From Roman roads to the 21st century digital superhighway – some of Warwickshire’s oldest villages to get superfast fibre broadband

Baddesley Clinton, Corley Ash, Church Lawford, Danzey Green, Upper and Lower Shuckburgh, Wibtoft and Copston Magna among next communities to get access to high-speed technology;

CSW Broadband set to span all corners of Warwickshire

When William Shakespeare famously questioned whether you could have ‘too much of a good thing’, he was clearly not thinking about the positive benefits of superfast fibre broadband that were to come.

Now, centuries later, a number of the most historic villages in the Bard’s home county have become some of the latest areas of Warwickshire to be included in the CSW Broadband roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband.

They include parts of Wibtoft and Copston Magna, close to the crossing point of Watling Street and Fosse Way – two of the best-known Roman Roads in Britain– as well as Baddesley Clinton, Corley Ash, Church Lawford, Danzey Green, Upper and Lower Shuckburgh. The new technology will start to be available for the first time from the middle of next year.

The programme is spearheaded by Warwickshire County Council and BT and is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Councillor Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation, said: “There are teenagers today who have never known life without the internet. They take it for granted that they can stream video and music, book holidays and concerts, work from home – and have access to all of their school or college information and carry out research just as though they were in the classroom. This announcement means that more of our historic villages will be able to benefit from the same services.

“Because we are now reaching some of the most rural areas, the residents and businesses will really see the benefits of not having to drive in order to carry out the most basic of tasks – so the project will benefit the environment as well!”

More than 58,000 Warwickshire premises now have access to faster fibre broadband as a result of the CSW Broadband roll-out. Updates on the roll-out are available from: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

When BT’s own commercial investment in fibre broadband is taken into account, the figure rises to more than 241,000, of which more than 227,000 households and businesses can access superfast speeds of 24 megabits (Mbps) and above. According to independent website, thinkbroadband, superfast speeds are now available to more than 92 per cent of Warwickshire premises.

Colin Bannon, chair of BT’s West Midlands regional board, said: “Shakespeare and the Romans had great vision so I’m sure they would have appreciated the huge opportunities offered by superfast broadband!

“The pace of the CSW Broadband roll-out is enabling the partnership to bring the benefits of this exciting technology to even more people, regardless of where they live. From Little Shuckburgh to Stratford-upon-Avon, we’re extending the reach of the technology across the county to ensure more households and businesses can benefit.

“Whether you’re running a small business, working from home, or a family wanting to connect several devices to the internet at the same time, everything is easier, better and faster with fibre broadband.”

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach – the local network business which is part of BT Group – households and businesses have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. Residents and businesses wanting to benefit need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider.

Openreach uses its existing underground ducting wherever possible, minimising disruption and the need to dig up roads and pavements.

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Newsletter — June 2017

Over 58,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Wave 7 launched
  • Contract 3 update
  • Get Online week 2017
  • Calling all parish councils!
  • Case studies
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Wave 7 launched

When William Shakespeare famously questioned whether you could have ‘too much of a good thing’, he was clearly not thinking about the positive benefits of superfast fibre broadband that were to come.

Now, centuries later, some of the most historic villages in the Bard’s home county have become some of the latest areas of Warwickshire to be included in the CSW Broadband roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband.

They include parts of Wibtoft and Copston Magna, close to the crossing point of Watling Street and Fosse Way – two of the best-known Roman Roads in Britain– as well as Baddesley Clinton, Corley Ash, Church Lawford, Danzey Green, Upper and Lower Shuckburgh. The new technology will start to be available for the first time from the middle of next year.

More than 58,000 premises in Warwickshire and Solihull now have access to faster fibre broadband as a result of the CSW Broadband roll-out. Updates on the roll-out, including the full list of structures in Waves announced to date, are available on the project website.

Those of us who are “more mature” sometimes forget that there are teenagers today who have never known life without the internet. They take it for granted that they can stream video and music, book holidays and concerts, work from home – and have access to all of their school or college information and carry out research just as though they were in the classroom. This announcement means that residents in more of our historic villages will be able to benefit from the same services.

As we are now reaching some of the most rural areas, the residents and businesses will really see the advantages of not having to drive in order to carry out the most basic of tasks – so the project will help to benefit the local environment as well!

Because the fibre broadband network is installed on a wholesale basis, meaning any ISP can use it to provide services, households and businesses will have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. Residents and businesses wanting to benefit need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider.

Contract 3 update

As reported last month, we have multiple bids for each Lot in Contract 3, and the CSW Broadband team are still busy evaluating these. We are still on track to be able to announce Contract 3 coverage during the autumn.

Get Online week 2017

Get Online Week Is Coming Back! The 2017 campaign will take place from 2 – 8 October. During this time there will be events run right across the country to show people how to use, or to get the most from, the Internet.

Are you planning any events for that week? Send details to our website, and nearer to the time we’ll publicise what is happening and help to promote your events.

The 2016 campaign was the most successful yet. Get Online Week 2016 saw more than 5,000 events take place in communities all across the country, showing over 85,000 people how the internet can make life easier, cheaper, healthier and more fun!

The 2016 campaign was the tenth Get Online Week, and in the last decade the campaign has helped almost 400,000 people discover the benefits of getting online.

Calling all parish councils!

In the 5 years since this project started, we have developed and maintained excellent relationships with the parish councils in our area. Parish councillors are the front-line in communications with the public, and are best placed to have knowledge about the issues in their villages.

We intend to build on this groundwork, and from the autumn will be sending out emails directly to parish clerks with information about how you can support the project. In the meantime, it would be helpful if our newsletters could be circulated to all parish councillors, so that everyone is aware of the project and what we are trying to achieve.

Case studies

We regularly appeal for case studies, but sadly very few people respond! We don’t need War and Peace, just a few lines setting out what difficulties you experienced before you had superfast broadband, and how things have changed since the service was upgraded.

This information is very helpful for us when applying for additional funding to help those areas that are still waiting for faster speeds.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There is a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline.

We now have two versions: a web version with embedded hyperlinks, and a copy for print where the links are typed out in full. Copy can be found on our Copy to use on our own website, newsletters or flyers webpage.

Questions and Answers

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

Will the maps change when Contract 3 is announced?

One of the challenges that we have always faced is trying to reconcile the fact that the colours on the map are done by postcode, but that telecoms infrastructure doesn’t follow postcodes.

When you think about it, the copper telephone network was set up to deliver voice calls only, and the routing didn’t matter as long as the system worked. The system evolved over a great many years, with the first properties to be connected being linked directly to a main exchange, often over very long copper lines.

Then smaller exchanges were installed, again often with very long lines, and finally (as demand for telephony grew) the green boxes were installed by the side of the road. That is why some postcodes will be covered by more than one cabinet, and a cabinet may cover more than one postcode.

Additionally, with properties being connected to a cabinet, a local exchange, or a main exchange, three properties next to each other could in theory be connected to the telephone network in completely different ways.

Try mapping that using colours!

We now have our unique property checker, which shows the currently planned status (down to property level) up to the end of 2019, but the mapping by area is still useful. We are therefore investigated new ways to use and to show the data, and hope to be able to launch our new mapping system during the autumn.

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.

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.

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

CSW Broadband now on social media – come and join the conversation

We are now on the major social media channels and are already creating a buzz. Join in for up-to-date information and an opportunity to influence how the project develops:

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

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Newsletter — May 2017

Over 57,500 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Contract 3 update
  • Broadband advertising – consultation on fairness
  • ERDF funding latest
  • ICT Business Advisor – job opportunity
  • How to make a bad day better
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Contract 3 update

Well, the good news is that we have received multiple bids for Contract 3! The team are now busy evaluating these and we hope to be in a position to announce the winners of the 3 Lots in the next few weeks. After that, the real work starts, and we expect to be able to map the additional coverage in the autumn.

Broadband advertising – consultation on fairness

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have published a public consultation seeking views on different options to strengthen the standards around broadband speed claims. The consultation is open for 10 weeks, closing on 13 July 2017.

The options include speed claims based on the:

  • Peak-time median download speed;
  • 24-hour national median download speed;
  • Range of peak-time download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users; and
  • Range of 24-hour national download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users.

Each option would also require an advertisement making broadband speed claims to urge potential customers to check with the broadband provider the speed they’re likely to receive.

Together, these options are intended to better manage consumers’ expectations of the broadband speed they’re likely to receive from different broadband providers, with each of them offering tougher standards for broadband speed claims in ads than the current position.

The consultation follows independent research by GfK commissioned by the ASA which found that the current regulatory standards were likely to mislead consumers.

The current standards permit headline speed claims that are achievable by at least 10% of customers, where they are preceded with the words “up to” and qualified, as appropriate, to help manage consumers’ expectations of achievable speeds.

The research found that while speed is an important factor for a significant proportion of consumers who are making decisions between providers, many are unclear on what speed they would likely achieve based on the advertisements they viewed.

The speed of broadband services depends on a number of factors and the impact of these factors varies between technologies, service providers and between users of the same provider.

One-to-many advertising such as a national TV ad or outdoor billboard campaign cannot reasonably be expected to provide the same information as one-to-one information direct from each provider about the speed an individual consumer is likely to get.

However, the research was unable to find consensus on what an alternative advertising standard should be that would ensure consumers are not being misled. The consultation is seeking views on four options and any other options proposed by respondents, which both help to prevent consumers from being misled and better manage consumers’ expectations about the broadband speed they’re likely to receive from different broadband providers.

ERDF Funding update

We have now received the Contract for the ERDF-funded element of Contract 3, including the business support that will be delivered by The Chamber as project partners. Work is ongoing with the WCC legal team to enable us to sign this.

ICT Business Advisor – job opportunity

Are you eager to put your advisory skills to the test? Do you enjoy supporting businesses with ICT? Do you have a strong understanding of ICT and the opportunities it has for business growth?

Due to recent growth and an expansion in projects Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is looking for two experienced ICT Business Advisors to join their growing team in order to support businesses across this area to adopt and exploit benefits of emerging technologies.

The Successful Business advisors will support small and medium sized businesses to commercially exploit new technologies enabled by superfast broadband. This role is of high importance as we are looking for experienced Business Advisors who can focus on helping SMEs with potential growth in order to maximise the impact of Superfast technology.

The successful Business Advisors will be able to demonstrate the following experience:

  • Working with new and established businesses on a 1-2-1 basis to develop an action plan focused on opportunities for growth based on the effective use of ICT
  • Developing, writing and delivering seminars/masterclasses on a range of ICT topics, including Social Media and online Marketing
  • Working with SME clients to overcome barriers during the implementation of their action plan, in order to sustain momentum towards the agreed goals

Key skills for this position include:

  • Excellent understanding of ICT and the opportunities for businesses to exploit Superfast enabled technologies
  • Degree or equivalent level qualification
  • Understanding of SME business life-cycles, stages of development and their relevance in relation to business growth

This is an exciting opportunity to grow your career in an interesting and challenging environment working with a number of different growing companies with excellent benefits and rewards. If you feel you have the necessary skills and experience for this position, then please download the application form and job description which are available from www.cw-chamber.co.uk, complete and return to Gemma Smith, HR Manager. Alternatively please send CV and covering letter to the email address below.

Email: gemmas@cw-chamber.co.uk

How to make a bad day better

Everyone has a bad day every so often. Sometimes problems start from the time you open your eyes, on other occasions you might almost get through to bedtime before trouble strikes.

You can dwell on your bad luck – or you can do something about it. The easiest way is to change how you look at things – it’s surprising how a different perspective can change a situation. Here’s 10 tips, adapted from www.mindtools.com:

  1. Reach out – invite a trusted friend or colleague for a coffee. Often, talking about what is bothering you will help, and someone else’s viewpoint may show that things aren’t really so bad
  2. Go for a walk – sunshine and fresh air can work wonders to lift your mood
  3. Achieve a “Small Win” – making progress towards an important goal gives a sense of achievement. Break big actions down into smaller ones so that you can see clear progress
  4. Be grateful – stop and think about all the positives. People, things, experiences, find the good
  5. Schedule a team meal or event – Doing something positive for others can make you feel better, and will give you and colleagues something to look forward to
  6. Praise yourself – we all like to feel valued, and recognition gives a sense of pride and achievement. However, we are sometimes hard on ourselves, so give yourself the recognition you deserve, even if others don’t
  7. Get some exercise – you don’t have to be an avid gym bunny. Going for a walk can induce the same feel-good factor, and if a particular situation is getting you down, then a break can give you a chance to take a breather and come back refreshed
  8. Help someone else – giving has positive benefits, so why not help a colleague? Carry out a random act of kindness (like buying cakes for the team), or volunteer to establish a more regular habit
  9. List the pros and cons – things are rarely as gloomy as they may seem. Writing down the negatives and the positives can help you to get a different viewpoint, and gives an opportunity to think about how you can make changes
  10. Put things into perspective – No matter how bad things may seem now, will it make a difference in a week? A month? In one year? In five years? In most cases the answer will be “no”, so that will help you to put a bad day into perspective.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There are a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline.

We now have two versions: a web version with embedded hyperlinks, and a copy for print where the links are typed out in full. Copy can be found on our Copy to use on our own website, newsletters or flyers webpage.

Questions and Answers

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

Why do we have to wait until the autumn to find out if we are covered under Contract 3?

The CSW Broadband team are currently evaluating tenders, and hope to be able to announce the winners of the 3 Lots in the next few weeks. We will then enter into a period of working with the contractors to establish the project parameters and how the teams will work together.

At the same time, the CSW Broadband data team will be checking all of the information for each Lot, right down to premise level, and producing the maps and property checker information so that this can be posted to the website.

There is a lot of checking and cross-checking to get to this point, so that we can ensure that the information that we give is as accurate as it can possibly be. We’ll be moving forward as quickly as possible, but with the emphasis on accuracy rather than speed.

We are thinking of setting up a Community Broadband Scheme, should we do this?

The decision is entirely yours. However, the view of the CSW Broadband team is that any superfast broadband installations carry a cost, and if there is a chance that you might be included in the coverage for Contract 3 then it might be best to wait. Otherwise, you could put in a lot of work to raise local interest (and to get residents and businesses to contribute to the considerable cost), only to find that the service will be coming to you at no charge anyway.

Of course, it is always possible that a community will decide that they can’t wait for the CSW Broadband project to get to them and they want an uplift now. As long as everyone is aware of the potential for the CSW Broadband project to provide coverage at a later date, without the need to pay directly for infrastructure costs, then the decision is one for the community alone to make.

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

CSW Broadband now on social media – come and join the conversation

We are now on the major social media channels and are already creating a buzz. Join in for up-to-date information and an opportunity to influence how the project develops:

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter — April 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

  • FTTP services
  • Connecting to FTTP
  • Full-fibre rollout latest
  • Business finance
  • ERDF funding latest
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

 

FTTP services

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 other areas we can install an all-in-one cabinet that serves the function of both the DSLAM and the PCP. These are mainly suitable in areas with smaller numbers of properties.

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

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

The advantage of this service for the user is that Ultrafast speeds of up to 330 Mbps can be achieved (depending on the package purchased). 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 (see below).

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.

FTTP is not appropriate in every location. When we started the preparation for Contract 1 (way back in 2012!) we modelled the whole area for FTTP. At that time, it would have cost 10x as much to provide FTTP across the whole area, or we could have covered just 1/10th of the properties that we did.

Therefore, 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. Deploying fibre to the cabinet solutions is a good investment, as it takes the fibre backbone much further and, eventually, it is likely that everyone will have the final piece of copper replaced with a fibre solution – although possibly not for many years to come in the more remote areas.

Finally, FTTP should not be confused with Fibre on Demand (FoD), which BT announced some time ago would be available in parts of the Leamington, Southam and Kenilworth exchange areas. We understand that no ISPs are offering this service at present, although it may show as a delivery option if you check your line through the BT DSL checker.

Unless you live in an area that is to be covered by Fibre to the Premise, 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. In some areas the smaller providers may provide an option to buy a Fibre to the Premise solution with the fibre running from a local cabinet to a property.

Connecting to FTTP

1) Ordering the service

As this is still a relatively new technology, not all internet service providers (ISPs) currently offer an FTTP service at the moment, so it is important that you investigate which suppliers can provide the service in your area.

When placing an order with your chosen ISP, they will provide you with a date when an engineer will come out to carry out tests or even a survey, should one be necessary.

ISPs that we believe provide FTTP packages to residents in the CSW area:

ISPs who provide FTTP packages to businesses in our area:

As more FTTP is made available across the county, the market is likely to become increasingly competitive, with a wider range of packages and price options being made available, and new providers coming into this growing marketplace.

2) Site Survey

In the early stages of an order, a site survey may be required. This is to investigate what work needs to be carried out in order to provide you with a FTTP service.

It is important to note that no work will be carried out without your permission and you agreeing to any costs that may be associated with this, for which you are liable.

In some cases, additional works may be required to bring the fibre cable into your premises. You will need to discuss this with your service provider.

3) Engineer Appointment

Following the survey, an engineer connects the fibre cable to a small box (approx. 15cm x 10cm x 3 cm) which will need to be fixed to your outside wall of your property. The box will be installed at a height that can be worked on from ground level.

Please note: There may be a short interruption to your telephone service during this work. Also, if you have an alarm on your phone line, please let your provider know that your line may go down for a few minutes, which could trigger a false alarm on any security system linked to your telephone line.

Your ISP will inform you if you need to be present for this visit, but the engineer must be able to access to exterior of the premises. There may be the necessity for two engineer appointments, but your ISP will make you aware of this if it is the case.

If you have experienced ordering an FTTP service, and would be happy to send us your feedback, please email: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

Full fibre rollout latest

The recent budget included a statement that the government “will invest up to £200m to fund locally led projects across the UK to leverage local and commercial investment in full fibre, the ‘gold standard’ of fast and reliable broadband. By harnessing public sector internet demand, upgrading school connections, alongside new full fibre connection vouchers to increase business take–‐up, we will make it more attractive for the private sector to build full fibre networks to connect more homes and businesses.

“We received a fantastic response to the Call For Evidence in January, including from over 50 local authorities, which is informing our approach. We will work with suppliers and local authorities over the summer to develop approaches to public sector anchor tenancy, gigabit connectivity vouchers for businesses and re–‐use of publically owned assets, incorporating them as part of the first wave of projects in 2017. In parallel, we will be developing a competitive funding process for local areas to bid for projects that could combine these different delivery approaches with their own digital planning strategy and efforts to create an attractive regulatory and planning environment, in order to stimulate large–‐ scale commercial investment in full fibre networks. More details will be published in due course.”

So, nothing on this at present, but we are aware that there will be interest, and we will keep you updated as soon as there is anything to report.

Business Finance

The British Business Bank has been set up by Government to stimulate and encourage lending by mainstream banks to British businesses. According to the website: “The British Business Bank is 100% Government owned, but independently managed. It brings expertise and Government money to the smaller business finance markets. We don’t lend or invest directly. Instead we work with over 80 partners such as banks, leasing companies, venture capital funds and web-based platforms. Businesses apply for finance through our partners, and because they work with us they can lend and invest more, especially to younger and faster growing companies.”

The website includes a very useful Business Finance Guide, which offers tools and options for those businesses looking to expand. Well worth a look if you are running, or thinking of setting up, a business.

ERDF Funding update

We have now received the Contract for the ERDF-funded element of Contract 3, including the business support that will be delivered by The Chamber as project partners. Work is ongoing with the WCC legal team to enable us to sign this.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Q&A’s raised recently. Our website has a full set of Q&As, which are regularly updated.My area was shaded green on the map, why has it changed?

We have changed the way in which the maps are generated. Previously, when most upgrades consisted of installing a fibre-fed cabinet next to the original copper one, we based the area shading on the distance from the existing cabinet. By allowing approximately 1Km from the existing cabinet as superfast, we were able to show roughly which areas might be expected to achieve superfast speeds.

However, this methodology has its limitations and mapping the coverage is difficult. It is done by postcode, but telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes. In fact, we have found 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! This means that the colour coding on the map can only provide an estimated network coverage, and this remains the case.

What we have tried to do this time around, however, is to base the mapping on the underlying premises information. Therefore, were there are a number of properties still to be upgraded, the area colouring will now be shown as white, amber, or the appropriate colour for the relevant Wave if it has been announced.

So, the higher-level maps may have changed, but still the best way to find out what is happening is to zoom through the layers so that you can get to your specific property information.

Why has my area dropped back to 2019 for completion?

The timetable has not changed, however in an effort to show as much information as we possibly can the data is shown differently on the Property Checker from that on the Rolling 12-Month Plan. As the explanatory text on the Checker says:

The information has been taken from the following sources:

  • Open Market Review and Public Consultation that was held and the end of 2016. During this process all commercial providers were invited to submit information about their rollout plans to the end of 2019. **
  • Contract 2 coverage for the CSW Broadband project.
  • State Aid approved Contract 3 potential intervention area.

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

Therefore, the Property Checker shows the status at the end of 2019, and at area level the mapping will depend on how far you zoom in. However, the Rolling 12-Month Plan shows what is currently in build, and this work should be completed according to the timescales shown. If your area is amber on the map, there is more work still to be done, but it hasn’t been announced so won’t appear on the rolling 12-month plan yet.

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

CSW Broadband now on social media – come and join the conversation

We are now on the major social media channels and are already creating a buzz. Join in for up-to-date information and an opportunity to influence how the project develops:

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

CSW Broadband superfast fibre broadband boost reaches more of Warwickshire’s smallest communities

Burmington, Cathiron, Fulready, Maxstoke, Newnham Paddox, Preston Bagot, Willey, Wishaw and Woolscott among next villages to get access to high-speed technology

The pace of life in some of Warwickshire’s smallest villages is set to speed up thanks to the CSW Broadband partnership’s roll-out of superfast fibre broadband.

Burmington, Cathiron, Fulready, Maxstoke, Newnham Paddox, Preston Bagot, Willey, Wishaw and Woolscott will be among the next communities to get access to the new technology for the first time, lead partners Warwickshire County Council and BT announced today.

CSW Broadband is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

John Parmiter, Project Executive on the CSW Broadband project said: “When you look at the latest map on our website you can see that those villages included in today’s announcement are in some of our most rural areas. Furthermore these communities often have no local services whatsoever, so it will be a real step-change when people can finally use online banking, online shopping, work from home, and all those other things that so many people take for granted these days.”

More than 57,500 premises now have access to faster fibre broadband as a result of the CSW Broadband roll-out. Updates on the roll-out are available from: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

When BT’s own commercial investment in fibre broadband is also included, it means that more than 229,000 households and businesses in the county can now get the technology. According to independent website, thinkbroadband, superfast speeds of 24 megabits (Mbps) and above are now available to more than 92 per cent of Warwickshire premises.

Colin Bannon, BT’s Regional Director for Warwickshire and the West Midlands, said: “Rolling out fibre broadband to some of the most rural parts of Warwickshire can be particularly complex because of the additional equipment needed and the extra distances involved. Work starts on this phase of the project next month, and if everything goes to plan we aim to finish this part of the roll-out early next year. Once an area has gone ‘live’, local households and businesses who opt for an upgrade will receive a much better, faster connection.”

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach – BT’s local network business – households and businesses have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. Residents and businesses wanting to benefit need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider.

Openreach uses its existing underground ducting wherever possible, minimising disruption and the need to dig up roads and pavements.

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Newsletter — March 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

  • Wave 6 now launched
  • Additional information now available for previous Waves
  • Cabinet/structure – what’s the difference, and does it matter?
  • Broadband announcements in the 2017 budget
  • ERDF Funding update
  • £2m grant fund for businesses in rural Warwickshire
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

 

Wave 6 now launched

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

Additional information now available for previous Waves

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broadband announcements in the 2017 budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

ERDF Funding update

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

£2m grant fund for businesses in rural Warwickshire

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

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

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

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CSW Broadband now on social media – come and join the conversation

We are now on the major social media channels and are already creating a buzz. Join in for up-to-date information and an opportunity to influence how the project develops:

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter — February 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

  • Unique interactive property-level broadband checker now available
  • Wave 5 now launched
  • Contract 2, Part 2
  • Colours on top
  • Commercial coverage depiction on the maps
  • ERDF funding bid successful
  • Contract 3 Invitation to Tender issued
  • Interesting statistic
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

This is a real bumper edition of the newsletter, and the theme is one of good progress, and great things to come! In each section we explain the impact on our mapping, as we have changed the way in which the data is handled and this will make changes to what is represented in many areas.

Unique interactive property-level broadband checker now available

CSW Broadband has now made available a unique interactive property-level checker that enables you to find out what coverage is planned for your home or business by the end of 2019.

It’s simple to use and the information returned will show one of the following classifications:

Superfast:

This means that superfast broadband may be available now, or will be by the end of 2019. This may be either through the CSW Broadband rollout or through commercial providers. **

Under Review / Alternate Provider:

This means that a supplier (not BT) has said that they will be providing superfast broadband by the end of 2019. These tend to be smaller providers. **

Basic Broadband:

There is currently no planned superfast coverage here, but the area is in scope for consideration under Contract 3, which is currently out to tender. The additional coverage will not be mapped until the procurement process is completed, probably during the autumn of 2017.

Awaiting funding:

These areas are not in scope for potential coverage under Contract 3 as we are awaiting additional funding. We continue to actively seek additional funding opportunities.

The information has been taken from the following sources:

  • Open Market Review and Public Consultation that was held and the end of 2016. During this process all commercial providers were invited to submit information about their rollout plans to the end of 2019. **
  • Contract 2 coverage for the CSW Broadband project.
  • State Aid approved Contract 3 potential intervention area.

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

Wave 5 now launched

We are delighted to announce the launch of Wave 5. As we move through the project we are seeing far fewer Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) upgrades. This Wave picks up mainly Exchange Only lines, with some of these being served by FTTC and many more by Fibre to the Premise (FTTP).

This is great, in that it provides a superfast broadband service to homes that previously had no hope of any uplift, but it does make our job rather challenging, as we won’t know until the service actually goes live which properties will benefit from the improvements.

This also means that whereas you would normally see areas on our map turning blue as each Wave is announced, only a few will show as blue until after the deployment is complete and we receive the report that identifies the successfully upgraded premises. These will then be added to the map’s next update.

Do check the Rolling 12-Month Plan regularly though, because where an FTTC upgrade is planned we will eventually receive a notification of the cabinet locations. Whilst we can’t say exactly which properties will benefit, this may at least give some indication.

Contract 2, Part 2

The data for Contract 2, Part 2 has been received from BT. This is now shown on the map as amber, and areas will change colour as they are announced in future Waves. The total value of Contract 2, Part 2, is £2m.

Colours on top

We have made a change to the way in which areas are depicted on the map. The mapping is done by postcode, but as telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes this has created some difficulties. For instance, one cabinet may serve several postcodes and one postcode may be served by several cabinets.

The approach we have taken in the past is to put the green (denoting that a live service is available) on top of all other colours. However, this can never present the whole picture, and it is likely that the green will mask areas where there is still work to be carried out.

For this edition of the map we have taken a different approach, and where there is further work to be carried out in a postcode area the green shading has been moved below the other colours.

This gives a more representative view of what is yet to come but, as always, the caveat is that until the service goes live we will not know exactly what speeds a property may achieve.

Commercial coverage depiction on the maps

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.

These areas are then mapped as black (two or more providers); grey (one provider); or cross-hatched (where one of the smaller providers has promised to cover the area, but it remains under review until coverage is confirmed).

Please bear in mind the limitations with postcode mapping as noted above, and that the map is only a representation rather than a definitive guide. Our new interactive property-level checker enables you to find out what coverage is planned for your home or business by the end of 2019.

ERDF funding bid successful

We have received confirmation that our application for ERDF funding has been successful. The money will be used primarily to extend the broadband rollout, but also for specialist ICT business support. The project runs to 2020.

The funding will be matched by our application for Local Growth Deal funding through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and by all Local Authority partners. The Government has stated that they will underwrite EU funding in light of Brexit.

Both the additional broadband rollout and the business support will cover the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership area, and for the first time Coventry City Council are now able to contribute to the project so that Coventry will be included in the CSW Broadband project.

More details will be released on both elements of the project as contracting progresses.

The broadband rollout will form part of the overall package for Contract 3, which is discussed below.

Contract 3 Invitation to Tender issued

Including the EU and other funding mentioned above, Contract 3 will have a total value of up to £20m. The Invitation to Tender was launched on 7th February. As discussed in the December newsletter, the area has been split into 3 lots:

Lot 1: North Warwickshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Rugby, Stratford District east of the M40

Lot 2: Coventry (excluding the City Centre) and Solihull to the east of the M42*

Lot 3: Warwick District and Stratford District to the west of the M40

The tenders should be returned by 2nd May, and evaluation will take 4 weeks. We therefore expect to sign contracts towards the end of June, and should be able to map the additional coverage during the autumn.

This is a full European tender, and the documentation can be found in the Contract 3 section of our website.

The key difference between Contract 3 and what has gone before is that whereas superfast speeds used to be defined at 24Mbps, for Contract 3 a line must achieve 30Mbps to qualify as superfast. This is in accordance with the EU State Aid Directive.

* The area of Solihull to the west of the M42 is classified as awaiting additional funding.

Interesting statistic

Some 90% of people now believe broadband is essential, more than the 74% who think the same of a mobile phone, a television (73%) or a car (68%), while only housing, energy, food and running water are considered more important, consumers’ association Which? said recently .

Copy for your own website or newsletter

We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There are a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline. Copy can be found at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/about-the-project/copy-to-use-on-your-own-website-newsletters-or-flyers/

Questions and Answers

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

So will my property be upgraded under Contract 3?

It is too early to be able to give this level of detail. Once the Contract has been let we can start to work with the suppliers to develop a rollout strategy, and then we should be able to map the results. As there are 3 Lot areas it will be 3 x the work, so this is unlikely to be completed until late autumn.

There is no star on my property on the map, what does this mean?

Those properties without a star are anticipated to have superfast broadband by 2019. This information is derived from the Open Market Review that was carried out in 2016, during which commercial providers advised their future coverage plans.

However, this information was given in commercial confidence so if commercial coverage is planned then we cannot give any further information. If your area is due to be covered as part of the CSW Broadband rollout, then the area will be coloured accordingly on the map (please refer to map key).

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

I can’t make sense of the BT DSL checker

It can be confusing sometimes. We have a helpful guide on our website to explain how to get the best results from the checker, and how to interpret what it is telling you. The page is complete with graphics, a step-by-step guide and a mini jargon buster to help you to get the most from this valuable resource.

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

CSW Broadband now on social media – come and join the conversation

We are now on the major social media channels and are already creating a buzz. Join in for up-to-date information and an opportunity to influence how the project develops:

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Thousands more Warwickshire households and businesses to get fibre broadband boost

More than 30 additional communities to benefit from new CSW Broadband roll-out due to high take-up of the technology across Warwickshire

The CSW Broadband partnership has announced a major expansion that will enable a further 3,500 households and businesses in some of the county’s smallest communities to join the information superhighway for the first time.

More than 30 additional communities will be upgraded as part of the new programme, lead partners Warwickshire County Council and BT announced today. Details of the areas to benefit will be included in the map to be produced by CSW Broadband at the end of January.

BT has made £2 million available for reinvestment in the programme as a result of the ‘gainshare’ mechanism in the contract, which has been triggered by strong take-up of fibre broadband by local households and businesses. Nearly 40 per cent of county households and businesses able to upgrade to the new technology as a result the CSW Broadband roll-out have chosen to do so – a figure which is among the highest levels of take-up in the country.

The upgrade work will begin in the Summer and take around 18 months to complete.

Meanwhile, the CSW Broadband roll-out continues elsewhere. Engineers are currently working in Barford, Claverdon, Dunchurch, Haseley Knob and Southam to enable hundreds more households and businesses to connect to fibre broadband this Spring.

Warwickshire County Councillor Alan Cockburn, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property, said: “Once again, the CSW Broadband project is taking the superfast coverage even further than we had originally envisaged. This latest announcement shows the commitment of the funding partners to ensuring that residents and businesses are able to benefit from the modern communications technology that is so often taken for granted by those who already have superfast access.”

Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for Warwickshire and the West Midlands, said: “Our CSW Broadband partnership has already made huge progress in making fibre broadband available across Warwickshire. This expansion is great news for those communities in the county not included in the current roll-out programme. High-speed broadband plays such an important role in everyday life for households and businesses. Whether you’re working from home, doing homework or online shopping, everything is easier and faster with fibre broadband.”

Warwickshire County Councillor, Philip Johnson, Chair of Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “Fast and reliable broadband access is fundamental to life today, so this is indeed good news. It is important to remember that upgrading the infrastructure is only part of the story, and it is necessary for people to contact their internet service provider to request a faster broadband package”.

More than 56,000 premises now have access to faster fibre broadband as a result of the CSW Broadband roll-out. Updates on the roll-out are available from: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach – BT’s local network business – households and businesses can choose from a wide range of fibre broadband providers. They need to place an order with a provider in order to benefit from the service.

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Newsletter — December 2016

344 cabinets live to date

Over 56,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • What a year that was!
  • Get set for smart TV
  • BT ordered to split legally from Openreach by Ofcom
  • Cybercrime Survey
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

What a year that was!

2016 was quite a year for the CSW Broadband team: over the year we have:

  • Commenced the rollout of Contract 2, Part 1
  • Upgraded 113 structures (33% increase)
  • 13,000 additional properties connected to the fibre network
  • Increased our take-up from 24% to 38%
  • Launched the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme for premises with less than 2Mbps
  • Seen our first Exchange Only (EO) lines go live
  • Submitted an application for £4.3m Local Growth Deal funding to the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (awaiting decision)
  • Run the Public Consultation for Contract 3 (now closed)
  • Submitted a bid for £5.8m ERDF (EU) funding (awaiting decision)
  • Requested modelling for an additional £2m from BT. This will form Contract 2, Part 2
  • Assisted residents at Westwood Heath with their Community Fibre project, and helped them to get funding through the Better Broadband Scheme

In the next few weeks we should be receiving the results of our two funding bids, launching the procurement for Contract 3, and receiving the results of the modelling for Contract 2, Part 2 – as well as continuing the rollout of the existing programme.

We’ll continue to keep you updated through our newsletters, social media, press coverage, and direct to your mailbox.

 Get set for smart TV

We’ve had Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and soon we’ll be getting the Christmas/January/(most of the year?) sales. Many people will be buying or upgrading a smart TV, but one thing that often gets overlooked is that no matter how good the TV, if the signal is poor then you will never get the best performance.

According to Which? “Some 96% of UK households now have access to digital TV according to the 2016 Ofcom survey. The way that we use and access media is changing, with older generations more likely to watch live TV and under 25s to use catch-up, streaming or video-on-demand services.

“We want to watch what we want, when we want it – but for homes built before the digital revolution, delivering modern media through old-fashioned wiring is a tall order.”

Whether you receive your signal through a TV aerial, extension point or WiFi, this article from Which? on how to improve your aerial performance and get set for smart TV has useful information that you should consider.

 

BT ordered to split legally from Openreach by Ofcom

You may have heard in the press recently that Telecoms regulator Ofcom has ordered BT to separate legally from its Openreach division, which runs the UK’s broadband infrastructure, saying that Openreach should become a distinct company within the BT group.

For more information see this article on the BBC website.

This announcement is not expected to have any impact on the current CSW Broadband contracts with BT, since we are contracted with BT Group which is the umbrella holding company for all BT enterprises.

 Cybercrime Survey

This year, a new cybercrime survey is being run by the Warwickshire Observatory and inviting people to share their experiences of online crime and, through a series of questions, asks how safe people feel online.

This latest survey will seek to examine how the picture has changed across Warwickshire over the past 12 months and whether residents are more aware of the dangers that may be posed online, and the things that we can all do to minimise these risks.

The survey is also running across West Mercia, West Midlands and Staffordshire policing areas which will allow the Observatory to assess the scale of the problem across a wider region.

 Copy for your own website or newsletter

We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There are a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline. Copy can be found at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/about-the-project/copy-to-use-on-your-own-website-newsletters-or-flyers/

 Questions and Answers

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

 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!

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.

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

CSW Broadband now on social media – come and join the conversation

We are now on the major social media channels and are already creating a buzz. Join in for up-to-date information and an opportunity to influence how the project develops:

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CSW Broadband roll-out brings broadband boost to more Warwickshire villages in run-up to Christmas

The CSW Broadband partnership – led by Warwickshire County Council and BT – is spreading some seasonal cheer by making high-speed fibre broadband available to more of the county’s smallest communities in the run-up to Christmas.

Parts of Farnborough, Fenny Compton, Flecknoe, Pailton and Tysoe are the latest to benefit from the CSW Broadband roll-out, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Elsewhere, households and businesses in Avon Dassett, Buckley Green, Monks Kirby and Stretton-Under-Foss are now able to access faster fibre broadband for the first time.

The wide-ranging benefits include:

  • High quality, speedy online access when connecting several devices to the internet at the same time;
  • Playing games, streaming music and watching catch-up television without any buffering;
  • Using the internet for homework, shopping and other services more quickly and easily;
  • Being able to quickly share large files and photos via email and over the internet.

Councillor Alan Cockburn, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance & Property at Warwickshire County Council, said: “The CSW Broadband project is making a real difference to the lives and working practices of people in some of the most rural parts of the county.

“Whether it is for work or for leisure, access to high quality broadband is often taken for granted by those who have it. However, where superfast broadband is not available people can find it extremely difficult to engage in today’s increasingly connected world. That inequality is exactly what this project is addressing.”

Colin Bannon, BT’s Regional Director for Warwickshire and the West Midlands, said: “At this busy time of the year, it’s especially great that more households and businesses are now able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of the CSW Broadband partnership.

“People who choose to upgrade to a fibre broadband service can expect a faster, more reliable internet connection. So whether you’re doing some Christmas shopping online, working from home, or using the internet to stay in touch with customers, colleagues or loved ones, all those things are easier, faster and better with fibre broadband.”

Warwickshire County Councillor, Philip Johnson, Chair of Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “Once again we see that the CSW Broadband project is bringing superfast speeds to those areas that would never have been reached by the commercial roll-out of the broadband providers. That is because these locations are too remote to be economically viable without the intervention of a publicly-funded project.”

More than 56,000 premises now have access to faster fibre broadband as a result of the CSW Broadband roll-out. Updates on the roll-out are available from: www.cswbroadband.org

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach – BT’s local network business – households and businesses can choose from a wide range of fibre broadband providers. They need to place an order with a provider in order to benefit from the service.

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