Newsletter – March 2022

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

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • Ofcom urges all UK ISPs to support low-income homes by offering discounted packages
  • Thousands of properties in CSW region to benefit from Openreach’s latest Fibre First plans
  • Finding out your data usage can help you get the right broadband package for your household
  • Case studies needed – Tell us your story!
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Your questions answered

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Another 46 Contract 3 structures have now been confirmed as having gone live since our last newsletter was published in December. Some of these have been partially live for some time but we only tend to publish this information once we are sure that all the connections served by those structures have been completed.

The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Alcester Heath, Astley, Bentley, Beoley, Bidford on Avon, Bishops Tachbrook, Bodymoor Heath, Burton Hastings, Caldecote, Clifton on Dunsmore, Dordon, Dunchurch, Fillongley, Freasley Common, Great Alne, Hampton in Arden, Hockley Heath, Knowle, Maxstoke, Meriden, Middleton, Napton, Nuneaton, Over Whitacre, Ratley, Rugby, Shelfield Green, Stockton, Stretton on Dunsmore, Tanworth in Arden & Wolston.

As a result of this, over 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, Compare the Market, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

Ofcom urges all UK ISPs to support low-income homes by offering discounted packages

Consumer broadband services are often considered to be quite reasonably priced in the UK, but there are always those, often in the most disadvantaged groups (i.e. those on a low income or those who are unemployed) who may struggle with paying their bills, a recent ISP Review article notes.

This has become a much bigger problem during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also being made worse by a surge in inflation and the rising cost of key services, such as energy (gas and electric).

According to Ofcom’s new Affordability Report, some 1.1 million households (5% of the UK) are “struggling to afford their home broadband service”.

However, the report also notes that out of an estimated 4.2 million households in receipt of Universal Credit – just 55,000 homes (1.2% of those eligible) have actually taken up one of the cheaper broadband social tariff packages that are available from a number of UK ISPs.

One of the biggest reasons for this has been a sheer lack of consumer awareness around the existence of such tariffs. The regulator has called on all ISPs to do a lot more to raise awareness and ensure it is easy for those eligible to sign-up.

To read the ISP Review article in full, including information on some of the ISPs who are already offering social tariff packages, visit Ofcom finds just 55000 UK Homes on a Social Broadband Tariff.

Thousands of properties in CSW region to benefit from Openreach’s latest Fibre First plans

In late January, Openreach announced plans to build a new ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘full fibre’ broadband network in the Dunchurch and Castle Bromwich exchange areas of the CSW region.

This upgrade could benefit around 9000 homes and businesses across the two exchange areas and is in addition to the work that Openreach has already announced as part of their extensive Fibre First expansion programme across the Warwickshire & Solihull area.

As we have reported previously, over the last couple of years Openreach have stated their intention to upgrade ‘the majority of residential and business properties’ served by 29 exchanges in Warwickshire and another five in Solihull to full fibre.

The Warwickshire exchanges include: Alcester, Atherstone, Bidford on Avon, Coleshill, Curdworth, Exhall, Fillongley, Harbury, Henley in Arden, Hurley, Kineton, Lapworth, Moreton Morrell, Newton Regis, Nuneaton, Pebworth, Rugby, Shipston on Stour, Snitterfield, Southam, Stratford upon Avon, Welford on Avon, Wellesbourne and Wolston.

The exchanges Openreach intend to upgrade in Solihull include: Berkswell, Hampton in Arden, Meriden, Shirley & Solihull. This latest announcement brings it to a total of 31 exchange areas across our region.

While their ‘Where and when we’re building Ultrafast Full Fibre Broadband’ webpage 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.

Finding out your data usage can help you get the right broadband package for your household

When you are looking for the best broadband package to suit your household’s needs, one of the most difficult things to get to grips with is exactly how much data does your household use each month.

For example, playing online games and streaming music uses a lot less data than you might think. On the other hand, those of you binge-watching high definition box sets on Netflix can soon find your data allowance used up in no time if you don’t have an unlimited broadband package.

Fasterbroadband’s broadband usage calculator can help you find out how much data your household is using by giving you an idea of your data usage needs in an average month.

To get your broadband usage estimation, you simply need to answer the twelve questions on their broadband usage calculator web page. These questions will gather information regarding your household’s usage habits, for example: internet browsing, emails sent and received, online gaming and the streaming of music and TV.

The data that is entered into the calculator is anonymous and isn’t stored anywhere. It is used solely for the purpose of the calculation.

While the broadband usage calculator should only be used as a guide, it will give you an indication of your usage, which could be invaluable in helping you to choose a broadband package to suit your household’s needs.

Case studies needed – Tell us your story!

If having faster broadband – whether superfast (over 30 Mbps) or ultrafast (over 100Mbps) – 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 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.

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.

Can CSW Broadband influence how much suppliers charge for their services?

We have no influence over the prices charged by commercial providers. Our role is to extend the wholesale fibre network as far as possible, and we are doing this through the contracts that we hold with Openreach.

As access to the network is available to all suppliers on an equal basis it is a purely commercial decision on the part of an ISP as to which packages they offer and at which price range.

The best thing is to shop around for a deal that is right for you. Please remember that some price 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.

A number of websites, including, Usave and Which? provide useful advice on how to haggle for the best broadband deals which will hopefully save you money at a time when broadband prices are set to rise.

What is the process for ordering and installing an FTTP service?

The ordering and final installation process for the Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solutions that are now being rolled out in Contract 3 of the CSW Broadband Project is a little bit different to the FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) solutions that were predominantly rolled out during Contracts 1 and 2.

‘WBC FTTP’ will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ on the BT Broadband Availability Checker results page, if FTTP is available at your property. For more information on making sense of the results returned from your enquiry, visit our ‘How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker’ webpage.

As the level of full fibre coverage has steadily increased across the UK, so have the number of ISPs offering FTTP packages. For a full list of all the ISPs who have stated that they offer residential and business packages across the CSW region, please visit our Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) webpage.

There are a number of comparison sites that you can use to find the best FTTP broadband package for your needs and your wallet, including:, Broadband Finder, Broadband Choices, Broadband Genie, Broadband Providers, Choose, Comparethemarket and u-Switch.

Whichever ISP you chose to provide your service, the installation process will be similar to that shown in this short installing full fibre to your property film from Openreach.

Once you have ordered a service with your chosen ISP, they will contact Openreach. They will then arrange an appointment to come and fit the service. The engineer will run fibre from the nearest distribution point (either over a pole or via underground ducting) to your property. The fibre will then be connected to a small box on the outside wall of your property at ground level.

The fibre will then be run through your wall to the inside of your property, where the engineer will install a small powered wall-mounted unit that they will then plug your router into.

They will then typically test your full fibre connection on one of your preferred devices to make sure that the service is working properly and that you can start making the most of your faster and more dependable connection.

Finally, it is worth noting that the ‘WBC FTTP’ product should not to be confused with the far more expensive FTTP on Demand – a separate commercial product offered by BT which is NOT being installed through the CSW Broadband Project.

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

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