Agenda item


Purpose of report: Policy Development and Review


The Select Committee is asked to comment on the progress made to date with regards to the Council’s Superfast Broadband Programme.


Declarations of interest: None.




Lucie Glenday, Programme Director Superfast Broadband

Graham Cook, Programme Assurance Manager


Key points raised during the discussion:


1.    The report was introduced by the Programme Director who explained that despite all the bad weather, phase 2 of the programme had been achieved. The team was now on track to deliver all 5 phases of the broadband roll out. The take up level for superfast broadband in Surrey has been high in comparison to the national average.


2.    A Member of the Committee asked for clarification around what was classified as being connected to superfast broadband. The Programme Director explained that the numbers of premises (buildings) as opposed to individual customers were counted as being connected in the figures.


3.    Questions were raised around equality of access and what was being done about residents who were outside the intervention area. The Programme Director explained that the programme was delivering the contractual agreements set and under competition law could not provide services outside the intervention area. It was stated however that negotiations were ongoing to establish a framework whereby hard to reach commercial areas could be accessed.


4.    Members of the Committee asked how the phased rollout had been designed. The Programme Director explained that BT had designed the roll out taking account of cost efficiencies. Phase 4 of the project should be completed by the end of June and phase 5 by the end of September. A deployment plan looking at infill areas would be completed by the end of April 2014.


5.    A Member of the Committee raised concerns around the amber status against the resource status. The Programme Director stated that the programme team was well resourced and that she was confident in the work being done. As the Programme Director would soon be taking up a new role she would be away from her team for large periods of time, but a main point of contact would be assigned in her absence.


6.    Questions around how Members would learn about local infill areas were raised. The Programme Director stated that BT would be delivering on this information and the project team would ensure this would be provided to Members and residents.


7.    Officers agreed that lessons had been learnt when placing Cabinets around the county. Although it was not possible to engage with every resident on this matter, the team ensured that the local planning authority was made aware of Cabinets being placed so as to avoid locating them in inappropriate areas (such as National Trust land). It was commented that the governance structure associated with placing Cabinets was complex and the team was not in direct contact with those who planned where Cabinets were located.


8.    Members asked how the team would ensure that broadband speeds contractually set were being met. The Programme Director explained that ISPs could dock speeds which made it difficult to measure the real broadband speed. The Programme Director further explained that BDUK would be undertaking speed line checks in due course, and that the Council were considering borrowing BDUK’s equipment to check line speeds themselves, but a downside to this was that its use was expensive.


Recommendations: None


Actions/further information to be provided: None.


Committee Next Steps: None.

Supporting documents: