FAQs

Programme Information

What is the Superfast Surrey Programme?

The Superfast Surrey Broadband Programme is a jointly funded programme between Surrey County Council (SCC), BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to deploy fibre based infrastructure to residents and businesses that have been excluded from any commercial rollouts.

The Programme is subject to European Commission State aid funding regulations around the use of public subsidy funding.

The programme’s contract was signed in 2012 and has already resulted in more than 86,000 additional Surrey premises being covered by fibre infrastructure.

As a result of SCC’s investment and in conjunction with commercial rollouts, the County’s recent State aid public consultation has indicated that 96% of all Surrey premises can now access fibre download speeds of 15mbps or above.

How does SCC know what the current broadband landscape of Surrey looks like?

In 2015/2016, SCC undertook an Open Market Review (OMR) and State aid Public Consultation to understand the broadband landscape of Surrey before decisions could be made around any further fibre infrastructure deployment as part of the Superfast Surrey Programme. Following SCC’s review of all feedback it received, the programme’s new Intervention Area was assured by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) last year (the assured list of all Surrey postcodes with their Next Generation Access (NGA) state aid designation can be downloaded here).

The OMR and State aid Public Consultation identified more than 15,300 premises that are not included in any commercial plans and are unable to access download speeds of 15mbps or above. These premises, which have been designated as Next Generation Access (NGA) Target White, are scattered throughout Surrey and are either served by structures that have not yet been upgraded to the fibre network or are served by structures that have been upgraded to the fibre network but are too far to be able to access fast broadband services.

Gainshare Deployment

Is there funding for more fibre deployment?

SCC’s contract with BT includes a clawback mechanism which generates additional funding that flows into a joint investment fund over the term of the contract when take-up of fibre broadband services by homes and businesses in the main phase of the programme is higher than originally modelled.

Due to the County’s very successful demand stimulation campaigns, take-up of fibre broadband services by residents and businesses in the 2012 Intervention Area is significantly higher than projected in the contract finance model. BT have offered SCC an advance of £3.9 million on the clawback funding which is known as ‘Gainshare’.

Following County Council Cabinet approval in December 2016 to use this Gainshare for further fibre infrastructure deployment, SCC requested BT to model solutions to connect as many of the 15,300 premises to fibre broadband as possible.

Why is it called the Gainshare deployment and not Phase 2 deployment?

The name reflects the funding that is being used for the deployment. This phrase is being used to avoid confusion with the various delivery phases of the Gainshare deployment that have been indicated on the Superfast Surrey website.

Which postcodes are benefitting from the Superfast Surrey Gainshare deployment?

BT have identified solutions for nearly 6,000 premises that are anticipated to benefit as part of the Gainshare deployment. The list of postcodes that will benefit from Gainshare deployment is below. It includes the anticipated timeframes for any deployment and whether some or all of the eligible premises in a postcode are likely to be upgraded.

List of Gainshare Deployment postcodes

Superfast Surrey Gainshare Deployment Map

The Gainshare deployment is divided into two phases. The timeframes below indicate when postcodes can expect to be able to order a fibre service.

– Phase 1 (between January and end of September 2018)
– Phase 2 (Between January and end of March 2019)

It MUST be noted that the status of any Gainshare deployment postcode in this list may change after BT have undertaken detailed design.

It should also be noted that due to contractual arrangements involving coverage and speed targets for the Gainshare deployment, information relating to individual postcodes is limited to whether some or all eligible premises in a postcode are anticipated to benefit from the Gainshare deployment. Neither SCC nor BT will confirm how many premises or which specific premises in each postcode will benefit until after the Gainshare deployment has taken place.

Each postcode in the Gainshare deployment list has been assigned one of the following categorires:
Phase 1 – It is anticipated that there will be Gainshare deployment to all eligible premises in this postcode by the end of September 2018
Phase 2 – It is anticipated that there will be Gainshare deployment to all eligible premises in this postcode by the end of March 2019
Phase 1, No Build – it is anticipated that there will be some Gainshare deployment to premises in this postcode by the end of September 2018 but not all eligible premises in this postcode will be upgraded
Phase 2, No Build – it is anticipated that there will be some Gainshare deployment to premises in this postcode by the end of March 2019 but not all eligible premises in this postcode will be upgraded
Phase 1, Phase 2, No Build – it is anticipated that there will be some Gainshare deployment to premises in this postcode by the end of September 2018 and some additional deployment by the end of March 2019 but not all eligible premises in this postcode will be upgraded.

What is the definition of the term 'No Build' that is being used in the Gainshare deployment postcode list?

‘No Build’ means that none of the eligible premises in a postcode are anticipated to be upgraded to download speeds of 24mbps or more. However, when the term ‘No Build’ is used in conjunction with ‘Phase 1’ or ‘Phase 2’, it indicates that the installation of infrastructure in the Gainshare deployment area will result in some, but not all, eligible premises in that postcode being able to access speeds of 24mbps or more in either phase 1, phase 2 or both.

Why am I not on the Gainshare Deployment list? I can't access download speeds of 15mbps or more?

This may be due to one of the following reasons:

  1. Your postcode was identified as eligible for State funding, however, not all State aid eligible postcodes could be included in the Gainshare deployment solution that BT developed using the available funding.
  2. Your postcode was identified as being in current or future commercial rollout plans by service providers during the 2015/2016 Open Market Review (OMR) and State aid public consultation. Your postcode has therefore not been targetted for any infrastructure deployment as part of the Superfast Surrey Gainshare deployment.

To clarify the status of your individual postcode, please email the Superfast Surrey team (enquiries@superfastsurrey.org.uk)

If a fibre broadband solution as part of the Gainshare deployment has been identified for a postcode, why won't all premises in the postcode benefit from this?

When modelling deployment solutions, BT have considered how best to deploy the infrastructure to maximise the number of Surrey premises that will benefit from the available funding. Therefore even if a solution has been identified for an area, some of the premises in a postcode may be upgraded, but others may be too far away or too costly to benefit.

My postcode is not included in the Gainshare deployment list. How do I get it included?

The Gainshare deployment list is the outcome of a significant number of legal, contractual and modelling processes. The Gainshare deployment list has now been agreed by SCC and BT and it is therefore not possible for you to request that your postcode be added to the Gainshare deployment plan.

Will more postcodes be added to the Gainshare deployment at a later date or is this list a comprehensive one?

The list of Gainshare deployment postcodes that was published at the end of February is the solution identified by BT. However, it is subject to detailed design, development and implementation over the next two years so the status of some postcodes may change.

Why is the contractual speed target for Gainshare deployment now 24mbps and not 15mbps as it was in the main phase of deployment?

Modelling the Gainshare deployment at a minimum download speed of 24Mbps brings SCC in line with national download speed targets and helps to ensure that SCC is achieving the value for money criteria that is a requirement of State Aid.

Will there be any further fibre deployment once the Gainshare phase has ended?

Once the Gainshare deployment has been completed, it is anticipated that the Superfast Surrey programme office will close and the programme hibernated until 2022 when the BT contract ends.

Did BT review every single one of the 15,300 premises that were eligible for State aid?

SCC submitted all NGA Target White postcodes to BT and requested that BT/Openreach identify and model possible options within the constraints of available funding. SCC has received assurance from BT that all NGA Target White postcodes have been considered by their planners.

My postcode was included in the Gainshare deployment when you announced it at the end of February 2017 but it has now been descoped. Why?

There are a number of reasons why this situation may occur:
1. A service provider may have contacted Surrey County Council and advised that their commercial rollout plans now include a postcode. Due to State aid regulations around the use of public subsidy, the postcode may then have to be de-scoped from the Gainshare deployment.
2. The programme team have been made aware that a community have entered into a commercial partnership to supply infrastructure to their homes that cover a number of postcodes. At the point at which the community signs the contract, if the postcodes are included in the Gainshare partnership, they may be de-scoped from the Gainshare deployment.
3. If it becomes clear during the planning and detailed design that due to technical complexity, the cost of deploying fibre infrastructure to a postcode is significantly higher than originally estimated, the programme team may decide to remove the postcode from the Gainshare deployment.

What infrastructure will be used to deploy fibre infrastructure in the Gainshare deployment?

These premises will be connected to the fibre network using a combination of different technologies; Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC – either new cabinets or by connecting to an existing nearby fibre enabled cabinet) or Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology. SCC will not be able to confirm which technology (FTTC or FTTP) is being used to upgrade a postcode until deployment has taken place.

I am in a Gainshare deployment postcode and want FTTP not FTTC to be installed.

The Gainshare deployment solution has been developed by BT to maximise the number of premises that will benefit from limited public funding. It is not therefore possible for residents or businesses to request what technology is used as part of the Gainshare deployment.

How did you identify who would benefit from further funding? What criteria did you use? What level of scrutiny has there been on the process?

Following assurance of SCC’s new Intervention Area by BDUK, SCC highlighted all NGA Target White postcodes to BT and asked them to model the best value (lowest cost per premise) options for them within the constraints of the available funding.

In addition to BDUK assessing the Value for Money (VFM) of BT’s proposal in relation to other Local Authority areas, the programme team has also scrutinised the response to ensure that the funding has been targeted on the NGA Target White postcodes in the Intervention Area.

Why are you not specifically targeting those premises with the lowest speeds?

The intention of SCC Gainshare deployment is to maximise the impact of the remaining available programme funds to connect the largest number of NGA Target White premises to fast fibre speeds as possible. As a result, a number of premises on very slow speeds may find that that they will be included in SCC’s deployment plan. However, if all premises on the slowest speeds had been prioritised, the cost per premise would very likely have been extremely high, resulting in a lower number of premises that would have benefitted from the available public subsidy.

Residents and businesses that are unable to download speeds of 2mbps where no modelling solutions are found can apply for a subsidy voucher from BDUK as part of the Better Broadband Scheme which they can use for broadband provision.

What options are there for people that find they are not part of the Gainshare deployment plan?

For those residents and businesses where no funded solution is found as part of the Superfast Surrey programme, there are various options that they can consider to improve broadband speeds. They can investigate satellite, 4G and wireless services which may provide improved speeds; self-fund a private leased line; register interest in a fibre connection with Virgin Media’s ‘cable-my-street’, a mechanism for assessing where there is sufficient demand to justify private investment – https://www.virginmedia.com/cablemystreet/ or coordinate and help self-fund a community initiative such as BT’s Community Fibre Partnership (www.communityfibre.bt.com/).

What is the Government doing about those premises that are still unable to access fast broadband speeds?

In the past four years, the Government has intervened to try and improve broadband provision.

The Universal Service Commitment (USC) is being delivered by BDUK’s Better Broadband Scheme which will finish at the end of 2017. Residents and businesses in Surrey that are currently unable to access download speeds of 2mbps or above can apply for a voucher from BDUK which can be used towards the cost of broadband infrastructure. More details can be found

Beyond that a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) is currently being finalised that will give people the legal right to request a connection to broadband with a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps by 2020. Once the Superfast Surrey programme receives more details about the USO, information will be uploaded to our website.

I have heard I may be eligible for a voucher for broadband. Where can I find out more information?

The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme has been developed by the UK government to provide access to a subsidised broadband installation to homes and businesses that are unable to access a broadband service with a download speed of at least 2 Mbps. This scheme, which is being funded and managed directly by BDUK, provides support towards the cost of equipment and installation. The scheme ends at the end of December 2017. For more information, please see the Better Broadband Scheme page.

Community Initiatives

We are interested in a community initiative. What do we need to do?

A community fibre broadband initiative is where residents and businesses in an area (a block of flats, a village area, a business park) self-fund a fibre solution in partnership with a broadband network supplier such as BT ( http://www.communityfibre.bt.com/ ) Virgin Media or others. In the first instance, a community needs to identify how many residents and businesses may be interested in undertaking an initiative. They may consider door knocking neighbours to find out about their broadband or visiting the BT Availability Checker (https://www.dslchecker.bt.com/ ). Once there is an understanding of how many residents are likely to be interested in an initiative, the community would then discuss their requirements with a supplier. The supplier would develop a customised solution that focuses on the premises within a specific community initiative in order to maximise the speeds that each of the premises would receive. The supplier would then send the community a quotation. Once a community had signed a contract, it is likely to be a minimum of 12 months before the fibre solution would be installed.

Please note: The level of information available to residents and businesses who are part of a community partnership is different to that in the Gainshare deployment.

We have found that we are in a postcode that is not included in the Gainshare deployment and want to fund a community initiative. Will the Superfast Surrey Programme provide us with a contribution or adopt our initiative?

Superfast Surrey will not provide a contribution nor adopt the initiative, because the County Council is using the available programme funding to extend fibre infrastructure even further into Surrey. BT’s modelling of solutions for these premises has identified significant opportunities to utilise all of the limited available programme funding. Therefore, providing financial support for community initiatives to deliver broadband to premises outside of the modelled solution would necessarily result in some of the premises within the modelled solution being removed from the deployment plan.

We have found that we are in a postcode where some premises will benefit and others not as part of the Gainshare deployment. We want to fund a community initiative. How do we find out how many and which premises will benefit from the Gainshare deployment so that we know who will benefit and who will need to fund the initiative?

Due to contractual arrangements, neither SCC nor BT will confirm which premises in a postcode will benefit from Gainshare deployment until the fibre infrastructure has been installed and is ready for service. It is therefore not possible to advise residents and businesses whether their home will be upgraded or not. Residents in this scenario will have two options:

– Wait until the Gainshare deployment has taken place in their postcode
– Go ahead and consider funding a community initiative. If a community chooses this option, postcodes will retain their Gainshare deployment status until the point that the community signs a contract with a supplier. At this point, premises benefitting from the community partnership may be de-scoped from the Gainshare deployment.

The Government’s Better Broadband Scheme is ending in December 2017. We are eligible for a voucher and know we can use them for the installation of satellite or 4G. However, we want to use our vouchers towards a Community Fibre Partnership with BT but have been told that due to delivery timeframes, we will not be able to utilise our vouchers for this purpose. What can we do?

Senior representatives of SCC raised this issue with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) in early October 2016. BDUK have confirmed that the scheme was only intended to run until the end of 2017 to support the Government’s commitment to enable all properties to access a minimum of 2Mbps. Beyond 2017 BDUK would expect the Universal Service Obligation (USO) to take over.

I am unable to access speeds of 2mbps or above and am in a postcode where there is anticipated to be some build as part of the Gainshare deployment. Can I still apply for a Better Broadband voucher?

Any resident or business unable to access download speeds of 2mbps or more in a postcode where there is only some build is eligible to apply for a Better Broadband voucher. Also, any residents or businesses in a postcode that is all build but where the delivery is anticipated to be more than 12 months away is eligible to apply.

Other

What are you doing about replacing old cables and other infrastructure that serve premises that, according to BT and Openreach, should be able to achieve download speeds of 15mbps or above?

SCC does not have oversight over Openreach’s network infrastructure. State aid rules prohibit SCC from providing public subsidy for normal commercial activities such as replacement of cables or infrastructure. These works are part of Openreach’s maintenance programme and residents and businesses should continue to raise their concerns with their Internet Service Providers.

I have been told that there is no capacity in a cabinet and I am unable to order a fibre service. What can I do?

The works to manage capacity are part of Openreach’s maintenance programme and SCC has no oversight over these commercial operations. Residents and businesses can check their status on the BT Availability Checker – https://www.dslchecker.bt.com/ – and should also continue to contact their Internet Service Providers to find out when the capacity will be increased.