Superfast Broadband – for those haven’t got it… yet

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 17.12.32Update from Webmaster,

Superfast broadband should be covering all of Surrey by now – that was the ambition of Surrey County Council back in 2014 – with promises of 99.7% being able to get 15Mbps or above.    That promise had a caveat that wasn’t mentioned by Surrey Council… that they aim to enable only cabinets –  not all residents‘ homes.  Those living more than 2km from a cabinet won’t be getting Superfast. That leaves large numbers of residents of Surrey discovering that they can’t get Superfast broadband and there is no plan for them to be enabled in the immediate future.  In our area there are homes to the East (Vann) and North of Hambledon (Merry Harriers area) that are beyond 2km from the cabinet on the Petworth Road – Superfast Surrey (Surrey County Council) say they are reviewing this (see letter below).  Areas of Milford are also excluded.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 15.07.02Residents of Feathercombe, Hydestile and Hydon Heath are also too far from their cabinets and specifically excluded from Surrey CC intervention.  Those residents have clubbed together to pay Openreach a substantial amount to install new cabinets to bring the promised Superfast to those hamlets… in Spring 2016.  Their self-funded superfast project website is here: www.GU8Superfast.co.uk

So the Surrey CC dream is not quite reality.  There is a faint glimmer of hope for those left behind. Surrey County Council have announced their OMR (Open Market Review) – a plan to see who is left behind without Superfast capability.   One could ask how they commissioned many millions of pounds worth of broadband expenditure without knowing the scope of their intervention.

In response to one of our determined residents, Superfast Surrey sent this letter below. That resident also urges everyone to spend 30 seconds filling in the form to tell Openreach that they haven’t got Superfast capability: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/faq/contact-us-form.aspx

Surrey County Council has now finished the main phase of its Superfast Surrey Broadband programme to bring fibre broadband to those areas in the county not included in commercial roll outs.
In December 2014 it was decided that before any further decisions could be made with regards to the outcome of slow speeds review, the Superfast Surrey team had to focus on the completion of the main phase of the contract and identify options for using any remaining funds to enable a decision to be made on the future scope of the programme.
Options were developed that not only acknowledged Openreach’s analysis of premises with slow speeds in the Superfast Surrey deployment area but also took into account feedback from residents and businesses in the commercial rollout area that were not covered by the fibre network or who were on slow speeds.

As a result, and to ensure that Surrey County Council fully understands the extent of the remaining challenge, Surrey County Council is now embarking on an Open Market Review (OMR). This is the only way to establish a clear understanding of the latest position regarding existing and planned fibre coverage throughout the county. The review will identify all premises throughout Surrey without a fibre broadband connection or those covered by the fibre network but unable to access a fibre service.
Surrey County Council will be seeking State Aid Approval for plans to further extend broadband coverage across the County within the constraints of available funding following a process laid down by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). The first stage is to request current and future broadband coverage information from existing infrastructure providers in an Open Market Review (OMR).  Once the broadband coverage and speed responses are analysed, a map will be produced and uploaded to the Superfast Surrey website as part of the public consultation process.  This stage, which is likely to be during Autumn 2015, will be the opportunity for residents, businesses as well as any other infrastructure providers to contact the Superfast Surrey team by email to provide additional information that may further inform the understanding of broadband coverage across the County.   
   
Following the public consultation phase, the Superfast Surrey team will then agree with BT Group, as part of the existing contract and within the constraints of available funding, how to target those areas identified as not having current or proposed broadband coverage or access to download speeds of 15 Mbps or above. The proposed deployment must be signed off by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) as being compliant with State Aid Funding regulations before any deployment can commence.  
   
The OMR, analysis of responses, mapping, public consultation and development of a new deployment plan will take many months and whether or not residents who are currently unable to access a fibre service will benefit from any subsequent deployment will not be known until the above process is completed.
If residents or businesses are not keen to wait for the outcome of the OMR, options could be to look at satellite services or for businesses to consider a Fibre on Demand Service. The third option may be for communities to contact Openreach and collectively fund a community initiative. There is already an established process in place via the Openreach website for enquiries from residents who are interested in investigating options for self-funded initiatives. It is not possible to obtain a quotation or speak to an Openreach representative without following this process due to the significant amount of administration and number of different variables that need to be considered.  This form (http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/faq/contact-us-form.aspx) would need to be completed with the community representative’s details. The Details of Enquiry box should include a description of how many residents would be interested in helping fund the initiative and installation etc and needs to include a list of all the names and landline phone numbers of those interested in funding the initiative.  It is very important that details regarding all interested parties are included on the form. Once the form has been submitted, Openreach would be in touch to discuss this in more detail. 
Katie Brennan, Engagement Manager, Superfast Surrey Broadband Programme, Chief Executive’s Office, Surrey County Council