Br0kenTeleph0n3

Following the broadband money

BT’s broadband roll-out neglects businesses – the proof

with 10 comments

Until now there has only been anecdotal evidence to suggest that businesses may be getting deliberately stuffed in BT’s fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) roll-out. Now a reader has analysed some of the county broadband roll-out maps to test whether this thesis holds water.

It does.

Here’s the table he’s built up so far, based on Royal Mail post code data and published county maps.

County

Percentage of business premises in county

Percentage of business premises in No build areas

Bedfordshire

4%

10%

Berkshire

4%

8%

Buckinghamshire

5%

3%

Cheshire

4%

10%

Devon

5%

7%

Dorset

5%

10%

Essex

4%

7%

Hampshire

4%

12%

Hertfordshire

4%

4%

Leicestershire

5%

17%

Nottinghamshire

4%

10%

Oxfordshire

5%

12%

Shropshire

5%

6%

Staffordshire

5%

15%

Warwickshire

4%

10%

Wiltshire

4%

9%

Worcestershire

5%

6%

“There is clearly a trend, where in almost all counties, business premises are proportionately less likely to be covered under the BDUK programme than residential premises,” he says.

Keen-eyed will notice that Bucks and Herts (who act in concert) buck the trend with a roll-out that appears to favour businesses slightly. But woe to businesses in Staffordshire and Leicestershire where they are especially neglected.

Our reader says a post code chosen at random, TQ12 6UT in Devon, was typical of the pattern. This is a business park on the edge of a town, the kind of area that you’d probably want to prioritise if you wanted to encourage economic development.

cab-15 - Copy

“The local exchange appears to have been enabled but the business park has been missed off, and doesn’t appear to have been included in the county council plans either, despite having a cabinet sited right at the park entrance.”

Our reader argues that it “would be a lot better” if county councils simply published a list of postcodes in the final 10%. “Forcing the industry to go through this complex process of scanning maps to extract postcode information introduces errors and wastes time and effort to maintain a veneer of secrecy.”

Fortunately for some neglected business parks, other service providers aim to step in where BT fears to tread.

Last summer BDUK sent the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (Inca) a list of hundreds of postcodes of enterprise zones and business parks that are not being served by BT’s broadband roll-out. Inca joined with the Federation of Communications Services, which represents some 300 B2B comms providers, to address these business ‘not-spots’.

To speed things up, suppliers can use a template developed by Mike Kiely of the BitCommons to aggregate demand from 90 businesses in the Perseverance Works in Shoreditch, London and issue requests for proposals.

Advertisements

Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2014/01/20 at 23:35

Posted in Broadband, Finance

10 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. If anybody wanted to make a Freedom of Information request to every Local Council, here is a ‘megaphone’ that enables you to do so: http://www.ukfamilylawreform.co.uk/megaphone/uklocalauthorityfreedomofinformation.htm

    It was set up by UK Family Law Reform to help parents and children.

    Sabine Kurjo McNeill

    2014/01/20 at 23:53

  2. The business parks will have lucrative leased lines. BT will not want to lose that income.

    chrisconder

    2014/01/21 at 07:08

  3. By “No build area” do you mean % of businesses that generally exist in an area where there are restricted building controls or the % of businesses that have not been covered by BT’s NGA network? Does this also include Virgin Media’s coverage? Would be good to clarify exactly what is what.

    • Mark, it’s the % of businesses that have not been covered by BT’s NGA network. Why is Virgin Media relevant here? It’s roll-out is self-funded; BT’s is subsidised to the tune of 1.4bn by taxpayers.

      Br0kenTeleph0n3

      2014/01/21 at 08:13

  4. It’s relevant to the overall picture, after all BDUK can’t use public funding to deploy into an area if a superfast broadband network already exists so you need to factor the coverage of other NGA networks too (not that this has stopped BT in some of B4RN’s areas mind etc.).

    • Fair point, but we know BT’s “commercial” roll-out largely overlaps Virgin Media’s urban/suburban footprint, so edge of town business parks are highly unlikely to have a VM service. That might not be true for WISPs, but then, as we know, they don’t count in the BDUK world. This leaves BT free to build what it likes where it likes when it likes. The businesses on which the governement depends to create jobs simply have higher input costs that yes, they can claim back from taxes, but still have to pay out of cash flow.

      Br0kenTeleph0n3

      2014/01/21 at 13:45

  5. It would be interesting to know how our friend compiled this information as the published maps do not have that much detail.

    Regarding TQ12 6UT, It’s Bovey Tracey cabinet 15 and there are still cabinets being installed, including on the business parks near it so maybe it too early to say it will not be done. It looks like a blue area on the CDS map.

    Given that CDS are aiming for 90% >24M this means that the no build is 10% max and that if 7% of that is business premises we are talking about 0.7% of the total number of premises so the accuracy of the numbers would be interesting. Is it surprising that the % of businesses is virtually the same in every county?

    Does this mean that residential properties are benefiting more? Good for home workers.

    Somerset

    2014/01/21 at 15:09

    • Your points Peter:

      The maps don’t have much detail – Deliberately so, when local councils are threatened with legal action by BT. There are still cabinets being installed – So SamKnows is wrong or at best premature. Good for home workers – Not for anyone trying to upload images, video in particular.

      I note you don’t dispute the main point of the article, which is that BT is deliberately stuffing businesses, probably to keep its leased line revenues going as long as possible. And it’s not just in rural areas or edge of town, as Philip Virgo and others have pointed out. Shoreditch and Smithfield are not exactly rural these days.

      Br0kenTeleph0n3

      2014/01/21 at 23:26

  6. […] reader has objected to some elements of the previous story and asked for an explanation of how the figures were derived, particularly with respect to the […]

  7. We shall be discussing these issues at the next CMA Meeting. Why not come along and have your say.
    http://www.bcs.org/content/conEvent/8541


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: