Newsletter – March 2021

Nearly 75,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • Useful advice for if you are thinking of changing your ISP in 2021
  • Mobile operators agree new deal to improve UK’s rural coverage
  • BT in talks with OneWeb over rural satellite broadband
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Your questions answered

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Since our last newsletter in December, another 94 Contract 3 structures have now been confirmed as having gone live. Some of these have been partially live for some time, but we only tend to publish this information once we are sure that all the connections served by those structures have been completed.

Unfortunately, some of the properties which we believed had been upgraded were not showing as such on Openreach’s systems meaning that those residents couldn’t order an improved service. However, now that these issues have been resolved and the data verified, we can now inform you of these upgrades.

Some of the communities benefiting from these upgrades include parts of: Allesley, Aldermans Green, Ansley Common, Arlescote, Arley, Ash Green, Balsall Common, Bascote, Bedworth (Bede Village), Berkswell, Bishops Tachbrook, Bodymoor Heath, Bramcote, Bubbenhall, Burton Hastings, Cliff, Combrook, Copston Magna, Corley, Edstone, Ettington, Frankton, Galley Common, Hampton in Arden, Harborough Magna and Hatton.

Other communities which have also benefited include parts of: Kenilworth, Keresley End, Kingsbury, Knowle, Lighthorne, Long Compton, Meriden, Middleton, Moreton Morrell, New Arley, Newton, Offchurch, Piccadilly, Rugby, Shelford, Shustoke, Solihull, Southam, Stockton, Stretton on Dunsmore, Tanworth in Arden, Temple Grafton, Walton, Warmington, Warwick, Wishaw, Wolvey and Wormleighton.

As a result of this, nearly 75,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade has been completed, we will try and inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

If your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need.

 

Useful advice for if you are thinking of changing your ISP in 2021

Consumers in the UK face a confusing choice of different broadband providers and networks, which is getting worse as a growing number of new entrants enter the market. In fact, trying to find a new ISP can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield.

If you are looking for a new ISP but find the myriad of options available to you a little bit confusing, the ISP Review’s new ‘UK Best Broadband ISPs for Homes – 2021’ guide may be able to help by offering a simplified overview of the top options.

The guide puts together the editor’s pick of top ISP options in terms of quality and affordability. The ISPs featured in the guide are picked based on a mixture of criteria, including reader feedback, Ofcom quality / complaint scores, third party awards and reviews from multiple sites, to name but a few.

As well as categorising ISPs by price and quality, a third category – Commendations – also highlights alternative network ISPs that also deserve praise – based on the above criteria.

Consumer champions Which? have also recently published their ‘Best and worst broadband providers 2021’ report.

They note that while the best broadband companies offer a great service at a great price, provide a fast connection that you can rely on, and are on hand to help in the rare instance that something goes wrong, many broadband providers still don’t deliver on those fronts.

While you have to pay to download the whole report, it is worth noting that this survey is based on the real-life experiences of thousands of customers across the UK and may prove to be money well spent if you are thinking of changing broadband provider and would like further information on choosing your next ISP.

For more information and advice on how to switch to a different broadband provider, see our ‘Questions and Answers’ section later in this newsletter.

Mobile operators agree deal to improve UK’s rural coverage

A number of publications, including Computer Weekly have recently reported that three of the UK’s leading mobile operators have agreed a deal to build and share infrastructure to boost 4G coverage and improve mobile connectivity in hard-to-reach places.

In the first stage of the UK government’s Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme, which aims to support the deployment of 5G and extend 4G mobile coverage to hitherto badly served rural areas, O2, Three and Vodafone are joining forces to build and share 222 new mobile masts to boost rural coverage across the country.

The £1.3bn SRN programme was first proposed in October 2019 and has been made possible through a partnership of the UK’s four major telecoms operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone who will work to close almost all partial “not spots” – areas where there is only coverage from at least one but not all operators.

Their initial investment of £532m will then be supplemented by more than £500m of government funding to eliminate total not spots – hard to reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator.

The exact location of the masts – most of which will be built in rural areas – are not being disclosed until planning permission has been approved. Construction will start this year and is set to be completed by 2024 in line with the agreement reached with the Government and Ofcom.

The three mobile operators will now engage with local stakeholders and other key parties to ensure what the UK government calls a “timely and efficient” roll-out that delivers 4G connectivity in rural communities, offering customers in very remote areas increased choice and fuller value from their contracts where they live, work or travel.

BT in talks with OneWeb over rural satellite broadband

The Rural Service Network recently highlighted a Bloomberg report on discussions between BT and the government-backed satellite maker OneWeb to provide rural broadband to people cut off from the UK’s fibre networks.

BT is understood to be in early discussions around how OneWeb’s satellite technology, which is designed to provide internet signals to remote locations, might be used to connect up rural households.

The report notes that the satellite provider could allow BT to provide modest broadband speeds without the extra cost of installing cables to houses that are too remote or expensive to install fibre cables.

London-based OneWeb, a rival to Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network, has launched 110 out of a planned 648 fridge-sized satellites into low-earth orbit. The company said recently it could start connecting UK customers by the end of this year.

Musk’s Starlink constellation, which received a license from Ofcom in November 2020, has already launched around 1,000 satellites and has started trialling direct-to-consumer services in the UK as well as around the rest of the world.

While the early results from trials in the UK look promising, Starlink doesn’t come cheap, at £439 for the hardware and a monthly cost of £89. But some of those who have suffered with sluggish internet for years believe that it is a price worth paying.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Your questions answered

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

What is the process for ordering and installing an FTTP service?

The ordering and final installation process for the Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solutions that are now being rolled out in Contract 3 of the CSW Broadband Project is a little bit different to the FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) solutions that were predominantly rolled out during Contracts 1 and 2.

‘WBC FTTP’ will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ on the BT Broadband Availability Checker results page, if FTTP is available at your property. For more information on making sense of the results returned from your enquiry, visit our ‘How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker’ webpage.

Although only around 15% of the UK can currently get a full fibre connection, the number of ISPs offering FTTP packages is gradually increasing. For a full list of all the ISPs who have stated that they offer residential and business packages across the CSW region, please visit our Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) webpage.

Whichever ISP you chose to provide your service, the installation process will be similar to that shown in this short installing full fibre to your property film from Openreach.

Typically, you will need to book an appointment for them to come and fit the service. The engineer will run fibre from the nearest distribution point (either over a pole or via underground ducting) to your property. The fibre will then be connected to a small box on the outside wall of your property at ground level.

The fibre will then be run through your wall to the inside of your property, where the engineer will install a small powered wall mounted unit that they will then plug your router into.

They will then typically test your full fibre connection on one of your preferred devices to make sure that the service is working properly and that you can start making the most of your faster and more dependable connection.

Finally, it is worth noting that the ‘WBC FTTP’ product should not to be confused with the far more expensive FTTP on Demand – a separate commercial product offered by BT which is NOT being installed through the CSW Broadband Project.

How do I switch to a different broadband provider?

You may wish to transfer broadband 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, 18 or 24 months. Most contracts require you to give your ISP a month’s notice.

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 also important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area. BroadbandUK’s BroadbandProviders.co.uk website is particularly useful for this as it allows consumers to search for broadband providers and packages by their exact address rather than just by postcode area.

There are a number of comparison sites available and we’ve listed a few more of these below that you may want to take a look at before making a decision:

Finally, if you are thinking about switching your broadband provider, the Which? and Moneysaving Expert websites offer some invaluable (and impartial) advice and information which you may find useful.

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

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter – December 2020

Over 73,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • CSW Project updates – LFFN programme
  • Comparing the service quality of different broadband providers – Ofcom report
  • Looking for cheap broadband? Useful info on comparing & switching broadband providers
  • Case studies needed – Tell us your story!
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Since our last newsletter went out at the end of September, another 42 Contract 3 structures have gone live. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Alderman’s Green, Ansley, Arley, Ansty, Beausale, Bidford on Avon, Binley, Churchover, Coombe Fields, Corley, Fenny Compton, Exhall (near Alcester), Frankton, Freasley, Hockley Heath, Honington, Kenilworth, Lapworth, Leamington Spa, Little Compton, Lower Norton, Offchurch, Oldbury, Nuneaton, Preston Bagot, Ryton on Dunsmore, Stretton on Dunsmore, Studley, Watergall and Whitley Hill.

As a result of this, over 73,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade has been completed, we will try and inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

If your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need.

CSW Project updates – LFFN Programme

Our work on the LFFN Programme is progressing well with nearly 150 of the sites now surveyed and moving through to the build phase. This includes 105 schools and 43 other public buildings such as libraries and fire stations. Around 20 of these builds are expected to have been completed by the beginning of the New Year.

As we have mentioned in previous newsletters, the CSW Broadband Project is using the £5.7 million we were awarded, in line with Government requirements, to bring full fibre gigabit connectivity to nearly 300 public sector buildings in total across the region.

It is hoped that with the new full fibre network in place that suppliers will then use it as a springboard to bring full fibre to residents and businesses in the wider community as well.

Once these builds are completed, we will try and inform as many of the local residents and businesses who will also have benefited from this work that they can now order an improved service.

Comparing the service quality of different broadband providers – Ofcom report published

At the end of September, Ofcom published their fourth annual report on how service levels compare in telecoms, which may be of interest to some of you.

The purpose of the ‘Comparing customer service: mobile, home broadband and landline’ report is to help people make informed decisions about which provider is best for them as part of Ofcom’s work to ensure fairness for customers.

By shining a light on the performance of the UK’s main mobile, broadband and home phone providers, the report allows people to look beyond the price and see what level of service they can expect from different providers. It also acts as an incentive for providers to improve their customer service.

The report covers customer experiences in 2019 and customer satisfaction level in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic came to the UK. The pandemic is likely to have affected the levels of service received by customers (in areas such as new services and repair times) and this impact will be covered in their next annual report to be published in 2021.

Looking for cheap broadband? Useful info on comparing and switching broadband providers

Each year, millions of us blindly overpay for broadband as costs rocket when promotional deals end. If you are out of contract, MoneySavingExpert.com’s ‘How to get cheap broadband’ guide gives impartial advice on how you can save £100s a year by switching to a different provider.

The guide, which is updated daily, also provides advice on switching during the pandemic, different types of broadband available to you, tools to find the best deals in your area, as well as information on how long it takes to switch provider.

They also provide information on whether you can get the advertised speeds, why you should aim for a package with unlimited data, how to haggle with broadband firms and advice on how to lower your costs with help from your broadband provider if you are struggling financially.

Visit How to get cheap broadband to find out more and you can also use their Broadband Unbundled tool to compare broadband packages available in your area.

Case studies needed – Tell us your story!

If having faster broadband has made a real difference to your life or business, why not tell us about it by submitting a case study.

We regularly appeal for case studies but sadly very few people respond. All we need are a few lines telling us of the difficulties you experienced before you had faster broadband and how life has improved since your property was upgraded.

We would also like to hear from you if your property has not yet benefited from an upgrade. Again, all we need are a few lines telling us of the difficulties experienced and how this is impacting on your household – for example during the recent Covid-19 lockdown.

Submitting a case study, whether relaying a positive or negative experience, can be really useful in supporting our applications for additional funding, to help us take the fibre network to those in areas that are still waiting to experience the benefits of a faster broadband connection.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

What is FTTP on Demand?

We have recently had a number of enquiries where the BT Broadband Availability Checker suggests that a product called Fibre on Demand (FoD or FTTPoD) is available, offering speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

This is NOT the same as native Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), which is being installed to many areas through the CSW Broadband Project.

It is easy to get native Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) services confused with FTTPoD because the two solutions function in identical ways, although their cost, contract and deployment methods tend to be significantly different. In a native FTTP setup, which is what CSW is installing, the fibre optic cable will have been installed outside your property (e.g. down your street), which makes it fairly quick and inexpensive to get connected.

By comparison FTTPoD is designed to be requested (‘on demand‘) in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) capable areas where the fibre optic cables have yet to reach specific properties. In some cases, this will attract significant distance-based construction charges (civil works) costing thousands of pounds.

Because of the high costs involved (and often the requirement for a much longer than standard contract), very few providers actually offer FTTPoD. Some that we are aware of include Cerberus Networks and FluidOne. It’s worth doing your homework as there may well be others.

This is likely to remain a niche product for those who are prepared to pay the additional installation charges and a higher ongoing monthly cost.

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

Unfortunately, this is outside the remit of the CSW Broadband Project as our role is only to install the fibre network. This is an issue that you will have to take up with your ISP as it is down to them to arrange for the installation.

Ofcom estimate that there are 7.2 million cases each year where broadband or landline customers suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments but as of 1st April 2019, customers who experience these issues will now be compensated without even having to ask.

Under the terms of the agreement, if an engineer does not arrive on schedule or cancels within 24 hours, the compensation will be £25. If a service stops working and is not fully fixed after two working days, customers will be entitled to £8 a day in compensation.

There will also be £5 per day offered for new services not starting on time.

Please visit the Ofcom website for further details on the automatic compensation scheme.

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

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter – September 2020

Nearly 73,000 properties now able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • CSW Project updates – LFFN programme
  • Openreach to extend Full Fibre network into Stratford
  • Cyber-crime skyrockets during lockdown – Top tips on how to stay safe
  • Case studies needed – Tell us your story!
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Since our last newsletter went out at the end of June, another 21 Contract 3 structures have gone live. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Ansty, Arley, Berkswell, Brinklow, Claverdon, Fillongley, Frankton, Keresley End, Knowle, Ladbroke, Lapworth, Lowsonford, Monks Kirby, Morton Bagot, Napton on the Hill, Shustoke and Stoneleigh.

As a result of this, nearly 73,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade has been completed, we will try and inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

If your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need.

CSW Project updates – LFFN Programme

As mentioned previously, The Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme is designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the whole of the UK.

CSW is using the £5.7 million we were awarded, in line with Government requirements, to bring full fibre gigabit connectivity to around 300 public sector buildings across the region.

Our work on this project is well underway with over 70 of the sites already surveyed and moving through to the build phase. This includes 47 schools and 24 other public buildings such as libraries and fire stations.

It is hoped that with the new full fibre network in place that suppliers will then use it as a springboard to bring full fibre to residents and businesses in the wider community as well.

As and when these builds are completed, we will inform as many of the local residents and businesses who will also have benefited from this work that they can now order an improved service.

Openreach to extend Full Fibre network into Stratford

Over the summer, Openreach announced their intention to increase investment in full fibre broadband via a commitment of £12bn to deploy their FTTP network to 20 million UK premises across the country by the mid to late 2020s.

This extension of their Fibre First deployment programme includes the roll-out of full fibre to 3.2 million rural properties including those in the Stratford upon Avon area.

Back in January, Openreach had already stated their intention to take their full fibre network to Bidford on Avon, Coleshill, Henley in Arden, Hockley Heath, Lapworth and Wootton Wawen within the CSW region in an investment that will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits these communities.

The fibre infrastructure that CSW Broadband has already deployed in these areas has acted as a springboard for this work. By using this existing resource as the foundation for their Full Fibre network extension, Openreach will be able to provide these communities with an ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband service that will be fit for purpose for decades to come.

The work within the Stratford exchange area is included in the first phase of Openreach’s extended network build that they are hoping to complete by March 2024.

Cyber-crime skyrockets during lockdown – Top tips on how to stay safe

Financial losses caused by cyber-crimes surged by nearly 75% as the UK entered lockdown earlier this year according to the City of London Police, which runs the national Action Fraud service.

During the first month of lockdown alone, the force received nearly 4,000 reports of online incidents – costing the equivalent of £2.9 million in reported financial losses.

Cyber-crime is a growing trend and criminals have been quick to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic for their own gain and have, in particular, been targeting social media users and online account holders in a bid to make money and steal personal details.

As we enter another prolonged period of lockdown restrictions, here are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you don’t become a victim of cyber-crime:

Check for software updates – Then actually install them. Hackers can take advantage of bugs in the system, but as soon as programmers are aware of errors they can fix them. So keep your computer up to date!

Choose strong passwords – It’s obvious but one of the easiest and most important ways to keep yourself safe. Experts recommend using at least eight characters and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g. $&*?).

Avoid using actual words or any personal information, and keep your passwords somewhere other people won’t see them. At the very least, make sure your email and online banking are well protected.

Constant vigilance – If you use online banking, keep track of each transaction and investigate anything you don’t recognise or don’t remember paying for.

Cyber criminals may try to siphon small amounts of money from lots of different accounts to avoid detection, so everything is worth checking out.

Use security software – Keep this updated as well. There are lots of free anti-virus and anti-spyware programmes available and you should make sure this is turned on every time you surf the net.

Don’t respond …to anyone claiming to be a foreign prince whose bank account has been blocked, anyone asking you to ‘just confirm’ your account details or anyone warning you if you don’t your Facebook account will be deleted.

They don’t have £352,376,492 in a bank account with your name on it. It’s pretty obvious, but there’s a whole world of scams out there and you should be wary of anyone asking for money or personal information.

To report any incidents of fraud or cyber-crime that you think you may have been a victim of, visit the Action Fraud website.

Case studies needed – Tell us your story!

If having faster broadband has made a real difference to your life or business, why not tell us about it by submitting a case study.

We regularly appeal for case studies but sadly very few people respond. All we need are a few lines telling us of the difficulties you experienced before you had faster broadband and how life has improved since your property was upgraded.

We would also like to hear from you if your property has not yet benefited from an upgrade. Again, all we need are a few lines telling us of the difficulties experienced and how this is impacting on your household – for example during the recent Covid-19 lockdown.

Submitting a case study, whether relaying a positive or negative experience, can be really useful in supporting our applications for additional funding, to help us take the fibre network to those in areas that are still waiting to experience the benefits of a faster broadband connection.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

Once the upgrade is complete, will I automatically get a faster service?

No. To take advantage of the faster speeds, you must order an improved broadband package through your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is what we suggest you do.

First of all, enter your landline or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker.

If superfast is available, either ‘VDSL Range A & B’ (for an FTTC – Fibre to the Cabinet upgrade) or ‘WBC FTTP’ (for a Fibre to the Premise upgrade) will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ with the speeds you are likely to achieve.

Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of these results.

We then suggest that you use an impartial comparison site (such as those listed below) to find and order an improved (faster) package, which meets your usage needs and requirements:

If you have benefited from an FTTP upgrade, the ordering process is slightly different. Our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need, including a list of ISPs who state that they offer residential and / or business packages in all or parts of the CSW region and information on the installation process.

Can CSW Broadband influence how much suppliers charge for their services?

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 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 some 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. The MoneySavingExpert.com and Which? websites can provide useful and impartial advice on this.

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 — June 2020

Over 72,500 properties now able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • More Contract 3 builds announced
  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • BT re-launch their Broadband Availability Checker
  • BroadbandUK first to launch property-specific broadband providers comparison service
  • Case studies needed – Tell us your story!
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

More Contract 3 builds announced

Over the last few months, CSW Broadband has given the go-ahead for many new structures to be built. This means that more and more residents and businesses, across the length and breadth of the Solihull and Warwickshire sub-region, will soon be able to take advantage of a fibre broadband connection.

Some of the communities that will benefit from the latest batch of upgrades that we have approved include parts of the Alderman’s Green, Bascote & Bascote Heath, Bodymoor Heath, Binley, Bubbenhall, Clifton on Dunsmore, Copt Green, Dunchurch, Exhall, Fenny Compton, Galley Common, Hartshill, Kemps Green, Ladbroke, Lapworth, Monks Kirby, Oldberrow, Offchurch, Piccadilly, Pinley Green, Tidmington, Walsgrave on Sowe and Watergall areas.

The full list of what CSW has approved to be built so far in Contract 3, along with the communities that will benefit from these builds can be found at in the Contract 3 table on our Rolling 12-month Plan webpage.

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Despite the difficulties associated with the lock down restrictions, another 28 Contract 3 structures have gone live since our last newsletter was sent out at the end of March. Communities benefiting from these upgrades included parts of:

Alderman’s Green, Avon Dassett, Bascote, Bascote Heath, Balsall Common, Clarkes Green, Clifton upon Dunsmore, Coleshill, Earlswood, Hockley Heath, Norton Lindsey, Outhill, Polesworth, Pinley Green, Ratley, Stockton, Temple Balsall, Tidmington, Whatcote and Woolscott.

Over 72,500 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade has been completed, we will inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

If your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need.

BT re-launch their Broadband Availability Checker

BT have made a number of changes to their BT Broadband Availability Checker – the online tool where you can check on your property’s superfast status by entering your landline or your address.

The main change is that before you can check on the status of your property you now have to enter a Captcha code before the results for your enquiry can be displayed. A Captcha is basically a computer program that is designed to protect websites against Bots by automatically telling humans and computers apart. This is done by manually entering the Captcha code.

If you have a BT landline, simply enter your landline number (without any gaps), enter the Captcha code provided and click ‘Submit’ to get the results.

If you are using the Address Checker, click on the Address Checker link, then click ‘Proceed’. Rather than entering your whole address, simply enter your postcode in the Postcode field and the Captcha code, click ‘Submit’ then select your property from the drop-down list and click ‘Submit’ again.

Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results and has been updated to reflect these recent changes.

For those of you who may distribute a printed version of this article / newsletter, the new BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage address is: https://www.broadbandchecker.btwholesale.com/

BroadbandUK first to launch property-specific broadband providers comparison service

BroadbandUK has become the first broadband comparison company in the UK to have successfully launched an address-level accurate broadband price comparison service with its new BroadbandProviders.co.uk website.

Consumers can now search for broadband providers and packages by exact address. Previously, they were only able to search by postcode which led to frustration when results displayed were not available and sometimes vice versa i.e. available deals were not displayed.

Furthermore, advertised speeds have been traditionally based on download speeds available to at least 50% of customers at peak time and described as ‘average’ rather than the actual speed available to a customer.

BroadbandUK has collaborated with the UK’s telecoms industry regulator Ofcom, the largest infrastructure provider Openreach and major CPs (communication providers) to integrate multiple datasets into their service.

The system utilises Openreach’s rich data which specifies details of the infrastructure available such as ADSL, FTTC, FTTP; new technologies like G.fast and SOGEA; distance from the exchange; and many other attributes of their network.

The information provides valuable detail enabling BroadbandUK’s algorithm to intelligently filter out to only show the available speed offerings applicable to each property.

The new concept for the first time eliminates the errors that historically have been prevalent in the industry. Misinformation can currently happen at the postcode level, where for example cable is only available on one side of the road and not the other.

BroadbandUK has also integrated its fastest-growing UK based Broadband Speed Test site with its sister-site BroadbandProviders.co.uk which should create a powerful platform to promote broadband products and services to the nation.

Case studies needed – Tell us your story!

If faster broadband has made a real difference to your life or business, why not tell us about it by submitting a case study.

We regularly appeal for case studies but sadly very few people respond. Submitting a case study is really helpful for us when we are applying for additional funding to help us take the fibre network even further – to help those in areas that are still waiting to experience the benefits of faster broadband.

All we need is a few lines telling us of the difficulties you experienced before you had superfast broadband and how life has improved since your property was upgraded.

Submitting a case study is also a great way of gaining some free publicity to promote your company if you are a business owner. So, if you would like to help us help others, why not submit a case study today!

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

Once the upgrade is complete, will I automatically get a faster service?

No. To take advantage of the faster speeds, you must order an improved broadband package through your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is what we suggest you do.

First of all, enter your landline or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker.

If superfast is available, either ‘VDSL Range A & B’ (for an FTTC – Fibre to the Cabinet upgrade) or ‘WBC FTTP’ (for a Fibre to the Premise upgrade) will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ with the speeds you are likely to achieve.

Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of these results.

We then suggest that you use an impartial comparison site (such as those listed below) to find and order an improved (faster) package, which meets your usage needs and requirements:

If you have benefited from an FTTP upgrade, the ordering process is slightly different. Our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need, including a list of ISPs who state that they offer residential and / or business packages in all or parts of the CSW region and information on the installation process.

What is FTTP on Demand?

We have had many enquiries recently where the BT Broadband Availability Checker suggests that a product called ‘Fibre on Demand’ is available to residents, offering speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

This is NOT the same as the native Fibre to the Premise, (listed as WBC FTTP on the BT Broadband Availability Checker) that is being installed to many areas through the CSW Broadband Project. Although these two solutions function in identical ways, their cost, contract and deployment methods tend to be very different.

With the ‘WBC FTTP’ that we are installing, the fibre optic cable will have been installed outside your property (e.g. down your street), which makes it fairly cheap to get connected.

By comparison, Fibre on Demand is designed to be requested ‘on demand‘, in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) capable areas. Residents requesting this service will then pay for the installation of fibre from the cabinet to their property, which can prove to be extremely expensive.

Because of the high costs involved (and often the requirement for a much longer than standard contract), very few providers actually offer Fibre on Demand. Cerberus Networks and FluidOne are two that we are aware of but there may be others as well.

Fibre on Demand is therefore likely to remain a niche product for those who are prepared to pay the additional installation charges and a higher ongoing monthly cost.

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 — March 2020

Over 72,000 properties now able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • CSW Project updates – LFFN programme
  • Coronavirus – Will Broadband networks cope with increased levels of home working?
  • Coronavirus – How can we stay in virtual touch with our older relatives?
  • Ordering an FTTP service – valuable information for customers
  • Email address charges branded ‘daylight robbery’
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Another 12 Contract 3 cabinets / structures have gone live since the last newsletter was sent out at the end of January. Communities benefiting from these upgrades included parts of:

Barford (Wasperton Lane area), Caldecote, Hampton in Arden, Kingsbury, Spernal, Stretton on Dunsmore and Wormleighton.

Over 72,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade has been completed, we will inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, Choose or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

If your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need.

Finally, it should be noted that we are fully expecting the deployment of the fibre network in our area – as with the rest of the UK – to slow down significantly in the coming weeks and possibly months as government restrictions come into play to try and halt the spread of the coronavirus / Covid 19 pandemic across the UK.

Our build partners, Openreach, may have to prioritise their network support to critical services such as the NHS, emergency services, the armed forces, key utilities and banking services, as well as enabling much of the wider UK to work from home wherever possible.

We will obviously keep you updated on any major developments as and when they happen via email.

CSW Project updates – LFFN Programme

After a number of delays, we have finally signed our Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme contract with Openreach.

The LFFN programme is designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the whole of the UK.

CSW will be using the £5.7 million we were awarded, in line with Government requirements to bring full fibre gigabit connectivity to 320 public sector buildings across the region – 250 in Warwickshire and 70 in Solihull.

It is hoped that with the new full fibre network in place that suppliers will then use it as a springboard to bring full fibre to residents and businesses in the wider community as well.

We’ve already held a kick-off meeting with Openreach to get the ball rolling on this and the plan is to start site surveys soon with the first full-fibre connections being completed later this year.

However, once again, the proposed timetable may be subject to delay depending on how badly the UK is hit by the coronavirus and the government restrictions in place to tackle it.

Coronavirus – Will UK Broadband networks cope with increased levels of home working?

Over the last couple of weeks a number of websites and newspapers have run stories claiming that the UK’s broadband networks ‘will be unable to cope’ if millions of us start working from home during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

However, as ISP Review’s Covid-19 – Home Working Probably Won’t Break UK Broadband article suggests, such reports can be misleading.

Amongst other things, it notes how the vast majority of work that ordinary people tend to do – e.g. sending/receiving emails, database updates, replying to online messages, writing reports – is fairly lightweight in terms of its data impact upon a broadband network.

A bigger challenge could occur when the demands of greater remote working clash with those of a typical family environment (heavy video streaming and downloads etc.) particularly as coronavirus has now resulted in the closure of schools.

This may cause a slowdown in service speeds at some providers on some connections but they should still be able to cope.

ISP Review contacted a number of UK broadband ISPs for their views and the general consensus seems to be that none are particularly worried and all say they can increase capacity to cope with rising demand and that consumers shouldn’t expect their broadband service to break down.

Coronavirus – How can we stay in virtual touch with older relatives?

As the government continues to encourage “social distancing” in the fight against coronavirus, older people (and now much of the rest of the population) are facing the prospect of being told to stay at home for weeks, possibly months.

One way that they can stay in touch with their loved ones is by getting a specialised device to make video calls, as outlined in a BBC website article on how to stay in virtual touch with older relatives, published last week.

The article gives information and advice on the advantages and disadvantages on a number of different solutions to help you stay in touch during these difficult times.

For those of you reading a Word version of the newsletter, you can find out more information at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51933618

Ordering an FTTP service – valuable information for customers

If your property has benefited from a Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) upgrade, the process for installing ‘full fibre’ services inside your home involves a number of steps and may vary slightly depending on which internet service provider (ISP) you decide to go with.

Whichever ISP you choose to provide your service however, the installation process will typically be similar to that shown in Openreach’s ‘Installing Full Fibre to your premises’ video.

The number of ISPs offering FTTP services is still quite limited at this moment in time. However, ISP Review announced last month that Sky Broadband UK will soon be launching FTTP services via Openreach’s national FTTP network.

This will provide consumers with more choice and hopefully more competitively priced packages as well.

In fact, hot on the heels of this announcement, ISP Review ran another story suggesting that Openreach are planning on offering big discounts on their own FTTP broadband packages later this year.

Our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides further information about the installation process as well as details of all the FTTP service providers who have stated that they currently offer residential and business packages in our area.

Email address charges branded ‘daylight robbery’

Ofcom is writing to broadband companies to ask why some customers are having to pay to keep their old email addresses.

The communications regulator found that of the big four providers who supply 90% of the UK’s net-using homes with broadband, TalkTalk charges £5 a month and BT charges £7.50 a month if customers switch providers but want to keep using their email addresses as before.

Virgin deletes the email addresses it gives to customers 90 days after they leave, while Sky lets customers keep theirs for free.

As well as customers having to pay to keep their old email addresses, another possible concern for Ofcom is the risk that customers are being put off switching providers to get better broadband deals because of the hassle of losing their existing email addresses.

Ofcom can’t see any reason why customers should have to pay to keep their email address and are looking further into this to consider whether they need to step in and take action.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

How do I switch to a different broadband provider?

You may wish to transfer broadband 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 also important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area. A couple of useful and impartial sources of advice are the Which? broadband speed checker and Moneysaving Expert which has lots of advice about switching provider.

You can also use a variety of comparison websites and we’ve listed a few below. Please remember that some comparison sites work by receiving a commission from the ISPs and may not list all of the available options.

You may therefore want to try several such sites before making your final decision.

Can CSW Broadband influence how much suppliers charge for their services?

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 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 (Internet Service Provider) as to which packages they offer and at which price range.

The best thing is to shop around to find a deal that is right for you (see previous FAQ above for links to comparison sites/websites offering impartial advice).

Of course you could always try haggling with your ISP to try to get a better deal. Back in our September newsletter, we noted how ISP Review had recently published an article on the best UK Broadband Providers to haggle with and also provided some Tips for Cutting Your Broadband Bill Without Switching ISP.

MoneySavingExpert.com have also recently published an article on broadband haggling which provides top tips for slashing your internet and line rental bills.

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 — January 2020

Nearly 72,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • More Contract 3 builds announced
  • CSW Broadband Project updates
  • Useful advice if you are thinking of changing your ISP in 2020
  • 37 ways to improve your internet speeds
  • Openreach to extend Full Fibre network into 200 rural locations
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

More Contract 3 builds announced

Over the last couple of months, CSW Broadband has given the go-ahead for dozens and dozens of new structures to be built. This means that more and more residents and businesses, across the length and breadth of the Solihull and Warwickshire sub-region, will soon be able to take advantage of a fibre broadband connection.

Some of the communities that will benefit from the latest batch of upgrades include parts of:

Arley, Avon Dassett, Bidford on Avon, Birchmoor, Burton Hastings, Copston Magna, Corley, Frankton, Kenilworth, Keresley End, Meriden, Middleton, Napton, Nether Whitacre, Over Whitacre, Polesworth, Priors Marston, Ratley, Stockton, Stretton on Dunsmore, Warton and Wootton Wawen.

The full list of what CSW has approved to be built so far in Contract 3, along with the communities that will benefit from these builds can be found at in the Contract 3 table on our Rolling 12-month Plan webpage.

CSW Broadband Project updates – Contract 3

Another 30 Contract 3 cabinets / structures have gone live since the last newsletter was sent out at the end of November. Communities benefiting from these upgrades included parts of:

Alcester, Bascote, Bearley, Berkswell, Birchmoor, Cawston, Churchover, Kenilworth, Kingsbury, Kytes Green, Ladbroke, Leamington, Meriden, Napton on the Hill, Nuneaton, Polesworth, Sawbridge, the Banbury Road & Gallows Hill area of Warwick and Woolscott.

As a result, nearly 72,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade has been completed, we will inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, Choose or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

Finally, if your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Fibre to the Premise webpage provides you with information on ordering an FTTP service and the subsequent installation process.

Useful advice for if you are thinking of changing your ISP in 2020

Consumers in the UK face a bewildering choice of providers and networks when trying to find a new home broadband ISP and this is only likely to get worse as a growing number of new ISPs enter this highly competitive market.

If you are looking for a new ISP but find the myriad of options available to you a little bit confusing, the ISPreview’s, The UK Best Home Broadband ISP Options for 2020 may be able to help.

In the article, their editor’s annual pick aims to highlight some of the top ISP options in terms of quality and affordability that are available to you.

Consumer champions Which? have also recently published their report into the best and worst UK broadband providers for 2020.

They note that while the best broadband companies offer a great service at a great price, provide a fast connection that you can rely on, and are on hand to help in the rare instance that something goes wrong, many broadband providers still don’t deliver on those fronts.

While you have to pay to download the whole report, it is worth noting that this survey is based on the real-life experiences of thousands of customers across the UK and may prove to be money well spent if you are thinking of changing broadband provider and would like further information on choosing your next ISP.

For more information on this, visit: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/broadband-deals/article/best-broadband-providers

37 ways to improve your internet speeds

For some residents, even achieving a fairly modest broadband speed can be quite a challenge, particularly if they are living in areas that haven’t yet been upgraded or where they can achieve faster but not yet superfast broadband speeds.

If you are fed up of YouTube or Netflix buffering all the time then Broadband Savvy’s ‘How To Improve Internet Speed’ guide might be able to help. This useful resource contains 37 different methods that you can try to improve your internet speed – all of which have been tried, tested and proven to work by the authors.

The guide provides valuable information on how to test your internet speed, how to access your router settings, how to improve you WiFi speed and top tips and helpful hints on how you can make general improvements to the speeds you are currently able to achieve.

Each of the methods you can try are broken down into an easy to follow step-by-step actions and any technical jargon is explained so that it is easy to understand. So, if you are fed up with slow broadband speeds, some of these methods might be worth a try.

Openreach to extend Full Fibre network into 200 rural locations

On 27th January 2020, Openreach announced that they were going to widen their Full Fibre network build programme to include 250,000 homes and businesses in more than 200 rural locations across the UK – including some in the CSW region.

This builds upon Openreach’s existing programme to provide four million homes and businesses with access to Full Fibre technology by the end of March 2021 but will see them extending the network into market towns and villages in the more rural areas of the country.

The six communities that will benefit from this programme within the CSW region are: Bidford on Avon, Coleshill, Henley in Arden, Hockley Heath, Lapworth and Wootton Wawen.

The fibre infrastructure that CSW Broadband has already had the foresight to deploy in these areas has acted as a springboard for this work. By using this existing resource as the foundation for their Full Fibre network extension, Openreach will be able to provide these communities with an ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband service that will be fit for purpose for decades to come.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

What sort of broadband speeds can I realistically expect if I’m upgraded as part of the CSW Broadband Project?

This depends on the type of upgrade that your property has benefited from.

If your property has received a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) upgrade then you could achieve a final connection speed of up to 80Mbps (megabits per second). However, this may vary depending on a number of factors including: the distance from your property to the cabinet it is connected to, the local geography, the local copper network in your area and the condition of the wiring within your own property.

The UK Government defines ‘superfast’ broadband as download speeds of over 24Mbps, while Ofcom and the EU defines it as download speeds of 30Mbps and above.

However, if your property has benefited from a Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) upgrade, then you could achieve speeds of up to 330Mbps or even up to 1Gigabyte (1000 Megabytes) with some of the upgrades that have recently been deployed.

To find out what speeds you can currently achieve, either enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the results.

What is FTTP on Demand?

We have had many enquiries recently where the BT Broadband Availability Checker suggests that a product called ‘Fibre on Demand’ is available to residents, offering speeds of up to 330Mbps.

This is NOT the same as the native Fibre to the Premise, (listed as WBC FTTP on the BT Broadband Availability Checker) that is being installed to many areas through the CSW Broadband Project. Although these two solutions function in identical ways, their cost, contract and deployment methods have tended to be very different.

With the ‘WBC FTTP’ that we are installing, the fibre optic cable will have been installed outside your property (e.g. down your street), which makes it fairly cheap to get connected.

By comparison, Fibre on Demand is designed to be requested ‘on demand‘, in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) capable areas. Residents requesting this service will then pay for the installation of fibre from the cabinet to their property, which can prove to be extremely expensive.

Because of the high costs involved (and often the requirement for a much longer than standard contract), very few providers actually offer Fibre on Demand. Cerberus Networks and FluidOne are two that we are aware of but there may be others as well.

Fibre on Demand is therefore likely to remain a niche product for those who are prepared to pay the additional installation charges and a higher ongoing monthly cost.

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 — November 2019

Over 71,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Broadband Project updates
  • Completed fibre upgrades in your area – info for parish & town websites
  • ISP complaints & advice
  • CSW website – content review
  • Case Studies needed – Tell us your story
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

CSW Broadband Project updates – Contract 3

Another 39 Contract 3 cabinets / structures have gone live since the last newsletter was sent out at the end of September. Communities benefiting from these upgrades included parts of:

Alvecote, Ash Green, Astley, Aston Cantlow, Balsall Common, Bearley, Birchmoor, Brailes, Bretford, Curdworth, Easenhall, Fillongley, Hampton in Arden, Harborough Magna, Kitebrook, Knowle, Leamington Spa, Little Compton, No Man’s Heath, Polesworth, Radway, & Shipston on Stour and the Chase Meadow area of Warwick.

As a result, over 71,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

Once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade is complete, we will inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, Choose or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

Finally, if your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Fibre to the Premise webpage provides you with information on ordering an FTTP service and the subsequent installation process.

CSW Broadband Project updates – LFFN Programme

The Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme is designed to stimulate commercial investment in full fibre networks in both rural and urban locations across the whole of the UK.

The CSW Broadband Project successfully bid for a £5.7 million slice of the money available for this programme and in line with Government requirements, we will use this money to focus on bringing Ultrafast (1Gbps) connectivity to around 320 public buildings across the region.

It is hoped that the successful bidder may also decide to use the new fibre network as a springboard to cover a wider area (e.g. residential properties within that area).

After a lengthy tendering, evaluation and assurance process, BDUK – the government body who oversee our project activities, have finally given CSW the go-ahead to award the contract and we will have more news on this in January’s newsletter.

Completed fibre upgrades in your area – info for parish & town council websites

We have now completed our campaign to provide nearly 200 local parish / town councils with bespoke content to publish via their websites and / or newsletters with regard to fibre upgrades that the CSW Project has already completed in their area.

As mentioned in the last newsletter, the purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness amongst local residents, particularly those who may not know that they can now take advantage of a fibre broadband service.

Each parish / town council area where we have completed work has now been provided with information on:

  • The name of the upgraded cabinet/structure and the communities (road names and/or postcodes) benefiting from that upgrade
  • Details of how residents can find out if their specific property has benefited from one of those upgrades
  • Details of how those residents can find/order a fibre broadband package to suit their individual needs

We have urged all the contacted councils to publish this content online for the benefit of local residents, so please visit your local parish or town council website for more information.

ISP Complaints & Advice

Ofcom have recently published their Telecoms and pay TV complaints Report for Q2 (April to June) of 2019. With regards to consumer complaints about fixed line broadband, the report shows that Vodafone generated the most broadband complaints per 100,000 customers while Sky generated the fewest.

Ofcom does not itself deal with individual complaints but they do monitor them and can take action if enough people raise a problem.

If you have an issue regarding the service that you are receiving from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) the ISP review website’s ISP Complaints and Advice section contains detailed information and advice on problems that consumers often experience with their broadband ISPs and how to get them resolved.

CSW website – content review

We are currently in the process of overhauling, editing and updating our website. So far we have concentrated on looking at the existing content – stripping out information that was ‘surplus to requirements’ whilst ensuring that the vital content that residents use and need is retained.

This is obviously very much a work in progress and there is still a lot of work to do before this content review is completed. For example, we still need to update the FAQs, the data in the Check Your Property Tool and also the Latest Map in the near future.

As always, we try to provide residents with what we think will be useful information or information that they have asked for when they contact us.

However, if there is something broadband related that you would also like to see more information on, please email us at broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk with the details and we will seriously consider adding content on that subject to our website in the near future.

Case studies needed – Tell us your story!

If superfast broadband has made a real difference to your life or business, why not tell us about it by submitting a case study.

We regularly appeal for case studies but sadly very few people respond. Submitting a case study is really helpful for us when we are applying for additional funding to help us take the fibre network even further – to help those in areas that are still waiting to experience the benefits of superfast broadband.

All we need is a few lines telling us of the difficulties you experienced before you had superfast broadband and how life has improved since your property was upgraded.

Submitting a case study is also a great way of gaining some free publicity to promote your company if you are a business owner. So, if you would like to help us help others, why not submit a case study today!

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

How will I know when my connection has gone live?

Once a particular cabinet / structure upgrade has been completed, we always try to inform as many residents as possible that they can now benefit from an improved service.

With the restricted marketing budget that we had during Contracts 1 & 2, we emailed all affected residents whose details we had on our database as well as local broadband champions, parish councils and district councillors, informing them of the completed upgrade and encouraging them to spread word of the upgrade to other local residents on our behalf.

We announced upgrades via our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and as noted earlier, we have also provided nearly 200 parish / town councils with bespoke information giving details of the upgrades and the local communities benefiting from those upgrades for them to publish on their websites and/or newsletters.

We will continue with all of the above activities during Contract 3 – the current phase of the CSW Project and if our budget allows, we will also try to mail leaflets directly to all affected residents so that they can take advantage of the benefits of a fibre upgrade to their property, if they wish to do so.

If you would like to check yourself if your connection is live, simply enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker.

If fibre is available, either ‘VDSL Range A & B’ (if you have received a Fibre to the Cabinet upgrade) or ‘WBC FTTP’ (if you have received a Fibre to the Premise upgrade) will be listed in the ‘Featured Products’ column of the results table along with the speeds you are likely to achieve.

Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker web page will help you make sense of the Availability Checker results should you require any further help.

Can CSW Broadband influence how much suppliers charge for their services?

We have no influence over the prices charged by commercial internet service providers (ISPs). 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 Openreach.

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

There are a number of comparison sites where you can compare the different packages available from different ISPs such as: MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadbandchoices and Broadband Genie, uSwitch or Cable.co.uk to help you find a deal that suits your needs and price range.

It is also worth noting that with Black Friday just around the corner, different ISPs will be offering potential customers some great deals in terms of broadband packages and prices over the next couple of weeks, so keep a look out for these as well.

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 — September 2019

Over 71,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Introducing Connecting Solihull & Warwickshire
  • CSW Broadband Project updates
  • Fibre upgrades in your area – info for parish council websites
  • 17 online scams you should be aware of
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Introducing Connecting Solihull & Warwickshire

Following a series of negotiations, Coventry City Council has decided to *withdraw from any further activity with the CSW Broadband Contract 3 programme being carried out in conjunction with BDUK.

A mutually agreed statement on behalf of Coventry City Council and the CSW Project states:

“Coventry City Council has decided to withdraw from any further activity with the CSW Contract 3 programme in conjunction with BDUK. CSW will now remodel the programme to take fibre broadband to even more communities within the Solihull and Warwick region. Any queries relating to the digital infrastructure work taking place in Coventry should be directed to digitalinfrastructure@coventry.gov.uk

The CSW Project has now therefore rebranded as ‘Connecting Solihull & Warwickshire’ and we have also adapted our logo (above) to reflect this recent change of circumstances and future works.

*NOTE: Some works within the Coventry City Council (CCC) boundary were already in build or had been completed before CCC decided to exit the CSW Project. CCC have paid CSW/BDUK in full for the cost of these builds.

Any inquiries relating to digital infrastructure work in Solihull and Warwickshire should continue to be directed to broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

CSW Broadband Project updates – Contract 2

Over the summer, Openreach reached and surpassed their contractual target for the number of properties they were due to upgrade for Contract 2 of the CSW Broadband Project.

Despite achieving this, there were a small number of structures which were not built as part of Contract 2 as had been originally planned due to spiralling costs.

As with all similar BDUK projects up and down the country, cost caps are built into each contract to ensure that the build costs for each structure do not get out of control – particularly as we get into the more rural areas where costs can become prohibitive.

After suppliers, in CSW’s case Openreach, had identified a number of builds around the country where the cost cap would be seriously exceeded, BDUK (who oversee our project) agreed that up to 6% of the most expensive builds in each project could be put forward to be de-scoped.

CSW reluctantly agreed to this proposal but only on the proviso that Openreach included all the affected properties from the 4% of terminated Contract 2 builds within our area in their planning for Contract 3 of the CSW Project – where more generous cost caps are in place and more money is available.

Openreach are now re-modelling part of the Contract 3 build plan to accommodate these properties and we will include further updates in future newsletters as soon as we have more news on this.

CSW Broadband Project updates – Contract 3

To help counteract the issues outlined above, Openreach have now introduced a far more transparent modelling, surveying and planning process for the CSW Contract 3 build programme, which is now well under way.

Once the build plans have been prepared, they are then passed on to the CSW team to be scrutinised and verified.

It is only when CSW are happy with the proposed build plan and any associated costs for a particular structure that it gets the go ahead to progress to the build phase and is then added to the list of verified builds in the Contract 3 table on our Rolling 12-month Plan webpage.

Numerous structures have already been added to the Contract 3 table and this will be continually and regularly updated as more and more structures pass through the new verification process.

Some local communities are already benefiting from the completion of Contract 3 builds including parts of:

Aldermans Green, Allesley, Balsall Common, Bedworth, Bidford on Avon, Bretford, Brinklow, Corley, Coventry, Curdworth, Dunchurch, Foul End, Kenilworth, Kingsbury, Langley, Middleton, Nuneaton, Oldberrow, Old Milverton, Studley, Ullenhall, Warton, Warwick, Wolston & Wolvey.

This means that to date, over 71,000 properties across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project in Contracts 1, 2 and 3.

Fibre upgrades in your area – info for parish council websites

Once a cabinet or FTTP structure goes live, we aim to inform as many people who have benefited from that upgrade within the local community as we can.

As well as our usual marketing activities, we found that a really effective way of ‘spreading the word’ was to provide local parish councils with bespoke content for their websites and/or newsletters.

This proved to be very successful when we did this earlier in the year and so during October and November 2019, we will be again be emailing around 180 parish and town councils with updates on CSW Broadband upgrades in their areas, including information on:

  • The names of the cabinets / structures that have been upgraded and details of the areas served by those upgrades
  • Details of how residents can find out if their specific property has benefited from those upgrades
  • Details of how those residents can find/order a broadband package to suit their individual needs

The aim of this campaign is to increase awareness, particularly with residents who are not on our database and so may not yet know that fibre broadband services are now available in their area.

It would therefore be really useful if parish councils could help us by uploading this information to their websites or use it in their newsletters once they have received it.

17 common online scams you should be aware of

Internet scamming is a global phenomenon that is on the rise. In 2018 alone, people around the world lost nearly £650 million to online scams. Although cybercrime doesn’t threaten our lives or physical well-being it can do irrevocable harm to our financial stability and peace of mind.

Your email and your phone are the two most common places for scammers to try and get you and although no one thinks they can become a victim of an online scam until it happens to them, even the most cautious of us can slip up.

BroadbandSearch have put together a really useful guide entitled, 17 Common Online Scams (Be Aware) and although from an American website, it contains valuable advice and information on a variety of online scams, how to stay safe online and what to do if you do fall victim to a scam wherever you live in the world.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

What is the process for ordering and installing an FTTP service?

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) is now increasingly being rolled out to homes and businesses across the CSW region. However, compared to an FTTC upgrade the installation process in particular is quite different.

If FTTP is available at your property, ‘WBC FTTP’ will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ on the BT Broadband Availability Checker results page after you have entered your landline number or address into the checker, along with the speeds you are likely to achieve.

If you need further help making sense of the results returned by the checker, visit our ‘How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker’ webpage.

‘WBC FTTP’ should not to be confused with the far more expensive FTTP on Demand – a separate commercial product offered by BT which is NOT being installed through the CSW Broadband Project.

As FTTP is still a relatively ‘new’ technology (only 8% of the UK can get a full fibre connection) not all ISPs are yet offering FTTP packages. A full list of all the ISPs who have stated that they offer residential and business packages across the CSW region can be found on our Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) webpage.

Different ISPs may have slightly different installation processes so it is difficult to generalise here, but typically it will involve either a one or two stage fibre install.

A two stage fibre install may involve the running of fibre from either a manhole or pole to the property, terminating in a grey box on the exterior of your property called a Customer Splice Point (CSP). The second then involves connecting the CSP to equipment installed inside your property. A single stage installation is only likely to involve the latter stage of the two-stage process.

The ISP providing your FTTP package will obviously be able to tell you more about the installation process and what is involved when you place your order for their product.

If you have recently ordered an FTTP service from an ISP and would like to send us details of your experiences of their installation process, please email us at: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

How do I switch to a different broadband provider?

You may wish to transfer broadband 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 also important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area. A couple of useful and impartial sources of advice are the Which? broadband speed checker and Moneysaving Expert which has lots of advice about switching provider.

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

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 — June 2019

Over 69,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Your chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers
  • CSW Broadband Project updates
  • Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme launched
  • Ofcom – End of contract alerts for UK broadband customers
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Your chance to win two prizes of £100 in Amazon vouchers

We’re giving you the chance to win two sets of Amazon Gift Vouchers both worth £100 each!

All we want you to do is submit a case study telling us how being able to connect to superfast broadband, thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project, has benefited your household or your business. It will only take you around 5 minutes of your time to complete.

Submitting a case study is really helpful for us when we are applying for additional funding to take the fibre network even further – allowing us to help those living in areas that are still waiting to experience the benefits of superfast broadband.

For your chance of winning one of the two prizes up for grabs – simply download the relevant case study template, fill it in and returned to us at broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk by 5pm on Friday 5th July 2019.

All entries received by that deadline will then be entered into a draw, which will take place during the week beginning 8th July and the lucky winners will be contacted by either email or phone.

CSW Broadband Project updates

We have seen a great deal of activity in recent weeks with over 60 new cabinets / structures going live since the last newsletter was sent out at the end of April.

Communities benefiting from these upgrades included parts of:

Ashorne, Bidford on Avon, Buckley Green, Blunts Green, Burton Hastings, Chadshunt, Chessetts Wood, Fulready, Hampton in Arden, Hampton Lucy Hockley Heath, Kenilworth, Kineton, Kitebrook, Ladbroke, Lapworth, Leamington Spa, Langley, Loxley, Meriden, Middleton, Morton Bagot, Offchurch, Pillerton Hersey, Preston Bagot, Ryton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Salford Priors, Solihull, Stretton on Dunsmore, Ufton, Wellesbourne, Weston on Avon, Willey, Wishaw, Withybrook & Wood End.

As a result, over 69,000 properties across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As before, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade is complete, we will email all affected residents whose details we have listed on our database.

Remember that once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a superfast service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as MoneySavingExpert.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

Finally, if your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Fibre to the Premise webpage provides you with invaluable information on ordering an FTTP service and the subsequent installation process.

Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme launched

The Government has officially launched their new £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme, part of their “outside in” strategy, which will help fund full fibre broadband connections to some of the hardest to reach areas across the UK.

Currently, only around 7% of homes and businesses across the UK can access a Gigabit (1Gbps) speed capable “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband network.

However, the Government wants to ensure that the country’s broadband infrastructure is fit for the future and has an ambitious target to “delivering a nationwide full-fibre to the premises network” by 2033 as outlined in last year’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR).

Much of this will be delivered through competitive commercial investment across the UK but the FTIR also identified that around 10% of the country would need additional funding to ensure that the hardest to reach areas are not left behind and are connected at the same pace as the rest of the country.

The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme is the first step in this process.

There are two approaches to delivering the RGC programme:

1) Fostering Local Rural “Hub Sites. A hub site is really just a public sector building, which is deemed to be eligible for intervention and aligns with qualifying criteria set by the BDUK programme. Initially this will start by connecting primary schools to “gigabit-capable” connections.

Other public buildings will then be added throughout the course of the programme (e.g. health sites and community halls). The idea being that you not only help to connect those hub sites, but also bring the fibre deeper into a remote community and thus provide a network that other commercial ISPs can build upon in order to reach surrounding homes and businesses.

2) Vouchers. The new RGC vouchers will offer up to £3,500 for small businesses and up to £1,500 for residents. The increased value of the vouchers – compared to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) -reflects the higher cost of deployment in these harder to reach areas.

As with GBVS, it will still be possible to aggregate the vouchers in order to help tackle larger deployments.

The CSW Broadband Project will now be looking into both of these solutions as a means to take the fibre network into harder to reach areas within the CSW sub-region and we will update you on developments regarding this in due course.

Ofcom – End of contract alerts for UK broadband customers

Broadband, pay-TV, mobile phone and landline customers must be told when their contracts are about to end and also be informed of their providers’ best available deals under new rules announced by Ofcom last month.

At present it is a fairly common practice for major telecoms providers to try and attract new customers by offering big price discounts on their first minimum contract term (lasting up to 12-24 months).

However, not all ISPs are clear enough about how much customers will pay after this initial term has ended. Consumers who remain with their provider and don’t haggle for a better price after the minimum contract term has ended often end up paying more than new customers.

Through the new system, Ofcom aims to help tackle this so-called “loyalty penalty” and help users avoid overpaying for such services.

Relevant companies have nine months to update their systems and must start sending out the notifications to existing subscribers from 15 February 2020.

Service providers will need to text, email or send a letter to their customers between 10 to 40 days before the end of their contract stating:

  • the date their contract can be terminated without a penalty
  • the price they have been paying
  • any changes to the price or service that automatically come into effect after the date
  • how much notice they need to give to cancel the deal
  • the best alternative subscriptions on offer, including the prices charged to new customers

For those who are interested, the ISP Review’s ‘Ofcom Force End of Contract Notices for UK Broadband and Mobile’ article has further information regarding this.

 Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

What sort of broadband speeds can I realistically expect if I’m upgraded as part of the CSW Broadband Project?

If your property has benefited from a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) upgrade, then you could achieve a final connection speed of up to 80Mbps (megabits per second).

However, this may vary depending on a number of factors including: the distance from your property to the street cabinet it is connected to, the local geography, the local copper network and the condition of the wiring within your property.

The UK Government defines ‘superfast’ broadband as download speeds of over 24Mbps, while the EU defines it as 30Mbps.

If your property has benefited from a Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) upgrade, then you could achieve speeds of up to 330Mbps or even up to 1Gigabyte (1000 Megabytes) with some of the upgrades that have recently been deployed.

To find out what speeds you can currently achieve, either enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker.

Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the results.

What is FTTP on Demand?

We have had many enquiries recently where the BT Broadband Availability Checker suggests that a product called ‘Fibre on Demand’ is available to residents, offering speeds of up to 330Mbps.

This is NOT the same as the native Fibre to the Premise, (listed as WBC FTTP on the BT Broadband Availability Checker) that is being installed to many areas through the CSW Broadband Project.

Although these two solutions function in identical ways, their cost, contract and deployment methods have tended to be very different.

With the WBC FTTP that we are installing, the fibre optic cable will have been installed outside your property (e.g. down your street), which makes it fairly cheap to get connected.

By comparison, Fibre on Demand is designed to be requested ‘on demand‘, in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) capable areas. Residents requesting this service will then pay for the installation of fibre from the cabinet to their property, which can prove to be extremely expensive.

Because of the high costs involved (and often the requirement for a much longer than standard contract), very few providers actually offer Fibre on Demand. Cerberus Networks and FluidOne are two that we are aware of but there may be others as well.

Fibre on Demand is therefore likely to remain a niche product for those who are prepared to pay the additional installation charges and a higher ongoing monthly cost.

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 2019

Over 68,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Broadband Project updates
  • Automatic compensation for broadband users goes live
  • Best UK broadband providers to haggle with for a lower price
  • Better Broadband Voucher Scheme relaunched
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

CSW Broadband Project updates

Thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project, over 68,000 households and businesses are now able to get high-speed broadband across the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire sub-region.

Communities benefiting from recent superfast upgrades include parts of Abbots Salford, Berkswell, Bidford on Avon, Chessett’s Wood, the Claverdon area, Compton Verney, Coughton, Dodwell, Danzey Green, Earlswood, the Fillongley area, Hatton, Hockley Heath, Meriden, No Man’s Heath, Rugby (Berrybanks area), Stretton on Dunsmore, Tiddington, Ullenhall, Upton area, Willoughby and parts of the Wixford area.

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, some delays to the advertised programme are inevitable when, for example, previously unforeseen engineering issues arise.

Where possible, the Contract 2 – Delayed Upgrades table on our Rolling 12-month Plan is regularly updated to try and give affected residents an overview of the reasons for the most serious delays along with the dates that Openreach expect the work to be completed by.

While work continues on delivering the final Contract 2 structures, work has also started with regard to Contract 3, the next phase of our project. Over 220 Contract 3 structures have been surveyed and reviewed and are now in the delivery phase.

Contract 3 is very different from Contracts 1 and 2 in that:

  • We have been getting information down to property-level (rather than postcode level) and this has been displayed on our Latest Map for some time now. Therefore, if your property is marked with a yellow star on the map or has the status of ‘Contract 3’ on our Check Your Property tool, then it is due for upgrade under Contract 3.
  • There are increasing amounts of Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) in Contract 3. This brings its own challenges as FTTP involves far more civil engineering issues.
  • Contract 3 has a very short programme time. Under the terms of the contract, Openreach are aiming to complete all Contract 3 builds by the summer of 2020.

We are currently in the process of checking a whole load of Contract 3 data that we have recently received from Openreach. Once this has been completed, we will publish a list of Contract 3 structures that are in build on our Rolling 12-month plan.

However, due to the short programme time, we will not be giving proposed completion dates, except that all work is due to be completed by the summer of 2020.

As before, once we have received confirmation that a particular structure upgrade is complete, we will email all affected residents whose details we have listed on our database.

Please let us know if your contact details (e.g. email address) change at any point so that we can update our records and keep you up to date with what is happening in your area.

Residents not already signed up to receive our newsletter can register for this and other relevant project updates at www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register

Automatic compensation for broadband users goes live

Five UK broadband and landline providers – BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen – who together serve around 90% of landline and broadband customers in the UK, will now automatically compensate customers when services do not work.

Ofcom estimate that there are 7.2 million cases each year where broadband or landline customers suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments but as of April 1st customers who experience these issues will now be compensated without even having to ask.

Under the terms of the agreement, if an engineer does not arrive on schedule or cancels within 24 hours, the compensation will be £25. If a service stops working and is not fully fixed after two working days, customers will be entitled to £8 a day in compensation.

There will also be £5 per day offered for new services not starting on time.

Two other providers, Hyperoptic and Vodafone will begin automatic compensation later this year, while EE plans to start paying compensation automatically in 2020.

Plusnet have also committed to the scheme but has not provided a timescale for when it will begin providing automatic compensation.

Please visit the Ofcom website for further details on the automatic compensation scheme.

Best UK broadband providers to haggle with for a lower price

A recent survey has revealed that most UK consumers who haggled for a lower price with one of the largest fixed line broadband ISPs or mobile network operators were successful in saving money.

As ISP Review note in their recent article on the best UK Broadband Providers to haggle with, it’s no secret that you could save a lot of money through a bit of haggling but only around 10% of consumers actually do this with the majority of broadband ISP customers tending to remain with their ISP for at least 3 years.

However, remaining loyal to your ISP provider can actually end up costing you money.

ISP Review advise that even if you are generally happy with the service you are receiving from your ISP it is worth trying to haggle with them around the end of your contract or following a price hike and their Tips for Cutting Your Broadband Bill Without Switching ISP provides some helpful advice for doing this.

Better Broadband Voucher Scheme relaunched

The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme is a UK-wide government subsidy scheme which provides an affordable, basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that are unable to access a broadband service with a download speed of at least 2 Mbps – and who will not benefit from the superfast broadband roll out within the next 12 months.

Since its launch in December 2015, the scheme (previously known as the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme) has boosted the broadband speeds of more than 20,000 homes and businesses in some of the hardest to reach areas of the UK, including around 400 properties within the CSW Broadband region.

Households and businesses that are eligible to take advantage of the scheme have the installation and hardware costs of their connection subsidised to ensure their first year costs are no more than £400.

To find out more about the scheme and whether your premises could be eligible please go to: https://basicbroadband.culture.gov.uk/

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

Once the upgrade is complete, will I automatically get a superfast service?

No. To take advantage of superfast speeds, you must order a superfast broadband package through your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is what we suggest you do.

First of all, enter your landline or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker.

If superfast is available, either ‘VDSL Range A & B’ (for an FTTC – Fibre to the Cabinet upgrade) or ‘WBC FTTP’ (for a Fibre to the Premise upgrade) will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ with the speeds you are likely to achieve.

Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of these results.

We then suggest that you use an impartial comparison site (such as those listed below) to find and order a superfast package, which meets your usage needs and requirements:

If you have benefited from an FTTP upgrade, the ordering process is slightly different. Our Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) webpage provides you with all the information you need to order an FTTP service.

My upgrade 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 are indicative only. As we move through the rollout, we are getting to more challenging areas and are finding more unforeseen problems.

Where there is a delay, the reason for this will be listed on the Rolling 12-Month Plan.

A number of the planned cabinet / structure upgrades show that the delay is due to civil engineering work being required. This is often due to blocked or collapsed ducts, which may require road closures, and these can take 3 months to come into effect.

Occasionally, when one problem has been fixed, another may manifest itself further down the line. Although visual surveys are carried out, it is not possible to know what is happening under the ground until the actual work commences.

We will not be able to bring regular updates or a lot of details about what is happening – just doing that would tie up a lot of valuable resource for the CSW Broadband team and for the contractor.

However, we will give an indication of the status on any delayed structures as the work progresses.

Contract 2 is due to complete by the summer of 2019, whilst Contract 3 work is due to be completed in the summer of 2020.

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