20 rule. By “hitting” 80% of the cabinets (with the most subscribers) off an exchange you get the biggest coverage. I suppose if I was incented to reach coverage targets, I may be inclined to do exactly the same?
All this means is that the teams that were deployed here a couple of years ago to provision those high utilisation cabinets, are, at some point, all going to have to come back to eventually finish the rest. Surely that can’t be cost effective? If you’re here doing some, why not do them all?
So what about my plight? Well if I look at the cabinets still to be provisioned, and you assume the priority is based on how many post codes are served by a cabinet, of the 12 remaining, I’m in flat last position. Only five post codes served from my cabinet (P39). So by the news clips above I can (presumably) safely assume that it’ll be 2018 before I finally have the option to order Super Fast Broadband. Six years after my exchange was enabled for it. No doubt by which time, technology will have moved on to the point where today’s “Super Fast Broadband” will already be a couple of generations behind whatever will be the new standard then.
There’s now a site where you can register your Super Fast Broadband “Not Spot”. It’s run by INCA. Click here to register yours if you find yourself in a similar position as me!
Looks like I’m confined to a life in the slow lane. Bah.