Cumbrian broadband – BDUK

Cumbria is the region leading the charge in the implementation of superfast broadband to rural areas using government funding via BDUK.

Cumbria has just rejected the bids made by BT and Fujitsu and asked them to retwrite the proposals. Neither bid apparently met the criteria laid down by the Cumbrian authorities.

This should be noted with concern by other Local Authorities around the country, all of whom are trying to get to grips with how to spend the government money in their own areas. The reason for the concern is that the model for how much the rollout should cost, and therefore the amount of money apportioned to each area was developed by BDUK using a subcontractor.

If this model turns out to be wrong then we could be facing the “Cumbrian” situation in every county. Delays and shortfalls in meeting targets are bad news all round.

The BBC coverage on the Cumbrian broadband situation is here.

You should also follow Ian Grant’s coverage here – he is very close to this stuff.

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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5 Comments

  1. Personally speaking, as ever, I think Cumbria is holding out for clear information on who will get what, and haven’t fallen for the hype of ‘90% will get superfast’ that other councils will fall for. They are also looking to the future, and don’t want to do the job again in another few years. They got bitten with Project Access, and have that experience, and they also have a lot of parish champions and hub co-ordinators spread throughout their county helping the council to see through the vital vision of the incumbent to protect its copper assets. It is good to see a council brave enough to stand up to the telcos and fight for its people. It would have been far easier just to give the funding to BT and let them deal with it all and proclaim success. BT do that very well. They did that for project access, which everyone living in Cumbria knows was useless and should not have used public money. I have lost track of the times Access was lauded. It was all hype though. Until more funding became available with BDUK BT and Ofcom were still claiming everyone had broadband. Then we saw the advent of the CLA finalthirdfirst campaign, and all the work done by Rory Stewart and suddenly BT are in there saying they can fix the notspots.
    All the councils breathe a sigh of relief and sign on the dotted line. Little knowing they are going to have to do it all again once they realise their notspots are still not. Spots.
    A 2megabit connection to rurals is as much use for the future as dial up is now.
    Good luck to Cumbria. May the force be with them.

  2. The formula does not look difficult

    Counties with higher proportion of slow/not spots (white areas) got more per property. i.e. Cumbria £70 and Bedfordshire £30

    Scale this up, and what can you do for around £200 per property in Cumbria? Hence the go back to drawing board, and get bidders to add more money.

    BDUK pot is more of a teaser fund to kick start things, not a full subsidy. Hence why big players only are involved, which firms have the £40m investment capital to work in Cumbria?

  3. Of course 90pc has been delivered – look at BT’s coverage in northern ireland. Don’t believe all the FUD from those who have no alternative ideas an live in a world of fantasy. In any ITT process you can expect some bumps but they will be solved in time.

  4. 90% homes passed does not count Neil. And Cumbria has seen through the hype of Ireland and Cornwall’s cabinets. Cabinets cannot deliver an NGA service to long line lengths even with the magic vectoring solution we keep hearing about…
    The bumps will not be solved on old copper phone lines. The lab tests may look impressive, but it doesn’t work in the wild.
    In the same way that we are still waiting for the promised adsl connections of 2003, and BT and ofcom still assure us that 99.8% have them, we have 3 million properties with dial up or sub meg intermittent connections. I think it is telcos who are living in a world of fantasy and their marketing budget is convincing people once again… You wouldn’t need to market your product so hard if it worked.

  5. For those 90% of course it counts!

    Can you state your evidence on 3M homes please?

    For the remaining 10% _nobody_ more than BT is working on closing that gap. Working on technologies such as TVWS and LTE enabling connections up to 40M

    It absolutely works in the wild! In many european countries its rolled out and is working. Vectoring is not a DSL specific technology is a typical signal improvement technology used in many applications! And G.FAST is going to take us to 1G, have a look at the UKNOF website for a presentation from ALU on this.

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