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BT and BDUK bashed by Kirklees councillor over superfast broadband plan – UPDATED

A councillor for Kirklees has said the Superfast West Yorkshire broadband plan doesn’t represent good value for money.

The Superfast West Yorkshire plan, announced yesterday, draws money from the BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) and ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) schemes.

The £21.96 million plan is topped up with taxpayer’s money and cash from BT and will bring superfast fibre-based broadband to 97 per cent of premises across West Yorkshire, which the exception of Kirklees which isn’t yet part of the plan. 

BT and BDUK bashed by Kirklees Councillor over superfast broadband plan

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Fibre Broadband and BDUKThe majority of the locations will get FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) type-connections. These provide speeds of up to 80Mbps, but like the ADSL-based broadband lines they’ll replace, the speeds you get on FTTC are affected by your location.

With ADSL broadband the further you are from your telephone exchange the slower your broadband speeds will be. With FTTC, the same rule applies, except that its your proximity to street cabinet your home is connected to that determines your top speed. 

Councillor Peter McBride, Kirklees cabinet member for investment and regeneration doesn’t think this will give businesses in the area the speeds they require. 

Speaking to local paper Huddersfield Daily Examiner McBride said: “The council is not joining the partnership with BT at this stage because it remains to be convinced the scheme provides sufficient value for money for many parts of Kirklees, particularly the business community where broadband service can be especially inadequate.” 

This echoes similar criticisms of the BDUK plan from councillors on the Isle of Wight who weren’t convinced that the project represented good value. 

Bill Murphy, managing director for Next Generation Access, issued an open letter to the local authority, arguing that the process would see BT bearing the brunt of any losses, while any leftover money can be reinvested in increasing coverage. 

Currently, businesses that are connected to a BT FTTC connection are able to upgrade their connection to a pure FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) line under BT’s FTTP On Demand programme. This will give companies speeds of up to 330Mbps, unaffected by distance and a future proofed line, capable of delivering speeds of up to 10Gbps

That said, FTTP On Demand isn’t cheap. Costs for installations could run into the thousands putting it beyond the reach of some smaller companies. 

Update: A BT spokesperson has told us: “We are disappointed that the benefits of fibre broadband will not be coming to Kirklees. BT continues to deliver good value for money via our broadband partnerships and we are keen to engage with the local council to prove this.

We want to extend fibre broadband to as many people in West Yorkshire as possible so remain open to working with Kirklees council, local businesses and residents.”

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