Following the broadband money

BDUK whistleblower vindicated by BT cabinet deal

with 9 comments

Mike Kiely, the sacked BDUK whistleblower who warned that BT is inflating the cost of street cabinets for next generation broadband access in rural areas, has had his prediction vindicated by a BT deal with a parish council.

BT says it is to supply fibre to two new street cabinets it will install in the Oxfordshire village of Binfield Heath, giving villagers access to an ‘up to’ 80Mbps broadband service.

BT says the village, 2.9 miles by car from the closest exchange in Caversham, was not included in its commercial roll-out plan. However, the 648 residents (according to the 2001 census) clubbed together to find the necessary £56,000, or £28,000 per cabinet.

BT’s press release quotes Paul Rollason, chairman of Binfield Heath Parish Council, saying, “The residents were determined not to miss out on faster broadband speeds, and formed an action group to talk to BT about how we could help the economic case to bring fibre to our part of Oxfordshire. They worked out the extra cost to rearrange and uplift the network, and between us, we have raised the funds.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said, “Binfield Heath’s residents … really engaged with us around the best solution for their community, and together we found a way to bring fibre speeds to almost the entire village; it’s a fantastic result.”

For BT. Two years ago the villagers of Iwade in Kent paid £12,667 for a street cabinet and fibre link to the exchange in Sittingbourne 4.4 miles away by car, a mile and a half further than the distance at Binfield Heath.

Prices rise, but costs don't in BT's divide and conquer NGA strategy.

Prices rise, but costs don’t in BT’s divide and conquer NGA strategy.

Iwade’s bill was close to the £13,000 average cost of cabinets installed during phase four of BT’s next generation (NGA) broadband roll-out in Northern Ireland, according to Kiely’s confidential report.

Kiely’s report showed that BT was inflating the cost of rural NGA cabinets to around £30,000 each, pretty much what Binfield Heath is paying.

The department of culture media and sport (DCMS), which manages BDUK, sacked Kiely after he blew the whistle on BT’s apparent price gouging and his report leaked to Br0kenTeleph0n3.

Binfield Heath vindicates Kiely’s report. Culture secretary Maria Miller should re-instate him at once, and sack those who turned a blind eye to his warning.

Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2013/04/16 at 06:55

9 Responses

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  1. says that 80 people represented “a significant proportion” of donors of the 60 grand. 120 at £500 each on average perhaps ??

    The scope of work includes some digging – “Replacing the duct would require the
    road surface to be dug up for approximately 700 Metres” – at Openreach rates that’s £98,000.


    2013/04/16 at 08:18

    • How interesting Phil. Can you explain why BT would charge £56,000 for the complete installation if, as you say, Openreach could charge £98,000 just for the dig? It looks as if Openreach has one price for BT, another to the rest of us, wouldn’t you say?


      2013/04/16 at 21:27

  2. Hard to say if the Binfield roll-out is actually proof of that without more detail on the background and costs. Cabinets can cost anything from a small amount to well over £100k, which depends on all sorts of issues like the cost of upgrading the power supply and street works etc.

    As I recall BT initially said that it could upgrade the village but that this would most likely cost upwards of £100,000 and required the locals to contribute around £30,000 towards the cost, although sadly the local contribution requirement was later revised upwards to £60,000. Precise details for what caused the shift are not known.

    A potentially related article from November last year may provide some useful information:


    Mark (ISPreview)

    2013/04/16 at 08:28

  3. Ian – I think the £56k included a fibre run from the exchange? Apart from which I agree with your suggestion to Maria MIller………………………

    Mike has a website at designed to aid LAs etc to ‘see through’ some of the smoke.

    mike phillips

    2013/04/16 at 08:31

  4. Shame they didn’t listen to Mike. Shame so many are getting fooled with telco hype and weasel words. The next biggest scandal is going to be FOD. Watch this space. I can’t understand why Binfield is going for cabinets when with that sort of support from the community they could have fibre to the homes by a company like gigaclear.


    2013/04/16 at 15:55

    • Maybe Binfield could not find enough people willing to pay £37/month for 10M.


      2013/04/17 at 19:38

  5. […] Mike Kiely, the sacked BDUK whistleblower who warned that BT is inflating the cost of street cabinets for next generation broadband access in rural areas, has had his prediction vindicated by a BT deal with a parish council.  […]

    • binfield heath both cabs live — and 1st end users already have service


      2014/01/07 at 22:36

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