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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 February 2018

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Nearly 61,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

Remainder of Contract 2 rollout announced

What’s coming up?

Crystal ball required?

Carillion telent – update

Hoax Slayer

Information for parish council websites – update

Copy for your own website or newsletter

Questions and Answers

 

Wave 9 rollout announced

We have now announced the areas to be upgraded in Wave 9. These appear on our Rolling 12-month Plan, where you can check progress on all structures announced to date. This is the final Wave for Contract 2, which is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year.

We are planning a major update of the mapping and the website during the spring.

What’s coming up?

Contract 3 work will be starting shortly. Initial surveys will be underway, so you may see people out and about. Please bear in mind that the survey is no indication of when work will be starting on the installations. Contract 3 brings a far higher proportion of FTTP, which is why we are hoping that an early start can be made.

 

Crystal ball required?

Who knows what the future will bring? The CSW Broadband team has submitted an application to the recently announced Local Full Fibre Network Challenge Fund (LFFN). This bid is somewhat different from the BDUK programme. It proposes 1Gb-capable full fibre networks to public buildings in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.

 

The intention is that the procurement will be a straightforward public sector procurement, with the bidders being asked to state how many businesses or residential premises along the route will also be offered a full fibre service.

 

The project will not actually pay for the connections to these additional premises, but the project will stimulate the market by bringing the full-fibre network out to areas that would not otherwise have been upgraded to FTTP. The project will also include an extension of the Gigabit Voucher Scheme, that is currently being run by Central Government. We should hear the outcome of this bid during the spring.

 

In addition, at its budget setting on 7th February, Warwickshire County Council agreed a sum of £200,000 to provide advisers to help teachers in LFFN schools to make best use of the new technologies, and to ensure that safeguarding measures are fully understood and implemented. The schools can also act as a community hub, so that parents and local residents can also benefit from the adviser’s knowledge.

 

We still are a long way from securing the LFFN funding, and as we have more information about this project we will, of course, include it in future newsletters.

 

CSW Broadband are also preparing a bid for EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) funding. This will cover those areas of Warwickshire and Solihull that currently cannot achieve superfast speeds. Again, we would hope to hear the outcome of the bid during the spring.

 

In both cases, achieving the funding is only the first part of the jigsaw, for the LFFN a full OJEU procurement would need to be carried out, whereas the EAFRD money can be added to Contract 3 through Change Control processes.

 

The currently planned Contract 3 works are due to be completed by the end of 2019.

 

Carillion telent – update

Since the start of the project, Carillion telent has carried out work on behalf of BT. Given the recent news headlines about Carillion, BT were asked for an update on how this situation might affect the project.

We have been assured that telent will be taking over responsibility for the contracted works, and that the same personnel will be continuing to work on the CSW Broadband project. We have been sent a link to a full statement, which can be found at: https://telent.com/news-media/news/carillion-telent-joint-venture-statement

 

Hoax Slayer

Hoax Slayer is a great resource to find out about the latest online scams, or to check if an email that you have received is genuine. We hear so much these days about various phishing emails (an email that pretends to come from a trusted source and seeks to gather your personal data and passwords); scams and online frauds that it can be difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t. Hoax Slayer is a great FREE resource that explodes the latest myths, and provides a search facility so that you can paste in text to see if your email is real or not.

 

It’s worth a read just to see how blatant some of these scams are – it does make you wonder how people can fall for some of them! However, not everybody is Internet savvy, and even those of us who think we’ve got it nailed can get caught out sometimes. For more information, visit http://www.hoax-slayer.net

Copy for your own website or newsletter

We have short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded to use in your own newsletters of on websites. These are updated monthly.

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.

Does my service automatically change when the upgrades are complete?

No. You will have to upgrade the broadband package that you purchase to one offering superfast speeds. We are installing a wholesale network, which means that once your cabinet has gone live any Internet Service Provider (ISP) can offer you high speed broadband (subject to availability), and there are a wide range of packages available.

These will come with different products, such as films, sport and TV bundled, so it’s best to shop around. Do check before changing supplier, though, when your existing contract expires. You may have to upgrade with your current supplier in the first instance to avoid contract cancellation charges

We recommend that you check out broadband packages carefully to get the one that is right for you. For impartial advice go to the Money Saving Expert website.

Do check that you are able to actually achieve the speeds that are advertised, as the geographic issues mentioned on our website will apply in all cases. You can check which cabinet you are actually connected to by using the BT DSL checker.

For the best results you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate. Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use.

 

Can we get any help to upgrade our local network?

You can check to see if anything is planned in your area, either through this project or from commercial providers, using 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 largely 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

Before considering a community-funded scheme you should bear in mind that these take a long time to organise, and require a lot of hard work on the part of local activists. Having said that, it is entirely possible for a community to decide to raise funds and employ their own solution.

You should bear in mind that smaller suppliers do not always have the resilience of the larger companies. If you were to go with your own solution and employed a small company, then you could be facing sustainability issues further down the line.

You should also be aware that once an area has superfast broadband then our project may not be able to consider it for inclusion under future funding. On the other hand, if it is not considered to be superfast, we may later come along and upgrade the network, which could cut across the business case for any community-led solution.

One final consideration is whether your chosen solution will offer a wholesale network. This means that any Internet Service Provider can use the network to provide services to its customers. By offering a range of providers the idea is that there will be competition which will lead to a choice of packages and a range of price-points. You will not have that with a single-supplier network.

You could, of course, choose to pay BT Openreach, or another major provider, to upgrade the infrastructure in your area, but the costs are likely to be significant. Should you choose to follow this route then you may want to take a look at the Community Fibre Partnerships website.

We have been getting some good reports from people who have moved to mobile broadband. Some are achieving speeds of around 70 Mbps! This technology relies on a good mobile broadband connection so it is important to use the mobile coverage checkers available on mobile broadband supplier websites before committing.

You can access a mobile broadband connection by subscribing to a data plan with your chosen mobile operator; this can usually be done using a mobile device, a dongle, or a 4G router.

When considering this option, it is important to take into consideration your data usage. Searching around for an unlimited data package can pay off, especially if you do a lot of streaming or playing videos on YouTube.

You can find more frequently asked broadband questions on our website.

Help us to spread the word!

We need to reach as many people as we possibly can. You can help us by emailing this to all your local contacts and encouraging them to email it to all their contacts.

 

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