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Monday, 7 September 2015

Meeting re Broadband 10th September 2015.

We submitted advance questions for Faster Broadband for Worcesterhisre and BT to consider before the meeting. To help you this is a record of their response.

Questions for Broadband Meeting.

1. General - Can you give a report on the roll out in Castlemorton, with maps, for each of the seven spines giving coverage achieved and progress on re-engineering and implementation with planned completion dates? 

I cannot go into the detail you require because we are going through the planning process and do not have the information to the detail you require. I can talk about the planning process and what happens etc which will help explain.

2. What are the proportion of properties that you anticipate getting fibre to the property FTTP against those getting fibre to the nearest cabinet FTTC. How many will not experience any upgrade and will need to resort to an alternative solution? 

This will not be known until the cabinets go live. Some people could be served off a FTTC cabinet which is upgraded but still get low speeds because of the distance they are from the cab. The majority of people will get higher speeds but if the speed achieved is less than 2 mgs then they will be offered a satellite option. However Castlemorton/Birtsmorton is covered under the BDUK+ (DEFRA) funding and the solution BT proposed had to take into account the rurality of the location hence it is mainly FTTP which is envisaged which would give people higher speeds.

3. Will you be adding extra cabinets to support customers who have in the past experienced a long line issue. Many customers are quite satisfied with the service they are getting now. Some get a good 6.5 Mbps. The real problems and most of the anxiety reside with those who are at the margins of an exchange and currently get less than 1 Mbps. How will you be prioritising these properties? 

We will not be putting extra cabinets in however because the solution is mainly FTTP long distances from the cab is not an issue. The long distance issue is normally from a FTTC cabinet.

4. Parishioners on the margins of an exchange frequently find their immediate neighbour (on another exchange) is able to access super-fast  fibre while they are still on a very slow connection. This happens even though the they are physically close. Several have resorted to satellite. Will these customers be able to transfer exchanges or access the better service? 


5. Will you be renewing the old copper cables that supply the properties. Several parishioners have experienced poor telephone connections and they hope the new wiring will make an improvement? 

No that is not part of the project. If people are suffering poor telephone connections they must complain to their service provider i.e. BT, Talk Talk, Sky etc. Their current provider should sort this out on their behalf.

6. Will we still need a telephone line? With Superfast Broadband Voice over Internet could be a viable alternative? 

You have to have a telephone line to get fibre but once you have superfast broadband you can use it

7. Will you be liaising with Fastershire so that they can make use of the fibre and line improvements you are making? This is particularly important in Hollybush where there is a new fibre cable  and nodes in place already laid in a conduit on the A438. This will be used to provide FTTP for the properties along the A438. When we inquire from Fastershire they are not aware of this or say that they have no plans to use this simple remedy to connect the rest of the properties in the village who are on the Ledbury exchange? 

This is an issue that is being discussed with Fastershire. We are talking but I will not have a full answer on what will happen in Hollybush for the meeting.

Are Herefordshire Council aware of your plan and specification that you are providing for Worcestershire? 

Each contract has the same specification because they are standard across all the BDUK contracts. Herefordshire do not have a copy of the Worcestershire deployment plan but there is an agreed national procedure for cross border issues like Hollybush and we are talking.

If you eventually intend to provide Fibre To The Premises as a long term aim. Why not do all the work now and with this major upgrade complete the task in one session rather than in stages? 

No the project in based on FTTP and FTTC technology. We are contracted to provide value for money and BDUK review all contracts for VFM. FTTC is cheaper than FTTP so is always the first option.

9. For properties lying outside your zone, is there any way individuals or a group can ‘buy’ into the service? 

Local communities can always privately fund a cabinet. I can liaise so that they talk to the right people/

10. Can properties share connections. (legal? , illegally?) Using, LAN, Powerline or WiFi? Best of all long distance WiFi? 

No I cannot condone sharing connections.

11 Will Mobile Phone coverage for the area be improved. It is very patchy and poor in Castlemorton? 

No idea the project should have no effect on mobile phones you would need to talk to your mobile phone supplier to improve their coverage.

12 For the (hopefully) few properties who will not be experiencing an upgrade, will you support them with a subsidised alternative. i.e. Satellite broadband.  Will this subsidy cover ‘installation’. Will it subsidise the  £50 per month subscription? 

At the moment anybody who cannot get 2 meg after we have completed rollout will be offered a satellite solution. I do not know how this will be priced because BDUK are currently deciding how this will be undertaken. However I would be surprised if they will subsidise it. The Broadband connections are not subsidised.

13 The Council receives a payback for each new connection after a certain amount of uptake. Can you explain how this works?

 Yes I will explain how it works at the meeting. Indeed, the clawback should only be available after the whole intervention area gets to 20% uptake and this would be paid at the end of the contract term. However BT has just announced that it will payback this money much earlier than it needs i.e. in next 6 - 12 months to enable the councils to put fibre into places that it thought it would not be able to reach. This is at BT’s own cost and will be a significant investment by BT (over £2M in Worcestershire).

14 Will the payback be used to support more connections? 

Yes, see answer above

15 The initial survey was some time ago, 'The Race to Infinity’ etc sought to identify demand from the parishioners  In the meantime many properties have changed hands, new families moved in and the services provided over the internet have proliferated. Does this invalidate or amend the initial survey? 

No idea the survey you mention was undertaken by WCC to determine what they would ask BT cover in the contract. 

16 Can you detail the funding provideers. How much is from UK government, Worc's Council how much will come from the EU social and economic fund. Any others i.e. ISP's or Media companies, BBC, Virgin etc?

Contract 1 – BDUK £3.35M, WCC £8M, BT £8.9M    BDUK+ BDUK £1.2M, BT £100k,  Contract 2 BDUK £2.39M Worcestershire LEP £2.39M, BT £1.85M Total £28.18M

17. We are currently connected directly to the exchange, not via a cabinet ('Exchange Only').  Where and when will we be able to see whether we will be upgraded (e.g. to FTTP).  The Superfast Worcestershire website has a 'cabinet status' page but as we don't have a cabinet,we don't appear on that list.  Is there or will there be another page with the information when the decisions have been made, and if so how can I find it or what is the address/URL?

 I believe that WCC will start including FTTP structures on their website.

18.  Worcestershire Superfast Broadband are committed to providing a minimum speed of 2Mbps to all homes by June 2016. How is this to be achieved? 

Fibre as much as possible and offer a satellite solution to any areas not covered.

19.   FTTP carry extra costs to the subscriber? 

20. What is FTTR (fibre to the remote node) and is this an option for our community? 

This is fibre to the remote node and may be utilised if applicable.

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