As we are "Hard to Reach", we have been working with a specialist team at Openreach, who agreed to propose a solution for our two Parishes: Hyde, (Phase 1) and Ellingham, Harbridge & Ibsley. This team has its own surveyors and planners, who work 'on the ground' rather than from BT maps and records, so they are better able to devise solutions that may not be obvious from a desk!
That survey is now complete and the proposals are tabled, covering 475 homes in Hyde and the north part of EH&I + a handful of homes in Godshill. We have formal quotations for the work and the timescale for Phase 1 is 12 months. Once we can prove that we can fund the first Phase, the remainder of EH&I will be surveyed as a separate project, although finding possible solutions there will be a lot harder.
The proposed solution involves running fibre-optic cables from Openreach’s NGA network to six new ‘Superfast’ roadside cabinets in our area. These transmit broadband at far greater speeds than we’re used to at the moment. From the cabinets, the broadband travels over the existing copper telephone network, via the ‘Distribution Poles’ (DPs), to individual homes. The further you live from one of these new cabinets, the lower the speed you’ll get, but every home will see a significant increase in their broadband speeds, with about 80% getting more than 24 Mbps, the speed threshold used to define ‘Superfast’ broadband.
Is this the only possible solution?
We have looked at the options available to residents across Hyde and some parts of EH&I and Godshill and we have concluded that the community contract with BT will serve everyone most effectively. The options we have considered are shown in the FAQ section, under item 2
What benefits will I get?
Faster everything is at the heart of all the benefits! Working from home. Fast browsing and shopping. Easy emailing, including larger family photo exchanges. Video calls, catch-up TV, on-demand programming e.g. films; access to tele-medicine as it develops, smart-home management. There is more detail in the FAQ section under item 3
How much will it cost me?
To deliver faster broadband - for many of us, much faster broadband - to the 475 premises covered by our plans, the overall cost is £177k. This is a ‘gap-funded community’ scheme, in which Openreach contributes the value of what the new infrastructure will be worth to them, and the community pays the balance.
We are deliberately not asking for a specific sum to be pledged by every property.
Rather,we want each home in the project to consider what faster broadband would be worth to them and to pledge accordingly. If you run a business, are a multi-user household or have children working hard for exams, then clearly faster broadband is of greater value to you than it might be for someone living alone. If you are - or would like to be - a voracious user of BBC iPlayer, catch-up TV and other speed hungry offerings, then the ability to exploit fast broadband has an intrinsically high value to your household.
When considering what you feel you might decide to contribute, the examples in the FAQ section at item 7 may be helpful.
Due to personal circumstances, some homes may not be be able to contribute as much as they would like. However, every contribution is valuable and we have designed a system that ensures that only two people will ever know what you pledge: one is Youand the other is the Treasurer. Support the Community and pledge what is right for you.
Before we can commit to the project, though, we need to have the total cost of the project covered by pledges. We know there are a number of householders in the parish who are considering contributing much more than the actual perceived value, and to these people we say: ‘This is a Community Broadband Project for the benefit of all our residents. If you value this, your Community, as much as we think you do, please take this additional factor into account in your generosity’.