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Surrey aims for 100 per cent superfast rural broadband coverage by 2015

Surrey looks to be shooting for the superfast broadband moon as it’s aiming for 100 per cent superfast coverage by 2015. 

Public-private partnership Enterprise M3 has set aside a £200,000 fund for rural business to make use of. 

The current Superfast Surrey plans will see BT connecting nearly 100 per cent of the county’s families and firms. Places in hard-to-reach areas might fall short of the otherwise county-wide rollout and so a plan is being set up to make sure that everyone can apply for superfast coverage. 

Surrey aims for 100 per cent superfast broadband coverage by 2015
Fibre to the Crops – rural firms just shy of the Superfast Surrey rollout will be able to get help

According to Get Surrey who broke the story, the full details of Enterprise M3’s schemes have yet to be revealed. Speaking at an event organised by the Countryside Land and Business Association (CLA), John Jervoise, chairman of Enterprise M3’s rural economy and broadband action group said despite the Broadband Delivery for the UK (BDUK) scheme there will still be rural firms not connected to next-gen speeds: 

“Most businesses in the Enterprise M3 area will have access to the fast internet speeds vital to compete and grow in this global and digital economy. However, there are still businesses, particularly in rural areas, which won’t have access to superfast broadband.” 

It’s not yet known exactly how the broadband loan fund will work, but it’s expected that companies will be invited to do the job and given the chance to pay back their advance once business customers sign up for superfast broadband. 

Rural broadband is something of a contentious issue in the UK. BT’s heavy investment in its own network and the numerous BDUK contracts its been awarded will see it pushing out FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) lines to a great number of people and businesses, but in some cases FTTC isn’t commercially viable. Over a certain distance, there’s no difference in terms of download speeds between FTTC and old-fashioned ADSL and so there’s no incentive for it to be deployed. FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) is a more robust long-term solution but this is expensive to deploy.

Right now, BT’s FTTP On Demand upgrade model depends on your having an FTTC connection in the first place. So while this is an easy way for businesses to order in a fast, future-proofed line it’ll be less useful to rural firms.  

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