Newsletter — November 2014

Number of cabinets live to date: 86

Number of properties passed and now able to connect to the fibre network: 17,221

Topics in this edition:

  • Second contract – what is happening? What will we get?
  • Ofcom support for businesses
  • Events on website
  • Questions and Answers

Second contract – what is happening? What will we get?

As regular followers of the project will know, we are currently out to tender for additional coverage and will be receiving our tender on 17th December, with an anticipated contract signing by the end of January. As we have received a number of questions, this article seeks to answer what is happening and when news will be released.

What will the contract provide?

The second contract is for 95% coverage by the end of 2017. It will run alongside the current contract until that ends in March 2016 and will then continue to the end of 2017.

Where is the money coming from?

We have an interesting funding mix:

  • £3.68m from BDUK (who later offered an additional £6m provided we can find the match)
  • £3.68m from Warwickshire County Council
  • £380,000 from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (matched by a similar amount to be taken from the £6m additional BDUK money)

We are therefore out to tender for an initial sum of £8.12m

However, there is still £5.62m available from BDUK that requires match. We hope to find this through:

  • Partner authorities, some of whom have already committed additional funding to the project
  • EU funding, which we hope to hear more about in February/March of next year

This could provide an additional £11.24m if all the BDUK money is matched.

When will we know what the coverage is?

The tender for the second contract is due to be received on 16th December 2014 and we expect that the contract will be signed by the end of January 2015. At that point we can start to map the coverage under the second contract and this will appear as additional Phases on the map alongside the coverage for the first contract – so there will be lots of different colours! This map will show the £8.12m that is being modelled as part of the tender return. The coverage under the second contract can ONLY be used in areas where the commercial rollout and the current contract won’t reach – so areas that are currently showing as white on the map could potentially be brought into the second contract.

As noted above, there is additional funding being sought, and this can be introduced to the project through change control (which has been allowed for under the tendering process). The advantage of this approach is that if our Borough and District partners have areas that they consider to be a high priority, then we can target the coverage – although, as always, there will be a cost/benefit ratio to be considered and some areas may require costly re-engineering of the copper network.

Why will BT get the contract?

We have gone to tender under the BDUK framework. The benefit of this is that it saves going through a full EU tendering process which, in turn, reduces cost and takes far less time. At the present time, the only provider on the BDUK framework contract is BT.

What about the final 5%?

As the BDUK funding is to reach 95%, that is the objective of the second contract. However, our ultimate aim is to achieve the 2020 EU targets with each property receiving a minimum of 30Mbps (which is higher than the current highest target), and we are actively seeking funding to help us to achieve that.

Ofcom support for businesses

Small businesses can now access information and advice to help them make the most of communications services, following the launch of a dedicated online portal from Ofcom.

The site – – includes advice specifically tailored for businesses on choosing or switching to a new provider, as well as information on navigating and negotiating contracts, and resolving complaints with a provider.

The launch of the business portal coincides with the publication of in-depth research to understand how SMEs use communications services, and the quality of experience they receive. This showed that the majority of SMEs (85%) feel well served overall by the communications market, although many have experienced problems with the availability and reliability of communications services.

To further explore these issues, Ofcom is today asking SMEs and communications providers to give their views on current levels of availability, choice and quality of communications services for SMEs.

A news release can be found here.

Events on our website

We have an events section on our website that contains information about a range of events that are held by our project partners. They are mainly on topics such as using Social Media, or Internet Marketing and are held at locations around the area. Some are free, others are charged by the providers.

Best to check this section out regularly:

It is also easily accessible from the link at the bottom right of the website front page where there is an easy to view listing of the next few events.

Questions and Answers

How do I know which BT cabinet I am connected to?

BT have a checker where you can find out which physical cabinet you are connected to. You may be surprised to find that it might not be the one that is closest to your house! To find out which cabinet you are on please use the BT Broadband checker ( to find out if superfast broadband is available in your area – in which case it will say that speeds of 24Mbps or above are achievable. To use the checker, either enter a BT landline telephone number (including area code) or your address (you need to click the link below the number box). Please do not use the postcode checker as it is not accurate enough to be of any help!

How do I interpret the information that the BT checker tells me about my cabinet?

It can be confusing! Just above the table you will see your telephone number, exchange and cabinet – if you have one. If there is no cabinet listed then you are on an *exchange-only line.

On the table the main thing to concentrate on is the Downstream Line Rate, which is given in Mbps.

If the first item is shown on the left as FTTC (or FTTP) then you have a connection to the fibre cabinet and the speeds shown should be 24Mbps or above. If they are below this then you are connected to the fibre network but may be too far away from the cabinet at present to achieve superfast speeds with the current technology.

You may also see ADSL 2+ or ADSL Max. This is an older technology that may deliver maximum speeds of 20Mbps but it uses only the copper networks and is therefore not capable of reaching the higher speeds. Each Internet Service Provider usually installs equipment in the local exchange in order to deliver this service.

WBC Fixed Rate is similar to ADSL in that it uses the copper network, but is only available in some parts of the country. It means that the supplier puts their equipment further up the network and it may serve a number of exchanges. The speeds achieved are usually lower than with ADSL.

So, the best option is to have a fibre connection with superfast broadband – and that is exactly what CSW Broadband is trying to bring to our communities!

*Exchange Only (EO) lines are connected directly to the local telephone exchange rather than passing through a green cabinet that can be upgraded with a fibre broadband connection. These lines are generally either very close to the telephone exchange or very remote from it.

What do I need to do to upgrade to fibre broadband?

Remember this is an opt-in service and your broadband won’t automatically be upgraded. The good news is that because we are installing a wholesale network, any communications provider can use it to offer services to customers.

It is important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area.

There are impartial sources of advice, such as:

You can also use various comparison websites to check this – we’ve listed a few below:

Many more frequently asked broadband questions can be found on our website at:

Send this email on to all your contacts! We need to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Please send this email to your contacts and encourage them to send it further. It’s probably best to remove the contact details above our logo at the top of the email otherwise it could get to be a very long string before the email itself appears!

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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