I live on a late 1980s development a mile south of the river in central London. The development totals some 75 premises ranging from 2, 3 and 4 bed freehold houses to 1 and 2 bed leasehold flats and studios. The 75 properties collectively own the freehold of the development, each property owner having one share with no third party invovlement. The development is served by EO lines from the Vauxhall (WRVAUX) exchange in Kennington whch is roughly 2km away. None of the properties is served by Virgin Media however all properties in the surrounding area have access to both FTTC via BT and cable via VM. I have for some time been trying to establish the possibilities of the residents on the development obtaining access to NGA broadband.
Mayor and GLA.
I have written to the Mayor and in his he says he cannot help although I note he's happy for all Londoner's to continue to pay for the Olympics via our Council Tax, money that I feel could have been better spent helping all Londoners. I quote below from his reply:
Regrettably, I have to inform you that at this time the GLA is unable to intervene directly in broadband connectivity for residential premises.Hyperoptic.
BDUK, the government body responsible for promoting broadband connectivity nationally, have two main programmes underway: the Rural Broadband Project that you refer to in your letter, which is resulting in increased FTTC/P roll-out by BT; and the Super Connected Cities Programme (SCCP) from which London will benefit from funding. The SCCP initially intended to address un-served urban areas through a similar approach to the rural project, whereby funding would be used to subsidise roll-out by a private company (most likely BT). This would have included provision for residential premises, however unfortunately due to issues around State aid guidelines and competition law, BDUK has decided to change the scope of the SCCP and this will no longer be possible.
Londonís SCCP will now consist primarily of a connection voucher scheme to cover the up-front costs of NGA connections. For budgetary reasons the voucher scheme will need to targeted at small and medium sized enterprises, rather than residential premises, so as to maximise the economic impact of the intervention in London. BDUK is planning to conduct voucher pilot scheme in the summer and following this pilot it is possible that the voucher scheme availability may be extended to a limited number of residential premises. This decision lies with BDUK and the way this may be applied in London is not yet clear, however we will be sure to inform you if we believe your area could benefit from the voucher scheme.
I had earlier contacted Hyperoptic and they subsequently visited the site, carried out a survey and proposed an FTTB solution at a cost of £19K plus VAT with I believe much of this cost being the expense of fitting trunking to the face of the properties to carry gigabit ethernet around the development and also to fit at least two catenaries to carry the ethernet across roadways. This works out at just over £300 per property
Thanks to Andrew Ferguson who contacted BT on my behalf, BT have now submitted a quote for a network rearrangement that would involve the enablement of a new PCP (Copper Cabinet) and DSLAM (Fibre Cabinet) serving the development and they confirm that the development is outside of their planned commercial deployment for fibre broadband in London. The cost of work for the provision of fibre broadband (provision of Customer Network Services) will be approximately £25K + VAT which works out at £400 per property.
BT's letter refers to this as being a "gap funded" estimate and that if we go ahead, whilst unable to take into account external factors such as power provision, the typical timeline for such deployments is approximately between six and nine months.
Pros and Cons.
Hyperoptic is the cheaper option and would also allow the BT haters on the development to get rid of their BT landlines for good. However there are also a number of disadvantages including being locked in with a single small supplier with a short corporate history, the use of external trunking that some residents consider visually intrusive, and importantly users having no choice as to their ISP.
BT is the more expensive option and being FTTC rather than FTTB speeds would be lower than with Hyperoptic and dependent on the location of the new PCP and its fibre twin. BT haven't yet said where this might be. Visually BT is the more attractive option since it would use their existing trunking. Another significant advantage of going with BT is that residents could use any ISP that connects using BT Wholesale, Sky or TalkTalk.
We have yet to decide how we should proceed and I am aware that some residents have little interest in faster broadband although hopefully that will change in due course. It appears from what both BT and the mayor have told me that those on EO lines in London are out of luck and will only see NGA broadband if they dig deep as no-one else looks to be willing to help.