Superfast broadband in Cambridgeshire
98% of premises to have access to fibre broadband by 2015
Cambridgeshire County Council is leading a project to roll out superfast broadband services across the county. On 4th February 2013, Cambridgeshire County Council announced that BT has been chosen as the winning bidder to roll out better broadband over the next three years. The contract was signed on Friday 8th March 2013. According to the Council, 98% of homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have access to fibre-based broadband by 2015, with at least 90% of premises being able to access superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps.
Connecting Cambridgeshire has mapped out some of the first areas across the county being considered to receive the new fibre-based infrastructure. Over 50 rural parishes and urban areas are under consideration for the first phase of the roll-out.
As shown in our analysis of superfast broadband contracts to date (April 2013), Cambridgeshire will achieve higher superfast broadband penetration than its surrounding counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.
Tracking the very latest superfast broadband developments
Here are the very latest superfast broadband developments relevant to Cambridgeshire:
31 May 2013. As promised, the Connecting Cambridgeshire team has announced further information about the roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband across Cambridgeshire. Connecting Cambridgeshire has mapped out some of the first areas across the county being considered to receive the new fibre-based infrastructure. Over 50 rural parishes and urban areas are under consideration for the first phase of the roll-out.
A high-level map giving a general indication of parishes/areas with some premises under consideration for the first phase of the roll-out can be viewed here.
The first phase of the roll-out is scheduled to deliver connectivity from December 2013 through to June 2014, with the first cabinets going ‘live with fibre’ by the end of 2013. Further details of this and subsequent phases of the roll-out plan will be announced at regular intervals from September 2013, as further information is made available.
17 April 2013. A meeting of Broadband Champions took place in Alconbury Weald, attended by the Connecting Cambridgeshire team and BT. Noelle Godfrey, Connecting Cambridgeshire Programme Director outlined progress. She assured Broadband Champions that the programme will reach every community in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that currently lacks access to broadband services. Noelle announced that the team expects to tell Broadband Champions more in May 2013 about when they will be able to announce the first phases.
A great deal of questions were asked and you can view the answers from the Connecting Cambridgeshire team by clicking on the following link:
A presentation was made on the roll-out programme by Annette Thorpe, who is BT Regional Partnership Director, East of England. You can view the slides by clicking on the following link:
12 Apr 2013. BT announced that high-speed fibre broadband is now available to the first homes and businesses in Wisbech, Whittlesey and March (not part of the Connecting Cambridgeshire project).
19 Mar 2013. Superfast broadband has now become available in Whittlesey (not part of the Connecting Cambridgeshire project).
8 Mar 2013. Contract signed with BT, to result in 98% of homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire having access to FTTC or FTTP broadband by the end of 2015!
Feb 2013. Cambridgeshire County Council announced that BT has been chosen as the winning bidder. The contract will be signed in March 2013, with roll-out schedules agreed with BT “as soon as possible after the contract signing”.
Jan 2013. The Cambridgeshire superfast broadband procurement process to appoint a supplier to roll out better broadband across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is on track to conclude in February 2013. As the lead authority, Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet will be asked to approve the contract award to the preferred supplier at its meeting on Monday 4th February 2013. For more information, view the Broadband Champions Update – January 2013.
Jan 2013. 24,000 homes and businesses supported the Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign during 2012 – making it the biggest in the country and showing high demand for better broadband. Active campaigning has now closed.
9 Jan 2013. Superfast broadband has started to become available in Ely (not part of Connecting Cambridgeshire).
Dec 2012. Cambridge has won Government funding to become a “super-connected city”. Cambridge is one of 12 smaller cities selected to share in the second wave of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Urban Broadband Fund, which was announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on the 5th December 2012.
Dec 2012. Cambridgeshire County Council announced 23,000 registrations to the Connecting Cambridgehire campaign for superfast broadband. There were 98 Broadband Champions promoting the campaign.
Dec 2012. The Connecting Cambridgeshire team has announced a slight delay in the superfast broadband procurement process. The contract award is now due to be made in the “early months” of 2013. This is because the remaining bidders have been given a small extension to mid-December for their bid submissions to ensure the highest quality bids.
10 Nov 2012. BDUK projects have now received approval from the EU, so that they now progress. This means that there will be no delays once the winner(s) of the Cambridgeshire procurement is(are) announced.
25 Sep 2012. BT announced a further 163 exchanged to be enabled for superfast broadband during 2013. The only exchange listed in Cambridgeshire was Somersham.
24 Sep 2012. Suffolk County Council – a neighbour to Cambridgeshire – announced a contract with BT to ensure that superfast broadband reaches 85% of premises by 2015.
19 Sep 2012. Cambridgeshire County Council stated that it was still on track to select suppliers for superfast broadband by the end of 2012.
17 Sep 2012. Norfolk County Council – a neighbour to Cambridgeshire – announced plans to provide 24Mbps+ speeds to 83% of premises by June 2015.
18 Sep 2012. Cambridgeshire County Council announced 15,000 registrations to the Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign for superfast broadband. There were 68 Broadband Champions, promoting the campaign. Several parishes were close to achieving 100% registrations.
12 Sep 2012. Despite the Cambridgeshire County Council superfast broadband initiative, alternative superfast deployment options are being pursued in some Cambridgeshire villagers. Fibrewave announced that it would be deploying fibre-to-the-home services in Earith, Bluntisham and Colne, offering download speeds up to 100Mbps. In other countries, there are a number of suppliers deploying superfast broadband services in rural areas, including Gigaclear.
12 Sep 2012. Superfast broadband could be delivered using next-generation (4G) mobile services in some areas. Everything Everywhere (serving Orange and T-Mobile) announced that it aims to provide 4G coverage to 98% of the UK by 2014.
19 Jul 2012. Over 10,000 people had registered their demand. The number of Broadband Champions had increased to 40. Cambridgeshire County Council announced that the formal procurement process was on track to be completed by the end of the year. Five bidders had been invited to participate in the formal competitive dialogue process from July to September 2012, with final bids due by the end of October 2012.
27 Jun 2012. Concerns that BT’s focus on FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) would mean that FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) would not see deployment were partially addressed by BT’s announcement that it was trialling an ‘FTTP on demand’ service where customers in FTTC areas will be able to request an upgrade to FTTP. FTTP on demand could be commercially available from spring 2013, offering speeds up to 330Mbps (albeit at a price).
Jun 2012. BT Openreach announced that the following exchanged would be enabled for superfast broadband by the end of 2013: Wisbech, Whittlesey and March. BT had already announced that Caxton would be enabled during 2012 and that Ely would be enabled during 2013.
8 May 2012. The Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign was launched urging residents to register to help secure superfast broadband in the county. According to Cambridgeshire County Council, “Registering is so important because if suppliers see that there is good demand in your area they are more likely to invest in providing better broadband. Areas able to demonstrate the greatest demand will be most likely to receive the full upgrade to superfast broadband.”
Aug 2011. BDUK published the funding allocations to areas in England and Wales for the roll-out of superfast broadband. The BDUK allocations were determined from an assessment of the number of so-called “white premises” eligible for subsidy because they cannot currently get a good broadband connection. In the BDUK modelling, 140,956 premises were considered to be in white areas in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, representing 40.5% of the total number of premises (348,345). The BDUK allocation was £6.75 million. Areas with a much greater number of premises in white areas were awarded considerably more funding, for example Norfolk and Suffolk, with 274,175 (£15.4 million) and 226,184 (£11.7 million) white premises, respectively.
Current state of fibre broadband in Cambridgeshire
On a nationwide basis, without the intervention of local authorities such as Cambridgeshire County Council, BT had planned to bring fibre broadband to about two-thirds of premises by the end of 2014.
As part of BT’s commercial roll-out, the following areas already have access to fibre broadband:
- Central Cambridge
- Cherry Hinton
- St Ives
- St Neots
The enabled exchanges mostly serve over 10,000 premises each. BT has announced that the following BT exchanges will be enabled for superfast broadband by the end of 2013:
- Ely (launched in parts of Ely in January 2013)
- Whittlesey (live on 19th March 2013).
Background to the superfast broadband project in Cambridgeshire
Prior to the Government superfast broadband initiative, BT had planned a £2.5bn investment to roll out fibre broadband infrastructure to two-thirds of UK premises by 2014.
As described in our Superfast broadband in the UK page, the UK Government wants Britain to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport wants all homes and businesses in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps and superfast broadband should be available to 90% of people in each local authority area by 2015. Superfast broadband has been identified as having a download speed in excess of 24Mbps.
To help bridge the gap, the Government published a superfast broadband strategy document in December 2010. Following this report, a £530 million fund was identified for the Spending Review Period (to 2015), to be used to incentivise the roll out of superfast broadband into areas that the private sector would not reach under standard market conditions. This fund is being managed by a team within Department for Culture, Media and Sport known as Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
Cambridgeshire County Council announced plans for investment in superfast broadband across Cambridgeshire. It initially targeted superfast broadband to at least 90% of premises across Cambridgeshire by 2015. Alongside £6.75 million Broadband Delivery UK funding, Cambridgeshire County Council agreed at a cabinet meeting on August 15th 2011 to invest up to £20 million to enable the roll-out of superfast broadband into areas within Cambridgeshire not covered by BT superfast broadband investment plans.
On 4th February 2013, Cambridgeshire County Council announced that BT has been chosen as the winning bidder to roll out better broadband over the next three years. The contract was signed on Friday 8th March 2013. According to the Council, 98% of homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have access to fibre-based broadband by 2015, with at least 90% of premises being able to access superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps.
Consumers and businesses will have the choice of both Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) services. These are explained in our What is fibre broadband? FTTC and FTTP explained page.
Improve your existing broadband connection as you await superfast broadband
As detailed in our Increase Broadband Speed Guide, existing broadband speeds can be improved substantially for many people through the use of filtered faceplates, robust modems, newer ADSL2+ technology and proper choice of ISP. Additionally, ADSL lines can be cost-effectively bonded together to increase performance and resilience.