Surrey County Council have advised that they have awarded their “final third” superfast broadband deployment to BT. The contract is worth around £33m.
It’s worth noting that the SCC deployment is being done seperately from the BDUK umbrella, and it’s been revealed BT were bidding against two other independant contractors, as opposed to their usual BDUK bidding rivals Fujitsu.
If you fancy being the person who manages the BT deployment in Surrey, they are currently seeking a Programme Director to run the show. I’m not sure what happened to the last occupant of the role, if there was one?
Of course, one advantage of going with BT for this deployment is that assuming BT in the main use their existing FTTC/FTTP service models, it shouldn’t be a problem for any ISP to deliver “superfast” service to homes and businesses on the Surrey deployment. It will be done using the same interconnects and some provisioning.
Compare that to more “bespoke” superfast networks such as Digital Region, which had been viewed as unattractive to work with because of the additional overheads for a consumer ISP of dealing with their processess and provisioning systems, in addition to the “defacto” wholesale broadband providers such as Be/O2 and the ubiquitous BT.
So, while I was at the IX Leeds meeting last week, I was interested to hear of a new service from Fluidata, which aims to solve the problems commonly associated with delivering service over multiple local access wholesalers, which they are calling “Stop@Nothing”.
Their plan is to offer a wholesale “middleman” service, interconnecting to various local access networks, both national (such as BT and O2) and regional (such as Digital Region), among others, and being able to deliver these over an inter-regional backhaul network to the ISP on a common pipe (or pipes), and provide a common API to the ISP for provisioning, regardless of which last mile network is delivering service to the customer premises.
I can see this helping the ISPs in two ways – potentially doing away with the time and cost implications of integrating a new wholesale broadband provider platform into your own provisioning processes and systems, and in giving ISPs who don’t have any local presence cheaper access to regional projects (such as Digital Region), without the risk of building into the area – maybe this becomes something can be done later if volume warrants it. It potentally also gets around issues such as minimum order commitments from individual ISPs, as these are aggregated behind the Fluidata service.
I haven’t got a clue how cost effective Fluidata’s product will be, as I’ve not seen any pricing for it. I can only assume that it’s competitive or they wouldn’t be doing it.
Meanwhile, the group of determined farmers and country-dwelling folk behind B4RN in the North West continue doing their own thing, their own way, and have recently been digging into a local church hall in Abbeystead:
There’s a whole series of videos on their YouTube channel about how they are progressing and details on the physical elements of their infrastructure such as digs and fibre installs.