Newsletter – October 2023

Nearly 78,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • Thousands still to order a better broadband service after CSW Project upgrades
  • Which? launches campaign to ban mid-contract broadband price hikes
  • Leamington Spa set for £8 million fibre broadband boost
  • Openreach Fibre Community Partnership schemes – update
  • Case studies needed – Tell us your story!
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Your questions answered

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Another 10 Contract 3 structures have now gone live since our last newsletter was published in July. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of the following areas:

Abbots Salford, Atherstone on Stour, Baginton, Blackdown, Bramcote, Harborough Magna, Lapworth, Lowsonford, Nuneaton and Whatcote.

Nearly 78,000 properties across the region are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work that has now been completed by the CSW Broadband Project.

The pace of deployment is now starting to slow down somewhat as we deliver some of the more complex builds towards the end of Contract 3, which is due to be completed in December 2023.

As always, once we have received confirmation that a particular upgrade has been completed in the current build phase, 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 that upgrade.

 To check on your property’s broadband 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.

Thousands still to order a better broadband service after CSW Project upgrades

Thousands of households and businesses across the CSW region may be missing out on the better broadband connectivity we have provided because they haven’t yet ordered an improved service.

Fast and reliable digital connectivity is no longer seen as a luxury but a necessity given its increasing importance to nearly everything we do in modern day life. For example, with a better broadband connection, you can:

  • Browse the web faster and carry out online tasks such as shopping and internet banking more easily
  • Stream HD films, TV and video services without delay
  • Chat face-to-face with friends and family – wherever they are in the world
  • Run multiple devices at the same time without your connection slowing down
  • Work and study from home more easily
  • Engage with services that are increasingly moving online
  • Compete more effectively with other businesses in an increasingly competitive global market place.

We realise that some of you who want to order an improved service can’t at this moment in time because your connection hasn’t yet been upgraded.

However, the more households and businesses who have been upgraded that we can get to order an improved service, the more money that comes back into the project, meaning that we can then look into providing solutions for those still waiting for better connectivity.

To find out if you can order an improved service, 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.

Broadband comparison sites such as, Broadband Choices, Compare the Market, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch can help you find a broadband package to suit your needs.

Which? launches campaign to ban mid-contract broadband price hikes

Consumer magazine Which? has launched the “Right to Connect” campaign, which accuses UK mobile and broadband providers of “duping consumers with their sneaky mid-contract price hikes” and is instead calling on the regulator, Ofcom, to “ban this practice” and deliver generally “clearer and fairer pricing”.

Ideally, consumers who take out a new broadband or mobile contract would enjoy a fixed monthly price for the entire length of their term. But many providers – particularly the largest players – have recently become notorious for adopting inflation linked price hikes and then making it harder to exit your contract penalty free if you don’t agree.

This approach has seen providers increasing their prices each year by up to nearly 4% plus the rate of annual inflation as set on a particular month. This resulted in many consumers being hit by average hikes of around 14% and in some cases far more, earlier this year.

According to Which?, this means broadband customers could be charged £150 more than they expected over the course of their contract, due to 2 years of eye-watering hikes.

With the rate of inflation now starting to fall, future hikes shouldn’t be as bad as last year. However, forecasts suggest it will still take until early 2025 before inflation settles back down to something close to the current 2% target. But whether Ofcom will go as far as to ban the practice remains to be seen.

So far, the UK Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP) – sister bodies to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – have separately set out new guidance for how broadband ISPs and mobile operators should communicate mid-contract prices hikes to consumers, which will make such policies clearer and more transparent.

Meanwhile, Ofcom is still in the process of reviewing whether inflation-linked mid-contract hikes give customers “sufficient certainty and clarity about what they can expect to pay” with a verdict expected before the end of this year.

However, it’s important to point out that not all ISPs play this game, with Sky Broadband typically introducing less aggressive broadband rises (this year it was below the level of inflation) and many smaller providers being much more gradual in their increases, if they increase them at all.

On top of that, many modern full fibre (FTTP) networks have managed to buck this trend, often reducing prices rather than increasing them – due in no small part to the aggressively competitive market.

Please note that this is an abridged version of an article that appeared on the ISPreview website.

Leamington Spa set for £8 million fibre broadband boost

In September, Openreach announced that Royal Leamington Spa is one of the 19 new locations spread across the UK that is set to benefit from the ongoing roll-out of their gigabit-capable, Full Fibre broadband network.

Around 27,000 residential and businesses properties in the town are expected to benefit from this £8 million investment in the fibre network which will provide future-proof connectivity for decades to come.

Full Fibre broadband provides local households and businesses with more reliable and resilient connectivity with fewer faults as well as faster, more consistent speeds and enough capacity to easily meet growing data demands.

Openreach recently passed more than 11.5 million premises in the UK and ultimately has plans to build their Full Fibre network to 25 million homes and businesses nationwide by December 2026.

For a more personalised view of an individual home or business, Openreach recommends using its online postcode checker where people can find out the specific broadband connectivity available at their address.

Openreach Fibre Community Partnership schemes – update

In June, we reported that thousands of residents and business owners were set to benefit from an Openreach proposal to upgrade whole exchange areas to full fibre through their Fibre Community Partnership (FCP) scheme.

Schemes in the Alderminster, Furnace End, Great Alne, Haseley Knob, Ilmington and Tanworth-in-Arden exchange areas had been approved by Building Digital UK (BDUK), with the network build being funded through the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Under the terms of the scheme, eligible households and businesses can show their support by pledging the value of a gigabit voucher – worth up to £4,500. The value of these vouchers is then aggregated to offset the total cost of the build, so the network build won’t cost them a penny.

At the time of writing we are pleased to announce that the Alderminster, Haseley Knob and Ilmington schemes have reached their pledge targets. The Alderminster build has already started, the build in Ilmington will start in the new year, while surveying for the Haseley Knob build will start in January.

The Great Alne scheme is currently at 81% of the pledge target, while the Tanworth-in-Arden scheme is at 73%. However, the response from households and businesses served by the Furnace End exchange has been particularly sluggish with only 40% of the pledge target being reached.

This really is a golden opportunity to bring all properties in these communities up to gigabit-capable speeds so that they can take advantage of all the many benefits that will bring for decades to come.

Failure to secure enough voucher pledges will mean that the specific in that exchange area will not be able to go ahead, so your support could be invaluable.

To pledge your support for better connectivity in your community, simply go to Openreach’s Connect My Community website, enter your postcode, click ‘Search’ then add your support by clicking on the green ‘Pledge’ button and completing the simple online application form.

Local champions are proving to be incredibly effective in helping communities to achieve their pledge targets. If you live in the Furnace End, Great Alne or Tanworth exchange areas and would like to get involved, please email and we will pass your details on to colleagues at Openreach.

Case studies needed – Tell us your story!

If having faster broadband 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 hasn’t yet been upgraded. Again, all we need are a few lines telling us of the difficulties you are experiencing and how this is impacting on your household.

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.

What is Fibre on Demand?

We have received a number of enquiries from residents recently where the BT Broadband Availability Checker suggests that a product called FTTP on Demand is available at their property, offering speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

This is NOT the same as the Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) product that CSW has been installing, though it is easy to get the two products confused because they essentially function in identical ways. However, their cost, contract length and deployment methods have tended to be significantly different.

With the FTTP solution that CSW is installing (listed as ‘WBC FTTP’ under Featured Products on the BT Broadband Availability Checker), the fibre optic cable will have been installed outside your property (e.g. down your street), which makes it fairly quick and inexpensive to get connected.

By comparison, FTTP on Demand is designed to be requested (‘on demand‘) in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) capable areas where the fibre optic cables have yet to reach specific properties. In some cases, this will attract significant distance-based construction charges (civil works) costing thousands of pounds.

Because of the high costs involved (and often the requirement for a much longer than standard contract), very few providers actually offer FTTP on Demand. Some providers that we are aware of include Cerberus Networks and FluidOne, though there may well be others.

FTTP on Demand is therefore likely to remain a niche product for those who are prepared to pay the often very expensive additional installation charges and a higher ongoing monthly cost.

For more information on making sense of the BT Broadband Availability Checker results, visit our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage.

Can CSW influence how much ISPs charge for their services?

Unfortunately, we have no influence over the prices charged by commercial providers for internet services. 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 help you to save money.

If you are currently struggling to pay your broadband bill,’s Broadband for low income families webpage provides regularly updated information on the social tariffs that are currently available and information to help you find out if you qualify for these.

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

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