Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Chancellor offers you £17 to upgrade your broadband

In today's UK budget the Chancellor announced ten cities that will "share £100m to introduce ultra-fast broadband". The cities are Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle. You will have spotted that there are some big cities in this list - their combined population is 14.6m.

At 2.5 people per household (the rough UK average) this is equivalent to 5.9m households. So, the £100m works out to £17 per household in the relevant cities. Given average civils (construction) costs of £50-60 per metre, this would get the duct carrying your fibre roughly 30cm down your front path / driveway.

My point is not of course that the government should be throwing more money at superfast - they certainly shouldn't, particularly in cities where existing broadband is likely to be of a reasonable standard. Rather the fact that £100m gets you 30cm of duct per household just shows how expensive fibre-to-the-home is.

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