By Mark Jackson, ISPreview UK | July 17th, 2014
The £15m Get Digital Faster project, which is working with the EU and Broadband Delivery UK office to extend BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to a further 45,000 premises in the Greater Manchester (England) area by March 2016 (900k+ have already been passed), has finally upgraded the first street cabinet in Fowler Street.
Sadly the official press release doesn’t say much more than that, except to include a lot of positive quotes from various politicians and business folk, although we do note that the figure of 45,000 premises has quietly increased from the 39,000 that was initially being touted at the end of last year when the deal was first signed (here).
It’s also important to remember that the programme is mostly focused on improving connectivity in Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. Meanwhile Manchester itself and Salford are not included in the BDUK scheme because they have already received funding through related projects, such as the Urban Broadband Fund’s £150m “Super-Connected Cities” initiative, and BDUK investment isn’t designed to be used in the middle of dense cities.
Elsewhere BDUK has already allocated an additional £450,000 to the programme (here), which the local authorities intend to use in order to help achieve their longer term ambition of coming “as near as possible” to 100% coverage of superfast broadband (24Mbps+) connectivity by around 2020.
Unfortunately this is yet another one of those BDUK schemes where the public are only trickle fed updates about the roll-out. The projects related website is incredibly sparse on information about their deployment plans and we can’t even find a vague coverage map.