Newsletter — September 2019

Over 71,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

  • Introducing Connecting Solihull & Warwickshire
  • CSW Broadband Project updates
  • Fibre upgrades in your area – info for parish council websites
  • 17 online scams you should be aware of
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Questions and Answers

Introducing Connecting Solihull & Warwickshire

Following a series of negotiations, Coventry City Council has decided to *withdraw from any further activity with the CSW Broadband Contract 3 programme being carried out in conjunction with BDUK.

A mutually agreed statement on behalf of Coventry City Council and the CSW Project states:

“Coventry City Council has decided to withdraw from any further activity with the CSW Contract 3 programme in conjunction with BDUK. CSW will now remodel the programme to take fibre broadband to even more communities within the Solihull and Warwick region. Any queries relating to the digital infrastructure work taking place in Coventry should be directed to digitalinfrastructure@coventry.gov.uk

The CSW Project has now therefore rebranded as ‘Connecting Solihull & Warwickshire’ and we have also adapted our logo (above) to reflect this recent change of circumstances and future works.

*NOTE: Some works within the Coventry City Council (CCC) boundary were already in build or had been completed before CCC decided to exit the CSW Project. CCC have paid CSW/BDUK in full for the cost of these builds.

Any inquiries relating to digital infrastructure work in Solihull and Warwickshire should continue to be directed to broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

CSW Broadband Project updates – Contract 2

Over the summer, Openreach reached and surpassed their contractual target for the number of properties they were due to upgrade for Contract 2 of the CSW Broadband Project.

Despite achieving this, there were a small number of structures which were not built as part of Contract 2 as had been originally planned due to spiralling costs.

As with all similar BDUK projects up and down the country, cost caps are built into each contract to ensure that the build costs for each structure do not get out of control – particularly as we get into the more rural areas where costs can become prohibitive.

After suppliers, in CSW’s case Openreach, had identified a number of builds around the country where the cost cap would be seriously exceeded, BDUK (who oversee our project) agreed that up to 6% of the most expensive builds in each project could be put forward to be de-scoped.

CSW reluctantly agreed to this proposal but only on the proviso that Openreach included all the affected properties from the 4% of terminated Contract 2 builds within our area in their planning for Contract 3 of the CSW Project – where more generous cost caps are in place and more money is available.

Openreach are now re-modelling part of the Contract 3 build plan to accommodate these properties and we will include further updates in future newsletters as soon as we have more news on this.

CSW Broadband Project updates – Contract 3

To help counteract the issues outlined above, Openreach have now introduced a far more transparent modelling, surveying and planning process for the CSW Contract 3 build programme, which is now well under way.

Once the build plans have been prepared, they are then passed on to the CSW team to be scrutinised and verified.

It is only when CSW are happy with the proposed build plan and any associated costs for a particular structure that it gets the go ahead to progress to the build phase and is then added to the list of verified builds in the Contract 3 table on our Rolling 12-month Plan webpage.

Numerous structures have already been added to the Contract 3 table and this will be continually and regularly updated as more and more structures pass through the new verification process.

Some local communities are already benefiting from the completion of Contract 3 builds including parts of:

Aldermans Green, Allesley, Balsall Common, Bedworth, Bidford on Avon, Bretford, Brinklow, Corley, Coventry, Curdworth, Dunchurch, Foul End, Kenilworth, Kingsbury, Langley, Middleton, Nuneaton, Oldberrow, Old Milverton, Studley, Ullenhall, Warton, Warwick, Wolston & Wolvey.

This means that to date, over 71,000 properties across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire are now able to connect to the fibre network thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project in Contracts 1, 2 and 3.

Fibre upgrades in your area – info for parish council websites

Once a cabinet or FTTP structure goes live, we aim to inform as many people who have benefited from that upgrade within the local community as we can.

As well as our usual marketing activities, we found that a really effective way of ‘spreading the word’ was to provide local parish councils with bespoke content for their websites and/or newsletters.

This proved to be very successful when we did this earlier in the year and so during October and November 2019, we will be again be emailing around 180 parish and town councils with updates on CSW Broadband upgrades in their areas, including information on:

  • The names of the cabinets / structures that have been upgraded and details of the areas served by those upgrades
  • Details of how residents can find out if their specific property has benefited from those upgrades
  • Details of how those residents can find/order a broadband package to suit their individual needs

The aim of this campaign is to increase awareness, particularly with residents who are not on our database and so may not yet know that fibre broadband services are now available in their area.

It would therefore be really useful if parish councils could help us by uploading this information to their websites or use it in their newsletters once they have received it.

17 common online scams you should be aware of

Internet scamming is a global phenomenon that is on the rise. In 2018 alone, people around the world lost nearly £650 million to online scams. Although cybercrime doesn’t threaten our lives or physical well-being it can do irrevocable harm to our financial stability and peace of mind.

Your email and your phone are the two most common places for scammers to try and get you and although no one thinks they can become a victim of an online scam until it happens to them, even the most cautious of us can slip up.

BroadbandSearch have put together a really useful guide entitled, 17 Common Online Scams (Be Aware) and although from an American website, it contains valuable advice and information on a variety of online scams, how to stay safe online and what to do if you do fall victim to a scam wherever you live in the world.

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.

Questions and Answers

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 the process for ordering and installing an FTTP service?

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) is now increasingly being rolled out to homes and businesses across the CSW region. However, compared to an FTTC upgrade the installation process in particular is quite different.

If FTTP is available at your property, ‘WBC FTTP’ will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ on the BT Broadband Availability Checker results page after you have entered your landline number or address into the checker, along with the speeds you are likely to achieve.

If you need further help making sense of the results returned by the checker, visit our ‘How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker’ webpage.

‘WBC FTTP’ 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.

As FTTP is still a relatively ‘new’ technology (only 8% of the UK can get a full fibre connection) not all ISPs are yet offering FTTP packages. A full list of all the ISPs who have stated that they offer residential and business packages across the CSW region can be found on our Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) webpage.

Different ISPs may have slightly different installation processes so it is difficult to generalise here, but typically it will involve either a one or two stage fibre install.

A two stage fibre install may involve the running of fibre from either a manhole or pole to the property, terminating in a grey box on the exterior of your property called a Customer Splice Point (CSP). The second then involves connecting the CSP to equipment installed inside your property. A single stage installation is only likely to involve the latter stage of the two-stage process.

The ISP providing your FTTP package will obviously be able to tell you more about the installation process and what is involved when you place your order for their product.

If you have recently ordered an FTTP service from an ISP and would like to send us details of your experiences of their installation process, please email us at: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

How do I switch to a different broadband provider?

You may wish to transfer broadband for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Poor quality of service
  • You need additional features that your current internet service provider (ISP) does not offer
  • You think the deal you are subscribed to is not providing good value for money
  • You are moving house/business premises

First of all, check if the contract period you signed for with your existing supplier has expired. Contracts are generally for either 12 or 18 months. Most contracts require you to give a month’s notice, even after the initial 12 or 18 months.

If it hasn’t expired, you may be liable for a cancellation fee or even the balance of the fee until the contract runs out. It’s your choice if you decide you want to buy yourself out of a contract that hasn’t yet expired.

It is also important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area. A couple of useful and impartial sources of advice are the Which? broadband speed checker and Moneysaving Expert which has lots of advice about switching provider.

You can also use various comparison websites and we’ve listed a few below. Please remember that some comparison sites work by receiving a commission from the ISPs and may not list all of the available options. You may therefore want to try several such sites before making a decision.

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

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:

Follow us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on LinkedIn

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