Newsletter — October 2017

Over 59,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Contract 2, Wave 8 announced
  • New mapping, including Contract 3, now live
  • Local Full Fibre Networks
  • Become a Local Broadband Champion
  • Calling all parish councils!
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

 

Contract 2, Wave 8 announced

Wave 8 of Contract 2 has been announced, with some of the oldest and smallest river-side communities in Warwickshire, which used to rely on the waterways to help them stay connected, being among the next areas to benefit from the CSW Broadband roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband.

Parts of Barton and Dunnington on the River Avon, Hunningham and Wappenbury on the River Leam, and parts of Pillerton Hersey near the River Dene, will be among the next communities getting access to the technology for the first time.

This part of the CSW Broadband roll-out will also take in areas of Bourton-on-Dunsmore and Dorsington – both of which were listed in the Domesday Book – as well as the Back Lane and Shirley Lane areas of Flint’s Green, near Meriden.

For details of all areas included in Wave 8, please visit the latest map and the Rolling 12-Month Plan.

Engineers from BT Openreach will begin the upgrades in the next few months, and the first households and businesses will start to go ‘live’ in the new year.

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

New mapping, including Contract 3 now live

As regular readers will know, our mapping has come a long way over the lifetime of the project. We have now launched our latest map, which includes:

Area-level information – given at postcode level:

  • Different shades of green, from dark green (fully covered before 2020) to very light green (less than 20% covered before 2020)
  • As we get further into the project, postcode mapping becomes less specific. This is because telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes, so parts of many postcode areas are likely to have some work carried out in them, although this may not be full coverage at superfast speeds or above
  • As you zoom into the map, some areas change to satellite photo-images, whilst others remain in map form. We have tried to provide satellite photo-images in the areas where there is expected to be full coverage before 2020. This is to enable viewers to see the property-level detail more clearly.

Property-level information indicates:

  • No symbol on your property – this means that superfast broadband may be available to you now
  • Purple Star (In Progress) – work is underway as part of Contract 2
  • Blue Star (Awaiting Detailed Survey) – your property is in an area that is currently under investigation for Contract 2
  • Yellow Star (Under Investigation) – these properties are under investigation for Contract 3
  • Purple Pentagon (Under Review) – coverage to be provided by an independent provider. These areas will be kept under review
  • Red Pentagon (Awaiting Funding) – your property is in an area that is awaiting further funding
  • Amber Triangle (Unknown) – in some cases, the information held by the commercial providers is incomplete or not up to date, and premises may be shown as unknown. We are working to gather more data on these areas.

As always, our mapping is a work in progress. The map is based on the most recent Ordnance Survey information, so may not include newer developments. The information about coverage or future rollout is derived from information provided by many different broadband suppliers. However, because the information about other providers’ rollout is given in commercial confidence, we are not able to give additional information.

We will continue to refine our mapping processes.

Local Full Fibre Networks

On 3rd September there was an announcement about Local Full Fibre Networks and that Coventry and Warwickshire are to be one of six national pilots. At the time of writing we have no further information on this, and will include any updates in future newsletters. To register for the project newsletters, and to be advised directly on progress in your area, please visit www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register

Become a Local Broadband Champion

We have found that keeping residents informed is the best way to drive take-up of the service once it is live. Timely information also helps to minimise any problems caused by disruption when Openreach starts to dig up the roads in an area. If people understand what the benefits will be then they are more likely to put up with temporary disruption.

Also, knowing that superfast (or even faster) broadband is coming helps to offset the inevitable frustrations caused by waiting for information to download on a slow connection.

We have a network of over 200 Community Champions covering many parts of the project area. However, there are still gaps to be filled, particularly in Solihull and Coventry.

We are looking for people who live and/or work within our local communities to help us raise awareness of the social and economic benefits of broadband for local families and businesses and to inform them of when it will be available. This voluntary role can include any/all of the following:

  • Putting posters up on local notice boards
  • Delivering flyers to households
  • Working alongside local parish councils
  • Posting updates to local social networking pages
  • Forwarding project news onto local contacts
  • Posting updates to village websites
  • Providing updates to local newsletters/magazines
  • Advising the CSW Broadband team of any particular issues in your area

We will provide regular copy to go into newsletters and onto websites.

This is a worthwhile and rewarding role, and will enable you to get right to the heart of what is happening with broadband in your area. To learn more, please visit our Local Broadband Champions page.

Calling all parish councils!

Parish councils are community leaders and have responsibility for the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of their areas.

Are you a parish council in an area that is to be covered under Contract 2 or Contract 3? If so, then it is likely that you will shortly be receiving enquiries from residents as to what this all means for them. In the first instance, all enquiries should be directed to: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

Parish councils can also help the project by including our monthly updates in newsletters and on websites. Copy is available to download from our website

We also have many individual parish councillors who have registered as Local Broadband Community Champions. It is a great way to really help your local community to get the best from the broadband rollout.

What would help you, as a parish council, to keep your residents informed about the broadband rollout?

Please drop us an email to broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk, and we’ll develop a plan that incorporates as many of the suggestions as possible.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

What is the difference between superfast and ultrafast broadband?

For contracts 1 and 2 superfast broadband was defined as 24Mbps or above. For contracts signed since January 2017 superfast is defined, as per EU requirements, as 30Mbps or above. Superfast broadband may be delivered using a range of different technologies.

Ultrafast is defined as speeds of over 100Mbps. This is usually delivered using Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology, so may not be available in all areas. Even if you have an ultrafast connection, you will still have a wide choice of packages available so can choice options to suit your pocket.

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

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

There is lots of jargon involved in broadband – where can I find out what the terms and abbreviations mean?

Go to the ‘Jargon Buster’ section on our website.

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 2017

Nearly 59,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Contract 3 now awarded
  • Areas to be covered by Contract 3, Part 1
  • Coventry to be included for the first time
  • The procurement process
  • Future progress
  • Recent Government announcement
  • Business support
  • Autumn events
  • Calling all parish councils! (3)
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Contract 3 now awarded

Following a rigorous procurement process, the CSW Broadband partnership has awarded all three Lots that comprise Contract 3, Part 1, to BT Openreach. The Contract will deliver high speed fibre broadband to more than 15,000 additional premises in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire. Most of these homes and businesses will get Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology capable of delivering ultrafast download speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps.

As with Contract 2, the CSW Broadband team has built headroom into the contract, meaning that if additional funding is secured then this can be rolled into the current contract without the need to go through a lengthy procurement process.

As the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach, households and businesses will have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. Residents and businesses wanting to benefit from the upgrade will need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider once the work has been completed.

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

Updates on the roll-out are available from: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

Areas to be covered by Contract 3, Part 1

The first locations to benefit are expected to be announced in early October. We are working on a new mapping system that will go live with the announcement of Wave 8. The Contract 3, Part 1, areas will be shown on that map.

Coventry to be included for the first time

For the first time since the CSW Broadband project started, parts of Coventry will be included in the rollout. We are unable to move into the city centre (i.e. inside the ring road) as this is considered to be urban and is outside the scope of the State Aid approval for the current project. However, significant parts of the remainder of the Coventry City Council area will be included in the Contract 3 rollout.

The procurement process

This seems to have been going on for a very long time! It was in early 2016 that we carried out the Open Market Review (OMR), in which we asked all the network operators to tell us (in commercial confidence) about their rollout plans to the end of 2019. For the first time, this included an extension of Virgin Media’s network and four AltNets (smaller providers who use a range of different technologies).

The information was mapped, and a full public consultation was held at the end of 2016, and the results of this were used to inform our State Aid approval for the procurement. CSW Broadband is only able to intervene in areas where there is no planned commercial provision by the end of 2019, which is as it should be as we cannot use public funding to compete with public enterprise.

The areas which are not due to be covered commercially are known as the “white” areas, and these were presented to potential bidders when the Invitation to Tender was issued in February 2017, the potential contract was split into three geographic Lots. This was to encourage smaller companies to bid for the work, and to encourage different technologies that would be most suited to the different geographical and topographical situations across the whole project area.

We received seven bids, using a range of technologies, for the three Lots. A rigorous evaluation process was then carried out. This looked at elements such as the technology proposed; how many premises would be covered and at what speeds; the fit with our strategic objectives; sustainability etc.

Following the evaluation, the preferred bidder was selected, and there then ensued some weeks of contract negotiations. So, we can have confidence that we have the best solution, over a wide range of criteria.

Future progress

As with Contract 2, we have left some headroom in the contract so that if/when additional funding is secured we can bring this into the contract and achieve additional coverage without needing to go out for another procurement in the short term. That is why the current announcement is called Contract 3, Part 1. The CSW Broadband team are doing all that we can to secure additional funding, and with recent Government announcements we are optimistic that this is not the end of the story.

Recent Government announcement

On 3rd September there was an announcement about Local Full Fibre Networks and that Coventry and Warwickshire are to be one of six national pilots. At the time of writing we have no further information on this, and will include any updates in future newsletters. To register for the project newsletters, and to be advised directly on progress in your area, please visit www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register

Business support

The new contract is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund. This includes provision for specialist ICT business support to help businesses throughout Coventry and Warwickshire to make the most of new technologies. The business support will be provided through the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and further announcements will be made in the near future.

Autumn events

We are planning to run events throughout the project area to show what is happening now, and what additional rollout is planned for the future. We hope to have completed this work and be able to visit each area (Warwickshire Boroughs and Districts, plus Coventry and Solihull) during the late autumn.

Calling all parish councils! (3)

We will be publishing our latest map in early October, which will include the Contract 3 coverage areas. Many of these areas will have had little previous contact with the project, as there was previously no coverage planned. Therefore, local residents and businesses will have a lot of questions, and experience shows that they will be asking their parish councils for updates.

We do all that we can to support parish councils, and to build understanding amongst parish councillors so that you can give informed answers to questions, or at least know where to direct enquiries. Some of the things that we are already doing include:

  • We produce a range of articles (monthly) that can be used for newsletters and website – see below
  • We send out this monthly e-newsletter to everybody who is registered on our system. Please register your details as soon as possible, since this brings additional benefits
  • Once work starts in an area we email everyone who is registered onto our system to let them know what is happening
  • Once the service actually goes live we email everyone who is registered onto our system to tell them that they can order a service from an ISP of their choice, with advice on how to do this
  • We produce flyers to advise people when work is starting and again when the system goes live (but we do need help to get these delivered!)

What would help you, as a parish council, to keep your residents informed about the broadband rollout?

Please drop us an email to broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk, and we’ll develop a plan that incorporates as many of the suggestions as possible.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

Why are you using FTTP in Contract 3, Part 1?

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology is able to deliver much higher speeds (up to 1Gbps), but it is a lot more expensive than a cabinet solution to install. That means that we can’t cover as many premises with the money using FTTP. However, as we get out into the more rural areas, properties are more widely dispersed – and may be some considerable distance from the cabinet to which they are connected by the existing copper telephone network. As broadband speed reduces rapidly over lengths of copper wire, FTTP may be the only way in which to bring faster broadband to some of these communities.

When will we have the detail of the Contract 3 rollout?

In early October we will be releasing our latest map with the Contract 3 information on it. We’ll also update our searchable property database. However, this will only tell you whether a property is due for upgrade. It will not be able to give you any detail at this stage. As with previous contracts, details for Contract 3, Part 1, will be announced in Waves at 3-monthly intervals.

We don’t get superfast speeds under the previous rollout, does that mean we will be covered under Contract 3?

Because of the difficulty in maintaining good broadband speeds over copper cabling, some areas will be connected to a cabinet that has been upgraded, but may be too far away to benefit from superfast speeds. These will have been taken into consideration when the modelling was carried out for Contract 3, Part 1, alongside all of the other areas that have had no work carried out at all. Therefore, some of the more remote properties may well be picked up under Contract 3. Check the new map when it is issued in early October for more detail. We cannot reach everybody at this stage, but Contract 3, Part 1, will take us a lot closer.

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

New £28 million deal will take ultrafast broadband to some of the most remote areas of Warwickshire

CSW Broadband partnership set to reach more than 98 per cent of households and businesses in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire

A new deal totalling in excess of £28 million was announced by CSW Broadband today (Tuesday) which will take ultrafast broadband to thousands more homes and businesses in some of the region’s most remote places.

When this phase of the roll-out is complete, more than 98 per cent of premises in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire will have access to superfast fibre broadband.

The CSW Broadband partnership has chosen BT as its co-funding network partner to deliver the latest part of its ambitious roll-out, following a rigorous procurement process.

The High Sheriff’s room in the Judges’ House – dating back to 1816 – at Warwick’s Old Shire Hall provided a fitting setting for the historic announcement.

More details about the first locations to benefit are due to be announced on the www.cswbroadband.org website early next month.

This part of the programme – known as Contract 3, Part 1 – will be delivered by Openreach, Britain’s largest digital network business, using a mixture of technologies, including Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, capable of delivering download speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps*.

The new investment will enable nearly 15,500 more premises in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire to access superfast fibre broadband, with the majority of them – almost 90 per cent – able to get ultrafast speeds.

The CSW Broadband programme is spearheaded by Warwickshire County Council and BT, and is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. The latest phase of the roll-out includes around £2 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with additional funding from the three upper tier local authorities for Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, Warwickshire District and Borough Councils, as well as BT and BDUK.

Engineers from Openreach will begin work on this phase in Spring next year. The roll-out is expected to reach the first premises in around 12 months’ time, with all the upgrades due to be completed by the end of 2019.

The new contract builds on the multi-million pound first two contracts of the CSW Broadband programme.

Councillor Peter Butlin, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Today’s announcement is great news. When the CSW Broadband project started, just over 73 per cent of premises in Warwickshire could achieve speeds of 24Mbps or above. Today we’re looking forward to more than 98 per cent being able to achieve what would at one time have been unthinkable speeds of over 30Mbps. The CSW Broadband team is actively seeking funding to take the fibre network still further.”

Steve Haines, Managing Director of next generation access for Openreach, said: “This major investment is a vital new chapter in the story which began nearly three and a half years ago, when the partnership began connecting its first premises in Snitterfield. CSW Broadband is already a huge success and now we’re set to go even further as it reaches into some of the region’s most remote areas. The roll-out of high-speed broadband across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull has transformed the way people get online which is why we’re committed to making this exciting technology as widely available as possible.”

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach, households and businesses have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. Local people wanting to benefit need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider.

Existing underground ducting is used wherever possible, minimising disruption and the need to dig up roads and pavements.

Updates on the roll-out are available from: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

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Newsletter — July 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

  • Contract 3 update
  • Autumn events
  • Calling all parish councils! (2)
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Contract 3 update

As reported last month, we have multiple bids for each Lot in Contract 3. The bidders have clearly sharpened their pencils, and things are looking good for an excellent outcome. We will be able to announce the results during the autumn.

Autumn events

We are planning to run events throughout the project area to show what is happening now, and what additional rollout is planned for the future. The events will include Contract 3 information, so we need to conclude the negotiations and to have mapped the data before running the events. We hope to have completed this work and be able to visit each area (Warwickshire Boroughs and Districts, plus Coventry and Solihull) during the late autumn.

Calling all parish councils! (2)

Following on from last month’s article, we will be working even more closely with parish councils from the autumn. What we would like to know now is what would parish councils find most helpful to assist in informing residents about the broadband rollout and answering questions? Some of the things that we are already doing include:

  • We produce a range of articles (monthly) that can be used for newsletters and website – see below
  • We send out this monthly e-newsletter to everybody who is registered on our system. Please register your details as soon as possible, since this brings additional benefits
  • Once work starts in an area we email everyone who is registered onto our system to let them know what is happening
  • Once the service actually goes live we email everyone who is registered onto our system to tell them that they can order a service from an ISP of their choice, with advice on how to do this
  • We produce flyers to advise people when work is starting and again when the system goes live (but we do need help to get these delivered!)

What would help you, as a parish council, to keep your residents informed about the broadband rollout?

Please drop us an email to broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk, and we’ll develop a plan that incorporates as many of the suggestions as possible.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

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

Questions and Answers

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

What happens when your area is announced for upgrade?

The CSW Broadband project is installing a fibre network. We can only go as far and as fast as the funding and resources allow, so the work is announced in Waves. New Waves are announced on a quarterly basis, and each one can take up to 12 months to complete. A number different areas are included in each Wave, and details will be given on our Rolling 12-Month Plan

After the Wave has been announced, it may take a while before there is any evidence of activity on the ground, but there will be a lot going on! Firstly, the detailed surveys have to be scheduled. Once these have taken place, the main work starts to bring fibre to the area. Sometimes there is a cabinet upgrade, where the fibre is brought to a new cabinet, which is stood alongside the existing copper cabinet.

The two cabinets are connected and the final delivery is over the copper network. This is the most economical way to upgrade the system, but it does have limitations, particularly since speed drops the further a property is from the cabinet. This is called FTTC (fibre to the cabinet).

In some areas, a different solution will be used, called FTTP (fibre to the premise). This offers much higher speeds, but is considerably more expensive to install and may not be suitable everywhere. The Rolling 12-Month Plan will identify which type of solution is to be provided.

To receive updates about progress in your area, and to be advised when the service is ready to order, please register through our website. Don’t forget to give all information requested including a landline as this will help us to identify the connectivity to your particular property!

A version of this article is available on our website for you to use in your own newsletters and on local websites

Why can’t you tell us more about Contract 3?

Because of the size of the contract, the procurement is being run under EU (OJEU) rules. These set out procedures and minimum timescales that must be followed. Because the contract is split into 3 geographic lots, the work also has to be done 3 times! We expect to be in a position to make announcements during the autumn.

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

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

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

CSW Broadband set to span all corners of Warwickshire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Project News | Comments closed

Newsletter — June 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

Wave 7 launched

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contract 3 update

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

Get Online week 2017

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

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

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

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

Calling all parish councils!

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

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

Case studies

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

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

Questions and Answers

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

Will the maps change when Contract 3 is announced?

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

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

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

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

Try mapping that using colours!

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

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

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

Can we tap into a private line?

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

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter — May 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

Contract 3 update

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

Broadband advertising – consultation on fairness

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

The options include speed claims based on the:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ERDF Funding update

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

ICT Business Advisor – job opportunity

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

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

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

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

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

Key skills for this position include:

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

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

Email: gemmas@cw-chamber.co.uk

How to make a bad day better

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

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter — April 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

 

FTTP services

We are now starting to see Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solutions being rolled out. The standard solution is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). The existing copper telephone network is, in most cases, delivered by taking copper out to a roadside cabinet (PCP) and then splitting the wiring to take it to individual properties. This has worked fine for voice transmission for many years.

However, now that we all want to connect to the Internet at ever-faster speeds, a new solution had to be found because Internet speeds decrease rapidly over lengths of copper.

FTTC involves putting a new cabinet (DSLAM) as close as possible to the existing copper cabinet. The DSLAM also needs power as we are, effectively, taking the exchange out to the local community. The DSLAM is fed with fibre and then only the final part of the delivery is over the copper telephone network, meaning that the achievable speeds are much higher.

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

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

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

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

From the CSW Broadband point of view, we don’t know until the FTTP service goes live exactly which properties will be able to benefit, so we can’t let people know that it is coming.

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

Therefore, whilst we could connect a few communities using FTTP, we can connect a lot more, and get the overall fibre network much further, by using cabinet technologies. Since the over-riding principle of the project is to take the fibre as far as possible, FTTP will only be used in exceptional circumstances. Deploying fibre to the cabinet solutions is a good investment, as it takes the fibre backbone much further and, eventually, it is likely that everyone will have the final piece of copper replaced with a fibre solution – although possibly not for many years to come in the more remote areas.

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

Unless you live in an area that is to be covered by Fibre to the Premise, then the only other way to get fibre right to your door is to buy a commercial Private Leased Line, however the installation costs can run into tens of thousands of £s, and the ongoing rental costs are considerably higher than for other services. In some areas the smaller providers may provide an option to buy a Fibre to the Premise solution with the fibre running from a local cabinet to a property.

Connecting to FTTP

1) Ordering the service

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

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

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

ISPs who provide FTTP packages to businesses in our area:

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

2) Site Survey

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

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

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

3) Engineer Appointment

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

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

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

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

Full fibre rollout latest

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

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

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

Business Finance

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

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

ERDF Funding update

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

However, this methodology has its limitations and mapping the coverage is difficult. It is done by postcode, but telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes. In fact, we have found that we have some postcodes that are served by a number of cabinets, and some cabinets that serve properties in more than one postcode. When you factor in the fact that some properties may be served by exchanges or cabinets that are several miles away you can see the difficulties! This means that the colour coding on the map can only provide an estimated network coverage, and this remains the case.

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

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

Why has my area dropped back to 2019 for completion?

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

The information has been taken from the following sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Project News | Comments closed

Newsletter — March 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

 

Wave 6 now launched

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

Additional information now available for previous Waves

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broadband announcements in the 2017 budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

ERDF Funding update

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

£2m grant fund for businesses in rural Warwickshire

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

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

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

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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