Should we go it alone and look for a community solution?

To see if anything is planned in your area, either through this project or from commercial providers, use our unique property checker, which shows the currently planned status (down to property level) up to the end of 2019.

You simply need to enter your postcode and you will then see a list of premises and their status. The information was largely derived from the Open Market Review and Public Consultation that we carried out in preparation for the Contract 3 procurement.

If the coverage has been promised by the commercial provider, then we are bound by commercial confidentiality and cannot give further details. However, if the upgrades are planned through the CSW Broadband project then you can see the status on our latest map and on the Rolling 12-Month Plan

Before considering a community-funded scheme you should bear in mind that these take a long time to organise, and require a lot of hard work on the part of local activists. Having said that, it is entirely possible for a community to decide to raise funds and employ their own solution.

You should bear in mind smaller suppliers do not always have the resilience of the larger companies. If you were to go with your own solution and employed a small company then you could be facing sustainability issues further down the line.

You should also be aware that once an area has superfast broadband then our project may consider it to have turned grey on the map and may no longer consider it for inclusion under our funding. On the other hand, if it is not considered to be a grey area we may later come along and upgrade the network, which could cut across the business case for any community-led solution.

One final consideration is whether your chosen solution will offer a wholesale network. This means that any Internet Service Provider can use the network to provide services to its customers. By offering a range of providers the idea is that there will be competition which will lead to a choice of packages and a range of price-points. You will not have that with a single-supplier network.

You could, of course, choose to pay BT Openreach, or another major provider, to upgrade the infrastructure in your area, but the costs are likely to be significant. Should you choose to follow this route then you may want to take a look at the Community Fibre Partnerships website.

We have been getting some good reports from people who have moved to mobile broadband. Some are achieving speeds of around 70 Mbps! This technology relies on a good mobile broadband connection so it is important to use the mobile coverage checkers available on mobile broadband supplier websites before committing. You can access a mobile broadband connection by subscribing to a data plan with your chosen mobile operator; this can usually be done using a mobile device, a dongle, or a 4G router.

When considering this option, it is important to take into consideration your data usage. Searching around for an unlimited data package can pay off, especially if you do a lot of streaming or playing videos on YouTube.

Under Contract 1 BDUK has committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that will cover the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite. If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.

Posted in: Extending the Current Rollout