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Question for Department for Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 217994, tabled on 9 December 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what the eight pilot schemes for reaching areas without superfast broadband are; and what progress those pilot schemes have made.

Answered on

16 December 2014

The market test pilots, announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in June 2014, will put the government and broadband industry in a better position to roll out superfast broadband to the final 5% of premises by:

· Generating evidence about the cost of delivering superfast speeds in these hardest to reach areas, in order to better understand the level of public investment that will be needed;

· Building capacity and capability in the market, and increase the market’s knowledge of State aid requirements, by sharing the pilot findings as widely as possible;

· Generating evidence about expected levels of take-up in hardest to reach areas, and how it can be incentivised.

The eight pilots have now completed their feasibility phase and Broadband Delivery UK is assessing whether projects have demonstrated that they are financially and technically viable before they proceed into deployment early in the New Year.

A table with details of the eight pilots is below.



Proposed solution


Total Funding


AB Internet

A hybrid fixed line/fixed wireless superfast rural broadband network. All services on the proposed pilot network will be delivered via an end to end network and will deliver end user speeds of up to 50Mbps





Demonstrating how four next-generation wireless systems will operate in the field. The four are: Wi-Fi at 2.4Ghz, point-to-multipoint broadband fixed wireless access at 2.4 Ghz or 5.8Ghz, LTE small cells and TV white space.

North Yorkshire




Testing a range of line of sight, near line of sight and non-line of site technologies combined with a BDUK funded voucher scheme to maximise early uptake and avoid social exclusion.

North Lincolnshire




Piloting a new superfast satellite broadband wholesale platform to deliver a 30Mbps service using its Ka-band satellites.

Northern Ireland and Scotland



Satellite Internet

Piloting superfast satellite broadband using Ka-band satellite for both uplink/downlink as backhaul for local wireless networks, and directly to customers' premises.

Devon and Somerset



Fibre, fixed wireless, sub-loop unbundling

Call Flow

Testing a range of innovative "hybrid" engineering techniques/solutions to achieve NGA delivery such as: sub loop unbundling of cabinets; building a significant fibre network that connects as many of the deployed 'SLU node areas' together as possible; NGA delivery using fixed wireless access; and fibre to the premise (FTTP).



Financial model


Financing through social investment

Developing a financing solution to leverage social investment into fibre to the premise and wireless networks in the last 5%.



Operating model


Aggregating small wireless networks

Creating a common wholesale OSS/BSS platform for integrating/aggregating rural wireless networks. In addition integrate an existing rural network to allow it to be provided wholesale to other operators/ISPs and deploy a new Fixed Wireless Access network.