Newsletter — December 2012

Topics in this edition:

  • New data received – 45,000 more properties to get superfast – are you covered?
  • Consultation period extended
  • CSW broadband creates early improvements on the ground
  • Champions role is even more vital now
  • Top questions this month
  • Don’t forget to complete the surveys on our website: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

Firstly an apology for sending out this email over Christmas!

As you will read below we have had a lot going on lately and wanted to make sure that you have access to the most up-to-date information. Our consultation period has been extended because new supplier data has been received, so please read on to find out if your area is to be covered for superfast broadband.

May we also take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas holiday and we hope that 2013 brings you all that you wish for.

New data received – 45,000 more properties to get superfast – are you covered?

As a result of our pre-procurement discussions with the broadband providers we have received updated Open Market Review data that shows an extra 44,690 properties now being brought into the commercial roll-out, meaning that the money within the CSW Broadband project will go that much further. This is a real achievement by our superfast broadband team, and the work is continuing.

Broadband speeds and availability are affected by a number of factors such as distance from the communications cabinets or exchange (if you have a direct connection to the exchange). Our revised maps and postcode checker show areas that can, or will by 2015, receive at least 2Mbps or will receive superfast speeds (minimum 24Mbps) under the commercial providers’ roll-out plans.

Even if you have responded to the consultation previously please take a look at the new data and do so again. This is crucial because once we close the extended consultation on January 20th we will be preparing our Invitation to Tender and the data that we have at that point will form part of our contract with the successful bidder. Visit http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/whats-happening/procurement/

Consultation period extended

As a result of the new data the pre-procurement public consultation period has been extended to 20th January 2013 so that all communities can respond and can let the project know about their particular situation. The project team would particularly like to hear from areas where there have been significant numbers of new houses built over the past 5 years or so, but which have been omitted from the commercial broadband programme. We also want to hear from areas that appear to be earmarked for broadband development but where there are specific problems such as distance from the cabinet that might make it difficult to get superfast speeds.

We have introduced a simplified consultation response form to make it easier for you to send information about your location and any factors that may affect your broadband coverage (either positively so that we can try to get you an early upgrade, or negatively so that we can make sure that you are covered either by the commercial roll-out or by our project). Full details of coverage and how to respond is on the project website http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/whats-happening/procurement/

Please remember that we do still need to get the online surveys for residents and businesses completed as that is how we will understand the speeds that you are really getting (as opposed to the “up to” speeds that providers quote) and how you will show that there is a good level of demand in your area.

CSW broadband creates improvements on the ground

CSW Broadband has been gathering information from communities about the broadband challenges that they face and where the local infrastructure, such as communications cabinets, are located. As a result of the information received the project has been able to convince BT to upgrade cabinets at Warwick Gates and at Coton Park in Rugby, giving local residents and businesses superfast speeds far earlier than they would otherwise have achieved this.

Thanks to the information provided by our local communities through their Local Broadband Champions and the surveys on our website, our team has been in discussions with BT about areas that have been omitted from their commercial roll-out plans. At both Warwick Gates and Coton Park we were able to show that there were sufficient potential subscribers for superfast broadband services to make a clear business case for BT to invest in these areas. Could your area be eligible for an early upgrade? Are there factors (such as new development) that may not have been taken into account? We have a narrow window to influence this so please contact the CSW broadband team without delay. Email broadband@warwickshire.gov.uk

Champions role is even more vital now

Our Community Broadband Champions have been carrying out a fantastic job in raising public awareness of the project and ensuring that the surveys are returned. However that role is even more vital now. By studying the maps that form part of our public consultation it is possible to see just how little of the region will receive superfast broadband through the commercial roll-out. We need to show that there is demand in all areas to ensure that we have the best possible chance of proving the commercial sense in upgrading as much of the region as possible. The more that we can do to influence the providers’ plans ahead of our intervention the further our money will go in the areas that really need it.

Therefore it is essential that we continue to encourage people to complete the residential and business surveys, which are available here: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/csw-surveys/

Please remember that the consultation maps are not definitive, and that providers’ plans can and do change. As an example, several years ago BT said they would never upgrade the Kineton exchange as there was no business case. We therefore worked with local residents to help set up a social enterprise to offer broadband services and ran a successful series of events in the local pub, with a satellite broadband provider who was going to be offering the services. A huge number of people signed up so that we knew that the service would be viable – and a week later BT announced that it would be upgrading the Kineton exchange! Technology (and demand) moves on and the exchange is once again in need of upgrade, but it shows that if a business case can be proven then BT can and will enable upgrades to take place, and as you have read above we have had recent successes at Warwick Gates and Coton Park.

We hope to have more news on more successes in the next newsletter.

Do you have a Champion for your area? Could you take on this role? To find out what the Broadband Community Champions’ role involves check out our Champions page: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/downloads-resources/for-community-champions/

To see if you have a Champion for your area take a look at our Champions map: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/downloads-resources/maps-showing-champions-locations-and-survey-responses/

Top questions this month:

What improvement will I see and when?

As for what speeds will go where and when, it is impossible for us to say at the moment. Designing and rolling out a network will need to be done in a systematic way, and to a great extent will be governed by what is already in place and where the greatest level of demand has been shown. If you take a look at the maps or check your postcode on our website, you will see whether you are in an area that is included in the suppliers current roll-out plans and what speeds you might achieve (ie whether the minimum 2Mbps (which could be up to 23Mbps) or superfast speeds (24Mbps +)

If you are in an area that is not planned for commercial rollout then you will fall into the scope for our project, but either way we can’t say exactly when you will see an improvement.

What can I do to make sure that my area gets an improvement?

The best thing to do at this stage is to respond to our consultation before 20th January. The data collected from these sources will inform our Invitation to Tender. Once the consultation has closed we will continue to collect the survey data, but at that stage the areas in which we can operate will be fixed. The survey data will be used throughout the project to help inform our network design.

I am a Broadband Champion — does this mean my job is done?

No. As above we will be continuing to collect survey data. In addition it is likely that once a contractor is appointed we will need information from our champions to inform the network design and to help us to keep residents informed as to what is happening. The role of the Champions is likely to develop as the project progresses, so we are still actively recruiting.

I live in an area with aluminium cabling — does this matter?

Yes. As aluminium does not conduct in the same way as copper or fibre it can be a massive barrier to achieving even USC speeds. If you live in an area with aluminium cabling we need to hear from you. Please complete the consultation response form appropriately

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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