Frequently Asked Questions

Broadband in General (23)

What is broadband?

Broadband is a connection to the internet that is always on, allowing for constant access without the need to dial up. It is normally provided at a fixed cost per month, and has a much larger capacity to send and receive data to and from the internet than the old dial-up internet connection. This makes web browsing, emailing, downloading and sending files much faster.

There are a great many different types of broadband, based on how the service is delivered. Here are some of the ways broadband is delivered in our wider local area:

  • ADSL available in most areas via telephone line
  • SDSL in some limited areas
  • Cable modem in some urban areas
  • Publicly accessible Wi-Fi wireless connections in town and city centres
  • High-speed fibre optic cable in a very limited area
  • Special leased lines, run by some firms
  • 3G and other mobile connectivity
  • Satellite
  • Wireless solutions in some locations

For a description of each of these technologies please see our Jargon Buster.

What is superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband is defined as offering speeds faster than 24Mbps. This threshold was chosen by the Government as it is the theoretical maximum broadband speed that can be delivered via a copper telephone line using ADSL2+ technology. The Government’s target is that 95% of homes and businesses in each upper tier local authority area should be able to access superfast broadband by 2017. Thus this threshold was selected as it necessitates a step change in the technology used to deliver broadband services.

Does everyone in the UK have access to broadband?

Everybody has access to some sort of broadband. For instance satellite is available just about everywhere, and wireless technologies are available in a growing number of places. We have also 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.

Everybody in the UK is covered by satellite broadband. This means that almost everybody could have access to broadband internet. Satellite broadband, however, is more expensive than fixed solutions and has limitations in its use which may make it unacceptable to certain businesses and households.

Wireless solutions are increasingly becoming available and affordable. These overcome many of the issues that may be faced with satellite installations, but do rely on line of sight to the local aerial.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the capacity of your broadband to transmit and receive data: you can view it as the speed of your internet connection. It’s measured in bits per second, with 1 bit being one “bit” of data. With broadband being so fast, we normally now measure in “Mega-bits per second” – or Mbps. If you measure your connection speed and actually have 2Mbps download, this means that you are receiving 2 million bits of data per second.

What is the difference between NGA and superfast broadband?

Next Generation Access refers to the actual infrastructure – i.e. the fibre network, whilst superfast is a term that refers to the speed that is achieved. The current UK definition of superfast is 24Mbps or above, and in order to deliver that we need an NGA-compliant network in place.

Will I need a telephone line to get broadband?

Access to broadband is most common across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire through ADSL – which requires a telephone line. This is what is being delivered through the CSW Broadband project. Also popular in some urban areas are cable services via Virgin Media, which often includes a telephone line as part of the package.

However, there are other ways to receive broadband that do not need a telephone line:

  • 3G mobile phones
  • Satellite
  • FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) – only available in some areas
  • Wi-Fi connectivity in town and city centres

For a description of each of these technologies please see our Jargon Buster.

Why does my broadband run slower at different times of the day?

There are several reasons why the speed you get from your broadband varies:

Is more than one person using your internet connection at certain times?

  • For example, if you have a home network and your son is downloading a movie and your daughter is playing an online game on her X-Box whilst you’re browsing the web, you will notice a drop in internet connection speed.

Are you using the connection at a peak time of day (such as evening)?

  • General volume of traffic on the internet as a whole at peak times (including national and international usage) will cause slower traffic.
  • As most broadband connections are shared with others, your peak time usage is likely to coincide with their use too.

This is known as the “contention ratio”. A typical consumer contention ratio is 50:1, which means you share the circuit with up to 49 other users. If all these users decide to use the internet at the same peak time, the speed for all will be slower. Generally, if you are a heavy broadband user, choosing a service with a smaller contention ratio would be a better option for you.

  • If your internet service provider (ISP) determines that you are a very heavy user, they may restrict your speed at certain times of day.

This is called “throttling” or “traffic shaping”. It is used by some ISPs to ensure that all their customers have their fair share of broadband access. Although you may have an unlimited download package, this technique would probably be covered by the ISP’s Fair Usage policy. Only a very small number of users would fall into this category – normally less than 0.1% of customers.

I live in an area with aluminium cabling – does this matter?

It may do. Whilst aluminium conducts broadband as well as copper, it does degrade and may become brittle. Therefore if a connection is working and is left alone it will be fine, however if there is any disturbance (for instance an engineer working in the local cabinet) then it is more prone to problems than copper.

I am on a new housing development, why don’t I have superfast broadband?

The National Planning Policy Framework does not require broadband infrastructure on new developments. We are working with our Local Planning Authorities to put a requirement into their Local Plans and Local Infrastructure Plans. We are also briefing local MPs on the need for action to prevent the creation of a new digital divide – whereby existing properties will be connected through this project but new properties will not.

For anyone thinking of buying a new house the advice is to not just assume that broadband is available, but if this is important to you to check that it will be provided before buying.

There are a number of reasons why we may not be able to bring broadband to a development, and depending on the age of the properties they could include:

  1. It is an unfortunate fact that many developers build new homes but give no consideration to broadband connectivity and do not provide the necessary infrastructure. Rather surprisingly, whilst there is a legal requirement to offer a copper telephone line to new properties, there is no such requirement to offer fibre connectivity. We have been working with the Local Planning Authorities to develop planning policy for this, but until it becomes a national requirement it will be difficult to enforce
  2. The roads have not been adopted. When we plan our rollout we can only go to existing properties where the roads have been adopted. This is because the developers are unwilling to give permission access the roads to put in the necessary infrastructure. It also means that the roads will be brought up to an adoptable standard (i.e. good road surfaces) and then they will need to be dug up again at some future stage to install the fibre network. It may take some considerable time until the roads can be adopted, often until the whole development is completed.
  3. Your roads may have been adopted but you may be some distance from the existing networks, which makes it more difficult (and therefore more expensive) to cover your area. In that case your area would be considered to be white on our maps, meaning that it is waiting for additional funding to be made available

It might be worth your while putting pressure on the developers as they are presumably still building houses and will want to sell them.

You may also have heard that Virgin Media is extending its fibre network. They will need to prove a business case to go to an area, so they are asking for registrations through a project called Cable My Street. It may be worth your while registering and getting your neighbours to do the same. Unfortunately any registration campaign that you may choose to run would be outside the remit of our project.

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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Why won’t I get superfast broadband?

We always knew that the funding would be insufficient to cover the whole of the area, and that is simply because some places are more challenging than others. This may be because of geography – perhaps they are more remote from existing infrastructure, because of the local topography, or because of other issues.

The network is being rolled out using fibre, because that is the most future-proof technology that will enable faster speeds (such as those required for the EU 2020 targets) to be achieved. Wireless or other technologies are not currently able to do this.

The current national target is that the final 5% should receive a minimum of 2Mbps, although in practice this may be anything up to 23.99Mp – at 24Mbps it becomes superfast.

Most communities are currently served by a green cabinet, which serves as a distribution point for the copper which runs from the exchange and is then split at the cabinet to serve each property. Our programme involves the installation of an additional cabinet which is fed by a fibre connection from the exchange, and then links in to the existing green cabinet so that the final distribution is via the copper network.

As broadband signals degrade over lengths of copper, the current distance from the cabinet over which superfast broadband can currently be achieved is around 1km. However, this will be dependent on a number of factors, including the quality of the existing copper connection and conditions at the property itself.

The positioning of the new cabinet is crucial as it has to be near the existing cabinet, but unlike the existing cabinet the new one also requires a power supply. There are also highways and other issues to be considered.

Some of the existing green cabinets are over 1km from the local communities, for instance where a cabinet serves a number of villages, and so we simply will not be able to achieve superfast speeds using the technology that is funded under the current programme.

Our ultimate aim is to achieve the 2020 EU targets with each property receiving a minimum of 30Mbps (which is higher than the current highest target), and we are actively seeking funding to help us to achieve that.

For some properties there is no cabinet and the property is connected directly to the telephone exchange. In these instances it is necessary to install both a copper cabinet and a fibre one, which can create difficulties for us in letting people know what is happening in a particular area.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more.

By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Can we tap into a private line?

No. A private line is just that. Businesses can purchase a high-speed leased line. They will pay several thousand pounds for installation and a high usage charge. These lines run on a different network and are therefore not available for use by communities or individuals.

Is the modelling for the CSW Broadband Project and the commercial rollout available publicly?

No. The modelling will include information that is owned by BT and other providers and is commercially sensitive so that whilst the rollout areas are visible the underlying data is not.

How do I switch to a different broadband provider?

You may wish to transfer suppliers for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Poor quality of service
  • You need additional features that your current internet service provider (ISP) does not offer
  • You think the deal you are subscribed to is not providing good value for money
  • You are moving house/business premises

First of all, check if the contract period you signed for with your existing supplier has expired. Contracts are generally for either 12 or 18 months. Most contracts require you to give a month’s notice, even after the initial 12 or 18 months. If it hasn’t expired, you may be liable for a cancellation fee or even the balance of the fee until the contract runs out. It’s your choice if you decide you want to buy yourself out of a contract that hasn’t yet expired.

It is important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area.

There are impartial sources of advice, such as:

You can also use various comparison websites to check this – we’ve listed a few below. Please remember that comparison sites work by receiving a commission from the ISPs and may not list all of the available options. Therefore you may want to try several such sites before making a decision.

Do I need any other equipment?

Your internet service provider will normally provide you with the means to connect to the internet through their service – a broadband modem. Often, the modem provided has an inbuilt router, which allows you to share your internet access between several devices, although modems may also be bought separately.

Routers usually have Wi-Fi wireless capability – this allows you to create a simple Wi-Fi network in your home or business. This allows you to share internet access across PCs and Apple Macs – and also such equipment as games stations (e.g. the Nintendo Wii), Wi-Fi enabled Smart Phones (e.g. Apple iPhones) or even Amazon Kindle e-readers.

I can’t get fibre or mobile broadband and the satellite providers that I’ve come across are too expensive.

There are a wide range of satellite providers and (just as with fixed broadband) they each have different packages with different pricing structures. Unfortunately satellite broadband won’t suit everybody as the technology is different so it may not be as effective for some applications.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Why aren’t additional cabinets being installed for properties that are too far from the exchange?

A range of technologies are being used for properties on longer lines. The choice depends on the distance involved, how many properties are clustered together (and how many are outlying from these), and other variables. Each case will be determined on its own parameters and the most appropriate solutions will be employed.

Are there other options that will provide an increase in speed even if it is not superfast?

BT has a product called Unlimited Faster Broadband that offers up to 18Mbps. Availability will depend on you being able to connect to a fibre cabinet, but your predicted speed being below superfast levels. The availability is likely to depend on the infrastructure between your home and the fibre cabinet.

We have had reports that some residents have experienced difficulties in ordering this service, but we have been assured that the BT sales teams should now be up to speed (pun intended!). So, if you do experience any problems please let us know and we’ll pass the information on to BT.

Sky is also trialing a product called Sky Fibre Lite, which also offers up to 18Mbps, although this is not yet generally available. This is also fed from the BT Openreach fibre network so does depend on you being connected to a fibre cabinet.

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. 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.

What are all-in-one cabinets?

An all-in-one cabinet is a combined copper and fibre cabinet. The advantage is that rather than installing two separate cabinets only one is required. The downside is that these cabinets cannot support as many connections as the more usual two-cabinet solution so they are not suitable for use in all locations.

I am a Service Provider, what do I do?

We are keen to ensure that broadband service providers are aware of the location of the newly built infrastructure and how to get access to it. Service providers can register with BT Openreach via their website to get this information.

Can CSW Broadband influence how much suppliers charge for their services – particularly for those in white areas?

We have no influence over the prices charged by commercial providers. Our role is to extend the wholesale fibre network as far as possible, and we are doing this through the contracts that we hold with BT Openreach.

As access to the network is available to all suppliers on an equal basis it is a purely commercial decision on the part of an ISP as to which packages they offer and at which price range.

The best thing is to shop around for a deal that is right for you. Please remember that price comparison sites work by receiving a commission from the ISPs and may not list all of the available options.

Therefore you may want to try several such sites before making a decision or for independent advice go to: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband

My phone line has been connected to a cabinet that is not upgraded. How can I get it moved to a fibre-enabled cabinet?

It is an operational matter for BT as to which cabinet they connect your landline to. There is a legal obligation to provide a copper telephone connection, but not for a fibre broadband connection. Therefore you would technically be considered by our project to be in a white area – i.e. awaiting additional funding.

As more money becomes available we will move into Contract 2, Part 2 (and Contract 3), and additional coverage will be mapped. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding to take the network further, as it is in everyone’s interests that we gain maximum efficiencies by carrying out the installations in a single programme. We have also offered the Boroughs and Districts the opportunity to invest to extend the superfast broadband coverage within their areas.

Coverage Map (17)

My area is shown as green on the rollout map, what does this mean?

Your area appears green on our map, so your cabinet may have been upgraded to superfast broadband, and it could now be possible for you to order superfast services from a wide range of providers. There are a number of different superfast packages available, including some with bundled telephone calls and even TV or sport on demand.

There may be two shades of this colour on the map, the darker shade of green shows which areas we estimate will achieve superfast and the lighter shade of green indicates which areas may fall below that level (based on the distance from the cabinet).

Access to the network installed under the CSW Broadband project is on a wholesale basis, which means that any ISP can use the infrastructure to provide their services. Don’t forget that you will need to check out broadband packages carefully to get the one that is right for you. For impartial advice go to http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband

To see if superfast is available on your line go to 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.

We also have a range of helpful fact sheets and other information in our About Broadband section of our website.

My area is shown as pink on the rollout map, when will our service go live?

Your area is showing as pink on our map. Parts of these areas are in the Wave that is currently being built. Waves start at 3-monthly intervals and each Wave could take approximately 12 months to complete once it enters the build stage, meaning that there will be more than one Wave running at any time. There may be two shades of this colour on the map, the darker shade shows which areas we estimate will achieve superfast speeds and the lighter shade indicates areas where properties may be connected to the fibre but the achievable speeds may fall below superfast (based on the distance from the cabinet).

As we always make clear, there is a lot of surveying and other work to take place, so until the service has gone live at a particular property it is not possible to say with any degree of certainty what speeds will actually be achieved, since there are so many variables. The map has been developed using data based on postcodes. This means that the colour coding on the map can only provide an estimated network coverage. Please use the BT DSL checker to establish which cabinet your property is connected to. 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 BT postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use. You can then check the specific cabinet on our Rolling 12-Month Plan.

Please note that our map will only return results for the BT Openreach infrastructure. Virgin Media and other broadband providers may also be offering services in your area, so you should check elsewhere as well if you are not due for upgrade as part of the CSW Broadband rollout.

The area mapping can only give generic information about a postcode area. However if you zoom into the map you will see what information we hold about your specific property. As this part of the map is still under development please let us know if you believe that the information is incorrect.

The two levels of information on the map are:

Area-level mapping: This shows our understanding of postcodes that are to be upgraded, and is derived from the information given in the BT tender return. As telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes we do not know from this data which premises will be upgraded. The contract only provides a total number of premises upgraded at the Ward level and not for each Postcode, which further complicates matters when we are looking at who is likely to receive a superfast broadband service.

Property-level mapping: This shows our best guess at the status of each property based on our own understanding of the actual infrastructure that individual properties are attached to. This data is under constant development, so if you believe that it is incorrect for your property please let us know by using the form.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

We also have a range of helpful fact sheets and other information in our About Broadband section of our website.

My area is shown as purple on the rollout map, what does this mean?

Purple areas are remaining from Contract 1 and, for different reasons, have not yet been completed. A lot of these areas will be Exchange Only lines or other non-standard structures where will have no information about which properties will benefit from superfast broadband until the service actually goes live.

Some of these areas may go straight from purple to green (i.e. live and providing services), so the best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

To check if superfast is available on your line yet go to 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.

We also have a range of helpful fact sheets and other information in our About Broadband section of our website.

My area is shown as blue on the map, what does this mean?

Your area is showing as blue on our map. Parts of these areas will be covered in Wave 3 of Contract 2 Part 1. You can find a list of the Wave 3 cabinets on our Rolling 12-Month Plan. There may be two shades of this colour on the map, the darker shade shows which areas we estimate will achieve superfast speeds and the lighter shade indicates areas where properties may be connected to the fibre but the achievable speeds may fall below superfast (based on the distance from the cabinet).

To check the specific cabinet that you are connected to please visit 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.

Work in these areas started from July 2016 and preliminary work will now be carried out. Due to the complex nature of the work, upgrades are likely to take up to 12 months (from start) to be completed, so the Waves themselves will overlap. We are, of course doing, all that we can to accelerate this and as soon as we have news about these areas, we will be updating our website and emailing those who are connected to the new infrastructure and have registered on our website.

As we always make clear, there is a lot of surveying and other work to take place, so until the service has gone live at a particular property it is not possible to say with any degree of certainty what speeds will actually be achieved, since there are so many variables. The Rolling 12-Month Plan gives details of where work will be carried out in particular exchange areas, and the cabinet list gives more detail on specific cabinets.

You can register your details on our website to be informed of when there are upgrades in your area that are likely to affect you.

We also have a range of helpful fact sheets and other information in our About Broadband section of our website.

My area is shown as orange on the rollout map, what does this mean?

Your area is showing as orange on our map. Parts of these areas will be covered in Wave 4 of Contract 2 Part 1. You can find a list of the Wave 4 cabinets on our Rolling 12-Month Plan. There may be two shades of this colour on the map, the darker shade shows which areas we estimate will achieve superfast speeds and the lighter shade indicates areas where properties may be connected to the fibre but the achievable speeds may fall below superfast (based on the distance from the cabinet).

To check the specific cabinet that you are connected to please visit 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.

Work in these areas started from October 2016 and detailed surveys will now be carried out. Due to the complex nature of the work, upgrades are likely to take up to 12 months (from start) to be completed, so the Waves themselves will overlap. We are, of course doing, all that we can to accelerate this and as soon as we have news about these areas, we will be updating our website and emailing those who are connected to the new infrastructure and have registered on our website.

As we always make clear, there is a lot of surveying and other work to take place, so until the service has gone live at a particular property it is not possible to say with any degree of certainty what speeds will actually be achieved, since there are so many variables. The Rolling 12-Month Plan gives details of where work will be carried out in particular exchange areas, and the cabinet list gives more detail on specific cabinets.

You can register your details on our website to be informed of when there are upgrades in your area that are likely to affect you.

We also have a range of helpful fact sheets and other information in our About Broadband section of our website.

My area is shown as amber on the rollout map, what does this mean?

Amber areas are currently under investigation for Contract 2, Part 1: As with the announcement of Contract 1, this is all subject to survey and there is a lot of work still to do before we can give details of when the rollout will actually occur in every area. The rollout commenced in early 2016 and will continue until summer 2019. However, we are working to accelerate this and over the next few months will be working closely with BT to ensure that we gain maximum efficiencies from the programming. This approach has borne fruit with Contract 1.

The work is being announced in Waves, with new Waves coming on-stream every 3 months. Each Wave may take up to 12 months to build, so that several Waves will be running at any time.

Mapping the coverage is difficult. It is done by postcode, but telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes. In fact, as the surveys progress we are finding that we have some postcodes that are served by a number of cabinets, and some cabinets that serve properties in more than one postcode. When you factor in the fact that some properties may be served by exchanges or cabinets that are several miles away you can see the difficulties! Until we get the announcement of which cabinets are to be upgraded at the start of each Wave we are unable to say which properties will be able to connect to the new service. We are pushing for earlier information but, because of the need to complete survey work, it is hard to be any more precise.

As we move further into the programme we are seeing the introduction of different technologies such as FTTP (Fibre to the Premise), and also more Exchange Only lines. Because of the nature of this work it is not possible to determine until the service goes live which properties will benefit from the superfast service, which is why it is so important for you to register through the website and provide us with the information we need so that we can contact you once the service is ready to order from a selection of Internet Service Providers.

Until the service has gone live at a particular property it is not possible to say with any degree of certainty what speeds will actually be achieved, since there are so many variables.

I am still in a white area on the map. Does that mean I get nothing?

You are in an area that is awaiting further funding. As more money becomes available we will move into Contract 2, Part 2 (and so on), and additional coverage will be mapped. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding to take the network further, as it is in everyone’s interests that we gain maximum efficiencies by carrying out the installations in a single programme. We have also offered the Boroughs and Districts the opportunity to invest to extend the superfast broadband coverage within their areas.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

By using the Broadband Checker tool on our website, you to see if superfast is available at your property, or if it is in the current rollout programme.

You will be invited to enter your postcode, which will take you straight to your property on our map. You will then see the following information:

Area-level mapping: This shows our understanding of postcodes that are to be upgraded, and is derived from the information given in the tender return. As telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes we do not know which premises will be upgraded from this data. The contract only provides a total number of premises upgraded at the Ward level and not for each Postcode, hence we can say that overall 76% of the properties in the green area of the map will be upgraded.

Property-level mapping: This shows our best guess at the status of each property based on our own understanding of the actual infrastructure that individual properties are attached to. This data is in its infancy so if you believe that it is incorrect for your property please let us know by using the form.

The Postcode checker can be used to check all of our areas but this facility will only return results for the Openreach infrastructure. Virgin Media and other broadband providers may also be offering services in your area, so it is best to check elsewhere as well if you have not been upgraded as part of the CSW Broadband rollout.

We also have a range of fact sheets and other information in our About Broadband section of our website.

My area is shown as grey or black on the map, what does this mean?

Before we go out to tender we are obliged to carry out an Open Market Review during which all commercial providers are invited to submit (in commercial confidence) their development plans for the next three years.  You are in an area that is due to be upgraded by a commercial operator, and this means that we are unable, under State Aid rules, to intervene there. It makes sense that public money should not be used to duplicate commercial provision.

We have recently carried out a new Open Market Review in preparation for the tender process for Contract 3, and we will be starting the public consultation using new commercial rollout maps in the next few days.

Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to encourage the commercial operators to accelerate, or even reveal, their plans, and we have no oversight of their live commercial rollout.

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.

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.

My property is shown as green on the map, what does this mean?

This means that we believe your property has superfast broadband available or is in the current programme so may go live within the next 12 months. As the property-level mapping is still under development please let us know if you believe that the data shown is incorrect by contacting us using the Map Comments Form on our website.

My property is shown as yellow on the map, what does this mean?

This means your property is under investigation for upgrade as part of Contract 2, Part 1. As the property-level mapping is still under development please let us know if you believe that the data shown is incorrect by contacting us using the form on our website.

My property is shown as red on the map, what does this mean?

There are three possible meanings for a property to be coloured red on the map:

  • it is in an area that is awaiting further funding (in which case the area colour will probably be white)
  • due to the way the property is connected to the copper network, further investigation is needed to determine whether or not it will benefit from planned upgrades in the area (in which case the area colour will probably be pink, orange or amber)
  • you may be with a provider other than BT and so we are unable to determine your connectivity

As the property-level mapping is still under development please let us know if you believe that the data shown is incorrect by contacting us using the Map Comments Form on our website.

As more money becomes available we will extend the rollout, and additional coverage will be mapped. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding to take the network further, as it is in everyone’s interests that we gain maximum efficiencies by carrying out the installations in a single programme. We have also offered the Boroughs and Districts the opportunity to invest to extend the superfast broadband coverage within their areas.

Please return to the map on our Broadband Checker page to learn more about what is happening with the rollout in your area as a whole.

My property has a red border around it on the map, what does this mean?

This means that we believe your property is a business. We need to know where businesses are for our funding bids. The infill colour will denote the current status of your property and will be green, yellow or red as described above. As the property-level mapping is still under development please let us know if you believe that the data shown is incorrect by contacting us using the Map Comments Form on our website.

Some areas local to the exchange are still white, is this because they are deemed to receive a sufficiently good service without being upgraded?

It is possible that properties close to the exchange are on Exchange Only (EO) lines – in other words they do not have a cabinet between the exchange and their property and so are unable to benefit from the technology that is being used for the main areas.

We have already upgraded some EO lines. This is more complicated (and more expensive) as there are greater engineering challenges. For instance, because EO lines don’t have the copper lines routed through a copper cabinet (PCP) there is no aggregation point to which we can connect the fibre cabinet (DSLAM). Therefore we have to install two cabinets and this creates additional challenges in terms of location in addition to the ones that we face for all DSLAMs with regard to the availability of power, avoiding existing services, road safety issues etc. Contract 2, Part 1, includes a considerably higher percentage of exchange only lines, and a lot of the more challenging locations that could not be brought into Contract 1.

It should be noted that because of the nature of the installation, it is not until the exchange only lines have actually been connected up to the new cabinets that we will know which properties will be able to benefit from the superfast broadband service. This creates challenges for us in terms of letting people know that the service is available!

Please bear in mind that the area mapping can only give generic information about a postcode area. However, if you zoom into the map you will see what information we hold about your specific property. As this part of the map is still under development please let us know if you believe that the information is incorrect by using the Map Comments Form on our 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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Why doesn’t the map show more detail for Contract 2, Part 1?

The current mapping of Contract 2, Part 1 is indicative only and subject to change in terms of coverage. There is a lot of surveying and planning work to be completed, and it is only when the detailed surveys have been completed just before a building of a Wave is about to start that we can have a reasonable degree of certainty about the deliverability of specific infrastructure. Waves are released quarterly and each may take up to 12 months to complete, so that several Waves may be running at any one time.

By using the Broadband Checker tool on our website, you to see if superfast is available at your property, or if it is in the current rollout programme.

You will be invited to enter your postcode, which will take you straight to your property on our new map.

You will then see the following information:

Area-level mapping: This shows our understanding of postcodes that are to be upgraded, and is derived from the information given in the tender return. As telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes we do not know which premises will be upgraded from this data. The contract only provides a total number of premises upgraded at the Ward level and not for each Postcode, hence we can say that overall 76% of the properties in the green area of the map will be upgraded.

Property-level mapping: This shows our best guess at the status of each property based on our own understanding of the actual infrastructure that individual properties are attached to. This data is in its infancy so if you believe that it is incorrect for your property please let us know by using the form.

The Postcode checker can be used to check all of our areas but this facility will only return results for the Openreach infrastructure. Virgin Media and other broadband providers may also be offering services in your area, so it is best to check elsewhere as well if you have not been upgraded as part of the CSW Broadband rollout.

If the information returned shows that you are in our current build programme, then please see our Rolling 12-Month Plan to check the current status of your cabinet.

We also have a range of fact sheets and other information in our About Broadband section of our website.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

I am on the fringes of two differently coloured areas on the map. What does this actually mean for me?

The mapping is not an exact science! The maps are prepared using postcodes, but unfortunately telecoms technology does not follow postcodes. For instance, one cabinet may cover properties in a number of different postcodes or one postcode may be served by a number of different cabinets. Therefore by upgrading a cabinet we may also be upgrading properties in a different postcode, whilst some of the properties in the relevant postcode are served by a different cabinet and so may not benefit.

The best thing is to check on the BT DSL checker which cabinet you are actually connected to. 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.

Once you know exactly which cabinet you are on you can then to look on our Rolling 12-Month Plan to see what the status is of your cabinet.

Why does my area show both a colour and a hatched area on top of each other?

This is simply because of the way in which different technologies work. Our rollout, together with that of WarwickNet, is currently based on upgrading cabinets. The mapping is done by postcodes, but unfortunately this technology does not follow postcodes. For instance, one cabinet may cover properties in a number of different postcodes or one postcode may be served by a number of different cabinets. Therefore by upgrading a cabinet we may also be upgrading properties in a different postcode, which may be covered by a different supplier at the same time, which is unavoidable.

For instance, in some areas there may be providers of wireless broadband. Because wireless does not use cabinets its coverage works differently and so some properties may have a choice of technology. It should be noted that the CSW Broadband project is providing a wholesale network so that all properties using the fibre network will automatically have a choice of Internet Service Provider.

General Rollout (22)

How will people find out when their area is due to get fibre broadband?

As information becomes available it will be published on the CSW Broadband website. We have published a Rolling 12-Month Plan and we provide quarterly updates to this and to the map.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

Will my property get superfast broadband?

There is no straightforward answer to this. As part of our Contract 3 procurement we have recently carried out an Open Market Review, where all of the providers were asked where they intend to offer superfast broadband by the end of 2019. This information is given in commercial confidence, so we can’t give specific details, but the data is on a spreadsheet on our website.

This shows every property, and the anticipated status by end 2019. If a property is shown as Basic, then it will be in scope for consideration for the modelling for Contract 3, although we will not know the outcome of the procurement and where we will be extending the network until at least the summer of 2017.

To find the data on the spreadsheet, go to the addresses tab, click anywhere on the page, type CTRL + F, then enter your postcode. You can scroll through the addresses to find your particular address.

WARNING: It does take quite a while to download – even on a fast connection. We are working on a more user-friendly interactive version to go onto the website!

How do I know which BT cabinet I am connected to?

To check which cabinet you are connected to and what speeds you might achieve visit 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. It should be noted that once the service is live you are not restricted to buying a service from BT and that you can go to any Internet Service Provider (ISP). For impartial advice about ISPs visit: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband

What if I am connected to the upgraded cabinet but can’t get superfast speeds?

If you are some distance from the upgraded cabinet then you may not achieve superfast speeds. This is because the broadband signal degrades rapidly over a copper connection. BT has a product called Unlimited Faster Broadband that offers up to 18Mbps. Availability will depend on you being able to connect to a fibre cabinet, but your predicted speed being below superfast levels. The availability is likely to depend on the infrastructure between your home and the fibre cabinet.

We have had reports that some residents have experienced difficulties in ordering this service, but we have been assured that the BT sales teams should now be up to speed (pun intended!) with this service. So, if you do experience any problems please let us know and we’ll pass the information on to BT.

Sky is also trialling a product called Sky Fibre Lite, which also offers up to 18Mbps, although this is not yet generally available. This is also fed from the BT Openreach fibre network so does depend on you being connected to a fibre cabinet.

I’m in a high demand area. It says BT are working to provide additional capacity. What does this mean?

BT aim to provide extra capacity as soon as possible for those parts of the network where they are experiencing high levels of demand. Catering for additional demand in an area can take time to plan and they also need to increase the infrastructure to accommodate the extra equipment needed. In a number of cases, BT may even need to supply an additional fibre cabinet. You should, however, be able to order the service ready for when the additional capacity goes live.

Why has my area slipped back in the list?

We have always said that we would bring information to you as early as possible, but that there was a degree of uncertainty about the data that would be resolved as the rollout progresses. This is a technically challenging project and we always knew that some areas would be more difficult to reach than others.

Unfortunately we cannot be everywhere at once, and whilst some areas are being accelerated, that will unfortunately mean that others may slip back in the programme. We have to look at the whole area and the overall benefits of acceleration mean that a greater number of properties are being covered early in the programme.

We are working hard to ensure that the network is rolled out in the best way possible and whilst we are doing our best, changes are inevitable as further challenges come to light.

My cabinet is part of the rollout – can you tell me what stage of the upgrade the cabinet is at?

We estimate that each Wave of cabinets will take approximately 12 months to upgrade and, unless the cabinet becomes delayed in its upgrade, we do not track the individual statuses of each one.

If there are any problems with the upgrade of a cabinet, we list ‘Reasons for Delay’ on the Rolling 12-Month Plan on our website.

If you would like to be notified of when your cabinet goes live, please register your details on our website.

My cabinet is showing as delayed because civil engineering works are needed, what does this mean?

If your cabinet is listed on the Rolling 12-Month Plan as requiring civil engineering works, there may be any number of reasons for this. The most common is when a blockage is found in the duct and the fibre cannot be blown through. If this is the case then digging will have to take place to repair the ducts – and the problem is that there may be more than one blockage, which would require more digging! As we move into the more rural areas we are likely to see more and more of these problems.

Unfortunately, we do not have timescales for works delayed by civil engineering due to the unpredictable nature of the problem. However, the engineering teams are going as quickly as they can to resolve these issues.

If you register for more information, we can email you to let you know when your cabinet goes live.

How have you decided your roll-out plan?

The strategic ambitions of the CSW Broadband project are to:

  • Ensure a network deployment that contributes the most to the underlying fibre infrastructure across the sub-region;
  • Benefit the maximum number of citizens;
  • Remove the barrier of connectivity for businesses to do business in the sub-region;

The rollout strategy is based on engineering logic taking into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service. Due to the size of the project, it must be conducted in stages, meaning some areas will be upgraded before others.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to upgrade all cabinets connected to an exchange?

This is not as straightforward as it may appear. Not all cabinets were due for upgrade during Contract 1, or even under Contract 2 Part 1. This may be because some are harder to reach than others, or because they do not score highly on our benefits index. This was developed at the outset of the project and prioritises areas across the whole project area.

The priorities for the project are to:

  • ensure a network deployment that contributes the most to the underlying fibre infrastructure across the sub-region
  • remove the barrier of connectivity for businesses to do business in the sub-region
  • develop a mechanism that ensures that local outcomes reflect the amounts contributed
  • benefit the maximum number of citizens.

The key one of these priorities is to get the fibre as far as possible, therefore not all infrastructure off a single exchange will be upgraded at the same time.

Why can’t residents piggy back onto commercial leased lines?

Leased lines are private fibre connections that are installed by companies who need to have good connectivity. They cost many tens of thousands of pounds to put in and carry a premium monthly rental charge. Therefore any company that is prepared to incur these costs for a premium product would not expect to the find it being shared with the local community.

Imagine that you had bought yourself a top-of-the-range car. You have taxed and insured it and made sure that it is fully roadworthy. You would not expect your neighbours to come round and demand to use it for taking the children to school, to do their shopping or to take their rubbish to the tip!

Why are you doing some urban cabinets?

The town cabinets were chosen because there is already a fibre spine in these areas and so the work required to connect to it is far less than would be the case in some other areas where there is no existing infrastructure.

The spine must start from an urban area and to make it cost effective we need to enable cabinets at every opportunity along its length so that the considerable cost of the new spine can be spread over as many premises as possible.

It would be crazy to deploy the spine into a rural village and bypass all the cabinets on the way which have premises that have no access to Superfast Broadband from Virgin Media or anyone else.

Inevitably, as a cabinet may reach 500 premises there may be some overspill but it is illegal to deploy to a grey area (i.e. where there is commercial provision) so you can be sure that every cabinet that is deployed contributes to reaching further into the rural areas.

What if my property is on the border and is served from an exchange in a different Local Authority?

We anticipate that this will apply only to a very small number of premises. Geographic coverage is negotiated between neighbouring authorities to ensure each premise is covered, but funded only once.

How can we get our village to the top of the list for the rollout?

Unfortunately there is no “magic bullet” that will propel you to the top of any list – as the list does not exist!

When planning the roll-out of the fibre optic network for the CSW Broadband project, Openreach (BT’s local network business) designs the network in the most efficient and effective way to reach as many people as possible with the funds available.

In doing this they take into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

Due to the size of the project, it must be conducted in stages, meaning that some areas will be enabled before others. This may mean in some instances that parts of the same community have fibre rolled out at different times.

We understand that it is frustrating if your area is one of those to be upgraded later in the programme – our goal is to reach as many people as quickly as possible and if, in the meantime, there are opportunities to speed up the process we will do so.

In the meantime, the best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more.

By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

We are applying for funding from various sources, including through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This funding is for upgrading broadband to businesses. We therefore need to know where the businesses are. If you or other local residents run businesses from home and your premises are not shown as a business on our map, you can let us know by using the Map Comments Form on our website. Of course, it is not possible to upgrade just business premises, so residential homes will also benefit – they just can’t be counted towards the outputs for this particular funding!

My area was to be covered under the commercial rollout but now BT say they won’t be doing it. What can you do to help?

Unfortunately the current funding does not cover your area as it was stated as being covered under the commercial rollout, meaning that we are legally not allowed to intervene there. However, any information relating to a cabinet that is in a commercial provider’s area but not being upgraded is useful as it allows potential reclassification for inclusion in the project’s intervention area when we carry out our next formal public consultation.

We have now started the rollout under Contract 2, Part 1, and have now also asked BT to model coverage based on completion of the work by the end of 2017, and hope to have this information by the end of this year. This will form Contract 2, Part 2.  We have applied for funding through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the EU, and hope to know the outcome of these bids later in the year. All of this means that there may be additional coverage still to come.

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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

How do you decide where you’re going to put a new fibre broadband cabinet?

When planning our rollout programme, BT need to ensure the new fibre broadband cabinet is located within 100 metres of its associated telephony connection cabinet (copper cabinet). They also need to make sure there is enough access to power and existing infrastructure.

Other things they consider are that the cabinet doesn’t get in pedestrians’ way, or pose a danger to road users. Plus they have to survey for other utility companies’ underground structures and obstacles.

BT have to take into account the visual impact in some areas and make sure they’re not putting the security of adjacent properties at risk. Ease of access for installation and maintenance are also important considerations in the decision of where to place new fibre broadband cabinets.

My cabinet was scheduled for completion by now, when will it be done?

We have always stated that the timings given on the Rolling 12-Month Plan and the maps are indicative only. A Wave will run for approximately 12 months, with a number of Waves running at any one time. However, as we move through the rollout we are getting to more challenging areas and are finding unforeseen problems. Where there is a delay, the reason for this will be listed on the Rolling 12-Month Plan. A number of cabinets show that the delay is due to civil engineering work being required. This is often due to blocked or collapsed ducts, but as holes are dug and we get a better understanding of what the issues are this information will be updated. Please bear with us in the meantime.

Are there any alternative broadband solutions available?

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Another option could be to look into mobile broadband. 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.

I am eligible for the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme but it doesn’t suit my needs – what other options can I look into?

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Another option you could look into is mobile broadband. 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 think about 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.

Can I get a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) service?

We are now starting to see Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solutions being rolled out. The standard solution is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). The existing copper telephone network is, in most cases, delivered by taking copper out to a roadside cabinet (PCP) and then splitting the wiring to take it to individual properties. This has worked fine for voice transmission for many years. However, now that we all want to connect to the Internet at ever-faster speeds, a new solution had to be found because Internet speeds decrease rapidly over lengths of copper.

FTTC 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 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 300 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. Also, whilst we could connect a few communities using FTTP, we can connect a lot more and get the overall fibre network much further by using cabinet technologies. Since the over-riding principle of the project is to take the fibre as far as possible, FTTP will only be used in exceptional circumstances.

Finally, FTTP should not be confused with Fibre on Demand (FoD), which BT announced some time ago in parts of Leamington, Southam and Kenilworth. This service is outside the remit of our project, so if you live in one of these areas you and want to find out about this, you should go to BT or your ISP to find out more.

Unless you live in an area that is to be covered by Fibre to the Premise, or Fibre on Demand, then the only other way to get fibre right to your door is to buy a commercial Private Leased Line, however the installation costs can run into tens of thousands of £s, and the ongoing rental costs are considerably higher than for other services.

So once my new cabinet is in place does that mean I can get superfast broadband?

Not immediately. Standing the cabinet is only a very small part of the process to bring superfast broadband to our communities. Once the cabinet has been stood it needs a power supply, and this entails a different contractor who will probably work to different timescales. It will also require a connection to the existing cabinet. By far the biggest job – or at least the one with the highest number of variables and potential pitfalls is the fibre connection back to the exchange. There are often problems with blocked or broken ducting, tree roots and other issues to overcome before the fibre can actually be connected through. Once the fibre is in place it has to be connected to the main spines and tested before the new service is ready to accept orders.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

They are standing a new cabinet in our village, but we don’t have an existing copper cabinet. So how does that work?

The new cabinet is an all-in-one structure, meaning that it is a copper cabinet (PCP) and fibre cabinet (DSLAM) combined. These are often used where a cluster of properties are too far from the serving PCP to be able to achieve superfast speeds, even after the upgrades have taken place.

The usual requirements for a fibre cabinet apply, namely the availability of a suitable location, a suitable power supply and, of course, the ability to get fibre to the cabinet. Additionally, however, with an all-in-one cabinet there is a need to carry out a CuRE operation. This means that the existing copper connections are re-routed to the new cabinet, and this can add to the time it takes for an all-in-one cabinet to go fully live.

So, the good news is that using this technology we are able to bring superfast broadband to areas where it would never have previously been available. However it will take a little longer before you can order superfast broadband.

Once Your Cabinet has Gone Live (11)

How will I know when my cabinet has gone live?

The best way to see if your cabinet is live yet is to use the BT DSL checker. It will tell you when your cabinet is ready to accept orders. To use the checker, either enter a BT landline telephone number (including area code) or your address (you need to click the link below the number box). Please do not use the postcode checker as it is not accurate enough to be of any help!

The access is on a wholesale basis, which means that any ISP can use the infrastructure to provide their services. Don’t forget that you will need to check out broadband packages carefully to get the one that is right for you. For impartial advice go to the Money Saving Expert website.

We have leaflets that can be distributed to every property that is connected to the upgraded cabinets. To find out more please visit our Become a Community Champion web page.

Once my new fibre cabinet is connected to the exchange, what then?

That is entirely up to you. 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. Do check though 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.

I have been told that my cabinet has reached capacity, what does this mean?

When a cabinet is installed BT know how many properties will be connected to it and make an assumption about how many of the available connections will be taken up. If the take-up is higher than anticipated then BT will need to add additional capacity by installing new connections cards into the cabinet. BT Openreach actively monitor each cabinet and will automatically order the new cards, so that in many cases the upgrade will happen before the cabinet reaches capacity. On occasion, however, take-up is not only higher than expected but also happens very quickly, so that the cabinet reaches capacity and there is a short delay before more orders can be taken.

It would not be feasible for CSW Broadband to specify a higher capacity in every cabinet just in case it reaches capacity quickly. For one thing, this would add considerably to the cost of cabinets and would result in less overall coverage for the project – with fewer communities having the opportunity to benefit from faster broadband. Upgrades once the cabinet has gone live are carried out by BT Openreach on a “business as usual” basis, and at no cost to CSW Broadband. The best thing to do is to ensure that you order the new service as soon as you know that superfast broadband is available in your area.

BT aim to provide extra capacity as soon as possible for those parts of the network where they are experiencing high levels of demand, however catering for additional demand in an area can take time to plan and BT also need to increase the infrastructure to accommodate the extra equipment needed. In a number of cases, BT may even need to supply an additional fibre cabinet.

Once a cabinet is full, the ISPs are told that this is the case. Currently only one ISP (Plusnet) allows customers to join a waiting list at this point. The other ISPs, including the large ones, do not allow customers to join a list. Openreach are actively encouraging ISPs to adopt a customer waiting list and it is anticipated that more ISPs will adopt this approach within the coming months, thereby enabling replenishment activity to prioritise cabinets with greater numbers of waiting customers.

However, at this stage, all Openreach has visibility of is that the existing capacity is fully utilised. It does not know how many potential customers are waiting, if any.

Therefore, if you know that your cabinet is at capacity please let us know. BDUK have advised that Openreach are willing to receive this information from local projects, and use it to prioritise replenishment works. Please email us with your property details and landline number, and the cabinet to which you are attached.

We will continue to monitor this situation.

What sort of broadband speeds can I realistically expect if I’m able to get fibre under the project?

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) connection speeds will vary depending on a number of factors but could reach up to 80Mbps. Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) connections – where these are available – are all capable of 330Mbps but your service provider may offer a range of packages to suit different needs. Factors impacting the final speed attained at a particular premise connected by FTTC include the distance from the street cabinet, the geography, the local copper network and the wiring within your home or business.

You said I would get 2Mbps but whenever I check my speed it is lower than this – why?

This could be because you are in an area where we haven’t carried out any work yet. Also, speeds within premises are affected by a variety of factors including internal wiring, the age of your computer, the type of router you use and the number of applications you are running. We do have advice on our website about things that you can do to improve your broadband speeds.

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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

How is it that some premises will get fibre but not superfast?

Some premises will be connected to the fibre network, but still have speeds of less than 24Mbps due to a number of factors, including the distance to their street cabinet. Additionally, some premises connected to fibre will have speeds in excess of 24Mbps as FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) delivers speeds of up to 80Mbps.

It should be noted that in some areas people have been advised that there is an issue with the condition of the existing copper telephone lines. As many of these were installed many years ago and were not intended for data transmission this is hardly surprising. If this applies to you then the matter should be taken up with your telecoms provider, as it is outside the remit of this project.

BT has a product called Unlimited Faster Broadband that offers up to 18Mbps. Availability will depend on you being able to connect to a fibre cabinet, but your predicted speed being below superfast levels. The availability is likely to depend on the infrastructure between your home and the fibre cabinet.

We have had reports that some residents have experienced difficulties in ordering this service, but we have been assured that the BT sales teams should now be up to speed (pun intended!) with this service. So, if you do experience any problems please let us know and we’ll pass the information on to BT.

Sky is also trialing a product called Sky Fibre Lite, which also offers up to 18Mbps, although this is not yet generally available. This is also fed from the BT Openreach fibre network so does depend on you being connected to a fibre cabinet.

My cabinet has gone live but my chosen provider is not offering a service in my area – why?

We are installing a wholesale fibre network and there will be a wide choice of providers. The decision as to whether to offer a service is a purely commercial one that each provider will take. We cannot influence this, but if you were to run a local campaign to encourage people to register their interest with a particular provider that might help your case. We are unable to get involved in influencing providers’ commercial decisions.

My cabinet has gone live but I cannot get superfast speeds – why?

There are a number of issues that can impact on the speeds that you can achieve. The key factor is the distance from the cabinet. The final part of the delivery uses the existing copper cabling, and broadband speeds degrade quickly over copper. Therefore, the closer to the cabinet you are the faster speeds you will achieve.

For more information, we have some useful self-help guides on our website on a range of broadband issues including how to improve your broadband speed and alternative technologies for broadband in rural areas.

We are getting increasing numbers of enquiries about the condition of the local copper networks. As many of these were installed many years ago and were not intended for data transmission this is hardly surprising. Unfortunately this is outside the remit of this project. Our role is to install the fibre and the new cabinets, then the network is handed over to Openreach who run it and sell services on to the ISPs.

The only option that you have to get your copper network upgraded is to refer back to your ISP, who will then contact Openreach. Openreach sells a wholesale service to the ISPs, so doesn’t deal directly with the end users. If your ISP is unable (or unwilling) to help, then we suggest that you contact Ofcom who are the regulators for the industry.

BT has a product called Unlimited Faster Broadband that offers up to 18Mbps. Availability will depend on you being able to connect to a fibre cabinet, but your predicted speed being below superfast levels. The availability is likely to depend on the infrastructure between your home and the fibre cabinet.

We have had reports that some residents have experienced difficulties in ordering this service, but we have been assured that the BT sales teams should now be up to speed (pun intended!) with this service. So, if you do experience any problems please let us know and we’ll pass the information on to BT.

Sky is also trialling a product called Sky Fibre Lite, which also offers up to 18Mbps, although this is not yet generally available. This is also fed from the BT Openreach fibre network so does depend on you being connected to a fibre cabinet.

My ISP says that the local copper network needs upgrading

We are getting increasing numbers of enquiries about the condition of the local copper networks. As many of these were installed many years ago, and were not intended for data transmission, this is hardly surprising. Unfortunately this is outside the remit of this project. Our role is to install the fibre and the new cabinets, then the network is handed over to Openreach who run it and sell services on to the ISPs.

The only option that you have to get your copper network upgraded is to refer back to your ISP, who will then contact Openreach. Openreach sells a wholesale service to the ISPs, so doesn’t deal directly with the end users. If your ISP is unable (or unwilling) to help, then we suggest that you contact Ofcom who are the regulators for the industry.

I haven’t changed my broadband package, but since the local cabinet was upgraded to fibre my connection has deteriorated – why is this?

When the new fibre cabinet is installed, the fibre spine brings superfast broadband to that cabinet. However, the copper lines connected to the existing cabinet are still used for the “last mile” between the old cabinet and the premise. Unfortunately, copper connections are very susceptible to electromagnetic interference, this is known as crosstalk. This particularly occurs when copper lines are in close proximity to each other, for instance in the multicore cables connecting a group of premises to the original copper cabinet.

When a cabinet is upgraded to fibre, the change in modulation introduced by the new technology may create more crosstalk and this can occasionally result in a slow-down in copper broadband connections.

BT are trialling solutions to this problem for lines connected to the new technology, and this solution may also improve existing connections. We hope to see this implemented in our area in the future. If you are interested in the technical side of this, you may be interested in this article: http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/6811-openreach-vectoring-trial-to-expand-to-100-cabinets.html

I have been let down by the engineer who was supposed to be installing my broadband. What can I do?

This is outside the remit of the CSW Broadband project as our role is to install the fibre network. You will contract with an ISP and it is down to them to arrange for the installation.

You have no means of contacting the engineers directly, and it’s all to do with the way in which BT was structured when it was privatised. You have probably seen a lot of press coverage recently about the Ofcom investigation into BTs structure and the new rules that are being brought in that should provide greater clarity (!)

BT consists of a number of different businesses that operate at different levels.

BT Openreach owns and operates the copper and fibre infrastructure. They are the ones carrying out the current CSW Broadband contract on the ground.

Because lots of ISPs can access the Openreach network, it is important that they all access the same products at the same price, otherwise BT retail and BT business could have an unfair advantage over other ISPs. Therefore there is a middle layer, BT wholesale, which sells services to the ISPs and they all work from the same wholesale rates cards.

You may happen to have BT retail or BT Business as your provider, but it could just as easily be any one of a number of ISPs. The differentiating factor between the ISPs, which provides users with market choice, is the packages that they offer, their pricing structure and the bundled products that they offer.

So, you have contracted with an ISP, which is quite discrete from BT Openreach which operates and manages the network. Your ISP will be working with BT Openreach to provide your line, and it is between those two companies to sort out any issues. BT Openreach won’t deal directly with members of the public since they have no contractual relationship with you, and it is your ISP and not you who is the customer of Openreach.

The only people who have regulatory powers over this is Ofcom, and it may be worth contacting them if you continue to have problems. The consumer organisation, Which? run a lot of broadband campaigns so it may also be worth contacting them.

Extending the Current Rollout (3)

What are you doing about getting additional funding?

Contract 1 is almost complete and we have started the rollout under Contract 2, Part 1. We have now asked BT to model additional coverage based on completion of the work by the end of 2017, and hope to have this information by the end of this year. This will form Contract 2, Part 2.

We are also applying for funding from various sources, including through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This funding is for upgrading broadband to businesses. We therefore need to know where the businesses are. If you or other local residents run businesses from home and your premises are not shown as a business on our map, you can let us know by using the Map Comments Form on our website.  Of course, it is not possible to upgrade just business premises, so residential homes will also benefit – they just can’t be counted towards the outputs for this particular funding! This work will form Contract 3.

We are making good progress on the pre-procurement work for Contract 3, which will extend the superfast broadband coverage still further. Contract 3 is very different from what has gone before because it is being run under different procurement rules, and we will no longer be using the BDUK framework agreement.

This offers real opportunities, as it means that we can now open the work up to a wider range of suppliers who will offer different technologies. We have had some really positive engagement with suppliers, some of whom will use the same technologies as BT, and others who offer wireless or purely fibre to the premise solutions. We need to understand how the market works and what the benefits and disbenefits of each solution are, so that we can be truly informed clients as we move towards tendering and evaluation.

Another difference this time around is that we will be breaking the area up into smaller lots, so as to make them more attractive to different suppliers. As far as possible, the lots will be determined to fit with the geography that is best suited to different technologies. We don’t have a completely free hand in this, however, as we do need to keep the number of lots to a manageable number – probably less than 4 lots in total. This should mean that we will end up with up to 4 contracts, with a number of suppliers, providing the best possible solutions for each area. We’ll give more information on lotting as the situation evolves.

In the next few days we shall be issuing a Prior Information Notice, which will alert suppliers to the upcoming opportunity, and at the end of October we shall be running a supplier day to explain our strategy to suppliers and to receive their feedback.

We are also about to start the public consultation. We have already asked suppliers where they plan to roll out their superfast broadband networks over the next 3 years. The data is being checked for compliance, and will be mapped in good time for the public consultation. This will give all suppliers, and members of the public, an opportunity to comment on the areas that are claimed to be covered. After the public consultation we will apply for State Aid approval, and then the areas where there is no planned commercial coverage will be eligible for intervention under Contract 3.

Should we go it alone and look for a community solution?

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. Furthermore, we are still awaiting the mapping for Contract 2, Part 2 (due spring 2017) and for Contract 3 (probably around autumn 2017), so until that is complete we cannot be certain which areas will be covered through the CSW Broadband project.

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 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 consider it to have turned grey on the map and may no longer consider it for inclusion under our funding. On the other hand, if it is not considered to be a grey area 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 page on the BT Openreach 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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

What plans, if any, do you have for addressing properties that are not included in the superfast broadband rollout?

We are actively seeking additional funding to take the rollout still further. This project is a stepping stone to the EU targets for 2020 of all Europeans having access to broadband above 30 Mbps. Contract 2, Part 1 will take us to 94% superfast coverage. As previously, the coverage is dependent on the funding available.

We have now asked BT to model additional coverage based on completion of the work by the end of 2017, and hope to have this information by the end of this year. This will form Contract 2, Part 2.

We are also applying for funding from various sources, including through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This funding is for upgrading broadband to businesses. We therefore need to know where the businesses are. If you or other local residents run businesses from home and your premises are not shown as a business on our map, you can let us know by using the Map Comments Form on our website.  Of course, it is not possible to upgrade just business premises, so residential homes will also benefit – they just can’t be counted towards the outputs for this particular funding! This work will form Contract 3.

We are making good progress on the pre-procurement work for Contract 3, which will extend the superfast broadband coverage still further. Contract 3 is very different from what has gone before because it is being run under different procurement rules, and we will no longer be using the BDUK framework agreement.

This offers real opportunities, as it means that we can now open the work up to a wider range of suppliers who will offer different technologies. We have had some really positive engagement with suppliers, some of whom will use the same technologies as BT, and others who offer wireless or purely fibre to the premise solutions. We need to understand how the market works and what the benefits and disbenefits of each solution are, so that we can be truly informed clients as we move towards tendering and evaluation.

Another difference this time around is that we will be breaking the area up into smaller lots, so as to make them more attractive to different suppliers. As far as possible, the lots will be determined to fit with the geography that is best suited to different technologies. We don’t have a completely free hand in this, however, as we do need to keep the number of lots to a manageable number – probably less than 4 lots in total. This should mean that we will end up with up to 4 contracts, with a number of suppliers, providing the best possible solutions for each area. We’ll give more information on lotting as the situation evolves.

In the next few days we shall be issuing a Prior Information Notice, which will alert suppliers to the upcoming opportunity, and at the end of October we shall be running a supplier day to explain our strategy to suppliers and to receive their feedback.

We are also about to start the public consultation. We have already asked suppliers where they plan to roll out their superfast broadband networks over the next 3 years. The data is being checked for compliance, and will be mapped in good time for the public consultation. This will give all suppliers, and members of the public, an opportunity to comment on the areas that are claimed to be covered. After the public consultation we will apply for State Aid approval, and then the areas where there is no planned commercial coverage will be eligible for intervention under Contract 3.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

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.

Questions About the Contracts (20)

How much of the project’s fibre deployment will be FTTC and approximately how much will be FTTP?

Almost all will be Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) as it offers the best value for money solution to get fibre as far as possible. Getting Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) can extremely expensive in rural areas, although this is now being rolled out in some places. There are new technologies, such as Fibre to the Remote Node, coming through that will enable a cabinet connection to be taken still further.

Will the network be open to competition?

Yes. The network is being built by Openreach, BT’s local network business, and will be open to all communications providers on an equal basis. Currently around 80 Communications Providers are trialling or offering fibre broadband services over BT’s network. This will enable people to choose the provider and broadband package that best suits their need.

Why are you rolling out Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) instead of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)?

We are fortunate that 96% of premises are within 1Km of their local street cabinet so by focussing on delivering Fibre to the Cabinet (FttC), BT have met our strategic objectives in the most efficient manner possible, to ensure the greatest level of coverage for the available funding.

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. Also, whilst we could connect a few communities using FTTP, we can connect a lot more and get the overall fibre network much further by using cabinet technologies. Since the over-riding principle of the project is to take the fibre as far as possible, FTTP will only be used in exceptional circumstances.

Finally, FTTP should not be confused with Fibre on Demand (FoD), which BT announced some time ago in parts of Leamington, Southam and Kenilworth. This service is outside the remit of our project, so if you live in one of these areas you and want to find out about this, you should go to BT or your ISP to find out more.

Unless you live in an area that is to be covered by Fibre to the Premise, or Fibre on Demand, then the only other way to get fibre right to your door is to buy a commercial Private Leased Line, however the installation costs can run into tens of thousands of £s, and the ongoing rental costs are considerably higher than for other services.

Why can’t Exchange Only (EO) lines get superfast speeds?

Most properties are fed by copper wiring that runs from the exchange to a green cabinet, where it then splits out and smaller copper cables lead to every property that is fed from that cabinet. Because broadband signals degrade over relatively short distances of copper this is not a very efficient way of getting broadband to consumers and businesses.

Our project is bringing faster broadband by installing a new cabinet near to the original one. This is fed by fibre from the exchange, which brings faster broadband right into the communities, and considerably reduces the length of copper that is required, meaning that higher speeds can be achieved.

The problem with Exchange Only (EO) properties is that they are connected directly to the exchange – there is no green cabinet between the property and the exchange to upgrade with fibre cabling. This is unfortunately why superfast speeds cannot be reached by these properties.

We have already upgraded some EO lines. This is more complicated (and more expensive) as there are greater engineering challenges. For instance, because EO lines don’t have the copper lines routed through a copper cabinet (PCP) there is no aggregation point to which we can connect the fibre cabinet (DSLAM). Therefore we have to install two cabinets and this creates additional challenges in terms of location in addition to the ones that we face for all DSLAMs with regard to the availability of power, avoiding existing services, road safety issues etc. Contract 2, Part 1, includes a considerably higher percentage of exchange only lines, and a lot of the more challenging locations that could not be brought into Contract 1.

It should be noted that because of the nature of the installation, it is not until the exchange only lines have actually been connected up to the new cabinets that we will know which properties will be able to benefit from the superfast broadband service. This creates challenges for us in terms of letting people know that the service is available!

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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

It looks as though the decisions were made on a postcode basis – why?

The area shading on the map is calculated by postcode areas. This is the standard BDUK methodology. Clearly telecoms infrastructure does not align with postcodes, which is one reason why we are saying that the actual rollout will depend on surveys and that the map is indicative only. In fact, we have already identified that some postcodes are served by a number of existing cabinets, and that some existing cabinets serve a number of different postcodes. Therefore the footprint of properties that will achieve superfast broadband is likely to differ significantly from the postcode information that is given on this map.

You should also look at the property-level mapping as that is more likely to reflect what will be happening for you. As the property-level mapping is still under development please let us know (using the form on the website) if the information shown is incorrect.

What provision is there in the contract for reaching those premises that are beyond the reach of a fixed fibre solution?

These premises will be covered by solutions such as advanced copper broadband or satellite, which are capable of supporting the minimum of 2Mbps broadband service. However, these are interim solutions only as we look towards the EU targets for 2020 of all Europeans having access to broadband above 30 Mbps. This is clearly a step-change from where we are now, and will require further investment.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

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.

Will there be a particular focus on specific areas of interest – such as business parks, and if so what form would this take?

In our procurement we identified all postcodes that formed clusters of businesses and these were taken into account by BT during the modelling process. For example, the proposed deployment covers 61% of postcodes containing more than 10 business.

We are applying for funding from various sources, including through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This funding is for upgrading broadband to businesses. We therefore need to know where the businesses are. If you or other local residents run businesses from home and your premises are not shown as a business on our map, you can let us know by using the Map Comments Form on our website. Of course, it is not possible to upgrade just business premises, so residential homes will also benefit – they just can’t be counted towards the outputs for this particular funding!

We are also working with WarwickNet, a local businesses that installs new cabinets to provide superfast broadband to industrial and commercial parks. Details can be found on the WarwickNet website.

Why was BT selected as the delivery partner for this project?

BT won a fair and open procurement exercise. They are willing to invest their own resources, have established retail partners and have the capacity and experience to deliver the solution.

What other providers were involved in the bidding process?

The ITT (Invitation to tender) for Contract 1 was issued to two bidders under BDUK’s procurement framework and both engaged in the process, but only one company decided to submit a response. For Contract 2 only one bidder expressed an interest in tendering for the work.

Did you have to accept what you were offered by BT?

Certainly not! Thanks to the fantastic response to our consultations and questionnaires, not to mention the cabinets searches and other information that has been sent through by members of the public we have an extremely good knowledge of the infrastructure in our area. Therefore we were able to challenge BT throughout the procurement and rollout of the first contract – and we continue to do this.

For the Contract 2 we were able to build on the considerable experience we have gained so far and used our extensive data to really focus the project on those areas that will help us to achieve our objectives.

When will the project be completed by?

Contract 1 runs to 2016 and will achieve 91% superfast coverage. Contract 2, Part 1 will take us to 94% coverage by mid-2019, although we are trying to accelerate this.

Why can’t you provide interim solutions for those who will have to wait a long time for their area to be upgraded?

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

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 think about 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.

Why are you referring to the current rollout as Contract 2, Part 1?

Because that is exactly what it is! Contract 1 is almost complete and we have started the rollout under Contract 2, Part 1. We have now asked BT to model additional coverage based on completion of the work by the end of 2017, and hope to have this information by the end of this year. This will form Contract 2, Part 2.

We are also applying for funding from various sources, including through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This funding is for upgrading broadband to businesses. We therefore need to know where the businesses are. If you or other local residents run businesses from home and your premises are not shown as a business on our map, you can let us know by using the Map Comments Form on our website.  Of course, it is not possible to upgrade just business premises, so residential homes will also benefit – they just can’t be counted towards the outputs for this particular funding! This work will form Contract 3.

We are making good progress on the pre-procurement work for Contract 3, which will extend the superfast broadband coverage still further. Contract 3 is very different from what has gone before because it is being run under different procurement rules, and we will no longer be using the BDUK framework agreement.

This offers real opportunities, as it means that we can now open the work up to a wider range of suppliers who will offer different technologies. We have had some really positive engagement with suppliers, some of whom will use the same technologies as BT, and others who offer wireless or purely fibre to the premise solutions. We need to understand how the market works and what the benefits and disbenefits of each solution are, so that we can be truly informed clients as we move towards tendering and evaluation.

Another difference this time around is that we will be breaking the area up into smaller lots, so as to make them more attractive to different suppliers. As far as possible, the lots will be determined to fit with the geography that is best suited to different technologies. We don’t have a completely free hand in this, however, as we do need to keep the number of lots to a manageable number – probably less than 4 lots in total. This should mean that we will end up with up to 4 contracts, with a number of suppliers, providing the best possible solutions for each area. We’ll give more information on lotting as the situation evolves.

In the next few days we shall be issuing a Prior Information Notice, which will alert suppliers to the upcoming opportunity, and at the end of October we shall be running a supplier day to explain our strategy to suppliers and to receive their feedback.

We are also about to start the public consultation. We have already asked suppliers where they plan to roll out their superfast broadband networks over the next 3 years. The data is being checked for compliance, and will be mapped in good time for the public consultation. This will give all suppliers, and members of the public, an opportunity to comment on the areas that are claimed to be covered. After the public consultation we will apply for State Aid approval, and then the areas where there is no planned commercial coverage will be eligible for intervention under Contract 3.

How much money have you got to spend for Contract 2?

Contract 1 is almost complete and we have started the rollout under Contract 2, Part 1. We have now asked BT to model additional coverage based on completion of the work by the end of 2017, and hope to have this information by the end of this year. This will form Contract 2, Part 2.

We are also applying for funding from various sources, including through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. This funding is for upgrading broadband to businesses. We therefore need to know where the businesses are. If you or other local residents run businesses from home and your premises are not shown as a business on our map, you can let us know by using the Map Comments Form on our website.  Of course, it is not possible to upgrade just business premises, so residential homes will also benefit – they just can’t be counted towards the outputs for this particular funding! This work will form Contract 3.

We are making good progress on the pre-procurement work for Contract 3, which will extend the superfast broadband coverage still further. Contract 3 is very different from what has gone before because it is being run under different procurement rules, and we will no longer be using the BDUK framework agreement.

This offers real opportunities, as it means that we can now open the work up to a wider range of suppliers who will offer different technologies. We have had some really positive engagement with suppliers, some of whom will use the same technologies as BT, and others who offer wireless or purely fibre to the premise solutions. We need to understand how the market works and what the benefits and disbenefits of each solution are, so that we can be truly informed clients as we move towards tendering and evaluation.

Another difference this time around is that we will be breaking the area up into smaller lots, so as to make them more attractive to different suppliers. As far as possible, the lots will be determined to fit with the geography that is best suited to different technologies. We don’t have a completely free hand in this, however, as we do need to keep the number of lots to a manageable number – probably less than 4 lots in total. This should mean that we will end up with up to 4 contracts, with a number of suppliers, providing the best possible solutions for each area. We’ll give more information on lotting as the situation evolves.

In the next few days we shall be issuing a Prior Information Notice, which will alert suppliers to the upcoming opportunity, and at the end of October we shall be running a supplier day to explain our strategy to suppliers and to receive their feedback.

We are also about to start the public consultation. We have already asked suppliers where they plan to roll out their superfast broadband networks over the next 3 years. The data is being checked for compliance, and will be mapped in good time for the public consultation. This will give all suppliers, and members of the public, an opportunity to comment on the areas that are claimed to be covered. After the public consultation we will apply for State Aid approval, and then the areas where there is no planned commercial coverage will be eligible for intervention under Contract 3.

Why are you now referring to “Waves”?

We had a lot of discussion about this one! In Contract 1 we had Phases, and these continue to be rolled out. To differentiate Contract 2 rollout from Contract 1 we now have Waves. It also helps us internally as both BDUK and BT use the term Phases in completely different ways and it was just getting too confusing.

I was in a white area under Contract 1, which meant that I could expect 2Mbps by 2016 but my location now appears to be covered in Contract 2, Part 1. What does that mean in practice?

The current mapping of Contract 2, Part 1 is indicative only and will be subject to change as the surveys progress. Moving from a Contract 1 white area to potential coverage under Contract 2, Part 1, means that instead of getting the Universal Service Commitment of 2Mbps, you could achieve superfast speeds. We can’t, at this stage, say when that improvement will be coming, but if your area is still showing as amber then you might want to consider different technologies.

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.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Will you be able to tackle more difficult properties with the new funding?

Yes. The idea of the new funding is to take the Next Generation Access (fibre) network further, using existing and new technologies. Thanks to the work that we did in Contract 1, and continue to do with Contract 2, Part 1 we are taking the fibre spines much further into the rural areas and this will provide a good foundation on which to build for the Contract 2, Part 2.

Can our village contribute financially to the contract to be sure of being included in the next rollout?

It is not legally possible for a community to contribute to the contract, and in any case the problem remains that we can’t see any mechanism for ensuring that a particular village or parish would be economically covered if they were to contribute.

It is entirely possible for a community to decide to raise funds and employ their own solution. The problem with this approach is 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 smaller 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 consider it to have turned grey on the map and may no longer consider it for inclusion under our funding. On the other hand, if it is not considered to be a grey area 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 that the infrastructure that we are providing is 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 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 page on the BT Openreach website.

When will you be able to show timings for Contract 2, Part 1?

Further information is released in Waves at 3-monthly intervals. As we are now reaching more complex areas each Wave will take up to 12 months to complete, so there could be up to 4 Waves running at any one time.

What technologies will be used in Contract 2, Part 1?

The contract has deliberately been written to be technology agnostic. This is because the pace of change is accelerating and we want to be able to take advantage of new advances as they become available. The most appropriate available technology will be chosen for each location.