Newsletter — October 2013

Topics in this edition:

  • First surveys for cabinets take place
  • Events pages
  • New leaflets to be produced
  • Questions and Answers

First surveys for cabinets take place

The CSW Broadband project has moved another step forward as the first cabinet surveys have taken place. Of course, there are still a great many obstacles to overcome before the first cabinets will go live, but this is definitely progress!

At this stage it may be helpful to outline what is happening. Last month we described the strategic CuRE process (See last month’s newsletter if you missed it). That explained how the existing copper network is being realigned to shorten the routes from the cabinet to the premises. Actually installing a new cabinet is not as straightforward as one might expect.

For a start, there are the planning and highways considerations. Clearly some areas are more sensitive than others in terms of placing street furniture so as not to cause undue clutter, or for the impact on listed buildings and conservation areas. There is also a need to avoid obstructing sight lines for vehicles, particularly near junctions, and care must be taken not to obstruct the footpath. There is a Code of Practice that covers such matters, however a pragmatic approach has to be taken as without the new cabinets superfast broadband cannot be delivered.

For technical reasons the new cabinet needs to be as close as possible to the old one, and it also needs a power supply (which was not necessary for the old copper telephone system). Quite often the old cabinets are located in a position with no power, and this can usually be overcome in an urban area by moving the new cabinet slightly further away to pick up a power connection. Care must be taken though, as a greater distance between the two cabinets will reduce the distance from the cabinet over which superfast broadband can be delivered to properties. In the rural areas, of course, the power may be several hundred metres (or even further) away from the intended cabinet location and potentially across roads or fields. This creates a different set of challenges that have to be overcome or managed – and it will invariably cost more to install cabinets in locations such as these, which reduces the overall budget available to the project, meaning less overall coverage if a number of very expensive cabinets are installed.

Once the planning, highways and power issues have been dealt with, there is the need to bring fibre actually to the new cabinet from the exchange. Wherever possible this will be done using existing ducting, although in many cases this may be damaged or in need of remedial work. This damage usually occurs as ducting is run along grass verges and can be damaged by vehicles or by works carried out on the verge or on the highway. As you can imagine, under many of our roads, pavements and verges there is an infrastructure network for services such as water, sewerage, gas, electricity, telecoms etc. Often a contractor will be carrying out work on one of these other services (the routings for which are often poorly identified on existing systems) and may cause damage to the telecoms ducting. If this is the case then investigative work has to take place and repairs are carried out. One piece of ducting may, of course, have several blockages that need to be identified and cleared sequentially.

So, assuming that we have identified the position for the cabinet and installed it, and connected the power and the fibre, what then? Well, there is work to do at the exchange end to make the whole system live, and then Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can start to offer services to end users. The actual speeds that will be achieved will depend on a number of factors including (but not only): the distance of the property from the cabinet; the equipment that the ISP chooses to install at the exchange; the package that is purchased from the ISP and any restrictions that they may place on service; the connection at the property to the network; the router or other equipment that is used; the computer or other equipment that is used to connect to the Internet, and many other factors. From this it seems a wonder that anyone gets superfast broadband at all! In fact, there are known solutions to many of the potential problems. For instance if you already have an Internet connection that you believe is not performing as it should we have a whole section of self-help guides on the website to that may be useful.

So, having surveyed the first tranche of cabinets, what next? Well, the first thing to emphasise is that having a survey carried out is no guarantee of service in the near future. It is quite possible that having surveyed the cabinet and taken into account all of the factors mentioned above that for one reason (or many) some are simply not viable for inclusion in the current phase. In fact, BT plans to survey twice as many cabinets as it needs to meet its contractual obligations, and this is simply because the attrition rate is so high. It is only after the physical surveys have been carried out that likely costs, timescales and obstacles, such as those described above, can be assessed, and decisions taken on which cabinets to proceed with in this phase.

It should also be noted that the surveys are ongoing throughout the lifetime of the project, so that the fact that a cabinet is not included in the current survey list does not mean that it will never get looked at.

So, with a massive health warning that a survey does not necessarily equate to service, here is the list of cabinets that have recently been surveyed. We will keep you informed of future surveys and, of course, as we get more information about where cabinets are actually to be installed we will advise on that and on their progress towards going live and services being available.


Cabinet number



Long Marston Rd Opp Jnc Dorsington Rd Long Marston Warwickshire


Main Rd Jnc Campden Rd Quinton Warwickshire


Quniton Rd Jnc The Fordway Quinton Warwickshire
Stratford on Avon


Cooks Alley, Wood Street end
Stratford on Avon


Ely St beside the Queens Head Public House.
Stratford on Avon


Outside Lloyd Bank, Bridge Street
Stratford on Avon


Welcombe Road Jnc St.Gregory’s Rd
Stratford on Avon


Birmingham Road opposite Western Road towards Canal
Stratford on Avon


Gospel Oak Lane Jnc Birmingham Road
Stratford on Avon


Timothy Bridge Rd opposite Mansley Business Centre
Stratford on Avon


Opposite Elms Court, Arden Street
Stratford on Avon


Alcester Rd Jnc Station Rd.
Stratford on Avon


Birmingham Rd opposite St.Peter’s Way, by the gate


As we have made clear above, inclusion in this list does not mean that a service can be made available, and exclusion certainly does not mean that a cabinet will not be considered at a later stage. This is an ongoing programme and we are at the very start of a long journey!

Events to help you make the most of your IT

We now have a wide range of training, workshops and other events listed on our website from a selection of providers. Indicative topics are: Search Engine Optimisation; Using Sage Line 50 to make better business decisions; Sales and marketing and many more. Some are free of charge! If you are holding and event and would like to submit it for listing please use the link at the top of the web page.

New leaflets being produced

Now that the project is moving forward we are producing new leaflets to be used to explain what we are about to people who do not receive emails or cannot access the Internet. We are hoping that our Local Broadband Champions will be able to circulate these, but we don’t have Champions in every area. If you would like to find out more about being a Champion or would like to sign up please visit our website:

Questions and Answers

Why are these cabinets being investigated first?

These are just some of the first phase cabinets, others are in different locations around the county but it made sense to survey these all in one day. In the case of the town cabinets, these were excluded from the commercial rollout mainly because of planning considerations. As planning permission is no longer required for cabinets (the regulations were changed earlier this year) we are now able to place cabinets in these locations. When carrying out the surveys we were accompanied by a planner from Stratford District Council to ensure that although formal permission is not required we will be placing the street furniture in the most appropriate locations.

The town cabinets were chosen because there is already a fibre spine in these areas and so the work required to connect to it is far less than would be the case in some other areas where there is no existing infrastructure.

These surveys are just part of the rollout for phase one – and we have seven phases during the lifetime of the project.

Why do we need a new cabinet to get superfast broadband?

The problem with the existing copper network is that broadband speeds diminish rapidly over copper lines. Therefore in order to increase the speed we need to build what is in effect a mini telephone exchange close to the existing telecoms cabinet. The new box is fed by a fibre connection and, crucially, needs power. The two cabinets are linked together so that the final part of the broadband signal is delivered using the existing copper telephone network. This is why distance from the cabinet is so crucial.

Why don’t the maps show more detail?

The maps are indicative only and the areas are designated by postcode (in accordance with BDUK requirements). As the telecoms infrastructure is not determined by postcode it is not possible at this stage to give any more detail and the grey/amber/white designation should not be read as the final outcome. As the rollout commences we will be turning specific areas of the map green to show that superfast broadband is currently available. We will also be offering a filter on the website to offer greater clarity in certain areas as the information becomes available.

The white areas will get the Universal Service Commitment, which means that 100% of premises will get a minimum of 2Mbps, but in reality many will get more than that. In practice you could get anything from 2 to 23.9Mbps, at which point it would become superfast. As stated previously, it is impossible to say exactly what speeds will be achieved until the on-the-ground surveys are complete and in many cases until the upgrades have taken place. As information becomes available it will be published on the CSW Broadband website – We plan to publish a rolling 12-month programme.

We recognise that this project is a stepping stone to the European targets for 2020 of all premises connected at 30 Mbps and 50% at 100 Mbps, but additional funding will be required to make this happen. The government has announced additional funds of £250m, but we do not as yet know when or how these will be made available to projects. In addition we are actively investigating any and all other funding sources. We aim to increase the fibre footprint as soon as money becomes available.

Frequently asked general broadband questions can be found on our website at:

Questions about the contract or rollout can be found 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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