Superfast Fibre Broadband (FTTC & FTTP)
In 2012 the government announced a mulit-billion pound programme to bring superfast internet speeds to the majority of UK households. This was decentralised in order to allow the programme to be rolled out regionally and it has been the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s responsibility to manage the project within the local body regions.
The Superfast West Yorkshire project was originally set-up to provide high-speed fibre broadband to majority of West Yorkshire (excl. Kirklees) that was not included in any commercial rollout, due to being deemed uneconomically viable.
SFWY has been working closely with Building Digital UK (BDUK), which was newly created part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & and Sport (DCMS) and has overarching control of the national programme.
The programme is being delivered by three contracts detailed below:
The first contract was with the then BT Group, delivered from January 2014 to September 2015, and was to install cabinets in 430 locations. This would allow customers to access Superfast broadband via their nearest green on-street cabinet using their existing phone lines (this is known as FTTC). Now complete, fibre broadband is available to 97% of premises in the contracted region. After completion of Contract 1 the new connectivity is now available to an additional 64,500 homes and businesses.
The second contract, with Openreach, started in June 2015 and is due to complete in June 2021. Contact 2 is the next stage of the programme and focuses on directly connecting premises to a local exchange, therefore bypassing any need to use the street cabinets and existing phone lines (this is known as FTTP). This allows much faster connections, although is more disruptive to install as it requires fibre optic cables to reach every individual property served. Being connected in this way can allow download speeds up to 330Mbps. The scope of the programme also widened under this contract to include Kirklees and the City of York.
As a result of Contract 2 a further 41,619 homes and businesses are expected to get access to superfast speeds by summer 2021. The £19.5 million deal has been agreed to ensure areas in West Yorkshire and York currently without access to superfast broadband can upgrade.