The BT-backed Superfast Cornwall project claims that superfast broadband is now available to 93 per cent of properties across the county.
Following delivery of superfast broadband to the first few premises on the Scilly Isles last week, project leader Ranulf Scarbrough has revealed that Superfast Cornwall is now approaching its final stages.
Superfast Cornwall aims to make sure 95 per cent of residents can order superfast broadband by the end of the year.
Scarbrough, director of the Cornwall Superfast Broadband Programme at BT, told industry site V3 that some of the most challenging locations lie in the final two per cent. “Every extra premise you can add is a real win. So we are inching towards our target and we are getting huge amounts of people connected, with 53 service providers offering services, so take-up is racing away,” Scarbrough said.
The final two per cent will see superfast broadband made available to roughly 18,000 properties. The project aims to bring superfast to a total of 253,000 premise across Cornwall.
Most homes and businesses under the superfast footprint will be able to order FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based services, providing download speeds of up to 80Mbps. Ofcom rules dictate that advertisements can only show off top ‘up to’ speeds if at least 10 per cent of customers can get them – for this reason ISPs like, BT, Direct Save, TalkTalk and Zen tend to advertise their top tier FTTC products as providing ‘up to 76Mbps’.
Some customers will be able to order faster FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections. These provide download speeds of up to 330Mbps. Unlike FTTC lines, speeds don’t degrade over distance. In 2012, BT demonstrated the long-term viability of FTTP, by running a 10Gbps service on one of its lines.
Roughly 30 per cent of Cornish premises will be able to order FTTP broadband from BT once the project is complete.
As for those in the superslow five per cent margin? Customers outside the superfast fold are due to get a basic service providing download speeds of at least 2Mbps.
Scarbrough has hinted that extra cash from the UK Government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) scheme could be unlocked to bring superfast broadband to 100 per cent of the county.
“Cornwall has some Broadband Delivery UK funding and the council is talking to industry about bidding for that and BT would potentially be one of those.”
It’s not clear if the extra cash, said to be £2.96 million, will be enough to cover the last five per cent. BT has said in the past that costs increase when superfast broadband is rolled out to increasingly remote regions.
Deployment of so-called ‘wireless to the cabinet’ solutions in Northlew, a village in neighbouring Devonshire, has seen customers previously not down to get superfast broadband able to get connected.
The technology, which uses a wireless link instead of optical fibre, is advantageous for hard to reach areas as roads don’t need to be closed off to allow for digging work.
Other technologies such as light overhead cable has seen FTTP come to Cornish streets without the need for roads to be dug up at all. This technology also has an unfortunate aesthetic side effect which some residents have not taken well to.