Newsletter – December 2021

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

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • CSW Project updates – LFFN programme nears completion
  • FREE mobile Wi-Fi routers for those with super-slow broadband speeds
  • Thousands of homes & businesses in Rugby to benefit from Openreach’s Fibre First programme
  • Ofcom’s End-of-Contract notifications deliver broadband savings for customers
  • Tools to help you calculate your business broadband needs
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Your questions answered

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Another 14 Contract 3 structures have gone live since our last newsletter was published in mid-September. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Brinklow, Burton Dassett, Corley, Earlswood, Hampton Lucy, Honington, Marton, Meriden, Monks Kirby, Offchurch, Piccadilly, Tanworth in Arden, Tidmington & Weethley.

As a result of this, nearly 76,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project.

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

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

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

You might like to use a broadband comparison site such as, Broadband Choices, BroadbandProviders, Compare the Market 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, including a recently updated list of ISPs offering FTTP services in our area.

CSW Project updates – LFFN programme nears completion

Our work on the LFFN Programme is nearing completion with 207 of the 220 sites now completed. As mentioned previously, through the LFFN programme, we have used the sum of nearly £3.9 million that we were awarded to bring full fibre gigabit connectivity to 220 public sector buildings across Warwickshire.

Another 8 sites will be completed before December 31st, with the final five due for completion by February 2022 at the latest.

Of the 220 sites benefitting from this scheme, 159 are schools – including 138 primary schools, 12 secondary school, 5 nursery schools and 4 community special schools.

The other 61 sites that have been upgraded include a total of 19 libraries, 12 fire stations, 5 hospitals, 5 social services buildings, 4 county council or district council offices, 3 community centres, 2 registry offices, 2 museums and a justice centre amongst others.

Nearly 1000 residential and business properties in close proximity to these sites will also be able to take advantage of having a full fibre connection as a result of our LFFN work and it is hoped that suppliers will use this as a springboard to bring the benefits of full fibre to an even wider community in these areas now that the new network is in place.

FREE mobile Wi-Fi routers for those with super-slow broadband speeds

If super-slow broadband speeds are having a negative impact on your household or business, we may be able to help you through our Mobile Broadband Connectivity Project.

We’ve recently been testing a number of mobile Wi-Fi broadband devices in areas that are yet to benefit from a fibre broadband upgrade and the uplift in speeds has been very impressive in some of these areas.

CSW has now bought a limited number of these devices and we are now looking for residents and businesses in Warwickshire to help. Under the terms of the project, we would provide you with the equipment free of charge for a period of at least six months.

Those who are experiencing the slowest speeds are the ones who are most likely to benefit from this project, so if you are getting speeds of 5Mbps or less then please get in touch. (You can check what speeds your business can currently achieve using the the BT Broadband Availability Checker. Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of the Broadband Checker results).

Simply email with your name, address, postcode and landline number as well as a very brief description of how slow broadband speeds are having a negative impact on your household or business.

Once we have received this information, we will need to check the mobile coverage with the different mobile network operators in your area to see whether we will be able to provide you with a solution.

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

Thousands of homes & businesses in Rugby to benefit from Openreach’s Fibre First programme

In a press release on the 17th November, Openreach announced plans to build a new ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘full fibre’ broadband network in Rugby, which will see thousands of people living and working in the town benefit from this major broadband upgrade through their Fibre First programme.

This latest announcement is in addition to the news that we reported in September, whereby the majority of homes and businesses served by the Alcester, Atherstone, Curdworth, Fillongley, Harbury, Hurley, Kineton, Moreton Morrell, Newton Regis, Nuneaton, Pebworth, Shipston on Stour, Snitterfield, Southam, Welford on Avon, Wellesbourne and Wolston exchanges will also benefit from an upgrade to full fibre.

Openreach had already announced their intention to upgrade the majority of properties served by the Bidford on Avon, Coleshill, Exhall, Henley in Arden, Lapworth and Stratford upon Avon exchanges in Warwickshire as well as the Berkswell, Hampton in Arden, Meriden, Shirley & Solihull exchanges in Solihull, bringing it to a total of 29 exchange areas across our region.

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

Ofcom’s End-of-Contract notifications deliver broadband savings for customers

Research from the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has found that 1.3 million broadband ISP customers have secured better deals as a result of their new End-of-Contract Notification (ECN) system.

ECN was introduced in February 2020 for all fixed broadband, mobile, home phone and pay TV providers. It was designed to help tackle the so-called ‘loyalty penalty’ by keeping customers informed about the best deals and encouraging switching or moving to a better broadband package at the end of their contract, when staying with their existing ISP would often see prices rise, often significantly.

Enough time has now passed that Ofcom can finally assess the impact of these changes and the results appear to be broadly positive.

For example, Ofcom stated, “There is evidence that indicates that these time prompts from providers are working. In our research, two thirds of customers who were sent an end-of-contract notice recalled receiving one. Of those, 90% found it helpful and a fifth reported that they were prompted into action they would not have otherwise taken.”

Further information on this research study can be found in the ISP Review’s Ofcom’s End-of-Contract Notifications Deliver Broadband Savings article. More information on End-of-Contract Notifications can be found on Ofcom’s website.

Tools to help you calculate your business broadband needs

While most speed test tools are designed with residential broadband users in mind, it can be a much more complicated affair for business broadband users when trying to work out what bandwidth speed requirements they need to run their day-to-day operations successfully.

A number of factors need to be considered, for example when setting up a VoIP phone system. These include dealing with issues such as ‘jitter’, which can have an impact on both video and call quality.

If you are trying to run a business from a rural area or on an FTTC or ADSL connection, upload speeds can be radically slower than download speeds, which can again have a serious impact on how your business can operate effectively.

Amvia’s business broadband speed checker and VoIP calculator have been designed with these factors in mind.

For example, the VoIP calculator can help businesses to discover how much bandwidth they need to allocate to effectively run their VoIP system, whether it is for one or over 100 users.

So for any businesses – whether large or small – who are struggling to get to grips with such requirements, the VoIP calculator used in conjunction with the business speed test, can help give you the valuable information you need to help guide your network and IT based decisions to adequately meet your business needs.

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Your questions answered

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

How do I switch to a different broadband provider?

You may wish to transfer broadband for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Poor quality of service
  • You need additional features that your current internet service provider (ISP) does not offer
  • You think the deal you are subscribed to is not providing good value for money
  • You are moving house/business premises

First of all, check if the contract period you signed for with your existing supplier has expired. Contracts are generally for either 12, 18 or 24 months. Most contracts require you to give your ISP a month’s notice.

If it hasn’t expired, you may be liable for a cancellation fee or even the balance of the fee until the contract runs out. It’s your choice if you decide you want to buy yourself out of a contract that hasn’t yet expired.

It is also important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area. BroadbandUK’s website is particularly useful for this as it allows consumers to search for broadband providers and packages by their exact address rather than just by postcode area.

There are a number of comparison sites available and we’ve listed a few more of these below that you may want to take a look at before making a decision:

Finally, if you are thinking about switching your broadband provider, the Which? and Moneysaving Expert websites offer some invaluable (and impartial) advice and information which you may find useful.

Are there any alternative broadband solutions available?

If there is no fibre deployment specifically planned for your area, either through the CSW Broadband Project or through commercial providers, there are a number of alternative options that you could look into.

For example, your community may want to consider a Fibre Community Partnership solution. Before embarking on such a scheme you may wish to bear in mind that these can take time to organise and may require local activists to lead the project.

Of course, any community solution will need to be paid for and a good place to start is the Government’s Gigabit Voucher Scheme. Under the scheme, those eligible for the funding can use vouchers worth £1,500 per home and up to £3,500 for each small to medium-sized business (SME) to support the cost of installing these fast and reliable connections with gigabit-capable speeds.

The individual vouchers can be pooled together to pay towards the overall cost of the build for that community, which helps to ensure the best value for all concerned.

Another option worth looking into is mobile broadband. This technology relies on a good mobile broadband connection so it is important to check the mobile coverage in your area before committing.

You can do this by using the mobile coverage checkers available on the individual mobile network operators (MNO) websites or by using the Ofcom mobile and broadband checker where you can check to check the coverage of all four MNOs in one place.

Although mobile coverage has historically been a bit hit and miss in some rural areas, network coverage is improving and increasing thanks to schemes like the Shared Rural Network, which may make this a more viable option.

There are now a number of mobile Wi-Fi router devices on the market which, combined with an external antenna, can really improve your mobile broadband connections / speeds (depending on the coverage in your area) which may also be worth researching.

Finally, you may wish to consider a satellite-based solution such as Spacex’s Starlink or OneWeb, the BT and the government-backed satellite maker which aims to provide rural broadband to people cut off from the UK’s fibre networks.

Both of these work through a system of hundreds of fridge-sized satellites orbiting around the earth to provide consistent broadband coverage to subscribers.

Although these systems may not come cheap, some of those who have suffered with sluggish internet for years believe that it is a price worth paying and there is evidence to suggest that the cost for the hardware is starting to come down.

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

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