Newsletter — June 2016

282 cabinets live to date

Over 49,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Act Quickly! Broadband and line rental for just £61 a year
  • Ofcom’s small business portal
  • So what are the issues facing businesses?
  • Future funding to extend the CSW Broadband network?
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Act Quickly! Broadband and line rental for just £61 a year

www.MoneySavingExpert.com has details of a great deal from Sky. Standard broadband packages from the regular suppliers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin etc. cost around £300-£450 a year. This offer is for a year’s contract, paid by Direct Debit. With half-price line rental and “free” broadband, plus £50 bill credit. Unfortunately it is not available to existing Sky customers, or if you have had the service in the past 12 months.

However there are only 15,000 codes available, so you need to get in quickly. To apply follow this link: https://promotioncode.sky.com/campaigns/sab50credit?DCMP=afc-726842&affiliate=true

Ofcom’s small business portal

We all find the jargon around broadband to be confusing, but for consumers there are clear rights that are enshrined in law to ensure that we get a fair deal. However for businesses the case is not so simple, and it can be hard to know where to find clear impartial advice.

Ofcom has a great section on its website giving advice for businesses on a range of subjects related to landlines, mobiles, Internet services and postal services. The different topic areas (which each cover all of the above subjects) include The Basics (a starter pack for businesses); Choosing a service and provider; Jargon buster; Changing provider, Contracts; Knowing your rights; What to do if something goes wrong; Keeping connected abroad; Help for disabled business customers and Useful links and other organisations.

This really should be your first port of call if you are running, or thinking of setting up, a business: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/ofcom-for-business-consumers

So what are the issues facing businesses?

The best way to find out what the issues are is to ask the businesses themselves. In September 2015 the Federation of Small Businesses published their second report into business broadband connectivity. Entitled “Reassured, Optimised, Transformed: Driving Digital Demand among Small Businesses” the report looks at the opportunities presented by the uptake of digital technologies and the barriers that prevent businesses from taking up the new ways of working. Not surprisingly, infrastructure availability is a big factor here! The report then goes on to make a number of policy suggestions, some of which are already being implemented, or at least discussed more widely with a view to implementation. The report can be found here: http://www.fsb.org.uk/docs/default-source/Publications/reports/fsb-telecoms-report—september-2015(2).pdf?sfvrsn=0

Future funding to extend the CSW Broadband network?

As regular readers will know, the work under the first CSW Broadband Contract is almost complete, and Contract 2, Part 2 is getting underway. In fact, we hope to announce in July the areas that are to be covered under Wave 3 of the current rollout.

BT have been asked to model further coverage to the value of just over £9.5m, and this will form Contract 2, Part 2. Once we get the data back from BT it will be analysed and mapped, and we will be in a position to make an announcement about the additional rollout in the autumn of this year.

However, even with all of this work there will be significant areas that will have no superfast coverage, and these include businesses. We are acutely aware of the particular issues that businesses face, and work closely with both the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and The Federation of Small Businesses to more fully understand and address the economic impacts of poor broadband.

We have recently submitted a bid to the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership for £4.3m Local Growth Deal funding that is specifically aimed at addressing the connectivity problems that businesses face. We are also in discussions with Coventry City Council about extending this rollout into the city area. We expect to hear the outcome of the bid as part of the Autumn Statement and are actively seeking additional funding to take the network still further. A new procurement will be required, so it is likely to be some considerable time before we get close to modelling the further coverage, but we will keep you updated on progress.

In order to work on this bid we need to know where all of the businesses are in Warwickshire and Coventry. On our latest map business premises are shown with a red border. We would like to thank everyone who has sent through further information and we are working on this to further refine the map. However, if you are running a business, please take a moment to check the map and let us know if your premises are not shown or if they do not have a red border. http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/your-area/broadband-checker

Copy for your own website or newsletter

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

Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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