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Email: enquiries@dickensheathpc.org.uk

Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Superfast Broadband Update

Bringing faster broadband to our rural areas

Project Update March 2017

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Over 57,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

 

Wave 6 now launched

Additional information now available for previous Waves

Cabinet/structure – what’s the difference, and does it matter?

Broadband announcements in the 2017 budget

ERDF Funding update

£2m grant fund for businesses in rural Warwickshire

Copy for your own website or newsletter

Questions and Answers

 

Wave 6 now launched

Hot on the heels of the launch of Wave 5, we are today launching Wave 6, which brings still more communities into the rollout programme. A further 30 structures have been announced today including many communities that have seen no activity previously. For the full list of areas which have been announced to date, please check our Rolling 12-Month Plan. If you are not sure which structure you are currently connected to then you will need to check the BT DSL Checker. We also have a useful page on our website which explains how to use the BT Line Checker and how to interpret the results.

Additional information now available for previous Waves

We now have information for all Contract 2 structures in Waves 1-5. In the past, we have derived our coverage information by checking which lines are connected to which cabinets, and that gives us the coverage area that we list on our rolling 12-month Plan. Because of the nature of some of the new installations (see below) it is not always possible to get the coverage information in this way – for instance for Exchange only, all-in-one or FTTP interventions. This has meant that of the 96 structures that were announced up to and including Wave 5, we only had location information for 48 of them.

We have worked with BT, and have now filled in the gaps. This means that many communities that may not have been expecting to be upgraded, may actually be well on the way to faster broadband! Check our Rolling 12-Month Plan to see if your community is one of those that will benefit.

Cabinet/structure – what’s the difference, and does it matter?

You may have noticed that we now refer to structures, rather than cabinets. This is because as we reach into the more rural areas, the technology required to bring faster speeds is changing – and it will all depend on the locations, the geography, the topography and the distance from the existing infrastructure.

When we started the project, we had to take the fibre from existing locations and to build out incrementally. For most of Contract 1, we used Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), which involves putting a new cabinet (DSLAM) as close as possible to the existing copper cabinet. The DSLAM also needs power as we are, effectively, taking the exchange out to the local community. The DSLAM is fed with fibre and then only the final part of the delivery is over the copper telephone network, meaning that the achievable speeds are much higher.

In some areas, there is no copper cabinet so other solutions have to be found. Sometimes there is a local exchange, so we can still employ a cabinet solution but have to install both a PCP and a DSLAM. In other areas we can install an all-in-one cabinet that serves the function of both the DSLAM and the PCP. These are mainly suitable in areas with smaller numbers of properties.

In a few areas there is no aggregation point and the existing copper wiring runs off in all directions, or there are other reasons why a cabinet solution will not do the job. In these cases, we are starting to see Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) being deployed.

This means that instead of the final delivery being over the copper network, the fibre is taken to a central point and then run directly to each property when the service is ordered.

The advantage of this service for the user is that speeds of up to 330 Mbps can be achieved. The disadvantages are that there are fewer ISPs offering this service at present, so the costs of the service tend to be higher. If you are in an FTTP area you may have to shop around.

From the CSW Broadband point of view, we don’t know until the FTTP service goes live exactly which properties will be able to benefit, so we can’t let people know that it is coming. Also, the installations costs are considerably higher than for a cabinet-fed solution.

FTTP is not appropriate in every location. We need to be mindful of the costs of installation and under the contract there is a cost cap per premise, so FTTP can only be used where this cost cap will not be breached.

So, as we move further out the technology will vary, the delivery times become longer (which is why we now allow 12 months rather than the 6 months in Contract 1), and the costs increase. All of this is covered under the contract terms, so we can monitor progress and hold our supplier to account.

Broadband announcements in the 2017 budget

There were various announcements in the recent budget. We have yet to learn what these mean in practice, but the headline points are:

Starting this year, the government will invest £200 million to fund a programme of local projects to boost the roll-out of full-fibre broadband as well as offer full-fibre broadband connection vouchers for businesses.

Elsewhere, the government and local authorities will connect public sector buildings, such as schools and hospitals to bring full-fibre closer to more homes and businesses. Public sector assets, such as existing ducts, will be opened to allow fibre to be laid more cheaply, too.

The government’s 5G Strategy sets out steps for the UK to “become a world leader in the next wave of mobile technology and services.”

This includes a new National 5G Innovation Network to trial 5G applications. The first phase will invest up to £16 million in a 5G facility to work with the government’s new 5G centre of 5G expertise. The government will also work on commercial options for improving coverage on roads and rail, and work with Ofcom to ensure the UK is fit for 5G.

As we said at the start of this piece, we have no further information at present, but will bring you anything we receive on the full-fibre rollout.

ERDF Funding update

The CSW Broadband project has now received the contract for the ERDF project that forms part of the Contract 3 rollout. Additionally, the funding will enable us to work with the Chamber of Commerce to bring an integrated package of business support to Coventry and Warwickshire. We’ll be announcing more about that later in the year.

£2m grant fund for businesses in rural Warwickshire

Are you a business based in rural Warwickshire who’s looking to access grant funding or other finance? The new Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) includes £1.5 million of business development grants for small and micro businesses in rural areas including social enterprises and farmers diversifying into non-agricultural activities. There is also up to £500,000 of funding available for land-owners, individuals or groups representing rural communities, charities or public bodies involved in projects boosting tourism in the region. A series of workshops have been set up to help you to find out more:

Farm Diversification – From beef to beer? – 27 March 2017. Session runs from 2.00pm – 5.00pm Arthur Rank Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth. Bookings link  Organised by Warwickshire County Council in partnership with Warwickshire Rural Hub.

Helping North Warwickshire’s Businesses Grow – 29 March 2017. Session runs from 9.00am – 12.00pm Lea Marston Hotel, Sutton Coldfield. Bookings link Organised by Warwickshire County Council in partnership with North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth LEADER programme.

The RDPE fund is part of a wider package of finance available to support Warwickshire businesses including European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment grants, ERDF innovation grants, ERDF low carbon grants, LEADER grants in North Warwickshire, and Warwickshire County Council’s Capital Growth Fund.

For information about the range of support available to grow your business, including support with applying for the RDPE Growth Programme grants, contact Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747, email: support@cwgrowthhub.co.uk, or visit: www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk

Copy for your own website or newsletter

We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There are a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline. We now have two versions: a web version with embedded hyperlinks, and a copy for print where the links are typed out in full. Copy can be found at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/about-the-project/copy-to-use-on-your-own-website-newsletters-or-flyers/

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Q&A’s raised recently. Our website has a full set of Q&As, which are regularly updated.

Why has my property got a star on it on the new map?

Some properties have different colour stars on them. Below is a brief description as to what this means.

No Star – Properties without a star are anticipated to have superfast broadband by 2019 **

Red Star – You are in an area that is awaiting further funding. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding to take the network further.

Red and Yellow Star – There is currently no planned superfast coverage here, but the area is in scope for consideration under Contract 3. We will not know until the procurement process is completed which areas will be included in the Contract 3 rollout, and hope to be able to map the additional coverage during the autumn of this year.

Green and Yellow Star – This means that an alternative supplier (not BT) has said that they will be providing superfast broadband by the end of 2019**. We are not able to intervene in areas where a provider has said that they will be rolling out superfast broadband.

** Because this information is provided in commercial confidence we are not able to state which provider has said that they will go to particular areas.

I am in a hatched area on the map, what does this mean?

Our map has been created using data received from suppliers as part of our Open Market Review. It shows the areas (white) where we understand we could legally intervene to provide broadband. This is because there is no planned commercial provision in these areas that is compliant with BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) guidelines.

Hatched areas on the map represent areas where an independent provider has previously said that they would provide coverage, but they may have not done so yet. Under State Aid rules our project is not allowed to intervene in the hatched areas. If there is enough demand in the area, an independent supplier may decide to upgrade the cabinet so it may be worth discussing this with them, however this would be on a commercial basis, outside the scope of this project, and the choice of providers may be limited.

To see if anything is planned in your area, either through this project or from commercial providers, use our unique property checker, which shows the currently planned status (down to property level) up to the end of 2019.

You simply need to enter your postcode and you will then see a list of premises and their status. The information was derived from the Open Market Review and Public Consultation that we carried out in preparation for the Contract 3 procurement.

If the coverage has been promised by the commercial provider, then we are bound by commercial confidentiality and cannot give further details. However, if the upgrades are planned through the CSW Broadband project then you can see the status on our latest map and on the Rolling 12-Month Plan.

Virgin media have a website on which you can register your interest for them to come to your area through their Cable My Street project.

 

Are you looking for technical solutions where there is currently no cabinet? 

We have already started to upgrade exchange-only lines in some areas. This involves installing both a copper cabinet and a fibre cabinet. We are also installing All-in-One cabinets and Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) in some places. The choice of technology is dependent on a number of factors and is location-specific, so it is not possible to say which will be used in each location. Unfortunately we are unable to carry out our usual communications in these areas as we don’t know which properties will benefit from the new service until it has actually gone live.

 

As soon as we get the data about connections to specific properties we will send an email to those who are on our system. To ensure that you are receiving the latest information, the best thing to do is to register your details through our website.

 

To see if anything is planned in your area, either through this project or from commercial providers, use our unique property checker, which shows the currently planned status (down to property level) up to the end of 2019.

You simply need to enter your postcode and you will then see a list of premises and their status. The information was derived from the Open Market Review and Public Consultation that we carried out in preparation for the Contract 3 procurement.

If the coverage has been promised by the commercial provider, then we are bound by commercial confidentiality and cannot give further details. However, if the upgrades are planned through the CSW Broadband project then you can see the status on our latest map and on the Rolling 12-Month Plan

 

We are currently out to tender for Contract 3, and this has been structured to appeal to a wide range of providers, offering different technologies. This is a full OJEU-compliant procurement and the process will take some time. We should be able to publish the additional coverage by the autumn of this year.

More frequently asked broadband questions can be found on our website at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/faq

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To find out more about the project, please visit the CSW Broadband website.

CSW Broadband is a partnership between Warwickshire County Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Coventry City Council, BT and Department for Culture Media & Sport. 

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