Britain’s broadband budget is £3.58bn (approx)
News that Europe is preparing a €9.2bn kitty to get broadband from where we are now to everyone having 30Mbps and half of us with 100Mbps left me underwhelmed and puzzled.
Over the weekend I tried to work out from public sources exactly what the UK has budgeted to get the entire country up to 2Mbps guaranteed – almost £3.58bn, not including our share of the proposed Euro-kitty.
If you reckon that we should be able to get at least £500m in matched funding or other “slush funds”, that is pretty close to the £4bn total people were whispering in my ear three years ago.
This is short of the £5bn-odd the Broadband Stakeholder Group said it would cost for national broadband access based on fibre to the cabinet, and a long way short of the almost £30bn for fibre to the home.
For months Digital Agenda champion Neelie Kroes has been asking telco bosses how much for 100Mbps. They have replied, “Well, it depends, but more than you think,” while continuing to sweat their copper assets.
I think we can safely say that when it comes to the final bill for 100Mbps broadband, everyone is guessing, and few are telling the whole truth.
The truth is hard to establish. For instance, looking at Northern Ireland, which is relatively simple, one can see many potential sources of finance: BT, various government departments, and a bunch of European purses as well.
This table is taken from Northern Ireland’s department of enterprise, trade & investment (Deti) web page on superfast broadband.
|Source of funds||Project||£m|
|ERDF via DETI||Broadband upgrade||16.50|
|EAFRD via DARD||Broadband upgrade||1.50|
|ERDF||NI Broadband Fund||1.90|
|DETI||Commendium contract for advice||3.90|
|DETI||Avanti satellite broadband||1.25|
Below is what I think is the UK’s broadband budget to 2015. I have assumed that BT’s contribution in Northern Ireland is part of its £2.5bn Next Generation Access budget to 2015, and excluded the £2.5bn it will probably spend on normal network build and maintenance.
If anyone can improve the accuracy of the tables here, please feel free to point out any errors. And if anyone wants the allocations to English counties, please let me know. If anyone has the Scottish and Welsh allocations, I’d be happy to put them up here. As for Northern Ireland, well, that’s pretty much all BT’s, I believe.
|Britain’s Broadband Budget|
This may include double counting of BT’s £78.5m contribution to Cornwall, which probably comes from its £2.5bn headline Next Generation Access budget.
It also excludes provision for matched funding that DCMS/BDUK expects to elicit from companies that bid for bits of the DCMS’s £530m. How much BT kicks in in matched funds will probably come from its NGA budget, so will not increase the pot at all.
It also excludes projects such as B4RN, which will start seeking investors in November for its proposed community-owned 1Gbps fibre to the home network.