Broadband Update February 2019

West Wellow 3 (WW3)

Last autumn, Mark was offered a FTTP (fibre to the property – best possible solution) Community Fibre Partnership package by Openreach for his local West Wellow 3 area. This included about 50 properties – A27 from Mill Lane towards Romsey, Pound/Church Lane & The Frenches (plus the odd anomalous property….). The cost of this was estimated by Openreach to be about £88,000 BUT it was made more attractive by some new government grants avaible to businesses and nearby residential properties. In my view (if you accept the premise that we might have to pay for faster broadband to arrive in the foreseeable future…) it was a good offer, but only achievable with a really good uptake from the included properties.


Mark and I spent a couple of months last year contacting and getting the views of all those properties included in the offer, many of which receive the worst broadband speeds in our village area. Emails, individual letters and much door knocking, resulted in about 20 residential properties and 10 businesses showing an initial interest. However this is not enough to make the project financially viable given the strict terms of the voucher scheme and the on-going complications of trying to work with Openreach and their shifting goalposts. We did not choose the properties on this quote, but were ‘given’ them by Openreach and a little googling and research indicates to me that very few, if any, projects of this size have actually been completed….. The Openreach algorithms that calculate these costings do not seem to understand rural areas and despite our attempts to liaise with Openreach it has not been possible to work out how we can tweak the scheme to make it more affordable for the majority of properties.


Lockerley 4

Excited by the seemingly ‘good’ value of the WW3 project I tried again to ask for a FTTP for a section of the Lockerley 4 area (Doctors’ Hill/Newtown road) that had a relatively high density of housing and low broadband speed. However results were very disappointing and I got sent back at quote for £400,000 which was completely unviable, and failed to make use our local knowledge and the detailed information I had sent to them.


Conclusion

Some of the village now has superfast broadband (Whiteparish cabinet) and some will hopefully get a fast FTTC solution (West Wellow 5/Mill Lane properties, new FTTC cabinet outside The Hatchett) in the near future.


In theory, FTTP schemes should not be limited by the current telephone exchange of