Getting up to speed with rural broadband

Hugo Pickering, who set up the Cotswold Broadband group in 2011

Members of the Northmoor, Bablock Hythe and Moreton Broadband Group, back, James Harrison, Simon Harrison and Graham Shelton; front, Peter Winder and Sue Harrison

First published in News
Last updated
Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

IN the 21st century, broadband is a utility in households as vital as gas, electricity and water. For those in cities and towns, receiving fast internet speeds is often taken for granted but in rural outposts, the “buffering” symbol is a common sight for frustrated customers. DAN ROBINSON looks at villages and hamlets’ efforts to get up to speed

BRITAIN boasts the widest coverage of superfast broadband of the five leading European economies, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy, but in Oxfordshire it is a different story.

Latest Ofcom figures for 2013 show 73 per cent of UK homes and businesses can get superfast speed of at least 24 megabits per second (mbps) through fibre-optic cables.

In Oxfordshire the figure is 69.5 per cent and some villages and hamlets can’t get broadband through underground cables or have speeds of less than 2mbps.

Oxfordshire County Council’s £25m “Better Broadband” scheme, working with BT, wants 90 per cent of county premises to have access to superfast broadband by 2015.

Remaining residents either have to wait for further council funding or take matters into their own hands.

Hugo Pickering founded the Cotswold Broadband Group in 2011 to help rural communities – in particular the Chipping Norton area – get a better service.

The group aims to fund superfast broadband.

It finds gaps in a map produced by the county council showing where it will provide coverage and works with parish councils to find a solution.

Mr Pickering said: “In hamlets and villages their speed can be between 0.5mbps to 2mbps but it’s just not acceptable to customers.’’ He believes one of the problems in securing funding is that it takes time for residents to sign up to superfast broadband because they are tied to other contracts with providers.

Mr Pickering said: “The need is there but it’s just about meeting that need.

“Seventy per cent want superfast broadband, that shows the demand is there.

“But if they are in a contract with an internet provider they can’t just step out of it so people shouldn’t be surprised that take-up rates don’t suddenly leap up. It takes a while for it to filter through.”

County council cabinet member for business and customers Nick Carter said filling the gap left by the broadband programme would depend on getting extra funding from Government grants.

And district councils will decide this summer how much money they will allocate of their own cash.

He said: “Oxfordshire is one of the most rural counties in the South East. That’s part of its charm and why people like to live and work in Oxfordshire. But on the other hand it does present a few challenges as a result.”

Residents in Northmoor, Bablock Hythe and Moreton, West Oxfordshire, got so fed up with slow broadband speeds that they put their heads together to get the service improved themselves.

They set up the Northmoor, Bablock Hythe and Moreton Broadband Group and received a £200,000 rural community broadband fund grant from the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

This has been match-funded by broadband provider Gigaclear, which will install the new fibre optic cables to 520 homes from a central cabinet in Northmoor. The work should finish in September, providing broadband speeds of up to 1gbps. 

Group leader Graham Shelton, who is also chairman of Northmoor Parish Council, said villagers acted fast after they realised they would not be covered by BT and Oxfordshire County Council’s rural broadband scheme.

He said: “For us this is a revolution. It will put us in the first rank for broadband speed anywhere in Britain and we’re completely thrilled by it.

“It’s not just connecting up the rich people, we wanted to make sure everyone got connected so the fibre goes to every single property.”

BOSS BLAMES POOR CONNECTION

A POOR internet connection has been blamed for holding back a business in North Aston, North Oxfordshire.

Hamish Stoddart, 50, owns Peach Pubs and the main office is based in a converted barn.

His company receives its service from the Steeple Aston exchange, which is too far away for his company to receive a fast enough connection, just 6mbps.

Mr Stoddart said: “We’re right on the end of the line from the exchange.

“We’re a growing business with 16 pubs. Our work involves making graphics and videos and we’re being held back by slow internet.

“It’s slowed us down. I want to be doing video conferencing with the team and communicating in a modern way.’’

Mr Stoddart’s plan is to receive a wireless connection from a house in Deddington more than two miles away which has a fibre optic connection. It would involve installing special dishes on both buildings and a focused beam would transfer data.

NEW NETWORK VISION

THE failure of BT to provide blanket coverage has led to small businesses taking their place in rural areas that will not benefit from its roll-out programme.

Matthew Hare set up Harwell-based Gigaclear in 2010 and has either established superfast broadband or is working on schemes in 12 villages, including eight in Oxfordshire.

Witney Gazette:

  • Matthew Hare

He said: “In rural areas you have a very large number of people who work at home and have businesses in villages, but you also have families who just want better broadband to do their homework or watch TV online.

“We are putting in a whole new network from scratch in rural areas. We’re not trying to fix the old, tired network, we’re trying to put in a solution for the next 50 years rather than put a plaster on it for the next three.”

Mr Hare believes many villagers were not aware what they had been missing out on until superfast broadband was installed in their homes.

He said: “How do you explain to someone how transforming it’s going to be if they have lived somewhere their whole life without electricity and you say ‘it’s really worth investing in electricity as it will let you do so many new things’?

“It’s the same with high-speed broadband. By itself it’s not useful as it’s just a bit of fibre but it’s what it lets you do.”

£500k DIY SCHEME PUT VILLAGE AHEAD OF THE REST

Last month, Appleton, south west of Oxford, was featured by The Sunday Times as one of the eight best places to live for broadband speed in the UK.

Villagers receive speeds of up to 100mbps but they were dogged with painfully slow internet speeds of about 1mbps until two years ago.

In 2010, residents from Appleton and neighbouring Eaton launched a campaign to get better broadband after BT said it had no plans to upgrade the Cumnor exchange that served the villages.

It took two years before they became among the first villages in the country to set up their own scheme with £500,000 funding from broadband provider Gigaclear.

About 175 out of 420 homes have since subscribed to superfast broadband.

It costs £37 per month for 50mbps but Appleton resident Graham Rose, who spearheaded the project, said he now saves £1,000 per year on his phone bill as he uses voiceover internet technology to make calls.

The 67-year-old said: “It’s totally changed our lives. We now view broadband as a utility like electricity because it’s so important. We’re so used to the speed of it that we’ve almost forgotten what it was like prior to September 2012.

“The biggest thing for me has been using voice-over telephony, which is only effective if you have a fast internet.”

GO-IT-ALONE OPTION

Rural communities often suffer from broadband problems because homes are too far away from BT’s exchanges.

Until recently, homes have only been served by copper wiring connecting to roadside green cabinets.

The further away a house is from the cabinet, the slower the internet speed.

The telecommunications firm, contracted by the Government, is installing new fibre-enabled cabinets alongside them.

These will be connected to the nearest telephone exchange via fibre-optic cables laid in an underground duct.

The cabinets are connected to each other and broadband is delivered to homes and businesses through the existing copper wiring.

But for remote villages and hamlets already getting slow speeds because they are too far away from the cabinets, this will not make much difference. Instead, some are contracting providers to install new cabinets in the village.

Comments (18)

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8:11pm Mon 21 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

After two years only 175 homes have signed up to Gigaclear. Ewelme village has a BT fibre cabinet which has been taking orders since January. It has over 300 customers aleady so being tied into contracts is nonsense. Dan in Witney probably doesn't know where Ewelme is. Probably the village with the highest number of superfast subscribers not even mentioned. Very poor reporting.
After two years only 175 homes have signed up to Gigaclear. Ewelme village has a BT fibre cabinet which has been taking orders since January. It has over 300 customers aleady so being tied into contracts is nonsense. Dan in Witney probably doesn't know where Ewelme is. Probably the village with the highest number of superfast subscribers not even mentioned. Very poor reporting. buyer beware
  • Score: -3

8:57pm Mon 21 Apr 14

l_r says...

I live in the village of Berinsfield in South Oxfordshire, my current broadband provider (Sky) is only giving me 0.2mbps during the day and evening and up to 2mbps at 3am, I've tried it. Having high speed broadband in our village would make a huge difference to the lives of people here, and also the businesses in the village.
I find it hard to believe that we are only a few miles down the road from the big science centre at Culham which I'm sure has a good internet service and we are struggling, to even do the most basic of online tasks.
I live in the village of Berinsfield in South Oxfordshire, my current broadband provider (Sky) is only giving me 0.2mbps during the day and evening and up to 2mbps at 3am, I've tried it. Having high speed broadband in our village would make a huge difference to the lives of people here, and also the businesses in the village. I find it hard to believe that we are only a few miles down the road from the big science centre at Culham which I'm sure has a good internet service and we are struggling, to even do the most basic of online tasks. l_r
  • Score: 6

4:12am Tue 22 Apr 14

aitchpee says...

buyer beware wrote:
After two years only 175 homes have signed up to Gigaclear. Ewelme village has a BT fibre cabinet which has been taking orders since January. It has over 300 customers aleady so being tied into contracts is nonsense. Dan in Witney probably doesn't know where Ewelme is. Probably the village with the highest number of superfast subscribers not even mentioned. Very poor reporting.
The comment about take-up rates was in response to an article regarding Wales' superfast broadband marketing (http://ickl.co/1tuT
3Wt) and has little to do with the situation in Oxfordshire.

As has been proven by a number of entrepreneurs, the provision of new superfast networks isn't totally reliant on grant funding, as the article would have us believe Nick Carter actually said.
[quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: After two years only 175 homes have signed up to Gigaclear. Ewelme village has a BT fibre cabinet which has been taking orders since January. It has over 300 customers aleady so being tied into contracts is nonsense. Dan in Witney probably doesn't know where Ewelme is. Probably the village with the highest number of superfast subscribers not even mentioned. Very poor reporting.[/p][/quote]The comment about take-up rates was in response to an article regarding Wales' superfast broadband marketing (http://ickl.co/1tuT 3Wt) and has little to do with the situation in Oxfordshire. As has been proven by a number of entrepreneurs, the provision of new superfast networks isn't totally reliant on grant funding, as the article would have us believe Nick Carter actually said. aitchpee
  • Score: 0

6:59am Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

aitchpee wrote:
buyer beware wrote:
After two years only 175 homes have signed up to Gigaclear. Ewelme village has a BT fibre cabinet which has been taking orders since January. It has over 300 customers aleady so being tied into contracts is nonsense. Dan in Witney probably doesn't know where Ewelme is. Probably the village with the highest number of superfast subscribers not even mentioned. Very poor reporting.
The comment about take-up rates was in response to an article regarding Wales' superfast broadband marketing (http://ickl.co/1tuT

3Wt) and has little to do with the situation in Oxfordshire.

As has been proven by a number of entrepreneurs, the provision of new superfast networks isn't totally reliant on grant funding, as the article would have us believe Nick Carter actually said.
'Has little to do with Oxfordshire' What does that mean? The article says 175 have signed up to Gigaclear in Appleton in Oxfordshire after two years. That means 245, the majority, incuding some businesses and employers, have not. The BT cabinet in Appleton that most people connect by would have eventually been upgraded but not now. Since Appleton had a fibre network, it was excluded from the subsidised county plan. Once the county plan upgrades surrounding BT cabinets, Appleton will actually be in the slow lane unless more subscribe to the only monopoly provider. The same thing almost happened in Stonesfield. but luckily the county council sent Cotswold Broadband packing. It wanted governemnt subsidy and for Charlbury area to be taken out of the county plan but it had no plans to build its network in Stonesfield. That would have left Stonesfield cut off. Instead Charlbury stayed part of the county plan and the Bt cabinet in Stonesfield is listed for upgrade in June 2014.
[quote][p][bold]aitchpee[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: After two years only 175 homes have signed up to Gigaclear. Ewelme village has a BT fibre cabinet which has been taking orders since January. It has over 300 customers aleady so being tied into contracts is nonsense. Dan in Witney probably doesn't know where Ewelme is. Probably the village with the highest number of superfast subscribers not even mentioned. Very poor reporting.[/p][/quote]The comment about take-up rates was in response to an article regarding Wales' superfast broadband marketing (http://ickl.co/1tuT 3Wt) and has little to do with the situation in Oxfordshire. As has been proven by a number of entrepreneurs, the provision of new superfast networks isn't totally reliant on grant funding, as the article would have us believe Nick Carter actually said.[/p][/quote]'Has little to do with Oxfordshire' What does that mean? The article says 175 have signed up to Gigaclear in Appleton in Oxfordshire after two years. That means 245, the majority, incuding some businesses and employers, have not. The BT cabinet in Appleton that most people connect by would have eventually been upgraded but not now. Since Appleton had a fibre network, it was excluded from the subsidised county plan. Once the county plan upgrades surrounding BT cabinets, Appleton will actually be in the slow lane unless more subscribe to the only monopoly provider. The same thing almost happened in Stonesfield. but luckily the county council sent Cotswold Broadband packing. It wanted governemnt subsidy and for Charlbury area to be taken out of the county plan but it had no plans to build its network in Stonesfield. That would have left Stonesfield cut off. Instead Charlbury stayed part of the county plan and the Bt cabinet in Stonesfield is listed for upgrade in June 2014. buyer beware
  • Score: 0

8:01am Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

About 10% of 520 properties in Northmoor have signed up for fibre broadband in Northmoor, according to Gigaclear.

http://www.gigaclear
.com/communities/nor
thmoor/

That is £4,000 subsidy from the taxpayer for each property if take up stays at 10%. A network with so few customers is not viable. The parish council having taken the grant must push more to pay up.
About 10% of 520 properties in Northmoor have signed up for fibre broadband in Northmoor, according to Gigaclear. http://www.gigaclear .com/communities/nor thmoor/ That is £4,000 subsidy from the taxpayer for each property if take up stays at 10%. A network with so few customers is not viable. The parish council having taken the grant must push more to pay up. buyer beware
  • Score: -2

8:51am Tue 22 Apr 14

Squirrel15 says...

It is quite possible that the cabinet in Appleton would NOT have been upgraded under BDUK subsidised process.
Then the village would have been left with NO SFBB options at all.
So Appleton took the obvious step of safeguarding their future.
Now with a 1Gbps up/down service Appleton has secured the fastest BB in the UK for the next 30 years plus....its called forward planning.

Meanwhile in my village here we will not be getting SFBB from BT - the cabinets will not be upgraded under BDUK: end of story.
Do you understand this point "buyer beware" No superfast BB for us - ever. We have no options at all.

Those a long way from the cabinet would not get a true superfast BB service anyway from BT's FTTC, so Gigaclear's solution is far superior to BT's inferior service.
Just think; up to 1Gbps both upload and download capacity, no speed degrading effects of distance from the cabinet, a brand new network so few faults. The gold standard of a full dedicated fibreoptic supply to your doorstep.
What more could you want.....
People would be mad to refuse!
It is quite possible that the cabinet in Appleton would NOT have been upgraded under BDUK subsidised process. Then the village would have been left with NO SFBB options at all. So Appleton took the obvious step of safeguarding their future. Now with a 1Gbps up/down service Appleton has secured the fastest BB in the UK for the next 30 years plus....its called forward planning. Meanwhile in my village here we will not be getting SFBB from BT - the cabinets will not be upgraded under BDUK: end of story. Do you understand this point "buyer beware" No superfast BB for us - ever. We have no options at all. Those a long way from the cabinet would not get a true superfast BB service anyway from BT's FTTC, so Gigaclear's solution is far superior to BT's inferior service. Just think; up to 1Gbps both upload and download capacity, no speed degrading effects of distance from the cabinet, a brand new network so few faults. The gold standard of a full dedicated fibreoptic supply to your doorstep. What more could you want..... People would be mad to refuse! Squirrel15
  • Score: 4

8:59am Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

The BT cabinet in Appleton and Northmoor are very likely to have been included but not now. Both are barred from inclusion in the county plan. What was planned for Stonesfield by the alt nets was actually worse than what has happened to Appleton and Northmoor. As you say, at least they have a monopoly provider, but look at the facts. If only 10% of properties subscribe as currently shown for Northmoor 1. the community is not superfast 2. the network won't be viable 3. when it fails it is well and truly ******
The BT cabinet in Appleton and Northmoor are very likely to have been included but not now. Both are barred from inclusion in the county plan. What was planned for Stonesfield by the alt nets was actually worse than what has happened to Appleton and Northmoor. As you say, at least they have a monopoly provider, but look at the facts. If only 10% of properties subscribe as currently shown for Northmoor 1. the community is not superfast 2. the network won't be viable 3. when it fails it is well and truly ****** buyer beware
  • Score: -2

9:12am Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

It's probably easier to ask yourself: Do you want the road to your village built as a toll road by a private company or do you want Highways to build it? Anyone with sales people in their village from the alt nets - buyer beware.
It's probably easier to ask yourself: Do you want the road to your village built as a toll road by a private company or do you want Highways to build it? Anyone with sales people in their village from the alt nets - buyer beware. buyer beware
  • Score: -4

9:39am Tue 22 Apr 14

Squirrel15 says...

You are wrong
Northmoor was never to be included in the BDUK roll out map issued last August.
It was designated as NGA white on the OCC intervention map.
Basically to be abandoned by the council/BT/BDUK.
You cannot just say the Appleton would have been - it may well have been exactly as Northmoor was - not included - and just like my village is.

I'm told that Northmoor then applied for RCBF additional Gov' funding and they got this granted.
They and West Oxf' District Council then asked both Gigaclear and BT to tender for the the contract
Gigaclear won, I guess for all the reasons in my earlier post as it is a far superior future proofed solution particularly for those a long way from the BT cab. The people evaluating these tenders were not stupid.
You are wrong Northmoor was never to be included in the BDUK roll out map issued last August. It was designated as NGA white on the OCC intervention map. Basically to be abandoned by the council/BT/BDUK. You cannot just say the Appleton would have been - it may well have been exactly as Northmoor was - not included - and just like my village is. I'm told that Northmoor then applied for RCBF additional Gov' funding and they got this granted. They and West Oxf' District Council then asked both Gigaclear and BT to tender for the the contract Gigaclear won, I guess for all the reasons in my earlier post as it is a far superior future proofed solution particularly for those a long way from the BT cab. The people evaluating these tenders were not stupid. Squirrel15
  • Score: 4

9:53am Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

Then why are only 10% signed up? You keep extolling the virtues but why is take up so low? You have not addressed the fact that Ewelme, not mentioned in the article, has over 300 superfast subscribers having only started signing up in January. It has what you say is an inferior BT cabinet. Are people in Ewelme stupid? They are the clever ones. Unless people subscirbe the community is not superfas. A network that is private is at risk if it does not have customers. More cabinets will be added (but not Appleton or Northmoor). Say to the county council that the government has promised 95% coverage by 2017 so it must deliver on that promise. How they do it is not your problem, I will be extremely annoyed if only 50 properties in Northmoor take out superfast broadband as it makes it harder for everyone else if a handful of properties take a £4000 grant each. The parish council has a duty to at least match Ewelme which means it needs to sign up another 300 subscribers fast.
Then why are only 10% signed up? You keep extolling the virtues but why is take up so low? You have not addressed the fact that Ewelme, not mentioned in the article, has over 300 superfast subscribers having only started signing up in January. It has what you say is an inferior BT cabinet. Are people in Ewelme stupid? They are the clever ones. Unless people subscirbe the community is not superfas. A network that is private is at risk if it does not have customers. More cabinets will be added (but not Appleton or Northmoor). Say to the county council that the government has promised 95% coverage by 2017 so it must deliver on that promise. How they do it is not your problem, I will be extremely annoyed if only 50 properties in Northmoor take out superfast broadband as it makes it harder for everyone else if a handful of properties take a £4000 grant each. The parish council has a duty to at least match Ewelme which means it needs to sign up another 300 subscribers fast. buyer beware
  • Score: -1

9:57am Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

PS I was not wrong. The map published last August showed the first 90% intervention area which will be extended to 95% by 2017. Northmoor and Appleton ruled themselves out of the 95%.
PS I was not wrong. The map published last August showed the first 90% intervention area which will be extended to 95% by 2017. Northmoor and Appleton ruled themselves out of the 95%. buyer beware
  • Score: -2

12:10pm Tue 22 Apr 14

haroldcrane says...

buyer beware wrote:
About 10% of 520 properties in Northmoor have signed up for fibre broadband in Northmoor, according to Gigaclear.

http://www.gigaclear

.com/communities/nor

thmoor/

That is £4,000 subsidy from the taxpayer for each property if take up stays at 10%. A network with so few customers is not viable. The parish council having taken the grant must push more to pay up.
Given that Gigaclear haven't built the network yet and only announced they would do so a few weeks ago 10% pre-orders before the network even exists or a date has been set for it to be built/available is pretty **** good, actually! Also, as the article says, loads of people are locked into 12, 18, 24 month contracts. Check back in 2-3 years and judge then...

Not sure where your £4k per property number comes from - £200k grant means less than £400 a property, which is very good value for FTTP - most projects quote £1k/property.
[quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: About 10% of 520 properties in Northmoor have signed up for fibre broadband in Northmoor, according to Gigaclear. http://www.gigaclear .com/communities/nor thmoor/ That is £4,000 subsidy from the taxpayer for each property if take up stays at 10%. A network with so few customers is not viable. The parish council having taken the grant must push more to pay up.[/p][/quote]Given that Gigaclear haven't built the network yet and only announced they would do so a few weeks ago 10% pre-orders before the network even exists or a date has been set for it to be built/available is pretty **** good, actually! Also, as the article says, loads of people are locked into 12, 18, 24 month contracts. Check back in 2-3 years and judge then... Not sure where your £4k per property number comes from - £200k grant means less than £400 a property, which is very good value for FTTP - most projects quote £1k/property. haroldcrane
  • Score: 2

12:13pm Tue 22 Apr 14

haroldcrane says...

buyer beware wrote:
It's probably easier to ask yourself: Do you want the road to your village built as a toll road by a private company or do you want Highways to build it? Anyone with sales people in their village from the alt nets - buyer beware.
BT are a private company. Openreach are a private company. Gigaclear and every other altnet is a private company. BT are not a public service. Open access can be mandated by any contract, not just by Ofcom, and my understanding is that publicly subsidized deals like the RCBF grants require open access.
[quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: It's probably easier to ask yourself: Do you want the road to your village built as a toll road by a private company or do you want Highways to build it? Anyone with sales people in their village from the alt nets - buyer beware.[/p][/quote]BT are a private company. Openreach are a private company. Gigaclear and every other altnet is a private company. BT are not a public service. Open access can be mandated by any contract, not just by Ofcom, and my understanding is that publicly subsidized deals like the RCBF grants require open access. haroldcrane
  • Score: 1

12:20pm Tue 22 Apr 14

haroldcrane says...

buyer beware wrote:
Then why are only 10% signed up? You keep extolling the virtues but why is take up so low? You have not addressed the fact that Ewelme, not mentioned in the article, has over 300 superfast subscribers having only started signing up in January. It has what you say is an inferior BT cabinet. Are people in Ewelme stupid? They are the clever ones. Unless people subscirbe the community is not superfas. A network that is private is at risk if it does not have customers. More cabinets will be added (but not Appleton or Northmoor). Say to the county council that the government has promised 95% coverage by 2017 so it must deliver on that promise. How they do it is not your problem, I will be extremely annoyed if only 50 properties in Northmoor take out superfast broadband as it makes it harder for everyone else if a handful of properties take a £4000 grant each. The parish council has a duty to at least match Ewelme which means it needs to sign up another 300 subscribers fast.
12, 18, 24 month contracts. Ewelme and others under the BDUK scheme potentially don't have this issue as BT and others will waive minimum contract lengths for upgrade on an existing contract to a premium service (obviously). And again, please explain how you got to £4,000 a property!?

Different situations demand different solutions. Ewelme is a very dense settlement, so BT VDSL probably works okay there. But doing 95% is easy. Doing 100% is much harder, and is where altnets do a much better job than Openreach because they put fibre in the ground all the way to the premises (or do wireless, which can be extended to all properties). BT don't care about connecting everyone, just the commercially interesting bits. All the BDUK money does is lower the bar for what they consider 'interesting'!
[quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: Then why are only 10% signed up? You keep extolling the virtues but why is take up so low? You have not addressed the fact that Ewelme, not mentioned in the article, has over 300 superfast subscribers having only started signing up in January. It has what you say is an inferior BT cabinet. Are people in Ewelme stupid? They are the clever ones. Unless people subscirbe the community is not superfas. A network that is private is at risk if it does not have customers. More cabinets will be added (but not Appleton or Northmoor). Say to the county council that the government has promised 95% coverage by 2017 so it must deliver on that promise. How they do it is not your problem, I will be extremely annoyed if only 50 properties in Northmoor take out superfast broadband as it makes it harder for everyone else if a handful of properties take a £4000 grant each. The parish council has a duty to at least match Ewelme which means it needs to sign up another 300 subscribers fast.[/p][/quote]12, 18, 24 month contracts. Ewelme and others under the BDUK scheme potentially don't have this issue as BT and others will waive minimum contract lengths for upgrade on an existing contract to a premium service (obviously). And again, please explain how you got to £4,000 a property!? Different situations demand different solutions. Ewelme is a very dense settlement, so BT VDSL probably works okay there. But doing 95% is easy. Doing 100% is much harder, and is where altnets do a much better job than Openreach because they put fibre in the ground all the way to the premises (or do wireless, which can be extended to all properties). BT don't care about connecting everyone, just the commercially interesting bits. All the BDUK money does is lower the bar for what they consider 'interesting'! haroldcrane
  • Score: 3

12:54pm Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

haroldcrane wrote:
buyer beware wrote:
About 10% of 520 properties in Northmoor have signed up for fibre broadband in Northmoor, according to Gigaclear.

http://www.gigaclear


.com/communities/nor


thmoor/

That is £4,000 subsidy from the taxpayer for each property if take up stays at 10%. A network with so few customers is not viable. The parish council having taken the grant must push more to pay up.
Given that Gigaclear haven't built the network yet and only announced they would do so a few weeks ago 10% pre-orders before the network even exists or a date has been set for it to be built/available is pretty **** good, actually! Also, as the article says, loads of people are locked into 12, 18, 24 month contracts. Check back in 2-3 years and judge then...

Not sure where your £4k per property number comes from - £200k grant means less than £400 a property, which is very good value for FTTP - most projects quote £1k/property.
According to the Northmoor website Gigaclear announced its network on 24th February which is two months ago, not a few weeks. I would have expected given the write up in the article a higher percentage would have signed up. Without the subsidy, Gigaclear requires a third of 520 properties to sign up so 10% seems low for a project going ahead. £4000 is the cost based on the current level that Gigaclear indicates have signed up. £400 would be if all 520 properties sign up for superfast broadband which as you say may be the case in a few years time.
[quote][p][bold]haroldcrane[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: About 10% of 520 properties in Northmoor have signed up for fibre broadband in Northmoor, according to Gigaclear. http://www.gigaclear .com/communities/nor thmoor/ That is £4,000 subsidy from the taxpayer for each property if take up stays at 10%. A network with so few customers is not viable. The parish council having taken the grant must push more to pay up.[/p][/quote]Given that Gigaclear haven't built the network yet and only announced they would do so a few weeks ago 10% pre-orders before the network even exists or a date has been set for it to be built/available is pretty **** good, actually! Also, as the article says, loads of people are locked into 12, 18, 24 month contracts. Check back in 2-3 years and judge then... Not sure where your £4k per property number comes from - £200k grant means less than £400 a property, which is very good value for FTTP - most projects quote £1k/property.[/p][/quote]According to the Northmoor website Gigaclear announced its network on 24th February which is two months ago, not a few weeks. I would have expected given the write up in the article a higher percentage would have signed up. Without the subsidy, Gigaclear requires a third of 520 properties to sign up so 10% seems low for a project going ahead. £4000 is the cost based on the current level that Gigaclear indicates have signed up. £400 would be if all 520 properties sign up for superfast broadband which as you say may be the case in a few years time. buyer beware
  • Score: -1

1:00pm Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

haroldcrane wrote:
buyer beware wrote:
It's probably easier to ask yourself: Do you want the road to your village built as a toll road by a private company or do you want Highways to build it? Anyone with sales people in their village from the alt nets - buyer beware.
BT are a private company. Openreach are a private company. Gigaclear and every other altnet is a private company. BT are not a public service. Open access can be mandated by any contract, not just by Ofcom, and my understanding is that publicly subsidized deals like the RCBF grants require open access.
Does Gigaclear have commercial agreements with BT, Talk Talk, Sky, Plusnet, Zen etc? BT Openreach does. An open network is one that has actual agreements which I doubt Gigaclear does but correct me if I am wrong. (And before you say it, a third party platform that also does not have commercial agreements does not count). I think readers will recognise the difference between BT plc and private networks, no disrespect to new players.
[quote][p][bold]haroldcrane[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: It's probably easier to ask yourself: Do you want the road to your village built as a toll road by a private company or do you want Highways to build it? Anyone with sales people in their village from the alt nets - buyer beware.[/p][/quote]BT are a private company. Openreach are a private company. Gigaclear and every other altnet is a private company. BT are not a public service. Open access can be mandated by any contract, not just by Ofcom, and my understanding is that publicly subsidized deals like the RCBF grants require open access.[/p][/quote]Does Gigaclear have commercial agreements with BT, Talk Talk, Sky, Plusnet, Zen etc? BT Openreach does. An open network is one that has actual agreements which I doubt Gigaclear does but correct me if I am wrong. (And before you say it, a third party platform that also does not have commercial agreements does not count). I think readers will recognise the difference between BT plc and private networks, no disrespect to new players. buyer beware
  • Score: -2

1:04pm Tue 22 Apr 14

buyer beware says...

haroldcrane wrote:
buyer beware wrote:
Then why are only 10% signed up? You keep extolling the virtues but why is take up so low? You have not addressed the fact that Ewelme, not mentioned in the article, has over 300 superfast subscribers having only started signing up in January. It has what you say is an inferior BT cabinet. Are people in Ewelme stupid? They are the clever ones. Unless people subscirbe the community is not superfas. A network that is private is at risk if it does not have customers. More cabinets will be added (but not Appleton or Northmoor). Say to the county council that the government has promised 95% coverage by 2017 so it must deliver on that promise. How they do it is not your problem, I will be extremely annoyed if only 50 properties in Northmoor take out superfast broadband as it makes it harder for everyone else if a handful of properties take a £4000 grant each. The parish council has a duty to at least match Ewelme which means it needs to sign up another 300 subscribers fast.
12, 18, 24 month contracts. Ewelme and others under the BDUK scheme potentially don't have this issue as BT and others will waive minimum contract lengths for upgrade on an existing contract to a premium service (obviously). And again, please explain how you got to £4,000 a property!?

Different situations demand different solutions. Ewelme is a very dense settlement, so BT VDSL probably works okay there. But doing 95% is easy. Doing 100% is much harder, and is where altnets do a much better job than Openreach because they put fibre in the ground all the way to the premises (or do wireless, which can be extended to all properties). BT don't care about connecting everyone, just the commercially interesting bits. All the BDUK money does is lower the bar for what they consider 'interesting'!
Excuses and Cotswold Broadband did not care about connecting Stonesfield. Why haven't more properties signed up in Appleton after two years if the offer is so great?
[quote][p][bold]haroldcrane[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]buyer beware[/bold] wrote: Then why are only 10% signed up? You keep extolling the virtues but why is take up so low? You have not addressed the fact that Ewelme, not mentioned in the article, has over 300 superfast subscribers having only started signing up in January. It has what you say is an inferior BT cabinet. Are people in Ewelme stupid? They are the clever ones. Unless people subscirbe the community is not superfas. A network that is private is at risk if it does not have customers. More cabinets will be added (but not Appleton or Northmoor). Say to the county council that the government has promised 95% coverage by 2017 so it must deliver on that promise. How they do it is not your problem, I will be extremely annoyed if only 50 properties in Northmoor take out superfast broadband as it makes it harder for everyone else if a handful of properties take a £4000 grant each. The parish council has a duty to at least match Ewelme which means it needs to sign up another 300 subscribers fast.[/p][/quote]12, 18, 24 month contracts. Ewelme and others under the BDUK scheme potentially don't have this issue as BT and others will waive minimum contract lengths for upgrade on an existing contract to a premium service (obviously). And again, please explain how you got to £4,000 a property!? Different situations demand different solutions. Ewelme is a very dense settlement, so BT VDSL probably works okay there. But doing 95% is easy. Doing 100% is much harder, and is where altnets do a much better job than Openreach because they put fibre in the ground all the way to the premises (or do wireless, which can be extended to all properties). BT don't care about connecting everyone, just the commercially interesting bits. All the BDUK money does is lower the bar for what they consider 'interesting'![/p][/quote]Excuses and Cotswold Broadband did not care about connecting Stonesfield. Why haven't more properties signed up in Appleton after two years if the offer is so great? buyer beware
  • Score: -1

10:17am Thu 24 Apr 14

aitchpee says...

@buyerbeware Not sure where you get your facts from, but although Cotswolds Broadband's original plan didn't include Stonesfield, it would still have been within the county/BT plan, so it would have benefited from SFBB from BT. The Cotswolds Broadband Group grew out of Transition Chipping Norton, which is a community initiative to support the economic sustainability of the area around Chippy itself, hence the geographic area covered by the plan.

Oxfordshire County Council didn't send Cotswolds Broadband packing as you suggest - the BDUK process for the Rural Community Broadband Fund was flawed, hence that and other projects also failing to get their County Councils to de-scope areas for alternative networks to be built in complementarity with the County plans.
@buyerbeware Not sure where you get your facts from, but although Cotswolds Broadband's original plan didn't include Stonesfield, it would still have been within the county/BT plan, so it would have benefited from SFBB from BT. The Cotswolds Broadband Group grew out of Transition Chipping Norton, which is a community initiative to support the economic sustainability of the area around Chippy itself, hence the geographic area covered by the plan. Oxfordshire County Council didn't send Cotswolds Broadband packing as you suggest - the BDUK process for the Rural Community Broadband Fund was flawed, hence that and other projects also failing to get their County Councils to de-scope areas for alternative networks to be built in complementarity with the County plans. aitchpee
  • Score: 1

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