Newsletter – September 2021

Nearly 76,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • Thousands of Warwickshire residents to benefit from Phase 2 of Project Gigabit
  • Openreach announces Fibre First programme extension across Warwickshire & Solihull
  • Mobile Connectivity Project – could we help your business?
  • UK Govt to trial running fibre broadband lines via water mains
  • More and more ISPs providing FTTP services in the CSW region
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Your questions answered

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Another 25 Contract 3 structures have gone live since our last newsletter was published at the beginning of June. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Allesley, Avon Dassett, Berkswell, Bubbenhall, Fillongley, Hill Wootton, Kenilworth, Meriden, Middleton, Priors Marston, Snitterfield, Southam, Stretton on Dunsmore, Winderton, Wolverton & Wootton Wawen.

As a result of this, nearly 76,000 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 upgrade has been completed, we will try and inform as many of the affected residents as possible. With this in mind, we have recently conducted a mail-out campaign to over 6,500 residents and businesses to let them know that their properties have now been upgraded as a result of the work we have already completed in Contract 3.

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 in order 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, 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.

Thousands of Warwickshire residents to benefit from Phase 2 of Project Gigabit

We are pleased to announce that Warwickshire has been included in Phase 2 of Project Gigabit, the government’s £5bn programme which aims to target – typically rural and hard to reach properties – that would have been left behind in broadband companies’ own commercial roll-out plans.

The joint bid with Leicestershire (known as Lot 11) will see an estimated 118,400 properties upgraded across the Warwickshire and Leicestershire region and is in addition to the roll-out work that commercial providers are also undertaking in the area (e.g. Openreach’s Fibre First programme).

Through the project, properties will be upgraded to speeds of up to 1,000 megabits or one gigabit per second – enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for tomorrow’s tech such as 8K-quality video streaming.

It also means families will no longer have to battle over bandwidth and will give people in rural areas the freedom to live and work more flexibly as well as providing the speed and reliability needed to start and run businesses in such areas.

It should be noted that while Project Gigabit will prioritise areas with sub-30Mbps speeds, this will not be to the exclusion of all else.

Bidders for the Lot 11 contract will be required to ensure that their networks are available for use by other ISPs via wholesale (open access). We are hoping that a number of operators, both big and small will bid for the work in our area.

The procurement process for this contract (which will be worth in excess of £114 million) is due to begin in November 2022 with the delivery contract starting in October 2023. We currently estimate that this work will be completed by the end of 2025, though we will be able to provide more detail on this once the contract has been awarded.

As usual, these won’t be automatic upgrades for consumers, so once the new network is built then you’ll still need to order it from their preferred ISP to benefit from it.

The government (DCMS) have been conducting various public reviews and OMRs, which is the process that they often use when trying to identify existing commercial coverage of gigabit-capable broadband networks and any planned coverage over the next 3 years.

By doing that, they can more easily target their support towards areas where commercial projects are not expected to reach (i.e. the intervention area).

With regards to the Solihull Metropolitan Borough area, it would appear – at this moment in time – that much of this area will be covered by commercial providers own deployment programmes but we should get further clarity on this in the coming months.

Openreach announces Fibre First programme extension across Warwickshire & Solihull

Over the summer, Openreach outlined plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses across the UK, including to over 67,000 across the Solihull and Warwickshire area, as part of an extension to their Fibre First commercial deployment programme.

Openreach had already announced upgrades to properties served by the Bidford on Avon, Coleshill, Henley in Arden, Lapworth and Stratford upon Avon exchanges in Warwickshire back in January 2020.

These latest announcements will now see the majority of homes and businesses served by the Alcester, Atherstone, Curdworth, Fillongley, Harbury, Hurley, Kineton, Moreton Morrell, Newton Regis, Nuneaton, Pebworth, Shipston on Stour, Snitterfield, Southam, Welford on Avon, Wellesbourne and Wolston exchanges within the county also benefit from an upgrade to full fibre.

Similarly, Openreach have also outlined plans to upgrade thousands of homes and businesses served by the Berkswell, Hampton in Arden, Meriden, Shirley & Solihull exchanges within the Solihull Metropolitan Borough area.

While their Full Fibre Build Programme document gives some indication of timescales for these builds, Openreach will publish more comprehensive information about this on their website as the detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses.

Mobile Connectivity Project – could we help your business?

If poor broadband speeds are impacting on your business then we may be able to help.

Over recent months, we have been testing a number of mobile Wi-Fi broadband devices in areas where the broadband is poor and the uplift in speeds in some cases has been particularly impressive.

Through our Mobile Connectivity Project, we have been able to secure some funding to purchase a number of these devices and we are now looking for SME’s (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises) to take part in our ongoing ‘proof of concept’ trial of these technologies.

In particular, we are looking for SME’s getting speeds of 5Mbps or less. (You can check what speeds your business can currently achieve using the 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).

If your business meets the above criteria and you would like to be considered for this project, please email johnparmiter@warwickshire.gov.uk and gavintristram@warwickshire.gov.uk.

We will need the address, postcode and landline number associated with the business, along with a very brief description as to the nature of your business and how the lack of broadband provision is affecting the operation of that business.

Once we have this information, we will then need to check the mobile coverage in your area etc. which will help to determine whether we can potentially help you or not.

Applicants will be assessed for suitability on a first come, first serve basis.

UK Govt to trial running fibre broadband lines via water mains

In August a number of websites including the Guardian and ISP Review reported that the UK Government had launched a £4m ‘Fibre in Water’ project trial, which will experiment with connecting homes, businesses and mobile masts to gigabit capable broadband in ‘hard to reach’ remote and rural areas by running Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) cables through the water mains.

The trial is partly related to the review of existing Access to Infrastructure (ATI) Regulations 2016, which sought to find ways in which existing utilities networks could be harnessed via infrastructure sharing in order to improve the spread of ‘full fibre’ connectivity.

Infrastructure works – in particular the installation of new ducts and poles, can make up as much as 80% of the costs to industry of building new gigabit-capable broadband networks.

The project is designed to help cut those costs with the National Infrastructure Commission previously estimating that infrastructure re-use could lead to an £8bn cost saving for broadband builders.

Matt Warman, the Digital Infrastructure Minister stated: “The cost of digging up roads and land is the biggest obstacle telecoms companies face when connecting hard-to-reach areas to better broadband, but beneath our feet there is a vast network of pipes reaching virtually every building in the country.”

Broadband cables have already been deployed in water pipes in other countries including Spain.

The ‘Fibre in Water’ trial will run for three years and the final year of the project will explore scaling proven solutions right across the country. The plan is to select a consortium made up of telecoms companies, utility providers and engineering firms to lead and deliver the project. As part of this, a region or multiple regions of the country will be selected to host the trial.

More and more ISPs providing FTTP services in the CSW region

When the CSW Broadband Project first started deploying Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solutions around five years ago, it is fair to say that the number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering full fibre packages to residents and businesses was extremely limited.

However, now that FTTP has become the preferred method of deployment across the country more and more ISPs have started offering FTTP services – providing you the consumer, with more choice and more competitively priced packages and deals, as they fight for your custom.

We have therefore updated our Ordering an FTTP service webpage with links to all the ISPs who have stated that they offer either residential and/or business packages in the CSW region through the Openreach wholesale network that we are installing on this project.

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

Either way, whichever ISP you chose to order a service through, the installation process for the final connection to your property will follow a similar procedure, details of which are also provided on this webpage.

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 Fibre 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 have tended 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) worth 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 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.

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. There are a number of comparison websites to help you find the best broadband package for your household’s needs including: MoneySuperMarket.com, Broadband Choices, Broadband Finder, Broadband Providers, Choose & u-Switch.

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 and Which? websites can provide useful and impartial advice on this.

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

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter – June 2021

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

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • CSW Project updates – LFFN programme
  • Improving broadband for very hard to reach premises – Government call for evidence
  • Ofcom report offers advice on choosing the best broadband ISPs
  • Millions at security risk from old routers, Which? warns
  • Router Security – How to secure your Wi-Fi at home or at work
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Your questions answered

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Another 30 Contract 3 structures have gone live since our last newsletter was published at the beginning of March. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Ansley Common, Atherstone, Balsall Common, Barston, Bedworth, Berkswell, Bidford on Avon, Brinklow, Cherington, Corley, Fillongley, Grendon, Marston Jabbett, Meriden, Middleton, Offchurch, Stratford upon Avon, Stockton, Tanworth in Arden, Warwick, Whatcote and Whateley.

As a result of this, over 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 upgrade has been completed, we will try and inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

With this in mind, we have recently conducted a mail-out campaign to over 6,500 residents and businesses to let them know that their properties have now been upgraded as a result of the work we have already completed in Contract 3.

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 in order 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. As mentioned previously, the CSW Broadband Project, in line with Government requirements, is using the revised total of nearly £3.9 million that we were awarded to bring full fibre gigabit connectivity to 220 public sector buildings across Warwickshire.

All 220 sites have now been surveyed and have moved through to the build phase. We expect that all project sites, which includes a total of 159 schools and 61 other public sector buildings such as libraries and fire stations, will have a live service by the end of September 2021.

Work has already been completed at 47 of these sites with final installations to the other 173 as yet unfinished sites, happening on an almost daily basis.

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.

Nearly 200 residential and business properties in close proximity to the 47 completed sites have also been upgraded to full-fibre connections, with many more also due to benefit as the remaining sites are completed.

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

Improving broadband for very hard to reach premises – Government call for evidence

The government is currently carrying out an Open Consultation on ‘Improving broadband for Very Hard to Reach premises’.

Through this call for evidence, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) wants to hear the views and experiences of consumers’ broadband connectivity in rural and remote areas of the UK. They are looking for responses from specific groups of stakeholders including rural residents and rural businesses.

The evidence gathered will enable DCMS to assess the options available for delivering improved connectivity to areas where the costs of delivering better digital infrastructure have so far proven to be a barrier to deployment.

Digital connectivity offers rural residents the option to access many services without having to make long or complex journeys and over the last year in particular, has become a key means for accessing, banking services, education and healthcare services to name but a few.

Rural based businesses are also reliant on the need to be able to access fast and reliable broadband and mobile networks if they are to develop, grow and thrive in an increasingly competitive world.

If you are a residential household or business user of rural broadband services and you would like to have your say then you can complete the call for evidence via this online survey. The consultation closes at 11:45pm on Friday 11 June 2021.

Ofcom report offers advice on choosing the best broadband ISPs

Ofcom have recently published their fifth annual report on how service levels compare across the telecoms industry with regards to quality of service, call waiting times, complaints, new service installation times and fault repairs.

The aim of the report, entitled ‘Comparing customer service: mobile, home broadband and landline’ is to allow consumers to look beyond the price and see what level of service they can expect from different providers, helping them to make informed decisions about which provider is best for them.

It also acts as an incentive for providers to improve their customer service, which is never a bad thing!

The report covers customers’ experiences in 2020 and – as usual – is based on data that Ofcom has gathered via a combination of consumer research, submitted customer complaints and data obtained directly from operators.

For those of you who are interested in this but don’t have the time to read the full Ofcom report, the ISP Review website provides an excellent summary of the survey’s main findings.

Millions at security risk from old routers, Which? warns

Millions of people in the UK could be using outdated routers that put them at risk of being hacked in their own homes the consumer magazine, Which? has warned.

The report examined 13 older router models provided to customers by internet service providers such as EE, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone and found that more than two-thirds had potential security flaws.

Many of these older routers will still be in wide circulation because broadband providers don’t tend to retire them unless they break or the customer switches or upgrades to a different service. The main issues this study found were:

Weak default passwords – A lot of consumers leave default passwords unchanged. However, they can be easily guessed by hackers, are common across devices and could grant someone access. This can be done from outside of the home network, so a hacker could access the router from anywhere in the world.

Lack of firmware updates – These are not only important for performance, they are also needed to fix security issues when they arise. An estimated 6 million homes were using a router that had not been updated since 2018, with around 2.4 million not having had a router upgrade in the last 5 years.

Local network vulnerabilities – While the risk here is lower as a hacker would have to be in the vicinity of the router, vulnerabilities such as this could allow a cybercriminal to completely control your device, see what you’re browsing or direct you to malicious websites.

The study found that not all routers on test were bad though. Old devices from BT and Plusnet had been recently updated and no unfixed vulnerabilities or weak default passwords were found.

Which? provides advice on what to do if you own one of the affected routers listed in the report and also recommends that you ask your provider for an upgrade as soon as you can.

Router Security – How to secure your Wi-Fi at home or at work

The Broadband Genie website also mentions that broadband router security is often overlooked, noting that if the router is not properly configured, your private data and home network – along with everything attached to it – are potentially at risk.

Their guide on How to secure your Wi-Fi at home or in the office provides useful information and advice on topics such as updating the router’s firmware, how to secure the Wi-Fi network and disable things like remote administration, UPnP and PING responses.

While this all sounds a bit technical, the guide provides simple explanations as to what these terms mean and explains how by taking these simple steps, you can help to minimise the risks to your Wi-Fi set up and easily bolster your home broadband router security.

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.

Why has my upgrade been delayed?

This is a technically challenging project and we always knew that some areas would be more difficult to reach than others – particularly as we get into the more rural areas that we are now building to in Contract 3 – the current phase of the CSW Broadband Project.

The FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) solutions that we are now deploying often require more civil engineering works (e.g. road closures) than the FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) solutions that tended to be deployed for much of Contracts 1 and 2 and these can take up to 3 months to come into effect.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns and restrictions have also had a knock-on effect with regards to the build programme.

We will not be able to bring regular updates or a lot of details about what is happening as doing that would tie up a lot of valuable resource and time for both the CSW team and Openreach, our build partners.

However, we do continue to monitor the build programme closely and as soon as we have confirmation that a build has been completed, we will inform as many of the residents and businesses who will benefit from that build as we can that they can now order an improved service.

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

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) connection speeds will vary depending on a number of factors including the distance your property is located from the street cabinet it is connected to, the local geography, the state of the local copper network and the wiring within your home or business but you could get up to 80Mbps.

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) connections – where these are available – are in theory capable of 1Gbps (1000 Mbps), but your service provider may offer a range of different speed-related packages to suit different needs.

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

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

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:

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