Thanks to the work of the CSW Broadband Project, over 68,000 households and businesses are now able to get high-speed broadband across the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire sub-region.
Communities benefiting from recent superfast upgrades include parts of Abbots Salford, Berkswell, Bidford on Avon, Chessett’s Wood, the Claverdon area, Compton Verney, Coughton, Dodwell, Danzey Green, Earlswood, the Fillongley area, Hatton, Hockley Heath, Meriden, No Man’s Heath, Rugby (Berrybanks area), Stretton on Dunsmore, Tiddington, Ullenhall, Upton area, Willoughby and parts of the Wixford area.
As mentioned in the previous newsletter, some delays to the advertised programme are inevitable when, for example, previously unforeseen engineering issues arise. Where possible, the Contract 2 – Delayed Upgrades table on our Rolling 12-month Plan is regularly updated to try and give affected residents an overview of the reasons for the most serious delays along with the dates that Openreach expect the work to be completed by.
While work continues on delivering the final Contract 2 structures, work has also started with regard to Contract 3, the next phase of our project. Over 220 Contract 3 structures have been surveyed and reviewed and are now in the delivery phase.
Contract 3 is very different from Contracts 1 and 2 in that:
* We have been getting information down to property-level (rather than postcode level) and this has been displayed on our Latest Map for some time now. Therefore, if your property is marked with a yellow star on the map or has the status of ‘Contract 3’ on our Check Your Property tool, then it is due for upgrade under Contract 3.
* There are increasing amounts of Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) in Contract 3. This brings its own challenges as FTTP involves far more civil engineering issues.
* Contract 3 has a very short programme time. Under the terms of the contract, Openreach are aiming to complete all Contract 3 builds by the summer of 2020.
We are currently in the process of checking a whole load of Contract 3 data that we have recently received from Openreach. Once this has been completed, we will publish a list of Contract 3 structures that are in build on our Rolling 12-month plan. However, due to the short programme time, we will not be giving proposed completion dates, except that all work is due to be completed by the summer of 2020.
As before, once we have received confirmation that a particular structure upgrade is complete, we will email all affected residents whose details we have listed on our database.
Please let us know if your contact details (e.g. email address) change at any point so that we can update our records and keep you up to date with what is happening in your area. Residents not already signed up to receive our newsletter can register for this and other relevant project updates at www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register
Automatic compensation for broadband users goes live
Five UK broadband and landline providers – BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen – who together serve around 90% of landline and broadband customers in the UK, will now automatically compensate customers when services do not work.
Ofcom estimate that there are 7.2 million cases each year where broadband or landline customers suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments but as of April 1st customers who experience these issues will now be compensated without even having to ask.
Under the terms of the agreement, if an engineer does not arrive on schedule or cancels within 24 hours, the compensation will be £25. If a service stops working and is not fully fixed after two working days, customers will be entitled to £8 a day in compensation.
There will also be £5 per day offered for new services not starting on time.
Two other providers, Hyperoptic and Vodafone will begin automatic compensation later this year, while EE plans to start paying compensation automatically in 2020. Plusnet have also committed to the scheme but has not provided a timescale for when it will begin providing automatic compensation.
Please visit the Ofcom website for further details on the automatic compensation scheme.
Best UK broadband providers to haggle with for a lower price
A recent survey has revealed that most UK consumers who haggled for a lower price with one of the largest fixed line broadband ISPs or mobile network operators were successful in saving money.
As ISP Review note in their recent article on the best UK Broadband Providers to haggle with, it’s no secret that you could save a lot of money through a bit of haggling but only around 10% of consumers actually do this with the majority of broadband ISP customers tending to remain with their ISP for at least 3 years. However, remaining loyal to your ISP provider can actually end up costing you money.
ISP Review advise that even if you are generally happy with the service you are receiving from your ISP it is worth trying to haggle with them around the end of your contract or following a price hike and their Tips for Cutting Your Broadband Bill Without Switching ISP provides some helpful advice for doing this.
Better Broadband Voucher Scheme relaunched
The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme is a UK-wide government subsidy scheme which provides an affordable, basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that are unable to access a broadband service with a download speed of at least 2 Mbps – and who will not benefit from the superfast broadband roll out within the next 12 months.
Since its launch in December 2015, the scheme (previously known as the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme) has boosted the broadband speeds of more than 20,000 homes and businesses in some of the hardest to reach areas of the UK, including around 400 properties within the CSW Broadband region.
Households and businesses that are eligible to take advantage of the scheme have the installation and hardware costs of their connection subsidised to ensure their first year costs are no more than £400.
To find out more about the scheme and whether your premises could be eligible please go to: https://basicbroadband.culture.gov.uk/
Questions and Answers
Here are some of the Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that residents have raised recently. Our website has a full set of Frequently Asked Questions, which are regularly updated.
Once the upgrade is complete, will I automatically get a superfast service?
No. To take advantage of superfast speeds, you must order a superfast broadband package through your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is what we suggest you do.
First of all, enter your landline or address into the BT Broadband Availability Checker.
If superfast is available, either ‘VDSL Range A & B’ (for an FTTC - Fibre to the Cabinet upgrade) or ‘WBC FTTP’ (for a Fibre to the Premise upgrade) will be listed under ‘Featured Products’ with the speeds you are likely to achieve.
Our How to use the BT Broadband Availability Checker webpage will help you make sense of these results.
We then suggest that you use an impartial comparison site (such as those listed below) to find and order a superfast package, which meets your usage needs and requirements:
If you have benefited from an FTTP upgrade, the ordering process is slightly different. Our Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) webpage provides you with all the information you need to order an FTTP service.
My upgrade was scheduled for completion by now, when will it be done?
Where there is a delay, the reason for this will be listed on the Rolling 12-Month Plan.
A number of the planned cabinet / structure upgrades show that the delay is due to civil engineering work being required. This is often due to blocked or collapsed ducts, which may require road closures, and these can take 3 months to come into effect.
Occasionally, when one problem has been fixed, another may manifest itself further down the line. Although visual surveys are carried out, it is not possible to know what is happening under the ground until the actual work commences.
We will not be able to bring regular updates or a lot of details about what is happening - just doing that would tie up a lot of valuable resource for the CSW Broadband team and for the contractor. However, we will give an indication of the status on any delayed structures as the work progresses.
Contract 2 is due to complete by the summer of 2019, whilst Contract 3 work is due to be completed in the summer of 2020.
You can find more frequently asked broadband questions on our website.