South Glos Council to invest £2.2m in broadband infrastructure


South Gloucestershire Council has drawn up plans to invest £2.2 million of its own (i.e. Council Tax payers’) money in providing broadband infrastructure capable of delivering “much faster” speeds.

The news is revealed in a press release put out by the Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council, ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Monday 6th February.

The investment is in addition to the £710k grant allocated to South Gloucestershire by Government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

It is also revealed that around 82% of premises in South Gloucestershire will be upgraded by commercial operators, leaving the remaining 18% (21,000 premises) in need of Council subsidy.

We are told that the Council’s aim is to provide superfast (> 24Mbps) broadband to 90% of premises in South Gloucestershire by 2015, with the remainder promised a minimum of 2Mbps by the same date.

More details and analysis will follow in The Journal once we have more information.

Read more: £3m for superfast broadband roll-out in South Glos

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  1. I’m surprised people aren’t a bit more positive about this – although I guess there have been plenty of false dawns here.

    I’ve checked through the council papers for this and it suggests areas with poor quality broadband would be prioritised – and large chunks of BS32 are within that poor quality area.

    I think we really now want them to say – and soon – that they’ll prioritise Almondsbury for FTTC ….

    Nice to hear Ed on the radio earlier in the week on this subject too.

  2. This will be great if it happens. I guess, as TO’G has said, that we have had a number of false starts, with MP’s promising to help out, a lot of local effort to prove that there would be a take up, but to no avail.

    I really hope that we get to see Almondsbury on the list soon. I believe with the concentration of professional people working from home in BS, that the per street take up would be big on high end connections, thus making it commercially attractive to one of the providers. Obviously not….

    Anyway, lets hope it happens through this initiative……very soon!

  3. What worries me about this is SGC statement that they believe 82% of South Glocestershires house holds will have access to commercial super fast broadband by 2014.

    I do not accept this figure, BT have reached the point that no more exchanges will be added by 2014 and Virgin have announced no more deployments in this area.

    I have no idea what the figure is, but BT’s roll out in South Gloucestershire mirrors most of Virgins footprint and Virgin are missing most of Bradley Stoke, Thornbury and Yate and all the small villages/towns in South Gloucestershire.

    It would be nice if the SGC could identify where in South Gloucestershire no commercial provission will be made and how SGC will address this.

  4. I share Simon’s concern.

    Also: Most Council’s have only found it necessary to match fund the Government grant. SGC is proposing to add three times that – a sum that will have to be funded by ALL local Council Tax payers. But its target coverage for superfast is no higher than the 90% national average set by central Government. Come on SGC, you should have higher ambitions that that!

    £2.2m helps just 8% of the population get superfast – leaving 10% on 2Mbps. Less than half of the “deprived” are helped. The digital divide will remain – and 2Mbps will seem really slow in 2015 and beyond.

    South Glos isn’t a sparsely populated area with challenging physical terrain. The Council should be able to do better than this!

  5. One thing SGC can do to maximise the effect of their expenditure is to tie there current telecommunications budget with broadband provision.

    In effect, if they have mixed provission or sole provission already they should offer Virgin or BT an exclusive telecommunications contract for a specified broadband results, for example all SGC based exchanges with 1000 lines to get upgraded, with exchange merging for much smaller exchanges.

    If SGC use their current contracts wisely, and the extra money they have they could encourage BT and Virgin to do a lot better.

  6. The article mentions white areas where ISPs have no plans for comercial fast broadband prior to 2015.

    Can we assume that all such areas that are now ignored by ISPs will be listed by the SGC, along with statement of what will happen and when?

    I hate the idea being ignored by BDUK on the off chance that BT/Virgin will roll out fast broadband at some unknown and unconfirmed point between now and 2015.

    Another issue is that I suspect BT/Virgin are deliberately holding back in some commercially viable areas to soak up BDUK funding. This be proved if magically BT/Virgin move into the same area.

  7. Three are offering HSDPA+ in Bradley Stoke, with a theoretical speed of 21MB/s from their base station on Bradley Stoke Way.

    I am not sure what the actual speed available will be, but this is potentially 5x faster than my current broadband.

    Does anyone have expeience of this product?