£5.5m Ultrafast Broadband Bid Successful

The CSW Broadband Project, which is bringing faster broadband to those parts of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire where there are no commercial plans for upgrades, has learned that it has been successful in its bid of over £5.5m to the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund.

The bid will invest in bringing 1Gbps-capable full fibre networks right to the most expensive and hard-to-reach public buildings across the project area. These could include rural schools, fire stations and libraries.

The idea is that the project will go out to tender for a contractor to carry out the public sector building connectivity upgrades, and that the successful bidder will, at their own cost, upgrade connections to residential and business properties along the fibre route.

The Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which was piloted in Coventry and Warwickshire will now continue as a national scheme.

Councillor Kam Kaur, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation for lead partner, Warwickshire County Council, said: “This is a real opportunity to improve connectivity at some of the hardest-to-reach schools and other public buildings. The Ultrafast, Gigabit-capable, network will be a real step-change beyond the existing infrastructure and will bring exciting education, business and other opportunities to those who are able to connect to the new network.

“It is early days, and we do not yet have the detail of what has been awarded, but the CSW Broadband team hopes to be in a position to scope the work and to start the procurement process over the next few months. Further information will be given in the project’s monthly e-newsletters, along with details of the contracted superfast broadband rollout in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.”

To register for updates about the CSW Broadband project visit: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

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Newsletter — March 2018

Over 61,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • BT asked to model an additional £1.9m coverage
  • First surveys for Contract 3 to start shortly
  • Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund (LFFN)
  • EAFRD
  • Changes within the team
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

 

BT asked to model an additional £1.9m coverage

Regular readers will recall that Contract 3 has a potential maximum value of £20m, and that last year’s Invitation to Tender carried a value of £15m. Following an extremely rigorous procurement process, BT won all three Lots.

As these bids represented excellent value for money and came to a total of less than £15m, we have now asked Openreach to model an additional £1.9m of coverage to bring the value of the current contract back up to the original £15m.

We expect to receive the return any day now, and the data team will then begin the laborious task of checking the data and creating the new maps. This work will take several weeks, and we hope to be able to publish new maps showing the additional coverage in May/June of this year.

First surveys for Contract 3 to start shortly

Residents in some areas will shortly see survey activity taking place. This is the initial stages of the work for Contract 3. It is likely to be a few months yet before we see the first structures going live.

Contract 3 is different from Contracts 1 and 2 in that we have the information down to property level, and this is displayed on our map, where yellow stars denote Contract 3 work. Contract 3 is due to complete at the end of 2019.

Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund (LFFN)

We are still awaiting the outcome of our LFFN bid. It is believed that there have been a number of projects from across the country who have lodged bids for Phase 2 of the fund. This bid is very different from what has gone before.

The project requirements are to connect public sector buildings to the full fibre network (i.e. FTTP) with Gigabit-capable connections. The idea is that by taking full fibre out to public buildings, the successful contractor will then connect homes and businesses along the fibre route and in the vicinity of the newly-connected public buildings.

Our data team have compiled a compelling case, but of course we do not know what other projects may have submitted. We hope to hear the outcome of this bid in the next couple of months.

If successful, the work will be very different from what has gone before, since we will be carrying out a public-sector procurement rather than commissioning a wholesale network (which is what the BDUK project has done thus far).

As always, we’ll continue to publish information in the newsletters as we receive it.

EAFRD

Because the EAFRD bid can only go to rural areas where there is no planned coverage, we are eagerly awaiting the return from Openreach for the modelling of the additional £1.9m mentioned earlier in this newsletter. This will give us a clearer indication as to where the EAFRD bid might be able to reach.

The EAFRD bid is similar to the LFFN in that it targets specific premises, but in this case we will be looking at those hard-to-reach rural businesses that otherwise would not stand a chance of getting superfast connections.

The funding will be brought into Contract 3, so the requirement will be for a wholesale access superfast network offering a minimum of 30Mbps.

We will have to prove evidence of need, so will be contacting businesses in the relevant areas once these have been identified. The requirement is for us to provide the network, not to monitor whether a service is taken up.

Once, again, we’ll publish more information as we receive it.

Changes within the team

After many years of stability, we have seen some significant changes with the structure of the team. Our Project Executive, John Parmiter, has retired after almost 20 years working for Warwickshire County Council. John started his career as a teacher, and later became a schools’ inspector.

He then ran a project to bring ICT to Warwickshire’s schools. Later John was involved in bringing Internet connectivity to schools throughout Warwickshire.

He was involved in the BDUK project (which became known as CSW Broadband) from its earliest days, and provided excellent leadership and strategic direction to the project. John’s role has been taken over by Richard Hopkins, who comes from a strong technical and contracts management background.

Gurprit Basran, who has been Project Administrator since 2012 is also moving on to pastures new. Gurprit has been the unsung hero of the team, working behind the scenes to ensure that we have all documentation in order and that the systems are running as they should.

Gurprit has been a massive support to all of us and will be sorely missed.

As far as the day-to-day running of the project is concerned, there should be little outward evidence of the changes, although we will all miss these two key members of the team and wish them both every success in the future.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

Once my new fibre cabinet is connected to the exchange (or FTTP is enabled), what then?

That is entirely up to you. We are installing a wholesale network, which means that once your cabinet has gone live (or FTTP has been enabled) any Internet Service Provider (ISP) can offer you high speed broadband (subject to availability) and there are a wide range of packages available.

Do check though that you are able to actually achieve the speeds that are advertised as the geographic issues mentioned on our website will apply in cases where a new cabinet is involved.

You can check which structure you are actually connected to by using the BT DSL checker. Our handy ‘How to use the BT Line Checker’ webpage will help you make sense of the DSL Checker results.

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.

Don’t forget that you will need to upgrade to a superfast broadband package through your chosen ISP. The access is on a wholesale basis, which means that any ISP can use the infrastructure to provide their services.

Don’t forget that you will need to check out broadband packages carefully to get the one that is right for you. For impartial advice go to the Money Saving Expert website.

We have leaflets that can be distributed to every property that is connected to the upgraded cabinets. To find out more please visit our Become a Community Champion web page.

My phone line is 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.

In some areas, BT are carrying out CuRE (Copper Re-Arrangement) work, which does involve moving lines from one cabinet to another. In other areas we are seeing FTTP (Fibre to the premise) installations, in which case the cabinet is irrelevant.

You can check which structure you are actually connected to and what speed is available to you now by using 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.

To see if anything is planned in your area for the future, 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.

The information was largely 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.

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 — February 2018

Nearly 61,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Remainder of Contract 2 rollout announced
  • What’s coming up?
  • Crystal ball required?
  • Carillion telent – update
  • Hoax Slayer
  • Information for parish council websites – update
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Wave 9 rollout announced

We have now announced the areas to be upgraded in Wave 9. These appear on our Rolling 12-month Plan, where you can check progress on all structures announced to date. This is the final Wave for Contract 2, which is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year.

We are planning a major update of the mapping and the website during the spring.

What’s coming up?

Contract 3 work will be starting shortly. Initial surveys will be underway, so you may see people out and about. Please bear in mind that the survey is no indication of when work will be starting on the installations. Contract 3 brings a far higher proportion of FTTP, which is why we are hoping that an early start can be made.

Crystal ball required?

Who knows what the future will bring? The CSW Broadband team has submitted an application to the recently announced Local Full Fibre Network Challenge Fund (LFFN). This bid is somewhat different from the BDUK programme. It proposes 1Gb-capable full fibre networks to public buildings in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.

The intention is that the procurement will be a straightforward public sector procurement, with the bidders being asked to state how many businesses or residential premises along the route will also be offered a full fibre service.

The project will not actually pay for the connections to these additional premises, but the project will stimulate the market by bringing the full-fibre network out to areas that would not otherwise have been upgraded to FTTP. The project will also include an extension of the Gigabit Voucher Scheme, that is currently being run by Central Government. We should hear the outcome of this bid during the spring.

In addition, at its budget setting on 7th February, Warwickshire County Council agreed a sum of £200,000 to provide advisers to help teachers in LFFN schools to make best use of the new technologies, and to ensure that safeguarding measures are fully understood and implemented. The schools can also act as a community hub, so that parents and local residents can also benefit from the adviser’s knowledge.

We still are a long way from securing the LFFN funding, and as we have more information about this project we will, of course, include it in future newsletters.

CSW Broadband are also preparing a bid for EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) funding. This will cover those areas of Warwickshire and Solihull that currently cannot achieve superfast speeds. Again, we would hope to hear the outcome of the bid during the spring.

In both cases, achieving the funding is only the first part of the jigsaw, for the LFFN a full OJEU procurement would need to be carried out, whereas the EAFRD money can be added to Contract 3 through Change Control processes.

The currently planned Contract 3 works are due to be completed by the end of 2019.

Carillion telent – update

Since the start of the project, Carillion telent has carried out work on behalf of BT. Given the recent news headlines about Carillion, BT were asked for an update on how this situation might affect the project.

We have been assured that telent will be taking over responsibility for the contracted works, and that the same personnel will be continuing to work on the CSW Broadband project. We have been sent a link to a full statement, which can be found at: https://telent.com/news-media/news/carillion-telent-joint-venture-statement

Hoax Slayer

Hoax Slayer is a great resource to find out about the latest online scams, or to check if an email that you have received is genuine. We hear so much these days about various phishing emails (an email that pretends to come from a trusted source and seeks to gather your personal data and passwords); scams and online frauds that it can be difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t. Hoax Slayer is a great FREE resource that explodes the latest myths, and provides a search facility so that you can paste in text to see if your email is real or not.

It’s worth a read just to see how blatant some of these scams are – it does make you wonder how people can fall for some of them! However, not everybody is Internet savvy, and even those of us who think we’ve got it nailed can get caught out sometimes. For more information, visit http://www.hoax-slayer.net

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

Does my service automatically change when the upgrades are complete?

No. You will have to upgrade the broadband package that you purchase to one offering superfast speeds. We are installing a wholesale network, which means that once your cabinet has gone live any Internet Service Provider (ISP) can offer you high speed broadband (subject to availability), and there are a wide range of packages available.

These will come with different products, such as films, sport and TV bundled, so it’s best to shop around. Do check before changing supplier, though, when your existing contract expires. You may have to upgrade with your current supplier in the first instance to avoid contract cancellation charges

We recommend that you check out broadband packages carefully to get the one that is right for you. For impartial advice go to the Money Saving Expert website.

Do check that you are able to actually achieve the speeds that are advertised, as the geographic issues mentioned on our website will apply in all cases. You can check which cabinet you are actually connected to by using 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.

Can we get any help to upgrade our local network?

You can check to see if anything is planned in your area, either through this project or from commercial providers, using 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 largely 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

Before considering a community-funded scheme you should bear in mind that these take a long time to organise, and require a lot of hard work on the part of local activists. Having said that, it is entirely possible for a community to decide to raise funds and employ their own solution.

You should bear in mind that smaller suppliers do not always have the resilience of the larger companies. If you were to go with your own solution and employed a small company, then you could be facing sustainability issues further down the line.

You should also be aware that once an area has superfast broadband then our project may not be able to consider it for inclusion under future funding. On the other hand, if it is not considered to be superfast, we may later come along and upgrade the network, which could cut across the business case for any community-led solution.

One final consideration is whether your chosen solution will offer a wholesale network. This means that any Internet Service Provider can use the network to provide services to its customers. By offering a range of providers the idea is that there will be competition which will lead to a choice of packages and a range of price-points. You will not have that with a single-supplier network.

You could, of course, choose to pay BT Openreach, or another major provider, to upgrade the infrastructure in your area, but the costs are likely to be significant. Should you choose to follow this route then you may want to take a look at the Community Fibre Partnerships website.

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.

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

Winds of change – multi-million pound roll-out of superfast broadband reaches out to every corner of Warwickshire

Historic Ansley Common, Chesterton, Fulready, Goldicote, Grendon, Little Wolford, Ufton and Wibtoft among next places to benefit from CSW Broadband roll-out

The next phase of the multi-million pound CSW Broadband roll-out will have a positive impact on communities the length and breadth of the county, lead partners Warwickshire County Council and BT Group announced today.

It will make high-speed fibre broadband available to more of Warwickshire’s smallest, oldest communities, including those in some key agricultural areas.

They include Chesterton, near Warwick, famous for its landmark Grade I listed windmill, Wibtoft, near Rugby, said by historians to have links with the Roman times, and Ansley Common, which is listed in the Domesday Book and is believed to have links with Lady Godiva.

Areas of Ashorne Hill, Fulready, Goldicote, Grendon, Little Wolford and Ufton will also get access to the technology for the first time. This phase of the roll-out will also enable additional households and businesses in Berkswell to upgrade.

Engineers from Openreach – the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network – will begin the upgrades in the next few months, and the first households and businesses will start to go ‘live’ in the Autumn.

Local households and businesses can follow the progress of the CSW Broadband roll-out and get updates via the project website and online map – www.cswbroadband.org.uk/latestmap

It also includes information about the areas to benefit from the £28 million Contract 3 expansion of CSW Broadband with BT Group, announced last Autumn. The roll-out is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Councillor Kam Kaur, Holder for Customer and Transformation for lead partner, Warwickshire County Council, said: “Once again the CSW Broadband project is reaching out to some of our most rural areas. Even a couple of years ago these villages could only dream of getting fibre broadband, and now it is to become a reality.

“The provision of 21st Century communications to these very rural villages will enable people not only to shop online but also use banking services and education resources that so many people take for granted nowadays. They will also be able to access a wide range of public services without the need for time-consuming and expensive car journeys – and, of course, to keep in touch with loved ones across the globe.”

Steve Haines, Managing Director of Next Generation Access for Openreach, said: “CSW Broadband is a major engineering programme which has already successfully overcome a range of technical and geographical challenges and is continuing to spread its wings to more of the most remote areas.

“Many of the homes and businesses in this next phase are served by exchange only (EO) lines which are connected directly to the telephone exchange rather than via a green roadside cabinet. In order to connect EO lines, additional roadside cabinets have to be installed and cables diverted to enable more of the county’s most remote communities to access this important technology.

“The demand for high speed broadband is increasing all the time with the internet touching virtually every aspect of our lives. Statistics show that with the growth in streaming and downloading video, fuelled by services like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon, home broadband data usage has grown at a rate of 36 per cent a year.

“Superfast broadband also breaks down barriers to doing business around Warwickshire and across the globe as it helps small businesses to find new markets, sell new products and communicate more easily and quickly with their customers, suppliers and employees.”

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

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

Posted in Project News | Comments closed

Newsletter — December 2017

Over 60,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Over 60,000 premises now able to connect to the fibre network
  • Superfast connection vouchers for businesses
  • Gigabit connection grants for businesses
  • Better broadband connection vouchers
  • Parish-level mapping for parish council websites – update
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Over 60,000 premises now able to connect to the fibre network

Over 60,000 households and businesses are now able to get high-speed broadband, thanks to the CSW Broadband Project.

The pace of the roll-out and the mixture of technology being used by engineers from Openreach means dozens more properties are going ‘live’ on an almost daily basis. Many of these will be “Exchange Only” lines, or at some distance from existing fibre infrastructure, so property owners may not realise that they can now connect to the new network.

Residents and businesses are therefore urged to keep checking whether they can access the technology by checking the BT DSL checker to establish which infrastructure your property is connected to. 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 BT postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use. The How to use the BT DSL Line checker page on our website contains a handy guide to interpreting the results of the BT checker.

It is amazing to realise that, just three and a half years since the first CSW Broadband cabinet went live, over 60,000 premises can now connect to the fibre network. This is a real step-change and shows that this public investment is making massive improvements to our local infrastructure.

There is still a lot more coverage to come between now and the end of 2019, and the team are actively seeking additional funding to take the fibre network still further.

Superfast connection vouchers for businesses

Coventry​ ​and​ ​Warwickshire​ ​Chamber​ ​of​ ​Commerce​ ​has​ ​launched​ ​its​ ​new​ ​ICT​ ​Business Support​ ​service, ​ ​funded​ ​through​ ​European​ ​Regional​ ​Development​ ​Fund. The aim is to assist businesses to make the most of the technology that is available today, and to plan for the future.

To​ ​help​ ​with​ ​this,​ ​a​ ​Connection​ ​Voucher​ ​is​ ​available​ ​that​ ​will​ ​offer​ ​match-funded​ ​grants​ ​to help​ ​the​ ​SME​ ​to​ ​actually​ ​implement​ ​the​ ​change​ ​and​ ​to​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​the​ ​new technologies.​ ​

The​ ​voucher​ ​is to​ ​be​ ​used​ ​towards​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​a​ ​complete​ ​end-to-end​ ​solution, including a​ ​Superfast​ ​connection​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Internet and networking​ ​within​ ​the​ ​business,​ ​either​ ​wireless​ ​or​ ​cabled,​ ​as​ ​appropriate; Equipment​ ​​to​ ​implement​ ​transformational​ ​business changes may also be eligible.

To​ ​find​ ​out​ ​more​ ​please​ ​call​ ​Coventry​ ​and​ ​Warwickshire​ ​Chamber​ ​on​ ​02476​ ​654​ ​321​ ​to speak​ ​with​ ​an​ ​advisor​ ​today. Please do not contact the CSW Broadband project about this scheme as we are not involved in the administration.

Gigabit connection grants for businesses

If you are a small or medium-sized business, you may be able to get a grant of up to £3,000 to upgrade your business broadband to a Gigabit capable connection.

The Government is testing a new Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which will provide vouchers worth up to £3,000 to support the capital costs of getting new gigabit capable connections for businesses. Coventry and Warwickshire are one of the four pilot areas.

Suppliers will be offering vouchers worth between £500 and £3000 each to local businesses, which can then be used to pay for the installation of gigabit speed connections.

The aim of the pilots is to encourage the market to extend full fibre infrastructure in the UK by increasing demand and reducing the cost to customers.

The pilot is supplier-led, meaning that customers will need to go to an approved supplier who will then deal with the administration of the scheme. Details of approved suppliers can be found at: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk

Please note that the CSW Broadband project is not involved in the administration of this scheme, and all enquiries should be made through the above website.

Better broadband connection vouchers

Finally, if neither of the above schemes are right for you (or if you are not a business), the Government has recently announced an extension to the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme.

If you currently experience poor broadband speeds, or are unable to obtain an affordable broadband service at all, the scheme will provide you with access to a basic broadband service that will offer speeds of at least 2 Mb per second, and usually much higher.

The scheme will ensure that no household or business will need to pay more than £400 to access a basic broadband service over a 12-month period.

If you take advantage of this scheme, your household or business will still be eligible for a superfast broadband service in the future.

Households and businesses that are eligible to take advantage of the scheme will be provided with a unique code that will cover most of the cost of the installation and commissioning of a basic broadband service including any necessary equipment.

You will be required to enter into a contract for a minimum of 12 months with one of the suppliers registered under the scheme and pay any remaining cost of installation, the monthly charge for the service they select, and any VAT payable.

The code does not have a specific fixed value but when used to obtain a basic broadband service from a registered supplier it will reduce the total cost by up to £350. The code has no other value and cannot be redeemed in any other way than through the scheme.

Households and businesses can take advantage of the scheme, if they meet the following three criteria.

  • Your home or business is not currently able to access a broadband download speed of at least 2Mb per second.
  • There are no alternative affordable broadband services available to you, which would provide a download speed of at least 2Mb per second.
  • There are no plans to provide superfast broadband to your location within 12 months of your application.

Households and businesses that apply for a subsidy will be asked to confirm there are no alternative affordable broadband services available to them that offer a broadband speed of at least 2 Mb per second.

To apply, visit the Guide to the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme page on our website.

Parish-level mapping for parish council websites – update

Thanks to those parishes who responded to our last newsletter stating that they would be interested in parish-level mapping to go onto local websites. Out data team will be working on this over the next few months and we’ll advise in a future edition how you can access this facility.

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

What is FTTP on demand?

We have recently had a number of enquiries where the BT DSL checker suggests that a product called Fibre on Demand (FoD or FTTPoD) is available, offering speeds of up to 330Mbps.

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

How do I switch to a different broadband provider?

You may wish to transfer suppliers 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 important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area.

There are impartial sources of advice, such as:

You can also use various comparison websites to check this – we’ve listed a few below. Please remember that 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.

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

60,000 households and businesses looking forward to a fibre broadband Christmas thanks to multi-million pound CSW Broadband

60,000 households and businesses looking forward to a fibre broadband Christmas thanks to multi-million pound CSW Broadband

The CSW Broadband Project – led by Warwickshire County Council and BT Group – has delivered some early Christmas cheer by confirming 60,000 households and businesses are now able to get high-speed broadband thanks to the partnership’s multi-million pound roll-out.

The technology has recently become available in parts of Baginton, Clifford Chambers, Lower Tysoe and the Longbridge area of Warwick.

Local people are urged to keep checking whether they can access the technology by logging onto CSW Broadband’s new online map – www.cswbroadband.org.uk/latestmap – which is designed to give local households and businesses more detail than ever before about the roll-out.

The pace of the roll-out and the mixture of technology being used by engineers from Openreach – the business responsible for Britain’s largest telephone and broadband network – means more properties are going ‘live’ on a regular basis.

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

Councillor Kam Kaur, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation for lead partner Warwickshire County Council, said: “It is amazing to realise that, just three and a half years since the first CSW Broadband cabinet went live, over 60,000 premises can now connect to the fibre network. This is a real step-change and shows that this public investment is making massive improvements to our local infrastructure.

“In the early days of the project many people didn’t realise the benefits that faster broadband would bring. Now it is commonplace to stream films and music, work from home in real-time, and share massive files with people around the world. There is still a lot more coverage to come between now and the end of 2019, and the team are actively seeking additional funding to take the fibre network still further.”

Steve Haines, Managing Director of Next Generation Access for Openreach, said: “Increasingly, fibre broadband has become the ‘must have’ technology for families and businesses, which is why we’re working hard to make it available to as many people as possible, even in the most remote parts of Warwickshire.

“It’s particularly important to have access to high-speed broadband at this time of the year when many of us use the internet more than usual for leisure and entertainment. Having high-speed broadband can make online shopping and ‘click and collect’ services quick and convenient, and staying in touch with loved ones abroad much easier.”

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

Existing underground ducting is used wherever possible.

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Newsletter — November 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

  • Have you checked lately?
  • Is your property an unknown?
  • Chamber ICT Business Support
  • Improve your WiFi router performance
  • Parish-level mapping for parish council websites
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Have you checked lately?

Have you checked lately to see if superfast broadband is available to you yet? When new infrastructure goes live we try to inform people that they can now order a service form a choice of providers.

However, we can’t always do this. Maybe we don’t have your full details so haven’t been able to connect your record to a particular structure, or it could be that you were previously on a long line, an exchange only line, or are in an area where we have carried out an FTTP (fibre to the premise) intervention.

In these cases, we try to determine who will benefit from the new service, but because of the way in which telecoms infrastructure works this is not an exact science. So, it’s worth checking just to see if your status has changed.

The best way to see if you have a live service yet is to use the BT DSL checker. It will tell you when your line is ready to accept orders. To use the checker, either enter a BT landline telephone number (including area code) or your address (you need to click the link below the number box).

Please do not use the postcode checker as it is not accurate enough to be of any help! If you need it, our handy ‘How to use the BT Line Checker’ guide will help you to make sense of the DSL Checker results.

Don’t forget that you will need to upgrade to a superfast broadband package through your chosen ISP. The access is on a wholesale basis, which means that many ISPs can use the infrastructure to provide their services.

If you are not yet able to receive a superfast service, and are not sure if we have your full contact details (for a lot of records we have only an email address), please re-register through our online system.

Is your property an unknown?

Some properties on our map have an orange triangle on them, indicating that they are unknown, but what does that actually mean? In some cases, the information held by the infrastructure providers is incomplete or not up to date, and premises may be shown as unknown.

These are often (but not exclusively) properties that were under construction at the time that the underlying map was created by Ordnance Survey. We are working to address these anomalies. If your property has an orange triangle on it please contact us at broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

Chamber ICT Business Support

Coventry​ ​and​ ​Warwickshire​ ​Chamber​ ​of​ ​Commerce​ ​has​ ​launched​ ​its​ ​new​ ​ICT​ ​Business Support​ ​service, ​ ​funded​ ​through​ ​European​ ​Regional​ ​Development​ ​Funding​ ​and​ ​working​ ​in partnership​ ​with​ ​CSW Broadband.​ ​

The​ ​Chamber​ ​will​ ​be​ ​providing​ ​a​ ​package​ ​of ICT​ ​support​ ​for​ ​SMEs​ (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) ​across​ ​Coventry​ ​and​ ​Warwickshire​ ​that​ ​includes​ ​specialist​ ​1:1​ ​advice, a​ ​range​ ​of​ ​masterclasses​ ​and​ ​workshops,​ ​and​ ​funding​ ​towards​ ​implementing​ ​Superfast Broadband.​

​SMEs​ ​across​ ​Coventry​ ​and​ ​Warwickshire​ ​can​ ​access​ ​a​ ​complete​ ​end-to-end service,​ ​aimed​ ​at​ ​businesses​ ​that​ ​are​ ​looking​ ​to​ ​effect​ ​transformational​ ​change​ ​through​ ​the use​ ​of​ ​technology​ ​and​ ​faster​ ​connectivity.

The​ ​specialist​ ​team​ ​will​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​support​ ​on​ ​a​ ​range​ ​of​ ​ICT​ ​issues,​ ​including accessing​ ​“the​ ​cloud”,​ ​optimising​ ​your​ ​digital​ ​media​ ​and​ ​keeping​ ​yourself​ ​safe​ ​online. You​ ​may​ ​be​ ​struggling​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​which​ ​technologies​ ​are​ ​available,​ ​or​ ​just​ ​getting​ ​to grips​ ​with​ ​​ ​the​ ​jargon​ ​within​ ​the​ ​industry.​

The Chamber’s​ ​specialist​ ​advisors​ ​can​ ​explain​ ​the​ ​benefits​ ​of new​ ​technologies​ ​and​ ​ support​ ​businesses​ ​to​ ​take​ ​up superfast​ ​broadband​ ​by​ ​reducing​ ​the​ ​cost-barrier. The aim is to​ ​enable transformational​ ​change​ ​by​ ​assisting​ ​businesses​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the​ ​right​ ​choices​ ​for​ ​their business.

To​ ​help​ ​with​ ​this,​ ​a​ ​Connection​ ​Voucher​ ​is​ ​available​ ​that​ ​will​ ​offer​ ​match-funded​ ​grants​ ​to help​ ​the​ ​SME​ ​to​ ​actually​ ​implement​ ​the​ ​change​ ​and​ ​to​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​the​ ​new technologies.​ ​

The​ ​voucher​ ​is to​ ​be​ ​used​ ​towards​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​a​ ​complete​ ​end-to-end​ ​solution, including: a​ ​Superfast​ ​connection​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Internet; Networking​ ​within​ ​the​ ​business,​ ​either​ ​wireless​ ​or​ ​cabled,​ ​as​ ​appropriate; Equipment​ ​and​ ​software​ ​to​ ​implement​ ​transformational​ ​business.

Masterclasses​ ​–​ ​coming​ ​soon​ ​in​ ​2018. The Chamber​ ​will​ ​deliver​ ​a​ ​range​ ​of​ ​workshops​ ​and​ ​masterclasses​ ​on​ ​topics​ ​such​ ​as​ ​Social​ ​Media, Online​ ​Marketing,​ ​Staying​ ​Safe​ ​Online​ ​and​ ​the​ ​impact​ ​​Superfast​ ​Broadband​ ​connectivity can​ ​have​ ​on​ ​your​ ​businesses​ ​productivity​ ​and​ ​efficiency. To​ ​find​ ​out​ ​more​ ​please​ ​call​ ​Coventry​ ​and​ ​Warwickshire​ ​Chamber​ ​on​ ​02476​ ​654​ ​321​ ​to speak​ ​with​ ​an​ ​advisor​ ​today.

Improve your WiFi router performance

So many of us rely on wireless routers these days but are you getting the best performance from your equipment? Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to in-property broadband speeds. Try these handy hints:

  • Find the best place to put your router. You may not want to have it on show, but your router does need a clear path around your home. Try putting it onto a high shelf to make sure that nothing gets in the way. Also check that the antennae (if there are any) are fully extended, with one vertical one horizontal if there are two of them
  • Get rid of interference. All electrical equipment emits interference, with some items being more problematic than others. Cordless phones, baby monitors and microwaves are among the worst culprits. Position your router away from these items, and consider purchasing, or asking your ISP for, a dual-band router that will use a wider range of frequencies
  • Consider using a booster. If you can’t move your router then a booster may be the answer. These inexpensive gadgets can be placed around the house to improve your WiFi signal. Check that the router and the booster are compatible before buying!
  • For those who are more technically proficient, there are firmware upgrades that you can carry out to improve your router’s performance. Google for information relating to your specific router.
  • Upgrade your router. Technology moves on, and you may find that this is the only way to improve performance. If your ISP will issue a new router then go for it. If you have to buy a new router then you could be looking at an expensive upgrade, so check comparison sites and technology reviews carefully.

Parish-level mapping for parish council websites

Our data team are looking at future improvements to the website. One of the features that is being considered is the provision of mapping, together with suitable text, which can be placed straight onto parish council websites.

The advantage is that this would take people straight to the area that they are likely to be interested in, and the underlying data would be maintained by the CSW Broadband team so that it would always be up to date.

Do you maintain a parish council website? Would you be interested in including this facility in your site? If so, please drop us an email to: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

There is no symbol on my property, what does that mean?

This means that superfast broadband may be available to you now. This would be either through the earlier CSW Broadband rollout or through commercial providers who have disclosed that it is planned to be covered by the end of 2019.

Because the latter information is provided to us in commercial confidence, we are unfortunately not able to state which provider has said that they will go to a particular area.

To find out if Superfast broadband is already available at your property, you can use either the BT or Virgin line checkers to see if one of these companies is providing a service now. The How to use the BT DSL Line checker page on our website contains a handy guide to interpreting the results of the BT checker.

We do not have checkers for independent providers, so you may have to ask around locally.

If broadband is not yet available, it should be by the end of 2019. To see whether you are in the CSW Broadband programme you should first check our interactive map. We regret that we have no information about commercial providers’ rollout plans.

My property has a Purple Star on it, what does that mean?

Work is underway in this area as part of Contract 2. You can find a list of the work that is being undertaken on our Rolling 12-Month Plan. Work is carried out in Waves.

Waves start at 3-monthly intervals and each Wave could take approximately 12 months to complete once it enters the build stage, meaning that there will be more than one Wave running at any time.

It should be noted that Contract 2 data is supplied to us at postcode level only. Therefore, the purple star is our best estimate of which properties will benefit from the current rollout.

As we always make clear, there is a lot of surveying and other work to take place, so until the service has gone live at a particular property it is not possible to say with any degree of certainty what speeds will actually be achieved, since there are so many variables.

The rolling 12-month plan may indicate that a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) upgrade is to take place in your area. Please use the BT DSL checker to establish which cabinet your property is connected to.

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 BT postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use.

You can then check the specific cabinet on our Rolling 12-Month Plan. The How to use the BT DSL Line checker page on our website contains a handy guide to interpreting the results of the BT checker.

If your upgrade is shown on the Rolling 12-Month Plan as Exchange Only (EO) or Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) then there is no cabinet to upgrade and it will not be until the service actually goes live that you can use the BT DSL checker to see if you will benefit from this work.

My property has a Blue Star on it, what does that mean?

Your property is in an area that is currently under investigation for Contract 2. This is all subject to survey and there is a lot of work still to do before we can give details of when the rollout will actually occur in every area.

The rollout commenced in early 2016 and will continue until 2019. However, we are working to accelerate this and over the next few months will be working closely with BT to ensure that we gain maximum efficiencies from the programming. This approach has borne fruit with Contract 1.

The work is being announced in Waves, with new Waves coming on-stream every 3 months. Each Wave may take up to 12 months to build, so that several Waves will be running at any time.

Mapping the coverage is difficult. It should be noted that Contract 2 data is supplied to us at postcode level only, but telecoms infrastructure does not follow postcodes. In fact, as the surveys progress we are finding that we have some postcodes that are served by a number of different 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!

As we move further into the programme, we are seeing the introduction of different technologies such as FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) and also more Exchange Only lines which use new infrastructure rather than an existing cabinet.

Due to the complex nature of the work and the different technologies that are involved, it is therefore impossible to say with any degree of certainty, which specific properties will be able to connect to the new service or what speeds a particular property might be able to achieve until the service has actually gone live.

By registering through our website and providing us with the information we need, we can contact you once the work has been completed and the service is live and ready for you to order from a selection of Internet Service Providers.

My property has a Yellow Star on it, what does that mean?

These properties are currently under investigation for Contract 3. The actual rollout will commence in 2018 and will be completed by the end of 2019.

Until full investigations have been carried out, we cannot give further information about Contract 3 upgrades, however work will be announced in Waves, with each Wave taking up to 12 months to complete.

As we move further into the programme, we are seeing the introduction of different technologies such as FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) and also more Exchange Only lines which use new infrastructure rather than an existing cabinet.

Due to the complex nature of the work and the different technologies that are involved, it is therefore impossible to say with any degree of certainty, which specific properties will be able to connect to the new service or what speeds a particular property might be able to achieve until the service has actually gone live.

By registering through our website and providing us with the information we need, we can contact you once the work has been completed and the service is live and ready for you to order from a selection of Internet Service Providers.

My property has a Purple Pentagon on it, what does this mean?

Prior to going out to tender for Contract 3 we carried out an Open Market Review, under which all commercial providers were asked to state where they would be providing superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2019.

Purple pentagons on the map represent properties in areas where an independent provider has previously said that they would provide coverage, but they may not have done so yet. Under State Aid rules our project is not allowed to intervene in these areas.

We will be reviewing Under Review areas on an annual basis to establish if the work is likely to be carried out. If the supplier is unlikely to be able to complete the work then the area would be eligible for consideration for future interventions under this project, should additional funding become available.

We are continually actively seeking additional funding.

My property has a Red Pentagon on it, what does that mean?

Your property is 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.

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.

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 — October 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

 

Contract 2, Wave 8 announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

New mapping, including Contract 3 now live

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

Area-level information – given at postcode level:

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

Property-level information indicates:

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

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

We will continue to refine our mapping processes.

Local Full Fibre Networks

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

Become a Local Broadband Champion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling all parish councils!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

What is the difference between superfast and ultrafast broadband?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

Posted in Project News, Newsletter Archive | Comments closed

Newsletter — September 2017

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

Topics in this edition:

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

Contract 3 now awarded

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

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

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

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

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

Areas to be covered by Contract 3, Part 1

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

Coventry to be included for the first time

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

The procurement process

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

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

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

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

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

Future progress

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

Recent Government announcement

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

Business support

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

Autumn events

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

Calling all parish councils! (3)

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

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

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

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

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

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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