Newsletter — April 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

 

FTTP services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connecting to FTTP

1) Ordering the service

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

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

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

ISPs who provide FTTP packages to businesses in our area:

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

2) Site Survey

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

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

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

3) Engineer Appointment

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

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

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

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

Full fibre rollout latest

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

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

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

Business Finance

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

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

ERDF Funding update

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

Why has my area dropped back to 2019 for completion?

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

The information has been taken from the following sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Newsletter — March 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

 

Wave 6 now launched

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

Additional information now available for previous Waves

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broadband announcements in the 2017 budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

ERDF Funding update

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

£2m grant fund for businesses in rural Warwickshire

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

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

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

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter — February 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

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

Unique interactive property-level broadband checker now available

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

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

Superfast:

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

Under Review / Alternate Provider:

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

Basic Broadband:

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

Awaiting funding:

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

The information has been taken from the following sources:

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

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

Wave 5 now launched

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

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

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

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

Contract 2, Part 2

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

Colours on top

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

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

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

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

Commercial coverage depiction on the maps

Before we go out to tender we are obliged to carry out an Open Market Review, during which all commercial providers are invited to submit (in commercial confidence) their development plans for the next three years.

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

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

ERDF funding bid successful

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

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

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

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

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

Contract 3 Invitation to Tender issued

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting statistic

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

So will my property be upgraded under Contract 3?

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

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

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

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

How do I know which BT cabinet I am connected to?

To check which cabinet you are connected to and what speeds you might achieve visit the BT DSL checker. For the best results you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate.

Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use. It should be noted that once the service is live you are not restricted to buying a service from BT and that you can go to any Internet Service Provider (ISP). For impartial advice about ISPs visit: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband

I can’t make sense of the BT DSL checker

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

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

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Thousands more Warwickshire households and businesses to get fibre broadband boost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Newsletter — December 2016

344 cabinets live to date

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

Topics in this edition:

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

What a year that was!

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

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

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

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

 Get set for smart TV

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

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

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

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

 

BT ordered to split legally from Openreach by Ofcom

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

For more information see this article on the BBC website.

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

 Cybercrime Survey

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

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

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

 Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

 Questions and Answers

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

 Wouldn’t it make more sense to upgrade all cabinets connected to an exchange?

This is not as straightforward as it may appear. Not all cabinets were due for upgrade during Contract 1, or even under Contract 2 Part 1. This may be because some are harder to reach than others, or because they do not score highly on our benefits index. This was developed at the outset of the project and prioritises areas across the whole project area.

The priorities for the project are to:

  • ensure a network deployment that contributes the most to the underlying fibre infrastructure across the sub-region
  • remove the barrier of connectivity for businesses to do business in the sub-region
  • develop a mechanism that ensures that local outcomes reflect the amounts contributed
  • benefit the maximum number of citizens.

The key one of these priorities is to get the fibre as far as possible, therefore not all infrastructure off a single exchange will be upgraded at the same time.

Why can’t residents piggy back onto commercial leased lines?

Leased lines are private fibre connections that are installed by companies who need to have good connectivity. They cost many tens of thousands of pounds to put in and carry a premium monthly rental charge. Therefore any company that is prepared to incur these costs for a premium product would not expect to the find it being shared with the local community.

Imagine that you had bought yourself a top-of-the-range car. You have taxed and insured it and made sure that it is fully roadworthy. You would not expect your neighbours to come round and demand to use it for taking the children to school, to do their shopping or to take their rubbish to the tip!

How is it that some premises will get fibre but not superfast?

Some premises will be connected to the fibre network, but still have speeds of less than 24Mbps due to a number of factors, including the distance to their street cabinet. Additionally, some premises connected to fibre will have speeds in excess of 24Mbps as FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) delivers speeds of up to 80Mbps.

It should be noted that in some areas people have been advised that there is an issue with the condition of the existing copper telephone lines. As many of these were installed many years ago and were not intended for data transmission this is hardly surprising. If this applies to you then the matter should be taken up with your telecoms provider, as it is outside the remit of this project.

BT has a product called Unlimited Faster Broadband that offers up to 18Mbps. Availability will depend on you being able to connect to a fibre cabinet, but your predicted speed being below superfast levels. The availability is likely to depend on the infrastructure between your home and the fibre cabinet.

We have had reports that some residents have experienced difficulties in ordering this service, but we have been assured that the BT sales teams should now be up to speed (pun intended!) with this service. So, if you do experience any problems please let us know and we’ll pass the information on to BT.

Sky is also trialing a product called Sky Fibre Lite, which also offers up to 18Mbps, although this is not yet generally available. This is also fed from the BT Openreach fibre network so does depend on you being connected to a fibre cabinet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The wide-ranging benefits include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Newsletter — November 2016

343 cabinets live to date

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

Topics in this edition:

  • New coverage coming soon!
  • Contract 2, Part 2
  • Contract 3 – exciting new opportunities!
  • Public consultation for Contract 3 procurement
  • First community cabinet goes live
  • Good news for future new-build developments
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

New coverage coming soon!

We are making great progress with the work to extend superfast coverage still further. As you will read below, we have a potential £2m being modelled as part of Contract 2, Part 2, which could start to roll out imminently. We also have up to £20m (dependent on funding bids) to go into Contract 3, which we anticipate will take us up to 98% (or more) superfast coverage. There is even positive news about broadband connectivity on new developments!

Contract 2, Part 2

We reported in our last newsletter that we were awaiting modelling for £9.5m coverage, which would form Contract 2. When the modelling was received the coverage failed to meet our value for money test, and so the majority of the funding will be moved to Contract 3, where a wider range of providers will be invited to tender (see below). Contract 2, Part 2 will now have a value of £2m, and we are awaiting modelling to that value. It is hoped that this will be received shortly so that the Invitation to Tender for Contract 3 can be issued without delay.

Contract 3 – exciting new opportunities!

As previously reported, Contract 3 will be a full OJEU procurement, meaning that we can invite a wide range of suppliers to tender, and that some will be offering different technologies from those which have been used before. This offers new opportunities to reach those communities that have previously been inaccessible to the fibre broadband network, and to extend the superfast broadband reach still further.

We have always stated that our ultimate ambition is to achieve at least 98% coverage, and that superfast would be redefined as 30Mbps (EU definition) rather than 24Mbps (previous UK definition). We anticipate achieving both of these targets with Contract 3.

Another change with Contract 3 is that we will be dividing the project area into Lots, this is because some technologies may be better suited to different geographies or topographies, and to bring forward the delivery by enabling a number of suppliers to be working at the same time. At the moment we are looking at 3 Lots, and these have been well-received in our early discussions with prospective bidders:

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

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

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

* We are not able under the current State Aid approval to go into the most urban areas, so Coventry City Centre, inside the ring road, and the urban parts of Solihull are excluded from this contract, but may be covered under different funding (which is not part of this project).

Things are progressing well with Contract 3, and we expect to issue the Invitation to Tender in the next few weeks. We should know which areas are to achieve superfast speeds by the summer of 2017.

Public consultation for Contract 3 procurement

We have now started the pre-procurement work for Contract 3, and the first formal part of this is our Public Consultation.

We can only use public funding for places which will not receive Superfast Broadband as a result of earlier rollout i.e. installed by a supplier in the normal course of their business, or through the first two stages of the CSW Broadband project. Now that we are planning the third stage of our rollout, we need to confirm which areas are eligible for our assistance – and this is where we need your help!

Please visit our Public Consultation page to see how you can respond.

Please respond to this consultation even if you have previously completed one of our surveys, as this information forms part of our formal procurement process

First community cabinet goes live

Residents at Westwood Heath were disappointed not to have been included in the original CSW Broadband rollout – so took matters into their own hands and set about funding their own cabinet.

Many months of hard work on the part of the local Champions followed, to generate local interest and to persuade people to pay towards the cost of the upgrade. BT’s Regional Partnerships Director came to their help with a co-funded project framework that gave the Champions the ability to set up a self-funding project with certainty over costs. This latter point was critical, as it transpired that the work was more complex than anticipated, but Openreach stood by the cost cap they had given the community.

Initially, the plan was to share the costs between the local community and BT/Openreach of two new fibre broadband cabinets and the fibre optic cabling back to the exchange. The necessary £26,000 was raised in two rounds of funding within the community and a contract was signed in August 2015.

However in a stroke of good fortune, just prior to going-live a year later, CSW Broadband spotted that the recent changes to the DCMS Better Broadband voucher scheme made the Westwood Heath project eligible for this funding source. BT were very quick in supporting this and driving it through to completion, much to the relief of local residents!

Local Champions Tony Leatherdale and David Warlow applauded CSW Broadband, which is lead by Warwickshire County Council, who have been supportive and provided advice and guidance during the 2-year project. Tony said: “Without CSW Broadband’s support, we would have found this a lot harder. Spotting the change to the voucher scheme, and connecting it to our project, has shown real commitment and concern for local communities”.

The project with Openreach turned out to be bumpy in places as delivery was delayed several times by technical complexity but Tony and David are the first to recognise that Openreach had the necessary technical skills to overcome the complications. Tony said; “We looked at several options for superfast broadband but the best long term solution for us was to get us back onto the BT fibre technology infrastructure as it will continue to evolve as part of the wider national network.”

Tony and David are keen to thank their fellow residents and other supporters in Westwood Heath. The whole Westwood community is very keen to thank the team at CSW Broadband, as well as the DCMS Program Manager behind the voucher scheme for his rapid support.

If you want to find out more about community-funded project, visit http://www.communityfibre.bt.com However, we would advise waiting for a little while to see if your area is to be covered under Contract 2, Part 2 or Contract 3.

Good news for future new-build developments

As regular readers will know, one of our constant bugbears has been the lack of superfast broadband connectivity on new developments. There is no legal requirement to provide superfast broadband (unlike a requirement to provide a copper telephone line), and many developers and builders have failed to recognise the importance of connectivity to residents and businesses. This should change for future developments.

We have worked closely with all of the Local Planning Authorities to get superfast broadband policies built into their Local Plans. This should now be part of the planning approvals as we move forward. In addition, many of the larger infrastructure providers are now offering packages to developers to ensure that they get their networks onto new developments.

Our advice remains, however, to check before moving home whether superfast broadband is available (or will be in the near future), and if possible to get this in writing. Unfortunately, there are still a high number of homes being built with no connectivity – and, especially in areas where the roads have not yet been adopted, it is not possible to install the traditional fibre cabinets and other infrastructure. This may, however, be different if alternative technologies come into play in Contract 3. We will advise on this as things progress.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

How will people find out when their area is due to get fibre broadband?

As information becomes available it will be published on the CSW Broadband website. We have published a Rolling 12-Month Plan and we provide quarterly updates to this and to the map.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

My phone line has been connected to a cabinet that is not upgraded. How can I get it moved to a fibre-enabled cabinet?

It is an operational matter for BT as to which cabinet they connect your landline to. There is a legal obligation to provide a copper telephone connection, but not for a fibre broadband connection. Therefore you would technically be considered by our project to be in a white area – i.e. awaiting additional funding.

As more money becomes available we will move into Contract 2, Part 2 (and Contract 3), and additional coverage will be mapped. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding to take the network further, as it is in everyone’s interests that we gain maximum efficiencies by carrying out the installations in a single programme. We have also offered the Boroughs and Districts the opportunity to invest to extend the superfast broadband coverage within their areas

What are all-in-one cabinets?

An all-in-one cabinet is a combined copper and fibre cabinet. The advantage is that rather than installing two separate cabinets only one is required. The downside is that these cabinets cannot support as many connections as the more usual two-cabinet solution so they are not suitable for use in all locations.

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

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

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

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter — October 2016

334 cabinets live to date

Over 53,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Wave 4 announced
  • Contract 2, Part 2
  • Contract 3 – public consultation starting soon
  • Additional funding – update
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Wave 4 announced

We have now announced Wave 4 of Contract 2, Part 1, with 49 structures on the list. Areas that will benefit from a straightforward fibre to the cabinet upgrade, meaning that we have information about which areas will be covered are:

  • Alcester 10, 14 & 15 – Covering parts of Alcester itself
  • Alcester 18 – Covering an area around Arrow, to the south west of Alcester
  • Astwood Bank 9 – Covering parts of Sambourne
  • Moreton Morrell 3 – Covering parts of Moreton Paddox

However, the remaining 41 upgrades are to exchange-only (EO) lines. This is more complicated (and more expensive) as there are greater engineering challenges. For instance, because EO lines don’t have the copper lines routed through a copper cabinet (PCP) there is no aggregation point to which we can connect the fibre cabinet (DSLAM). Therefore, we often have to install two cabinets and this creates additional challenges in terms of location, in addition to the ones that we face for all DSLAMs with regard to the availability of power, avoiding existing services, road safety issues etc. These cabinets are shown on the rolling 12-month plan as FTTC EO (Fibre to the Cabinet, Exchange Only).

Another type of Exchange Only upgrade is when we install Fibre to the Premise (FTTP). This offers a potentially much faster connection, but does entail even more work since the fibre actually has to be routed to each individual premise. These are shown on the rolling 12-month plan as FTTP EO.

The decision whether to install FTTC EO or FTTP EO is taken on engineering logic and value for money, and is not something that we can influence.

Contract 2, Part 1, includes a considerably higher percentage of exchange only lines, and a lot of the more challenging locations that could not be brought into Contract 1. It should be noted that because of the nature of the installation, it is not until the exchange only lines have actually been connected and services are available that we will know which properties will be able to benefit from superfast broadband. This creates challenges for us in terms of giving people advance notice that superfast broadband will be available. It also means that we are unable to change the colours on the map to show that work is ongoing. In fact, you may know before us when the work has started since you will see the vans in your area!

So, what can you do to see if you are included in the upgrade?

  1. Check the map to see the colour status of your area
  2. Check the rolling 12-month plan to see if there is anything planned in your exchange area
  3. Check the BT DSL checker to see if the service is live yet
  4. Register for updates and we will let you know when you can achieve superfast speeds

Contract 2, Part 2

We are awaiting the modelling from BT for a further £9.5m coverage. This could form Contract 2, Part 2. Once we have the data it will be checked and verified prior to a Change Control being agreed to bring this into the contract. Assuming all goes well we should be able to map the additional coverage later this year.

Contract 3 – public consultation starting soon

We are making good progress on the pre-procurement work for Contract 3, which will extend the superfast broadband coverage still further. Contract 3 is very different from what has gone before because it is being run under different procurement rules, and we will no longer be using the BDUK framework agreement.

This offers real opportunities, as it means that we can now open the work up to a wider range of suppliers who will offer different technologies. We have had some really positive engagement with suppliers, some of whom will use the same technologies as BT, and others who offer wireless or purely fibre to the premise solutions. We need to understand how the market works and what the benefits and disbenefits of each solution are, so that we can be truly informed clients as we move towards tendering and evaluation.

Another difference this time around is that we will be breaking the area up into smaller lots, so as to make them more attractive to different suppliers. As far as possible, the lots will be determined to fit with the geography that is best suited to different technologies. We don’t have a completely free hand in this, however, as we do need to keep the number of lots to a manageable number – probably 5 or 6 lots in total. This should mean that we will end up with 5 or 6 contracts, with a number of suppliers, providing the best possible solutions for each area. We’ll give more information on lotting as the situation evolves.

In the next few days we shall be issuing a Prior Information Notice, which will alert suppliers to the upcoming opportunity, and at the end of October we shall be running a supplier day to explain our strategy to suppliers and to receive their feedback.

We are also about to start the public consultation. We have already asked suppliers where they plan to roll out their superfast broadband networks over the next 3 years. The data is being checked for compliance, and will be mapped in good time for the public consultation. This will give all suppliers, and members of the public, an opportunity to comment on the areas that are claimed to be covered. After the public consultation we will apply for State Aid approval, and then the areas where there is no planned commercial coverage will be eligible for intervention under Contract 3.

You will be able to check your area on our Contract 3 web site pages to see what the commercial suppliers have said about your area. The consultation is due to run from 31st October to 30th November 2016.

Additional funding – update

We recently received confirmation from the Department for Communities and Local Government that our outline application for European funding has been accepted, and we were invited to submit a full bid. This came shortly after the announcement that the Government would underwrite EU funding that is contracted before the Autumn Statement in November.

We have therefore been working on a very detailed application, which was submitted before the deadline, and we now await the outcome. If we are successful, this additional funding will form part of Contract 3.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

How do I know which BT cabinet I am connected to?

To check which cabinet you are connected to and what speeds you might achieve visit the BT DSL checker. For the best results you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate. Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use. It should be noted that once the service is live you are not restricted to buying a service from BT and that you can go to any Internet Service Provider (ISP). For impartial advice about ISPs visit: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband

What if I am connected to the upgraded cabinet but can’t get superfast speeds?

If you are some distance from the upgraded cabinet then you may not achieve superfast speeds. This is because the broadband signal degrades rapidly over a copper connection. BT has a product called Unlimited Faster Broadband that offers up to 18Mbps. Availability will depend on you being able to connect to a fibre cabinet, but your predicted speed being below superfast levels. The availability is likely to depend on the infrastructure between your home and the fibre cabinet.

We have had reports that some residents have experienced difficulties in ordering this service, but we have been assured that the BT sales teams should now be up to speed (pun intended!) with this service. So, if you do experience any problems please let us know and we’ll pass the information on to BT.

Sky is also trialing a product called Sky Fibre Lite, which also offers up to 18Mbps, although this is not yet generally available. This is also fed from the BT Openreach fibre network so does depend on you being connected to a fibre cabinet.

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

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

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

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Newsletter — September 2016

321 cabinets live to date

Over 52,790 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Excellent take-up in the CSW Broadband Area
  • Modelling awaited from BT
  • Work stating on procurement for Contract 3
  • Check your number on the DSL checker
  • Better Broadband Scheme – see added note on Q&As re satellite and notes in blue book
  • Which? campaign over wild broadband advertising claims
  • Funding available for Community Fibre Partnerships and schools
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Excellent take-up in the CSW Broadband Area

We have received take up reports for both Contract 1 and Contract 2, Part 1 recently and we thought we would share the headlines.

The good news is our Contract 1 take up is showing as 33.27% on average! This is something we should celebrate.

With Contract 2, Part 1 our oldest 3 cabs are only 4 months old and are already at 16.10% take-up. This is way above both the commercial average and UK intervention average for this period.

Don’t forget – although CSW Broadband is working to install new fibre cabinets, it is not always possible to anticipate the take-up in areas so that some may fill up quite quickly. This means that you should place your order for a superfast service with your chosen ISP as soon as the upgrades take place. We will notify everyone on our database when a cabinet has gone live. You can register for updates through our website

If you know that your cabinet is at capacity please let us know. BDUK have advised that Openreach are willing to receive this information from local projects, and use it to prioritise replenishment works. Please email us with your property details and landline number, and the cabinet to which you are attached.

Modelling awaited from BT

We have asked BT to model additional coverage to the value of £9.5m. This will form Contract 2, Part 2. We are expecting the data in October and should be able to map the new areas by the end of the year. This is great news as we will be taking the superfast network still further.

Work starting on procurement for Contract 3

In addition to the additional modelling that BT are currently carrying out, we are now starting procurement for Contract 3. The new contract will be a very different beast from what has gone before because there is a new State Aid approval in place which requires that we break the area down into smaller lots so as to attract a wider range of suppliers offering different technologies.

We are currently meeting with suppliers who offer wireless, fibre to the cabinet, fibre to the premises and combinations of these and other technologies. We need to understand what the marketplace wants so as to break the area down into the most appropriate lots to attract a good range of bidders for each lot. At the end of October we will be holding a suppliers’ day at which we will put forward different options and invite suppliers to let us have their thoughts on how these would work for them.

We need to be mindful of the need to create meaningful lots that will encompass geographies and topographies that are suited to each type of technology, plus sufficient properties to make them attractive to potential bidders. Managing all of these separate procurements and then the actual rollout and contracts will be an interesting exercise – to say the least!

Check your number on the DSL checker

Did you know that you may be able to get superfast broadband and not know it? When an upgrade goes live we do our best to notify people through our social media updates, and we email those for whom we have details on our database. You can register for updates through our website

To see if superfast is available on your line go to the BT DSL checker. For the best results you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate. Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use.

Better Broadband Scheme

The BDUK scheme previously known at the Satellite Voucher Scheme has now become the Better Broadband Scheme. It was recognised that satellite connections are not appropriate for everybody, so a wider range of technologies (such as wireless) are now available through the new scheme. You can claim up to £350 towards the cost of installation. Visit our website for more information on the Better Broadband Scheme

Which? campaign over wild broadband advertising claims

Which? the consumer organisation, are running a campaign for advertisements to carry realistic broadband speeds. At present, as long as 10% of consumers can achieve the advertised speed then the advertising Standards Authority and Ofcom consider that to me acceptable. That means that up to 90% of customers may get nothing like the headline speed.

Which? says: “This is why we’ve been campaigning for more accurate and honest ads from broadband providers, and why we want the Advertising Standards Authority to do more to make broadband companies provide customers with accurate claims upfront in their ads.

“We welcome the ASA’s recent announcement that it’s now researching the importance of speed in customer choices of provider, and looking again at how important speed is. Our research shows that speed matters when picking your broadband package.

“Now we wait for the ASA to announce its findings at the start of the autumn, and we hope that our research helps them take note and realise more has to be done to make broadband ads more decent, honest, and fair for consumers.”

Funding available for Community Fibre Partnerships

As part of the Community Fibre Partnership scheme, BT has made £2m available via a grant for Community Fibre Partnerships that could benefit their local school. This enables communities in the final 5% of the UK not covered by fibre broadband rollout plans to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 toward the cost of their new fibre infrastructure, if that new infrastructure could also serve their local school. So, for example, if the cost for a gap-funded solution that serves a school has been quoted as £23,000, the community would pay £11,500 and £11,500 would be match-funded from the grant. Visit the BT website for more information

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

My phone line has been connected to a cabinet that is not upgraded. How can I get it moved to a fibre-enabled cabinet?

It is an operational matter for BT as to which cabinet they connect your landline to. There is a legal obligation to provide a copper telephone connection, but not for a fibre broadband connection. Therefore you would technically be considered by our project to be in a white area – i.e. awaiting additional funding.

As more money becomes available we will move into Contract 2, Part 2 (and Contract 3), and additional coverage will be mapped. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding to take the network further, as it is in everyone’s interests that we gain maximum efficiencies by carrying out the installations in a single programme. We have also offered the Boroughs and Districts the opportunity to invest to extend the superfast broadband coverage within their areas.

My area is shown as grey or black on the map, what does this mean?

Before we go out to tender we are obliged to carry out an Open Market Review during which all commercial providers are invited to submit (in commercial confidence) their development plans for the next three years. You are in an area that is due to be upgraded by a commercial operator, and this means that we are unable, under State Aid rules, to intervene there. It makes sense that public money should not be used to duplicate commercial provision.

We have recently carried out a new Open Market Review in preparation for the tender process for Contract 3, and we will be starting the public consultation using new commercial rollout maps later this year.

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

This is outside the remit of the CSW Broadband project as our role is to install the fibre network. You will have a contract with an ISP and it is down to them to arrange for the installation.

You have no means of contacting the engineers directly, and it’s all to do with the way in which BT was structured when it was privatised. You have probably seen a lot of press coverage recently about the Ofcom investigation into BTs structure and the new rules that are being brought in that should provide greater clarity (!)

BT consists of a number of different businesses that operate at different levels.

BT Openreach owns and operates the copper and fibre infrastructure. They are the ones carrying out the current CSW Broadband contract on the ground.

Because lots of ISPs can access the Openreach network, it is important that they all access the same products at the same price, otherwise BT retail and BT business could have an unfair advantage over other ISPs. Therefore there is a middle layer, BT wholesale, which sells services to the ISPs and they all work from the same wholesale rates cards.

You may happen to have BT retail or BT Business as your provider, but it could just as easily be any one of a number of ISPs. The differentiating factor between the ISPs, which provides users with market choice, are the packages (e.g. the pricing structure and the bundled products) that they offer.

So, you have a contract with an ISP, which is quite discrete from BT Openreach which operates and manages the network. Your ISP will be working with BT Openreach to provide your line, and it is between those two companies to sort out any issues. BT Openreach won’t deal directly with members of the public since they have no contractual relationship with you, and it is your ISP and not you who is the customer of Openreach.

The only people who have regulatory powers over this is Ofcom, and it may be worth contacting them if you continue to have problems. The consumer organisation, Which? run a lot of broadband campaigns so it may also be worth contacting them.und 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There are a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline. Copy can be found at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/about-the-project/copy-to-use-on-your-own-website-newsletters-or-flyers/

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Q&As raised recently. Our website has an updated set of Q&As.

So once my new cabinet is in place does that mean I can get superfast broadband?

Not immediately. Standing the cabinet is only a very small part of the process to bring superfast broadband to our communities. Once the cabinet has been stood it needs a power supply, and this entails a different contractor who will probably work to different timescales. It will also require a connection to the existing cabinet. By far the biggest job – or at least the one with the highest number of variables and potential pitfalls is the fibre connection back to the exchange. There are often problems with blocked or broken ducting, tree roots and other issues to overcome before the fibre can actually be connected through. Once the fibre is in place it has to be connected to the main spines and tested before the new service is ready to accept orders.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, competitions and more. By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area. You can register here: www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register

What sort of broadband speeds can I realistically expect if I’m able to get fibre under the project?

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) connection speeds will vary depending on a number of factors but could reach up to 80Mbps. Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) connections – where these are available – are all capable of 330Mbps but your service provider may offer a range of packages to suit different needs. Factors impacting the final speed attained at a particular premise connected by FTTC include the distance from the street cabinet, the geography, and the wiring within your home or business.

You said I would get 2Mbps but whenever I check my speed it is lower than this – why?

This could be because you are in an area where we haven’t carried out any work yet. Also, speeds within premises are affected by a variety of factors including internal wiring, the age of your computer, the type of router you use and the number of applications you are running. We do have advice on our website about things that you can do to improve your broadband speeds http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/about-broadband/self-help-guides/how-to-improve-your-broadband-speed

We have been getting some good reports from people who have moved to mobile broadband. Some are achieving speeds of around 70 Mbps! This technology relies on a good mobile broadband connection so it is important to use the mobile coverage checkers available on mobile broadband supplier websites before committing. You can access a mobile broadband connection by subscribing to a data plan with your chosen mobile operator; this can usually be done using a mobile device, a dongle, or a 4G router.

When considering this option, it is important to take into consideration your data usage. Searching around for an unlimited data package can pay off, especially if you do a lot of streaming or playing videos on YouTube.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through a subsidy scheme that will cover the costs of satellite installation. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. For more information on this scheme visit: www.cswbroadband.org.uk/satellite

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

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

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

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed