Scotland’s broadband plan leaves 356,000 out in the cold
One in eight Scottish homes is unlikely to get a broadband service greater than 24Mbps, but up to 40% of rural homes will be left behind, following million of pounds of taxpayers’ money given to BT, say researchers at Edinburgh University.
Michael Fourman and Peter Buneman, professors at at the School for Informatics, say the current claim that the £410m investment to get 95% of premises in Scotland on to superfast broadband by the end of 2017-18 “is not credible”.
“According to our calculations, less than 85% of Scottish households will have access to superfast broadband, and the long-term prospects for rural Scotland are dismal. We predict that at least 43% of the 450,000 households in rural Scotland will not receive superfast broadband from the current programme.”
Fourman and Buneman have revised their estimates downward after they discovered a bug in the program they used to calculate the expected shortfall, and in response to feedback over the correct distance over which to calculate VDSL performance. Fourman has sent an exhaustive reply complete with tables.
There are many approximations to be chosen and caveats to be stated. We can produce many different sets of estimates, but that fact should not obscure the underlying issues:
Unless there is substantial investment in hundreds new fibre-fed cabinets (or equivalents), (or in FTTH where there are exchange only or too-long lines 🙂 :
1. In rural areas at least 40% of households will not get superfast (>24Mbps) unless we shorten some copper beyond existing exchanges. If we focus on remote rural areas, that number rises to 45% and in very remote rural areas to over 60%.
These are optimistic estimates based on theoretical performance of good copper. Using empirically-based estimates for copper speeds gives higher stillslow figures: 49% for rural overall; 52% for remote rural; and 71% for very remote rural.
2. Even in urban areas it is unlikely that 95% will get superfast (>24Mbps) speeds. If we use empirically-based estimates for copper speeds then one in eight households in urban areas of Scotland are unlikely to be able to achieve the EU target of 30Mbps.
Now please fill in the poll below so that we can get some reliable numbers.