Last summer, 2017, Openreach offered to look at a community, village wide solution for better broadband. This has not materialised and we are back to dealing with the individual exchanges within the village, although FTTP solutions may be extended across exchange boundaries, unlike FTTC solutions.
Further to meeting with Openreach and Hampshire Broadband last month, 24/01/18 :
Whiteparish 1 - new fibre cabinet (joint Wiltshire/Hampshire project) – may now be operational ….? - Openreach were having difficulties bringing power to the cabinet. Once it is live then local residents on this exchange (you can check on Openreach website, https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/fibre-broadband/when-can-i-get-fibre) will be able to ask their internet service provider for the faster fibre service. This will involve an extra monthly cost. Most properties on this exchange, I have been told, should be able to get superfast (>24Mbps) and many much faster service. I do have list of distribution points that are connected to the new cabinet – to find your distribution point then go outside and follow your cabling back to a telegraph pole with small white circular discs on – your distribution point number/pole.
Lockerley 4 – no plans for the area at all despite many properties getting very poor broadband at lower than 2Mbps. We have asked again for a FTTP (fibre to the property solution) for the Doctor’s Hill, Newtown Road, Carters Clay circuit with costings for additional spurs to outlying houses. I will be chasing this early March as we were given a 6 week time indication. Openreach and Hampshire Broadband were given an updated list of all those in the Lockerley locality regardless of current exchange connection who have registered with us, 103, as interested in faster broadband over the past year. They were also sent a list of about 200 properties in Lockerley 4 area which have been identified within and around the parish boundaries along with notated maps of the area in order to help them understand our locality with reference to broadband requirements.
West Wellow 5 – this area (Mill Lane) was offered a FTTP solution but it was put on hold whilst Openreach looked at a more community based solution. We asked that the quote be looked at again and updated. There are some FTTC solutions in draft form and some works have been carried out, although I have been told plans are still draft, eg still looking at where fibre cabinets could be sited, so lead in time to see installations completed is many months.
West Wellow 3 – need to check again but not sure any works proposed even though these probably receive the poorest broadband BUT are geographically dispersed around the village so most uneconomic.
Romsey – (Dunwood end of parish boundaries) – no plans for any broadband upgrades.
There are significant grants available from Hampshire Broadband and Openreach community packages to support Community initiated schemes. We are looking at costs to a household of between £500 and £1500 per property for FTTP solutions for more densely built areas of the village. Outlying properties are likely to have to pay more than this. We had hoped that the new government announcement of a minimum service of 10 Mbps might avoid local community projects being needed, however, it would seem that if householders want a good broadband service in the nearer future then we need to again consider community projects, which would still take 12-18 months to install. It should be noted that if a FTTP infrastructure is installed there are limited companies providing a FTTP service and the monthly costs are higher. Into the longer term I would presume costs will come down as more companies are able to provide services. Presently I am told there are only 7 including BT, Z-internet, Spectrum, Anderson & Arnold – I haven’t checked these out myself yet.
Other services – Hampshire Broadband were keen to say that they knew several properties who were successfully using alternative technologies in the shorter term and that there are some grants avaible to support installation costs if you currently get less than 2Mbps. There is a list on their website of companies providing 4G aerials, for example, ruralbroadband.co.uk. I am told the cost for this service is about £40 per month for 100GB and that the installation costs are more or less covered by the less than 2Mbps grant @£200ish – again do check these facts.
Village Public meeting – this is postponed until workable solutions for the village are put forward.
Conclusion – we understand the problems & solutions a bit more, but progress is still slow.