Newsletter – September 2021

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

Topics in this edition:

  • CSW Project updates – Contract 3
  • Thousands of Warwickshire residents to benefit from Phase 2 of Project Gigabit
  • Openreach announces Fibre First programme extension across Warwickshire & Solihull
  • Mobile Connectivity Project – could we help your business?
  • UK Govt to trial running fibre broadband lines via water mains
  • More and more ISPs providing FTTP services in the CSW region
  • Copy for your own website or newsletter
  • Your questions answered

CSW Project updates – Contract 3

Another 25 Contract 3 structures have gone live since our last newsletter was published at the beginning of June. The communities benefiting from these most recent upgrades include parts of:

Allesley, Avon Dassett, Berkswell, Bubbenhall, Fillongley, Hill Wootton, Kenilworth, Meriden, Middleton, Priors Marston, Snitterfield, Southam, Stretton on Dunsmore, Winderton, Wolverton & Wootton Wawen.

As a result of this, nearly 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. With this in mind, we have recently conducted a mail-out campaign to over 6,500 residents and businesses to let them know that their properties have now been upgraded as a result of the work we have already completed in Contract 3.

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, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

If your property has benefited from an FTTP upgrade, our Ordering an FTTP service webpage provides you with all the information you need.

Thousands of Warwickshire residents to benefit from Phase 2 of Project Gigabit

We are pleased to announce that Warwickshire has been included in Phase 2 of Project Gigabit, the government’s £5bn programme which aims to target – typically rural and hard to reach properties – that would have been left behind in broadband companies’ own commercial roll-out plans.

The joint bid with Leicestershire (known as Lot 11) will see an estimated 118,400 properties upgraded across the Warwickshire and Leicestershire region and is in addition to the roll-out work that commercial providers are also undertaking in the area (e.g. Openreach’s Fibre First programme).

Through the project, properties will be upgraded to speeds of up to 1,000 megabits or one gigabit per second – enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for tomorrow’s tech such as 8K-quality video streaming.

It also means families will no longer have to battle over bandwidth and will give people in rural areas the freedom to live and work more flexibly as well as providing the speed and reliability needed to start and run businesses in such areas.

It should be noted that while Project Gigabit will prioritise areas with sub-30Mbps speeds, this will not be to the exclusion of all else.

Bidders for the Lot 11 contract will be required to ensure that their networks are available for use by other ISPs via wholesale (open access). We are hoping that a number of operators, both big and small will bid for the work in our area.

The procurement process for this contract (which will be worth in excess of £114 million) is due to begin in November 2022 with the delivery contract starting in October 2023. We currently estimate that this work will be completed by the end of 2025, though we will be able to provide more detail on this once the contract has been awarded.

As usual, these won’t be automatic upgrades for consumers, so once the new network is built then you’ll still need to order it from their preferred ISP to benefit from it.

The government (DCMS) have been conducting various public reviews and OMRs, which is the process that they often use when trying to identify existing commercial coverage of gigabit-capable broadband networks and any planned coverage over the next 3 years.

By doing that, they can more easily target their support towards areas where commercial projects are not expected to reach (i.e. the intervention area).

With regards to the Solihull Metropolitan Borough area, it would appear – at this moment in time – that much of this area will be covered by commercial providers own deployment programmes but we should get further clarity on this in the coming months.

Openreach announces Fibre First programme extension across Warwickshire & Solihull

Over the summer, Openreach outlined plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses across the UK, including to over 67,000 across the Solihull and Warwickshire area, as part of an extension to their Fibre First commercial deployment programme.

Openreach had already announced upgrades to properties served by the Bidford on Avon, Coleshill, Henley in Arden, Lapworth and Stratford upon Avon exchanges in Warwickshire back in January 2020.

These latest announcements will now see the majority of homes and businesses served by the Alcester, Atherstone, Curdworth, Fillongley, Harbury, Hurley, Kineton, Moreton Morrell, Newton Regis, Nuneaton, Pebworth, Shipston on Stour, Snitterfield, Southam, Welford on Avon, Wellesbourne and Wolston exchanges within the county also benefit from an upgrade to full fibre.

Similarly, Openreach have also outlined plans to upgrade thousands of homes and businesses served by the Berkswell, Hampton in Arden, Meriden, Shirley & Solihull exchanges within the Solihull Metropolitan Borough area.

While their Full Fibre Build Programme document 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.

Mobile Connectivity Project – could we help your business?

If poor broadband speeds are impacting on your business then we may be able to help.

Over recent months, we have been testing a number of mobile Wi-Fi broadband devices in areas where the broadband is poor and the uplift in speeds in some cases has been particularly impressive.

Through our Mobile Connectivity Project, we have been able to secure some funding to purchase a number of these devices and we are now looking for SME’s (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises) to take part in our ongoing ‘proof of concept’ trial of these technologies.

In particular, we are looking for SME’s getting speeds of 5Mbps or less. (You can check what speeds your business can currently achieve using the 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).

If your business meets the above criteria and you would like to be considered for this project, please email and

We will need the address, postcode and landline number associated with the business, along with a very brief description as to the nature of your business and how the lack of broadband provision is affecting the operation of that business.

Once we have this information, we will then need to check the mobile coverage in your area etc. which will help to determine whether we can potentially help you or not.

Applicants will be assessed for suitability on a first come, first serve basis.

UK Govt to trial running fibre broadband lines via water mains

In August a number of websites including the Guardian and ISP Review reported that the UK Government had launched a £4m ‘Fibre in Water’ project trial, which will experiment with connecting homes, businesses and mobile masts to gigabit capable broadband in ‘hard to reach’ remote and rural areas by running Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) cables through the water mains.

The trial is partly related to the review of existing Access to Infrastructure (ATI) Regulations 2016, which sought to find ways in which existing utilities networks could be harnessed via infrastructure sharing in order to improve the spread of ‘full fibre’ connectivity.

Infrastructure works – in particular the installation of new ducts and poles, can make up as much as 80% of the costs to industry of building new gigabit-capable broadband networks.

The project is designed to help cut those costs with the National Infrastructure Commission previously estimating that infrastructure re-use could lead to an £8bn cost saving for broadband builders.

Matt Warman, the Digital Infrastructure Minister stated: “The cost of digging up roads and land is the biggest obstacle telecoms companies face when connecting hard-to-reach areas to better broadband, but beneath our feet there is a vast network of pipes reaching virtually every building in the country.”

Broadband cables have already been deployed in water pipes in other countries including Spain.

The ‘Fibre in Water’ trial will run for three years and the final year of the project will explore scaling proven solutions right across the country. The plan is to select a consortium made up of telecoms companies, utility providers and engineering firms to lead and deliver the project. As part of this, a region or multiple regions of the country will be selected to host the trial.

More and more ISPs providing FTTP services in the CSW region

When the CSW Broadband Project first started deploying Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solutions around five years ago, it is fair to say that the number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering full fibre packages to residents and businesses was extremely limited.

However, now that FTTP has become the preferred method of deployment across the country more and more ISPs have started offering FTTP services – providing you the consumer, with more choice and more competitively priced packages and deals, as they fight for your custom.

We have therefore updated our Ordering an FTTP service webpage with links to all the ISPs who have stated that they offer either residential and/or business packages in the CSW region through the Openreach wholesale network that we are installing on this project.

Of course you might prefer to use a comparison site such as, Broadband Choices, BroadbandProviders or uSwitch to find a fibre broadband package to suit you and your family’s needs.

Either way, whichever ISP you chose to order a service through, the installation process for the final connection to your property will follow a similar procedure, details of which are also provided on this webpage.

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 recently had a number of enquiries where the BT Broadband Availability Checker suggests that a product called Fibre on Demand (FoD or FTTPoD) is available, offering speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

This is NOT the same as native Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), which is being installed to many areas through the CSW Broadband Project.

It is easy to get native Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) services confused with FTTPoD because the two solutions function in identical ways, although their cost, contract and deployment methods have tended to be significantly different.

In a native FTTP setup, which is what CSW is installing, 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 FTTPoD 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) worth 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 FTTPoD. Some that we are aware of include Cerberus Networks and FluidOne. It’s worth doing your homework as there may be others.

This is likely to remain a niche product for those who are prepared to pay the additional installation charges and a higher ongoing monthly cost.

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. There are a number of comparison websites to help you find the best broadband package for your household’s needs including:, Broadband Choices, Broadband Finder, Broadband Providers, Choose & u-Switch.

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.

The MoneySavingExpert and Which? websites can provide useful and impartial advice on this.

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

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