Newsletter — November 2012

Topics in this edition:

  • Timetable for the project
  • State Aid public consultation phase starts
  • Champions role is even more vital now
  • Cabinet competition results
  • Top questions this month
  • Don’t forget to complete the surveys on our website: www.cswbroadband.org.uk
  • Our timetable for the project

We are hoping to go out to tender in early 2013, with a contractor being appointed around Spring. We will then start on the design phase and would hope to be rolling out the infrastructure by the end of 2013, with completion due in 2015. Therefore we will not know what will be going where until autumn next year at the earliest, and in practice it is not until the infrastructure is in place and everything goes live for each area that we will know exactly what is achievable. As we move through each stage we will keep you advised on progress

State Aid Public Consultation

The State Aid public consultation is intended to inform interested parties of our intention to progress a notification of State Aid. It follows on from our previous Open Market Review (OMR), where commercial operators were invited to provide details of any formal investment plans for the proposed target areas over the next three years. The results from the OMR have been used to establish the proposed intervention areas for the project set out in the consultation document and can be viewed by following the links to the maps and the postcode data tables.

This consultation provides an opportunity for broadband suppliers, residents and businesses to feed back on the proposed intervention areas, particularly in relation to:

  • any broadband not- or slow-spots (i.e., areas unable to access minimum 2Mbps services) not included in the proposed intervention areas, or the reverse; i.e., locations listed as broadband not- or slow-spots, when 2Mbps or faster services are in fact available;
  • any locations where the current availability of superfast (above 24Mbps) services as described in this document is known to be incorrect (i.e. areas listed as having superfast services but where these are in fact unavailable, or the reverse);
  • any proposed intervention areas where plans are already in place to deliver minimum 2Mbps and/or superfast broadband services but these were not reported as part of the previous Open Market Review.

Click here to download the Public Consultation

We invite responses from any broadband infrastructure and internet providers in our area. All responses (as detailed in the Public Consultation document) should be received by Wednesday 12th December 2012.  Business and residents are also encouraged to complete our broadband surveys in addition to responding to this consultation.

Following the OMR we have revised the coverage maps and a list of postcodes for the sub-region which you can access here:

PC – Coverage Map for USC

PC – Coverage Map for SFB

PC – Postcode List (PDF format)

PC – Postcode List (Excel format)

The maps, which are fully zoomable, illustrate our current assessment of the State Aid status (white, grey, black) for each postcode area in the region – pink has been chosen to represent the “white” areas. The boundary of the region is shown by a thick red line and the area outside the boundary is the buffer area required by State Aid where communities either side of the boundary may benefit from upgrading the infrastructure. The coloured dots on the map represent both business and residential premises, with the different colours highlighting our current estimate of the distance of the premise from existing infrastructure (green is near, hence good, red is far away, hence bad).

You will see this evolve as we gather more information from people filling in surveys and crowdsourcing the existing infrastructure.

The postcode list covers all postcodes in the mapped area. The data is derived from the OS AddressBase Plus dataset released in August 2012.

Champions role is even more vital now

Our Community Broadband Champions have been carrying out a fantastic job in raising public awareness of the project and ensuring that the surveys are returned. However that role is even more vital now. By studying the maps that form part of our public consultation it is possible to see just how little of the region will receive superfast broadband through commercial roll-out. We need to show that there is demand in all areas to ensure that we have the best possible chance of proving the commercial sense in upgrading as much of the region as possible. The more that we can do to influence the providers’ plans ahead of our intervention the further our money will go in the areas that really need it.

Therefore it is essential that we continue to encourage people to complete the residential and business surveys, which are available here: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/csw-surveys/

Please remember that the consultation maps are not definitive, and that providers’ plans can and do change. As an example, several years ago BT said they would never upgrade the Kineton exchange as there was no business case. We therefore worked with local residents to help set up a social enterprise to offer broadband services and ran a successful series of events in the local pub, with a satellite broadband provider who was going to be offering the services. A huge number of people signed up so that we knew that the service would be viable – and a week later BT announced that it would be upgrading the Kineton exchange! Technology (and demand) moves on and the exchange is once again in need of upgrade, but it shows that if a business case can be proven then BT can and will enable upgrades to take place.

We will have more news on recent successes in the next newsletter.

Do you have a Champion for your area? Could you take on this role? To find out what the Broadband Community Champions’ role involves check out our Champions page: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/downloads-resources/for-community-champions/

To see if you have a Champion for your area take a look at our Champions map: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/downloads-resources/maps-showing-champions-locations-and-survey-responses/

Cabinet competition a resounding success

The competition that we ran over the summer to locate the green telecoms cabinets was a resounding success. We received over 550 verified responses and the winner of the £50 Amazon voucher was Emma Shakespeare. Further prizes of £30, £20 and 10 x £10 were also awarded.

You can still report the location of your local cabinet – in fact as we move into our procurement this information is more vital than ever. You can report your cabinet through our crowd-sourcing site via your mobile phone at https://4sfb.crowdmap.com/main or you can email us at broadband@warwickshire.gov.uk – if emailing please remember to include as much information as possible, for instance “in Anyvillage on the corner of Main Street and South Road, opposite the school”

REMEMBER: The more verified information we can gather the greater opportunity we have to ensure that we get a design solution that is right first time and which gives us the greatest coverage for our money

Top questions this month:

What is the universal service commitment (USC)?

The universal service commitment is the Government’s pledge that everyone should be able to access broadband services offering a minimum 2Mbps download speed by 2015, regardless of their location.

What is superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband is defined as offering speeds faster than 24Mbps. This threshold was chosen 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 90% of homes and businesses in each upper tier local authority area should be able to access superfast broadband by 2015. Thus this threshold was selected as it necessitates a step change in the technology used to deliver broadband services.

Where will the CSW Broadband Project’s funding be spent?

European State Aid legislation requires that our funding is only spent in areas of market failure, i.e. areas where no superfast or minimum 2Mbps services are currently available or will be available over the next three years. The pink areas on the two maps show the intervention areas for our project, in relation to current and planned future broadband provision. To access the coverage maps go to: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/whats-happening/procurement/

Which services will I be able to buy, and from which suppliers?

We can’t disclose which suppliers will be providing services in which areas for reasons of commercial confidentiality – this was a condition laid down by suppliers when they gave us their data. It is our intention to ensure that our investment enables as many retail service providers as possible to offer services across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, ensuring competition, value for money and choice. Please contact broadband providers for further details of when services will be available; details of providers in your area can be found at http://www.samknows.com/broadband/broadband_availability.

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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