NEIGHBOURS and businesses in Wanborough and Chiseldon can register their interest in receiving BT Openreach fibre broadband.

The government’s gigabit voucher scheme means that eligible rural homes can get a voucher worth £1,500 while small businesses can get one worth up to £3,500.

This will pay for the installation of superfast internet.

Questions & Answers for Openreach with Michelle Maidment – Rural Engagement Manager.

05/01/2021
  • Scheme in discussion since April 2020. Helps communities not covered by a commercial program to get fibre if they wish.
  • Connected over 800 communities using the Government vouchers so far. The funding is from the Gigabit scheme – £1500 for residents and £3500 for businesses.
  • All eligible properties have had a leaflet through the door. The vouchers come from the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport.
  • If your voucher is approved you are agreeing to take fibre contract for 12 months min from a provider on the Openreach network – Sky, BT, Vodaphone etc.
  • If you currently get less than 30mbps then you agree to sign up for at least 30mbps and if you are over this you agree to sign up for a contract of double your current speed.
  • When the pledge is reached the scheme moves to build stage. The background work has started and they would deliver within 12 months.
  • Openreach supply to edge of property using the ultrafast gigabit service. You don’t have to take this speed but you can if you want to.

Q&A

  • If the copper network is closed by 2025 does this mean that if the bid is not successful that landlines won’t work after that, or will fibre be installed then anyway?
    Copper not supported after 2025. Might use fibre or 4G. The further from the cabinet the worse the service will be. Openreach encourages people to take up fibre now as doesn’t know what might be in place in the future.
  • Where does this scheme cover?
    A. Postcode checks show that as well as Chiseldon; DF, RWV, and Hodson are covered. Badbury is not. Badbury is being looked at as a different scheme. Hopefully phase 2.
  • What about new sites such as Manor View where their postcodes are not included?
    Capturing data for anyone not on the list that wants to be included to see if they can do this. They will work with developers to ensure new builds have fibre included.
  • Is there a pledge target? What happens if target not reached?
    If the target is not reach then would look at alternative options. May have to modify the scheme. Would look at a “plan B”. (Currently at 52% of pledges needed)
  • Can we keep current landlines? How much digging will there be?
    You can get rid of your phone line and use your phone via your fibre line. Some providers may let you keep your copper service but there may be an extra charge.
    Will use ducts and poles that already exist for the fibre, will try to keep digging to a minimum.
    A distribution point would be fitted for a number of houses. The individual supplier would then connect to the property. In most cases Openreach will only go to the edge of the property.
    It was noted that everyone in Badbury had the same postcode for registering interest purposes. Michelle confirmed they were aware of this.
    Also confirmed that if you don’t pledge your voucher now but want fibre later, there may be extra charges involved to connect to your property.
  • Once pledges are in place, when would work start?
    Once pledge level reached the applications are sent to the DCMS scheme. Then all applicants will be written to, to confirm their pledge. Applicants need to respond to this for the scheme to go ahead.
    Then a survey is carried out for trees, wayleaves signed for permission to dig etc. This would take weeks/months.
    Then the build would start. Average lead time 12 months. Will aim to be installed ASAP.
  • Do we have enough registered home owners to make the scheme achievable?
    Wouldn’t run the service if didn’t feel it was achievable. Would look at plan B however if it were not.
  • Can people access the new fibre as soon as their area is done?
    Will hopefully offer on a phased basis.
  • Existing fibre goes to Alexandra Park. Will the new Burderop Park estate be included?
    Would need to check if the postcode was included. If not, will add properties to the list and see how they can add to current phase or work something out.
    It was advised that Burderop Barns postcodes were included.

Questions part 2

23/12/2020
  • How was the target set and is there any room to set a lower one?
    The target was set based on the community’s share of the build cost. It’s a large scheme and there isn’t any room to set a lower target.
  • How many existing broadband users are there in Chiseldon? And if so, what percentage of these need to sign up to make the current target?
    The proposed scheme covers 1,135 properties. It would need 341 businesses, or 795 residents, or a mixture of the two, to reach the target.
  • How do non-broadband users register to pledge their voucher?
    Existing services are so bad that it just might be that a few potential users are holding off until the service is viable. It can be done via mobile phone as well as online. The government voucher scheme will email applicants directly to confirm their pledge so an email account is a necessity.
  • Can selected local enterprises be given a higher rate than the standard £3,500?
    £3,500 is for businesses, £1,500 is for residents. This is government funding through DCMS.
  • Given that working from home has proved so beneficial during the Covid crisis, it is likely that many employers will encourage their staff to continue doing this when (or if?) all restrictions are lifted. Should people who are able (or forced) to work from home be given a higher rate than those who must still go to their workplace?
    The funding is from the DCMS, not Openreach and so is not one that Openreach can answer.
  • Does the scheme have an end date? Bearing in mind that the current Covid restrictions on meeting people and canvassing “door to door” severely restrict the community’s ability to mount an effective local campaign, should the target be reduced or the scheme’s end date be extended?
    The current scheme ends on March 31st 2021, meaning applications have to be approved and issued by then.
    If the target is met but OpenReach fail to install the infrastructure within a year are the vouchers returned intact so that the community can approach an alternative supplier? If Openreach are unable to deliver within 12 months of the vouchers being issued (that is, after an email has been sent by the DCMS to the applicant, they have accepted the terms and conditions and the DCMS approve the funding) then under certain circumstances an extension can be requested, i.e. if road closures/traffic management mean more time is needed. Things do happen, however it’s rare that an extension is required, we consider schemes carefully before launch to ensure that we have considered as many factors as possible that would affect our ability to deliver on time and on budget.
  • Is the planned infrastructure fibre to the exchange, a distribution box or to the home? What connection charges will there be?
    Our work will finish at the boundary to the property. When an order is placed with a communications provider (CP) for service, as per the terms and conditions, the last connection will be made into the home and a new socket fitted.
  • Is there a commitment that when the infrastructure is installed all users will be able to transfer their existing contracts (with which ever supplier they currently use) to the new service without cancellation penalties?
    This is something that would need to be discussed between individuals and their Communications Provider (CP). A list of the available providers that can be used once the build is finished is here:
    Details on FTTP providers that you can use once the build is finished are here:
    https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fttp-providers
    And these suppliers are expected to be able to offer FTTP shortly – please ring to check availability in your area
    https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/09/isp-ee-launches-uk-gigabit-fttp-home-broadband-packages.html
  • How can potential “pledgers” find out how much a new contract will cost? All suppliers seem to say “service not available” once you put in a Chiseldon post code. Just how much more (or less) will the minimum cost of this service be? And once installed, is it possible to revert to the slow broadband we have at the moment at contract end if the new costs are not worth it?
    Here’s a postcode where fibre costs can be checked- MK182HY. Re: switching back, that’s a conversation that would need to be had with your broadband provider.
  • What are the circumstances where the “failure to sign a contract” penalty would not be enforced? Is it correct that the penalty of “the cost of the voucher” is irrelevant, since it would be much cheaper to sign a contract for the minimum time and cancel it as soon as possible? The wording on the scheme should be changed to reflect this.
    We have to articulate the terms and conditions of the funding as is written. If the funding is issued, the expectation is that a service will be taken. Understand circumstances can change, and we would encourage a higher proportion of pledges than is required so that some contingency is built in. Re cancellation after contract, I can’t advocate this approach. I would also counsel that standard phone services will be withdrawn by 2025 and some Communication Providers may choose to stop selling before this date.

Questions and answers from the community

15/12/2020
  • Is Badbury being included in the current scheme?
    No. Openreach are currently costing up Badbury to see if they can offer a similar scheme.

 

  • Is there enough properties and businesses in the applicable area to be able to meet the 100% target.

 

  • Will everyone who pledges be guaranteed to be fully connected to the new fibre network – e.g. those of the edge of the schemes area.

 

  • Are there any areas of the parish not being included such as Hodson and Draycot Foliat?
    The easiest way to check is to add your postcode on the Openreach signup page. Aisne Road in Ridgeway View and Draycott Close in Draycot Foliat for example are covered.

 

  • How many existing broadband users are there in the applicable area?
    This is not something that Openreach has access to find out

 

  • How many current broadband providers are there?
    Andrews&Arnold, Aquiss, BT, Cerberus, Fibre Net, Giganet Home, Orbitalnet, Pine Media, Sky, Spectrum Internet, Structured Communications, Syscomm, Talktalk, Uno, Vodaphone and Zen.

Extract from Monday 14th Full Council meeting with the Q&A session from Openreach

14/12/2020

Please see the below link for the video of the extract from Monday 14th Full Council meeting with the Q&A session from Openreach.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/405505019600796/permalink/1818824964935454/

Get free government funding to improve your broadband connection

08/12/2020

Government funding has been made available to help you and your community be amongst those already enjoying the benefits of full fibre. The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme means every eligible rural home and business premise can get a government voucher to improve broadband in your local area*

We’re one of the Government’s registered suppliers and we’ve helped hundreds of local communities across t he UK get high-speed broadband . That means they can access online services, video call, work from home, stream HD TV and game online – all at the same time.. With no frustrating buffering, no connection dropouts, no waiting your turn.

If you and your neighbours want access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country, just get together, check you’re eligible and pledge your vouchers. The more people involved, the more funding you get.

•voucher value can vary based on Local Authority additional contributions but start at f.1, 500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses

Check if you qualify for a Gigabit voucher at: www.openreach.co.uk/connectmycommunitycard

Openreach Fibre Broadband information

01/12/2020

Please do read the article below in the Swindon Advertiser which outlays the way the scheme works. We can also confirm that:

The scheme needs a good level of support from residents on the electoral register (the figure used for calculating the sign up %) for Chiseldon Parish. There is a threshold of households needed to make the scheme become viable. This does not cost anything to do so and the pledge is stating that your voucher value will go towards funding this scheme for the community. Once the minimum set limit of pledges has been reached, Openreach then advise the Government that the threshold is reached. The Government will then release the additional funds needed for the scheme to be cost effective under the Governments rural broadband scheme.

Once the scheme is approved Openreach has 12 months to start installation.

The only outlay for households & businesses is to subsequently buy a package from a provider for your broadband that would allow you to use this faster service – such as Talk Talk, Sky, Vodafone, BT or Zen.

If you choose not to do this, you will experience the same internet speeds & service as you do now.

If you decide to take on the service after the installation period ends then your costs may be higher.

A residential voucher is worth £1,500 and a business voucher is worth £3,500. If you have a business that runs from your home address or premises you may want to consider pledging your business voucher as you cannot claim both.

Chiseldon Parish Council

From the Swindon Advertiser:

NEIGHBOURS and businesses in Wanborough and Chiseldon can register their interest in receiving BT Openreach fibre broadband.

The government’s gigabit voucher scheme means that eligible rural homes can get a voucher worth £1,500 while small businesses can get one worth up to £3,500.

This will pay for the installation of superfast internet.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “Following many meetings between myself, Coun Gary Sumner and BT Openreach, we are pleased to announce that eligible residents in Wanborough and Chiseldon are now able to register their interest in Openreach Fibre Broadband, utilising government funding.

“Along with Coun Gary Sumner, Coun Jenny Jefferies and Coun Brian Mattock, I am pleased that this option is now available after we have championed the issue of behalf of many local residents.”

The government announced in September that more than £22 million of additional funding would be invested in the broadband voucher scheme, which subsidises the costs of building gigabit-capable broadband networks to hard-to-reach areas.

The broadband enables internet download speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second- enough to download a HD movie in less than 30 seconds and lay the foundations for 8K-quality video streaming and virtual reality online gaming.

Register your interest at www.openreach.com/connectmycommunity