Monday, 5 January 2015

Fibre At Last! least for some of us

I was telephoned by a couple of people early December to tell me that BT were doing work on the cabinet on Enford Hill. When asked what they were up to, the technicians said they were installing fibre. I emailed the Wiltshire Online people to see if I could find out what was going on. The following email exchange ensued:

Me: 14 Dec - I live in the parish of Enford, albeit about a mile from the centre of the village. According to the Wilts Online Broadband rollout webpage, this area is due to be surveyed in 2015. Recently, however, we have had BT technicians digging up the road - they say they are installing fibre to the cabinet (at SN9 6DJ). Can you tell me please, is this part of the broadband rollout programme in this area? If so does this mean that the survey has already been conducted ahead of schedule? If that is the case, can you tell me where I can read the results of the survey for this area so that I know what is going to happen?

Wilts Online: 17 Dec - Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that we are working in the Netheravon exchange area however, your premise is what is known as an Exchange Only (EO) line; this means you are served directly by a copper cable from the exchange to your premise and your connection does not go through a roadside cabinet.

At this time the infrastructure that feeds your premise is not in the programme for upgrading.

The aim of the project is to achieve the best possible long-term broadband coverage for Wiltshire within the budget available. To achieve this the roll-out design is based on not just one factor but a combination of several factors such as existing infrastructure, speeds already received, number of homes and premises in the area and distances of homes and businesses away from the infrastructure.  Other roll-out designs were considered such as prioritising specific communities or the most rural areas but the roll-out becomes less efficient and more costly and ultimately reduces the number of homes we can provide a service to for the budget available.

We are looking at opportunities to extend our coverage to include additional premises such as yours that are currently not planned for upgrade.  We are constantly reviewing our progress and processes to ensure maximum time and cost efficiencies.  Any cost savings made will be reinvested into the project to extend our coverage further. 

In addition, Wiltshire Council has recently secured further funding from central government for a phase 2 rollout of superfast broadband.  We have started consultation with commercial broadband providers to establish where we are allowed to invest these additional funds however, it is still very early days and we will not be in a position to advise which communities will be able to benefit until mid-2015.  The phase 2 funding will follow on from the end of the current phase and so we will be looking to upgrade communities during 2016/2017.

Me: 18 Dec - Thank you very much for your reply. Clearly, it will come as a great disappointment to us living at SN9 6DF that we are to get no upgrade to our broadband infrastructure รข€“ it is already pretty old and unreliable, especially in wet weather.

However, I also try and keep the rest of the parish updated on broadband developments. Hence my other questions:

  • Are the BT road works at SN9 6DJ part of the broadband rollout programme in this area?
  • If so does this mean that the survey for our area has now been conducted?
  • If that is the case, can you tell me where I can read the results of the survey for this area, and what the outcome is, so that I can let people in the village know what is happening?

 I'd be especially grateful if you could let me know where I can read about what specific changes are being made to the infrastructure in our area (Enford, Coombe and Chisenbury).

Wilts Online: 5 Jan - Apologies for the delay in responding to your query.

I can confirm that the works you are seeing being undertaken in your exchange area are part of the Wiltshire Online broadband rollout programme.

With regards to the other communities you mention, the majority of Enford is served by Cabinet 1 from the Netheravon exchange (as is the whole of Chisenbury) and this cabinet is included in our rollout plans.  The fibre cabinet has already been stood but we will now need to work on bringing the fibre to the new cabinet; I anticipate that the work should be completed during Summer of this year.  Until such time as the cabinet is live, I cannot comment on the improved speeds the area will be able to receive.

As with your property, there are a number of other EO lines in Enford and the hamlet of Coombe is solely serviced by EO lines which at this moment in time are not planned to be upgraded for reasons previously mentioned.