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.

Scheme is closed

18/11/2021

Prompted by the activity in the village I’ve been contacted by quite a few people asking how to get on the list for fibre.
I asked Openreach for an official response, it is as follows…

“Thanks for getting in touch and expressing interest in the project. I am sorry to say that the scheme is now closed and we no longer have the ability to add residents to the list. Phase 2 was a mop up of the properties not included in Phase 1 and was the final piece of work, there are no further phases.
The good news is that you should be able to place an order for a new fibre service once the work has completed, should you wish to have this. However we can’t advise as to the possible connection charges (if any) as this would be given to you by your chosen Communications Provider once you have placed an order.”

Registration for vouchers still open!

21/06/2021

Please note that registration for vouchers is still open and this link should be used for anyone still wanting to sign up. Connect my community (openreach.com)

Gigabit Fibre is coming to Wanborough, Liddington & Chiseldon

27/05/2021

I met with Openreach this morning together with Neil Richardson (who has been working with the Chiseldon residents) and we are pleased to confirm that we have now officially moved into the build phase of the project – we did it!

It is definitely happening!!!!

Gigabit Fibre is definitely coming to our two communities!

As many of you have seen Openreach engineers have been in the area finalising their plans for the rollout and we will learn over the coming weeks the timescales for delivery, we’ll share that info with you as soon as we can. In order to claim the voucher Openreach have a 12 month period before they expire and most were pledged late last year.

If you live in Wanborough & Liddington or Chiseldon you could still miss out if you haven’t pledged your voucher and for those who haven’t engaged, it may not be too late.
Go to https://www.openreach.com/connectmycommunity to pledge.

Households who haven’t pledged or been part of the scheme may have to pay to connect to the new network later so whilst there is still an opportunity to use the free Government vouchers of £1500 for a home or £3,500 for a business it makes sense to take part.

Neil and I continue to explore ways of getting the un-validated vouchers converted and letters will be going out to these people shortly, we are also looking at a method of validating vouchers by SMS instead of email. If you haven’t received your voucher please email me again as Openreach can access the vouchers again.

I would like to personally thank Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP who helped start this process from the first meeting he and I had with Openreach in April 2020 and celebrate the achievement through lockdown of promoting this! We have raised nearly £2m in pledges and Neil Richardson has been a fantastic advocate in Chiseldon, promoting and sharing the benefits, organising leaflets, as well as joining me on very regular briefings and workshops to achieve this.

Thank you to local printers (ESP Colour) who produced the Wanborough Leaflet for free and those helpers who did the deliveries.

This has also been a great community effort with many residents being Gigabit champions online and sharing the positive news with friends and neighbours, but please keep spreading the word to your friends/neighbours so nobody misses out.

We still have the other villages to address, and some missing streets and we are working on what can be attached to these schemes and what will have to be done separately under a new funding application.

Gary Sumner Neil Richardson Robert Buckland

Openreach update

27/04/2021

I met with Openreach a few days ago together with Neil Richardson (a resident from Chiseldon who has helped enormously there with promoting this and creating the Chiseldon leaflets) and we wanted to provide a further update.

The 31st March deadline passed and for Wanborough the target was £982,917 and Chiseldon £1.128m.

Current position for Wanborough: Vouchers with a value of £862,500 were issued and £756,000 have been accepted.

Current position for Chiseldon: Vouchers with a value of £981,000 were issued and £790,500 have been accepted.

At the moment the Government department (DCMS) have re-opened the pledging portal so that new pledges can be made, and they have put an additional £210m into the scheme, however there is considerable demand for the funding so we need to get closer and quickly.

We need to establish who have still not received their vouchers as a good number are missing.

Unless you have done this before and have since received the voucher, please send a new email to me with:

Your name
Your address
When you pledged?
Was it a business or residential voucher?
Did you use the correct postcode?
Only one voucher is available per premises.

Email: gary@ridgewayvillages.co.uk

I will pass directly to Openreach, but do not anticipate that they will respond for 14 days until they have been through their validation process so no need to follow up for that period.

Openreach are waiting for the Government interface for vouchers to re-open so they can start re-sending vouchers to those who are missing vouchers – this is expected any day.

If the voucher issues has expired, Openreach will advise.

Because there is a limited pot of money, we must get our missing pledges confirmed and seek a sign off from Openreach by end of May.

AREAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE FIRST PHASE BID:

In the meantime, we are submitting all of the outstanding areas not included as Phase 2 applications in this years funding.

I have requested surveys on Bishopstone, Hinton Parva, Liddington (Medbourne & Church Road), Foxhill, Badbury, Russley Park. We are doing the same for the missed areas in Chiseldon. Each of the additional areas will be surveyed again as for example in Bishopstone a number of homes have been connected by BT and Openreach (a legally separate entity) only have visibility of what’s connected but not what is in process.

Ward Cllr Gary Sumner

Choice of Internet Service Provider

16/03/2021

During the recent leaflet drop we received feedback that people thought that if we move to fibre that BT would be supplying our broadband.

This is not the case, Openreach (who are no longer part of BT) will be supplying the fibre lines but you will have a choice of broadband provider (as you do now)…..here’s a list of the providers that will be available to us.

https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fttp-providers

I’ve also just had a quick look at some of the deals available through the Topcashback site (other cash back sites are available) and depending who you choose it’s possible to get up to £90 back as a new customer signing up to basic fibre broadband on an 18 month contract

DCMS voucher emails are on their way

15/03/2021

"What happens on installation day?" and "Pledging my voucher"

01/02/2021
  • How is the fibre optic cable run to my house?
  • Openreach will run it via the existing route if possible. Where this is not possible, they will discuss options with you.
  • What equipment is installed on my premises?
  • Your existing BT socket (usually an NTE5) will become redundant and a newpiece of equipment will be installed into which the fibre optic cable will be connected. You will also need to provide mains power to thisequipment. An ethernet cable will connect between the fibreoptic network terminating equipment and any home hub/router provided by your supplier.
  • Do I need any special equipment to take advantage of the higher speeds offered by Gigabit Broadband?
  • If you are choosing up to 300mb/s you will be unlikely to need any extra equipment other than that provided by your supplier. To take full advantage of speeds of over 300mb/s you may need to think about using a wired connection between your home hub/router and a gigabit ethernet card/port on your PC/Laptop.
  • I live x miles from the exchange,and I have awful speeds now. Will I really get up to a gigabit here?
  • Fibre optic speed are not affected by distance to the exchange. If you purchase gigabit broadband, you’ll get synchronisation with the exchange at 1Gb/s!
  • How/where can I pledge my voucher?
  • Use this link: https://www.openreach.com/connectmycommunity and sign up using your postcode.

Updated Q & A on FTTP/Cost/Providers

01/02/2021
  • This service sounds expensive. Is it?
  • In most circumstances if taking a 100 mb/s package the cost is comparable if a tad more expensive than existing broadband packages. You can check prices via providers’ websites. If you are asked for a postcode B43 5NX has the same type of service available. You should look at a range of providers as some are markedly more expensive than others.
  • I’m with but they don’t provide this service. What do I do?
  • Not all providers offer Fibre to the Premises. If this is the case,you can sign up to a different provider and terminate your existing package. Please discuss with your existing provider to establish whether you are in contract or if there are any cancellation charges.
  • What about my email address with ?
  • It is generally a bad idea to use the email address provided with your broadband/internet connection as these often cease if you change providers. There are a number of free email providers (Gmail, Outlook most notably) that can be used with any broadbandprovider. You may wish to consider opening a free email account and moving to that over the next 12 months in case you want to change broadband provider at a later date.

Updated Q & A on copper line discontinuation

01/02/2021
  • I’ve heard that Openreach are discontinuing the existing copper lines. Won’t we get FTTP then?
  • Openreach have confirmed that they intend to discontinue copper lines to premises by around 2025. In some cases, such as Salisbury, the alternative technology chosen has been fibre optic lines to premises. https://www.openreach.com/digital-phone-lines That said, fibre optic is only one technology that may be used, and it is not guaranteed that Chiseldon will receive that in the future. It might be radio/5G instead whereas this scheme is 100% fibre optic; the current “gold standard” of internet provision.
  • If gave me the service I pay for, we wouldn’t need this.
  • The current technology being used for broadband via copper line in Chiseldon is ADSL2 which is limited in speed anyway; plus,the longer the copper line from the exchange, the poorer the speed received. As our reliance on the internet for work, entertainment (HD TV, 4K TV, 8K TV etc) and education increases, our demand for greater bandwidth increases. Imagine trying to load some of the media heavy websites of today on a 56kb/s modem which was “fine”20 years ago. Moving to fibre-optic broadband now provides future proofing for you, your family,and your propertyfor years to come.
  • I only take a telephone service over the copper line, what about me?
  • Your current provider will contact you closer to the copper line switch off date to discuss alternatives. A Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) can be provided over fibre optic cable if required. https://www.openreach.com/digital-phone-lines

Updated Q & A on the voucher scheme

01/02/2021
  • How much is my voucher worth?
  • £1,500 per residential premises, £3,500 per business premises.
  • Who ultimately pays for the voucher?
  • This is a scheme run by the government’s department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, so ultimately, the taxpayerpays.
  • What is the target, and how has it been set?
  • Approx £1,200,000 which is the cost of installing the scheme. Openreach has confirmed that the target is achievable (there are enough premises in the area to cover the scheme if they pledge) and not every premises would need to pledge their voucher for the scheme to reach the £1,200,000 target. 100% of the £1,200,000 target is needed for the scheme to go ahead.
  • Is there a deadline?
  • The existing voucher scheme ends on 31 March 2021.
  • What happens if I pledge the voucher, but the scheme doesn’t go ahead?
  • There is no cost to you or the Government.The existing voucher scheme ends on 31 March 2021 so you will lose the voucher after that date. Openreach will write to you if/when the scheme goes ahead and advise that they intend to claim your voucher. The voucher will be claimed by Openreach at that point. If the scheme does not go ahead, the voucher will not be claimed and you can pledge it elsewhere before 31 March 2021 if there is an alternative scheme available.
  • Do I have to take a service if I pledge my voucher?
  • Yes. You are required to take a service of a certain bandwidth for a minimum of 12 months with one of the suppliers that offer gigabit service. This does not necessarily need to be BT.
  • What minimum speed must I take for the first 12 months?
  • If your current speed is LESS THAN 30 mb/s, then you must take a MINIMUM of 30 mb/s, although you can take the full 1,000 mb/s if you want. If you’re currently receiving MORE THAN 30 mb/s then you are required to take a service of AT LEAST DOUBLE the existing speed. e.g. if you are getting 90 mb/s at present, you would need to take 180 mb/s or more.
  • What happens if I pledge my voucher, but then don’t take a fibre-optic service?
  • Your voucher claim will be ineligible, and you may be required to pay the value of the£1,500 or £3,500 voucher that you pledged.
  • What happens if the target is not reached?
  • The scheme may not go ahead as planned, it could be broken into smaller schemes and/or phased. The hope is that we get to the target to deliver to as many homes as possible

Updates on "Where and What's included?"

01/02/2021
  • Surely this is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) not Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)?
  • The rules of the government Gigabit voucher scheme require the connection to be capable of carrying 1Gb/s of data. FTTC is not capable of carrying that amount of data so this is 100% a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) project.
  • I live in Hodson / Burderop / Ridgeway View / Draycot Foliat, surely,they’re not included?
  • Openreach have confirmed that these areas are included. If you put your postcode into the pledge portal and it says that you are eligible, then the project covers your area.
  • What about Badbury?
  • Openreach are looking at Badbury as a separate project and will communicate details of any scheme in due course.
  • What works are included if I pledge my voucher?
  • All installation costs other then any provider set up fee are covered by the scheme. If you do not pledge your voucher in this scheme, and later wish to take up a FTTP service, then you may be charged any excess charges to connect your premises from the nearest distribution point (if the distribution point is some way away, then these may be expensive!)
  • How will the service be delivered to my premises? Will they need to dig up my drive/garden/the road etc?
  • Openreach have surveyed existing ducts and will re-use those where possible. In most cases, this means that there will be little/no disruption to you or your property. Only where the ducts are unusable will any digging be required. Openreach will liaise with you if this is the case.
  • My phone line is flown bya telephone pole. Will I need to have a trench dug to my house?
  • No. Openreach will fly the fibre-optic cable from the existing telephone pole.

Updates to Broadband Q & A

28/01/2021

Two answers have now been added to the questions posed on 15th December .

 

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.

 

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

Yes, Openreach have confirmed there are enough properties to reach 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.

Yes, Openreach have confirmed that if you postcode appears in the checker, then you will be full connected.
 

  • 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