Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund (LFFN)
We were informed just before Easter that our bid to the LFFN has been successful, subject to due diligence. Team members will be going to London at the end of April to meet the LFFN team and to answer questions arising from the bid. It is not known when we will hear the final outcome.
The CSW Broadband team are now investigating procurement options. We will need to procure the Public Sector Building upgrades, as per the bid, which is essentially a typical public sector procurement exercise. However, we will also need to ensure that the bidders advise what local coverage of residential and business properties they expect to achieve, even though that is not part of the work that is funded through the project.
Market engagement has already started, as we need to understand what suppliers are realistically able to deliver as it would be a waste of time for them to specify something that is simply not deliverable.
EAFRD focuses on connectivity to rural businesses that would not otherwise be upgraded. The bid has been delayed as we are awaiting details from Openreach of the additional coverage that they are putting into Contract 3, so that we can then establish where the final eligible premises will be. With the deadline of 31st May fast approaching, we are doing all that we can to ensure that a fully compliant and well-argued bid is submitted in good time.
Gigabit voucher scheme extended – now includes residential
In the Spring Statement, the government committed to a vision of a full fibre Britain. As part of this commitment, a £67 million Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has been announced. This is an extension of the pilot scheme that was previously run in Coventry and Warwickshire, but with one important change - residential premises can now also benefit.
Gigabit vouchers can be used by small and medium-sized businesses and the local communities surrounding them, to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit capable connection.
Businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme as part of a group project, which also includes businesses, and can claim for a voucher of up to a value of £500.
One gigabit is the same as 1,000 megabits – so it’s a big leap forward in connection speeds that could benefit you and your business into the future.
For full details about whether you are eligible for a voucher and to connect you to a full fibre broadband supplier, go to: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk
Please note: CSW Broadband has no involvement in the administration of this scheme, and we are unable to respond to queries about it.
Broadband on new developments
We are seeing almost daily enquiries from owners of properties on new developments asking when we will be going to their areas. The simple answer, generally speaking, is that we won’t!
Before CSW Broadband went out to tender in 2017 for Contract 3, we carried out an Open Market Review in 2016. Under this process, suppliers were sent lists of premises that appeared at that time on the Ordnance Survey AddressBase. The data for this originates from the District or Borough Authorities, who enter the information into the Property Gazeteer. Therefore, the data can only include homes that have been built and registered, and is only as up-to-date as the District or Borough Authority data at that time.
If a property had not yet been built, or was not registered, then it could not be included in the data that was sent to suppliers.
It is not unreasonable to expect the developers to include broadband in their on-site infrastructure, and many do, however many people buy homes and expect that broadband will be provided, only to be disappointed once they move in. To complicate the issue, there is an EU standard that required newer homes to be built as “internet ready”, so they will have network wiring around the property. However, that does not necessarily mean that there will be any connectivity from the property to the fibre network.
Buyers of any property, new or old, are strongly recommended to check the broadband connectivity situation, if it is important to them, before they buy. Don’t just take the salesperson’s word for it!
What does Google know about you?
There has been a lot in the media lately about personal data and the extent to which it is harvested, kept and shared by the services that we use every day. Not all of this is necessarily harmful or malevolent – and some of it is essential if we are to be able to make sure of all those shortcuts and timesaving features that we take for granted. However, it does help to know what is being kept so that you can make some informed choices.
An article on MSN gives an account of how one person tracked what data Google had harvested about him. This included (if you use these services):
- Everywhere that you visit from the day that you turn on your telephone
- Search and phone histories
- Creating personalised advertisement profiles based on the websites visited
- Every App and Extension used, who you talk to and who you follow on social media
- All of your YouTube history – so they know what you are interested in and any potential life changes
- Your bookmarks, email contacts, photos, who you’ve bought products from
- Your calendar, location history, music you’ve listened to, Google books you’ve purchased, phones you’ve owned, steps you walk in a day …
You get the picture!
We would re-iterate that allowing Google to store this data enables you to make free use of some very sophisticated FREE services that we all take for granted. However, if you would like to know more, including how to stop the storage of data, this very interesting article will tell you more.
Google are not the only company doing this, and reading the article may give you the opportunity to consider what other companies might be collecting, and then to take a considered decision before clicking on the button to simply accept the terms and conditions.
Copy for your own website or newsletter
We have short articles of around 300 words that can be downloaded to use in your own newsletters or on websites. These are updated monthly.
Questions and Answers
Here are some of the Q&A’s raised recently. Our website has a full set of Q&As, which are regularly updated.
Once my new fibre cabinet is connected to the exchange (or FTTP is enabled), what then?
That is entirely up to you. We are installing a wholesale network, which means that once your cabinet has gone live (or FTTP has been enabled) any Internet Service Provider (ISP) can offer you high speed broadband (subject to availability) and there are a wide range of packages available.
Do check though that you are able to actually achieve the speeds that are advertised as the geographic issues mentioned on our website will apply in cases where a new cabinet is involved. You can check which structure you are connected to by using the BT DSL checker. Our handy ‘How to use the BT Line Checker’ webpage will help you make sense of the DSL Checker results.
For the best results, you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate. Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use.
Don’t forget that you will need to upgrade to a superfast broadband package through your chosen ISP. The access is on a wholesale basis, which means that any ISP can use the infrastructure to provide their services.
You will also need to check out broadband packages carefully to get the one that is right for you. For impartial advice go to the Money Saving Expert website.
We have leaflets that can be distributed to every property that is connected to the upgraded cabinets. To find out more please visit our Become a Community Champion web page.
My phone line is connected to a cabinet that is not upgraded. How can I get it moved to a fibre-enabled cabinet?
It is an operational matter for BT as to which cabinet they connect your landline to. There is a legal obligation to provide a copper telephone connection, but not for a fibre broadband connection. In some areas, BT are carrying out CuRE (Copper Re-Arrangement) work, which does involve moving lines from one cabinet to another. In other areas we are seeing FTTP (Fibre to the premise) installations, in which case the cabinet is irrelevant.
You can check which structure you are connected to and what speed is available to you now by using the BT DSL checker.
As mentioned earlier, for the best results you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate. Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use.
To see if anything is planned in your area for the future, 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.
This 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.
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