Newsletter – December 2020

Over 73,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • CSW Project updates – LFFN programme
  • Comparing the service quality of different broadband providers – Ofcom report
  • Looking for cheap broadband? Useful info on comparing & switching broadband providers
  • Case studies needed – Tell us your story!
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Since our last newsletter went out at the end of September, another 42 Contract 3 structures have gone live. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Alderman’s Green, Ansley, Arley, Ansty, Beausale, Bidford on Avon, Binley, Churchover, Coombe Fields, Corley, Fenny Compton, Exhall (near Alcester), Frankton, Freasley, Hockley Heath, Honington, Kenilworth, Lapworth, Leamington Spa, Little Compton, Lower Norton, Offchurch, Oldbury, Nuneaton, Preston Bagot, Ryton on Dunsmore, Stretton on Dunsmore, Studley, Watergall and Whitley Hill.

As a result of this, over 73,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular cabinet or structure upgrade has been completed, we will try and inform as many of the affected residents as possible.

Remember, once your property has been upgraded, you won’t get a faster service automatically. You need to order the improved service with your chosen ISP (Internet Service Provider) to benefit from the upgrade.

To check on your property’s superfast status, enter your landline number or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results.

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

If your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need.

CSW Project updates – LFFN Programme

Our work on the LFFN Programme is progressing well with nearly 150 of the sites now surveyed and moving through to the build phase. This includes 105 schools and 43 other public buildings such as libraries and fire stations. Around 20 of these builds are expected to have been completed by the beginning of the New Year.

As we have mentioned in previous newsletters, the CSW Broadband Project is using the £5.7 million we were awarded, in line with Government requirements, to bring full fibre gigabit connectivity to nearly 300 public sector buildings in total across the region.

It is hoped that with the new full fibre network in place that suppliers will then use it as a springboard to bring full fibre to residents and businesses in the wider community as well.

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

Comparing the service quality of different broadband providers – Ofcom report published

At the end of September, Ofcom published their fourth annual report on how service levels compare in telecoms, which may be of interest to some of you.

The purpose of the ‘Comparing customer service: mobile, home broadband and landline’ report is to help people make informed decisions about which provider is best for them as part of Ofcom’s work to ensure fairness for customers.

By shining a light on the performance of the UK’s main mobile, broadband and home phone providers, the report allows people to look beyond the price and see what level of service they can expect from different providers. It also acts as an incentive for providers to improve their customer service.

The report covers customer experiences in 2019 and customer satisfaction level in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic came to the UK. The pandemic is likely to have affected the levels of service received by customers (in areas such as new services and repair times) and this impact will be covered in their next annual report to be published in 2021.

Looking for cheap broadband? Useful info on comparing and switching broadband providers

Each year, millions of us blindly overpay for broadband as costs rocket when promotional deals end. If you are out of contract, MoneySavingExpert.com’s ‘How to get cheap broadband’ guide gives impartial advice on how you can save £100s a year by switching to a different provider.

The guide, which is updated daily, also provides advice on switching during the pandemic, different types of broadband available to you, tools to find the best deals in your area, as well as information on how long it takes to switch provider.

They also provide information on whether you can get the advertised speeds, why you should aim for a package with unlimited data, how to haggle with broadband firms and advice on how to lower your costs with help from your broadband provider if you are struggling financially.

Visit How to get cheap broadband to find out more and you can also use their Broadband Unbundled tool to compare broadband packages available in your area.

Case studies needed – Tell us your story!

If having faster broadband has made a real difference to your life or business, why not tell us about it by submitting a case study.

We regularly appeal for case studies but sadly very few people respond. All we need are a few lines telling us of the difficulties you experienced before you had faster broadband and how life has improved since your property was upgraded.

We would also like to hear from you if your property has not yet benefited from an upgrade. Again, all we need are a few lines telling us of the difficulties experienced and how this is impacting on your household – for example during the recent Covid-19 lockdown.

Submitting a case study, whether relaying a positive or negative experience, can be really useful in supporting our applications for additional funding, to help us take the fibre network to those in areas that are still waiting to experience the benefits of a faster broadband connection.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

As always, we have a range of short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded for use in your own newsletters / websites should you wish to use them.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.

What is FTTP on Demand?

We have recently had a number of enquiries where the BT Broadband Availability Checker suggests that a product called Fibre on Demand (FoD or FTTPoD) is available, offering speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

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

It is easy to get native Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) services confused with FTTPoD because the two solutions function in identical ways, although their cost, contract and deployment methods tend to be significantly different. In a native FTTP setup, which is what CSW is installing, the fibre optic cable will have been installed outside your property (e.g. down your street), which makes it fairly quick and inexpensive to get connected.

By comparison FTTPoD is designed to be requested (‘on demand‘) in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) capable areas where the fibre optic cables have yet to reach specific properties. In some cases, this will attract significant distance-based construction charges (civil works) costing thousands of pounds.

Because of the high costs involved (and often the requirement for a much longer than standard contract), very few providers actually offer FTTPoD. Some that we are aware of include Cerberus Networks and FluidOne. It’s worth doing your homework as there may well be others.

This is likely to remain a niche product for those who are prepared to pay the additional installation charges and a higher ongoing monthly cost.

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

Unfortunately, this is outside the remit of the CSW Broadband Project as our role is only to install the fibre network. This is an issue that you will have to take up with your ISP as it is down to them to arrange for the installation.

Ofcom estimate that there are 7.2 million cases each year where broadband or landline customers suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments but as of 1st April 2019, customers who experience these issues will now be compensated without even having to ask.

Under the terms of the agreement, if an engineer does not arrive on schedule or cancels within 24 hours, the compensation will be £25. If a service stops working and is not fully fixed after two working days, customers will be entitled to £8 a day in compensation.

There will also be £5 per day offered for new services not starting on time.

Please visit the Ofcom website for further details on the automatic compensation scheme.

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

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